2002 December 23

(entry last updated: 2002-12-23 15:28:07)

  • Doc Searls notes that the debate on digitial identity and the nature of the Internet is getting testy. I haven’t had time to put any more thought into it than I put here, but I will pick up on one key point that Eric posts:

    Lastly (cuz I’ve been typing for 45mins), AKMA addresses the linking of commerce and reputation and how we should be careful about doing so. C’mon now people! This has been happening for decades — just ask Equifax and TRW. Individual “reputation” (in crude, blunt instrument form) is already foundational in commerce.

    In fact, that’s a little off – reputation is fundamental to commerce. Here’s a little thought experiment that Dave Noble (now a prof at York University – something of his from firstmonday) made us think about 20 years ago: “Suppose that you and I each have a good that the other wants, and that we agree that the exchange of these goods will make us both better off. Assuming that we are both rational, how can we accomplish this transaction?” If you think it through, you realize that the only way such transactions can take place is through the agency of something like reputation.

    Consider: there has to be some point in the transaction where one actor actually possesses BOTH resources. At that point, what keeps that actor from keeping them both? Only the realization that it is more important to maintain reputation than it is to achieve a one-time gain.

    Without something like reputation, transactions cannot take place, because without it, there is no rational reason that an actor will give up a resource in the expectation that the exchange will be completed.

  • Dan Gillmor’s Sunday column on Lik-Sang gets a Slashdot article

  • On a lighter note, Larry Lessig uncovers some distressing elements of his Eldred co-counsel Jonathan Zittrain’s past

  • Reuters has a news story pointing out that the deadline for passage of the EU Copyright Diretive has passed, with only Denmark and Greece enacting its provisions in local law. Telling quote:

    The industry lobbyists have not convinced politicians that technological stop-gaps such as rights management tools, which would ensure a copyright holder is compensated each time his song is downloaded onto a mobile phone or a computer hard drive, would work or are necessary.

  • The New York Times points out that much of the infrastructure necessary to achieve Total Information Awareness was put in place before the program was created.

  • The Times also covers the latest RIAA sales statistics. Overall, the industry is seeing further declines in CD sales, which they claim is all due to piracy, even though there are other hypotheses out there.

  • Lauren Weinstein has a commentary over at Wired on the impact of global jurisdiction applied to online publications. Kevin Werbach also has a piece on Open Spectrum

  • CNet has an interesting article looking at Adobe’s plans for the future of PDF and Microsoft’s tentative steps to get involved in one of the industry standards that isn’t beholding to them.

  • Declan McCullagh works through the provisions of the DMCA to examine what the consequences might be for journalists who are able to break the passwords of online documents.