Innovation in America: The Role of Copyrights — Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property, and the Internet held its latest hearing in its ongoing review of copyright law. The hearing page includes links to the written testimony of each witness as well as video of the hearing (you have to skip ahead to about the 27:30 mark before things actually start). The hearing, which focused on how copyright and creative industries drive innovation, was unfortunately cut short because of an earlier-than-anticipated floor vote.

Literary Property: Copyright’s Constitutional History and Its Meaning for Today [PDF] — An absolutely fantastic and thorough look at the role of Noah Webster and James Madison in establishing copyright law at the very beginnings of the United States. As authors Randolph May and Seth Cooper of the Free State Foundation note in their intro, “Recognizing copyright in the fundamental law of the land conveys its importance as a means of promoting progress in science and useful arts, as well as in commerce. And by recognizing an individual’s rights to the fruits of his or her labor, copyright not only promotes progress and commerce, but also secures a space for individual entrepreneurship free from government control or taking.”

Need for Copyright Protection Hits Home — Prop maker and first time author Eric Hart says, “The book is not a commodity that’s interchangeable with other books out there – nor did it appear magically one day. Its publication was not inevitable. I had to work to get it written. So is it unreasonable to ask that my work is protected and that protection is respected?”

Ad Networks Adopt Notice and Takedown for Ads on Pirate Sites — Bill Rosenblatt takes a look at the cooperative agreement between several large internet advertising agreements announced earlier this month. Discussed are some of the agreement’s major shortcomings — not included are the ad networks causing the most trouble, for example (and, I would add, the agreement ignores completely other major players in the online advertising ecosystem such as ad exchanges). Rosenblatt also offers several recommendations that could make the agreement more effective.

Google’s Impact on Journalism — “The ways in which Google uses its dominance in search to monetize, by corralling and aggregating (without permission) the content of others, is a story that is long in telling.  But a common feature, as stated in a White Paper submitted to the FTC in 2011 by The Media Institute, is that Google’s ‘main search page biases Google News results over results of news organizations and other publishers.'”

David Lowery’s uphill fight against commodification — “His particular bugaboos: advertiser-supported piracy, the culture of free content and streaming services that pay a fraction of a penny per song played. In some circles, that makes Lowery a reality-denying crank caught on the wrong side of history. . . But he’s more like an entrepreneur trying to take his goods to market on his own terms, and he’s frustrated by the many forces aligned to prevent that from happening. And he’s not anti-Internet. He’s anti-One-Size-Fits-Allnet.”

3 Comments

  1. Devlin Hartline

    Need for Copyright Protection Hits Home — Prop maker and first time author Eric Hart says, “The book is not a commodity that’s interchangeable with other books out there – nor did it appear magically one day. Its publication was not inevitable. I had to work to get it written. So is it unreasonable to ask that my work is protected and that protection is respected?”

    I loved that piece by Eric Hart (your brother?). It really humanizes the blood, sweat & tears that go into creating something new that truly promotes the progress of science. I think if pirates understood and acknowledged what it takes to create something like that, it’d be harder for them to justify their illicit downloading. It seems to me that copyright opponents go to great lengths to not discuss the toil that goes into creating such new works, and this only dehumanizes the act of infringement. Yesterday after the hearing, for example, there was a piece published on the EFF blog lambasting the notion that creators should have some control over their works. I don’t get the sentiment. Who should control the dissemination of Hart’s work? The Pirate Bay, or Hart? I think the answer is obvious.

  2. The copyright hearings are split into sections were members of the technology industry and content industry testify seperately. So we’ll see witnesses from the technology industry (which will have more critical views of copyright) next week. The idea of the hearings is to strike a balance, so it won’t be technology or the creative community driving the reform of copyright exclusively but a system that implements the interests of all stakeholders.

  3. Paul Vogelzang

    Love this photo!