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Good (and Other) Stuff I’m Reading

January 5, 2014

Service Marks Product Marks for Software

I guess I see it… you have to use the mark to accompany your actual rather than your pretend use in commerce, but boy.. what an inapt distinction, right?

January 4, 2014

on the importance of hierarchy


Just one of the papers interested me this time. Well, there is another one, applying Ostrom’s theories to Wikipedia. But it doesn’t interest me enough to read it in French (in other word, it’s in French).

Anyway, this is the interesting paper: http://mako.cc/academic/benkler_shaw_hill-peer_production_ci.pdf

What am I learning?

  1. That definitions are problematic. Look:

we define peer production as a form of open creation and sharing performed by groups online that: (1) sets and executes goals in a decentralized manner; (2) harnesses a diverse range of participant motivations, particularly non-monetary motivations; and (3) separates governance and management relations from exclusive forms of property and relational contracts

see? Let’s try and apply to GitHub, for example. (1) checks. (2) yes and no (3) yes? no? what?

  1. that

Peer production is a subset of the much wider range of Internet-mediated forms of organization and knowledge creation considered to be examples of collective intelligence.

who knew

  1. that, aha, maybe GitHub is a form of collective intelligence intelligence? but here too, definition is again problematic:

(1) collective intelligence can involve centralized control over goal-setting and execution of tasks. For example, Innocentive provides a platform for companies to distribute the search for solutions to difficult problems, but the problems themselves are defined within the boundaries of Innocentive’s client firms (“seekers”) and solutions are returned to seekers as a complete product created by a single individual or team. Peer production, in contrast, de- centralizes both goal setting and execution to networks of individuals or more structured communities. Second, (2) many collective intelligence platforms, such as the ESP Game or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk labor market, focus on optimizing systems around a relatively narrow set of motivations and incentives – ludic and financial in ESP and Mechnical Turk respectively. Peer production projects involve a broad range of incentives. Finally, (3) collective intelligence often occurs within the boundaries of firms where participants are bound by the obligation of contracts and in contexts where the resources used or products of collective effort are managed through exclusive property rights.

GitHub? (1) I’m not sure. (2) Hmmm… not sure (3) not sure

And I have to say that I’m surprised at (3). If peer-production is a class within collective intelligence, how is it possible that one is the reverse image of the other when it comes to the latter? Shouldn’t the one (peer-production) be the subset of the other (collective intelligence). Anything I’m missing?

  1. and this is a very interesting bit about Hierarchy;

Although some of the earliest theories of the organization of peer production cele- brated the phenomena as non-hierarchical, more recent work has questioned both the putative lack of hierarchy and its purported benefits (e.g., Kreiss et al., 2011). In empirical work, several studies have underscored how feedback loops of attention and cumulative advantage can perpetuate starkly unequal distributions of influence and hierarchy (Hind- man, 2008; Wu et al., 2009). Scholars have gone as far as to propose that hierarchy may even contribute to peer production success (Healy and Schussman, 2003) and a series of empiri- cal studies have documented gate-keeping behavior in peer production and suggested that it may benefit projects (Keegan and Gergle, 2010; Shaw, 2012).

January 3, 2014

Written by Stephen O’Grady for RedMonk


January 2, 2014 The bit I find most interesting is this:

Another trade secrets battle between public and private interests may be forthcoming in a matter between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the drug company Sanofi-Aventis. The FDA requires the public posting of label information for over-the-counter medications, but Sanofi-Aventis seeks to prevent such a disclosure for one of its new drugs on the basis that the information is a trade secret. Sanofi-Aventis is expecting to launch a new over-the-counter allergy drug, Nasacort, in the United States in early 2014. Rather than agree to release Nasacort’s label information, Sanofi-Aventis sued the FDA to prevent disclosure of what it considers to be company trade secrets.

The stakes for Sanofi-Aventis in protecting these trade secrets are high. Sanofi-Aventis sought but did not receive a three-year clinical investigation marketing exclusivity period for Nasacort. As a result, the public release of its label information would allow Sanofi-Aventis’ competitors to create their own generic products and enter the market at or near the same time as Sanofi-Aventis releases its new product. By contrast, if Sanofi-Aventis is successful it could establish a market share before any competitors enter the market. Blocking the release of the label would prevent competitors from making a competing product as the generic drug’s label must be identical to the brand name’s label.

and remember, another outlet is submitting a FOIA


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