Sounds familiar… the end of privacy as norm

Mark Zuckerberg the the 25 year old founder and chief executive of Facebook says that privacy is no longer a social norm (eweekeurope):

…that people no longer have an expectation of privacy thanks to increasing uptake of social networking. Speaking at the Crunchie Awards in San Francisco this weekend, the 25 year-old web entrepreneur said: “People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people.”

“A lot of companies would be trapped by the conventions and their legacies of what they’ve built,” he said. “Doing a privacy change for 350 million users is not the kind of thing that a lot of companies would do.

“But we viewed that as a really important thing, to always keep a beginner’s mind and what would we do if we were starting the company now and we decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.”

I would be a lot more impressed if someone who was a tad older than 25 and didnt have such a large stake in the commodification and commercialization of information decided what was a social norm. But the whole thing is also very familiar of the old quote (1999!!!) from Scott McNealy the CEO of Sun Microsystems (Wired)

You have zero privacy anyway… Get over it.

Seriously cool litterature

Law and Magic: A Collection of Essays

The nearly two dozen studies in this collection explore the very rich ways in which the rule of law and the practice of magic enrich and inform each other. The authors bring both a U.S. and a comparative law perspective while examining areas such as law and religion, criminal law, intellectual property law, the law of evidence, and animal rights. Topics include alchemy in fifteenth-century England, a discussion of how a courtroom is like a magic show, stage hypnotism and the law, Scottish

Law and Magic book jacket

witchcraft trials in the eighteenth century, the question of whether stage magicians can look to intellectual property to protect their rights, tarot card readings and the First Amendment, and an analysis of whether a magician can be qualified as an expert witness under the Federal Rules of Evidence.

Read more about Law and Magic here. Also, why not check out the Law and Magic blog.

CFP Internet Research 11.0 – Sustainability, Participation, Action

The 11th Annual International and Interdisciplinary Conference of the Association of Internet Researchers (AoIR) October 21-23, 2010 University of Gothenburg/Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden

The challenge of this conference is to find multiple avenues for participation and action towards a sustainable future. In a society increasingly aware of social and ecological imbalance, many people now see information and communication technologies as key technologies for solving problems associated with an unsustainable future. However, while information technology may solve some problems, it can magnify others. As pointed out by world forums such as the United Nations and the European Commission, use of ICTs contributes to the unsustainable consumption of energy and resources. Similarly, unequal access and exploitative practices remind us that IT is not a utopian answer to complex social problems. A sustainable future is not only about greening processes and products at any cost, but also entails social responsibility, cultural protection and economic growth. Therefore the conference has a multi-dimensional focus, where the Internet is seen as a possible liberating, empowering and greening tool.

The conference will focus on how the Internet can function as a conduit for the development of greater global equality and understanding, a training ground for participation in debates and cross-cultural projects and a tool for mutual action; in short a technology of empowerment. The flip-side of the internet as a tool for empowerment is the issue of exploitation. Exploitation of resources and people is what has led to the current crisis, and issues of exploitation are highly relevant online, from abuse of the commons to censorship, fraud and loss of privacy and the protection of the rights of the individual.

Sustainability, Participation, Action invites scholars to consider issues concerning empowerment and/or exploitation in relation to the Internet. We ask scholars to specifically consider issues concerning integrity, knowledge production, and ethics in relation to the Internet and sustainable development. How do we, as Internet researchers, regard our work in relation to the unsustainable current situation and the possibilities of a sustainable future? How far can we take the Internet, and with it, people, individuals, groups and societies in order to create an arena for participation and action, all key elements in imagining a sustainable future? How can we apply previous knowledge to serve future solutions?

To this end, we call for papers, panel proposals, and presentations from any discipline, methodology, and community, and from conjunctions of multiple disciplines, methodologies and academic communities that address the conference themes, including papers that intersect and/or interconnect the following:

* Internet and an equal and balanced society
* Internet as an arena for participation
* Internet as a tool and arena for action
* Internet and an informed knowledge society
* Internet and a green society
* Internet and e?commerce, dematerialization and transportation
* Internet and security, integrity and surveillance
* Internet and a healthy society
* Internet as an arena for cultural expressions, and source of a culture of its own.

Sessions at the conference will be established that specifically address the conference themes, and we welcome innovative, exciting, and unexpected takes on those themes. We also welcome submissions on topics that address social, cultural, political, legal, aesthetic, economic, and/or philosophical aspects of the Internet beyond the conference themes. In all cases, we welcome disciplinary and interdisciplinary submissions as well as international collaborations from both AoIR and non?AoIR members.

We seek proposals for several different kinds of contributions. We welcome proposals for traditional academic conference PAPERS and we also welcome proposals for ROUNDTABLE SESSIONS that will focus on discussion and interaction among conference delegates, as well as organized PANEL PROPOSALS that present a coherent group of papers on a single theme.

Call for Papers Released: 24 November 2009
Submissions Due: 21 February 2010 (Details here)
Notification: 21 April 2010
Full papers due: 21 August 2010

All papers and presentations in this session will be evaluated in a standard blind peer review.

PAPERS (individual or multi-author) – submit abstract of 600-800 words
FULL PAPERS (OPTIONAL): For submitters requiring peer review of full papers, manuscripts of up to 8,000 words will be accepted for review. These will be reviewed and judged separately from abstract submissions
PANEL PROPOSALS – submit a 600-800 word description of the panel theme, plus 250-500 word abstract for each paper or presentation
ROUNDTABLE PROPOSALS – submit a statement indicating the nature of the roundtable discussion and interaction
Papers, presentations and panels will be selected from the submitted proposals on the basis of multiple blind peer review, coordinated and overseen by the Program Chair. Each individual is invited to submit a proposal for 1 paper or 1 presentation. A person may also propose a panel session, which may include a second paper that they are presenting. An individual may also submit a roundtable proposal. You may be listed as co-author on additional papers as long as you are not presenting them.

Selected papers from the conference will be published in a special issue of the journal Information, Communication & Society, edited by Caroline Haythornthwaite and Lori Kendall. Authors selected for consideration for submission to this issue will be contacted prior to the conference.

All papers submitted to the conference system will be available to AoIR members after the conference.

On October 20, 2010, there will be a limited number of pre-conference workshops which will provide participants with in-depth, hands-on and/or creative opportunities. We invite proposals for these pre-conference workshops. Local presenters are encouraged to propose workshops that will invite visiting researchers into their labs or studios or locales. Proposals should be no more than 1000 words, and should clearly outline the purpose, methodology, structure, costs, equipment and minimal attendance required, as well as explaining relevance to the conference as a whole. Proposals will be accepted if they demonstrate that the workshop will add significantly to the overall program in terms of thematic depth, hands on experience, or local opportunities for scholarly or artistic connections. These proposals and all inquiries regarding pre-conference proposals should be submitted as soon as possible to both the Conference Chair and Program Chair and no later than March 31, 2010.

In order to increase the diversity of participation in the AoIR annual Internet Research (IR) conferences, the Association of Internet Researchers will make available up to three conference fee waivers per year. The number of fee waivers will depend first of all upon the ability of the conference budget to sustain such waivers (a judgment to be made by the AoIR Executive Committee upon the advice of the AoIR Treasurer and the local organizing committee) as well as upon the quality of the applications for fee waivers.

Applications for fee waivers are invited from student or faculty authors whose paper or panel proposals have already been accepted via the AoIR IR conference reviewing process. All applications should be directed to the Vice-President of AoIR, and must be received by June 30 of the conference year. Late applications cannot be considered. More information and submission guidelines will be published in a separate announcement.

Program Chair: Torill Elvira Mortensen, Volda University College, Norway.
Conference Co-Chairs and Coordinators: Ann-Sofie Axelsson, Chalmers University of Technology and Ylva Hård af Segerstad, University of Gothenburg, Sweden.

Important Dates

Submissions Due 21 February 2010

Notifications of Acceptance 21 Apr 2010

Abstract Revisions Due7 May 2010

Full Papers Due 21 August 2010

Pre-Conference Workshops 20 Oct 2010

Main Conference 21-23 Oct 2010

Congratulations & Welcome

Missed this in the rush of things… Two new jurisdictions join the Creative Commons family!

Costa Rica

The CC project in Costa Rica is officially underway. Leading the public initiative are Rolando Coto-Solano, from the Office of the Vice Dean of Research at the University of Costa Rica, and Carlos E. Saborío Romero, a representative of over ten creative communities and artists. The license porting will be conducted by our long-time friend and colleague of Costa Rican descent, Andres Guadamuz, of the University of Edinburgh. Andres continues to lead CC efforts in Scotland, and we’re thrilled his expertise will be turned to the Costa Rican project as well. Legal support will also be provided by Denis Campos, a representative from the Legal Department of the Office of the Vice Dean of Research. The project is hosted by the University of Costa Rica.

To see some of the promising local initiatives, visit, the website of the recent seminar on Free Culture and creativity, held in San Jose. Photos:


Today kicks off the Reykjavik Digital Freedoms Conference <>, which features an MOU signing with Creative Commons, the Icelandic Society for Digital Freedoms (Icelandic abbreviation: FSFÍ), and Reykjavík University. CC Iceland was initiated by Project Lead Tryggvi Björgvinsson and is supported by Legal Lead Harald Gunnar Halldórsson. The project has already won the heart of the Ministry of Education, whose lawyer Jón Vilberg Guðjónsson will liaison with the Icelandic team throughout the porting process. This afternoon the group will meet with the Prime Minister of Iceland joined by CC Board Member Eric Saltzman, a keynote speaker at the Digital Freedoms conference.

For your viewing pleasure, check out the event’s CC video collage. “Horses like free software!”

Enforcing Copyright to ensure heterosexuality

It’s always amusing (and a bit worrying) to read the reactions to claims that fictional characters may be gay. In the beginning of last year articles like Of course Tintin’s gay. Ask Snowy caused an uproar.

And now the pressure is on Sherlock Holmes. He has always been a bit suspicious. His relationship to Dr Watson a bit too much. Even if he does fall in love with a client in an episode of the tv series he never marries, never has a girlfriend. Watson is more of a ladies man, but never really leaves the relationship with Holmes. In the latest movie with Robert Downey Jr as the detective and Jude Law as Dr Watson the characters wrestle and share a bed.

In an interview on Downey Jr wondered whether Holmes was “a butch homosexual”. This has apparently annoyed Andrea Plunket the copyright holder who threatens to withdraw permission for a sequel if Holmes and Watson become gayer.

“I hope this is just an example of Mr. Downey’s black sense of humour. It would be drastic, but I would withdraw permission for more films to be made if they feel that is a theme they wish to bring out in the future. “I am not hostile to homosexuals, but I am to anyone who is not true to the spirit of the books.” (Times Live)

Using Copyright to ensure heterosexuality is an interesting application. I doubt whether this was the reason for the law. For us copyright nerds Arthur Conan Doyle died 7 July 1930 – in other words almost 80 years ago. But then on explains their licensing grounds and also has an interesting heredity of the Conan Doyle Estate.

In the EC, the entire work of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle enjoys copyright protection until 31 December 2000. After that date, a number of characters created by the author will enjoy trademark protection.

In the US, the Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act of 1997 (105th Congress, 1st Session H.R. 604 ) has extended the renewal term of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s works among others for an additional 20 years. This means that all works published after December 31, 1922 are protected for 95 years following the date of publication.

So no outing of Sherlock is allowed without Andrea Plunket’s permission. As for her argument about “not true to the spirit of the books” – the new film shows Sherlock doing many things that are not in the books so even this seems to be an arbitrary choice.


Claims by Andrea Plunket, the ex-wife of the late Sheldon Reynolds, who produced a Sherlock Holmes TV series in the 1950s, that she controls the Holmes copyrights and can withhold her approval of a sequel if she regards the content to be unacceptable were denounced Tuesday by Chicago attorney Jon Lellenberg, the administrator of the Estate of Dame Jean Conan Doyle. In an email statement, Lellenberg said that the estate signed three contracts with Warner Bros.: one for character rights in the Sherlock Holmes movie, another for merchandising rights, and  the third for a related Tom & Jerry cartoon. He noted that the estate has won numerous federal court cases filed by Plunket and is currently trying to collect on several judgments against her for attorneys fees and costs in those cases. Asked whether it is possible that Plunket also signed a contract with Warner Bros., Lellenberg replied that if the studio “paid her something re nuisance value … we will go after it to discharge the judgments against her.” Attempts to reach a spokesman for Warner Bros. to comment on the matter were unsuccessful.

Fifty years after Camus

Albert Camus died fifty years ago today. His first impact into my life was with The Myth of Sisyphus which took the myth as a metaphor for life and demanded that the prime question which must be answered first is “…whether life is or is not worth living.” The answer? Life is a pointless Sisyphusian task but still suicide is not the answer: “The struggle itself…is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

Each of his works open up more and more depth. Even now when I have lost the desire for the existentialist darkness Camus still gets to the point of it all. Quickly and ruthlessly. The Stranger (together with the Myth) taught us that there are always options and Caligula shows that madness is necessary for people to realize system failures. His notebooks are filled to the brim with ideas, short cryptic notes and twitterlike entries among depth and concrete tips.

To write is to surrender. The art requires giving up some things. Write on. An effort that always bears fruit, of one kind or another. A question of laziness of those who fail. (Tranlated from my Swedish translation of his Cahiers 1935-1942)

In closing a quote from Albert Camus’ speech at the Nobel Banquet at the City Hall in Stockholm, December 10, 1957

Each generation doubtless feels called upon to reform the world. Mine knows that it will not reform it, but its task is perhaps even greater. It consists in preventing the world from destroying itself. Heir to a corrupt history, in which are mingled fallen revolutions, technology gone mad, dead gods, and worn-out ideologies, where mediocre powers can destroy all yet no longer know how to convince, where intelligence has debased itself to become the servant of hatred and oppression, this generation starting from its own negations has had to re-establish, both within and without, a little of that which constitutes the dignity of life and death.