Anti-DRM artists march on the World Wide Web Consortium today

Today, activists will gather in Cambridge, Mass to march to the offices of W3C Director Tim Berners-Lee to urge him to keep DRM out of the standards for the open web. Read the rest

Kickstarting Danger! Awesome, a hackerspace in Cambridge, Mass

Amanda writes, "Danger!awesome is an open-access laser cutting, laser engraving, and 3D printing workshop in the heart of Cambridge, tucked right between MIT and Harvard. Our mission is to democratize access and training to rapid prototyping resources, long reserved for academic institutions and multi-million dollar R&D labs. We want to teach anyone and everyone how to make, customize, and invent. Read the rest

Cambridge digital library posts scan of Newton's Trinity College notebook, claims copyright over scans

Robbo sez, "The Cambridge Digital Library has posted Sir Issac Newton's notebook which he used as an undergraduate at Trinity College in the 1660's. It can be viewed, page by page, in its entirety and is a fantastic glimpse into the scribbling and doodling thought processes of the man."

Sadly, these images are licensed under CC noncommercial, which means that Cambridge is asserting a copyright over these ancient manuscripts. UK law does make some provision for asserting a copyright in photos of public domain works, though to do so certainly runs contrary to the ethic of scholarship that the Cambridge name evokes.

However, readers in the USA should know that these images are not in copyright there, and they could be downloaded and reused in any way, in keeping with the principle of a robust public domain.

Given that I live in the UK, I have not included any images from the manuscript here.

The argument for asserting copyrights in public domain works is that the public interest is best served by taking public money to acquire and maintain national cultural treasures, then selling access to them, and using the money to reduce the amount that the public pays for future operations.

I understand and reject that argument. A real public domain in national treasures allows for a much broader range of uses and reproductions than the limited, noncommercial, no-derivatives license permits, and these uses would benefit our public life.

I applaud the Cambridge Library's initiative in making its works available to the public, and in adopting CC licenses, but I wish they would adopt a programme of making Britain's ancient treasures truly free. Read the rest