Wednesday, May 17, 2006


Issues in the economics, politics, and ideology of copyright in the global South

PRESS RELEASE: 17 May 2006

Issues in the economics, politics, and ideology of copyright in the global
Researched and published by the Copy/South Research Group
May 2006
ISBN: 978-0-9553140-1-8 (printed edition)
Not restricted by copyright

The aim of the dossier is to open up debate on the real impact of
copyright laws affecting the people of the more than 150 developing
countries in the Global South, many of whom have never read a book, have
no access to the Internet and are facing an indeterminate future. The
dossier highlights issues that are not only unique to the Global South,
but also focuses on those issues that affect both sides of the North -
South divide. This dossier is addressed to the general public,
researchers, educators, librarians, activists, and organizations concerned
about access to knowledge who want to learn more about the global role of
copyright and, in particular, copyright's largely negative role in
developing countries of the global South. In more than 50 articles
totalling 215 pages, we, in the Copy/South Research Group, who have
researched and debated these issues over the past 12 months, have tried to
critically analyse and assess a wide range of copyright-related issues
that impact on the daily lives (and future lives) of those who live in the
global South.

How did the Copy/South dossier come into being? A first and draft version
was prepared for a four-day intensive workshop held in August 2005 at the
University of Kent in the United Kingdom and organised by the Copy/South
Research Group. Of the 22 people who attended this 'by invitation only'
session, more than 15 were from countries of the South. At this lively and
very informative session, the draft dossier was subjected to some sharp
criticisms; numerous suggestions for improvement were made, and additional
articles and research angles proposed. A second version was circulated
internally in January 2006. Further changes were made and this third
version is the public version. It is a work of North/South collaboration,
a product of the sharing of knowledge.

The dossier is being distributed for free. Go to the Copy/South website, download the dossier, and print it off
yourself. It is available in various formats (PDF and RTF) and in files of
various lengths to accommodate various download capacities. Alternatively,
contact us by e-mail , and we can post you a copy
of the dossier, either as a printed copy or as a CD.

If you wish to contact The Copy/South Research Group for any reason -- for
example, to make criticisms of the dossier, to give your own examples, to
join in the future research effort -- our e-mail address is: .

1)The Open Society Institute, Budapest, Hungary;
2) HIVOS,The Hague,The Netherlands;
3)The Research Fund of Kent Law School, Canterbury, Kent UK.


Cape Town Open Source Workshop - 25 May 2006

Of interest:

SystemicLogic Cape Town Open Source Workshop

SystemicLogic cordially invite you to attend our Open Source Workshop

Open Source Software in Business: Let's Bust Some Myths!

Mention Open Source Software and you're likely to start a religious
argument. Frothing-at-the-mouth supporters and detractors argue philosophy
and walk away even more convinced of their positions: "How can you not want
to use something that's free and open?"; "Nothing that's free and open can
be worth much"; "Why should I be bothered - Microsoft Office works just
fine"; "Do you think I would risk using stuff written by some hackers
sitting in outer Mongolia in my mission critical systems?" and "Why on earth
would I give away software that I can make money from?".

All of which helps little if you're trying to decide whether to decide
whether to allow your developers to use their own collections of their
favourite Open Source development tools or to use only the vendor's tools
that you bought, whether you should risk using Open Source integration
middleware, whether that Open Source accounting package should be
considered, or whether you should listen at all to those weird developers in
the corner that want to give away some software that you've paid for.

Let's have an informed, frank look at some of the myths surrounding Open
Source Software, and see if we can start to discern a rational approach to
help us make informed decisions in this space. Hopefully we'll all walk out
with some answers, but you can also help us to identify areas we need to
investigate where they are not clear-cut.

Date: 25 May 2006
Time: 8:30 for 9:00 until 11:00
Venue: Sanlam Training center, Room 3
Sanlam Head office
Voortrekker Street, Belville
Cape Town, South Africa

Breakfast with coffee and tea will be served.

Please book by replying to:
Or phone Jurgens on: +27 (0) 21 854-4543 / +27 (0) 82 371-8521

Regards, Jacky

Jacky Michell
SystemicLogic (Pty) Ltd.
Tel: +27 11 706-7222
+27 11 706-3161
Fax: +27 11 706-3161

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

how do you spell


Imma querida just sent me some pics from my early-May Rome visit, and "mira", an action photo!

Contrary to what the blog timestamp says, it is now just after midnight in Chicago. Me abro.

Monday, May 15, 2006

FM10: day 1 - morning session

so, we´ve just got the morning started. had the preliminaries, and listened to the first speaker: Sandra Braman. I enjoyed her talk on the judicial concern and intersect vis-a-vis openness. Some new ways of thinking, for me, on issues. Notes to be posted later. Besos, J

chicago - magnificent mile and deep dish pizza

the conference has not started yet. ppl are still arriving etc. so we were left to our own devices and there were some organised outings in the afternoon for those who needed some orientation. i set out with a group this morning (second pic), and this evening some of the speakers and attendees sponsored by the Open Society Institute (yours truly included) were treated to some famous Chicago Deep Dish a.k.a. Deep Disk a.k.a. Stuffed Pizza. (first pic featuring Italian Andrea Glorioso - now, for clarity´s sake, that he is Italian is somehow relevant in that he was the first person up getting a pizza slice... I guess not surprising (hahaha). No, I´m just kidding. Hey, the pizza was really tasty. I´ve got some great video footage, but the Megabytage is just too much for here; will have to post on my website, eventually... Oh, this morning we (five of us as pictured) were out sight-seeing, and shopping. Let it be noted here that Vedran Vucic has an excellent sense of colour, and gave some invaluable advice on what would suit me iro. build and complexion. I´m not kidding :) In the end, he, together with Dale Peters (fellow member of the Sivulile OA SA group) found me a nice linen suit! Maybe I post a picture here later (of me in the suit - hahaha). I tell you, we OA/OSS folks are multifaceted, renaissance types ;)

aaarrrggghhhh photos are slow in uploading...

Saturday, May 13, 2006

FM10 Openness: Code, Science and Content - Chicago

I am in Chicago to attend the FM10 conference titled "Openness: Code, Science and Content" from 15 to 17 May. Arrived yesterday; it´s nice here. Okay, ostensibly, most places upon arrival are enchanting in some way, and so on and so forth. Chicago is not what I expected. What was I expecting?... Good question :)
Blah, I´m tired. My brain has no opinions at present.

But before I go, some pics I took yesterday are inserted here.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

airtainment; creating a culture

so what on earth am in on about, you must be wondering.

i flew recently to Cape Town with German national aircarrier Lufthansa. ooh, good service, but they really do need to reconsider their definition of "entertainment". For one, since it was a long-haul flight (11 or so hours) which always leaves late at night (about 10:30pm, regardless of airline) it´s always weird because they serve dinner at midnight. right. no biggie. everyone eats then. swell. the food was excellent. especially the Asian Vegetarian dinner I´d ordered. i mean, it was tasty, and imaginative. well, but then they got the after-dinner movie started, at, get this, 1AM. What do we get served up but "Harry Potter". "Try to please everyone and please no-one" ring a bell here? And please, all the kids were asleep anyway. So, we adults were left with Harry Potter. I read my "El País" instead. Ooh, then at 4AM we were treated to another movie: The Mask/Legend of Zorro. It just didn´t get any better than that. And I thought to myself: would never say that this is the nation who awards the Golden Bear in cinema. Will the people who make inputs to the Golden Bear please consult with the "entertainment" folks at Lufthansa????? That way, we all win...

Before I get to "creating a culture". On said flight, the seat configuration was such that there were four seats down the middle, and two seats on the periphery of the plane. The check-in staff had made some weird seating assignments because people (friends, families) were invariably not sitting together. I had an aisle seat on the periphery and an old-ish woman was supposed to sit next to me. But said woman approached me, saying that she wanted to sit with her friend, would I be kind enough to swap, etc. What struck me was how this woman turned on this face. Yes, it seemed artificial. Like the look a street urchin might switch to in order to hustle some money. Also, I was reminded of Cary Grant´s two ditty aunts in the movie "Arsenic and Lace". I looked at them and said: "If your friend has an aisle seat, then I´ll swap. Otherwise, no.". They both looked at me, crestfallen, as if they were two toddlers who´d just been deprived of a favourite toy. I looked at them some more; gave them a typical Madrid-look-of-insouciance (because I had a sense of being hustled), and said: "Look, it´s 11 hours of flying. I have long legs. There´s just no way that I can sit in the window seat. That´s how it is. Sorry." And they toddled over to the other side of the plane to check the seat assignment. Anyway, it transpired that the friend did have an aisle seat, so we switched. Funny thing was that I ended up seated next to a Swedish man who is Information Manager for the municipality of the town in which he lives, and who used to be a sports journalist. We had some great conversation. In the end, we all won...

creating a culture:

One of the great things about the Anglosaxon world is cutrate bookstores. Thusfar I´ve not seen similar here in Spain. Well, for instance, here in Spain if a book is new, whether it is hard- or softcover, you pay the same price regardless. In Anglosajonia you don´t buy the hardcover (unless you really really want the book); you wait for the softcover version which usually costs at least 50% less than the hardcover. But further, in South Africa, we have a number of shops where you can buy cutprice books. Okay, you might not always get the latest bestseller, but one can really find some gems. The publishing culture seems to work different over here (in Spain) since to date I´ve not come across a cutprice bookstore. So, on my recent SA visit I got hold of a copy of Timothy Garton Ash´s book "The File" which deals with his treatment of the file he had access to the Stasi had compiled on him during the cold war era. I bought it for 1.5 USD more or less. Oooh, my English today...

It was interesting to read, in view of my recent visit to Berlin. But more from a cultural viewpoint. One of the questions he poses is "what makes someone a collaborator with the system, and what makes an opponent?" I´d always wondered about that vis-a-vis Apartheid. OKay, so he does not go on to answer that question. What´s interesting though is the extensive network of informers the Stasi had at their disposal. I remember clearly the case he refers to of a woman who, post fall of the Berlin Wall, had come to gain access to her Stasi file, only to discover that her husband had denounced her years before, for which she had spent 5 years in prison. Jolín. I don´t know how one recovers from that kind of discovery. She went home, and is still married to this guy...

Then, on the way back to Madrid, from Cape Town, but with escala in Frankfurt, we watched "Good Night, and Good Luck", the George Clooney movie. What tight direction. Steven Spielberg could learn a thing or two from Clooney in this regard, i.e. how to tell a story in fewer words, or in this case, fewer hours, minutes. Great movie. Again, we have this notion of creating a culture of collaboration (meant here in a perjorative sense), and developing a nation of informers. And more importantly, how to recover from that kind of incestuousness once the regime has fallen.
I don´t know. It is something to think about...

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

post-Rome blog (& ASSAf)

Volví a Madrid el domingo pasado; estuve en Roma. Hoy tenemos clase con Juan Carlos Alfonso from Sogecable If you don´t know anything about the Spanish entertainment industry, Sogecable will ring a bell if you´ve seen enough Spanish films through the years. They always are involved somehow, with distribution.

But hey, a quick blog. I visited with Imma Subirats last week from 2 to 7 May, and she invited me to give a talk at her workplace, the FAO of the UN.
That was 3 May. See ppt
The talk was an update of the one given at Berlin4, and included some feedback on Berlin4 itself, as well as an orientation to Open Access generally. I had a good interested audience, though not a big one. I met everyone else in the Library and Documentation Systems Division, incl. Johannes Keizer, and Anton Mangstl. And then Enrica Porcari, CIO for the CGIAR (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research ). Some interesting things happening in that sector of the science world...

Rome, really lovely. I could live there. Felt really at home; sure it was a function also of Imma´s hospitality. There is a certain kind of chaos there that I found attractive.
South African Science Academy has finally released its position on OA. Great stuff. I learnt about this during my visit to SA in April, but kept mum about it here, not wanting to steal anybody´s thunder, etc. So, do see

Juice is running low; all power sockets are taken...later.

Monday, May 01, 2006

después de abril

no pude creer que el último escrito aquí lo he hecho hace un mes. i can hardly believe it´s been a month since i´ve blogged. i knew of course that it was in a state of semi-neglect, but that was the path chosen. i returned to madrid on 1 April, and a week later went to South Africa. I arrived back in Madrid this past Monday (a week ago), and so now I am here to experience the 1 May and a little bit of the 2nd May celebrations (2nd May is an official holiday in Madrid). This morning I was out hunting for a birthday present for a three year old that I know, and nearly didn´t find anything due to the closed shops (only restaurants, cervecerías, etc were open). In South Africa consumerism pretty much reigns on this day, though you will have a smattering of marches. It seems, somewhat surprisingly and not so, that 1 May is still a big deal here in Spain.

Last night we had lovely fireworks in my barrio, just before and after the stroke of midnight. I video´ed that. Tonight, in fact as I write, there is again a fiesta, with stage, flamenco dance troupe, and of course music. Madrid has truly come alive during the past month. It now becomes the prototypical picture of Spain, with people socialising everywhere, sitting in bars, and sidewalk cafes, taking tapas. It is the Spain that most people love, I guess. Though, I did feel some weeks ago, upon returning from Berlin, that my "home" had been invaded by...tourists.

Speaking of tourists. Today I was walking from the Plaza Mayor, down Calle de Atocha, en route to Atocha station. There was a 1 May march and I stopped in a doorway, to watch the passing stream. Who is also in the doorway but Derek Law and his wife, also perched there waiting for the crowd to pass. Small world. I´ve had a lot of those kinds of coincidences in the past month; bumping into people I´d not seen for a long time, etc. It happened so often that after a while it started to get creepy, as if stage-managed. Oye, I know that it couldn´t be, but still...

I was ostensibly on holiday in SA, but I did end up having a lot of professional, work-related talks. Which were good. Nice thing is that I took some time to read fiction. The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. I just love the following line:

Once upon a time there was a boy who loved a girl, and her laughter was a question he wanted to spend his whole life answering.
Flamenco music playing in the background on the street. There is something about the guitar, the wail of the singer, and the clapping of hands. So Sevillano. I realised when in SA; Flamenco music just doesn´t sound the same when outside of Spain. It just isn´t the same. You can take the discs with you, but it loses something in its transplantation to another environment (even if SA, and particularly the Cape winelands landscape looks a lot like here...) I guess, obvious, but worth mentioning.