Friday, September 26, 2003

Legal theory blog.

Ernest Miller at Lawmeme. Everything at Lawmeme is worth a look but scroll down for Miller's recent postings on copynorms and thoughts about how to resolve the conflicts in the p2p wars.

Donna Wentworth at Copyfight says:

"If you've got any (copy)fight in you at all, you've been following the
debate over the past 2-3 weeks about how to resolve the P2P wars
peacably--that is,

without harming technological innovation and/or the Net;
without harming people and/or violating their rights;
without harming the creators, producers or publishers of
creative works; and
without (further) harming copyright law by (further) upsetting its
intended balance.

Or, as a subset of the above questions, you may have been asking

whether the RIAA's legal campaign against P2P users is in any
sense a rational or justified approach to resolving the current
conflicts, and
if it isn't, what are the rational approaches, and finally
what approach is EFF advocating? "

I'm afraid I haven't been keeping up for the past few weeks at all. Sorry Donna. :-( Still totally buried in electronic and paper administrative mountains. Plus my latest batch of 160 or so students are starting my OU course, based on Larry Lessig's book, The Future of Ideas.

Loads of copyfight discussions I need to catch up with and point to but I should mention that the amazing Seth Finkelstein has decided to call it a day on his censorware research. I can only wish him the best of luck in getting financial and legal protection and/or in whatever venture he decides to pursue in the future. As and EFF pioneer award winner, you can't top the plaudits this unsung hero got in 2001 for the work he has tirelessly and singlehandly pursued for many years. Nice thoughts from admirers don't pay the bills or provide legal protection in these litigious times however.
Must read interview with Michael Perelman at info-commons. One quote:

"What we are doing is stifling ideas by creating an atmosphere of secrecy, of litigation, and of restriction, all of which will harm the system's ability to create important ideas in the long run. The idea that information should be private property is absolutely new, absolutely untested, and in my mind absolutely destructive. Again, I would go back to this question of long-term replenishment and say, "Where do you see the private incentives for long-term replenishment?" If you think about the way the system works today, the private sector is very, very good at taking deep, basic, scientific insights and eventually turning them into marketable commodities. But at the same time what they are doing is destroying the system of creating deep, basic, scientific insights by using their financial leverage to force science into devoting more attention to the moneymaking process."

I'd recommend his book, Steal this Idea

But what about that soundbite for the those concerned about the expansion of intellectual property rights beyond their productive boundaries:

"The idea that information should be private property is absolutely new, absolutely untested, and in my mind absolutely destructive."

Takes eight seconds to say, rather than the politicians' preferred maximum of four. But hey, we're trying to raise the level of the debate.