Lately, the New York Times has been devoting effort and energy to address the concerns of internet users who come into conflict with digital property owners who wish to restrict its use. Earlier this week, in Digital Permissions Send Scholars to Their Law Books, Tom Zeller, Jr. profiled the June 18th conference, Knowledge Held Hostage? Scholarly Versus Corporate Rights in the Digital Age, which will address the constraints placed upon academics who cannot readily disseminate digital knowledge due to copyright limitations.
This is, of course, an immensely important subject as the free exchange of ideas and information is at the heart of our nation’s intellectual, cultural and commerical life. But while the conference appears aimed to address the needs and concerns of academics and researhcers, I myself am deeply concerned about how such issues constrain bloggers as well. I’ve blogged about this numerous times:
While reviewing the conference program, I discovered an organization devoted to the free flow of knowledge and information on the internet: Public Knowledge. They’re really worth a visit if this subject interests you.
The TImes is further to be commended because on the SAME PAGE with the above story, they ran the story of Tim Berners-Lee winning the Millennium Technology Prize from the Finnish Technology Award Foundation: Pioneer Who Kept the Web Free Honored With a Technology Prize. This $1.2-million prize is the world’s largest technology award. So, unlike Bill Gates, Paul Allen, Jeff Bezos and Jerry Yang, Berners-Lee becomes a millionaire not on the strength of salesmanship or monetizing knowledge, but rather on the strength of his ideas. As the Irish say, “Good on ‘ya, Tim!”