I am posting here a draft of a chapter for Ruth Okediji’s forthcoming book on the possibilities of international intellectual property reform. In my case, the article recounts the lessons I learned from being part of the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property in the UK.
“In the five months we have had to compile the Review, we have sought never to lose sight of David Cameron’s “exam question”. Could it be true that laws designed more than three centuries ago with the express purpose of creating economic incentives for innovation by protecting creators’ rights are today obstructing innovation and economic growth? The short answer is: yes. We have found that the UK’s intellectual property framework, especially with regard to copyright, is falling behind what is needed. Copyright, once the exclusive concern of authors and their publishers, is today preventing medical researchers studying data and text in pursuit of new treatments. Copying has become basic to numerous industrial processes, as well as to a burgeoning service economy based upon the internet. The UK cannot afford to let a legal framework designed around artists impede vigorous participation in these emerging business sectors.” Ian Hargreaves, Foreword: Hargreaves Review (2011)
Read the chapter.
Duke’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain is announcing the publication of Intellectual Property: Law & the Information Society—Cases and Materials by James Boyle and Jennifer Jenkins. This book, the first in a series of Duke Open Coursebooks, is available for free download under a Creative Commons license. It can also be purchased in a glossy paperback print edition for $29.99, $130 cheaper than other intellectual property casebooks.
Today is the second day of “Copyright Week!” Talk about a lede. That sentence has all the inherent excitement of “Periodontal Health Awareness Week” or “‘Hug Your Proctologist! No, After He’s Washed His Hands’ Week.” And that’s a shame. Copyright Week is a week devoted to our relationship with our own culture. Hint: things aren’t going well. The relationship is on the rocks. › Continue reading
Professor Alex Sayf Cummings, author of a fascinating book called Democracy of Sound: Music Piracy and the Remaking of American Copyright in the 20th Century (recommended as a thought-provoking read) has an interesting post up about attempts to shut down music lyric sites such as Rapgenius.com. › Continue reading
Academics (and others) arrange conferences. Perfectly normal people are invited to those conferences to speak. Most of them are just as charming as can be… but then there are the special ones. This Top 10 List of the special people one has to respond to is devoted to all conference planners everywhere. Hold your heads up high. After this, purgatory should be a snap. › Continue reading
August 28th, 2013 is the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. The copyright in the speech is administered by EMI, with the consent of the King family. Thus the speech may not be freely played on video or reproduced and costlessly distributed across the nation — even today. Its transient appearance depends on the copyright owner’s momentary sufferance, not public right. It may disappear from your video library tomorrow. It has even been licensed to advertise commercial products, including cars and mobile phone plans. › Continue reading
Aaron Swartz committed suicide last week. He was 26, a genius and my friend. Not a really good friend, but someone I had worked with off and on for 11 years, liked a lot, had laughed with frequently, occasionally shaken my head over and deeply admired. › Continue reading
An Intellectual Property System for the Internet Age
In November 2010, the Prime Minister commissioned a review of the Britain’s intellectual property laws and their effect on economic growth, quoting the founders of Google that “they could never have started their company in Britain” because of a lack of flexibility in British copyright.. Mr. Cameron wanted to see if we could have UK intellectual property laws “fit for the Internet age.” Today the Review will be published. Its conclusion? “Could it be true that laws designed more than three centuries ago with the express purpose of creating economic incentives for innovation by protecting creators’ rights are today obstructing innovation and economic growth? The short answer is: yes.” Those words are from Professor Ian Hargreaves, head of the Review. (Full disclosure: I was on the Review’s panel of expert advisors.) › Continue reading
A slideshow and downloadable book remembering Keith in words and pictures. You can order a glossy, high quality copy of the book itself here from Createspace or here from Amazon. We tried to make it as beautiful as something Keith would create. We failed. But we came close; have a look at how striking it is… all because of Keith’s art. › Continue reading