draw-something

The version of draw-something running on this server now has web pages for each drawing and an rss feed of the most recent drawings.

Click here to see.

Drawings are currently created once a day, I may increase that in future.

Being Fair And Balanced About the NPG

ORG have commented –

http://www.openrightsgroup.org/2009/07/national-portrait-gallery-vs-wikipedia/

Here’s a freedom of information request answer regarding the NPG’s online licencing, the revenue stream most directly threatened by Wikipedia –

http://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/income _from_online_rights

The always excellent NewsGrist (required reading for art & free culture) is covering the story, and Joy Garnett makes an interesting comment below her post here –

http://newsgrist.typepad.com/underbelly/2009/07/viahttpcommonswikimediaorgwikifileelizabethiincoronation_robesjpgvia-the-independentdrawing-up-battle-lines.html

And in the interest of balance, here’s a circular and question-begging apology for enclosure of the public domain and corporatisation of public institutions from the NPG –

“The Gallery is very concerned that potential loss of
licensing income from the high-resolution files threatens threatens its
ability to reinvest in its digitisation programme and so make further
images available.


“It is one of the Gallery’s primary purposes to make as much of the Collection available as possible for the public to view.”

http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?National_Portrait_Gallery_sues_Wikipedia&in_article_id=702647&in_page_id=34

Mono’s Full Spectrum Fail

Great post that explains why Mono is bad for free software in Microsoft’s own words –

http://mono-nono.com/2009/07/22/does-mono-hurt-microsoft/

And –

Consider this: Say that Microsoft released .NET for Linux in the
same manner they did for Windows. Do you think that it would enjoy the
same adoption, enthusiasm and support that Mono enjoys?

If you answer is not “Yes. Absolutely”, then you are acknowledging that ideals and ethics do matter. Quit pretending like people that have them are some sort of embarrassment holding Linux (sic) back.

Via –

http://identi.ca/notice/6886355

The fact that Mono is being to split into two patent threats rather than one, and that the project wants to take over the free desktop, are facts that it takes a certain degree of wilful ignorance to regard as being more harmful to point out than to accept.

More NPG

Francis Davey offers another detailed legal overview, more cautious about WMF’s prospects but with good advice for how they might tackle the case  –

http://www.francisdavey.co.uk/2009/07/national-portrait-gallery-photographs.html

Cory at Boing Boing gives a historical and philosophical view –

http://www.boingboing.net/2009/07/20/uk-national-portrait.html

If it costs more to promote British culture, British culture will lose out to the competition. There’s a reason why British literature and European folk tales were so popular in American popular culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries; neither was covered by copyright when they were appropriated.

NPG Round-Up

People are blogging legal analyses of the NPG situation and they broadly agree with my understanding that the law in England is a mess that can be clarified by Bridgeman vs. Corel. 😉

Technollama –

http://www.technollama.co.uk/national-portrait-gallery-copyright-row

Lawclanger –

http://lawclanger.blogspot.com/2009/07/its-not-often-that-copyright-cases-get.html

Art Law Blog –

http://theartlawblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/bridgeman-two.html

It’s important to note that the database right claim and the unauthorised access claim are apparently as flimsy as the copyright claim, and that Bridgeman vs. Corel is relevant.

And here’s an anecdotal but damning opinion on the NPG’s behaviour as a licensor from someone who claims to be in the publishing industry –

http://blog.wikimedia.org/2009/07/16/protecting-the-public-domain-and-sharing-our-cultural-heritage/#comment-1416

(Thanks to Glyn Moody and David Gerard for many of the links.)

Mono And Patents

Mono is a bad idea even without patents. If you want a restrictive statically-typed bytecoded language from a corporation that’s a sworn enemy of Free Software, at least Oracle’s Java is under the GPL.

The FSF explain why even Microsoft’s latest charm offensive doesn’t make Mono any less dangerous –

http://www.fsf.org/news/2009-07-mscp-mono/

And Microsoft have kindly provided a timely reminder –

http://www.informationweek.com/news/software/linux/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=218500894

Splitting Mono into two projects won’t help. Microsoft’s community promise (sic) covers only perfect implementations of current specifications of the core of what Mono implements. Implement that incorrectly, or implement anything else correctly, and you’re not covered. Splitting Mono just creates two patent threats rather than one. Don’t use Mono.

National Portrait Gallery Fail

Wikimedia Foundation’s statement, correcting a few details that The Guardian and The Register have got wrong –

http://blog.wikimedia.org/2009/07/16/protecting-the-public-domain-and-sharing-our-cultural-heritage/

Dave Gerard’s comments, useful for economic context –

http://davidgerard.co.uk/notes/2009/07/16/wikimedia-writes-on-the-npg-legal-threat/

The BBC, quoting Gerard –

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8156268.stm

To re-iterate a point I’ve made in the comments on this blog, the NPG is wrong both ethically and economically. They are a state-funded institution that exists to enable the public to access portraits of notable individuals, and that mission would be better served by collaborating with free culture institutions than by trying to *prevent* the public accessing portraits of notable individuals in order to monetize bogus rights.

That the NPG have spent a million pounds that they will have to make back by employing a bureaucracy whose expense is barely covered by the licencing fees that “investment” generates is not an argument against the fact that they are wrong to be claiming to enclose the public domain.

If I have put a lock on your house and I’m demanding money before I let you in, the amount of effort I’ve spent on fitting the lock isn’t the most salient point in the discussion…

[UPDATE] – http://theartlawblog.blogspot.com/2009/07/bridgeman-two.html

British commentators shouldn’t be dismissive of Bridgeman vs. Corel, which was decided with explicit reference to English law.

[UPDATE 2, 20.25/2009-7-19] –  http://davidgerard.co.uk/notes/2009/07/17/npg-talks-are-in-progress-what-would-you-like-to-see-from-them

I’d like to see the NPG admit they cannot hold copyright on the images, and WMF not help the NPG in any rightswashing. WMF can reduce the costs of producing and distributing images and metadata for the NPG and help increase the value of access to the NPG itself. It’s in both institutions interests to do so.

Wikipedia Against Gallery Copyright Overreach

http://davidgerard.co.uk/notes/2009/07/11/sue-and-be-damned/

For several years, the National Portrait Gallery has claimed
copyright over public domain images in their possession. Wikimedia has
ignored these claims, occasionally laughing. (Bridgeman v. Corel. Sweat of the brow is not creation in US law; go away.) Our official stance in this time has been “sue and be damned.”

So the National Portrait Gallery has tried. Here’s their letter.
A lollipop for every misconception or unlikely or impossible demand.
This was sent after (so they claim) the WMF ignored their latest
missive. The editor they sent the threat to is … an American.

A UK organisation is threatening an American with legal action over
uploading images that are public domain in the US to an American server
— unambiguously, in established US law, not a copyright violation of
any sort. I wonder how the case will go.

The standard of originality in the UK needs raising, but the extent of copyright that English galleries and other institutions claim over public domain works exceeds even that. It is harmful to academia and art, and it is morally wrong. We have long needed a Bridgeman vs. Corel in the UK, and hopefully this could be it. The Wikimedia Foundation is popular, organized, and solvent enough to be able to tackle the state and private interests that claim to sit between the public and the public domain.

The Wikimedia Foundation shouldn’t be fobbed off with an offer of a grant or licence of rights, as there should be no rights to grant or licence. If the Foundation fail and this enclosure of the public domain is formalized in English law it will still have been worth trying, and converting overreach into a legal principle at least opens it to reform.

Good luck to the WMF, and a hint to the NPG – you are a national, state institution that exists to serve the public. You are not serving it by claiming to enclose the public domain.