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Sat May 30 04:01:31 EST 1998

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On Sat, 23 May 1998 10:19:12 GMT, staplei at planet.ari.dpi.qld.gov.au
(Ian Staples) wrote:

>Jackie Potts <jacqueline.potts at bbsrc.ac.uk> writes:
>>Oz wrote:
>>> I am afraid your protestations are simply invalid. I think the main
>>> reason is that you can't be bothered, unlike the US academic
>>> institutions.
>>We are bothered, but we have to be realistic. We are required to realise
>>our assets. Have you tried getting access to Ordnance Survey data, soil
>>survey data or even met. data from the Met. Office for free? They were
>>all publicly funded.
>At the risk of boring you all, allow me to say once again that I suspect
>the fundamental problem is in the cultural background of the two countries
>(UK and USA).  Indeed, you could add a third by including us (Australia)
>in with the UK in this context.
>You poms and we aussies have been brought up in a system where "the
>Crown" owns and controls things, and we peasants are only allowed
>such privileges as the Crown deigns to pass down to us -- even when,
>as in this case, the poor bloody peasants have paid for most or all
>of it through taxes or whatever.  We accept it because that's the
>way it is and always was.
>The yanks, on the other hand, went though a bloody revolution to get
>rid of the Crown, and they are consequently much more aware of such
>things as civil rights and who's the servant of who.  They *know*
>that the government and its institutions belong to "the people", not
>the other way round!
>On top of that, or probably as a consequence of it, it seems that
>the yanks have arranged things so that their government institutions
>are obliged to make information available to the people for the cost
>of physical reproduction (i.e. no mark up for the cost of gathering
>the information to begin with -- after all, "the people" have already
>paid for that).
>I'd be interested to know just how far that concept still applies
>in the US with the rise of so-called "economic rationalism".  
>"User pays" is certainly all the rage here these days, even though 
>that does usually mean twice! 
>Cheers,  Ian S.

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