Years ago I held the obscure title of Spokesperson on Intellectual Property for the Green Party. With the fuss yesterday about our policy on copyright, and the strong likelihood of some attempt to change that policy at our autumn conference, I’ve tried to reach back into that part of my brain to explain some of the thinking behind shortening copyright terms. Read More Making copyright work for creatives

Similar to Gail Ramster, I went along to the Friday afternoon part of UK GovCamp 2012 without really knowing why. I suspect most people would say the same thing. You go because… well, you never know which useful people you might bump into, and what interesting things you might hear about. Plus a colleague Janet Hughes was going, and I’d cleared my desk of essential work for the week. Here are a few takeaway thoughts from my afternoon. 1. I barely knew anyone It’s years since I was a fish in a geeky pool, active in the free culture movement, the KDE community, software patent activism and other odds and sods. For the past five years or so I’ve moved onto land, or perhaps a coral reef, to be more involved with issues around the environment, housing and pay inequality. The past two or so have been working as a…

Read More Sitting around the data campfire

Are free photos evil? I’m going to stick my neck out and defend the Greater London Authority for setting up a Flickr group where Londoners can submit photos to be used on the GLA web site. A few photographers are upset that anyone can now get decent photos for free from citizens who donate them. Shocker. These photographers want the GLA to use our taxes to pay them for their hard work. I’m sorry, but that’s just plain ridiculous. Should we condemn the GLA for using free software for their web site, instead of paying for a proprietary content management system? Dearie me. Look, the web has changed many creative industries and bust the business models of those few who were charging for stuff that lots of us will happily share quite freely. Get over it. This storm-in-a-lens-pouch has been picked up by the venerable Boris Watch and the Telegraph,…

Read More Boris the culture commie?

This video is just brilliant, it’s great to see ORG’s campaign against Labour’s absurd “three strikes” proposal picking up steam. When I was more involved with the free culture movement I wrote my Masters thesis on a Lockean argument against Lily Allen’s view of copyright. The thing I love about the video is that it doesn’t just argue on the economics, as this brilliant essay on Liberal Conspiracy does quite effectively. No, he plays with – and demonstrates – the claim that culture should be something we all enjoy consuming, producing, sharing and learning from. He bought Lily Allen’s CD for his mum, which she loves, but that shouldn’t be the end of the story.

Read More Dear Lily, culture is about more than cash

Gavin Baker, a really fantastic free data activist from the US, nudged me recently about his post on the position of different European parties on open access to research. Scott Redding, one of our Green Party candidates in the elections and also doing amazing work getting more online activism for the party, gave a fairly strong statement on his intention to support the cause of open/free data. So where do we stand? It’s easier to explain by talking about our wider policy and activism around intellectual property. So here’s an update on a previous post: The Green Party in England & Wales has very strong, explicit policy on intellectual property with specific statements on open source software, public data (especially maps) and open data generally. Lots of Green MEPs and candidates have signed the Free Software Pact; In Liverpool City Council, Greens have passed a motion encouraging the use of…

Read More European Parliament elections, the Green Party and free stuff