Posted on January 29, 2009 in IP by Brian RoweView Comments

I am coming to this event a little late, Brian Flager gave a great 101 overview of the settlement.  I will approach him for a copy of his slides to post online or upload an overview later (with comments if I can get it on

I started blogging during Jule Sigall comments on what does this settlement mean for the future?

This settlement will codify Google approach to opt-out of scanning.

There is practically no burden under this settlement for Google to find copyright owners.

The breadth of this settlement is immense, it includes the authors of all books under US copyright.  This includes all orphaned works!

Google and the Authors guild must give access to the research corpus.

This deal gives an antitrust exemption to the major book publishers, and a lot of money.  Although compared to statutory damages  it is not very much money.  Authors and publishers get $65 a book this is nothing compared to statutory damages of $750 to $150,000 per book.

The settlement has a mandatory arbitration clause! (this was new to me)

Q: How will this settlement effect NPO’s competing with google, like the Internet archive?

Brian Flager’s Answer:  This gives Google a lot more content and may make the internet archive less relevant in the online book scanning worlds.

Jule Sigall’s Answer: The open content alliance and Brewster Kahle (the head of the Internet Archive) have spoken out against this settlement.  Jule then pointed out Brewrter’s recent blog post on this very issue:

A Monopoly dressed in a Class-action Suit?

Dan Clancy, head of Google Book Search, presented and took questions at the American Library Association conference Jan 24, 2009.

He presented the class-action settlement that proposes a new copyright system that would allow Google to scan and sell digital access to almost all books published in the last 85 years.

Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive, asked a series of “yes/no”
questions to clarify some issues.

* Is this settlement modifiable? Dan Clancy: Yes, by the court. [This window closes in June 2009, I believe]

* Was this settlement negotiated primarily by people bound to secrecy?
Dan Clancy: Yes.

* Under this settlement, can any other registries serve the exact same roles as the proposed new registry organization?
Dan Clancy: No.

* Under this settlement, can any other organizations get every legal immunity to copyright suits that Google gets?
Dan Clancy: No.

* Does this settlement make it more difficult for others to enter the
area of out-of-print digital book provisioning?   Paul Courant,
University of Michigan, professor of economics: in his opinion: yes.
Paul had in previous comments on this panel that Google would be a monopoly.

(I confirmed the yes/no at the end of the responses.)


Q: what are the negative effects for users?

Jule: This leaves users with one access point, this might also undermine the incentive of copyright and mean that less books will be produces. (Brian Rowe Note: I agree on the monopoly risk, I strongly disagree on the incentive argument)

Brian: this is not a win for fair use many wanted to see a fair use win.  This could also reshape publishers.  The playing field will change

Answer (from a member of the audience): I think the users are the real loser because we nover got a chance to weigh in.

Q: could you talk about the function of the registry and how it might conflict with authors rights?

Jule: The registry will not work with authors to tell Google not to display works.

(answers where paraphrased and are open to edits if either panelist would like to clarify them)

Posted on January 28, 2009 in DRM, IP by Brian RoweComments Off

My favorite AntiDRM books for children (and possibly only AntiDRM book for children) has just been re-released, I have even read it to Gwen, in a new version:


The new version has only minor changes including a new cover and is designed to make the book a little more mass consumable. For example, “He nearly peed his pants” becomes “He nearly danced like an orang-utan”.  All new words have been 6-year-old approved as being stupidly funny. ( I hope I still have a copy for the original version on my last laptop.  If i do I will post a link to it)

The Pig and the Box is available at 1889 Books, in DRM-free PDF format.  (Note the work is under a CC-BY-SA License which means if fans translate or digitize them they can share them)

Physical copies are avalible at Amazon or Powell’s I am ordering a few for the upcoming Seattle FTC hearing on DRM. The first person to ask me for a copy at the Seattle event can have one for free.

Posted on January 27, 2009 in Patent by Brian RoweComments Off

I was poking around the Stanford Center for Internet and Society and came across a blog post talking about two Jonathan Zittrain Patents and some very weak Social Networking patents posted by Stuart Soffer:

It is with anticipation that I receive the Ocean Tomo auction catalogs, looking for surprises. There are three lots of patents directed towards Social Networking. CIS speaker and Harvard law prof Jonathan Zittrain ( a great speaker) is the first named inventor of two patents (6,998,984 and 7,324,000) at the March auction. The patents are entitled, “State adaptation devices and methods for wireless communications”, but the catalog summarizes them as a “Non-verbal Wireless Communication System.” One of the claims of the ‘000 patent provides for

“A communications system comprising: a first bracelet for a user to wear that can sense a contraction when squeezed around the user, and including a transmitter for wirelessly transmitting a signal indicating that the bracelet has been squeezed; the first bracelet further including a receiver for receiving a signal and for contracting around the user in response to the received signal.”

Lot 41 (US 7,483,946 and 6,963,900) should interest LinkedIn, FaceBook, MySpace and similar social networking sites for patents covering facilitating meetings or events between two or more people. There are recent nascent efforts of potential licensing targets banding together to acquire select patents, thereby inoculating themselves from potential litigation. This would be an opportunity for LinkedIn et al. to acquire the patents and form a pool.

License Note: Work quoted from the Stanford Center for Fair Use is under a Creative Commmons BY License

Of these patents the social networking ones are insane here is 6,963,900

Methods and systems for assisting individuals (101) arrange meetings such as networking meeting with other individuals (101) at a specified time (or within a specified time range) and/or at a specified place (or within a specified geographic region). More specifically, methods and systems for allowing individuals (110) to post an invitation to for a meeting on an on-line network and for allowing one or more other individuals (101) to accept such invitation.

Is this patent even valid under Bilski? The patent is a process patent that is only loosely connected to any specific technology. Is this patent novel? I can not disagree with Soffer more, social networking sites should not invest in software patents they should fight them.  Even if the patent is valid it is clearly bad for competition and innovation. This patent should be reexamined, stay away!

I am waiting to comment on the JZ patents I need to read them more carefully.

Posted on January 27, 2009 in DMCA by Brian RoweComments Off

Public knowledge has a short piece up on how the DMCA has been abused:

While it’s no secret that the DMCA has had a noticeable chilling effect on a number of different classes of innovators during the last decade, it’s still disheartening to hear of creative uses of content that have been squelched by big copyright holders. Earlier this month, on the film blog The House Next Door, film critic Matt Zoller Seitz wrote of fellow House Next Door contributor Kevin B. Lee’s recent tussle with YouTube. Lee had been posting video essays on YouTube that offered critical assessments of Hollywood films, both recent and classic. As part of his essays, Lee often included clips, of varying length, from the films that he discussed. Over the years, Lee had occasionally received DMCA takedown notices via YouTube and not knowing any better, had chosen not to contest them. On January 12th, however, he received his third and final notice and in accordance with YouTube’s “three strikes” policy, his account was locked and all 140 of his video essays were made instantly unavailable.

Posted on January 23, 2009 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

law-of-the-commonsSeattle University Law and the Seattle Chapter of the National Lawyers Guild are hosting a one day conference dedicated to the commons! This is an unique event as it bring together both the commons movement in the copyright realm and the commons movement in the environmental realm to discuss the history and future of the commons and a legal systems that can protect or harms the commons.

In 2008, nations worldwide plundered their common wealth in an effort to bail out the prevailing economic order. It is a stark reminder that there could be other ways of doing things. It is an opportune time to reexamine the concept of the commons, perhaps as a parallel, if not an alternative to private property oriented social, political and legal systems:

The modern notion of the commons is fractured. It ranges from movements concerned with the private ownership of life, water, access to land and sea, to organic farming versus industrial agriculture, to economic and political localism to the legal enclosures of intellectual creativity. The various commons movements seem superficially to have little in common, but beneath the surface there are multiple and recurring points of intersection.

This seminar stitches together many different threads of the commons: the historical perspective in a contemporary context, creative and artistic commons, software and “intellectual property” including patenting of life forms, personal and political commons, natural resources, media and telecommunications commons. The seminar beckons to lawyers, professors and judges whose legal training is framed by property rights and human rights, computer geeks and “techies,” humanists, political activists, food activists, and creative communities of various stripes.

Law of the Commons Conference
Seattle University School of Law
1191 E. Columbia
Sullivan Hall, Corner of 12th at E. Columbia
Seattle, WA 98122-1090

Read more at the Commons Web Site
Click to download full Law of the Commons brochure (PDF)
Steve Reisler’s article “Teaching the Commons” in the Sping 2009 issue of Guild Practitioner. (Large PDF)

Posted on January 23, 2009 in copyright, IP by Brian RoweComments Off
In October of 2008, Google announced it had reached a settlement with authors and publishers in the class action lawsuits over its Google Book Search. With the settlement now being put into place, what will this mean for those that participate in the program and for those who do not? What will happen to competitors for Google Book Search and what impact will Google’s Book Registry have on the future of copyright law? Join our fantastic panel for a lively discussion as we delve into this evolving area of copyright law.

Date: Thursday, January 29, 2009
Time: 6:00 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.: Welcome
6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Panel Discussion and Q&A
7:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Social Hour – Meet and Greet (sponsored by Seattle University Law and the IPLS)
Place: Seattle University School of Law, Sullivan Hall, 901 12th Avenue,
Seattle 98122
Cost: FREE!

BRIAN FLAGLER founded Flagler Law Group in spring 2006, where his practice focuses on publishers, designers, producers, and distributors of Christian media. Before founding the firm, Brian served as Vice President of Administration & General Counsel of Multnomah Publishers, Inc. Prior to his time at Multnomah, Brian practiced intellectual property and corporate law in the Portland, Oregon office of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and, prior to moving to the west coast, with Troutman Sanders LLP in Atlanta, Georgia, where he also served as adjunct instructor of intellectual property law at Clayton College & State University. Brian graduated from the University of Virginia School of Law.
JULE L. SIGALL is Senior Policy Counsel/Copyright & Trademark in Microsoft’s Legal & Corporate Affairs department, focusing on company-wide global copyright policy, as well as copyright counseling to the Entertainment & Devices division. Before joining Microsoft, Jule served as Associate Register for Policy & International Affairs at the U.S. Copyright Office, where he headed the U.S. delegation to sessions of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright & Related Rights. He was also an adjunct professor at George Washington University Law School, where he taught copyright law, and is a frequent speaker on copyright in both domestic and international conferences. Prior to his government service, Jule practiced in the Intellectual Property & Technology Group of Arnold & Porter in Washington, DC, where he was involved in some of the leading cases involving copyright and new technology. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Catholic University’s Columbus School of Law and received his A.B. from Duke University.
NICHOLAS MITCHELL (MODERATOR) is currently the Chair of the Northwest Chapter of the CSUSA and a senior attorney with Hughes Media Law Group working in a variety of intellectual property disciplines, but primarily focusing on strategic business development, drafting and negotiating various services, media and licensing agreements. Prior to joining Hughes Media Law Group, Nick was with Microsoft Game Studios where he focused on negotiating and drafting copyright, trademark, development and publishing agreements for video game project development and marketing. Additionally, he oversaw Microsoft Game Studios’ music strategy and cross-group music initiatives with the Zune Music Player and Service.
Posted on January 19, 2009 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

The Students for Free Culture’s board meet last weekend and was very productive, they:

Here is the timeline:

  • Feb 14 – nominations open
  • Feb 29 – nominations close
  • March 1 – 23 – campaigning (design an offering to the free culture community)
  • March 24 – first day to vote
  • March 31 – last day to vote
  • April 1 – winners announced
  • Somewhere between April 1 and May 1 – transition meeting
  • May 1 – new board takes power

This is a very important meeting from two perspective, first the 501(c)3 status is something SFFC has need for a long time.  This opens the door to providing a support staff for future SFFC boards and accepting donation or grants independent of other orgs.   Second the elections are guaranteed to bring change in the leadership of SFFC.  A few of the current board members are no longer students, this wll open a few spots on the board.  I am very curious also to see where these activist transition to.

Here are the full notes for the meeting; SFFC public board notes and agenda.

Posted on January 13, 2009 in CC, IP by Brian RoweComments Off


CC has just gained a foothold in the middle east:

Al Jazeera Network today announced the world’s first repository of
broadcast-quality video footage released under the Creative Commons
3.0 Attribution license. Select Al Jazeera video footage – at this
time, footage of the War in Gaza – will be available for free to be
downloaded, shared, remixed, subtitled and eventually rebroadcasted by
users and TV stations across the world with acknowledgment to Al

It is very interesting to note that Al Jazeera is using one of the most liberal license CC – BY, which only requires attribution (only a public domain dedication is more liberal). This may make Al Jazeera the freest, with regard to copyright, major news outlet. CNN, MSNBC and Fox should take note…

Note I will add a link to the full Press realse when it is posted online, the press release just hit the CC email list.

Update: Here is the offical CC post with links to the full press release.

Posted on January 8, 2009 in Event by Brian RoweView Comments

This just in from Boing Boing:

Chris sez, “Perhaps inspired by the Spore DRM debacle of last year, the FTC is going to hold a Town Hall Meeting on the subject of Digital Rights Management (DRM) in March. They are soliciting requests and suggestions for discussion from the general public via a contact form or e-mail through January 30th. This is a great chance to make your viewpoints heard!”

Man, I wish I could be at this thing!

Digital rights management (DRM) refers to technologies typically used by hardware manufacturers, publishers, and copyright holders to attempt to control how consumers access and use media and entertainment content. Among other issues, the workshop will address the need to improve disclosures to consumers about DRM limitations. Interested parties may submit written comments or original research on this topic.FTC Town Hall to Address Digital Rights Management Technologies – Event Takes Place Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Seattle

This is an amazing opportunity right here is Seattle!  I will be attending and would love to see some strong representation from the local Free Culture and Ischool community.  Please email me if you want to coordinate action here in Seattle [email protected] !