Carl Malamud for Public Printer


Our friend Carl Malamud, president and CEO of PublicResource.Org, which works for the publication of public domain information from local, state, and federal government agencies, has embarked on a new campaign. He’s “running” for the position of Public Printer of the United States, the head of the Government Printing Office (GPO).  Sounds novel, eh, but Carl’s campaign, Yes We Scan, is inspired by Augustus E. Giegengack, a working printer who ran a successful campaign to convinced President Franklin Roosevelt to appoint him as head of the GPO back in 1933. Carl hopes to similarly convince President Obama to appoint him as the public printer. “If I were given the honor to be nominated by the President and the further honor to be confirmed by the Senate, my platform for revitalizing the GPO and rebooting .gov is spelled out in a detailed series of policy papers.”

Those five suggestions for change are:

1.    Rebooting .Gov. How the Government Printing Office can spearhead a revolution in governmental affairs. 2.    FedFlix. Government videos are an essential national resource for vocational and safety training and can also help form a public domain stock footage library, a common resource for the YouTube and remix era. 3.    The Library of the U.S.A. A book series and public works job program to create an archival series of curated documents drawn from our cultural institutions, with full-quality masters of the books and research materials made available for other publishers to draw on.  The program would employ the GPO master printers and would recruit writers, archivists, artists, and other creative workers through a national call for participation. 4.    The United States Publishing Academy. GPO should expand current training programs such as the Institute for Federal Printing and combine them with current workforce development efforts to create a national academy similar to the National Mine Academy and the National Fire Academy, training its own workforce, the government, and the local schools in the art, craft, and science of publishing. 5.    The Rural Internetification Administration. Repurposing the Amateur Radio League, modifying spectrum policy, and injecting capital into rural coops can bring high-speed broadband to 98% of rural Americans just as the Rural Electrification Administration did for electricity in the last century.

I am happy to “endorse” Carl’s campaign, along with the likes of Larry Lessig, Cory Doctorow, Tim Bray, Tim O’Reilly, Tim Wu among others. I encourage everyone to go to Yes We Scan and help out by endorsing him. No matter the outcome of his “campaign,” Carl hopes he can launch a long-term dialogue about the public domain and how the US presents itself to the world.

Tim O’Brien at O’Reilly Media blogged about Carl’s campaign. Tim also interviewed Carl, which you can listen to here.

Run, Carl! Run! Then Scan, Carl, Scan.