OpenEd – week 6

I’m a simple guy. Kind of a very basic hacker. In 1978, hanging around in the nuclear medicine lab – have been there for a thesis in physics – and trying to find a way to be useful to someone. Nuclear medicine doctors used software. It was easy to find missing features. Many nights went in browsing the department computers for software sources. Tried to improve and add features. Occasionally, doctors found a notice on the computer table: “Hello, new feature available … Andreas” …

In those years, R.M. Stallman was struggling with his famous printer beginning his adventure towards the new free software idea.

I had no idea of Stallman’s work, no idea of Internet, no idea of the possibility of sharing over the Internet, but I was hacking computers, hidden in a room in Florence. I was, again, a leave of grass of a grass-roots phenomenon. Times were just mature.

Then, whole life hacking something to give, if possible, a solution to someone’s else problems.

Very confused ideas about copyright issues. Trying to understand something, especially once discovered Stallman’s ideas, around 1990, but with poor results.

Now trying to read these papers and finding them awfully boring, except …

“Bound by law”. Thanks a lot to Keith Aoky, James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins! This was affordable for an under-skilled guy as I am.
I will buy their book to say thank you!

Thanks to Elisa Spadavecchia for explaining that in Italy it is even worse: no fair use concept!

In these years, I’m producing educational stuff for my students but I’m also putting it in the public domain because it was just the obvious thing to do, I believed …

NO, POOR SILLY BOY! Reality is much more complex! Your vision is really naive, poor boy! As soon as your stuff is published in the Internet, it is fully copyrighted!


And now? Well, it seems you can use a kind of CC license to state what you want other people are allowed to do with your work. Oh fine!

But then, you discover it is not trivial. Which license? When digging to discover all the implications … oh boys! Too much time! I want to work for my student and, if possible, sometimes, to solve problems for them.

So, I put the less restrictive CC license on all my stuff, Attribution, I believe. It seems to me fair but I feel quite uncomfortable!

Anyway, thanks to this course I have some clearer ideas on the subject, perhaps. This is the good part of the story …


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