Friday, December 19, 2008

Chris Salzburg on Global Voices, and the challenges and potential of community translation

Iranian Bloggers Jailed

Not only those in Iran, but those in other countries (including the US, I believe), have been jailed for blogging.

Global Voices Online has published a story on this issue. A researcher studying jailed bloggers across the globe estimates between 20 and 30 Iranians have been jailed because of their blogging activities.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

NIJ FY 09 Electronic Crime and Digital Evidence Recovery

This is an interesting funding opportunity sponsored by the Department of Justice:

By scrolling down, a pdf of the RFP is available.

On the pdf, I think the focus of the grant is interesting, especially under the "Digital Evidence Forensic Examination Tools," subheading, where the DOJ is particularly looking for those who can do "Research and development of Macintosh-compatible computer forensic tools for State and local law enforcement agency application." In their list of "Additional Requirements," I was glad to see that they also want to see intellectual property issues addressed by whoever is successful in obtaining these grant funds.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Pakistan Lawyers Blog

A very helpful post appears on the Pakistan Lawyers Blog summarizing both sides of the Axact v SNR case.

The Student Term Paper Websites Case Continues . . .

This is a link to Eric Goldman's blog wherein he summarized the Axact v. SNR New Jersey case involving two companies, one in the US, and one in Karachi, Pakistan. This case has piqued my interest and it has a rich set of documents available for analysis. Thus, I've decided to propose an article on this case for a special issue of a journal in our field.

Today I have spent a few hours reading through the court pleadings and documents. The most interesting order was produced 12-12-08 involving google, inc.'s agreement to remove the student term paper websites associated in the court pleadings with Axact from its search engine.

The documents can all be accessed through

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Free Software Group Sues Cisco For Open Source Violations

Reported by Information Week:

I've been wondering when we might get over the "wow" phase on open source -- perhaps as the lawsuits start piling up, a more critical view will be struck regarding the discourse of the commons and the concept of "open source." Open source does not mean a free for all, it's turning out.

Human Origins: A NSF RFP

"Human Origins": A National Science Foundation Request for Proposals.

My interest in copyright law, in what it tries to accomplish, is linked to my broader interest in origins, and in discourses about origins, including human origins. Origins, as I've previously mentioned, is linked to the concept of "authorship." I've been following numerous publications that provide information on new RFPs -- funding opportunities. And so, I thought I'd collect this RFP on Human Origins from the NSF. The rest of this post is a direct quote from the RFP:

This competition is directed towards increasing our knowledge of the complex biological, physical, and behavioral interrelationships that led to the development of our species and that are responsible for both the shared and variable features that characterize living human populations. It recognizes that understanding of the processes and pathways of human evolution requires input from a wide range of disciplines which examine our species from multiple perspectives and across both time and space. Accomplishing this goal requires a large scale initiative which allows research activities that go beyond the smaller, shorter duration, single investigator awards that disciplinary programs have been able to provide in the past. The Human Origins: Moving In New Directions (HOMINID) competition will support large scale, long term, integrative research and infrastructure projects through awards of up to $500,000 per year for up to five years. Contingent on the availability of funds, the program expects to make two awards in each fiscal year. It is intended that HOMINID awards will provide for transformative approaches to long-standing questions about the history of our species. Infrastructure development is also eligible for support either as a stand alone project or as part of a research award. One goal of the competition is to develop a portfolio of awards that reflects the multiple approaches to the understanding of human origins. It is expected that the combination of awards will complement each other and prove to be mutually informative as they progress.

Data on Global Internet Use/Access

These links were recently posted in response to a query on the AOIR listserv.

Links to the International Telecommunication Unit, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum, respectively: (only with MS Internet Explorer)

Another resource said to collect (and sometimes publish) data about Information and Communication Technologies:

Federal Appeals Court Examines Two MySpace Student Speech Cases

Followed by the Citizen Media Law Project

Friday, December 12, 2008

Apple uses copyright to silence both fans and critics

A professor from a professional writing program in the US sent me a link to this cease and desist letter which appears to be sent by Apple. This type of activity is relevant for those teaching digital composing as I know those of us teaching technical writing often have students compose tutorials on using various applications. The fact that the copyright holder may disagree with the use of screen captures or images of its product should be integrated into the PW curriculum.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Why Do We Continue to Use Letters of Recommendation?

Letters of recommendation, as far as I know, have been around since the dawn of man.


Why do we use letters of recommendation?

Well, the answer is not simple, but the fact that we do use them provides empirical evidence in support of some of Latour's theory.

He states:

"Who will win in an agnostic encounter between two authors and between them and all the others they need to build up a statement S? Answer: the one able to muster on the spot the largest number of well aligned and faithful allies." (1986, Drawing things together, p. 23)

The letters do the work of bringing back things, your allies, and presenting them all in one place for your audience.

Latour states:

"If you wish to go out of your way and come back heavily equipped so as to force others to go out of their ways, the main problem to solve is that of mobilization. You have to go and to come back with the "things" if your moves are not to be wasted. But the "things" have to be able to withstand the return trip without withering away. Further requirements: the "things" you gathered and displaced have to be presentable all at once to those you want to convince and who did not go there. In sum you have to invent objects which have the properties of being mobile but also immutable, presentable, readable, and combinable with one another." (1986, p. 7, Visualization and Cognition).

Thus, I say, we have the letter of recommendation. A service like increases both the immutability and the mobility of these letters.

Here, letters of recommendation are symmetrical to the citations on a reference page. Those citations accomplish the same results, in that they bring the "thing" back to one location, and as they appear in the reference list, have the properties of being mobile but also immutable, presentable, readable, and combinable with one another.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

WHO Renews Delicate Effort On Pandemic Influenza Virus-Shari

In the field of Comp/Rhet, it's not that difficult to forget the very material, even physical implications of intellectual property law. Imagine a global pandemic, and the inability to administer vaccine due to patent protection. Efforts are being made to anticipate such a dilemma. Kaitlin Mara's article in the Intellectual Property Watch begins:

An avian influenza outbreak would be a public health disaster, but for the World Health Organization to adequately prepare for that risk, member states must come to a resolution on intellectual property issues related to virus and vaccine sharing.

Implementation of the Small Grants Program for Afghan Women's Civil Society Organizations

This is a grant that addresses an issue I discussed in my dissertation. The issue is whether or not a law has agency when inserted in a culture that has pre-existing practices already accomplishing the same ends that the law supposes to constitute -- does law make people do things?, is the real question.

The rest of this blog post is a quote from the grant:

Now living under a Constitution that codifies equal rights for women, Afghan women have an official framework to support their personal and professional development. With the exception of constitutionally mandated quotas for women’s representation in Parliament, however, all indicators of women’s status reveal that enforcement of constitutional rights lags far behind enactment. A combination of poverty and deprivation, ill health, illiteracy, discriminatory customary laws, harmful traditional practices, and physical and emotional abuse conspire to keep women at the bottom of society. To ensure they receive sufficient attention, women’s civil society organizations (CSOs) are needed to advocate on behalf of women and help mobilize resources, deliver essential services, and implement useful development activities. However, women’s CSOs cannot effectively undertake these tasks until they acquire a wide range of new skills—from assessing needs, designing responsive interventions, and implementing programs to managing operations, finances and people, building alliances and networks, planning strategically, and monitoring and evaluating performance—in addition to building capacity in the technical sectors in which they wish to work. The three-year $26.7 million “Afghan Women’s Empowerment through a Sub-grant Umbrella Mechanism” (AWE-SUM) program is designed to strengthen the capacity of women-led/focused CSOs to contribute to the social, economic, and political development of Afghan women through the provision of financial and technical assistance to support women-specific activities in the following areas: 1. Implementing activities that improve the status, safety and well being, human and legal rights, and livelihoods of Afghan women and girls; 2. Delivering services that directly address the social, political, and economic needs of Afghan women and girls; 3. Undertaking efforts to increase the participation of Afghan women in development as implementers, change agents and beneficiaries; and 4. Creating or strengthening mechanisms and channels by which Afghan women can access information, network, and take advantage of personal and professional development opportunities. Applicants will propose approaches to implementing the following Activity Components and indicate how those approaches will help accomplish the Activity Objectives: 1. Awarding sub-grants for technical and organizational capacity building of eligible organizations, including equipment, and for the activities of such organizations; 2. Assessing organizational and technical capacity needs of eligible organizations and developing responsive interventions; 3. Overseeing sub-grant implementation to ensure that in addition to successful implementation of activities, CSO institutional strengthening and technical capacity building within recipient organizations is achieved; and 4. To support the above components, developing and implementing a comprehensive communications plan and strategy to generate widespread interest in the sub-grant program among women’s CSOs and to develop and manage an information campaign about the program to inform other stakeholders. The following link will take prospective applicants who are interested in this high visibility program to the full solicitation. Click on #1, “Download Application Instructions.”

Internet, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method

This is a new book that looks very interesting - it can be viewed on

Internet, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method (Hardcover)by Don A. Dillman (Author), Jolene D. Smyth (Author), Leah Melani Christian (Author)Hardcover: 500 pages Publisher: Wiley; 3 edition (October 12, 2008)

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Colorado Man Charged With Criminal Libel For Comments on Craigslist

From the Citizen Media Law Project blog:

The Loveland Connection is reporting that a Colorado man has been charged with two counts of criminal libel after allegedly posting comments about a former girlfriend and her lawyer on's "Rants and Raves" section:

The case in Loveland began when a woman approached the Loveland Police Department in December 2007 about multiple postings made about her between November and December 2007. At least one post suggests that she traded sexual acts for legal services from her attorney, according to court records. There's also mention about a child services visit made because of an injury found on her child.

Police obtained search warrants for records from and other Web sites and identified J.P. Weichel as the suspect, the former boyfriend of the woman, who shares a child with her. In August, detectives confronted Weichel at his workplace, where police said he admitted to the postings because he was "just venting," according to the court file.

The full story and a link to The Loveland Connection is located here: