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.
We visited Marie-Anne during her postdoc at Harvard University. We combined the visit with a road trip across 5 states of the American East-Coast and Canada. A very nice 2000km along Cambridge, Greenfield, Bennington, Plattsburgh, Montreal, Quebec, Boischatel, Montmorency, Berthierville, Louiseville, Trois Rivieres, Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre, Beauceville, Parlin Pond, Bar Harbor, Acadia National Park, Camden, Rockland, Portland, Ogunquit, Hampton, Boston, …
See our 288/198 USA/Canada photos.
Visited Malta. Pictures coming soon.
Visited Cologne, Germany, for the Amphi Festival and sight-seeing. See my pictures.
25/04/08 – 02/05/08
Wrote a book “Onderwijsvernieuwing: een continu proces” (Educational Innovation, a continuing process), which we presented at our “seventh day of educational innovation / 7de dag van de onderwijsvernieuwing”.
25/04/08 – 02/05/08
Visited Italy (Naples, Pompei, Herculaneum). Pictures coming soon.
06/02/08 – 16/02/08
Visited the Fosdem conference.
As Thea Derks is retiring, I’m starting as head of our VUB Educational Innovation & Educational Service Center (OSC).
We moved! From Brussels to Brussels. Mail me if you want our new address.
I’m appointed as guest professor for the Educational Technology course at the VUB teacher training.
I’m back from a sight seeing trip through Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. Now I should try to make some time for processing and publishing our 3000 pictures.
30/11/2006 – 03/12/06
I visited the Dokeos conference 2006 in France, Valence, and stayed an extra day for sight-seeing.
See my pictures.
I attended a seminar about ‘Intellectual Property Rights‘ by Roger Kampf (Counsellor, WTO Secretariat). Interesting seminar, but I was disappointed that the lecture started by defining ‘the purpose of Intellectual Property Rights as to extract economic value through use or licensing’. I replied that I prefer the original idea that the purpose is (like mentioned in the US Constitution) ‘to promote progress of science and usefull arts’ and that ‘to allow economic value’ is the not the goal, but the mean. The lecture continued with a good discussion about TRIPS and finding the balance between protecting investments and not hindering public health treatment, e.g. in third world countries. I asked about TRIPS and soft patents: TRIPS on the one hand clearly states that software is protected by copyright, but on the other hand it is very broad about what can be patented, and TRIPS art 27 has a footnote which not only allows patents that have an industrial application, but also patents which are a useful utility. Software patent proponents use this as to argue that software patents would be allowed or even obligatory. Roger Kampf answered that TRIPS is not stating that software should be protected by patents, but that it leaves the “choice and flexibility” to the nations.
Upcoming week there at least 4 interesting conferences in Brussels about Open Source, Internet and Technology: OSCON Open Source Convention, Drupal Conference, Govcamp and Barcamp. A few talks are directly educational related (e.g. “Using technology in education” by Dominik Lukes at Barcamp, and “Student registration using the eID” by Jurgen Lust from Ghent University at Govcamp).
As the upcoming week happens to be also the only week between two academic years, it is the most busiest week at our OSC-department. Half of our department is giving off-site teacher training (“onderwijsprofessionalisering seminarie“). The other half (including me) is preparing our e-learning platform for the new academic year: not only applying the new subscription data, but also bringing into production all the new functionalities we developed over the previous year. So, we won’t find time for these nice conferences in our own city, but I registered for the Barcamp conference, which is on Sunday. Also some of our VUB-colleagues from the Knosos project will visit at least Drupalcon, Govcamp and Barcamp.
I spent some holiday in Scotland.
See my pictures.
I was invited for the kick-off conference of the “Science Education and Learning in Freedom 2006″ project in Den Haag (Netherlands).
I followed a course about Project Cycle Management organized by the Vrije Universiteit Brussel and South Research.
We organized our ““fifth day of educational innovation / 5de dag van de onderwijsvernieuwing”.
I visited the Pubelo study day around learning objects and meta data with talks by Erik Duval and Wayne Hodgins.
I was invited to take a seat in the VLIR UOS expert group ICT/OLL (Information and Communication technology / Online Learning)
I was invited as a keynote speaker at the Fifth International Congress on Higher Education UNIVERSIDAD 2006″ in Cuba. I talked about the advantages and opportunities of Open Source Software for education. See my Cuba pictures.
I attended the Academic session in the Gothic Room of the Brussels Town Hall for 150 years of Flemish students in Brussels.
Afterwards I attended the piano recital from Frederic Rzewski. Rzewski is in favor of the Copyleft concept for his music.
I visited the workshop “e-learning standaarden en interoperabiliteit” (e-learning standards and interoperability).
I had a nice meeting with the people from the Knosos project. Their aim is to build a social network for sharing knowledge.
I edited (together with Dirk Gombeir) the book
“Open Bron, Open Inhoud, Open Leren” (Open Source, Open Content, Open Learning)
and wrote 2 chapters for it:
- “Extremadura: Vrije Software in onderwijs en overheid als basis van een informatiemaatschappij”
- “Open Source leerplatform opende nieuwe perspectieven voor Vrije Universiteit Brussel”
17/12/05 – 31/12/05
I visited Syria and Jordan.
See my pictures.
I visited the Dokeos User Day.
I gave a seminar at our university about intellectual property and privacy in e-learning.
I had a paper and a presentation about ‘Choice for Dokeos – Strategic choice for and implementation of an open source e-learning platform’ at the ‘Third International Conference on Open and Distance Learning’ in Greece, Patras.
See also my Greece pictures.
I gave an invited lecture about ‘Open courseware and Open scientific publications at the Study day Free Software in education at the KU Leuven.
21/09/05 – 22/09/05
I visited the AV studio product days and seminars.
I gave a talk at the Dokeos developers meeting about ‘A general framework for roles and permissions in the Dokeos Learning Content Management System’
I defended my PhD, entitled “Contributions to Clustering and Feature Selection Methods for Clustering”. Soon my thesis will be online. So long, you can take a look at my my research Page or invitation flyer.
See also the report on the campus site.
I was elected as president of Boves.
Two of our research papers are published:
- F. Questier, R. Put, D. Coomans, B. Walczak and Y. Vander Heyden, The use of CART and multivariate regression trees for supervised and unsupervised feature selection, Chemometrics and Intelligent Laboratory Systems, 76, 1 (2005) 45-54
- I. Stanimirova, M. Daszykowski, D. L. Massart, F. Questier, V. Simeonov, H. Puxbaum, Chemometrical Exploration of the Wet Precipitation Chemistry from the Austrian Monitoring Network (1988-1999), Journal of Environmental Management, 74, 4 (2005) 349-363
I gave an invited lecture about our ‘Generic portfolio system as part of the PointCarrï¿½e-learning platform’ at the Study Day “Portfolio use in higher education” of the Erasmushogeschool Brussel.
I gave an invited lecture “Open Source (Free) Software, Open Standards, Open content for education” at the Erasmus Hogeschool Brussel.
The book “How open is the future? Economic, Social & Cultural Scenarios inspired by Free & Open-Source Software” for which I (together with Wim Schreurs) wrote the chapter “Open Courseware and Open Scientific Publications” was presented 3 feb. during the VUB Crosstalks – DISC release-event “The Future of our Digital Commons” in the presence of about 60 participants coming from various universities, from the industry and from European, federal and regional policymakers. (see Photo-Report).
One can order the book, or freely download it, as it is licensed under a Creative Commons license (as first Belgian book!)
I obtained a Silicon Graphics Onyx Extreme Graphics Supercomputer.
See my Unix computer collection.
The number of e-mail messages I receive has passed 10.000 per month. Most of it is spam, which is filtered by my spamfilter. Sorry if I don’t answer your mail. Try again, with a nice subject line and try to sound not too spammish
An article of mine has been published: F. Questier, W. Meeus, T. Derks, “Ontwikkeling en implementatie van een instellingsbreed studentenportfolio platform”, ICT en Onderwijsvernieuwing, Vol. 6, 2004, 97-116
20/03/04I recently contributed quite a few (Linux) HOWTO’s.
I gave a seminar about Open Source (Free) Software, Open Standards and Open Content for education. Due to success, this will be repeated 30/04.
15/12/03 – 29/12/03
I visited South India.
See the pictures.
I visited the Windows by Day, Linux by Night. (Note: I’m a day and night Linux and other Unices user).
Update of my Unix computer collection: I recently obtained 2 Sun Sparcstation 5 computers, a Sun Sparcstation 2 and Mass-storage, and a HP 9000/715.
I became the president of OSAB, my alumni association.
I visited the seminar “Portfolio in higher education” in Zwolle, the Netherlands.
I’ve got a new nice computer to admin at work: Dell PowerEdge 4600, dual 2.6GHz Xeon, 4GB RAM, 3×36GB SCSI 10000 rpm disks, 40-80GB Tapestreamer, Redhat Linux. We are going to use it for testing and developping e-learning environments.
I went to the demonstration against European Software Patents.
Due to disease, we had to postpone our Thailand & Cambodja trip
I visited a seminar “Learning Content Management Systems“, Amersfoort, the Netherlands
I visited the “Blackboard userday“, Alkmaar, the Netherlands
I’m co-organising an educational congress “2de dag van de onderwijsvernieuwing”, and giving a presentation about electronic student portfolio’s.
I’m just back from a small trip to Spain (which we won). We’ve got 233 pictures; lots of them quite gothic. I took my portable with me, so during the bus trip and the rain, I finally found some time for a major site update, and for publishing my photo-album (Thailand, Sri Lanka, …)
I visited a congress about Open Standards and Open Source Software in the Netherlands.
I started to work as an educational technologist at the VUB Educational Innovation and Educational Service Center
Start of this website