Hearsay Culture to intellectually sponsor Innovate/Activate unconference

I am pleased to report that, in September, Hearsay Culture will be an “intellectual sponsor” of Innovate/Activate, an intellectual property and activism unconference sponsored by New York Law School and Yale Law School’s Information Society Project. I am very much looking forward to participating in what should be a great discussion of two of Hearsay Culture’s primary themes: intellectual property and theories of innovation, and the intrusion of intellectual property concepts and ideas in areas where it may not belong. I hope to see you there!


shows #102 and 103 — profs. geert lovink and alexander halavais — posted

I am pleased to post two more shows for this quarter, just in time for United States listeners to sit and digest leftover turkey. Both shows focus on communications theory and policy, but with reference to different tools. The first show, Show #102, November 11 is my interview with Prof. Geert Lovink of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, author of Zero Comments and co-editor of Open 13. Geert is an impressive, insightful and prolific media critic whose writing I have long admired. In our discussion, we focus on the world of blogging and social media. Specifically, we discuss Geert’s views regarding the hierarchies within media and the received wisdom of Web 2.0, and how blogs and social media are used to advance (or not advance) our individual knowledge. Geert’s unique insights were fascinating to explore and I was thrilled to chat with him!

The second show, Show #103, November 18 is my interview with Prof. Alexander Halavais of Quinnipiac University, author of Search Engine Society. Alex has written a comprehensive critique of the major ways that search engines impact our on- and off-line lives. Although a book difficult to write without focusing on Google, Alex did an admirable job writing about and discussing these issues from a broader perspective. We discussed several social and regulatory aspects of search and I greatly enjoyed the discussion, as I hope that you do!


Letter in support of FCC’s Open Internet Proceeding

I signed on to a letter drafted by Profs. Adam Candeub and Brett Frischmann (Brett has been on the show in the past) in support of the FCC’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (“NPRM”) regarding protecting the Internet as a free and open network.

As the letter states:

We believe the NPRM is a laudatory next step. First, from a legal perspective, it is the appropriate regulatory mechanism to evaluate the central substantive and procedural issues regarding discrimination, network management, innovation dynamics, transparency, implementation mechanisms, and so forth.

Second, and more generally, it is an appropriate public forum to gather and evaluate competing claims and relevant evidence. The public debate on these issues often is poorly framed and polluted with broad hyperbolic claims lacking theoretical or empirical support. A notice and comment rule making process is a useful forum to sort fact from fiction. The FCC has already launched a website and blog to promote discussion and comment on these important issues. It has also initiated a series of public workshops on questions about broadband deployment. The FCC deserves credit for initiating such open and participatory processes, which this proceeding builds upon.

Third, sound regulatory policy in this area depends critically on expertise from different disciplines. There is a tendency in public debates about regulation to gravitate toward antitrust and regulatory economics, to the exclusion of other factors. There are strong reasons to resist that pull in this debate. The issues being debated are not only legal or economic or technical or social. In the Internet context, the interdependence of legal, economic, technical, and social factors has produced the powerful market and non-market benefits of open infrastructure.

I have significant concerns about the broad range of policy decisions being made regarding public infrastructure without full and real public participation. It is a topic about which I have written and continue to write. The transparency aspects of this proceeding are critical, as too many decisions in the areas of infrastructure and technology have been made without full public involvement; thus, the FCC deserves these accolades. Thanks to Adam and Brett for drafting the letter!


Shows 83, 84 and 85 — Prof. Mireille Hildebrandt, Bob Wallace and Prof. Ned Snow — posted

I am pleased to post three more shows for the quarter. The first, Show 83, January 28, is my interview with Prof. Mireille Hildebrandt of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (Belgium), co-editor of Profiling the European Citizen. Mireille’s book is a compendium of analysis related to the use of data mining and other technologies to analyze and keep track of citizens of the EU, and is a cutting-edge study of this emerging practice. We had a wide ranging discussion of the ramifications of profiling and I thoroughly enjoyed the interview.

On February 4, Show # 84, I interviewed Robert Wallace, co-author of Spycraft. Spycraft is a history of the CIA’s Office of Technical Services, and is a fascinating account of the use of technology by the CIA and other intelligence agencies. I hope that you enjoy our discussion.

*Unfortunately, the audio quality of shows 83 and 84 is poor — you need to turn up your volume to maximum to make the discussion intelligible. Rather than re-record the interview, I post them here, and apologize to my guests and listeners for the technical difficulties.*

Show #85, February 18, is my interview with Prof. Ned Snow of the University of Arkansas School of Law on the perils of copyright. We discussed Ned’s insightful article Copytraps, a study of the impact of current copyright law on the unwitting copyright violator. Ned’s work is of universal interest, and I hope that you enjoy our discussion!


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!


Show # 70 — Prof. Michael Meurer — posted

I am pleased to post Show #70, my interview with Prof. Michael Meurer of Boston University School of Law, co-author of Patent Failure. Patent Failure is an excellent empirical analysis of the basic question: is patent law doing what we think intellectual property law should do (namely, encourage innovation)? In our discussion, we discuss, among other topics, the current state of patent law, the basis for the provocative title of the book, and why we should (or shouldn’t) radically alter or eliminate the patent system entirely. It was fun, and I hope that you enjoy the interview!

Incidentally, later in the year, I’ll be interviewing Profs. David Levine (David Levines are everywhere!) and Michele Boldrin of Washington University in St. Louis, authors of Against Intellectual Monopoly. The contrast to Patent Failure should be enlightening.

Look for new shows in a few weeks!


Four new spring quarter shows posted

In the hot days of summer, when minds drift to vacations, key lime pie and the Yankees attempting to stay in playoff contention (ok, the latter two may apply to me more specifically), what better way to keep in touch with the world of technology and intellectual property law then sitting in a lounge chair, at the beach, with a rum and coke, and listening to Hearsay Culture podcasts?

Well, I’m here to provide, thanks to some wonderful authors. I am thrilled to post four new shows today.

The first is Show #64, my interview with Dan (Danny) Breznitz, Assistant Professor at the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and the School of Public Policy at Georgia Institute of Technology, author of Innovation and the State. Dan’s book recently won the Don K. Price Award awarded by the American Political Science Association for the Best Book on Science and Technology, and focuses on the innovation policies of three growing economies: Israel, Ireland and Taiwan. In the interview, we discuss, among other topics, the policies of these three nations, the politics involved and how innovation policy can and is developed in growing and emerging economies. I greatly enjoyed the interview and Dan’s book.

Show #65 is my interview with Alex Wright, author of Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages. Alex’s book traces the history of information science and weaves together a lot of information (appropriately) to create a narrative showing the growth of libraries, access to information and how information is organized. Alex’s book is eminently readable and the interview went very well!

Show #66 is my interview with Matt Mason, author of The Pirate’s Dilemma. Matt’s book focuses on the role of the (intellectual property and commercial) pirate in digital society. From discussion of Sealand’s pirate radio to the ethics of piracy, Matt’s book takes an untraditional look at an untraditional trade. A fun read and interview!

Finally, Show #67 is my interview with Prof. Jonathan Zittrain of Harvard Law School, author of The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It. Jonathan’s book, which has gotten quite a bit of media attention already, examines technology policy as it exists today and makes various policy prescriptions for how to develop and/or maintain an Internet that respects the often divergent interests of the many entities involved in its creation and operation. Jonathan is one of the leading thinkers on technology policy and I greatly enjoyed the interview!

Through the rest of June, KZSU’s interim period, Hearsay Culture will be on hiatus. But I’m busy booking the next quarter’s guests and recording interviews, and as always, welcome your suggestions. Thanks again for listening and spreading the word (which, I might add, is my primary and only official mode of promotion of the show).


Show #63 — Prof. Robert Friedel — posted

I am pleased to post Show #63, my interview with Prof. Robert Friedel of the University of Maryland, author of A Culture of Improvement: Technology and the Western Millennium. Robert has written a fascinating and far-ranging history of invention and innovation since the year 1000. I greatly enjoyed both reading the book and interviewing Robert, and I hope that you find this discussion of innovation history illuminating!


Open Source and Privacy Can Co-Exist and Thrive!

From ZDNet: “Google’s role in an open source world by ZDNet‘s Dana Blankenhorn — Google proves you can scale an enormous company in a short time, share code extensively (under a variety of licenses), yet still keep what you need to have private, private.”

While I’m blogging about this over two months after it was posted (blasphemy!), Blankenhorn’s point is worth remembering: open source and the sharing of information is not the death of corporate privacy. We can debate what should be kept private (and indeed we have on Hearsay Culture (see the interview with Prof. Frank Pasquale of Seton Hall Law School, discussing search engines)), but entities can thrive while sharing vast amounts of information. Does Google’s economy of scale render this example marginal? I respond: how did Google grow, and where is it headed? Does anyone doubt that it will continue to grow under this model?

There are some limits to sharing and what Chesbrough calls “open innovation” (see my recent interview with Prof. Henry Chesbrough of U.C. Berkeley — Haas School of Business), but Google’s efforts are worth noting as we face increasing efforts to tighten IP controls.