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DoD Public Domain Archive To Be Privatized, Locked Up For 10 Years 183

Posted by timothy
from the oh-they're-only-tax-dollars dept.
Jah-Wren Ryel writes "Looks like the copyright cartel have raided the public domain yet again — the US DoD has signed an exclusive contract with T3 Media to digitize their media archive in exchange for T3 having complete licensing control for 10 years. Considering that all output from the US government is, by law, ineligible for copyright, this deal seems borderline illegal at best. To make matters worse, it appears that there is no provision to make the digitized content freely accessible after the 10 years are up — which means we risk having all that content disappear into T3."
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DoD Public Domain Archive To Be Privatized, Locked Up For 10 Years

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  • by Silentknyght (1042778) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @12:32PM (#45754097)

    It seems, lately, that there is a clearer-than-ever delineation between legality and enforceability. If our government commits an illegal act, who is able to enforce it? Who's able to hold them accountable? I wish I could say I had a good answer to that question.

  • by mattie_p (2512046) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @12:47PM (#45754197)

    It seems, lately, that there is a clearer-than-ever delineation between legality and enforceability. If our government commits an illegal act, who is able to enforce it? Who's able to hold them accountable? I wish I could say I had a good answer to that question.

    The only thing with power over the US Government is other parts of the US government. Thus if the executive branch commits an illegal act, the Congress can impeach, the courts can make orders, etc. If the Congress passes an unconstitutional law, the courts can annul by ruling on the constitutionality. If the courts go overboard, the President and the Congress can appoint new justices. Checks and balances.

    This act is on the executive branch side, so it is up to the legislature and/or courts to enforce. Private citizens can speed up the process by trying to sue, but of course, good luck finding someone with standing in this case, based on recent court rulings about domestic surveillance (only the phone companies have standing, not the people whose records were obtained).

  • FOIA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dachannien (617929) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @12:50PM (#45754209)

    These records would seem to be responsive to a proper FOIA request, and if the government already has already-paid-for access to the records, they would be required to pony up those records at the cost of duplication (which would arguably get around the third-party fees this company would charge).

    Why they didn't just give all this stuff to Google is beyond me. I'm sure they'd love to have a project like this, and they'd probably make it publicly available for the price of ads.

  • Non-digitized (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mwvdlee (775178) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @12:53PM (#45754227) Homepage

    I'm assuming the non-digitized archive is still public domain, and third party digitization of this public domain information isn't covered by this contract?

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @12:53PM (#45754237)

    If our legislators allow this sort of bastardization of our system, it is time to vote them all out and get in people who represent us, period.

    Freedom of knowledge of what our government is doing in all sorts of departments is the only way we get advance warning when they are going off the rails into tyranny and dictatorial powers.

  • Re:FOIA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NoKaOi (1415755) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @01:13PM (#45754371)

    Why they didn't just give all this stuff to Google is beyond me. I'm sure they'd love to have a project like this, and they'd probably make it publicly available for the price of ads.

    Can you really not imagine why they might do this? How much money is T3 making off of this, and who are they brib^H^H^H^H contributing campaign funds to?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 21, 2013 @01:23PM (#45754431)

    It seems, lately, that there is a clearer-than-ever delineation between legality and enforceability. If our government commits an illegal act, who is able to enforce it? Who's able to hold them accountable? I wish I could say I had a good answer to that question.

    The only thing with power over the US Government is other parts of the US government. Thus if the executive branch commits an illegal act, the Congress can impeach, the courts can make orders, etc. If the Congress passes an unconstitutional law, the courts can annul by ruling on the constitutionality. If the courts go overboard, the President and the Congress can appoint new justices. Checks and balances.

      This act is on the executive branch side, so it is up to the legislature and/or courts to enforce. Private citizens can speed up the process by trying to sue, but of course, good luck finding someone with standing in this case, based on recent court rulings about domestic surveillance (only the phone companies have standing, not the people whose records were obtained).

    Thank you for the history lesson. Now let me give you one of my own. Checks and Balances was replaced with Greed and Corruption a long time ago, which really means you can throw all this bullshit about laws and constitution out the window.

    It'll be downright comical to see how our history books paint over the financial meltdown of 2008 as a "minor setback" when many children growing up in impacted households will remember damn well what it was like. Question is will the Sheeple give a shit any more then than they do now? You don't even need wool for the eyes these days, and the parents question still stands, as no part of the government seems enforceable or accountable. If you can find one, let me know.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 21, 2013 @01:27PM (#45754477)

    "Who's able to hold them accountable?"

    As a European, I'd like to answer: the people.
    Dear Americans, stop voting Republicans or Democrats.
    Thanks, the rest of the world.

  • by haruchai (17472) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @01:53PM (#45754635)

    That's what terrorists are for :-)

  • Re:FOIA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @01:55PM (#45754655)

    Can you really not imagine why they might do this? How much money is T3 making off of this, and who are they brib^H^H^H^H contributing campaign funds to?

    There's a simpler explanation than bribery: What's the average age of a US Senator? 57 years old. Average. Google to them is like space aged rocket science. Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by stupidity. A lot of the government's actions can be explained by simple senility -- these people aren't just out of touch with society, in many cases they're in a phase of life marked by significant decline in cognitive reasoning, and studies have been done suggesting that the elderly are far more trusting than they should be due to biochemical changes in the brain. Put another way: They're easily suckered.

    This is an exceedingly obvious thing to have to point out, but it seems to be forgotten all the time by people who, were they to just divorce themselves from their own political views for a minute and contemplate the problem objectively, they'd realize that there is an organic element to the problem which far better explains the current circumstances than the radical ideas of conspiracies, bribery, and back room deals. I'm sure those happen, but they are far into the minority...

  • by _Ludwig (86077) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @02:34PM (#45754947) Journal

    Licensing the material from T3 would almost certainly involve agreeing not to redistribute. You wouldn’t be violating copyright (since there isn’t any,) but you’d be in breach of contract.

  • by dmbasso (1052166) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @02:45PM (#45755037)

    Except, duh, it was your vaunted military

    Not mine, I'm not American.

    which was fought to a sandstill and is running out with its tail between its legs, having failed abjectly.

    Failed? That's a matter of perspective. Dick Cheney and Halliburton would certainly disagree with you. Oh wait, did you think the war was about weapons of mass destruction, and bringing democracy to the region? Yeah, sure... :)

  • by The Mighty Buzzard (878441) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @02:46PM (#45755043)

    This is where the 2nd Amendment comes in. At least I'm fairly sure that violently overthrowing the government was one of the reasons it was put in, given that they'd just finished doing exactly that with privately owned firearms.

  • by cascadingstylesheet (140919) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @02:53PM (#45755093)

    The only thing with power over the US Government is other parts of the US government. Thus if the executive branch commits an illegal act, the Congress can impeach, the courts can make orders, etc. If the Congress passes an unconstitutional law, the courts can annul by ruling on the constitutionality. If the courts go overboard, the President and the Congress can appoint new justices. Checks and balances. This act is on the executive branch side, so it is up to the legislature and/or courts to enforce. Private citizens can speed up the process by trying to sue, but of course, good luck finding someone with standing in this case, based on recent court rulings about domestic surveillance (only the phone companies have standing, not the people whose records were obtained).

    The executive branch is running amok with illegality?

    Huh ... I wonder if someone is in charge of the executive branch. Some, er, elected official or something. Someone we might hold accountable.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @03:05PM (#45755181) Homepage

    It's supposed to be the courts. But when the courts rule one way and then law enforcement ignores it, we're just lost. It's depressing. Law enforcement will, for example, trample various right and punish locally even executing prisoners (calling it an accident) when they know the judiciary will rule against them. It's sick. It's disgusting. We don't have rule of law. We have rule of governments.

  • by pixelpusher220 (529617) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @05:01PM (#45755949)
    Checks and balances was replaced with apathy on the part of the electorate; the greed and corruption blossomed from there.

    We can still take it back, but given the state of the elector.....oooo Kardashians!

    I won't say I'm too hopeful.
  • by AK Marc (707885) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @06:06PM (#45756353)
    Checks and balances was replaced by parties. When your checks and balances are against another party, not another branch, the system won't work out as intended. The branch loyalty is smaller than party loyalty, so it's all a failure.
  • by AJWM (19027) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @06:26PM (#45756441) Homepage

    But there is no other party to vote for? It's only a meaningful vote if it is for the party who wins!

    Please, do us all a favor and never go near a voting booth again. That has to be one of the most stupid things I have ever read. By your logic, we should only have one party if votes are to be meaningful, and clearly that is the opposite of the truth.

    You've been utterly brainwashed by the two big parties, who fear votes for third parties more than they fear votes for the other major party. We could use a little more fear of the electorate in the big parties. If you must enter a polling booth, please vote third party. Any third party. Sometimes it actually does some good. (Even if third party doesn't win, it can shake up the Republicrats and Demicans enough that they change their policies.)

    (And if you were kidding, please include a tag next time.)

  • by Martin Blank (154261) on Saturday December 21, 2013 @08:57PM (#45757257) Journal

    Your complaints aren't remotely new, but they're also not remotely realistic.

    The Constitution gives Congress certain powers such to coin money, but no one expected them to personally work in the mints. They draft the laws that provide for the duties to be carried out by other parts of government. Technically, they have the power to raise and spend money, but they don't have a constitutional requirement.

    The Executive Branch is provided the responsibility to enforce the laws, but for practical matters require that it must sometimes decline to enforce the law due to other, more pressing concerns such as the cost of prosecution or where the effect of enforcing the law could have a larger detriment. This might include not enforcing some aspect of the health care law to allow for practical realities to be ironed out.

    The Supreme Court has always had internal politics. In one extreme example, Justice James Clark Reynolds despised Justices Louis Brandeis and Benjamin Cardozo simply because the they were Jews and would not sit next to or speak with them nor sign opinions written by them. But one does not ever know for certain how they will rule going in. One of the most stunning to me was in Gonzalez v. Raich over California's legalization of medical marijuana. The case was decided 6-3, but the dissent included one by Justice O'Connor which was joined by the Chief Justice Rehnquist and a separate dissent by Justice Thomas, the latter two of the most conservative justices who broke with their conservative colleagues who grouped with their more liberal colleagues to rule in favor of the federal government.

    Finally, on the topic of corporations and politics, the argument is that corporations are groups of people. To block spending by them, every other group would have to be blocked from political spending. Maybe this would be good--it would certainly quell the protest from the right over unions spending money--but as we've seen with 501(c)(4) groups, getting that regulation right is incredibly difficult. But it may also have a detrimental effect on anonymous contribution to political dialogue, as forcing everyone behind the political speech to be named could be seen as oppressive.

    Many people want a very simple, straightforward implementation of the ideals in the Constitution. But reality is messy, and political reality even worse. No one gets everything they want, at least not for long, before something swings against them.

  • by fafalone (633739) on Sunday December 22, 2013 @02:47AM (#45758459)
    By your logic, we should only have one party if votes are to be meaningful, and clearly that is the opposite of the truth.

    We do only have one party that can win at the national level. It has two sects which differ slightly on some aspects of some issues.

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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