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Archive for January, 2009

Evergreen 1.4

It has been nearly one month since I came back to school for my final term in the MLIS program. I have purposely front-loaded my schedule so that I can get as many assignments out of the way in the first half.

Because of this, I’ve missed a few things. Notably, the release of Evergreen 1.4 this past week caught me by surprise. But there it is! Congrats to the developers – there are some nifty new features.

Now, back to writing these two papers, preparing for a presentation, and drafting a business plan…

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Today’s Speech from the Throne didn’t contain a direct reference to “copyright reform”. However, it did state that “our government will also attend to the other important priorities that it set out in the speech from the throne to open the 40th Parliament.” That previous speech did, in fact, include DMCA-like “copyright reform” as a priority item.

Howard Knopf noticed a piece in the Hill Times today, in which Conservative lobbyist Jeff Norquay claims that:

the copyright lobby will be in full force when the House returns and he expects a draft legislation to be tabled within months. The government introduced copyright legislation in the last Parliament, but it died on the Order Paper when the election was called.

So the Canadian DMCA will be tabled before Parliament once more. Hopefully the new crop of MPs are savvy enough to drop it…yet again.

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Today’s Globe and Mail contains this story about Canadian public libraries during the economic downturn, titled “A new chapter begins for libraries as economy sinks”

“Crowds flock in, not for musty books, but for free CDs, DVDs, Internet access — and help finding a job”

“At the Toronto Public Library, the biggest in the country with 99 branches, visits were up 8 per cent in the second half of 2008 as the recession bore down. Use of materials increased 12 per cent over the same period, while computer usage jumped 13 per cent.”

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Tomorrow, a new Parliamentary session will open for Canada’s 40th government. The Speech from the Throne that will kick things off will be mostly about the state of the economy and what the government plans to do about it.

Among the billions of dollars of promised spending, I’ll be looking to see if this Speech from the Throne will repeat the previous promise to introduce DMCA-like legislation in Canada.

Hopefully the Harper government has got the message and will drop its planned changes to the Copyright Act. For one thing, the changing of the guard in Washington last week will likely lessen the foreign pressure to adopt such legislation.

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I just checked the Program page for the Access 2008 conference and it now includes audio files of each of the talks.

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Michael Geist has posted a comparison between the fine print on the new whitehouse.gov website, the content of which is either in the public domain or under a Creative Commons license, and the Canadian Prime Minister’s web site.

For the White House’s new copyright policy:

Pursuant to federal law, government-produced materials appearing on this site are not copyright protected. The United States Government may receive and hold copyrights transferred to it by assignment, bequest, or otherwise.

Except where otherwise noted, third-party content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to Whitehouse.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

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Layoffs at OLPC

Nicholas Negroponte has posted a grim message on the OLPC Wiki:

Like many other nonprofits that are facing tough economic times, One Laptop per Child must downsize in order to keep costs in line with fewer financial resources. Today we are reducing our team by approximately 50% and there will be salary reductions for the remaining 32 people. While we are saddened by this development, we remain firmly committed to our mission of getting laptops to children in developing countries. We thank team members who are departing for their contributions to this important mission.

Other changes to the project are also planned, including a stronger focus on the Middle-East, Afghanistan, and Northwestern Pakistan, shifting all development of the Sugar OS to the community, and a goal of $0 per laptop for the least developed countries.

Sounds like the beginning of the end for OLPC.

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