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[News] Human Knowledge Set Free with Free Software

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Scientific Learning to Expand FreeReading.net Offerings with Neuroscience Based

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| K-12 educators are increasingly responsive to the open source model for 
| curriculum development, distribution, and use. FreeReading.net is used by 
| educators in all 50 states and in more than 180 countries. FreeReading has 
| been adopted in Florida as a K-1 supplemental reading program, marking the 
| first time that an open source instructional program has been approved 
| through an official state adoption.      


Brazilian Government Proposes Bill to Grant Access to Public Information

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| The government will send Congress a bill before the end of April that seeks 
| to guarantee Brazilians the right to gain access to public information, the 
| president's chief of staff, Dilma Rousseff, said during the International 
| Seminar on Access to Public Information, which took place in Brasília this 
| week, Agência Brasil reports.    


Face facts: where Britannica ruled, Wikipedia has conquered

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| The story of Britannica is now a business-school case study in how rapidly 
| competitors can emerge - apparently from nowhere - in a digital world. The 
| First Rule of Business nowadays is that somewhere out there someone (and not 
| just Google) is incubating a business plan that is based on eating your 
| lunch.    



Open source opens access to the law library

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| Or they had. Because now Google-like algorithms and cheap Indian labor are
| letting new companies grab for hunks of that duopoly:
|     * Casemaker provides basic case law and opinions.
|     * PreCYdent offers opinions, statutes, lists of lawyers, and a very
|       Google-like interface.
|     * Fastcase specializes in case law, with both federal and state cases.
| These services are dramatically under-cutting the incumbents on price, and
| giving the general public access to legal cases for the first time. Forbes
| calls the result open source law but that’s a misnomer. It’s basically
| lower-cost competition.
| [...]
| Open source, as a rule, abhors monopolies, and its competition eventually
| drives prices toward zero. We’re still a long way from that in the legal
| research field, but it’s getting cheaper, and more accessible, day after day.


SELF-made site for courseware

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| Where on the Web do you go for free education and training materials? A
| project called Science, Education and Learning in Freedom (SELF) has created
| a site where educators and students can upload and download courseware
| without charge, or create courseware collaboratively. It maintains
| free-as-in-freedom content, and is intended for courses on free/libre
| software.


Information Liberation

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| Other than in the realm of life-saving medicine, why should any of this
| matter to nonacademics? Well, for one thing, barriers to the spread of
| information are bad for capitalism. The dissemination of knowledge is almost
| as crucial as the production of it for the creation of wealth, and knowledge
| (like people) can't reproduce in isolation. It's easy to scoff at the rise of
| Madonna studies and other risible academic excrescences, but a flood of truly
| important research pours from campuses every day. The infrastructure that
| produces this work is surely one of America's greatest competitive
| advantages.        
| In fact, open access might help to moderate some of the worst forms of
| academic hokum, if only by holding them up to the light of day -- and perhaps
| by making taxpayers, parents and college donors more careful about where they
| send their money. Entering the realm of delirium for a moment, one can even
| imagine public exposure encouraging professors in the humanities and social
| sciences to write in plain English.    
| Keeping knowledge bottled up is also bad for the world's poor; indeed,
| opening up the research produced on America's campuses via the Internet is
| probably among the most cost-effective ways of helping underdeveloped
| countries rise from poverty. Closer to home, open access to scholarly work
| via the Internet would help counteract the plague of plagiarism that the
| Internet itself has abetted. Anyone suspecting a scholar of such chicanery
| could search for a phrase or two in Google and see if somebody else's work
| turns up with the same unusual text string.      



1.8 million rulings online -- and free

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| Sebastopol man posts half-century's worth of court decisions which could
| shake up $5 billion legal publishing industry


Berkman Center and CALI Partner to Create New Legal Education Resource

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| “We are looking forward to renewing a fruitful relationship with Harvard Law
| School through the Legal Education Commons project, which will provide
| innovative tools and access to open-licensed course materials to our more
| than 200 member law schools” said CALI Executive Director John Mayer.  


Harvard Research to Be Free Online

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| Harvard University will soon begin posting research and articles produced by
| its faculty on the Internet free of charge.


A Quest to Get More Court Rulings Online, and Free

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| The domination of two legal research services over the publication of federal
| and state court decisions is being challenged by an Internet gadfly who has
| embarked on an ambitious project to make more than 10 million pages of case
| law available free online.  


Wikipedia Founder Joins EC Open Access Campaign

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| Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said he signed a petition calling
| on the European Commission to give the public open access to
| taxpayer-funded scientific research because it was "simple and
| obvious" that the public should have access to research they
| had funded. "Public money should result in public benefit,"
| he added.


Announcing the Open Library

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| Early this year, when I left my job at Wired Digital, I thought I could look
| forward to months of lounging around San Francisco, reading books on the
| beach and drinking fine champagne and eating foie gras. Then I got a phone
| call. Brewster Kahle of the Internet Archive was thinking of pursuing a
| project that I'd been trying to do literally for years.
| [...]
| So today I'm extraordinarily proud to announce the Open Library project. Our
| goal is to build the world's greatest library,


Libraries: Eliminate DRM!

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| Recently, we took action against the Boston Public Library (BPL) demanding
| that they embargo the use of DRM technology on their collection and create a
| policy that respects the motto that hangs above their door: "free-to-all." To
| send a message to all libraries that they too should respect their patrons'
| freedom, we urge you to sign our open letter.


Protest DRM at the Boston Public Library

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| the BPL [Boston Public Library] has launched a new service powered by a
| company called OverDrive. The system gives BPL patrons access to books,
| music, and movies online -- but only if they use a Microsoft DRM system.
| There are lots of problems with the introduction of this system: it bars
| access to users of GNU/Linux and MacOS and creates a dependence on a single
| technology vendor for access. These are important issues, certainly. The
| worst problem, however, is much more fundamental.
| By adopting a DRM system for library content, the BPL is giving OverDrive,
| copyright holders, and Microsoft the ability to decide what, when, and how
| its patrons can and cannot read, listen, and watch these parts of the BPL
| collection.


Following Removal of DRM, MIT Resubscribes to SAE Database

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| IT faculty, students, and staff have access to the Society of Automotive
| Engineer’s technical papers over the web again, because the SAE listened to
| MIT and other universities when they spoke out against the imposition of
| Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology.
| Last spring, the MIT Libraries cancelled their web access to the (SAE)
| technical papers, because the society was imposing a DRM plug-in called
| FileOpen that seriously impeded normal scholarly use.

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