A Tech/Law Talk Show designed to cover modern technology and Internet issues with host Dave Levine.

Show # 258 — Prof. Paul Ringel on commercializing childhood — posted

I’m pleased to post show # 258, June 24, my interview with Prof. Paul Ringel of High Point University, author of Commercializing Childhood. Paul’s study may seem superficially beyond Hearsay Culture’s scope, until one considers the role of marketing, especially to children, on the Internet. Paul’s book frames part of this heretofore-unknown marketing history by focusing on early American efforts to create children’s magazines. As a historian, Paul explores the motivations for creating such magazines, as well as their successes. In our interview, we discussed this history and how we might think about today’s technologically-enhanced efforts to capture children’s eyeballs. I greatly enjoyed this discussion with my friend Paul, and hope that you find it enlightening!

Postscript: Look for the Fall 2016 quarter schedule in August, which begins in September 2016. Have a great rest of the summer!


Show # 257 — Prof. Neil Netanel on Jewish copyright law — posted

I’m pleased to post show # 257, June 17, my interview with Prof. Neil Netanel of UCLA Law, author of From Maimonides to Microsoft: The Jewish Law of Copyright Since the Birth of Print. I’ve had occasion to discuss Jewish intellectual property law in the past, and always seize the opportunity when it arises. Neil offers such an opportunity, as he’s written a thoroughly researched and annotated history of the Jewish copyright law and theory. As we discussed, this was a particular challenge since the word “copyright” is largely absent from Jewish writing. Drawing on extensive Jewish law and commentary over centuries, Neil articulates the many facets of Jewish copyright theory that capture elements of modern copyright theoretical bases like personhood and Lockean labor. By examining not just the theory but the types of disputes that arose in Rabbinical courts, as well as the relationship between Jewish jurists and their non-Jewish counterparts, we had a unique and fascinating discussion. Having a prolific and thoughtful scholar on the show is always an honor; thus, I hope that you enjoy this in-depth conversation with one of intellectual property law’s scholarly giants!


Show # 256 — Francesca Musiani, Profs. Derrick Cogburn and Laura DeNardis — on Internet infrastructure, posted

It’s been a busy summer, having (a) taught an exciting (and sadly timely) new course on Employment Discrimination Law:

and taking the stage (really).

As a result, Hearsay Culture has taken a bit of a summer hiatus; but, I have a few more shows from the past two months to post. Here’s the first, show # 256, May 20, my interview with Francesca Musiani of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, Profs. Derrick L. Cogburn of American University’s School of International Service (SIS), and Laura DeNardis of American University’s School of Communication, co-editors of The Turn to Infrastructure in Internet Governance. Francesca, Derrick and returning guest Laura, along with co-editor Nanette Levinson, have gathered leading scholars and thinkers on the state of Internet operations. This area is critically important as the Internet moves into governance by international, rather than American, organizations. Particularly given the chaotic state of our public discourse, it is essential for policymakers to understand the various forces that operate to expand and constrain the Internet. In our discussion, we covered a range of topics, from Internet governance politics to whether international bodies can take on this complex task. I greatly enjoyed this wide-ranging discussion!


Show # 255 — Prof. Michael Schudson on the rise of the “right to know” — posted

I’m pleased to post Show # 255, May 13, my interview with Prof. Michael Schudson of the Columbia School of Journalism, author of The Rise of the Right to Know: Politics and the Culture of Transparency, 1945–1975. Michael is one of the leading media historians writing today, whose many books have helped shape the media studies field. His focus in this work is the mid-century struggle to offer public access to government operations despite the many traditions and practices that pushed against such openness. The post-war era was marked by many ebbs and tides of openness, of which the passing of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was most well-known. In our discussion, we focused on FOIA and other open government laws, its challenges and the impact of this history on our understanding of the Wikileaks-Snowden era. I was thrilled to have Michael on the show, and hope that you find the discussion enlightening.


Tenth Anniversary Show, #254 with Prof. Lawrence Lessig, posted!

For your Memorial Day weekend, I’m am amazed and humbled to post Hearsay Culture’s tenth anniversary show, # 254, recorded on April 26 and aired on KZSU on May 6, 2016, with Prof. Lawrence Lessig of Harvard University, reflecting on the past 10 years of Internet law and policy, and his current efforts to fix democracy. On a day when he was scheduled to fly to Washington, DC to pay a fine for having been arrested on Capitol Hill protesting the state of our campaign finance laws, Larry came to Elon Law and chatted with me for an hour in front of a live audience.

Larry and me before the interview!
Larry and me hamming it up before the interview. Photo credit: Eric Townsend

We discussed a range of topics, including Larry’s assessment of his role in the Eldred copyright duration decision, his current proposals for addressing the crippling effects of our campaign finance laws on policymaking, his Presidential run, the parallels between the fix democracy movement and civil rights movement, and whether he considers himself an idealist. Along the way, Larry also shared advice both for parents and for aspiring lawyers; advice that has stuck with me, as a law professor with two young sons, since. Suffice to say, I’m grateful for Larry’s return to the show, and for taking time out of an unusually busy day to celebrate Hearsay Culture’s tenth anniversary!

Moreover, I should note that I thank lots of folks and entities during the interview, without whom Hearsay Culture would not be what it is today (starting with my wonderful listeners). I am grateful for your support, encouragement and collegiality, and look forward to another 10 (!) years! Enjoy; I dedicate this show to you!


Show # 253 — Prof. Pam Samuelson on the Authors Alliance — posted

I’m pleased to post Show # 253, April 29, my interview with Prof. Pam Samuelson of UC Berkeley School of Law and School of Information, on the Authors Alliance. Pam needs little introduction to Hearsay Culture listeners given her position as one of the leading intellectual property law scholars of the last 30 years. In this interview, we focused on Pam’s work for the Authors Alliance, founded by Pam in 2014 to promote “authorship for the public good by supporting authors who write to be read.” Given the continued pitched battles around the contours of United States copyright law, the timing of our discussion could not have been better. In a candid and broad interview, we discussed the recent Google Book Search fair use decision, the Authors Alliance’s relationship with the Authors Guild, and the role for academics in policy debate, among other topics. I was thrilled to have Pam on the show, and look forward to her future return!


Hearsay Culture now available in the Tunein app!

I’ve been reticent to add Hearsay Culture to ad-based content providers (because they place advertisements in and around the show). Nonetheless, in the interest of reaching the widest possible audience under current budget circumstances (did I mention that the Hearsay Culture budget has always been zero dollars, and financed completely out-of-pocket?), Hearsay Culture is now available on Tunein. So, I hope that listeners find this useful (and no, I am not receiving any compensation from Tunein!)


Show # 252 — Prof. Ben Peters on the history of the failed Soviet Internet — posted

Get ready for one of my common (but not yet patented — too abstract?) barrages of new shows over the next few days. That’s what weekends are for — catching up on Hearsay Culture postings! So,to quote XTC — appropriately in this insane election cycle and as one bulwark against the ignorance enveloping our political process — let’s begin!

I’m pleased to post the first of the Spring 2016 shows, Show #252 from April 22, with Prof. Ben Peters of the University of Tulsa, author of How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet.

Ben has written a fascinating, exquisitely written and thoroughly researched and contextualized history of the repeated failures over 30+ years to create a Soviet Internet. Not merely a history, Ben’s analysis and writing shines when he places the ebbs and tides of its development in the broader socio-political environment in which a few brave pioneers were operating. That the Soviet Internet never developed reveals far more about the nature of a closed but competitive administrative state than it does about the genius underlying failed efforts. In our interview, we discussed both the intuitive and counter-intuitive modern insights borne from Ben’s meticulous writing and research.

Thanks to Hearsay Culture repeat guest Frank Pasquale for affording the opportunity to meet Ben at Yale Law’s extraordinary Unlocking the Black Box conference in April, and I hope that all of you enjoy the interview as much as I did!


Show # 251 — Dave King, of The Bad Plus and Rational Funk — posted

I’m posting this show on a Sunday night, with The Jazztet’s Another Git Together (Mercury SR-60737, 1962), playing on my turntable. This is an appropriate background — although, as my guest points out in this interview, music listening should be immersive, not merely serve as a backdrop — for posting Show # 251, March 11, my interview with Dave King, drummer for The Bad Plus and host of Rational Funk. While one could dismiss this interview as my effort to parlay Hearsay Culture into a fan exercise, as I’m a big Bad Plus (and an amateur drummer), Dave’s development of the video podcast Rational Funk is the clear Hearsay Culture hook.

Dave is one of the most successful and acclaimed jazz drummers of the past 20 years, but his work creating Rational Funk and the impact of technology on the jazz world was our focus. In this wide-ranging and candid interview, we discussed the paths to success for jazz musicians today, the production, development and impact of Rational Funk, and even some of Dave’s personal reflections on the film Whiplash‘s accuracy. It was a joy to chat with Dave, who took time out of a busy touring schedule to join us on the show, and I hope that you enjoy our discussion!

Show notes:

(a) Rational Funk Ep. 21, Lady Gaga/Laptops, excerpted in the introduction;

(b) My personal favorite Rational Funk episode, episode six, where Dave demonstrates how to use military drumming to full effect as a jazz drummer;

(c) The Dave King Trio, live at the Village Vanguard (my favorite jazz venue in the world), 2013. Thanks so much to NPR for recording and presenting live jazz!


Show # 250(!) — Sam Brylawski on audio preservation — posted

I’m honored to post Show # 250 (!), March 4, my interview with Sam Brylawski of the Library of Congress’ National Sound Preservation Board, co-author of the ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation. Sam is one of the pioneers of audio sound preservation, and one of its foremost experts, having been the President of the Association of Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) and editor of the Encyclopedic Discography of Victor Recordings. Sam’s work focusing on preserving our collective sound history is extraordinarily important, as this history is at persistent risk of disappearing through degradation of obsolete sound preservation formats, like wax cylinders and metal plates. In our discussion, we focused on the challenges facing our world’s sound history, from funding to copyright law. I’ve known Sam for over 10 years, and this show was long overdue. I hope that you enjoy the show!

Show notes:

(a) ARSC Guide to Audio Preservation, 2015.

(b) The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States: A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age, Council on Library and Information Resources and The Library of Congress, 2010.

(c) Library of Congress Examines Copyright Issues in Digital Preservation of Commercial Sound Recordings, January 9, 2006.

Historical note: Speaking of history (that is also at long-term risk — how long will links last?), this is indeed show number 250 (!), corresponding with almost 10 years of programming. To honor these dual events, I’ll be interviewing Lawrence Lessig on Tuesday, April 26, 2016, “live” in Greensboro, NC at Elon Law. Grateful to have reached this point; more soon!