Writing from within the train, between Clermont-Fd and Paris. Finally finding the time to read Jimbo’s testimonial in front of the US Senate earlier this week.
I had been warned that it was very US-centric, I did not find that too bad given the circonstances. I mostly appreciated the clarity of the message, which comes with two examples of current successful uses of two private wikis, one being hosted by a large US company, Best Buy, the other providing access to intelligence to individuals with appropriate clearance.
However, what amazed me is that there is no mention whatsoever to free-licenses in that testimonial. Or to open-content. Or to at least licensing issues. Nowhere to be seen, which I found extremely strange.
I can understand the benefit of conveying only ONE message (the subliminal message here being WIKI IS GOOD FOR YOU), I can also understand that putting the message on the TOOL rather than on the INTELLECTUAL property is 1) safer in the long run, as it avoids raising controversies around intellectual property rights, which might divide the audience – whereas the wiki tool is unlikely raise any controversy 2) more interesting from a business perspective (Jimbo can be called to consult on wiki issues, whilst others will be more appropriate to consult on licensing issues)
Still, it strikes me as odd that the point is not raised for two reasons.
First, the « topic » for which Jimbo has been asked to testify is « E-government 2.0: Improving Innovation, Collaboration, and Access ». Note the use of the term *access*. Access is very much impacted by the rights put over produced materials.
Second, a traditional copyright system is hardly compatible with the notion of collaborative writing. When no license is mentionned, by default, a text is « non-modifiable ».
I actually find this rather funny, and I presume this might be largely due to the fact the US government releases most of its documents under public domain, which hints that a conversation around free licence and open source is not a priority to discuss with US government.