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Wednesday, January 02, 2008

OLPC - CTO Quits to Become Patent Holder


The Chief Technology officer for One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Mary Lou Jepsen has left the non-profit to start company that will commercialize inventions related to display technology. She has stated that she will continue to offer improvements to OLPC at a discount:

"I will continue to give OLPC product at cost, while providing commercial entities products they would like at a profit," Jepsen wrote in an e-mail.

I am dubious of whether it is a good idea for OLPC to actively license technology even at cost. My understanding was that OLPC rejected an offer from Microsoft to license a stripped down version of Windows in favor of Linux as its primary OS. Basing OLPC on free open inventions allows the most flexibility for developing nations to use the machines. Before leaving OLPC Jepsen did submit patent 20070285428 ('428 for short) to the USPTO for approval. I am curious how OLPC will treat this patent. The OLPC wiki has a strong statement in favor of Open Software, authored by Benjamin Mako Hill:

"[OLPC] Must not be otherwise encumbered by software patents which restrict modification or use in the ways described above. All patents practiced by software should be sublicenseable and allow our users to make use or sell derivative versions that practice the patent in question."

There is no similar statement about hardware patents related to OLPC. I would hope that all patents related to OLPC would be held in an patent pool similar to IBM's patent commons that allows for open source use and innovation. I am curious about how OLPC plans to use '428 in the future.

Related documents:
Patent 20070285428 (an OLPC patent on which Jepsen is listed as an inventor)
Press:
Computer World

PS Do not confuse Mary Luo Jepsen new patent's with "jepson claims". I did, but I am better now. If anyone has a full copy of Mary Luo Jepsen's email I would be interested in reading it please email me at Brian (at) FreedomforIP (dot) org.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Blog Recommendations

I recently starting using Google's "blog recommender" tool in Google Reader and have found three very interesting blogs worth checking out:

Patent Troll Tracker: This blog rocks! Troll Tracker is an anonymous blogger, probably a patent lawyer, that reports over abusive patent claims and litigation. The posts are well cited with links to court docs. There is a current bounty out on the Tracker's identity. A powerfully patent attorney , and alleged Troll, Ray Niro is offering $5k to anyone who unearths his identity. I strongly recommend this blog,

Wa Patents: This is a local Seattle blog run by Mark Walters a patent attorney at Darby & Darby. The content is interesting, recent and especially relevant to patent geeks in Washington. I respect the authors knowledge and depth of treatment on local and nation patent issues even though I do not agree with his economic and political arguments. I recommend this blog especially to people with an interest in local patent issues.

Copyfight: This is a team blog with some impressive names in copyright law including Donna Wentworth of the Berkman Center and Wendy Seltzer of of Northeastern University School of Law. The articles are a bit on the academic side, but very well researched and cited. The only downside is that the authors seem to post in cycles and I can not tell which authors are still active or have gone elsewhere to blog.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

One Laptop Per Child Sued, by Lagos Analysis Corporation, for Patent Infringement


One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) Association has been sued by a company based in Massachusetts: Lagos Analysis Corp. Lagos claims that OLPC reversed engineered its Shift2 keyboard driver source codes.

This seems like a terrible patent to me. Using the shift key to change characters has been around for a long time. Using a shift key for changing language setting and add marks for different languages appears at first glance as obvious and not novel. I look forward to seeing the actual complaint filed and the patent in question.

Press Coverage:

Virtualization (warning annoying popup)

TechWhack

Disclaimer: I bought a OLPC though the Give one Get one program. It is still in transit, I look forward to reviewing it soon. I strongly support the project philosophically.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

Last Seattle CopyNight for the year, Tomorrow at 8:30pm


Come join us for the last Seattle CopyNight of 2007:

Tuesday at 8:30 PM
Elysian, 1221 E. Pike St.
Seattle WA in Capitol Hill.

We won't be meeting in December, so this will be your last chance until the new year to discuss such exciting topics as the latest bad ideas about copyright to surface in Congress, Larry Lessig's PowerPoint chops, or the pressure being exerted by the Copyright Alliance (which counts the MPAA and RIAA among its member) on presidential candidates to take a position in favor of *even more* expansion of copyright law:

http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20071121-riaampaa-ask-presidential-candidates-for-more-restrictive-copyright-laws.html

To join the copynight mailing list vist copynight.org. Copynight is active in 22 cities
for a complete list check here.

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thomas Jefferson on why copyrights and patents are not property

This is Thomas Jefferson’s basic argument for why IP is not property. Jefferson outlines the properties of a Public Good when describing IP. This basic argument is one of the strongest foundations for arguing against trying to regulate IP with free markets since IP is not a private good. In essence we are using the law to redefine the basic nature of copyrights and patents.

Nonexcludable:
“If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the less, because every other possesses the whole of it.”

Nonrivalrous:
“He who receives an idea from me, receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening mine.”

“Inventions then cannot, in nature be a subject of property.”

Letter from Thomas Jefferson to Issac McPherson (Aug. 13, 1813),

Links:
Expanded text of Jefferson's letter
Wikipedia on Private and Public Goods

Edit: fixed link to letter thank to reader feedback!

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

NTEN call for an IP panel on copyright options


I just finished doing NTEN's online survey for 2008 NTC Agenda. I was surprised to not see a single topic or part of a topic that dealt with online copyright issues. When distributing information online ones IP strategy should play a central role in letting users know what they can do with your content and what happens to their contribution. SecondLife, Myspace, Wikipedia, Flickr and YouTube all have different ways of controlling and enabling distribution through IP choices.

I would love to run a session on using Creative Commons and alternative licensing of intellectual property to reach more constituents and more people in need. Using a culture of sharing as a form of distribution can empower your IP to work for you. If you are attending NTC this year and would find a copyright session useful please let NTEN know.

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Musical Improvisation and Social Change with a focus on intellectual property rights and multiculturalism

Two weeks ago I meet Keith Sawyer at the Lewis and Clark CLE on the nonobviousness standard for patents. Keith was a great speaker and added some very interesting perspectives on creativity from the field of psychology, more CLE's should be interdisciplinary. I recently found out that Keith is involved in an interesting research project on Improvisation, Community, and Social Practice.

This is a major, 7-year international project; one of the research areas is the issues of law and justice as they relate to improvised material. The project has three overall research objectives are:

· Revealing the complex structures of improvisational practices and developing an enriched understanding of the multiple social, political and cultural functions these practices play;

· Demonstrating the policy implications of this new and enriched understanding of improvisation for education, arts funding, intellectual property rights and multiculturalism; and

· Assessing claims made for the social and cultural impact of improvisation and exploring improvisation-based models for social responsibility and action.

The project appears extremely interesting since it is cross disciplinary with a focus IP and multiculturalism. I look forward to learning more, especially when they have project website and blog available.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Seattle PI coverage of Students for Free Culture

The Seattle PI made two blog posts regarding Seattle Student for Free Culture last week. The discussion related to the recent RIAA suits and the local copyfight at Seattle University School of Law and at University of Washington. It appears that SU Law is acting to Free Culture while UW has not taken action yet. This is surprising considering both the RIAA suits at UW and UW's recent speaker of Brewster Kahle and up coming speech from Larry Lessig. Where are the librarians and the Ischool in the fight to open up access to all knowledge?

I recommend checking out the articles, I will be reposting here the comment we made on how to get involved in the copyfight in Seattle.

Original article about Seattle Students for Free Culture
http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/thebigblog/archives/123408.asp

Follow up article with interviews with Brian Rowe and Scott Shawcroft
http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/thebigblog/archives/123426.asp

Disclosure: I am the student leader behind SFFC at Seattle Univerity Law and a Graduate of University of Washington.

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Saturday, October 06, 2007

Lewis and Clark Law Forum - Final Law Panel


Katherine Stranburg - Nonobviousness and Nerd Culture

A Research manager approach focusing on Socially Optimal Invention levels. This is an interesting piece that merges legal policy choices with economic models.

Brian's response: The models appear to be useful for providing different perspectives for evaluating the nonobvious patent requirements. Although there at least 10 separate assumptions that need to be made to make this model work. The number of assumptions needed to make the model work may prevent the models from being ultimately useful for making larger policy decisions. I really appreciated that the models include social cost of patents including restricted diffusion of the invention, and higher prices. And am curious to see the final draft of the paper

Joseph Miller - Are Erroneous Patent Denials Better than Erroneous Grants?

Supreme Court prefers false rejections over granting obvious patents while the Federal Circuit had been leaning to the opposite side
Favorite quote: "patent attorney spiritual nihilism"

Brian's response: His discussion on the cost of Grants and denils looks very interesting. I am curious to see how the draft paper changes with the R&D input stating that the standards change may have little real world impact on how R&D money is spent.



R. Polk Wagner - KRS, The Supreme Court and The Future of Patent Reform

The Technology Industry has dramatically increased there pursuits of patents per research dollar. It is getting tougher to get major legislative change through due to the corporate interest, which leaves judicial reform as the path of least resistance for reforming the patent system. Although reform through the courts is not the long term solution.

Brian's response: The paper uses statistics in a very useful way to empirically explore court findings.


Robert P. Merges - Commenter

"Reading ones own stuff (writings) make your brain light up like a Christmas tree" (paraphrased)

Robert argues that the patent law code will expand to look more like the copyright code. Specifically the legislative process will be used by cooperate interests to address case based issues expanding the code beyond its current limited focus and moving reform to the judicial as the code expands.

Side note for none patent geeks following the podcast or blog:
PHOSITA = Person having ordinary skills in the art, PHOSITA wiki defition

Final note, from Suzanne Scotchmer:

Nonobviousness: What is evidence?
  • Market Environment
  • Innovative Environment
  • Competing Technologies
  • Cost Considerations

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Friday, October 05, 2007

Lewis and Clark Law Forum - Psychology panel

The psychology talks were a lot more accessible to a general audience I strongly recommend watching them online even if not a lawyer or patent buff. The psychology panel added the perspective of how innovation or creativity occurs to the legal issues involved.

There are definite discrepancies in the formulation of how a "person having ordinary skills in the art" is thought to invent by the court and how inventions are created. The most important part of the talk came in the Q & A, when we focused on whether economic incentives actually create innovation. The physiological data cited promoted the opposite thesis to the one promoted by the public policy arguments of the courts. The psychologist argued that paying for creativity resulted in less innovation and more mundane solutions to problems presented.



R. Keith Sawyer


Solutions:
Patent pools
Reward small sparks
Compulsory licensing (taken from Lessig)
Open Standards

Brian's Response: This was an excellent practical talk that focused on both creation and on what people think is creative. In the Q&A Keith focused on some of the broader issues regauring the legal fiction of how inventions are created and possible problems with the single inventor model. I will post a copy of his paper after LC publishes it.

On a side note: Understanding what people perceive to be creative, based on word choice, could be a very important what explaining an invention to a jury.

(no image available at this time)
Colleen Seifert Now Why Didn't I Think of That?

Colleen added some interesting points on how the court views innovation and invention verses how cognitive research views the same issues.



Steven Smith

Steven Smith did a great job of explaining and showing examples of how prior knowledge corrupts individuals ability to look at things from a neutral perspective.







Note on formate change: Being an Information Science professional and Law Student I will only be posting play by play on the legal talks. I will be posting general impressions on the nonlegal talks that include multiple speakers.

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Lewis and Clark Law Forum - Suzanne Scotchmer


Suzanne Scotchmer - Nonobviousness, Option, and the Scarcity of Ideas
Overview:
Obvious = ideas come rapidly
Nonobvious = where ideas are scarce, or a long wait between ideas

Solutions: private incentives to create should be based on how much you speed up progress or should be granted only to "Scarce" ideas.

Brian's response: This idea helps limit patents in fast moving field like software. Another option would be to limit the length of patents in fast moving field. If it would come about naturally in 5 months why should we grant a 20 year patent.

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Lewis and Clark Law Forum - Rochelle C. Dreyfuss



Rochelle C. Dreyfuss - Commenter on first panel.

Other incentives to invent: sharing norms, reputaion ...

Solutions: patent rights are not a reward for inventors.

Highlights: if a patent is denied for a worthy invention the public wins the public gets the invention for free (Brian: this is a rare case and happens so rarely that it does not discourage invention)

Amazing Quote: “cognitive issues only arise when real cognition is going on”

Brian's response: Great commentary, Rochelle was willing to go head to head with the article writers on some of there assumptions and focused on the true reasons for patents getting inventions to the public.

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Lewis and Clark Law Forum - Rebecca S. Eisenberg


Rebecca S. Eisenberg – Pharma's Nonobvious Problem

Overview: There are lots of problems relating to patents regarding pharmaceuticals. Many of the compounds are substantial similar to other patents making prior art review a questionable standard for patents.


Highlights: The problem is that the pharmaceutical industry has a lot of obvious patents. There is an incentive to wait to release innovation until a competing drug is about to lose protection.

Brian's response: dizzying array of issues related to pharmaceutical patents, I look forward to reading the final article. This talk was very interesting but a bit scattered.

Interesting note(I learned a new term): Evergreen patent = pharmaceutical company tactics to extend patent protections. (Patently Abusive).

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Lewis and Clark Law Forum - John Duffy



John Duffy – Racing, Timing and the Patenting Standard

Timing considerations should be more important.

Prior art? How prior

Why was it not invented earlier? it was lost, if no one invented it in the last 30 years was it really obvious?

Highlight: nice overview of Anderson's-Black Rock 404 F.2d 450, 1968 and discussion of United States v. Adam 383 U.S. 39, 1966

Solution: distinguish between prior art (recent) and prior, prior, prior art (old)

Brian's response: if there is no need then time extends, the prior v. prior prior prior art distinction could help a lot for fast moving industries like software.

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Lewis and Clark Law Forum - Gregory Mandel



Gregory Mandel – Nonobvious standard is too low and too high...
1. What is the quantum of innovation necessary to satisfy section 103?
2. What is the baseline for a person of ordinary skill?
3. What are the time and resource limits for finding something obvious?

Solutions: substitutive probability standards

Highlights: Curse of Knowledge – once someone has knowledge they are not able to view things from a their former ignorant perspective.

Brian's response: These are line drawing problems, I am not sure probability adds definition, but it is an interesting idea.

Random word count: Patent troll = 3

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Reviewing the Nonobviousness standard in Patents at Lewis and Clark School of Law

FFIP is taking a road Trip to attend Lewis and Clark's 2007 Fall Forum. This year's forum is on the nonobviousness requirement. This requirement is unique to patent law. It is the legal principle that reserves patent protection to technologically significant inventions; technologically trivial inventions, even if useful and new, are not patentable.

The recent Supreme Court decision in KSR v. Teleflex, raised the bar for nonobviousness.
The full text of the KSR v. Teleflex case can be found at ALTLAW.org : http://www.altlaw.org/v1/cases/183370




Speakers this year include:
Gregory Mandel Temple Law
John Duffy George Washington University Law
Rebecca Eisenberg University of Michigan Law
Rochelle Dreyfuss NYU Law
Suzanne Scotchmer University of California, Berkeley

Aside: Suzanne wrote an interesting paper on DRM and Antitrust it can be found here. http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~scotch/w11532.pdf The Antitrust conclusions are interesting although I do not think the motives for hacking are understood enough to make some of the formulas work in the practical world. Hacking is not a cost benefit analysis equation where cost saved by pirating is balanced with cost of time spent hacking. The motives for hacking are often fun, learning, prestige or even ethics.)

Scott Stern Kellogg Graduate School of Management
Vincenzo Denicolo University of Bologna (Italy)
Michael Katz UC Berkeley
Kevin Rivette Chairman of the USPTO Public Patent Advisory Committee.
Keith Sawyer University of St. Louis
Colleen Seifert University of Michigan
Steven Smith University of Wisconsin
Janet Davidson Lewis & Clark
Mark Blaxill, Senior Partner & Managing Director, Boston Consulting Group
Ian Harvey, Chairman, Intellectual Property Institute (UK)
Damon Matteo, Vice President for Intellectual Capital Management, Xerox PARC
Andy Culbert, Associate General Counsel, Microsoft
Katherine Strandberg DePaul
R. Polk Wagner Penn Law
Robert Merges UC Berkeley
Lisa LeSage Lewis & Clark
Joe Miller Lewis & Clark

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

OurSpace, author Christine Harold, Speaking in Seattle x2

Come out to Elliott Bay Book Company Wednesday or Saturday the 27th to meet Christine Harold. We need you to help resist the corporate control of culture.

In OurSpace, Christine Harold examines the deployment and limitations of "culture jamming" by activists. For Harold, it is a different type of opposition that offers a genuine alternative to corporate consumerism. Exploring the revolutionary Creative Commons movement, copyleft, and open source technology, Harold advocates a more inclusive approach to intellectual property that invites innovation and wider participation in the creative process.

Christine Harold is a professor in the Department of Communications at the University of Washington. Her previous position was assistant professor of speech communication at the University of Georgia.

Book events for OurSpace: Resisting the Corporate Control of Culture by Christine Harold

Book Event
Wednesday, October 3, 2007, 7:30 pm
Talk & Book Signing
Elliott Bay Book Company
101 South Main Street
Seattle, Washington 98104
206-624-6600

Book Event
Saturday, October 27, 2007, 6:30 pm
Talk & Book Signing
Third Place Books
17171 Bothell Way NE
Lake Forest Park, WA 98155
206-366-3316

More information available at:

http://www.upress.umn.edu/Books/H/harold_ourspace.html

PS The publisher has not returned my emails about the what copyright the book is under and why... If the publisher is holding it hostage under a full right reserved license we may need to take action.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Creative Commons Sued by Texas Family

virgin mobile ad
Photo: Justin Ho-Wee Wong


The family of teenager Alison Chang has sued Virgin Mobile and Creative Commons. Virgin Mobile launched an ad campaign in Australia this summer using Flickr photos licensed under creative commons. A photo of Ms. Chang taken by her youth counselor was used without her knowledge or consent, and her family is seeking undisclosed damages for libel and invasion of privacy.

It is unclear under what grounds Creative Commons has been brought into this suit. The primary issues in this case relate to right of privacy, right of publicity, and defamation. Creative Commons has merely supplied Flickr and the artist with valid contract language which allows the artist to release some of his rights. The Creative Commons copyright license does not explicitly deal with all factors that Virgin Mobile should have taken into consideration before using a cc-licensed photograph in a large scale commercial campaign. Additionally, Creative Commons was aware of these issues, and published a blog post in July 2007 pointing out possible problems with Virgin Mobile's campaign (see below).

Although it is unclear at this point whether the responsibility to secure model release forms allowing commercial use lies with Virgin Mobile or the photographer who chose to put the photo under an attribution-only license. In choosing an attribution-only license, the photographer may have been making an implicit statement that his work was suitable for commercial purposes. In this case, the photographer is one of the claimants against Creative Commons and Virgin Mobile when it appears that he could have been making a mistake in applying a license without understanding it.

The primary legal claim in this case is one of the right of publicity. Simply put, this right is the inherent right of every human being to control the commercial use of his or her identity.1 The right of publicity is a state-law tort claim similar to unfair competition.

Copyright and other similar rights like right of publicity have created a dizzying tapestry of almost incomprehensible laws that apply to every image or work in our multimedia digital culture. Creative commons has created a system for allowing authors to opt out of some of these rights. The attribution only license is often used by artists who wish to have their work used in a commercial manner to increase their reputation and visibility. Virgin Mobile was attempting to rely on the photographer's statement that this work was available for use with mere attribution and is now becoming the target of overzealous intellectual property protections that were created before the current information age.

Two excellent blog posts have been written on this topic in Australian blogs:
Virgin Australia and Creative Commons Named in Lawsuit
CC and Virgin Mobile


1Taken from The Right of Publicity and Privacy by J. Thomas McCarthy.

This post is by Brian Rowe and Sarah Davies

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Monday, September 17, 2007

EFF Seeks Staff Intellectual Property Attorney

EFF is seeking an intellectual property staff attorney for its legal team. Responsibilities will include litigation, public speaking, media outreach, plus legislative and regulatory advocacy, all in connection with a variety of intellectual property and high technology matters.

Full post at EFF: http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005441.php#005441

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

MPAA: Pirate Party Politicians Are Illegitimate Thieves



"The Pirate Parties were formed all over the world. Their main goal is to protect privacy, culture, and knowledge. The MPAA is not happy with politicians they can’t buy fund, and labels them as illegitimate thieves." Ernesto

Dean Garfield, director of MPAA’s anti-piracy department, was interviewed by ZDNet recently. When he was asked whether the Pirate Party’s attempts to battle organizations like the MPAA through democratic means is legitimate, he responded: “There’s nothing about what the Pirate Bay does or what the Pirate Party does that is legitimate. There’s nothing philosophically principled about it. They steal copyright content and accept advertising dollars based on taking other people’s work. There’s nothing noble about it.”

read more at TorrentFreak http://torrentfreak.com/mpaa-pirate-party-politicians-are-thieves-070912/

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RIAA and MPAA form MAFIAA



"Consumers should not be able to listen to any music or enjoy any movie anywhere without our approval," said Sherman.

In addition to coordination of anti-piracy efforts, a key benefit of the merger will also be reduced costs.

"We no longer have to have both the movie and music industries buying up senators and congressmen to get restrictive copyright laws passed," Glickman explained. "Now the representatives will be getting one sack of money from one organization. The cost savings to us will be tremendous."

The first such law that the organization will persue will be the passing of the so-called 0WNAGE Act which specifies that copyrights can now only belong to corporations and that all copyrights, including expired ones, will be reinstated and non-expiring.

Read more at MAFIAA http://mafiaa.org/press_room/

I wanted to post this before commenting on the MPAA's recent comment on the Pirate Party.

atrtibution to John T. Haller

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

IP survey responses needed

Grad student in Information Technology is doing a research project on IP attitudes and is looking for responses to a survey:

the full message bellow:

Dear Sir or Madam:

My name is Paul Stevens and I am currently finishing an Masters in IT. For my project I am looking into attitudes regarding Intellectual Property focusing on opposition to it. I have constructed a questionnaire but have had difficulty recruiting a sample. If you have the time to fill in my questionnaire it would be very helpful for me. If you know of anyone else who might be interested please forward them the link as the more responses the better! Any help you could provide would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

Here is the link:

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=0TpCl3Tq6ZHgQaVENc_2bD0Q_3d_3d

Kind regards

Paul Stevens

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Thursday, August 30, 2007

AltLaw = public domain law database

AltLaw is a free, open public, searchable database of federal cases. This is a huge step towards making justice and the legal system open to the public. Case law is currently monopolized by the Lexis and Westlaw locking the public away from the law. Case law creates the law and need to be open to everyone. Altlaw is a great step in the right direction, my favorite part of the site is that it is under a CC Public Domain License. This allow other to use the information and build on it.

I look forward to an external site adding comments on case or head notes creating public collection of shared knowlege about these case.

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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Google - Taking away your rights with DRM

Google this week has decided to end there "download to own" video program and is taking videos away from consumers who have "purchased" them.

If these videos were goods this would be unthinkable. Further more this type of repossession with credit for something you do not want is simply ridiculous. This is also a violation of the first sale doctrine. Unfortunately the problem is hidden in the fine print of the End User license agreement (EULA). The EULA treats the programs purchased as instead leased with the right reserved by the lessor to revoke access at any time.

I hope to see this challenged on one of several grounds; fraudulent sale of goods, a UCC violation, or a violation of the first sale doctrine. I hope to see a class action lawsuit that sets consumer rights above abusive uses of DRM and EULA's. (looks over at the EFF blog...)

Read the full story on Boing Boing

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Copynight Tonight @ Cafe Press

Please join us tonight (Tuesday) at 8:30 PM at Cafe Press in Capitol Hill at 1117 12th Ave. This is a new location with WIFI. The location is also all ages with a good reasonably priced menu and drinks.

Topics will include:

Harry Potter and Pirate Bay

RIAA at UW

Free Culture in Seattle

See you there,



-Brian Rowe
Freedom for Intellectual Prosperity

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Harry Potter,, Pirate Bay and Free Speach

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the last book in the Harry Potter Series, has been downloadable on The Pirate Bay since at least Monday. Today, Scholastic the U.S. publisher of the Harry Potter books, is sendng takedown notices to sites that have reported this news requesting that they take down the stories for infringement on IP rights of the author.

There is little to no legal foundation for Scholastics take down requests. The release of the Potter book on a file sharing site is very large news that should be protected speech.

Not only is this a bad legal tactic it is also an example of how out of date publishers are with the modern technology literate generation. Authors and Publishers need to start watching and listing to the current generation and stop threating them with baseless legal claims.

The book is on Pirate bay, SO WHAT:
Does this mean no one will buy the book... NO, in fact the publicity around the leek may create more interest in the book. I predict that it will have record sales that are not touched by the release on Pirate bay.

Does this mean that people who were going to buy the book will choose not to buy it? NO many people will download it and still buy the book. Fans want to support authors! Having the book online for free does not stop people from buying official copies of good books.

In fact putting a version of ones work up online for free is probably the best thing you can do to help spread publicity about your work. It opens up your work to people who might not have given it a try if they had to buy it originally. This allows for amazing viral marketing of authors.

Link to an example of the take down letter at Tech Crunch

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Pirate Party US meeting 6pm pst today

The pirate party has been around a year in the US, I am curous to see wht they are doing and where they are headed. With the RIAA's litigation attacks on student and the MPAA's propaganda campaign in full swing I think we are left with few alternatives to aggressive political and social action to protect our rights and add balnce to a broken system.

Pirate Party meeting tonight on IRC 6pm West Coast:

IRC server: irc.pirate-party.us
Channel: #USPirateParty

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

University of Washington as RIAA lacky part 2

I must apologize for the vagueness of my last post. Now that I have calmed down, I can make a reasonable post on why I am so angry with the University of Washington's new policy.

To clarify, this Monday UW sent an email to all student notifying them that UW was cooperating with the RIAA by distributing prelawsuit letters to student who have IP addresses that the RIAA claimed are file sharing copyrighted martial. (at this time I am looking for an official copy of the email, if you still have it please forwarded it to me)

My objections to this practice are twofold; first UW is enabling the RIAA to prey on the student they should be protecting.

The RIAA has set settlement amounts at a level where seeking legal advice is more expensive then just paying the settlement.
The RIAA is missing using a law designed to stop mass market commercial infringement against student who are not profiting.
The RIAA is intimidating students to the point of suggesting that some student should give up college saving and drop out of school to pay the settlements.

Second everything I learned thought the Ischool's Informatics program is in direct conflict with helping the RIAA lock away information.

I was first introduced to John Perry Barlow's article, A framework for patents and copyrights in the Digital Age. (Everything you know about intellectual property is wrong.) Adam Moore's. introduction to Informatics 300. This same class covered "Intellectual Property: A Non-Posnerian Law and Economics Approach,"(warning pdf version)
by Tom G. Palmer. The Ischool focused on the changes in the information landscape and equipping student to understand shape the future. Finlay my capstone project from 2 years ago identified areas of conflict between Human Rights and Intellectual property including distribution of nonrivalrous goods to people regardless of economic standing.

Now that these conflicts are becoming realities in our society it appears the University of Washington is choosing to entrench antiquated economic models of the past instead of becoming a leader in creating real solution to help all access knowledge.

I have a hard time reconciling the academic teaching for the University of Washington, especially the Ischool, with this new policy.

PS More on this next week including the Ischool's vision and some responses from UW's administration.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2007

University of Washington acting as RIAA crony

This week Eric Godfrey, vice provost for student life at the UW Seattle campus, informed students of the policy Monday through a campuswide e-mail. It said some students have letters on the way, but he was unable in a later phone interview to say how many.

The university will not pass the students’ names to the association, but it will use its server to identify them and inform them of their settlement options.... read more at The news tribune



As an alumni of the Ischool.
As an alumni of University of Washington I aM

OUTRAGED!

If you are outraged also please contact:

Eric S. Godfrey
vice provost for student life


(206) 543-0128;
Box 355831
Vice Provost, Student Life
476 Schmitz Hall
FAX: +1 206 543-2965
egodfrey@u.washington.edu

PS I will write more on this when I have calmed down!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Microsoft Against Tansparent Voting Machines

Microsoft moved this week to limit accesses to source code of voting machines in New York. Access to source code is essential to verifying that the voting process is working. Without review and transparency we will not be able to trust that our votes were counted correctly. Please write Microsoft and let them know that this move is contrary to the interest of preserving democracy. This type of action is an abuse of trade secrets and counter to the public interest.

"Microsoft's attorneys drafted an amendment which would add a paragraph to Section 1-104 of NYS Election Law defining “election-dedicated voting system technology”. Microsoft’s proposed change to state law would effectively render our current requirements for escrow and the ability for independent review of source code in the event of disputes completely meaningless - and with it the protections the public fought so hard for."


The full story can be found at:
Written by Bo Lipari
http://nyvv.org/blog/bolipariblog.html

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Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Patrons for the Public Domain

I was reading The End of Copyright By Ernest Adams today and was reminded of one of the better possible strategies for replacing copyright.

"Yet another model is the donor model: somebody who is known for creating great work can collect up donations in advance; when he has collected enough to fund the work, he builds it, and releases the game copyright-free when it’s finished."

If this Idea is expand to creating foundations that make grants to artists or creator for the purpose of making making art that is destine for the Public Domain, at the point of first publication, this would solve the problem of pay artist while simultaneously enhancing the commons. This model could also used with
Creative Commons license.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Just signed the IPac Statement of Principles

IPac is a nonpartisan group dedicated to preserving individual freedom through balanced information policy.

We believe that technological innovation and individual creativity are vital to the future of this country. We believe that a prosperous and democratic society depends on freedom for all individuals to pursue scientific invention and artistic expression. Unfortunately, new and proposed laws such as the DMCA and Broadcast Flag threaten to stifle these freedoms and restrict public participation in science, art, and political discourse.

Therefore, IPac will support elected representatives and candidates for public office who fight for these principles:

ipaction.org/principles.html

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Collective Licensing for Universities

Fred Von Lohmann, of EFF, just released an article responding to congresses letter to universities. He advocates for collective licensing through universities and unlimited file sharing. I have to agree that this is a much better solution than expelling students.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/05/AR2007060501761.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Copyright Silliness on Campus
By Fred von Lohmann

"The only solution is a blanket license that permits students to get
unrestricted music and movies from sources of their choosing.

At its heart, this is a fight about money, not about morality. We should
have the universities collect the cash, pay it to the entertainment
industry and let the students do what they are going to do anyway. In
exchange, the entertainment industry should call off the lawyers and
lobbyists, leaving our nation's universities to focus on the real
challenges facing America's next generation of leaders."

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Open Access dissertation proposal at UW's Ischool

This could be a very interesting discussion, here are the details:

On Tuesday, May 29, Phil Edwards will be defending his dissertation proposal, from 12:00pm-2:00pm in 420 MGH

Characterizing scholars' participation in open access initiatives
through an analysis of the lifecycles of scholarly works

ABSTRACT: In recent years, mechanisms for distributing scholarly
products--e.g., scholarly articles, working papers, datasets from the
social and physical sciences, theses and dissertations, course
materials, and locally-held library collections with research
value--have increased dramatically in variety. Open access (OA)
publishers (such as BioMed Central), electronic theses and dissertation
archives, electronic course reserve and management systems, and
institutional repositories have emerged to complement traditional
methods of pre-print, monographic, and periodical distribution offered
by university presses, professional organizations, and for-profit
publishers. Several persistent challenges--the scholarly publishing
crisis, efforts inspiring greater participation in open access
initiatives, and the roles of libraries and librarians in this
process--reflect our relative ignorance of how and why scholars do or do
not incorporate participation in open access initiatives into their work
practices. The main question guiding the current study, therefore, asks
how scholars traverse the landscape of modern scholarly communication in
the context of their professional lives.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

Social Justice, IP and Free Culture

Last year, before becoming a student at Seattle University, I attended the Intellectual Property Law Society (IPLS) sponsored CLE on the intersection of Antitrust and IP. I was very impressed by the panel of speakers that included Daniel Ravicher of Public Patent and Joe Miller of Lewis and Clark's Law School who challenged the assumptions put forward by many of the other pro-corporate-interest speakers by adding a voice for Social Justice that included alternative views of IP and the social harms of some of the policies being discussed.

This year I attended the IPLS sponsored CLE on video games and IP law, and was disappointed that the CLE did not allocate time to social justice issues related to the topic at hand. The CLE covered several topics that have a potential social justice impact such as user-owned IP in massive multilayer online games, the rating of video games, and file-sharing via peer to peer networks. I was hopping to see at least one speaker address these issues from a user's perspective.

Unfortunately, the CLE not only ignored social justice issues but also artificially portrayed one on the most influential online communities for social justice movements, Second Life. Second Life was painted as a shallow chat and cybersex service that has squandered its IP rights by allowing its users to retain copyright on everything they create. This depiction failed to mention of some of the extremely positive aspects of Second Life. Second Life has become an online community for both academics and nonprofits who wish to reach a wider audience. This last year I attended a lecture in Second Life sponsored by Harvard's Law School as part of their Law in the Court of Public Opinion extensions class. The lecture was free and anyone could register and participate regardless economic standing or geographic location.

On the nonprofit front, Second Life has become a gathering place for organization like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Creative Commons who advocate for users rights online and alternatives to traditional copyright. Their events last year included an interview with the highly esteemed Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Posner that respectfully challenged some of his proposition in his recent book "Not a Suicide Pact : The Constitution in a Time of National Emergency". Organizations like UNICEF and Global Kids have reached out to users in Teen Second Life as a vehicle to involve teens in community outreach activism on global and local issues.

I hope next year's CLE on IP returns to the thoughtful dialogue about social justice that brought me to SU. To help realize this goal I will be starting a chapter of the socially conscious IP student organization Free Culture. If you have interest in helping balance the prospective on IP and Social Justice that Seattle University puts forward, please feel free to contact me, roweb@Seattleu.edu or Brian@freedomforip.org.

Thank you,

Brian Rowe
1L Seattle University
freedomforip.org

PS this Letter is in the Public Domain, No copyright has been reserved.

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