Posted on August 31, 2009 in CC, copyright, IP by Brian RoweComments Off

WLA Logo Washington Lawyers for the Arts has invited me to speak on copyright licensing panel later this month.  The talk will be at 4Culture, 101 Prefontaine Pl S, Seattle, Washington 98104 on Tuesday, September 22, 2009, Noon – 2:00 pm. The other speaker on the panel is Nick Mitchell of Hughes Media Law Group and the moderator is Jefferson Coulter who blogs on copyright at Copyright or Wrong.  This should be a good talk with lots of time for Q&A.  The registration is only $10 for students and artist, hope to see people there.

Here is the full announcement from WLA:

SEATTLE – Copyright is the primary means of protecting an artist’s rights in his or her works. However, understanding the nuances of copyright law and the implications the law has on using others’ works, or allowing others to use yours, can be daunting, and has led to increasing criticism of the U.S. copyright system as a whole.

In 2001, Creative Commons was established with the goal of making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, and it has since developed a variety of model licenses that can be used when licensing one’s works. In this presentation, attorneys Jefferson Coulter, Nick Mitchell and Brian Rowe will discuss Creative Commons licenses and their use in the arts.

The presentation will begin with a brief discussion of copyright law and copyright licensing, and the policy considerations that inform copyright law in the U.S. The discussion will then turn to Creative Commons, with an examination of the reasons Creative Commons was established, what Creative Commons licenses are (and are not), why you may or may not want to use them, and important things to consider if you do. A question and answer session will follow.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Noon – 2:00 pm (registration begins at 11:30, brownbag lunches welcome)

101 Prefontaine Pl S
Seattle, Washington 98104

FEE: In advance: $35 Attorneys and Paralegals; $10 Artists and Students. At the door: $40 Attorneys and Paralegals; $15 Artists and Students

To register, visit Brown Paper Tickets, , or phone 24/7 at 800.838.3006. To pay at the door, RSVP to Washington Lawyers for the Arts at 206.328.7053. Please note that the event is subject to cancellation; visit or call 206.328.7053 for more information.

MORE INFORMATION: To view the full event information, select this link.

Posted on August 25, 2009 in IP by Brian RoweView Comments

In working at Public Knowledge this summer, I was introduced to Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) for the first time. This resource was absolutely required for some of the FCC cases I worked on. PACER is basically a government service that provides United States federal court documents for a fee. Users can obtain case and docket information from the United States district courts, United States courts of appeals, and United States bankruptcy courts. The documents are behind a pay wall, even though they are essential to trying cases and are in the public domain. PACER is currently undergoing a review of its practices, and in response to this review, “a small band of law librarians who believe in improved open access” has started a petition to reform PACER. Please check it out and add your comments.

Here is the text of the Improve Pacer Petition:

We ask the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to improve PACER (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) by enhancing the authenticity, usability and availability of the system.

We the undersigned, urge the Administrative Office of the US Courts (AO) to make the following changes to the PACER system:
* For verification and reliability, the AO should digitally sign every document put into PACER using readily available technology.
* PACER needs to be much more readily accessible if it is to be usable for research, education, and the practice of law. Improved accessibility includes both lowering the costs for using PACER and enhancing the web interfaces.
* Depository libraries should also have free access to PACER.
Thank you.

I agree with these basic points but believe the petition could go further. Below is my comment from when I signed the petition:

Access to primary legal materials is a fundamental human right. We cannot be a nation of laws if the proceedings of our courts are distributed at high cost, creating an economic barrier for access to justice.

I believe the same thing of all case law and law review articles. As long as the law is locked away, we will never have equal access to justice.

Posted on August 3, 2009 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

Friday the FCC released a series of questions for Apple about handset exclusivity and the iPhone application Store. These questions focus on competition and appear to be a response to Apple rejecting Google’s Voice over IP App.

Recent press reports indicate that Apple has declined to approve the Google Voice application for the iPhone and has removed related (and previously approved) third-party applications from the iPhone App Store.1 In light of pending FCC proceedings regarding wireless open access (RM-11361) and handset exclusivity(RM-11497), we are interested in a more complete understanding of this situation. To that end, please provide answers to the following questions by close of business on Friday, August 21, 2009.

1. Why did Apple reject the Google Voice application for iPhone and remove related third-party applications from its App Store?  In addition to Google Voice, which related third-party applications were removed or have been rejected?  Please provide the specific name of each application and the contact information for the developer.

2. Did Apple act alone, or in consultation with AT&T, in deciding to reject the Google Voice application and related applications?  If the latter, please
describe the communications between Apple and AT&T in connection with the decision to reject Google Voice.  Are there any contractual conditions or non-contractual understandings with AT&T that affected Apple’s decision in this matter?

3. Does AT&T have any role in the approval of iPhone applications generally (or in certain cases)?  If so, under what circumstances, and what role does it play?  What roles are specified in the contractual provisions between Apple and AT&T (or anynon-contractual understandings) regarding the consideration of particular iPhone applications?

4. Please explain any differences between the Google Voice iPhone application and any Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) applications that Apple has approved for the iPhone.  Are any of the approved VoIP applications allowed to operate on AT&T’s 3G network?

5. What other applications have been rejected for use on the iPhone and for what reasons?  Is there a list of prohibited applications or of categories of  applications that is provided to potential vendors/developers?  If so, is this posted on the iTunes website or otherwise disclosed to consumers?

6. What are the standards for considering and approving iPhone applications?   What is the approval process for such applications (timing, reasons for rejection, appeal process, etc.)?  What is the percentage of applications that are rejected?  What are the major reasons for rejecting an application?

Disclosure, I am working at PK under a grant through Google’s Public Policy Fellow program. I also own an iPhone that I have intermittently jail broken for just this reason.  I have a freedom to tinker with my own devices and to choose what apps i use on it. Unfortunately this could make me a criminal under the DMCA… Platforms should be neutral, I do not want Linux or Windows telling me what word processor I can use. Why should a phone be different?