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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It’s been a stressful day. I got an e-mail from a “social media administrator” informing me that article I wrote was “added” to a website. In fact, it was reproduced in its entirety without permission. Earlier this week a colleague had to let a senior exec know that an individual in that company was basically posting “comment spam ads” on this blog. So far as I can tell, both of these Web 2.0 social media users are employed by reputable companies; they just don’t know the rules of their jobs (yet).

Now, considering all the splogs and other misuses of content (by those who choose to steal) I should be pleased that in my situation the individual clearly did not know there was anything out of line. The administrator was being a responsible citizen of the Web, letting me know how my content was being used. I suspect the comment poster thought this was appropriate behavior.

The real question I have is how one person got to be a “social media administrator” and the other a marketing intern without knowing about copyright and how to post valuable comments? Maybe, just maybe, the administrator felt it was ok to reprint my article under fair use? (That’s a real stretch based on my understanding of the doctrine, even for educational purposes.) Or perhaps the person thought that “letting me know” the material was being used was equivalent to asking permission? Perhaps the intern had seen other “comment spam” and thought that was the way things were done?

There are all sorts of “quizzes” folks can use to weed out people who claim to know say GIS. Is there one for “media administrators” and marketing interns? Here are some I found that highlight the basics of copyright. (Do note, you can pretty much link to anything without permission. It’s reprinting where you can get into trouble. If in doubt, ask permission. Can’t get permission? Just link, preferably with attribution, that is, saying what the source is!)

- Ohio Literacy Resource Center
- SCU

By the way, I can’t think of a time when Directions Media (or GIS Monitor for that matter) ever turned down a reasonable reprint request. Similarly, we’ve typically had very positive responses when asking members of the GIS community for permission to reprint. As for comment spam, we reserve the right to remove it (and do). And, we might contact the poster’s boss.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/23 at 03:01 PM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The European Patent Office has granted an EU-wide patent for the transmission of location-based information between devices and the subsequent publishing of that information for viewing on a map. That sounds pretty broad!

GeoSentric Oyj, the folks behing GyPSii, got the patent. After pinging the PR folks I learned: It’s Patent #EP1295500

“The original filing is under Benefon - to clarify that since the original filing, the company is now called GeoSentric and includes the TWIG product line and the core business of GyPSii. The Benefon name was changed to GeoSentric in mid 2007 and the intellectual property is used across the full company’s product lines.”

- press release

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/23 at 08:20 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

The controversial Bush administration spy satellite program, the National Applications Office, planned to be part of the Department of Homeland Security is being shut down. Some lawmakers feared it would lead to domestic spying. Local public safety officials said they had more pressing concerns and would have found the program hard to implement. The programs launch was delayed on legal grounds for about two years.

Per the Wall Street Journal:

The program would have provided federal, state and local officials with extensive access to spy-satellite imagery — but no eavesdropping capabilities— to assist with emergency response and other domestic-security needs, such as identifying where ports or border areas are vulnerable to terrorism.

The decision comes as Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s aims to refocus the department’s intelligence on ensuring that state and local officials get the threat information they need, according to unnamed officials.

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/23 at 08:08 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

I guess this is a money and effort saving deal: The Dept. of Housing and Urban Development is now showing its use of stimulus money on the same mapping app (built on Google Maps) used by the US Dept. of Agriculture.

- Federal News Radio
- press release

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/23 at 07:55 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share

Google shared that it’s working to identify landmarks on images in part by starting with geocoded images on Picassa and Panaramio. Clint Boulton wonders what it’ll be useful for beyond grade school homework projects. I know - Google can do what Bing already does (though apparently using different methodology) adding landmark images to its mapping app.

- Google Watch Blog at EWeek

by Adena Schutzberg on 06/23 at 07:44 AM | Comments | Bookmark and Share
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