LONG LIVE Recommendation 7.14 “... content funded by Australian governments … should be made freely available over the internet ” (as long as you don’t want to quote/discuss it, one assumes).

A few days ago, the National Innovation System Review came out. I have had it open on my desktop for a while trying to decide what part to blog. So here it is:



IMAGE: “Sorry copying text from this document is not allowed” So much for being able to blog about innnovation in Australia.

Innovative Discussion:

The exact sum total of how much the Government of Australia values a discussion on Innovation? Zero, I’d say. Why didn’t they make it a condition of the review that the documentation would be made available freely to the Australian public for discussion? why do we have to be passive eyeballs? Journo’s can claim ‘fair use’ and retype sections, but bloggers wanting to create indepth communities of interest (such as Mike Seyfang and his FriendFeed room on NIS Review) around Australian Innovation are, frankly, screwed.
The review was put together by Dr. Terry Cutler, Principal of Cutler and Company. Also of CSIRO. He holds the copyright. Did Terry Cutler get a nice grant or funding to pull together the information, and control the content?

I can’t copy and paste the copyright here (see error message above) but suffice to say, he owns the copyright of the report, including user submissions. No part may be reproduced by any process yada yada

Copyrighting Collaboration:

Well, the review was pulled from by 700 submissions from Australian companies and individuals – all of whom, one assumes, gave freely of their advice and expertise in varying forms.

I would like to express my gratitude to my colleagues on the Review Panel who have worked with me on the Review, as well as those who have provided support to us during the Review. As we note in the Report, this document needs to be seen as just the start of the continuing national dialogue on innovation, and the wealth of submissions and material assembled during this project will remain very helpful in this ongoing process. (it took 30seconds to ‘unlock’ the pdf otherwise known as pirating content critical to Australia’s development)

The submitters can’t quote it themselves now of course, because the PDF is locked down.

I’ll leave you with Recommendation 7.14

Recommendation 7.14
To the maximum extent practicable, information, research and content funded by Australian governments – including national collections – should be made freely available over the internet as part of the global public commons. This should be done whilst the Australian Government encourages other countries to reciprocate by making their own contributions to the global digital pubic commons.

I seriously doubted I would write this blog post. Why? Well, we know what’s going on, how important free-ing the content is, how to initiate and sustain discussions, the value of the common good. The Government and their advisers don’t.

And let’s face it, a Government that can commission a report on Web 2.0, Innovation, collaboration, information flow and the freedom to innovate, and then lock down the report, is no longer sustainable nor culturally relevant. Don’t believe me? How many of you nearly skipped this blog post because you thought it was going to be about another Government report commissioned to tell us what we already know, and that would go nowhere. The locking down of the content is just the icing on the cake.

Senator Kim Carr should have been fighting to make sure we can take this content and post bits that are relevant to us, continuing the discussion and remaining involveed. Instead we have seperation of CSIRO academics and their mates presenting to the the Australian Government submissions made by ordinary Australians and yet reataining the copyright.

Reading the review, seeing the list of 700 Australian individuals and companies who submitted content, understanding that underpinning the ‘building strength in innovation’ is the need to recognise creative content and collaboration, and then realising the whole report is unavailable for discussion, never to be anything more than passively consumed, my response is (in the immortal words of that esteemed wordsmith Ricky Gervais): You ‘avin a laugh?

What do you think? Is the content created by Terry Cutler et al so unique, so important that we are only allowed to read it, not quote it? Are you happy with a locked PDF as the foundation stone which will lead to Australia’s future of innovation? No? Thought not. Tell them here on the Review of the National Innovation System Comment Form.

I would’ve liked to talk about Australian Broadband and Content and Broadcasting for innovation, Social Economies vs Digital Economies but hell, who can get past the lock on the document? Lipservice does not beget engagement. Here endeth the lesson.

EDIT: I can now copy from the document, permissions have changed. Thanks to @NikC for point out the change. I’m off to think about that…

Tags: innovation, digital economy, Online Communities, social media, Australia, National Innovation System, review, Terry Cutler, NIS, Government, Kim Carr, Canberra