Spinning the Online Piracy Debate — Christopher Shea at the Wall Street Journal reports on how a study that examined the effects of P2P downloading on US box office receipts has been spun by some, including Boing Boing’s Cory Doctorow and TorrentFreak, to show no harm from piracy. (I would add Public Knowledge to this list.) This has prompted one of the study’s authors, Joel Waldfogel, to write a blog post in response. “We think our marquee result is the opposite,” said Waldfogel. “We do find evidence that piracy depresses international sales.”
African IP Summit short a development dimension? — The Afro-IP blog presents a comment from law professor Mark Schultz taking NGOs to task for criticism about the first-ever continent wide intellectual property conference in Africa. Well worth a read:
Inventions, creative works, and other fruits of the mind are not solely the product of the Global North. The human mind is the one resource we share in common, and everybody, everywhere has the capacity to create and innovate. Thus, the people of developing countries should not be treated as mere consumers of the products, innovation, and creativity of wealthy countries. IP is not an obstacle to poor people getting what they need from rich people; it can instead be the means by which the poor gain the things they need to flourish by protecting the products of their intellectual labor.
I wish that these assertions represented an attack on strawmen, but they do not. All throughout the Development Agenda discussions, the helplessness of developing countries was the implicit and sometimes explicit premise articulated by IP skeptics. It angered me then while I was sitting in the WIPO assembly hall in Geneva, and still angers me. IP isn’t something that helps only wealthy people. It’s something that could offer empowerment and security to the filmmakers of Nollywood and their aspiring cousins in Sollywood (RSA) and Hillywood (Rwanda); it could keep talented researchers at home and support the development of domestic industries.
Blackout? What Blackout? “The SOPA blackout was about as organic as the masses of North Koreans crying in the streets upon hearing of Kim Jong Il’s death” — As more time passes since the online protests against SOPA, more and more people are digging into the driving forces behind it. As a character in one editorial comic puts it: “Ok, something’s up — that was way too easy.” Chris Castle reviews David Rodnitzky’s article (featured in a previous Endnotes) that examines some of these groups and lobbyists and adds additional info and context.
Protecting Content and Promoting Innovation in a Digital World: A Post-SOPA/PIPA Conversation — The Paley Center for Media hosted this interesting panel discussion between NBCUniversal General Counsel Rick Cotton and Union Square Venture’s Fred Wilson, where the two discussed the future of copyright on the internet.
Poll: Americans not with internet lobby on SOPA/PIPA — “There is a big political disconnect between the fact that ~80% of Americans believe online piracy and counterfeit drugs is a problem worthy of stronger laws, while the Internet lobby convinced millions of Americans to oppose a bipartisan proposed solution to this piracy problem – by characterizing the proposed legislation as “censorship” and “breaking the Internet.””
5 Misconceptions Sites/Hosts Have About the DMCA — Jonathan Bailey looks at some of the most common mistakes website hosts make dealing with the DMCA’s safe harbors.