Two Digital Developments Today

Creative Commons support button, via their siteEagle eyed readers of this blog (well, there are two readers – hi, mum and dad – and at least one of you must be wearing your glasses as you read this) will have spotted the CC button at the bottom of the right tool bar, and its accompanying text, that “This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License”.

The Creative Commons organisation helps webauthors to make their works freely available to be shared and reused, either by helping them put the works into the public domain or by retaining copyright whilst while licensing the work as free for certain uses, on certain conditions. Their credo is

Share, reuse, and remix – legally.

Under the terms of the licence governing this blog, I am happy for anyone who credits the source to share and reuse material from this blog for non-commercial purposes. It’s what I was trying to persuade RTÉ to use to allow this week’s Prime Time leaders’ debates to be shared and reused online.

But it’s based on US law, which differs in many important respects from Irish law. As a consequence, the Creative Commons project has developed licences for over 35 other jurisdictions, and, for some time now, Dr Darius Whelan and Louise Crowley of the Law Faculty, UCC have been quietly working away on a draft of an Irish Creative Commons Licence.

In an event of considerable significance, they have today launched a website and blog devoted to the initiative, and published a draft Irish Creative Commons Licence for comments. Kudos to them. It is a very important development, an excellent example of the cooperative and altruistic Creative Commons ethos; and I look forward to the day when this blog can be governed by an Irish Creative Commons licence to which the link below can point.

Data Protection Commissioner logo, via their websiteThe second important digital development today was the publication of the 2006 Annual Report (pdf)/Tuarascáil Bhliantúil 2006 of the Data Protection Commissioner. There is a report on the RTÉ website. From the press release:

In a wide ranging report on his Office’s activities for 2006 the Commissioner has focused on:

  • The gradual erosion of the individual’s private space and the need to address this through an emphasis on the right of the individual to choose what personal information s/he discloses and to have some control over how it is used;
  • The increased use of his legally given enforcement powers to protect and promote the interests of data subjects; …
  • Meeting the privacy challenges posed by rapidly evolving technologies, not least by drawing public attention to the potential implications of sharing information on certain media including social networking sites on the internet ….

Update (17 May 2007): Paul Cullen has a piece in today’s Irish Times (sub req’d); whilst TJ has four excellent posts on the report.

Update (27 May 2007): TJ has mined another nugget from the Data Protection Commissioner’s Report.