Wednesday, December 3, 2008 - Caring About Sharing

Greetings, everyone. Have you seen the new open letter from Larry Lessig, Ben Smith (Politico), Tim O'Reilly and others from Mozilla, Wikipedia, RedditMozilla, and the Sunlight Foundation regarding three principles for open government? Here's the slide show:

And here are the three principles:

1. No Legal Barrier to Sharing (law (copyright law) should not block sharing);

2. No Technological Barrier to Sharing (code (limitations on downloads, for example) should not block sharing;

3. Free competition (no alliances should favor one commercial entity over another, or commercial over noncommercial entities).

Also, here are a couple links to learn more:


- Larry Lessig's Blog

- Ben Smith's Explanation at Politico

I am most interested in principle #2. Here's an excerpt from the broader definition of No Technological Barrier to Sharing:

"Content made publicly available should also be freely accessible, not blocked by technological barriers. Citizens should be able to download transition-related content in a way that makes it simple to share, excerpt, remix, or redistribute. This is an essential digital freedom....We would therefore strongly encourage the transition to assure that the material it has licensed freely be practically accessible freely as well."

The call here is for citizens to be able to have free access to digital content...and yet many government agencies themselves restrict access for their employees. It seems that Obama's administration is sending an early signal that they will expect more openness by government - not only in sharing content with constituents, but also allowing the public sector employees to have broader access to Internet media.

If you're a government employee, do you welcome this openness? Or do you have reservations?

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