January 21, 2004
The first brief to be filed before the Supreme Court in MGM Studios v. Grokster was filed today by the Video Software
The brief suggests that a better solution is to allow courts to consider whether technologies may be used to suppress infringing
uses without also suppressing freedom of speech or competition. It is available here
August 19, 2004
"The p2p horse is out of the barn," to paraphrase the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
It's no use trying to close the barn door now, much less burn down the barn. It's time to let everybody ride!
real story behind p2p (peer-to-peer file-sharing) and the Ninth Circuit's ruling in MGM v. Grokster is that
it may force a minority of copyright owners who are absolute control freaks to quit raining on everyone else's party. (3 pages, available in PDF format, OpenOffice format and Word format.)
Colleges, Code and Copyright: The Impact of Digital Networks and Technological Controls on Copyright:
Publications in Librarianship no. 57
American Library Association
Presented June 10-11, 2004
Symposium sponsored by the Center for Intellectual Property in the Digital Environment, University of Maryland University
College, Adelphi, Maryland, U.S.A.
Abstract: Digital rights management technology (or “DRM”) is neither good nor evil, yet
its uses can range from laudable to criminal. DRM can be used for lawful purposes, such as to protect copyrights from infringement
and to encourage wider dissemination of works. Some positive uses can cause unintended injury that may be minimized by regulation.
Other uses may serve no lawful purpose, but instead enforce unlawful agreements in restraint of trade or evade statutory
limits upon the copyright. Using established “analog case law,” this paper offers a roadmap for discerning among
uses of DRM that should be encouraged as “good”, uses that may be “bad” but tolerable if properly
managed, and uses that are so “ugly” they should be prohibited and punished.
May 1, 2003
By using a EULA attached to its Visual FoxPro software to try to prevent lawful uses of the work, Microsoft may risk
copyright impotence. This article argues that such conduct may constitute misuse of copyrights, and prevent Microsoft
from being able to enforce its FoxPro copyright while the misuse is ongoing. "If Microsoft is serious about wanting
to enforce its copyright in FoxPro, it should stop trying to leverage its copyright into control over the rights of others,"
argues John Mitchell.
Automated Antitrust Violations: A warning to technology and consumer eletronics companies being pressured by copyright
February 3, 2003
The “content industry” is increasing pressure upon the technology
and consumer electronics industries to “cut a deal” on embedding new software and hardware with technologies designed
to obey the instructions of the copyright holder. This may be fine when the instructions
pertain to copyrights, such as “copy once” or “copy twice.”
But when the instructions would allow the copyright holders to control rights they don’t have, such as “play
once,” or “play only on this computer,” those who agree to design software and hardware to obey such instructions
would be flirting with high tech antitrust violations: “Automated Agreements
in Restraint of Trade.”
January 15, 2003
Opponents of the DMCRA (Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act) claim it would eviscerate
the DMCA. This article explains why the DMCRA strengthens the DMCA, makes the DMCA more consistent with our WIPO treaty
obligations, creates incentives for copyright holders to leave the public's wealth alone, and prevents the disenfranchisement
of the least advantaged Americans.
January 14, 2003
With much fanfare, the Recording Industry Association of America announced an agreement with select technology companies
on seven "principles" that will govern their lobbying activities over the next two years. John Mitchell has reviewed
them, and finds that they come up short.