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


Most Recent Podcasts

Most Recent Podcasts:

Show # 226, November 20: Prof. Stephen Turner of the University of South Florida on technological and scientific expertise in policymaking and democracy; Show # 225, November 20, my interview with Prof. Ed Felten of Princeton University’s Center for Information Technology Policy; Show # 224, November 13: Prof. Megan Squire of Elon University on open source data-mining; Show # 223, November 6: Prof. Frank Pasquale of the University of Maryland School of Law, author of The Black Box Society: Technologies of Search, Reputation, and Finance; Show # 222, October 23, : David Golumbia of Virginia Commonwealth University, author of The Cultural Logic of Computation.

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Show #56 — David Weinberger — posted

I am pleased to post my interview with David Weinberger, discussing his book “Everything Is Miscellaneous”. David’s book is a romp through various ways that humans attempt to organize disparate information, and their limitations. From tagging to spime, David’s book finds threads through the apparent disorder. I enjoyed the conversation and hope that you do also!

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I’m almost there

This has been one busy semester! Exhibit A for how busy I’ve become in my new post at Charlotte School of Law is Hearsay Culture.

I love teaching and am thrilled and thankful for the opportunity to do what I love. Not surprisingly to anyone who is a prof (or knows a prof), my first semester has been very busy, primarily because I am teaching two new classes (Intellectual Property Survey and Contracts) and trying to continue my writing. Add young Noah to the mix and there is not much free time.

Classes end tomorrow for me, and top on the agenda is to update this site, post the last show (my interview with David Weinberger) and record new shows for the coming quarter on KZSU. So, thanks for your patience, and we’ll be back on track soon.

I’ll be able to report more news about the show in the coming weeks.

For your short-term entertainment, the brilliant mashup that is the Vader Sessions:

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A word on lead in childrens’ toys

OK, its not IP or directly a tech issue, but this is also my blog. So please bear with me for a moment.

Readers have heard about my son Noah, and I won’t post another picture here. But, like I hope most parents, my worldview has changed (I think for the better) by the blessing that Noah has brought my wife and me. So, with all of the concern of any parent, I write to briefly comment on the lead-in-toys issue, and specifically the apparent behavior of Nancy Nord, acting chairwoman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

NPR had a disturbing interview with Nord on Friday’s All Things Considered. As NPR points out, Nord “and her predecessor went on nearly 30 trips since 2002 that were paid for by the industries the agency oversees,” including an event called Toy Fair.

NPR pressed Nord on how she could allow the toy industry to pay for her trips to Toy Fair given the clear appearance of a conflict of interest. Her response (after some bluster): because Congress and the Federal government allow it by regulation.

Obviously, if this assertion is accurate the law should be changed. How this would not be an “appearance of impropriety” or “conflict of interest” is beyond me. But there is a larger issue here that boils down to the following question to Nord (and one that I wish were asked in response): so what? The existence of a law or regulation that allows for questionable behavior can be easily overriden by individual fiat, i.e., the law allows it, but I won’t do it because [fill in the numerous reasons why this is a bad idea].

But we don’t seem to breed leaders that way, if we ever did. Instead, Nord falls back on the classic “the law allows it so don’t look at me” defense.

So here’s a response from one concerned (and yes, a bit angry) parent to the chair of an agency that has, rather clearly, utterly failed in one of its core missions: Yes, the law allows it, Chairwoman Nord, and the law is wrong. Please try to use independent judgment, that very judgment that your position requires. Since its too late for you to use your independent judgment to effectively protect our nation’s children from lead in toys (a seemingly basic charge), how about exercising some independent judgment now and doing us all a favor: resign. Let’s try to get someone in there who can look beyond bad regulations and, in that way, display some real leadership abilities.

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Four new shows posted

At long last, I am pleased to post the first four shows for the Fall of 2007. Thanks for your patience; as I set up my new studio here in Charlotte, there have been some logistical bumps but I think that we’re now on track.

Since I’m no longer living in the Bay Area, someone needs to be at KZSU to put the show on the air. So, a special thanks to Chizzy, the KZSU DJ who is manning the board at KZSU and who is the person directly responsible for putting the show on the air each Wednesday at 5 PM PST. Thanks Chizzy!

So, with that thank you, here are the new shows — all great guests and fun to interview!

Show #52, October 3: Prof. James Grimmelmann of New York Law School, discussing some of his recent articles. James is doing very interesting writing in a wide variety of areas related to cyberlaw; we discuss a few of his recent articles in this show. I am particularly impressed that he was able to find a Borges short story and turn it into a very engaging article!

Show #53, October 10: Prof. Daniel Solove of George Washington School of Law, discussing his new book “The Future of Reputation: Gossip, Rumor, and Privacy on the Internet.” Dan’s new book focuses on the impact of new social and informational technology on privacy issues, focusing here primarily (although not exclusively) on one’s reputation. I enjoyed the interview and hope that you find it informative!

Show #54, October 17: Dean Jon Garon of Hamline University School of Law, discussing his forthcoming book “Own It – The Law & Business Guide to Launching a New Business through Innovation, Exclusivity and Relevance.” Jon’s new book is aimed at the entrepreneur who wants a concise and readable overview of the IP law issues related to starting a business and building it (at least in part) on IP. Because Jon and I differ on some issues (although we agreed on more than I thought we would), we had a conversation that ranged from open source to software patents.

Show #55, October 24: Prof. Rebecca Tushnet of Georgetown Law School, discussing copyright and trademark law. Rebecca is a prolific scholar so it was relatively easy to discuss a number of issues. Rebecca’s treatment of fansites and their impact on how we view IP is very important work.

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Shows # 50 and 51 — Peter Morville and Prof. Bob Markley — posted

We’re back! First, congrats to Joe, our super IT tech podcast converter, on the birth of his son Elijah!

I’m pleased to post Show #50, my interview with Peter Morville, discussing his book “Ambient Findability”, and Show #51, my interview with Prof. Robert Markley of the University of Illinois — Urbana-Champaign, discussing his book (ed.) “Virtual Realities and Their Discontents.”

Peter’s book focuses on the nature of “findability” on the Internet, and how information is processed; Bob takes a look back at his volume on “virtual realities” in the mid 1990s and where we’ve come since then. While differing perspectives, both help us consider what the Internet is, what it could be, and most significantly, what it is not. Enjoy!

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Victory in Golan v. Gonzalez

It’s old news by Internet (much less blog) standards, but to the extent that any listeners of Hearsay Culture were not aware, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals handed down a significant decision on September 4 invigorating the notion that the First Amendment should be part of the analysis when copyright law is altered. Look to the excellent blog posts by Profs. Larry Lessig and Chris Sprigman (the lead plaintiffs’ attorneys at CIS) regarding the decision, the background and its significance.

For those concerned about the challenges facing those seeking to invoke First Amendment protections in the general IP scheme, you’ll find much to bring you joy and hope in reading this decision (found attached to the above blog posts). Happy reading, and congrats to the plaintiffs, Larry, Chris and everyone who worked on the case!

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Hearsay Culture Brief Hiatus

With September comes better weather (so I’m told for Charlotte, which just went through the hottest month on record) and, alas, a break in the Hearsay Culture action. As you’ll notice on the right and as I’ve explained previously, the next new show is not until October 3.

And I’ll be suspending posting new shows until late September as well. Joe Neto, the wonderful a/v specialist at Stanford who expertly converts the radio show to podcast format, is on leave awaiting the birth of his child. So look for the last few shows from August in late September. I will, however, be recording new shows in September, so Hearsay Culture will not be far from my mind and activities.

Speaking of paternity, I leave you for the time being with this wonderful (and in Croce’s case, tragic) clip. Jim Croce’s untimely death was a loss to our culture and more narrowly music, and I’m not sure if 2.5 minutes could better sum up what’s really important in life. So to all fathers and their children, this is for you.

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Show #49 — Bruce Cahan — posted

I am pleased to post Show #49, my interview with CIS Non-Resident Fellow Bruce Cahan on spatial technology. Spacial tech receives a lot of attention by way of Google Earth etc., but what does it mean to the operation of cities and movement of people and society? Bruce and I discuss some of these issues, new to Hearsay Culture. Enjoy!

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Fall Schedule

With the summer winding down and me getting ready to teach and do more writing, now is a good time to announce that I’m putting together the fall schedule of guests. I’m very excited at the range of topics that we’ll be discussing with great guests, and I’ve scheduled shows through early November.

Alas, however, there is one schedule modification. Up to now I’ve done shows through KZSU-FM’s “interim” periods, which this year starts on Monday, September 10 and runs through the end of the month. Because of increased duties (read: teaching two new classes and (with my wonderful wife) one seven-month old), I am foregoing new shows during the interim period. New shows will begin on October 3.

This means that you’ll have to get your fill of Hearsay Culture during that time by listening to past shows. For those of you who have already listened to all 48 posted shows, thanks much and I’d suggest listening to Harry Shearer’s “Le Show” weekly podcast as an excellent substitute during the interim (I’d suggest listening to it regardless, for that matter).

Thanks for understanding. If there’s more explanation needed, you can observe below (yes, another Noah pic):

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Thanks so much for listening!

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