Four short links: 1 April 2010

Copyright Economics, RDF, Linked Data Faith, and Douglas Adams

  1. Extending Copyright Duration in Australia (PDF) — economics of copyright extension. This proposal in the “let’s dream” section at the end caught my eye: The potential trade-off between production and distribution of intellectual property can be addressed in a number of ways. Australia could offer a system of graduated copyright protection with differing durations and differing fees. If an individual truly believed that their intellectual property would be valuable seventy years after their deaths, they should pay for that privilege. This is a Coasian solution to the copyright monopoly problem — with property rights being allocated to the public domain. In essence, creators are renting a portion of the public domain. It need not constitute a barrier to invention and creative activity because, in any event, there are few copyright materials that are valuable after such a long period of time and further, if the individual’s beliefs are correct they could either raise the necessary funds by means of a loan or by selling the idea on the secondary market. If, however, they thought their intellectual property were only valuable for ten years then they would pay far less, and so on. (via wiselark on Twitter)
  2. Heart Proposal (Apache) — a planet-scale RDF data store and a distributed processing engine based on Hadoop & Hbase. (via Hacker News)
  3. Collections Trust: 10 Principles for Linked Data — they read to me more as articles of faith than as proven statements of fact. 4. Linked Data can help us achieve more efficient practice. 5. Linked Data can help us deliver on our commitment to Public Access. 6. Linked Data is the next phase in our adaptation to the Web. 7. Linked Data should become an embedded function of the software we use (via PeoplePoints)
  4. Parrots, The Universe, and Everything — 1981 University of California talk by Douglas Adams. (via BoingBoing)
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  • Stefano Bertolo is another web-scale platform for RDF reasoning. One of its sub-projects, WebPIE, is a MapReduce-based inference engine that performs OWL Horst inference on datasets up to 100billion triples.

  • J Bartlett

    The “Parrots, the universe and everything” talk was a TED talk Douglas Adams gave in May 2001, incidentally, tragically, the same month he passed away.

    Probably a talk that summed Adams best: funny, introspective, and poignant.

    Well worth watching the whole 88 minutes.

    If I may, he will be missed.


  • Nick Poole

    Hi Nat,

    Thanks for this – I was on the team that put together the 10 Principles for Linked Data. In one sense, I’d agree with you that they are obviously ‘aspirational’ – on the other hand, we have seen very little progress with all things Linked Data, due in part to the way that the discussion has tended to resolve into internecine discussions of technology. The Principles are a deliberate attempt to sidestep the ‘my semantic tech is better than your’ and construct a politically and economically-compelling argument for pursuing Linked Data. You’ll have noticed that we’re also playing fairly fast and loose with the linked/open data definition, for the same reason. I think Linked Data is really only going to have value when it achieves critical mass, and it is only going to achieve crtical mass when it emerges from the tech closet and becomes both something economically beneficial and opaque to consumers. The Principles are really an attempt to steer things in that direction.

    Keep the faith!

    Nick Poole
    Collections Trust