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Four short links: 15 February 2011

New Copyright Laws Proposed, GMail APIs, Internet Book Roundup, and Chrome Farm

  1. White House Will Propose New Digital Copyright Laws (CNet) — If the Internet were truly empowering citizenry and bringing us this new dawn of digital democracy, the people who run it would be able to stop the oppressive grind of the pro-copyright machinery. There’s no detail about what the proposed law would include, except that it will be based on a white paper of “legislative proposals to improve intellectual property enforcement,” and it’s expected to encompass online piracy. I predict a jump in the online trading of those “You can keep the change” posters that were formerly the exclusive domain of the Tea Party, and the eventual passage of bad law. As the article says, digital copyright tends not to be a particularly partisan topic..
  2. Introducing GmailrAn unofficial Javascript API for Gmail [...] there are many companies [...] building out complex APIs with similar functionality, that can all break independently if Gmail decides to significantly change their app structure (which they inevitably will). What we really need is for many people to come together and build out a robust and easy-to-use javascript API for Gmail that is shared across many extensions and applications. This is my hope for Gmailr. This is how Google Maps API began: reverse engineering and open source.
  3. The Information: How the Internet Gets Inside Us (New Yorker) — thoughtful roundup of books and their positions on whether the Internet’s fruits are good for us. He divides them into never better, better never (as in “we’d be better off if it had never been invented”), and ever-was (as in, “we have always been changed by our technology, so big deal”). (via Bernard Hickey on Twitter)
  4. New Chrome Extension Blocks Sites from Search Results — Google testing whether users successfully identify and report content farms.
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