UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

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Stifling Innovation and Getting in the Way of Users

Posted by Brian Kelly on 6 Aug 2010

Is Flipboard Legal? >> interesting how copyright often seems to be in the way of consumers when it comes to progresstweeted Jonathan Grimes recently. This comment on how copyright can stifle innovation and hinder benefits to users reminded me of an (unsolicited) email I received recently from the Marketing Manager of the Copyright Licensing Agency.

The email was advertising an event on ‘Intellectual Property Will Save the British Economy’. However the email footer informed me that “The contents of this email and any attachments are confidential to the intended recipient“. So it would seem that I am not allowed to mention the event!

Whilst I clearly appreciate the need for copyright I also understand how the Internet is challenging traditional views on copyright. There is therefore a need for copyright to change, just as the Internet has changed many other aspects of our life.  One would hope that organisations which are actively involved in copyright issues would be leading developments, perhaps by providing a Creative Commons licence for marketing materials. Sadly this doesn’t seem to be the case.

Meanwhile, as I discovered from a post entitled Is copyright a help or a hidrance to UK research? on the UoL Library blog the British Library has published a report entitled “Driving UK Research: Is copyright a help or a hinderance” (PDF Format).

As described in the press releaseThis report has been published under a Creative Commons licence, enabling others to copy, distribute, and make derivative non-commercial works. All future uses of the material contained within this report must but appropriately attributed and shared under the same licence agreement as the original publication.”  It’s good to see that the British Library understand the advantages to be gained from licencing copyrighted materials under a Creative Commons licence.

3 Responses to “Stifling Innovation and Getting in the Way of Users”

  1. Brian

    If Flipboard is aggregating websites that members of a users’ social network have chosen to share then surely it’s the same as an RSS feed or even a shared link. The only difference is that the Flipboard user can see extracts of all the pages that friends have shared at a glance rather than having to visit them one by one. Presumably access to protected sites would only be possible if the user would have access anyway and if Flipboard could negotiate the same authentication and authorization protocols that the user could. Thus it’s unlikely that Flipboard could take you anywhere your browser couldn’t.

    I really can’t see why this is anyway significantly different than a conventional RSS feed reader, Twitter feed or Facebook news feed. Indeed, Fliboard doesn’t do anything much different to what (discovered yesterdday) does for Twitter and Feedly does for Google reader. As you say, copyright is a tricky issue in the internet age, but surely Fliboard is presenting the materials to the user in the same way that a browser would, so the same copyright that allows the page to be viewed in s standalone would still apply. Or is the concern really with the chance that marketing material and advertisements would not be seen by the vistor who’s visit is being mediated by a third party?

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