Blog Pile

Storm The Walled Gardens From a Side Door

I have an idea how some rag tag blog army can storm the castle of the Walled Garden Content Horders and do some damage. Maybe. It is likely a dumb idea that someone will poke the Hummer sized holes in.

This just flickered n when I read Clarence Fisher’s Twitter gripe:

What he is saying is that he is checking the referred log to his (emphasis added) wide open shared blog and finding inbound links from locked up course management systems. Maybe he is just curious how people inside the walls are using his stuff. Maybe he wants to know if they have ideas that he might benefit from… after freely giving up his content; they just horde it inside the castle pantries, and at the end of the semester, dump it in the moat.

So here is my quarter-thought out idea…

Let’s say a lot of bloggers, content publishers used the Creative Commons Share Alike License which says:

If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same, similar or a compatible license.

Now I know a of of people more knowledgeable about the license details have some issues with Share Alike. For the last few years, I have gone the simplest give away the store By Attribution license which means thousands of people are getting rich off my crap (not).

But let’s say people using, oh products like… um… oh.. .Blackboad were building upon Clarence’s Share Alike content. He does not share his as locked behind a password, so if they are doing so, they are violating the license.

Now one quick thought is- if all they are doing is linking, then the license does not apply.


But let’s say a lot of people started contacting the sites that maintain the garden walls, with referee logs indications of the hundreds of links emanating within, and ask for (a) verification that their re-use of the content is Shared Alike (no password) or (b) that they remove the content.

Now just the sheer burden of these requests would be crippling? What of we found some hungry lawyers…

But no. The problem here is that it is NOT the perpetrators who will be affected, it is their institutions that sadly are invested in said gardens.

I am not advocating this, just wondering what the implications are in a “What If” format…. If suddenly I see a lot of my colleagues lighting up a new SA license, well… something might be happening out there in the dark forest beyond the walls.

And, again, not actually suggesting anything, what if someone built a web site to document said transgressions, with an automatic cease and desist letter/email generating script? Does anyone hear a Trebuchet being locked into position?

I am just postulating…

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. I doubt that merely linking to the content would be considered to be a form of reuse or modification of the content.

    And that’s all that seems to be happening here (“inbound links from locked up course management systems”).

  2. Didn’t I say that? “Now one quick thought is- if all they are doing is linking, then the license does not apply.”

    The point would be to put a burden of responsibility on the Blackboard, et als, for allowing systems to violate licenses…. hmm, that could leverage people not to remix content… oh forget it. Like I said, it was a (less than) quarter baked idea.

  3. I would bet a whole bunch of money, if I had any, that we would find not only CC-SA licensed content used in ways that violate the terms of the license but also a lot of fully copyrighted material that has been “remixed”. I remember Brian Lamb saying once that part of the reason why some instructors would be hesitant to put their course content out on the Free web is because of how often they violate copyright. He also pointed out that with the growing availability of free, creative commons licensed content, there is no need to rely so heavily on appropriated resources.

    Those are some of my thoughts, but I have to admit that the real reason I wanted to comment was to say how cool it is that you use the word “trebuchet” in your post. Well done! :-)

  4. hah…this is continuing what I brought up in my last reply post (so yeah, I’m only catching up on 30+ of your blog postings). First, this obviously implies the need to “teach naked” (as per the presentation at the nmc virtual conference).
    Ultimately…I think this starts to point as some of the hyper-conservatism of educational legal systems…could there be a way of somehow making LMSs have both open and closed portions of the environment?
    I’m rambling too…

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