Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

October 14th is Open Access Day

Wondering what Open Access is about and why should you care? See the resources below by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC):

Open Access (PDF): Why OA matters and how you can benefit from it.

We Support Open Access (PDF): What OA means for students, teachers, researchers, scientists and librarians.

Author Rights

Other resources:

A Very Brief introduction to Open Access by Peter Sauber

What’s Driving Open Access (various formats)

AUC FreeCulture is in the process of setting up an Open Access awareness session on October 14th. More details will be available very soon.


Students for Free Culture Conference 2008

The first Students for Free Culture Conference will be organized at the University of California at Berkely on October 11-12 2008. AUC FreeCulture will be there!

The conference website is here

Wikimania 2008 to be held in Alexandria, Egypt

 Wikimania 2008 Alexandria

The annual Wikimania conference is to be held in Bibliotheca Alexandrina, which have won the bid for hosting the event against two worthy candidates, Atlanta and Cape Town.
Quoting from the Wikimania 2008 Alexandria blog:

The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization based in St.Petesburg, Florida, USA, with local chapters in several cities around the world. It was founded in 2003, since then it has acted as a portal for developing and maintaining multilingual open content through several Wiki based projects. Its annual Wikimania conference is intended to provide a venue for discussing various Wiki projects, their possible evolution, and to discuss several related research papers and topics. The conference typically consists of hacking days, workshops, panel discussions and presentations. The conference also acts as a meeting point for Wiki users, providing them with an opportunity to interact and exchange expertise.

Read the rest of the post here.

Home of a German Tor anonymity server admin raided by police


German police raided the home of a man who runs a Tor anonymity server. The police were investigating a bomb threat posted in an online forum for German police officers. One of he threat posts was traced to the I.P. address for Alex Janssen’s server, which carried in excess of 40GB of daily random internet traffic (by other people using the server). Janessen was arrested and shortly released after the charges of any link between him and the bomb threats were dropped.
Tor is an online privacy tool that allows users to anonymously communicate and browse the internet. Endorsed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other civil liberties groups, Tor is used as a method for activists, whistle blowers and human rights workers to communicate with the media. According to its developers, Tor provides online anonymity for hundereds of thousands of users around the world, the majority being in the United States, China and the EU.

After raiding Janessen’s house on a Sunday midnight and placing him under arrest, the police was not able to not take or disable the Tor server in question, which was located in a different city more than 500km away.

The incident is not a first in Germany, specially since the country Germany recently passed a law that “renders the creation and distribution of software illegal that could be used by someone to break into a computer system or could be used to prepare a break in”

Open source developers file the first General Public Liscence law suit in the US

In a first-of-a-kind copyright infringement lawsuit, two open source software developers in the United States are taking a company that produces TV place-shifting devices to court over violation of the General Public License.

So what does this mean?

The General Public License (aka GPL) is a free software license created by the Free Software Foundation. It was originally written by Richard Stallman for the GNU project (a project to create a complete free software operating system). The GPL is the most popular license for free software (or open source software). The purpose of the GPL is to grant any user the right to copy, modify and redistribute programs and source code from developers that have chosen to license their work under the GPL. What is important to understand here is that while anyone is free to use and modify software released under this license at no cost, the terms of the license dictate that the user of such software is required to allow others access to the source code of whatever you have developed based on the aforementioned software.The basic principle here is “if you’ve used mine, you have to show me your’s”

So when Monsoon Multimedia used the open source software package known as BusyBox in their latest line of TV placeshifter, the Hava, the developers of Busy Box rightfully asked Monsoon to see the source code of their new device. Not surprisingly, Monsoon declined that request. The surprise came from the developers’ side, who filed a GPL copyright infringement suit against the company.

“We licensed BusyBox under the GPL to give users the freedom to access and modify its source code. If companies will not abide by the fair terms of our license, then we have no choice but to ask our attorneys to go to court to force them to do so.” said Erik Andersen, a developer of BusyBox. (Source: Software Freedom Law Center)

Hmm, Okay. So why is this important?

Again, it is a first (at least in the US). It should be very interesting to follow how the case proceeds and concludes, and see if it will set a precedent.

Happy Software Freedom Day! Get your free CDs.


Today, September 15th, is Software Freedom Day, a worldwide celebration of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) that aims to “educate the worldwide public about of the benefits of using high quality FOSS in education, in government, at home, and in business”. On that occasion, Free Culture @ AUC is handing out free Open CDs to all interested AUC students, faculty and staff.

To get your Open CD, call Hani at 010 601 5511 or email

Welcome to Free Culture @ AUC!

This is the weblog of the American University in Cairo Free Culture student group. AUC Free Culture is a chapter of , which is an international chapter-based student organization that promotes the public interest in intellectual property and information & communications technology policy. The organization is named after Lawrence Lessig‘s influencial book, Free Culture .

The mission of AUC Free Culture is to help create a freer, more participatory culture via:

· Creating and promoting awareness about issues relating to intellectual property rights, in addition to the creation and distribution of digital content.

· Advocate the principles of open content in potential projects to empower users in teaching, learning and collaborative environments.

· Encourage the creation and usage of open content, participatory media, and promote the free flow of information.

· Promote grassroots, bottom-up participation in culture via instilling participatory perspectives in community members and empowering them with relevant information technology tools.