Donna Wentworth
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Ernest Miller
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Elizabeth Rader
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Jason Schultz
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Wendy Seltzer
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Alan Wexelblat
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About this weblog
Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

What Does "Copyfight" Mean?

Copyfight, the Solo Years: April 2002-March 2004

a Typical Joe
Academic Copyright
Jack Balkin
John Perry Barlow
Blogbook IP
David Bollier
James Boyle
Robert Boynton
Brad Ideas
Ren Bucholz
Cabalamat: Digital Rights
Cinema Minima
Consensus @ Lawyerpoint
Copyfighter's Musings
Copyright Readings
CopyrightWatch Canada
Susan Crawford
Walt Crawford
Creative Commons
Cruelty to Analog
Culture Cat
Deep Links
Derivative Work
Julian Dibbell
Digital Copyright Canada
Displacement of Concepts
Downhill Battle
Exploded Library
Bret Fausett
Edward Felten - Freedom to Tinker
Edward Felten - Dashlog
Frank Field
Seth Finkelstein
Brian Flemming
Frankston, Reed
Free Culture
Free Range Librarian
Michael Froomkin
Michael Geist
Michael Geist's BNA News
Dan Gillmor
Mike Godwin
Joe Gratz
James Grimmelmann
Groklaw News
Matt Haughey
Erik J. Heels
Induce Act blog
Inter Alia
IP & Social Justice
IPac blog
Joi Ito
Jon Johansen
JD Lasica
Legal Theory Blog
Lenz Blog
Larry Lessig
Jessica Litman
James Love
Alex Macgillivray
Madisonian Theory
Maison Bisson
Kevin Marks
Tim Marman
Matt Rolls a Hoover
Mary Minow
Declan McCullagh
Eben Moglen
Dan Moniz
Danny O'Brien
Open Access
Open Codex
John Palfrey
Chris Palmer
Promote the Progress
PK News
PVR Blog
Eric Raymond
Joseph Reagle
Recording Industry vs. the People
Lisa Rein
Thomas Roessler
Seth Schoen
Doc Searls
Seb's Open Research
Shifted Librarian
Doug Simpson
Stay Free! Daily
Sarah Stirland
Swarthmore Coalition
Tech Law Advisor
Technology Liberation Front
Siva Vaidhyanathan
Vertical Hold
Kim Weatherall
David Weinberger
Matthew Yglesias

Timothy Armstrong
Bag and Baggage
Charles Bailey
Beltway Blogroll
Between Lawyers
Blawg Channel
Chief Blogging Officer
Drew Clark
Chris Cohen
Crooked Timber
Daily Whirl
Dead Parrots Society
Delaware Law Office
J. Bradford DeLong
Betsy Devine
Ben Edelman
Ernie the Attorney
How Appealing
Industry Standard
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IP Watch
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Rick Klau
Wendy Koslow
Elizabeth L. Lawley
Jerry Lawson
Legal Reader
Likelihood of Confusion
Chris Locke
Derek Lowe
MIT Tech Review
Paper Chase
Frank Paynter
Scott Rosenberg
Scrivener's Error
Jeneane Sessum
Silent Lucidity
Smart Mobs
Trademark Blog
Eugene Volokh
Kevin Werbach

Berkman @ Harvard
Chilling Effects
CIS @ Stanford
Copyright Reform
Creative Commons
Global Internet Proj.
Info Commons
IP Justice
ISP @ Yale
NY for Fair Use
Open Content
Public Knowledge
Shidler Center @ UW
Tech Center @ GMU
U. Maine Tech Law Center
US Copyright Office
US Dept. of Justice
US Patent Office


Monthly Archives

June 25, 2008

Pi-Con 3

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

I've been invited to be a panelist/guest at the 3rd annual Pi Science Fiction Convention being held in West Springfield, MA this August.

Given that the guests include Cory (boingboing) Doctorow and Randall (xkcd) Munroe I doubt most anyone will notice I'm there. On the other hand, I can't imagine putting Cory and myself in the same place and NOT having discussions of intellectual property arise. As I've noted before, Cory has been putting some effort into educating SF writers on the status and realities of modern copyright practices. As Guest of Honor at the con he'll have lots of chances to air his views and talk about his different projects

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Events

June 23, 2008

The War on Photography

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Bruce Schneier's blog self-portrait
Bruce Schneier has an update on his article for the Guardian describing the "movie plot" efforts to link public photography and anti-terrorist work. The gist is that there is no credible evidence linking public photography - even of public buildings, infrastructure, etc - to terrorist acts. Therefore, acting against photographers is not increasing security - it's just making people feel good and wasting resources.

His blog entry pulls out all the embedded URLs from the article and includes four links to discussions of photographers rights. Bookmark this one:

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Interesting People

June 20, 2008

Be Careful What You Wish For

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Microsoft wished for a new trial, but must not have asked nicely enough this time. Last time it was accused of infringing Alcatel-Lucent (digital music) patents it won, getting a negative verdict and large judgment thrown out. This time, however, Judge Marilyn L. Huff of the U.S. District Court in San Diego not only upheld the verdict, denying Microsoft's request for a new trial, she increased the penalty against the infringing software maker to a whopping USD 511.6 million in damages and interest.

Not surprisingly, Microsoft said it would appeal, meaning the five-year-long patent scuffle is likely to continue for years to come.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Markets and Monopolies

June 18, 2008

The 21st Century Version of the Copyright Notice

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

I had a nice chat last week with Mike O'Donnel of iCopyright about their new service for small and independent publishers. The company has a large for-pay service that is used by large publishers, including news wires, to track the digital progress of copyrighted materials and they're reusing some of that technical infrastructure for the new offering.

O'Donnell noted that previous attempts to let individuals control how their intellectual property is used, particularly Creative Commons, lack a number of useful features. iCopyright is promoting itself as an alternative that is free to small-scale creators, and supported by advertising and partner revenue.

But back up a step - what's wrong with CC and how can it be fixed? Well, some of the lacks are that there is no loopback to the creator. If I put a CC license on my works I have no way to track how those works are being used, or to confirm that something is in compliance with my CC license terms. CC also has no enforcement system and if I wish to charge a fee for use (a term specified in CC licenses) there's no mechanism to help me collect these fees.

iCopyright addresses each of these. When you use their service you build a ©reator tag and use that as part of your copyright notice on your writing, artwork, photo, etc. The tag links back to the iCopyright servers, which track clicks and loads so you can find out who's viewing your tagged material, where it's displayed, and so on. Separately, iCopyright has a scanner technology similar to Attributor, which attempts to find places on the Web where tagged content is being used, potentially without permission.

As the owner of the ©reator tag you get a profile on their site that you can use to publicize yourself and to set the terms for use of your work. Unfortunately, the free service doesn't allow you to vary permissions by item - you need to pick one model for sharing all content associated with that tag. For example, if you wish to charge a fee for use of your photos, iCopyright will give you a Paypal link so people can give you the fees you set. If, however, you also want to give away your blog entries for free you can't use the same ©reator tag - you'd have to create another one and attach the free license to the second tag.

As a free-to-creators service this seems like a step forward - we definitely need more active and more powerful tools to turn copyright flexibility and fair use ideas into actionable entities. It's far from the last word, I'm sure.

Comments (10) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Tech

June 16, 2008

Future Writers, Future Books

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

The Futurist online has an interesting think piece by Patrick Tucker on the possible future of writers, books, and writing in this century. Riffing primarily on a talk by Tim O’Reilly from earlier this year, Tucker visits interesting notions such as "the book as souvenir."

There's not a whole lot new here for Copyfight readers but it's an interesting checkpoint that draws together several ideas. One is that modern online writing (primarily blogging) is barely paying the bills even for fairly popular writers, particularly those dependent on ad clicks for revenue. Another is that those who are (still) reading books are interested in more than the content of the page - they're looking for connection and probably also participation of some form.

One way to take this is to think of the book as a part of, or maybe just an intro to, a set of experiences such as blogs, chat, conferences, parties, or formal training situations. Not all of these are appropriate for all published books, but genres such as science fiction have long connected writers to their fans through conventions and other gatherings, much less formally organized.

Finally, there's the question of whether or not the book-qua-book will survive all this evolution and revolutionary change. Will things like the Kindle put the book as we know it to rest? Probably not. As Michael Agger documents in his piece for Slate, the act of reading a physical paper book creates distinctly different - and notably pleasurable - mental states that just aren't found yet in any other reading device.

Nobody quite knows why this should be so - perhaps it's something to do with the book-as-artifact, or maybe it's as simple as the fact that we aren't subjected to the same kinds of distractions and interruptions with a physical book as we are subject to when reading online or with an e-book device. However you assign it, though, it seems that books in some form are likely to be around for quite a while. If only we can figure out how to keep publishing profitable...

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Big Thoughts

June 13, 2008

Tracking the Trackers

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Posted by Alan Wexelblat

The CS Department at University of Washington have released a report with this title reporting on an investigation of copyright enforcement as it currently exists on P2P networks.

The report's site contains a summary of the report's findings, a downloadable PDF of the full report and an online FAQ describing their research methods and key findings. I haven't digested the full thing yet, but the three basic conclusions are stated pretty bluntly:

  1. Anyone can be framed for copyright infringement. The remote and automated generation of complaints shifts the burden significantly onto the accused to prove their innocence.
  2. In addition to malicious framing, innocent people can still be erroneously fingered, even if they've never run a P2P program
  3. Privacy in P2P networks is partial or illusory at best

The authors also try to draw some conclusions, and call for more transparency in the monitoring process. Considering the amount of malicious activity the Cartel directs at the P2P nets I don't see this happening anytime soon. One the other hand, I see the paper's authors getting a few calls as expert witnesses in the near future.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Tech

June 4, 2008