Tag Archives: Cory Doctorow

Gold OA with CC licence, Green OA without and a lesson from the dispute between Amazon and Hachette

Further are some data along with my speculations, which may be or may be not accurate, due to my limited understanding.

Hey, everybody has a limited understanding, here is mine!

TL;DR> The crux of the matter is in this part of  any recent CC 4.0 licence: in Section 2/Scope/a. Licence grant/5.

  • “5. Downstream recipients.
    1. Offer from the Licensor – Licensed Material. Every recipient of the Licensed Material automatically receives an offer from the Licensor to exercise the Licensed Rights under the terms and conditions of this Public License.
    2. No downstream restrictions. You may not offer or impose any additional or different terms or conditions on, or apply any Effective Technological Measures to, the Licensed Material if doing so restricts exercise of the Licensed Rights by any recipient of the Licensed Material.”


The new trend in academic publishing is:

  • offer a CC licence for Gold OA (i.e. after the publisher has money in the pocket from the author)
  • or  offer a non-CC licence for Green OA, which does not give the protection of the boldfaced text from the CC licences.

It matters very much because that is what happens in the dispute between Amazon and Hachette, namely Hachette has the copyright of books but Amazon puts downstream restrictions!

Conclusion: never forget about Doctorow’s first law and always ask for a CC licence from any publisher!

Doctorow’s first law:

“Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you, and won’t give you the key, you can be sure that the lock isn’t there for your benefit.”

This is from the very clear explanation about the Amazon and Hachette dispute by Cory Doctorow in Locus.


Evidence now.

I made this post on G+, asking for info. I collect here the stuff:

  • In the Open letter to the AAAS about Science Advances, (new OA journal): “The default choice of a non-commercial licence (CC BY-NC) places unnecessary restrictions on reuse and does not meet the standards set out by the Budapest Open Access Initiative. Many large funders, including Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust, do not recognise this as an open license. The adoption of CC BY-NC as the default license means that many researchers will be unable to submit to Science Advances if they are to conform to their funder mandates unless they pay for the upgrade to CC BY. “
  • The Royal Society launches a new journal “Royal Society Open Science”. On the site of the new journal, in the section about licence to publish: they offer a licence different than CC, where they write: “4. If You decide to make the Definitive Published Version of the Article open access, this will be under a Creative Commons BY licence* [i.e. CC-BY-4.0],  You shall pay to Us the relevant fee and We shall make the Article so available from the later of the date of receipt of the relevant fee or the date of first publication of the Article.” They put  downstream restrictions for those who don’t pay them in part 6.
  • the STM new model licences, read by yourself (thanks Richard Poynder for mentioning these).

Other things:

  • the new journals of Cambridge University Press Forum of Mathematics Pi and Sigma offer only Gold OA with CC-BY-3.0, so there is no term of comparison with Green OA. (Have found this by downloading an article, nothing clear which is easy to find on their pages)
  • the new AMS journals are Gold OA, the subscription journals are Green OA.
  • the (greatest of all sites for a math or physics researcher) arXiv offers the choice between a CC-BY licence or a generic one. This is fair, because the choice is completely free left to the author.


UPDATE 16.09.2014: See the post AAAS vies for the title the  “Darth Vadar of publishing” by  longpd. “They  claim to support open access.  They redefine it to be a pay for publishing charge (APC)  of $3,000 USD and that restricts the subsequent use of the information in the article preventing commercial reuses such as publication on some educational blogs, incorporation into educational material, as well the use of this information by small to medium enterprises. If you really meant open access, the way the rest of world defines it, you’ll have to pay a surcharge of an additional $1,000.  But it gets worse.”



Morlocks and eloi in the Internet of Things

For any fan of Neal Stephenson and Cory Doctorow,  the contents of the following opinion piece on goals and applications of the Internet of Things (IoT) should be no great surprise.

I am using the post Technical Machine – Designing for Humans as a study case.

[ Technical Machine is the company which builds  the Tessel. This is a product with a great potential! I wish I could use tessels for   the purpose explained in the post Experimental alife IoT with Tessel .  ]

This nice post is interesting in itself, but it is also an example of the shifting of the ideology concerning the Internet of Things.

I extract two contradictory quotes from the post and then I discuss them (and explain why they seem to me contradictory).

(1) ” A completely interactive tool, one that seamlessly incorporates humans as a piece of the system, is a tool that people don’t even think about. That’s the end goal: Ubiquitous Computing as Mark Weiser imagined it. Every object is an embedded device, and as the user, you don’t even notice the calm flow of optimization.
The Nest thermostat is a good example of this sort of calm technology. The device sits on your wall, and you don’t spend much time interacting with it after the initial setup. It learns your habits: when you’re home, when you’re not, what temperatures you want your house to be at various points in the day. So you, as the user, don’t think about it. You just live in a world that’s better attuned to you.”


(2) “I think that one of the most interesting things we’ll see in the near future is the creation of non-screen interfaces. Interacting with technology, we rely almost solely on screens and buttons. But in the physical world, we use so many other interfaces. […] there’s a lot of fascinating work going on to receive outputs from humans. […] The implications there are amazing: you can wire up your own body as an electrical input into any electrical system– like a computer, or a robot, or whatever else you might build. You can control physical and digital things just by thinking really hard or by twitching your fingers.”


Now the discussion. Why are (1) and (2) contradictory?

I shall explain this by using the morlocks/eloi evocative oversimplification.

From historical reasons maybe the morlocks (technical nerds) are trained/encouraged/selected to hate discussions, human exchanges and interactions in general. Their dream technology is one like in (1), i.e. one which does not talk with the humans, but quietly optimize (from the morlock pov) the eloi environment.

On the contrary, the eloi love to talk, love to interact one with the others. In fact the social Net is a major misuse of morlock technology by eloi. Instead of a tool for fast and massive share of data, as the morlocks designed it, the Net became a very important (most important?) fabric of human interactions, exchanging lolcats images and sweet little nonsenses which make the basis of everyday empathic interaction with our fellow humans. And much more: the eloi prefer to use this (dangerous) tool for communicating, even if they know that the morlocks are sucking big data from them. They (the eloi) would prefer by far to not be in bayesian bubbles, but that’s life, they are using opportunistically things they don’t understand how they work, despite being told to be more careful.

The quote (2) show that people start to think about the IoT as an even more powerful tool of communication. OK, we have this nice technology which baby-sits us and we live calm lives because quietly the machine optimizes the little details without asking us. But, think that we can use the bit IoT machine for more than conversations. We can use it as the bridge which unites the virtual and the meat spaces, we can make real things  from discussions and we can discuss about real objects.

This is a much more impressive application of the IoT than the one which optimizes our daily life. It is something which would allow to make our dreams come true, literary! And collaboratively.

I have argued before about that, noticing that “thing” means both an assembly and a discussion (idea taken via Kenneth Olwig) and object is nothing but the result,  or outcome of a discussion, or evidence for a discussion. See the more at the post Notes for Internet of Things not Internet of objects.

It’s called “Internet of Things” and not “Internet of Objects” and it seems that morlocks start to realize this.