Announcing the Upstream podcast

Open is 1️⃣ all over and 2️⃣ really interesting and yet 3️⃣ there’s not enough media that takes it seriously as a cultural phenomenon, growing out of software but now going well beyond that.

And so, announcement: I’m trying to fill that hole a little bit myself. Tidelift’s new Upstream podcast, which I’m hosting, will:

  1. Pull from across open, not just from software. That’s not because software is bad or uninteresting, but because it’s the best-covered and best-networked of the many opens. So I hope to help create some bridges with the podcast. Tech will definitely come up—but it’ll be in service to the people and communities building things.
  2. Bring interesting people together. I like interview-style podcasts with guests who have related but distinct interests—and the magic is their interaction. So that’s what we’ll be aiming for here. Personal goal: two guests who find each other so interesting that they schedule coffee after the recording. Happened once so far!
  3. Be, ultimately, optimistic. It’s very easy, especially for experienced open folks, to get cynical or burnt out. I hope that this podcast can talk frankly about those challenges—but also be a recharge for those who’ve forgotten why open can be so full of hope and joy for the future.

So far I’ve recorded on:

  • The near past (crypto?) and near future (machine learning?) of open, with Molly White of Web 3 Is Going Great and Stefano Maffuli of the Open Source Initiative. Get it here! (Transcripts coming soon…)
  • The joy of open. At Tidelift, we often focus on the frustrating parts of open, like maintainer burnout, so I wanted to refresh with a talk about how open can be fun. Guests are Annie Rauwerda of the amazing Depths of Wikipedia, and Sumana Harihareswara—who among many other things, has performed plays and done standup about open software. Will release this tomorrow!
  • The impact of open on engineering culture, particularly at the intersection of our massively complex technology stacks, our tools, and our people. But we are often so focused on how culture impacts tech (the other way around) that we overlook this. I brought on Kellan Elliot-McCrea of Flickr, Etsy, and Adobe, and Adam Jacob of Chef and the forthcoming System Initiative to talk about those challenges—and opportunities.
  • The relationship of open to climate and disasters. To talk about how open intersects with some of the most pressing challenges of our time, I talked with Monica Granados, who works on climate at Creative Commons, and Heather Leson, who does digital innovation — including open — at the IFRC’s Solferino Academy. I learned a ton from this one—so excited to share it out in a few weeks.

Future episodes are still in the works, but some topics I’m hoping to cover include:

  • open and regulation: what is happening in Brussels and DC, anyway? Think of this as a follow-up to Tidelift’s posts on the Cyber Resilience Act.
  • open and water: how does open’s thinking on the commons help us think about water, and vice-versa?
  • open and ethics: if we’re not technolibertarians, what are we anyway?

I’m very open to suggestions! Let me know if there’s anyone interesting I should be talking to, or topics you want to learn more about.

We’ll be announcing future episodes through the normal Places Where You Get Your Podcasts and the Tidelift website.

good news/bad news, journal blogging edition

good news: a post from my journal’s blog team made it all the way to slashdot.

bad news: slashdot (more specifically, the blog we’re nominally affiliated with) called our writing ‘surprisingly readable.’ It’s sad that lawyers are supposed to be excellent communicators, and yet our training typically stilts our writing so much that it is surprising when our work can be read by the public.

amazon mp3 payments to artists?

I’ve been scouring the internet for this information, but no luck so far, so I’ll ask here in hopes something will come of it.

Amazon is charging less (in some cases significantly less) for their mp3 music service than the same album in physical media. The question is: where is that reduced cost coming from? Out of the pockets of the distributors (as a result of lower media costs), or of the artists (as a result of…?) There is at least anecdotal evidence that artists make significantly less when you buy their album from iTunes than when you buy the same CD, which is insane. Does Amazon’s mp3 service have the same problem?

I’m otherwise leaning in the direction of becoming a regular user of Amazon’s mp3 service- no DRM, increased convenience, and lower costs is exactly what should be happening to the music industry right now, and Amazon is doing all of those. But if that actually improves the position of the labels at the expense of artists… ewww. I want to pay artists for their art, not distributors for their 20th century marketing and overhead, and if Amazon makes that harder rather than easier… Not Cool.

(I realize there are issues with mp3s as a closed standard, but that’s a post for another way.)

reminder: doing the right thing with CC licensed images in blog posts

I’ve been using a fair number of CC-licensed images in blog posts lately; I’ve had a lot of fun doing it- looking through and finding the pictures is often a blast. I’ve noticed others are doing more of this lately as well.

CC, by Franz Patzig, used under the CC-BY license.

Note that in all of the pictures I use, I include the title, the creator, and the license, plus links for each of those. It is my pleasure to give credit to the generous artists who let me use their work.

But let this post serve as a quick reminder: the Creative Commons licenses also require that when using the licensed work, you must also include the URI of the license, the name or pseudonym of the author, and the title and URI of the work. These requirements are fairly loose (they need only be appropriate to the medium) but they are there, and they should be respected.

Tangentially: some CC fan should update this flickr greasemonkey script (or a similar one) to include proper licensing information. That would make this whole blogging thing so much easier :)

Notes from NYLS Amateur Hour

I’m spending today at a conference on user-generated content at New York Law School. Some notes from throughout the day. As usual, these come with the disclaimer that these are not direct quotes (unless I indicate them to be with quotes); as such you should not cite them as the words of the speaker, but rather as my paraphrase.

  • You’d think with all the conference-hopping I do, I’d have been in the same room with Clay Shirky before now. But no.
  • Surprising amount of Real Lawyers here, as well as what looks like about 1/2 of the NYLS student body. They make me feel slightly underdressed.
  • The head of the UK’s IP office called yesterday to back out of his keynote; opening speaker points to this as evidence that this is a brutally live topic.

Rest will be below the fold.

Continue reading “Notes from NYLS Amateur Hour”