Four short links: 24 June 2010

Crowdsourcing Investigations, YouTube Wins, 3D IP, and Drupal Visualization

  1. Crowdsourcing the Goldman-Sachs Investigation (Crowdflower) — Goldman-Sachs turned over “several hundred billion pages” of documents in response to a government investigation request. Crowdsourcing may be the solution, as with UK MPs’ expenses. Clearly, technology presents a double-edged sword for investigators and other regulators. On the one hand, companies under investigation can use technology to more efficiently bury investigators in terabytes of data (paging Goldman Sachs). On the other hand, technology provides tools for deftly sifting through the data (enter crowdsourcing). Another reminder that open data is necessary but not sufficient for improvement.
  2. Google-ViaCom Decision (PDF) — conclusion appears to be that you don’t lose safe harbour for knowing “YouTube is full of copyright violations”, so long as you act on DMCA takedowns. (via Google Blog)
  3. The Intellectual Property Implications of Low-Cost 3D Printing — leaving aside the questionable value of the term “intellectual property”, this paper is interesting. Adrian Bowyer, coauthor, is the founder and leader of the RepRap open source 3D printer project. The effect of these exemptions is that many items attractive for 3D printing will not be protected as registered designs. Many spare parts are likely to be components or fall under the “technical function” or “must fit” exemptions. The latter also applies to the shape of accessories and customisation items such as covers for mobile phones (but not, as noted below, to copyright artwork decorating them). Furthermore, even if a spare part escapes these exemptions and is protected as a registered design, such protection is not infringed by its use for “the repair of a complex product so as to restore its original appearance”. This would cover the 3D printing of a part such as a car wing panel that was normally visible and not wholly constrained in design by its function or fit, but which had to be replicated in order to maintain the vehicle’s original appearance. (via teh_aimee on Twitter)
  4. VIDI Modules — open source Drupal data visualization modules.
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