Donna Wentworth
( Archive | Home | Technorati Profile)

Ernest Miller
( Archive | Home )

Elizabeth Rader
( Archive | Home )

Jason Schultz
( Archive | Home )

Wendy Seltzer
( Archive | Home | Technorati Profile )

Aaron Swartz
( Archive | Home )

Alan Wexelblat
( Archive | Home )

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
IP Democracy
IP Watch
Dennis Kennedy
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

August 31, 2010

Doctorow v eBook Publishers

Email This Entry

Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Cory's latest Publisher's Weekly column describes his most recent round of struggles around publishing his latest book online. In particular, he's trying to get the book available without extra DRM attached, and to have an electronic copy sold under the same terms and conditions as are attached to a sale of a physical book.

You'd think that wouldn't be a particularly revolutionary thing to try, but you'd be surprised. (OK, if you've been reading me rant about the locked house that iPad is and why I bought a Droid rather than an iPhone, then maybe you're not surprised.) Doctorow talks about his "First Law":

"Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you, and won't give you a key, they're not doing it for your benefit."

That's sort of obvious but apparently not something people at Apple and Sony agree with, as they're the two publishers Doctorow calls out for being unwilling to cooperate with his plans. As always, his books are available for free download elsewhere anyway, so it's really unclear to me what those companies think they're protecting.

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

August 24, 2010

A Historical View of the Cultural Commons

Email This Entry

Posted by Alan Wexelblat

My father sent me a pointer to Robert Darnton's review in the NY Times titled "A Republic of Letters". The review discusses the new book by Lewis Hyde (see also called Common as Air: Revolution, Art, and Ownership.

As you can guess from the title and my interest, the topic of the book includes ownership of things that have come to be called intellectual property. In particular, Hyde's book is portrayed as a plea to protect our "cultural patrimony" (*cough*sexistmuch?*cough*) from "appropriation by commercial interests."

I'm sorry, guys, but that ship sailed a long time ago. I don't know whether you want to mark the passage of the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, the enactment of the DMCA, or MGM v Grokster as the important milestone - or even something else. The point is still that we've moved from the realm of public sharing of common heritage into a realm where everyone thinks it's natural for big corporate interests to own our genomes, our family histories, and every bloody other thing they can lay their hands upon.

From an academic perspective it's nice that Hyde can go as far back as the Middle Ages, and tie a belief in a thriving public sphere to the American founding fathers. But practically speaking? Who cares. The Cartel are not patriots - the only use they have for nations is as enforcement arms for their control regimes. Appeals to the lofty principles of dead intellectuals is just chaff in the wind.

If we're going to make arguments from history, which I think we should, then it's essential to point out the historical pragmatics - what did it mean for intellectual property to be shared as it was then, and what are we losing by locking it up now?

I suppose it's worth noting that I left academia for roughly these reasons, many years ago. I like good research and the challenge of connecting the dots within the vast streams of knowledge and discovery of the as-yet-unknown. But I also want to see those dots connected to practice, pragmatics, and with a clear relationship to today's reality.

Comments (4) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Big Thoughts

August 20, 2010

Experimental Derivative Art

Email This Entry

Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Xeni Jardin at Boingboing pointed at an experimental film by Fran├žois Vautier that is a great example of the way digital technology is enabling new forms of (derivative) art.

For this project, Vautier took every frame of the film Blade Runner and laid them out on a vast plane. He then made his own short film by moving a virtual camera over this plane of images so you can see certain frames of the film, but mostly get abstract color and movement impressions. The film has a soundtrack taken from Blade Runner's score and dialog but I found that it had much more of the feel of 2001.

The work is labeled a tribute but of course it's also a derivative work and probably a massive copyright violation as it uses the images and sounds of the original. But trust me, nobody's going to mistake this for a rip-off of Blade Runner.

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use

August 9, 2010

August 5, 2010

Remix Age Youth and Plagiarism

Email This Entry

Posted by Alan Wexelblat

A story in the New York Times from earlier this week examines the challenges of defining and educating around plagiarism for remix-culture youth. Trip Gabriel's story notes that what we might call inadvertent plagiarism is on the rise - students copy material that has no obvious author and don't feel they've done anything wrong.

An interesting point about this is that it's not another "copying is bad" story; it's a hint that we as a society may be moving to a different social model of authorship. The vast majority of plagiarism still is done by people who know it's wrong and who ought to know better, and to have been trained better. But there's also the sense, put forward in this story by ethnographer Susan Blum of Notre Dame, that some people are copying in texts in much the same way as they mash up, or in the way that songs and television shows reference each other. The standards for ownership and credit may be seen differently and students may not feel that what they're quoting is attributable material. After all, who is the author of a Wikipedia article?

Comments (0) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Use

August 3, 2010