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


Show #42 — Jim Fruchterman — posted

I am pleased to post Show #42, my interview with Jim Fruchterman, Founder and CEO of Benetech. Jim’s organization is a non-profit whose focus is “to create new technology solutions that serve humanity and empower people to improve their lives.” On the show, we discussed several of Benetech’s projects, including the fascinating Guatemalan National Police Archive Project. I learned much, and hope that you do as well.

While I often ask for donations to KZSU, I have never mentioned donations to anyone else. And so a new day has dawned. Consider a donation to Benetech, whose work is truly unique and inspiring.

Happy July 4th — let’s hope that we have more to celebrate next year . . .

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Today is Internet Radio’s “Day of Silence”

I have previously written about the problems associated with the Copyright Royalty Board’s new royalty rates for webcasts. To bring attention to this issue, today is Internet radio’s “Day of Silence.” KZSU-FM, where you can normally hear Hearsay Culture live, is participating.

If you listen to any Internet radio shows, podcasts or other programming that contain copyrighted sound recordings, you may be impacted by these proposed changes in royalty rates. If the predictions of people like Bill Goldsmith, the operator of the outstanding Internet radio station Radio Paradise who wrote a superb analysis of the impact of these rates on small, non-commercial Internet radio stations, and the public generally, are accurate (and I think they are), today represents that kind of programming that you can expect from many entities that are currently on the air.

As I previously mentioned, there is some time to impact what is to come: look here for more information if you’re interested.

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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.

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Show #41 — Prof. Henry Chesbrough — posted

I’m pleased to post Show #41, my interview with Adjunct Prof. Henry Chesbrough of U.C. Berkeley Haas School of Business, discussing his book “Open Business Models.” Henry has been on the show previously discussing his book “Open Innovation;” in “Open Business Models,” Henry advances the discussion and focuses on, among other topics, intellectual property issues as well as the practical side of open innovation. How does a company implement open innovation in a strong IP environment? What are its pitfalls? Challenging the general notion that a company must always keep its assets under tight control, Henry’s work should be on the reading list for all who are interested in the continuing re-examination of strong IP. I hope that you enjoy the discussion !

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Shows #39 and #40 — Jennifer Granick and Brad Stone, and Michael Shanks, respectively — posted

I am in move mode, as in moving out, so it’s been slow going getting the shows up. But, I’m now pleased to post Show #39, my interview with Brad Stone of The New York Times and return guest Jennifer Granick of CIS on the state of tech, and Show #40, my interview with Prof. Michael Shanks of Stanford, and Director of the Metamedia Lab.

In my interview with Jennifer and Brad, we have a wide-ranging and fun discussion about their visit to Japan and their view of robotics, as well as tech journalism. This was my first attempt at a three-person discussion, but it went very well. Jennifer and Brad were great guests and I look forward to having them back on the show.

Prof. Shanks was an interesting interview of a different sort. My first archaeologist for the show, his perspective on the intersection of tech and archaeology are unique, and in the discussion we run through a number of these parallels. We’d need a lot more time to probe the implication of Shanks’ insights, but this is a good overview.

Finally, I’d add one note — the show has passed its one year anniversary! Thanks for listening — I never imagined that the show would be as successful as its been. As always, there’s plenty of room for improvement, so please email me at dave@hearsayculture.com with any suggestions, thoughts, ruminations, etc. Your input is highly valued . . .

UPDATE June 28: the link for Show #39 has been corrected. Thanks, Warwick, for the pointer.

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Show #38 — Tony Falzone — posted and personal update

I’m pleased to post Show #38, my interview with Tony Falzone, Director of the Fair Use Project (FUP) at Stanford Law School. The FUP is designed to address the challenges facing those who seek a vigorous fair use doctrine in copyright. I hope that you enjoy the interview, which focused on the hows and whys of fair use as well as some of the initiatives of the FUP. Disclaimer: Tony is one of my current bosses!

Additionally, I’ve mentioned on recent shows that I will be leaving Stanford and joining the faculty of the new Charlotte School of Law, located in Charlotte, North Carolina, in the Fall. I’m very excited about this opportunity, especially to jump into a new school in its second year of operation. I’ll be teaching (so far) contracts and intellectual property and will continue writing in the trade secrets/public life space.

I’m also pleased to report that I will remain affiliated with CIS and, of more importance to anyone reading this post, Hearsay Culture will continue unabated on KZSU as well as its other podcast venues. So this should be a seemless transition for you . . . as for me, it will be a very busy summer!

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Shows #36 and #37, John Thackara and Balasz Bodo, posted — finally!

At long last, I annouce two new shows: (1) Show #36, May 2: John Thackara, discussing his book “In the Bubble” and (2) Show #37, May 9: Balasz Bodo, Fulbright Visiting Researcher at Stanford’s Center for Internet and Society, discussing the sociocultural impacts of technology and online communities.

It’s been a busy six weeks, so I apologize for the delay. But I think its worth the wait. John Thackara is an expert in computer design, and his insights into what computer programmers should consider when designing software are fascinating. That computer designers and programmers should consider the environmental impact of their work is worthy of attention.

Bodo is equally interesting from a different prespective. His take on the ability of “illegal” technologies to open markets in countries where much content is difficult to come by is illuminating. And, as a bonus, the music from the show, found here, is licensed under a Creative Commons license, so its all there on the podcast!

I hope that you enjoy both shows. I’ll post playlists in the next few weeks, for the real music nerds. Meanwhile, please enjoy the new shows, and thanks for your patience!

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Prof. Michael Geist at CFP

Here’s a quick live-blog of Prof. Michael Geist‘s dinner talk tonight at the Computers Freedom & Privacy conference in Montreal.

Future of the Internet — Where was the Internet in 1997 — early webpages, early issues (i.e., spam). Some we are still discussing, some not.

DeCSS issue is transformed today with the DVD hash (code) posting on digg. See how this issue came to fore in a matter of hours. Wikipedia, Internet Archive, open source software (i.e., Joomla) — creativity by the public. Not just a grounds-up activity — this is moving into government and business (i.e., Dell’s version of digg is IdeaStorm). JetBlue apologizes by YouTube. Citizenvoices.gg.ca. The Next Tech-ade. From England, E-Petitions: anyone in UK can launch their own petitions. This is exceptionally mainstream.

Internet 2017: four pillars. Connectivity — issue 10 years ago and issue now. Broadband for all. Now many other countries are growing in broadband. Lack of Internet access is still an issue. Muni wifi. Net neutrality. But companies are blocking access to content [and this is a growing problem throughout the globe]. Traffic shaping — assumptions that your activity is Bittorent and adjusting bandwidth. Massive traffic in spam. Still much to do here; if in 2017 we want same potential as today. Wayne Crooks — a businessman launching lawsuits against big Internet companies like Yahoo. Chilling by making a claim. Access to knowledge. Privacy. Trust. Transparency. Why is content removed? Why is Bittorrent stalling?

Copyright: Canada does not have DMCA and anti-circumvention legislation [that is a good thing?] Israel wants to use US fair use standard, and criticized — you can’t use this language because we do not know what your judges will do. Canadians should talk about fair use, staying at life + 50 for copyright, orphan works. Broadcast treaty (WIPO). Too many countries, including Canada, staying silent, as this is negotiated. Publicly-funded research — taxpayers should not have to rebuy research for which it paid [this is a woefully under recognized issue]. Crown copyright — absence in Canada; US gets it right. Must apparently ask Speaker of the House in Canada to use film of proceedings. So Canada is in a permission culture when it comes to government-produced content. Public broadcasting.

Take away: Possibilities are in our hands. [I might add that it is more in our hands now than in 1997, as the digg story proves. As more entities react to users (both for good and bad reasons, and with good or bad results), the ability to influence policy and policy choices increases for anyone engaged — how much you need to be engaged to influence such decisions is still very much in flux.]

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Quick Program Note and Where I’ll Be

April turned out to be a dormant month (for air) on Hearsay Culture, what with baby, baseball and bronchial activities. So starting Wednesday, we’ll be back on track. Thanks for your patience.

Meanwhile, this week I’ll be at the Computers, Freedom & Privacy conference in Montreal. I will attempt some live-blogging and meeting some potential guests for the show . . . and maybe I’ll see you there!

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Yahoo’s Disgrace

Sadly, Yahoo! is no stranger to morally questionable business decisions relating to their dealings with the Chinese government. Now, in the wake of the most recent lawsuit alleging that Yahoo gave up emails to Chinese authorities (which Yahoo apparently does not dispute) that resulted in a dissident’s arrest, imprisonment and torture, we find this utterly flabbergasting defense of Yahoo’s behavior from Yahoo’s spokesman Jim Cullinan: “The Chinese judicial system is not transparent such as the U.S. system, therefore you don’t know really what’s happening.” I actually saw Cullinan deliver this nonsense on Channel 7 here in the Bay Area, and it isn’t easy to surprise a New Yorker, but I was stunned.

Does Yahoo think that we’re all idiots? This defense is, in a word, outrageous. Aside from suggesting that Yahoo could not anticipate how the Chinese government would deal with a dissident (to link to examples would be a waste of electrons and energy; no hyperlink is necessary), the very fact that the system is not transparent is precisely why such information should never be turned over. Am I shocked that a US corporation would do business in China, even to the point of playing ball with a brutal regime? Of course not. But I hope for better. And I don’t think that this is the “engagement” that we want if this form of public diplomacy is a euphemism for aiding the very elements of a government that engagement is supposed to alter.

To that end, I was hoping that Yahoo might learn from previous criticism of its behavior. But, as Cullinan’s defense reveals, I was wrong. I do use Yahoo’s services, and have even paid for some. Unless there is significant change in their positions, both on the ground and in words, I am done giving Yahoo money. I will likely use what I have already paid for, and that’s it. Migration to other platforms is, in the context of a business willing to stoop to these levels, perhaps the only way that I can hope to influence change in such an atmosphere.

Yahoo should be ashamed; but it appears that it is not. But, if interested (or indeed, if I am wrong, and I hope that I am), I invite a spokesperson from Yahoo on Hearsay Culture to explain just what is happening inside Yahoo.

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