2002 August 5 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-08-05 08:46:12)

Another busy day, so I’m not sure how much posting I can do. But Tom W. Bell has an essay at Tech Central Station that looks interesting – another call to debunk “property” rhetoric in the area of copyright and patents.

It might also help drive the development of alternatives to copyright and patent were we to encourage practices more clearly demarcating the line between protected and unprotected creations. This would prove especially helpful in copyright law, where U.S. law by default grants protection to every fixed expression of authorship. I’ve thus argued for applying notices such as “Uncopyright,” “Uncopr.,” or even just “(ยข)” to works that have been removed from, fallen out of, or never qualified for the Copyright Act’s protections. Such notices would encourage the growth of an “open” copyright system, one that respects and encourages movement across the Act’s porous border.

Beyond those measures, the best options for effectuating reform of copyright and patent law remain the standbys of reformers everywhere: long-shot legal claims, the diffuse effects of popular opinion, and long-term academic debates. Although that may sound dispiriting, I assure you from personal experience that it can prove a very engaging project. At the very least, the hard job of privatizing copyright and patent law promises to keep liberty-loving policy wonks motivated and busy for years to come.

2002 August 2 Links

(entry last updated: 2002-08-02 09:19:15)

Donna has challenged me to clarify the thinking behind my July 31 posting. Unfortunately, I haven’t had a lot of time to do so, but in the interim, Brad King’s report on the Cato Institute session articulates at least one key thought far better than I did.

(2 items below)

  • The Cato Institute brought together content providers and the technology industry to talk about digital rights, which seems to have rapidly centered in the DMCA. Lisa Bowman’s piece at CNet covers the sides that were presented, but Brad King’s article in Wired.com touches on some of what underlay my thinking in my earlier posting here. To wit:

    “To mandate a technology (solution) is to kill technology, and we should oppose that,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-California), who opened the debate by voicing her concerns about the current climate in Washington. “If we allow cartels like the copyright community to adopt technology in lieu of government controls, we may end up with the same kinds of problems.”

    Mandating technology solutions, or locking down what people can do with technology, could have devastating effects on future innovation. [emphasis added]

    With luck, I’ll get some time today to work out my thoughts a little better – however, I agree with everything about the emphasized line above except the verb – it’s not could, it’s will.

  • And an article in BusinessWeek Online gets strident about Berman-Coble.

2002 August 1 links

(entry last updated: 2002-08-01 16:14:10)

The Charles Sims dialog continues at Politech – I, myself, need to refine what I wrote yesterday. PressPlay changes its business model – some. Law.com offers up a look at Eldred v. Ashcroft. An update on the HP-SnoSoft conflict. And a great article at Salon looks at the outlaw, and creative, culture of bootlegs (home remixes of music).

(8 items listed below)

  • Declan McCullagh’s Politech has a variety of responses to Charles Sims’ complaint about the Siva Viadhyanathan piece.

  • CNet reports that PressPlay is changing to unlimited downloads, albeit still with limits on how much of the downloaded material can be saved to CD – 120 songs/year.
  • Eldred v. Ashcroft gets a rundown at Law.com, in anticipation of this fall’s hearing before the Supreme Court. Not a terribly enlightening article, but there are two notable points: (a) the assertion that, until cert. was approved, the case had been "largely regarded… as an annoyance, an academic exercise undertaken by a handful of law professors" (snotty, that), and (b) the whole point of the case is about the "role of copyrights to both support and limit the First Amendment’s guarantee of free expression." I think Larry would argue that there’s a little more to it than that!
  • The Salon article Bootleg Culture starts by skewering the hip-hop artists (and their record companies) who won’t license their music for use in “bootlegs” ("hybrid tracks that mix together other people’s songs to create new songs that are at once familiar yet often startlingly different" – also known as mash-ups) and then goes on to describe the bootleg culture as essentially illegal:
    Existing copyright laws mean that, for the most part, this movement will remain underground. Consequently bootlegs may be the first new genre of music that is almost entirely contraband, and most bootlegs now can only be found on a few Web sites or on file-sharing networks like KaZaA and Gnutella.

    …Such fan edits [of movies] are also, technically, illegal, but from the perspective of the turntablists, remixers, and home editors at the forefront of the explosion of bootleg culture, copyright laws don’t look like anything other than the means by which one group of artists limits the work of another.

  • The New York Times reviews the ReplayTV 4500 DVR – and the reviewer loves it!
  • LawMeme tells you more than you wanted to know about the Tru64 bug that HP is trying to block via the DMCA.
  • Sonia Arrison discusses the limits of the Berman initiative in TechCentral Station.
  • Dawn Chmielewski goes over several contentious issues in the transition to digital television.