Posted on March 30, 2009 in 09NTC by Brian RoweComments Off


Thursday April 9th I will be speaking over at UW to The League of Professional System Administrators (LOPSA) about Creative Commons the DMCA and User Generated Content.  The talk will include a CC 101 portion and some new content that I am looking for feedback on. I am using this a a dry run to test content that will be included in the NTC 2009 Panel on Fair Use, User Generated Content and the DMCA Safe Harbor. Here is a copy of the full announcement with location and directions:

SASAG: Legal and Technical Aspects of Sharing, Reusing, and Remixing Content Online

2009-04-09 19:00
2009-04-09 21:30

Presenter: Brian Rowe

Come discuss the legal and technical aspects of sharing, reusing and remixing content online with a focus on Creative Commons licenses, User-Generated Content and the The Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s safe harbor. Bring you questions! There will be time for Q&A.

Brian Rowe is the founder of Freedom for IP, a volunteer organization started in 2005 focusing on the intersection of human rights and intellectual property. He interned at Creative Commons last summer working on public domain and noncommercial use in copyright. Brian serves on the Washington State Bar Association’s Access to Justice Technology Committee and is an active member of Students for Free Culture. Last fall Brian wrote a mock trial for the Future of the Law Institute that was used by high school students learning about fair use of music and bloggers rights. Most recently Brian helped plan and spoke at the Seattle Law of the Commons Conference held March 13th, 2009 at Seattle University Law.

Brian has a background in information technology. He helped develop the and Brian holds a BS in Informatics and BA in Political Science both from University of Washington. He is currently a third-year law student at Seattle University and has accepted a Google Public Policy Fellowship to work in Washington DC this summer at Public Knowledge.

For more information please see

EE1 Building (Electrical Engineering)
Room 403
University of Washington Campus
Seattle, WA
United States

See map: Google Maps

Posted on March 17, 2009 in IP, open education by Brian RoweComments Off


Mozilla, ccLearn and P2PU just announced an Open Education six week online course where educators learn about open content licensing, open web technologies and open teaching methods. The course starts on 2 April, 2009!

Target Audience

  • Educators looking for skills to help them with open teaching and learning.
  • Should have some tech or content production skills already.
  • Likely to come from areas like: new media, communications, design, comp studies.
  • Have a project idea that they’d like to work on as part of the course.


  • Help educators learn about open licensing, technology and teaching.
  • Test and assess the online course method being developed by Mozilla Labs.
  • Create awareness of Mozilla Education, ccLearn, and P2PU amongst educators.
  • Gather design ideas for and other open learning projects.

Sign up today there are only 20 spots!

Posted on March 12, 2009 in copyright by Brian RoweComments Off


In 2000 the Manhattan law firm of what appear to be over aggressive IP attorneys representing Hasbro wrote Randy Cassingham a “cease and desist” letter for Get out of hell card he was selling. Eventually they had Randy add the source disclaimer to the above card and the matter appeared over. Fast forward 9 years:

The same law firm appears to have amnesia:

We recently became aware that you are offering for sale “Last Chance – Get Out of Hell Free” cards and stickers on your website at that depict the famous MR. MONOPOLY® character and are obviously derived from the MONOPOLY® “Chance” card.

The MR. MONOPOLY® character is the copyrighted property of Hasbro, and also has source-identifying significance as a trademark. Your unauthorized copying of the MR. MONOPOLY® character constitutes copyright infringement … and also violates the federal trademark laws … by creating a likelihood of confusion with respect to Hasbro’s authorization or sponsorship of or association with your activities. Your unauthorized use of the MR. MONOPOLY® character is also likely to dilute its distinctive quality and hamper its ability to function as a source-identifying [trademark]….We therefore demand that you immediately cease and desist from any further use of the MR. MONOPOLY® character, remove the cards and stickers from your website, and provide us with a written assurance that in the future you will refrain from any further unauthorized use of the elements and characters of the MONOPOLY® property trading game.

To assist Hasbro in determining the harm that has been, [sic] we demand that you furnish us with information concerning the length of time that you have sold the infringing cards and stickers, the number of units that have been sold, and the total revenue you have received to date. We will then be in a position to discuss monetary compensation for your unauthorized use.

Here is a little on the history of Monopoly from Wikipedia:

The history of Monopoly can be traced back to 1904, when a Quaker woman named Elizabeth (Lizzie) J. Magie Phillips created a game through which she hoped to be able to explain the single tax theory of Henry George (it was supposed to illustrate the negative aspects of concentrating land in private monopolies). Her game, The Landlord’s Game, was commercially published a few years later. Other interested game players redeveloped the game and some made their own sets. Lizzie herself patented a revised edition of the game in 1904, and similar games were published commercially. By the early 1930s, a board game named Monopoly was created much like the version of Monopoly sold by Parker Brothers and its parent companies throughout the rest of the 20th century and into the 21st. The Parker Brothers’ version was created by Charles Darrow. Several people, mostly in the U.S. Midwest and near the U.S. East Coast, contributed to the game’s design and evolution. Read the full article

The strongest defense to an infringement claim here is a parody defense, which is part of fair use, followed by an estoppel defense. Estoppel basically stops a party form claiming or denying an argument on the grounds that is is unfair.  Given the previous stance by Hasbro that the disclaimer was enough this new demand is clearly unfair.

Does Hasbro and their lawyers have nothing better to do with there time…

Read the full story at This is True