March 26, 2006
The Live Web
Newsweek put up an article late last night on The New Wisdom of the Web, which I'm in, and quoted mentioning the "live web." This idea is something I got from Doc Searls, who told me he first heard it from his son Allen Searls. I have to thank Doc for all of our conversations about this. He is kind of an information shaman, and very wise about the web.
I do think that the difference between the web of 5 years ago, and the web now, is very much the liveness of it. The static web is email and static webpages.. and the live web is all about change, time and people conversing across time and place online.
We also put this up on Dabble, for our invited beta. We expect it won't be long before we can throw open the doors.
We're pleased to announce our first private beta, and we'd like to invite you to join! Just send us an email address so you can be part of one of the most exciting online video communities on the Web. OK, the most exciting!
Dabble is a video remix community that makes it easy and fun for people to create, browse, and find video online. We provide the tools that put you on the other side of the lens, whether that’s a digital camera, cell phone, or video camera. Once you log in, you can:
* Drag and drop the Dabble bookmarklet into your bookmark bar so that you can easily link media you find on the Web or in your inbox to Dabble.
* Gather and organize your own videos, your contacts’ (people you know) videos, and all of the videos in the Dabble database.
* See you contacts online and share your favorite media bookmarks.
* Track the most popular tags and browse tags for new video.
* Organize your video play lists, and check out your contacts’ playlists.
* Ask for video if you can’t find it, look for film festivals to submit video to and see what others are looking for in our Ask section.
March 22, 2006
Creative Commons Upheld!
So Adam Curry apparently published a photo of his daughter on Flickr. A magazine called Weekend said they thought it was okay to use it because the photo said "public" next to it, and they didn't read the licensing which was linked right in the same area of the interface.
The Weekend people apparently didn't understand that "public" did not mean the copyright was "no rights reserved" but it seems ambiguous at best. I understand the Weekend people misinterpreted the interface and information, but it's not that hard to make out, and is their responsibility to get the copyright right. Several times American newspapers have emailed me asking to reuse my photos.. which I've given them permission to do. So some publications are doing it right.
Great marks for Creative Commons though!
March 17, 2006
Upgrading to Web 2.0
Yes.. folks, it's time for your upgrade for the internet.
So.. I met these very sweet folks from Dalla, Texas at SXSW at a party late Saturday night, and I asked what they did. They said, we're web designers, and right now we're working on upgrading all our clients from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0.
So I asked, what does that mean? And they said, well.. they have all these clients who haven't changed their websites in years and years, and now, with this concept of an upgrade, are open to improving and spending the money.
Well.. that just changed everything for me.
I thought Web 2.0 was some amorphous, meaningless, ridiculous term that no one could possibly take seriously except those VCs who write checks for fancy executive conferences. And a term that when used seriously, would tip you off to the fact that they didn't know it meant nothing and was silly.
But shoot. Now I get it. This term means something to IT consultants across the land, as they work with their clients to take them from the static web to the live web (my terminology, not theirs.. I don't think any of them will ever use those terms).
But it makes so much sense, and now I don't hate the term. I feel like well, if this is helping little mom and pop shops get a few people into better, more usable websites (we hope... they kept mentioning ajax over and over, plus blogs and wikis, and my highest hope for them is that they do it well, making things more usable for their client's users) then who can hate that? How can we begrudge them this terrific opportunity to explain the new social web to their clients, simply by putting it in terms of a software upgrade they can understand. I mean.. they all went from IE 5 to IE 6, yes? Well.. now it's Web 1.0 to Web 2.0.
So I now have complete respect for "web 2.0" in this context. Live long and prosper.
And now there is a certifier. How handy. (Note that 'humor' is one of the things that will get you certified by the Certifyr.) Too bad I didn't get their cards to send it along.
March 16, 2006
Attention or Eyeballs.. Attention or Intention.. Attention or Identity
"The eyes are the window to the soul." - Unknown
"If the eye is a window to the soul, then, the heart is the doorway to love." - Unknown.
"The world only exists in your eyes. You can make it as big or as small as you want." - F. Scott Fitzgerald
What's the difference between the static web and the live web?
What's the difference between consumers and users/amateurs?
What's the difference between attention and eyeballs?
What is attention? Lot's of people have discussed it, including Nick Bradbury, Steve Gillmor and Seth Goldstein, all of the Attention Trust. I'm on the board too, but my interest in joining it was a little different, though I believe in the core idea just as they do. To quote Seth's blog: "Attention is the substance of focus." The idea for the Attention Trust is that "users own a copy of their data" or attention stream or intention stream or whatever you want to call it. I'm going to leave the intention debate to others because while I agree with John Battelle, that these kinds of recordings can form a sort of 'database of intention' it's not my interest in this post to pick that apart.
Etech's theme this past week was attention, though I don't think anyone there except maybe Michael Goldhaber really got anywhere near the idea that the difference between the eyeballs of old (10 years ago) and the attention question is really about participation, at least as far as users collecting it on themselves and reusing it, or sharing it as they desire. Not to mention the digital social gestures that people can now make, and collect, through participatory media online that go much further than the simple mouse over or clicks that were all that could be collected before. Now the aggregate of both, clicks and gestures that are much more participatory in nature are richer and much more meaningful, and quite a bit different than "eyeballs".
And what is participation? As far as the AT, it's about user control and choice, and an absolute right to participate. Or not.
Surprisingly enough, since last August, when the AT was formed and announced, it's been just so easily accepted by anyone asked, from the top to the bottom of those "database of intention" makers, that you should own a copy of your data. They own one copy of course, but we really thought it would be much harder to gain acceptance of this ideal. And yet, here we are. Pretty much everyone has said, "...er, yes, users own a copy of their data." The hard part is, how, how much, when, in what way, will all these companies share a user's data with the users.
So the reason I joined the AT board was because I feel strongly that users should own a copy of their data. But I also feel strongly that users should be able to keep that data private, have complete control over their copy, and shared control over other copies depending on circumstances, and those users have the absolute, unequivocal right not to participate in the attention economy, at least as far as sharing their own data goes, if they are asked to by some vendor or company or other entity. No question.
If Visa wakes up one day and decides to tell me I must give them my attention stream or kiss my credit card good bye, well.. the AT would need to step into the middle of that one pronto. I cannot abide by that sort of coercion, and so, my real interest in the AT is making sure that it's as much an advocacy organization for user's privacy and security from coercion, as it is for making a place for people to come to learn about how to own and user their own data and possibly interact with entities that might trade them for it, or share the rewards of turning over leads for marketing.
Omidyar, the foundation established by Pierre Omidyar to fund both for profit and non-profit ideas, has given the Attention Trust its support to explore this idea of having a non-profit, independent group supporting user's rights.
I'm also going to work with EFF (and hopefully EPIC and Markel) to make sure the AT work and the recorder tools are the most user-friendly and affirmative of user-control, privacy and security as possible. I would also appreciate any help from people in covering this as well, so if you have thoughts, please send them to me in email to mary at hodder dot org .... or comment below.
Tonight there is a talk on attention, at SD Forum if you want to come check out some attention ideas. I encourage you to attend if you are interested and in the area.
March 15, 2006
Google, Fair Use and Open Media: Fair Use for All, or Just Google?
Updated: I've corrected the information below that said Google was signing exclusive contracts with libraries. Apparently after I left the book search panel at SXSW, this notion was corrected in the room (I had to leave about 10 minutes before it ended). Google is *not* signing exclusive contracts with libraries for the scanning of books.
I just watched Larry Lessig's talk about Google and Book Search and Fair use, which he's put into video online.
There's been a ton of bruhaha over Google and its scanning of books. Authors' guilds are upset because they don't consider Google's book search to be fair use, even if 9% of books are in print, 16% are in the public domain, and the remaining 75% are out of print, but still under copyright protection. Lessig talked about this at the NY Public Library and Susan Crawford discussed it just after with the Author's Guild. The Author's Guild does not see this as fair use at all, though Lessig defends it on his blog:
- In December, novelist Susan Cheever, a member of the Authors Guild, published "Just Google 'thou shalt not steal,'" an article suggesting that there's some kind of official word limit, or percentage limit, to material you can copy in order for it to qualify as fair use. She writes:
- "The Copyright Statute includes a 'fair use' clause' so that a few lines or phrases of a writer's work can be used as illustration by someone else. ...The amount of words that constitute fair use varies according to court case. At present, it is 400 words. Google cites 'fair use,' but it isn't using 400 words; it plans to digitize whole libraries and make them available piece by piece." (Emphasis added.)
- Even this small quotation from Cheever's article fundamentally misstates copyright law and misleads readers about Google Book Search.
- First, no such 400-word rule exists. Indeed, in some cases courts have ruled that copying and republishing the entire work is fair use. (You can read about one such court decision here.)
- Second, Google does not show more than two or three sentences without the author's permission. And that's not all. If a copyright holder chooses not to participate in Google Book Search, not a single word from the book will appear in any searches.
Lessig also discusses it here in this video. Obviously, there is a lot of incorrect information and it's good to see lots of discussion in many places to help educate people on what fair use is, what technologies are being used and what copyright is about.
And I agree with Lessig, that showing a few sentences of books that have been scanned and made searchable, is good and helpful to society and our educational structure. But then he refers to the "googlization" of these books. Because there is an issue here where the fair use is not being passed along.
Google says that for books in the public domain (16%), it will grant full access. For books out of print but still in copyright (75%) it will grant snippet access, and the 9% in print will be given access based on what the publishers and authors allow and if no access is granted, then none is given. Fantastic!
But what about the rest of us? Do we have fair use rights over Google's fair use of public domain and out-of-print books? Or will they limit us technically from doing to them what they are doing to books in an analog way? They are copying those books, and asking us to back up this use of those copies. In other words, they have created a digital barrier to keep others away from fair use access to their fair use. Googlization indeed.
I think this is really a big problem. Google is saying that they want to prevail in the lawsuit, because even though they can afford to pay the author's guild, hardly anyone else can, and therefore, they must win to preserve everyone else's right to innovate. Well, that's true and a good argument. Except that they are one of the very few who can also afford to digitize books. And by putting books out digitally for search, they create a situation where everyone has to go to Google (or one or two others, inlcuding the Archive) for book search, because Google has paid for the scanning. For books that are not public domain, I can see limiting access, but for public domain books, there is a real problem with Google's communitarian sensibility.
I think if Google really cared about innovation and open markets, they would actually put the information out to be copied by others, and they would not ask our support unless they planned to play fair.
In the SXSW panel on Book Digitization and the Revenge of the Librarians, I brought up this issue, with the Google guy, Daniel Clancy , by asking about Google's activities around these issues. He and the other panelists engaged with the issue quite a bit, but I had to leave earlier than I wanted to so I missed the end of it. However, Daniel did say that Google is working on better search and community integration for the book scanning program and that in a few months, there would APIs or other tools to get closer to the material but they have to balance that with their costs of scanning. I'm skeptical of this. I think we really have to wait to see what they do, and of course the longer they make us wait, the less trusting I am of the promise to open the doors.
I loved Liz Lawley's suggestion that we all might take a book and scan it, instead of leaving the enormity of the scanning project to big companies and efforts like the Open Content Alliance. While I realize spending an hour scanning your favorite book may not be the most fun thing you can think of, making book search distributed is a very interesting idea. And could help create distributed multi-copy book search across the web. That's pretty cool.
Update: Note also Kevin Mark's rewriting of Cheever's words here.
March 14, 2006
"Consumers In Charge"
I'm at PC Forum, speaking later today about "me media." There are some people using the term "users" while on stage, but in the halls and at meals, as well as from many onstage, there is a lot of use of the term, "consumer." At one point, I'd heard it so much, that I said I disagreed with that terminology to someone. After-all, the guy using it was talking about funding some company that was all about users publishing their work. He said, "... whatever, they are consumers...".
This conference feels very cynical overall, and the terminology is one of the main reasons though there are others. It's like the difference between the eyeballs of old, and attention: it's the participation. And people who participate are not consumers.
There was a guy on stage yesterday that Esther Dyson kept trying to get to say that the users could create on his site, and he finally blurted out, ".. we just let them think they are creating...". (You know there was a publicist in the back of the room saying "Take him out. I repeat. Take him out" to a sharpshooter on an ear radio somewhere. In fact there are tons of publicts and PR folks here.. many more than last year.)
It's too bad because "Users in Charge" is a great topic and Esther and company have put in a lot of work to frame these issues thoughtfully. But most of the attendees can't help themselves... they can only think of consumers buying things, being fed something packaged and consumable and neatly branded from these companies and making boatloads of money, with seemingly little care for the users, the experience or anything else.
Part of the issue is that many of the most interesting thinkers on this topic are at SXSW, where I was for a couple of days before coming here. I'm sure things would be different if danah boyd or Doc Searls or Joi Ito were here talking about users and participants.
Course, there has been a little fun:
March 02, 2006
My response to Techcrunch/Crunchnotes regarding One Web Day
He doesn't understand that getting big political behemoths to take a look at why net neutrality is critical is really hard. So, for those of us not in the digerati, Susan Crawford created One Web Day, to get non-geeks to pay attention to how the web has changed our lives, and how unhelpful CEOs like the one at AT&T (who totally don't get it, I mean how does he even send email? much less surf the web !?! or for that matter tie his shoes?) who thinks there should be tiered pricing for every little thing, and those who serve lots of data should pay extra. I mean, dude, they do pay extra already. They pay a lot for their hosting .. and we the users pay a lot.. and geez.. isn't that enough? Or do the servers of data need to pay yet again? It's a triple pay, he's proposing. It's ridiculous!
Oh, and did I mention he wants to make the video and VOIP protocols move really agonizingly slow? Unless they come from him and his buddies. Okay, dude, it's my choice, what I click on! I don't want you altering my clicks, my internet experience... hands off!
Anyway, okay, back to Mike. So Mike doesn't understand One Web Day and I can understand that... I mean.. it does appear namby-pamby at first. But then.. think about all the bureaucrats in countries all around the world that are just starting to get a handle on all this internet stuff and still haven't even read Techcrunch yet. And if mister AT&T-clueless has his way, Mike will have to pay even more for all of those new readers to see Techcrunch, because Mr AT&T wants to charge Mike for people to see him, on top of the hosting Mike already pays for, and the charges the readers already pays to get access.
So.. One Web Day. It's for people who are not digerati.. but still.. we need geeks to get in there and spread the meme. So we proposed a dinner.. for Susan, to make her case and meet some folks on the west coast who can help with that. She's smart, she gets it, she's not namby pamby. She just cares about making the web free and accessible. For Techcrunch. For Mike. For all of you. So suck it up and sign up for the dinner. And you too Valleywag. Thanks.
March 01, 2006
One Web Day dinner in SF, March 9 2006
Next Thursday night, there will be a One Web Day dinner in SF.
Susan Crawford will be visiting and we want to roust interest in this annual event that will take place September 22nd. The event will focus on the "one web" we have not (no tiered pricing! and no keeping people away from what they choose to click on!) and on the ways the internet has changed our lives.
It's a great cause and we'd love to have you there.
Please join us, by adding your name to the wiki!
Info from the wiki is also here:
OneWebDay is coming up on September 22 all over the world. Let's have a party to plan it.
Please join us. This is an informal gathering of anyone who wants to celebrate the Web! how much fun is that?
Location and Time
Cha Am Thai
701 Folsom St. (at 3rd)
Thursday, March 9, 2006
5:30-9:00pm -- come whenever you can
Parking at Museum Parc Garage (entrance at Folsom between 3rd and 4th Street)
To RSVP, edit this page to add your name to the list below. If you are unable to add your name, please email your RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. The restaurant has limited places available, so please RSVP as soon as possible.
$20 per person. Includes full Thai dinner and non-alcoholic drinks. Cash bar.