Posted on February 21, 2008 in A2K, A2K3, Rubbish, Seattle, WIPO by Brian RoweComments Off

The Information Society Project (ISP) at Yale Law School will host the third Access to Knowledge Conference (A2K3) September 8-10, 2008, in Geneva, Switzerland. It will be held at the Geneva International Conference Centre and will bring together hundreds of decision-makers and experts on global knowledge to discuss the urgent need for policy reforms.

“Opening up access to knowledge is a demand of global justice; it is both a human rights issue and a crucial factor in spurring economic development and technological innovation,” said Yale Law School Professor Jack Balkin, founder and director of the ISP.

The ISP is collaborating on the conference with an international team of partners representing academia, civil society, industry, and government.

“The A2K community has grown exponentially in the last three years, and it is time to move this perspective to the mainstream of international policy-making,” said Lea Shaver, ISP’s Access to Knowledge Program Director. “The A2K3 will address crucial topics related to global knowledge policy, including innovation systems, digital education, Internet governance, climate change, public health, and human rights.”

Read more at:

Official Press Release From Yale on A2K3

Posted on November 20, 2007 in DRM, Kindle, Rubbish by Brian RoweComments Off

Kindle, Amazon’s new portable digital book reader, is a case study in how not to make an ebook reader.

Here are the problems:
1. Kindle has DRM backed up by abusive contract terms – “You may not sell, rent, lease, distribute, broadcast, sublicense or otherwise assign any rights to the Digital Content or any portion of it to any third party, and you may not remove any proprietary notices or labels on the Digital Content. In addition, you may not, and you will not encourage, assist or authorize any other person to, bypass, modify, defeat or circumvent security features that protect the Digital Content.”

2. Kindle violates your privacy – “The Device Software will provide Amazon with data about your Device and its interaction with the Service (such as available memory, up-time, log files and signal strength) and information related to the content on your Device and your use of it (such as automatic bookmarking of the last page read and content deletions from the Device). Annotations, bookmarks, notes, highlights, or similar markings you make in your Device are backed up through the Service.”

3. If you use Kindle in a way Amazon does not allow, like circumventing DRM to exercise Fair Use rights, you will lose your books and the software to read them – “Your rights under this Agreement will automatically terminate without notice from Amazon if you fail to comply with any term of this Agreement. In case of such termination, you must cease all use of the Software and Amazon may immediately revoke your access to the Service or to Digital Content without notice to you and without refund of any fees.”

4. Kindle charges you to access free content. – Blog subscriptions cost $2 a month. However, you can browse directly to the blog using the “Basic Web” browser?. So they are charging $2 to use RSS.

5. Kindle does not support 99% of major formats – NO PDF, NO DOC, NO RTF, NO JPEG, Although it will convert some of these for $. 10 each through a slow email process.

I am not sure I could design a book reader this bad if I tried. The best suggestion I have read for people who are thinking about buying a Kindle is from Kevin Marks:

“If you have $400 to spend on a small gadget to read outdoors on, buy yourself an OLPC and give one away to a child elsewhere too .”