Posted on December 18, 2009 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

Recently on the CC list an interesting question came up from an artist:

I have a question concerning the following lines in the CC-licenses.

“When You Distribute or Publicly Perform the Work, You may not impose any effective technological measures on the Work that restrict the ability of a recipient of the Work from You to exercise the rights granted to that recipient under the terms of the License”(

I am the creator of a CC by-sa movie.  I am having a problem with the fact, that the movie is being streamed and can be viewed only inside a webplayer. It means that there is no download button.

In my opinion this is a breach of the license since a user of their page cannot share or build upon my content offered on this webpage. Is the use of such a webplayer without the option of downloading the movie an effective technological measure for restricting access in terms of the
license? Maybe it isn’t for a versatile Internet user who knows how to use certain tools. But surely the Average Joe won’t know how to get the work from them in order to share it or build upon.

This question is a great question as it covers both the intent of the CC license and the reality of the CC license while giving some oppertunity to look at the DMCA. Here is the answer I gave:

I would have to agree with other commenter that the site is not adding an effective technological measure to lock the content away when it is only providing the file via a streamed video player. I am a bit bias here as I do not think an addon on like download helper should trigger the DMCA anti circumvention provisions. Encryption has been one of the things court look to when deciding if a measure is effective, some courts require effective encryption (/cheer Finland), while others just want to see a decoder ring (the US). Lowering the bar on effective technological measures to include streaming video could be very dangerous for fair use of online video. Fair use is not a defense to many DMCA violations, although I am in the camp the court has not seen eye to eye with that believes that the DMCA is just unconstitutional where it overrides fair use.

I think the more useful way to view the licensee is that it does not create a duty to provide an SA work in multiple ways or formats. If I show an SA movie at my theater, I am effectively streaming it to the room. In this case I am not also required to host that movie online for free download in an open format or to hand out the file to everyone who walks through the door. I am only required to not add effective technological measure to the showing of the work itself.

One of the real interesting parts about CC licenses is that the lawyer readable code takes a lot from domestic and international copyright code.   The simple fact is that the laws CC is built on are not human readable.  Until we we simplifying copyright reform, this leaves several areas where a lawyer is still need when someone wants to assert rights in more complicated borderline cases.

PS the question was from Tim Baumann and the movie is valkaama.

Posted on December 15, 2009 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

Today, December 15, the Vice President is holding a roundtable discussion on this Administration’s commitment to enforcing laws against the piracy of intellectual property. The White House claims they are”bring together all of the stakeholders to discuss ways to combat piracy in this rapidly changing technological age.” This is simply false, this meeting only includes big media and is blatantly ignoring user rights.  On the invited list are Sony, Warner Bros, Time Warner, Viacom, NBC/Universal, Harper Collins, News Corp, Disney, MPAA, RIAA, but not even one representative from EFF, PK, Public Patent, Organization for Transformative Works, or other public interest groups were invited.

This is a ridiculous mockery of open public policy discussion, this is like only inviting OPEC to the table to discuss climate change and pretending like all everyone is represented.Gigi Sohn did a great job summing up the white houses choice of guest list when she stated:

No consumer or public-interest groups, technology companies, technology associations or Internet Service Providers are on the guest list. No one who questions the need for Draconian governmental policies on behalf of the privileged special interest group for whom this meeting is being held is on the guest list.

Read the full press release at PK and the guest list.

Posted on December 13, 2009 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

Google Public Policy FellowshipThe Google Policy Fellowship applications are now open. I highly recommend applying if you are interested in policy work. Working at Public Knowledge last summer was amazing. I was able to get first hand experience with the FCC, the Copyright Office and some amazing nonprofits in the DC area like KEI and EPIC.

This years sponsoring organizations includes a few new additions:

American Library Association
Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic
Cato Institute
Center for Democracy and Technology
The Citizen Lab
Competitive Enterprise Institute
Creative Commons
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Future of Music Coalition
Internet Education Foundation
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Media Access Project
National Hispanic Media Coalition
New America Foundation
Progress and Freedom Foundation
Public Knowledge
Technology Policy Institute

The application deadline is December 28, 2009. Apply at the fellowship page. Please feel free to ping me if you want to know more information about my experience last summer.