From a private list I'm on, Thought some of you guys may be interested

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: MW <>
Date: Thu, Apr 25, 2013 at 8:05 PM
Subject: [---] Australian Census Data Released Under CC License, But
Official Site Tries To Make It Hard To Download
To: --- <--->
> by Glyn Moody
> Mon, Apr 22nd 2013 8:09pm
> The whole point about adopting Creative Commons licenses is to make it easier 
> for people to share and use works released under them. Sometimes, though, you 
> get the impression that certain organizations adopting these licenses would 
> rather that didn't happen, as in the following case from Australia, reported 
> by IT News:
> The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the latest census data for 
> free under a Creative Commons license but appears to be steering people 
> towards a $250 mailed out DVD rather than making it easy to download the 
> information directly over the internet.
> Programmer and freelance journalist Grahame Bowland who first noticed it, 
> said the government agency is going to great lengths to discourage people 
> from downloading the files directly by dint of a convoluted site layout and 
> Javascript functions that obfuscate file paths.
> The post then goes on to describe in detail some of the attempts to make it 
> difficult to download all of the census data, including a hard-to-find 
> registration page, a complex matrix of download options, and Javascript code 
> that does stuff like this:
> // Function: guidGenerator
> // Description:returns a pseudo-random GUID
> //This is appended to a url for 2 reasons
> //1. to make the URL unique, so that the browser always gets it and doesn't 
> use a cached version
> //2. to make a URL look like its got a unique key, in a naive attempt to fool 
> a not-so-wily hacker
> //into thinking they can't download a datapack directly if they know the URL 
> pattern, because they
> //need a unique key.
> Notice how anyone who might want to download datapacks directly is branded a 
> hacker. That's a worrying attitude, since it seems to equate people who want 
> to take advantage of the CC license to explore the census without jumping 
> through the site's hoops as shady subversives (I doubt the comment used the 
> term "hacker" in its more positive sense).
> As the IT News story suggests, the motivation for this obfuscation seems to 
> be to encourage people to pay AU $250 (about US $257) for the DVD version 
> instead. To save others from having to deal with the unhelpful Web site, 
> Bowland generously stumped up the $250 himself, and made the full census 
> database freely available as a torrent, as is perfectly legal under the CC-BY 
> license. This shows perfectly why it is pointless trying to make it hard for 
> people to download content that is CC licensed: once anyone has obtained a 
> copy, they can then make it available in a more convenient form, neatly 
> by-passing forlorn attempts to control something that has been set free 
> forever.

Wikimediaau-l mailing list

Reply via email to