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

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!


Shows 68 and 69 — Morley Winograd, Michael Hais and Prof. John Tehranian — posted

I am very pleased to post two new shows for your summer enjoyment. The first, Show #68, July 9, is my interview with Morley Winograd of USC Marshall School of Business and Michael Hais, former vice president at Frank N. Magid Associates, authors of Millennial Makeover. Millennial Makeover is an insightful study of the new generation of voters, the “Millennials,” written by two veterans of national politics. It is worthwhile reading for technologists, political junkies and sociologists alike, and I very much enjoyed discussing their book.

The second show, Show #69, July 16 is my interview with Prof. John Tehranian of Chapman University School of Law. John is both an active scholar and intellectual property litigator, and he has a wide range of interests, from copyright law to human rights. I was thrilled to have John on as a guest and we had fun discussing issues ranging from copyright reform to the joys of civil litigation.



Upcoming Schedule and Fall Guests

I have posted the schedule for the remainder of the summer quarter, as well as the list of guests for the fall quarter. As you’ll see, it is a great roster of guests and a wide variety of topics will be discussed, from intellectual property issues to anonymity online. As always, I’m privileged to have such fascinating and engaging people with whom to discuss areas of personal interest, and I hope that you find the interviews equally fascinating and engaging.

Also as always, I would love to hear from you with any suggestions for guests, comments, criticisms, praise, or any other feedback. I can be reached at dave@hearsayculture.com.

Not that I’m the busiest blogger, but the next month or so will be generally quiet here. Other than posting new shows after they’ve aired on KZSU-FM, I will be focusing on my own research and writing (with some vacation) — for those not familiar, this is what professors generally do (or try to do) with their “summers off.”

Enjoy the upcoming shows and your summer!


property lost

I post a doting dad photo series illustrating the hard lessons of life. Here, Noah learns a hard lesson of life: property physically held may be lost. A hard lesson indeed when the item of lost property is your beloved panda. The good news (for Noah) is that panda was soon repossessed, and no fair use rights were harmed in its repossession.


rowling’s irony

I’m eons late to this by blog standards, but I found J. K. Rowling’s Harvard commencement speech particularly ironic. Towards the end, she stated: “The friends with whom I sat on graduation day have been my friends for life. They are my children’s godparents, the people to whom I’ve been able to turn in times of trouble, friends who have been kind enough not to sue me when I’ve used their names for Death Eaters.”

Ah, the irony, given Rowling’s suit against RDR Books regarding “HP Lexicon, a Harry Potter reference guide that has existed on the web for a long time, and has become the authoritative guide to the people, places and things of the Harry Potter universe.” For those that are not familiar, according to Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society, “upon learning that RDR Books planned to publish a printed version of the Lexicon, Rowling and Warner Brothers filed suit, alleging copyright and trademark infringement, and seeking to permanently enjoin the publication of the HP Lexicon in printed form.”

I love fair use irony.

[Disclaimer (for those unfamiliar): CIS represents the defendant and I’m affiliated with CIS as a non-resident fellow.]


a few words on the passing of nbc’s tim russert

What a loss. Aside from apparently being a great dad (worthy of praise in its own right), his knowledge and ability to ask the right question, with the right evidence, to the right person, was unique among the mainstream television media (and certainly a model for me). Especially at this critical time in our nation’s history, his loss will be felt immediately and profoundly. My thoughts are with his family, but my personal profound sense of loss is for our country.


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).


The interviewer interviewed

Next Tuesday, June 10, I’ll be on the other side of the mike. For those of you who just can’t get enough, I’ll be on WFAE-FM‘s Charlotte Talks discussing search engine regulation. For those of you outside the Charlotte area, you can find the show here, and it will air from 9-10 AM eastern. Listen in and see if you enjoy my melodious voice in the interviewee seat!

Update: I won’t be able to be on the show, but look for former guest Prof. James Grimmelmann to fill in. He’ll be great!


Why should copyright filtering by government mandate be avoided?

I am at the Computers Freedom and Privacy conference, and listening to an interesting panel on the topic of government mandates imposing copyright filtering. Brad Biddle, Lead Counsel, Systems Technology Lab, Intel Corp., has posted a slide listing all of the reasons why government mandates for copyright filtering should be avoided, which I largely quote/paraphrase below:

(1) Invades privacy through surveillance and tracking of online behavior.
(2) Inhibits free speech and other rights because it is inevitably over-inclusive.
(3) Leads to increased demands for technology-based policing (broader filtering of trademark, trade secrets, hate speech and slander, and device-level filtering).
(4) Ineffective (or worse) as can be defeated through encryption, leads to “darknets” and difficult for legitimate law enforcement efforts.
(5) Inconsistent with existing laws like DMCA, EU E-commerce Directive, Wiretap Act, ECPA, privacy and copyright laws.
(6) Costs without benefits, given implementation costs that will be passed on to consumers.
(7) Liability risk through claims from consumers if over-inclusive and content owners if under-inclusive.
(8) Stifles innovation by inhibiting new technologies and services (place shifting, network storage).

This is a fascinating debate that naturally pits the content industry against some, but not all, ISPs, as well as privacy advocates and many proponents of the commons.

The last point made by Biddle is particularly interesting, as it raises the specter that filtering becomes a mechanism by which place shifting (i.e, watching television through the Internet) — as compared to time shifting (i.e., watching television at a different time slot than when originally aired) — and other innovative technologies become threatened. Betamax, the subject of Sony v. Universal (colloquially known as the “Betamax case”), did not survive, although there were many reasons for its demise. Does copyright filtering represent a leading-edge extension of that concern?


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!