Archive for January, 2010
Today Chamilo, a new e-learning & collaboration software project, was announced. Chamilo is a fork from Dokeos. Over the last years, the Dokeos community seems to have grown much faster than the Dokeos company. Seen from the perspective from at least many community members, the community wanted more freedom, while the company took more control. Free Software protects the freedoms of both users and developers. These freedoms allowed the original Claroline author Thomas Depraetere in 2004 to fork Claroline into Dokeos, and these freedoms allow the community now to fork Dokeos into Chamilo. Maybe that’s more competition. But in the Free & Open Source Software universe competition most often leads to survival of the fittest and stronger projects! Still, with these 3 Open Source projects now sharing a common history and code base, I would hope for some collaboration opportunities!
Mainstream press keeps flooding us with a story which seems to have its origin in this 4 months old (!) article from Freakbits. Newspapers seem to copy the story from each other with increasingly absurd titles such as ‘Kamasutra most pirated e-book of 2009′. As this places an unfair criminal stigma on downloaders, it leaves me to wonder: does the mainstream press not understand copyright? Or do they have a hidden agenda with such propaganda?
The Kamasutra is almost two millennia old. Nobody talked about copyrights at that time, but even according to today’s draconian copyright laws this work is since long in the public domain. This means that everybody can download, share and adapt this work legally. The Kamasutra and its translations is one of the 30.000 public domain books you can download at the Project Gutenberg. I don’t know if the Kamasutra books circulating on BitTorrent are such free versions or copyrighted versions, and I found nobody writing about this difference. Civilized societies have the ‘innocent until proven guilty’ rule. And how fair is it if publishers mass produce copies of a public domain book, add a copyright because of the foreword or translation, and then complain about individuals that make one copy for private use?
The Kama Sutra is not the only public domain book people are searching for: also the works of Leonardo Da Vinci are in the top ten. So if newspapers would be less clueless or unfair, the tone and titles of their articles could be something like: ‘Downloaders most interested in public domain books’. Because that is the fact that pleases me, together with the fact that people seem to search for books that can better their lives. Please keep the word pirate for the real criminals.