10 September 2009

Marriage Made in Hell: FOI+DRM

This is not as it's supposed to be:

Secretive management at Southampton University are undermining the spirit of Freedom of Information (FOI) laws, if not necessarily contravening the letter.

Reg reader and founder of website publicwhip, Francis Irving, draws our attention to a fairly innocuous request to the University requesting details of the "total amount received by the purchase of printer credit at the University of Southampton for the academic years 2006/7, 2007/08 and 2008/09".

Hardly earth-shattering information. The author of the request, Adam Richardson, was therefore very surprised to receive back from the University – about a month later than the law suggests – a copy-protected PDF document, which requires the recipient to swear that they are indeed the person who made the FOI request before viewing the rest of the document.

...

In addition to these technological barriers, the University also adds an "Intellectual Property Rights Notice" which would appear to be a direct contravention of the law in this area. They claim to "reserve all intellectual property rights" in respect of material provided under the FOI request. The material may not be further used without the "written permission of the University".

They're claiming what? - intellectual monopolies on the facts? Talk about being true to the spirit of the law....

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2 comments:

Adrian Midgley said...

Odd. If they published the answer on an IFAQ (infrequently asked questions) website, then their effrot would increase minimally with further requests, but doing it this way if several people ask the same question the university has more work to do, all in order to make the reply less useful.

THis seems maladaptive behaviour.

glyn moody said...

I think the word you're looking for is "stupid"....