Open Data in Italy has a lot to tell about some stories characterised by a really interesting bottom-up approach.
I like the idea that we should innovate without permission, as David Osimo said some time ago and many other experts agreed. “ We can make an augmented government with the right tools“.

Here are some notes on what’s happening in Italy around these topics.

Working Groups to help municipalities going through Open Data

There is a news on epsiplatform about Alessandria and its initiative related to a multi-stakeholders approach to Open Data. Alessandria is a municipality which has a default: it’s interesting how trasparency and re-use of data will help a better governance.

This isn’t a novelty: Florence had opened Open Data supported by Wikitalia, standing on the shoulders of its communities. We, as a community, can be a sort of “push” actors, and supporters against those who don’t understand the value of these actions inside the government and the administration.

There is also the case of Palermo, who has been publishing Open Data since the 23rd of February (which was the International Open Data Day). Palermo is working to make Open Data an ongoing process, and not only an event fixed during the time. A process which will involve all interested stakeholders who live in the city.

This is the reaction to another action, a blog post written by Andrea Borruso on the quality of the data released, and on the overall process. A post where Andrea made a new dataset from the data released, helping the municipality to think about the value of the quality of the data. This post was shared with the community of Spaghetti Open Data, and gained a lot of attention. The municipality, after a public meeting on this topic, has started a working group to make the overall approach to Open Data a better one. Palermo now wants to make more Open Data, with more attention on the quality of the data, and with a shared strategy with the community.

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Di questa cosa sono rimasto assai colpito, ha implicazioni notevoli.
-> EMI’s Outrageous Lawsuit Against Developer Takes Its Toll
-> Congrats EMI! You’ve Killed Some Innovation
-> EMI lawsuit claims first casualty

The lawsuit targeted a developer of a service, Swurl, who just used an API for another service, Seeqpod, that was being sued. It’s quite troublesome to claim that one company is liable for simply using an API of another company who, itself, is probably not doing anything infringing

In breve: il servizio di lifestreaming Swurl è stato chiuso dai due creatori, perchè è stato denunciato dalla EMI per un semplice motivo: Swurl usava le API di un motore di ricerca innovativo centrato sui feed inerenti alla musica ( ma non solo ) di nome Seeqpod. Uso delle API non previsto da parte di Seeqpod, e denuncia di uno dei servizi che ne usavano a sua volta le API.
Da una segnalazione precedente sulla causa intestata da EMI e sul coinvolgimento dello sviluppatore dietro a Swurl, prendo la fine:

If EMI does win, it would set a precedent that the usage of an API puts the developer at risk of a lawsuit should the service they’re tapping into ever get sued. Such a decision would have huge ramifications for developers, who could become weary of using any service that could conceivably be considered illegal. It would stifle innovation. And frankly, it’s ridiculous.

Vediamo di sbrogliare la matassa.
Swurl era un servizio di lifestreaming, rilanciato a suo tempo anche da ReadWriteWeb, che stavo usando da luglio sia per me, sia come ulteriore canale di lifestreaming per Metafora AD Network. Era un’idea assai simile a Friendfeed, ma con importanti differenze. Non è importante dilungarsi sulle sue caratteristiche, è importante far emergere il contesto:

The lawsuit targeted a developer of a service, Swurl, who just used an API for another service, Seeqpod, that was being sued. It’s quite troublesome to claim that one company is liable for simply using an API of another company who, itself, is probably not doing anything infringing.

La catena è notevole: EMI ha portato in tribunale il servizio Seeqpod, e nel frattempo ha preso di mira anche uno dei servizi che ne usavano le API, ben prima di vedere se la causa contro Seeqpod si chiuda a suo favore, tra l’altro. Swurl, dal canto suo, essendo ancora un servizio amatoriale, ha chiuso i battenti, ovviamente.
Ci sono due cose che fanno riflettere, assolutamente non scontate: dove si sposta e si incentiva oggi l’innovazione, se mette in crisi modelli consolidati oggi forti, e un domani magari assai meno, e una questione di catena di colpevolezza assolutamente non scontata. Ben prima che sia provata la presenza di un crimine, si colpisce tutta la filiera. Bullismo legale è stato definito dalle fonti citate.
E non si colpisce il servizio in quanto tale, ma uno dei fondatori, personalmente.

Rather than just suing the companies, it’s also suing investors and the founders personally. This isn’t just highly unusual, it’s a clear attempt to pressure these companies into settling, as no matter how legitimate your stance is, it’s quite a scary thing to be sued personally, and potentially have personal assets at risk. Suing the founders personally is legal bullying. It’s a clear abuse of the legal system to try to force a settlement, rather than an actual attempt to raise a legal issue.

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Matteo Brunati

Sono un appassionato di tutto quello che ha relazione con la Rete, specie al confine tra tecnologia e società. Open Data e Linked Data sono nuovi livelli di un bene comune digitale, oggi riusabile come se fosse un Lego.
La società dei dati, anche con l’hype dei Big Data, mi affascina: ma serve maggiore riflessione condivisa.


Community Manager @ SpazioDati, su Dandelion API e Atoka.


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