RE: position paper: Social Media in eGovernment

John, in my view, this is a very important topic that warrants impassioned
debate.  (I subscribe to Michael Schrage's assertion that good manners
should not be allowed to stand in the way of a good argument.)

My short response to your rhetorical question is a question for you:  Who
"owns" the Web and the Internet?

In my view, the notion that we must bow down to others and agree to allow
them to assume ownership of *our* information is what Jean Lipman-Blumen
calls a "control myth".  (I am drafting a paper based upon her book entitled
"The Allure of Toxic Leaders: Why We Follow Destructive Bosses and Corrupt
Politicians - and How We Can Survive Them" for inclusion in my collection at 

In the U.S., 17 USC 105 expressly provides that " Copyright protection . is
not available for any work of the United States Government ..." & 

BTW, I care much less about open source *software* than I do about open and
easy access to public records.

Owen Ambur
Co-Chair Emeritus, xmlCoP  
Co-Chair, AIIM StratML Committee
Member, AIIM iECM Committee 
Invited Expert, W3C eGov IG
Membership Director, FIRM Board  
Former Project Manager, 

-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Sheridan, John
Sent: Thursday, December 04, 2008 7:38 AM
To: eGov IG
Subject: RE: position paper: Social Media in eGovernment


Thanks for your comments - and yes we should absolutely debate these
questions - which are designedly provocative, and aim to put the issues into
an e-Government context.

There was one part I do have a little trouble with:

> With reference to the first question, I would make a plea for use of the
> word "stewardship" rather than "ownership" -- at least as far as public
> information is concerned.  (The notion that someone ... anyone ... could
> "own" a social network is also anathema to me.)  See the section entitled
> "Culture" at the bottom of page 10 (PDF page 16) of the document at
> -- whose
> four enumerated goals are available in StratML format at

To my mind, we can't just pretend that copyright and other intellectual
property rights don't exist - there absolutely is *ownership* in social
networks, with the nature of that ownership depending on their terms of use
(e.g. many services allow me to retain ownership of *my* data, but grant
extensive permission to the service provider).

We may like to live in a world of stewardship, but we actually live in a
world of ownership - of intellectual property rights, copyright, and (in
Europe) database rights. It is precisely because these networks have such
value, that we should discuss who owns them - and ownership is absolutely
the right word to use - because ownership inescapably exists and is

A rhetorical question: is there a major social networking service that
doesn't address intellectual property rights, one way or another, in their
terms of use?

That social networks are owned (somehow), is a fact. That they are (or
should be) stewarded, is a point of view (and not necessarily one I disagree
with by the way!).

If you like, "stewardship" is an answer to the "ownership" question.


-----Original Message-----
From: []
On Behalf Of Jose M. Alonso
Sent: Wednesday, December 03, 2008 6:03 PM
To: eGov IG
Cc: John Sheridan; Kevin Novak
Subject: position paper: Social Media in eGovernment

Dear Group participants,

As discussed at the F2F, John drafted a position paper for the  
upcoming W3C workshop on the Future of Social Networking [1] that  
Kevin and I reviewed.

Paper is available at [2] and has just been sent to the programme  
committee. I'm very sorry that due to time constraints we were not  
able to share it with the Group ahead of time to get more comments  
from you. We'll update the Group at a future call or by email once we  
get more information from the PC.

This closes ACTION-30.



Jose M. Alonso <>    W3C/CTIC
eGovernment Lead        

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Received on Thursday, 4 December 2008 16:52:15 UTC