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Tag: creative commons

Trajectories of convergence I: user empowerment, information access, and networked participation

These are slides from a lecture I delivered in the fifth week of BCM112, building on open-process arguments conceptualized in a lecture on the logic and aesthetics of digital production. My particular focus in this lecture was on examining the main dynamics of the audience trajectory in the process of convergence. I develop the conceptual frame around Richard Sennet’s notion of dialogic media as ontologically distinct from monologic media, where the latter render a passive audience as listeners and consumers, while the former render conversational participants. I then build on this with Axel Bruns’ ideas on produsage [a better term than prosumer], and specifically his identification of thew new modalities of media in this configuration: a distributed generation of content, fluid movement of produsers between roles, digital artefacts remaining open and in a state of indeterminacy, and permissive ownership regimes enabling continuous collaboration. The key conceptual element here is that the entire chain of the process of production, aggregation, and curation of content is open to modification, and can be entered at any point.

A draft manifesto for an open Internet of Things

Open Internet of Things Assembly
London, 17 June 2012 

We, the undersigned, believe that the class of technologies currently described as the “Internet of Things” has genuine potential to deliver value, meaning, insight, and fun as well as having the potential for a totalitarian control technology that may cause massive problems for the whole of society. Its definition, however, is not self-explanatory, nor do we believe these benefits are by any means guaranteed. There are areas that need to be explored, understood and considered carefully in order to secure the potential we see. These include, but are not limited to, the following concerns:


  • Licensors may explicitly grant rights to 3rd parties (licensees) to use their data.
  • Data ownership remains with the Licensor.
  • Data feeds should have human- and machine-readable licenses attached to them.
    [“Bits should know their rights.”]
  • Open IoT data is considered analogous to other Digital Commons data.  Creative Commons provides an adequate basis for engagement, for example:
  • “Every license helps creators — we call them licensors if they use our tools — retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work — at least non-commercially.”
  • Individuals (who may not be the Licensors) must be granted license to any machine-generated data that is created, collected or otherwise generated that relates to them.
  • Individuals (who may not be the Licensors) should have the right to remain anonymous, the ability to license data on an anonymous basis, and the ability to license data at whatever available granularity or resolution (e.g. temporal or spatial) is most suited to their purposes.

Data should be released in at least one format, protocol, and API with the following characteristics:

  • free, public documentation
  • royalty-free to use, indefinitely
  • open source parsers/libraries available
  • In order to qualify for certification, the format, protocol or API in question should feature a minimum of two independent reference implementations

Data should be released:

  • without imposed delay, based on the accessibility principle above;
  • at the resolution at which it has been acquired;
  • to the data subject for as long as the provider hosts the data and for at least a pre-agreed duration of time

Data subjects should have the right to know what data is being collected about them and why.
Reasonable efforts should be made to protect confidentiality and privacy of the data subject.


Data controllers should inform data subjects that deleting all copies of data may be technically unfeasible once published.

Where data is collected from public space, data subjects and stakeholders should have a role in decision-making and governance.


Definitions are needed for ‘rights,’ ‘public data’, ‘private data, ‘licensee’, ‘licensor’, ‘data subjects’, and ‘data controllers’.

Call to action

We invite you — whether in a personal or a professional capacity, or both — to help shape the agenda for an Open Internet of Things. We encourage you to provide insights and stimulate debate in this process, and to contribute to the development of a final community statement of principles to be released on 17 Sep 2012.


Jag Goraya @jagusti
Nathan Miller @nathanNmiller
Thomas Amberg (@tamberg)
Gavin Starks (@agentGav)
Chris Adams (@mrchrisadams)
Laura James (@LaurieJ)
Ben Ward (@crouchingbadger)
Hannah Goraya (@yorkhannah)
Ilze Black (@iblack)
Adrian McEwen (@amcewen)
Martin Dittus (@dekstop)
Reuben Binns (@RDBinns)
Daniel Soltis (@ds1935)
Pepe Borrás (@PepeBorras)
Kass Schmitt (@kassschmitt)
Hakim Cassimally (@osfameron)
Paul Tanner (@paul_tanner)
Peter Bihr @peterbihr
Martin Spindler (@mjays)
Ed Borden @edborden
Erik van der Zee @erikvanderzee
Laura Till @Hebberling
Fotis Grammatikopoulos @Internetofthings
Usman Haque @uah
Stefan Ferber @stefferber
Dan Lockton @danlockton
Charalampos (Harry) Doukas @BuildingIoT
Nick O’Leary @knolleary
Hugo Vincent @hugov
Marc Pous @gy4nt
Thorsten Kampp @thorstenkampp
Marilena Skavara @marilena_sk
Konstantinos Papagiannopoulos @hellokonputer
Alexandra Deschamps-Sonsino @iotwatch
David Gilmore @gilmorenator
Ben Bashford @bashford
Trevor Harwood @postscapes
James Johnston @digitalenergy53
Adriana Wilde @AdrianaGWilde
Edward Horsford @edwardhorsford
Sami Niemelä @samin
Stefan Negru @blankdots
Bill Harpley @billharpley
Hans-Jürgen Kugler @hjkugler
Hariharan Rajasekaran @electrohari
Sandro Stark @sandrostark
Hans Scharler @scharler
Michael Pinney @mpinney
Georgina Voss @gsvoss
Mac Oosthuizen @emeasee
Jean-Paul Calbimonte @jpcik
Jamie Pither @jamiepither
George Sarmonikas @magicnode
Adam Greenfield
Cruz Monrreal II @MrCruzII
Eleftherios Kosmas @elkos
Andy Gelme @geekscape (Aiko IoT Platform)
Nicolas Nova @nicolasnova
Gareth James @mrgarethjames
Javier Montaner @tumaku_
Vincent Teuben @vincentteuben
Iskander Smit @iskandr
Jessi Baker @jessibaker
Conor O’Neill @conoro
Talyta Singer @ytasinger
Teodor Mitew @tedmitew
[add your name here] 

On intellectual monopoly

I recently discovered Michele Boldrin and David Levine‘s book Against Intellectual Monopoly*, in which they develop an arguably much more radical critique of the current ‘intellectual property rights’ regime than the one proposed by the alternative du jour – Lawrence Lessig‘s Creative Commons platform.  I find the differences illustrative of the way our understanding of property has slowly but inescapably eroded, while simultaneously we have expanded the hollowed-out shell of that term.

Lessig’s approach, and that epitomised by the CC platform, is best illustrated by this TED talk where he discusses among other things traditional property rights (as in rights to a scarce good such as land). His argument is about the way technology enacts changes in our understanding of the limits of property rights, and he illustrates it with the example of a court case revolving around military planes trespassing over someone’s property. In the larger context of his talk this particular episode serves as a sort of comic relief, as in – how absurd and inadequate the farmer for suing the air-force for trespassing, clearly he was not aware of the progressive march of technology and its effects on our understandings of property. In a nutshell, Lessig’s point is as follows – property rights evolve with technology, and our laws need to evolve accordingly; copyright and intellectual property have to be protected, but we need to keep in mind the way technology revolutionizes social norms.

Boldrin and Levine on the other hand attack the very notions of copyright and intellectual property at their very root, and their erudite argument exposes these notions for what they are –  state-granted monopoly to a non-scarce good. The book is full of historical examples from the dawn of the industrial age, and the authors attack not only the notion of copyright but also its chief support argument – that of defending creativity. They also point out that key to understanding copyright and intellectual property laws is their origin – The Statute of Queen Anne – and its thinly veiled intentions of total state control over dissent of opinion. I am reading their excellent book in tandem with Stephan Kinsella’s Against Intellectual Property, and it seems to me these books represent a growing intellectual alternative to the Creative Commons platform.

* The book is available for free download