Show # 235 — Profs. Irina Manta and David Olson on consumer monitoring and price discrimination in the software market — posted

I’m pleased to post Show # 235, April 29, my interview with Profs. Irina Manta of Hofstra Law and David Olson of Boston College Law, authors of Hello Barbie: First They Will Monitor You, Then They Will Discriminate Against You. Perfectly. Irina and David have written a challenging and insightful article that posits a burgeoning economy where, as they put it, “manufacturers of software and of consumer goods … make use of consumer monitoring technologies and restrictive software licenses to more perfectly price discriminate.” Put differently, Irina and David argue that corporate monitoring and the ability to set restrictive license terms may not have the negative effects that one might assume; indeed, it may make software more affordable for more people. Drawing on the somewhat-creepy story of Mattel’s Hello Barbie, Irina and David have penned a fascinating article that positions the Internet of Things as a potential boon to software and technology access. We explored the structure and ramifications of their arguments in a fun discussion, which I hope you enjoy!


Shows 182-186 — Prof. Dan Trottier, Oliver Day, Derek Khanna, Virginia Crisp and Prof. Vance Ricks — posted

The summer brings five (5) new shows (and a welcome effort to catch up on two months of backlogged emails and other work). So, here they are.

The first show, Show #182, April 17, is my interview with Daniel Trottier of the University of Westminster, author of Social Media as Surveillance. Dan’s book, which is now particularly timely given the PRISM and other NSA/governmental surveillance revelations over the past several weeks, looks at social media as a surveillance technology. Using a variety of angles and insights, Dan examines the impacts and implications of social media as users volunteer to interact (knowingly and unknowingly) with other users and the technology itself.

The second show, Show #183, May 8, is my interview with Derek Khanna of the Yale Information Society Project on copyright reform, jailbreaking cell phones and CISPA. Derek’s name became known after he wrote a controversial memorandum for the Republican Study Committee (RSC) urging reform of existing US copyright law. Since he left the RSC, he’s written on a variety of topics including cell phone jailbreaking. We discussed his current work, as well as his perspective on his experience at the RSC and insights derived from the political response to the memorandum.

Third is Show #184, May 15, my interview with Oliver Day of the new non-profit Securing Change. Oliver is a repeat guest on Hearsay Culture as well as the wonderful volunteer who has helped me combat the endless attempts at hacking of Hearsay Culture by spammers. Oliver has founded an organization designed to offer the same services that Hearsay Culture has received to a wider audience of non-profits [disclaimer: I’m a huge and grateful fan of Oliver’s efforts and am on the Board of Securing Change]. We discussed his efforts and Securing Change’s goals, as well as the nature of hacking and website security threats today. [Note: the email address to use to request help from Securing Change is, not the email address mentioned in the show].

The fourth show, Show #185, May 23, is my interview with Dr. Virginia Crisp, Lecturer at Middlesex University, on Kim Dotcom and copyright infringement. I met Virginia at a conference at MIT in May and found her presentation on the implications of Kim Dotcom’s activities and behavior insightful. On the show, Virginia discusses her research and perspectives on Kim Dotcom, as well as the larger issues involving the social and regulatory aspects of copyright infringement en masse and in New Zealand, where Kim Dotcom has rebranded himself.

Finally, and at long last, the last show for the spring quarter is Show #186, June 13, my interview with Prof. Vance Ricks of Guilford College. Vance has written an insightful article about the nature of gossip online, drawing on sociological and philosophical views of gossip and rumor-mongering applied to social media. We discussed the nature of gossip and reputation in the social and online spheres, as well as the role that technology plays in both amplifying and diminishing these age-old practices. As a bonus, this show was recorded in KZSU’s East Coast Studios, my euphemism for a live recording in my basement studio!

I am in the process of setting the schedule for the summer quarter, which commences in the first week of July. Stay tuned, and look for the schedule to be posted by the end of June. Thanks as always for listening!


shows 170-174 — Profs. Woodrow Hartzog, Fred Stutzman, Dr. Deborah Peel, Profs. Madhavi Sunder, Chris Sprigman and Shubha Ghosh — posted

At long last, I am posting several new shows from the end of last quarter and the beginning of this quarter.

The first show, Show 170, August 7, is my interview with Prof. Woodrow Hartzog of Cumberland School of Law, Samford University and Fred Stutzman of UNC on their article, The Case for Online Obscurity. In their article, Woody and Fred conceptualize “obscurity” as an area on the information flow spectrum from publicity to privacy. Although people often interact with technology from the perspective of something other than complete privacy or publicity, Woody and Fred note that the parameters of that activity — obscurity — has not been theorized. In our discussion, we explore the theory and practice underlying obscurity. They were great guests.

Next, Show 171, August 21, is my interview with Dr. Deborah Peel. Deb is one of the nation’s leading advocates on patient privacy rights and the rights associated with the distribution of health information. In our interview, we discussed her work and views on the challenges facing both patients and the healthcare industry as we confront the explosion of information stored in electronic format. I greatly enjoyed the discussion.

Show 172, August 28, is my interview with Prof. Madhavi Sunder of UC Davis School of Law, author of From Goods to a Good Life: Intellectual Property and Global Justice. Madhavi has written a fascinating book arguing that the process of production, and not just the outputs, should be a value that intellectual property law encompasses. In her book, she explores the implications of such a shift on communities in developing economies and other groups who are not generally considered in intellectual property’s utilitarian scheme. I learned much and we had a fun interview.

The fourth show, Show 173, October 3 is my interview with Prof. Chris Sprigman of Virginia Law, co-author of The Knockoff Economy. Chris and his co-author Kal (who did not join us on the interview) have written a fascinating account of industries and communities, like fashion and comedy, where intellectual property law is non-existent and/or unenforced. They found, somewhat surprisingly to those who view intellectual property law as a necessary requirement to spur innovation and economic activity, that these industries thrived despite the absence of intellectual property rights. We had a broad and high-energy discussion.

Finally, Show 174, October 10, is my interview with Prof. Shubha Ghosh of the University of Wisconsin School of Law, author of Identity, Invention, and the Culture of Personalized Medicine Patenting. Shubha is a prolific scholar who has written a study of the law surrounding and implications of personalized medicine from a patent law perspective. Given the advances in technology that allow for a vast array of data to be used in the treatment of patients, patent law is at the center of the questions as to the parameters of this activity. Shubha was able to discuss a challenging area in a clear and concise way, and I greatly enjoyed the interview.

A final note: since the show began in May 2006, Joe Neto, Stanford Law School’s wonderful creative services specialist and Funkranomicon lead vocalist, was responsible for posting the shows onto CIS’ server. After six years and 170 shows, he has handed that job over to CIS’ Elaine Adolfo. Thanks much to Joe for his work, and to Elaine for taking over the reigns!


shows # 166-169 — Prof. Brett Frischmann, Prof. Francesca Coppa, Prof. Tisha Turk, Michael Masnick and Berin Szoka — posted

I am pleased to post the first four shows of the summer quarter.

The first, Show #166, July 10, is my interview with Prof. Brett Frischmann of Cardozo Law, author of Infrastructure: The Social Value of Shared Resources. Brett has written a thoroughly-researched and thought-provoking account of the benefits and challenges of viewing our infrastructure, from the energy grid to the Internet, as a commons/shared resource. Drawing on his (and others’) writing on the topic of the cultural commons going back over 10 years, Brett’s book was a great topic and I very much enjoyed the discussion.

The second show, Show #167, July 17, is my interview with Profs. Francesca Coppa of Muhlenberg College and Tisha Turk of the University of Minnesota at Morris on vidding. Vidding is a massively creative effort on the part of many artists who reinterpret video to reveal/highlight/interpret their political and social moorings. We had a wide-ranging discussion about the purpose, meaning and technology of vidding, and I learned much in a fun conversation!

The third show, Show #168, July 24 is my interview with Mike Masnick of Techdirt. Techdirt is one of my go-to news sites for all issues surrounding technology law policymaking and challenges, and Mike’s reporting is always well-cited, sharp and entertaining. Indeed, he regularly covers a number of technology issues that are simply ignored in almost all other technology news sites, like the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. I learned much from the interview!

The fourth interview is Show #169, July 31, my interview with Berin Szoka of TechFreedom, co-editor of The Next Digital Decade. Berin is a leading thinker on technology policy and writes from a libertarian perspective. He amassed a stellar group of commentators for his book, and we discussed several of the questions that he posed to his contributors. I’m a fan of Berin and his work and was excited to have him on the show!

Look for the last three shows of the summer within the next week or two, and please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions for future guests!


shows #152-155 — David Perlmutter, Ethan Leib, Saul Levmore, Martha Nussbaum and Helen Nissenbaum — posted

Happy new year! A hectic December has led me to the Association of American Law Schools annual meeting, where I’ll be discussing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement tomorrow. Meanwhile, posted are the last four shows of the Fall 2011 quarter.

The first show is Show #152, November 3, my interview with Prof. David Perlmutter of the University of Iowa, author of Blogwars and Tenure and Promotion Confidential. We discussed the media industry surrounding blogs as well as a more provincial topic of interest to a narrower range of Hearsay Culture listeners, namely, how to get tenure. David’s work spans a variety of areas, and I greatly enjoyed the interview.

Show #153, November 10 is my interview with Prof. Ethan Leib of Fordham Law School, author of Friend V. Friend. Ethan has written a fascinating book about the regulation of friendships and whether the government should play a role in encouraging friendship. The obvious relevance of this issue as manifested in social networks is explored, as well as more nuanced questions like whether government has a role in this fundamental area of private ordering. A great discussion.

The third show, Show #154, December 1 is my interview with Dean Saul Levmore and Prof. Martha Nussbaum of The University of Chicago Law School, co-editors of The Offensive Internet: Speech, Privacy, and Reputation. Saul and Martha have edited and contributed to an excellent volume on the impact of the Internet on one’s ability to protect and control one’s reputation and identity. As eminent scholars I was thrilled to have them on the show and they offered their unique perspectives on wide range of topics, from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to social media.

The last show of the quarter, Show #155, December 8 is my interview with Prof. Helen Nissenbaum of New York University, discussing Privacy in Context. Helen’s newest book focuses on her idea of “contextual integrity” that conceives privacy through the prism of its social constructs. An outstanding guest and scholar, I greatly enjoyed the conversation.

The schedule for the next quarter, which begins during the week of January 16, will be posted next week.


shows 118, 119 and 120 — profs. paul jones, eduardo penalver, sonia katyal and rob frieden — posted

I am pleased to post three more shows from this quarter. The first, Show 118, July 28 is my interview with Paul Jones of Paul is one of the true pioneers of the Internet, having founded SunSITE, one of the first webpages, as well as the digital library Paul is also a cutting-edge teacher, having taught a course using videos as the reading. In our interview, we had a wide-ranging discussion from Paul’s pedagogical style to the future of the Internet. I am sure that you’ll enjoy the discussion.

The second show is Show 119, August 4, my interview with Profs. Eduardo Penalver of Cornell Law and Sonia Katyal of Fordham Law discussing Property Outlaws. Eduardo and Sonia have written an excellent book examining copyright disobedience and its effects on the growth and development of copyright law. Analogizing to other examples of civil disobedience, Eduardo and Sonia paint a compelling picture of the need for such actions. I very much enjoyed the interview!

Show 120, August 11 is my interview with Prof. Rob Frieden of Penn State’s College of Communications discussing Winning the Silicon Sweepstakes. Rob has written a pull-no-punches account of the failure of the FCC to properly regulate the United States’ telecommunications interest. A sweeping indictment of the FCC, Rob’s book is also a trenchant analysis of where we should go in the future to reverse our course. Rob was a great guest and I’m sure that you’ll find the interview of interest.

One more show is coming before Hearsay Culture goes on its inter-quarter hiatus. As always, comments, suggests and feedback are welcome at Thanks for listening!


What about the sacredness of our children’s future?

As I read about the latest industry to beg DC policymakers to give them taxpayer money to “bail” them out, I am reminded of the words of the late Senator Paul Tsongas: “We are a continuum. Just as we reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values, so we, as guardians of that legacy, must reach ahead to our children and their children. And we do so with a sense of sacredness in that reaching.”

In the flurry of fear accompanying every industry’s prediction of imminent demise, we seem to have lost that sense of sacredness. Although I understand that in the very short term we need to invest and table deficit reduction as a top priority, I am very concerned that the taxpayer will lose massive amounts of money on the [insert massive number north of $1 trillion here] “bailout” and we’ll still be talking about short-term stimulus packages in 2012 and 2016.

Let’s hope that there are people left in positions of power who care about our children’s future and are incensed that our children will pay for the greed of today. In the race to save all who did well when times were good and now want taxpayers to cover their downside risk, perhaps policymakers can stop once in a while and say “no.” Our children will be happy we did.


Shows #79 and 80 — Prof. Mark Bauerlein and Jeff Howe — posted and schedule

I am pleased to post two new shows. The first, Show #79, is my interview with Prof. Mark Bauerlein of Emory University, author of The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future (Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30). Mark takes a critical view of the impact of technology on youth. He cites a wide array of empirical data to support his core assertion that technology, and particularly the Internet, is not leading to a greater degree of knowledge or awareness among our youth. Mark’s book, with its highly-charged title, is among the best of the contributions on this side of the ledger, and I hope that you enjoy our interview.

I am also pleased to post Show #80, my interview with Jeff Howe, author of Crowdsourcing. Jeff’s book takes a journalist’s perspective on the growing ability of groups to innovate and create. Jeff collects a variety of examples to show ways that the crowd can create, both in terms of goods and services as well as movements generally. We had a wide ranging discussion, and I hope that you enjoy it!

Alas, there is one more show this quarter, and then Hearsay Culture is in hiatus until the beginning of January. Happy holidays!


Shows 76, 77 and 78 — Prof. Paul Ohm, David Rice and Michael Gollin — posted

As I sit here and follow the election results (and did I mention, screen within a screen is great — local news in the small box, national news in the main screen), thoughts naturally flow to posting new Hearsay Culture shows. So I’m pleased to post three new shows! When you need a break from election and post-election coverage, you may want to check one (or all three) out.

The first, Show #76, is my interview with Prof. Paul Ohm of the University of Colorado Law School. We discussed his most recent article, The Rise and Fall of Invasive ISP [Internet Service Provider] Surveillance. It is a fascinating article that discusses, in greal detail, Paul’s core argument that consumers and citizens should be extremely concerned about how ISPs can and do monitor the Internet activities of their subscribers. We discuss not only the whys but the hows of ISP surveillance and Paul’s suggestions to address these issues. I very much enjoyed the interview.

Show #77 is my interview with David Rice, author of Geekonomics: The Real Cost of Insecure Software. David’s book focuses on the concerns surrounding insecure and/or flawed software to our nation’s (and the world’s) economy and infrastructure. This is a serious issue that we need to address as a nation — and a great start would be to take notice of these issues as a populace through David’s book. I greatly enjoyed the interview!

Finally, Show # 78 is my interview with Michael Gollin, Esq. of Venable LLP, author of Driving Innovation. Michael’s book is a comprehensive overview of the application of intellectual property law (IP) to the business plan and management of businesses. In our interview, we largely focus on an often-ignored aspect of IP management: the human factor. Michael’s book would be a great desk reference for those in any aspect of IP management. I hope that you enjoy the interview as much as I did!


Excellent explanation of the credit mess and a fiscal responsibility call to the Presidential candidates

Paul Solman of PBS gave an excellent explanation of the basics of the credit crisis tonight on the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. Highly recommended to get the basics down cold.

Along these same lines, as we consider a $700 billion taxpayer package to bail out the financial industry, I invite you to consider signing a letter to the Presidential candidates, penned by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation (Peterson being a founder of The Concord Coalition) calling for, in sum, two major changes in fiscal governance once the Bush administration comes to an end: “First, to engage Americans in an open and honest discussion about our $53 trillion financial hole and make addressing it a top priority if elected. Second, to create during their first year in office a bipartisan ‘fiscal responsibility commission’ to recommend meaningful reforms to the government’s budget processes and entitlement, health care, and tax systems – recommendations that are guaranteed to receive an up-or-down vote by the Congress, as is done with military base closings. Everything must be on the table.”

When I think about the massive pile of debt that we are giving to our children and grandchildren, which will severely curtail their ability to make meaningful choices about their priorities (not to mention the burden of having to pay it back), the callous irresponsibility of our behavior as a nation gets me pretty angry. While I am not a fan of more commissions, studies, etc., my own experience with advocating deficit reduction is that this may be the only way to get meaningful discussion going. So, for the future of this nation (read: our children and grandchildren), please consider signing this wonderfully drafted and clearly argued letter. It is not an understatement to say that nothing less than generational responsibility requires that our new President implement these two goals, at a minimum.