February 27, 2006  ·  Lessig

The Stanford Center for Internet and Society is hosting a conference, “Cultural Environmentalism at 10,” on March 10/11 to reflect upon the decade since the publication of Jamie Boyle’s fantastic book, Shamans, Software, and Spleens. While the topic of Jamie’s book (IP policy) is something IP scholars had been talking about for ever, Jamie’s book was one of the best to introduce these issues to a community beyond law scholars. (I first heard about the book at lunch a decade ago when Harvard’s provost told me it was “one of the most important law books I had ever read.”). The book, and the articles that followed it, gave birth to what we should call the “cultural environmentalism” movement — the movement to think about IP policy as environmentalists think about pollution policy.

We designed this conference a bit differently from others. I asked a bunch of IP professors to give me their list of the top “young” IP scholars. I tabulated the votes, and asked the top four to write papers. They agreed. Their papers will be commented upon by leading IP scholars. Here’s the list of presenters and commentators.

Here’s the Center’s announcement. If you can make it, be sure to reserve. There are already a large number who have RSVPd, so act soon.

Cultural Environmentalism at 10
March 11-12, 2006
Center for Internet and Society, Stanford Law School

http://cyberlaw.stanford.edu/conferences/cultural/

Ten years ago, Duke Law Professor Jamie Boyle suggested that the history of the environmental movement offered powerful theoretical and practical lessons to those who sought to recognize the importance of the public domain, and to expose the harms caused by a relentlessly maximalist program of intellectual property expansion.

On March 11-12, 2006, Stanford Law School’s Center for Internet and Society will host a symposium to explore the development and expansion of the metaphor of “cultural environmentalism” over the course of ten busy years for intellectual property law. We’ve invited four scholars to present original papers on the topic, and a dozen intellectual property experts to comment and expand on their works.

Molly Van Houweling explores voluntary manipulation of intellectual property rights as a tool for cultural environmentalism. Susan Crawford extends Boyle’s analysis to the age of networks. Rebecca Tushnet, looks at the ways in which the law’s impulse to generalize complicates the project of cultural environmentalism, and Madhavi Sunder looks at how the metaphor affects traditional knowledge. Professor Boyle will also offer some remarks, as will Stanford Law School’s Professor Lawrence Lessig.

The event is free, but registration is required. We look forward to seeing you.

February 10, 2006  ·  Lessig

teach2.jpg
Photo CC-BY licensed by
Lainmoon.

A special invitation to Lessig-Blog readers: On Friday, February 17, at 6 pm, Elisabeth Shue will introduce Davis Guggenheim‘s newly CC licensed film, Teach. This extraordinary film grows out of Guggenheim’s Peabody Award winning film, The First Year. The film is about 30 minutes long, and there’s a reception afterwards.

To attend, you MUST RSVP. The event will be held at the San Francisco LGBT Community Center, at 1800 Market Street, San Francisco. Come if you can, but again, RSVP if you want to come.

February 9, 2006  ·  Lessig

Some smart folks at Google have set up a group on Google Groups to do fact checking in the Google Book Search debate. Sign up and get your regular feed about the lies mistakes feeding this debate. Here’s a snippet from the first post:

In December, novelist Susan Cheever, a member of the Authors Guild, published “Just Google ‘thou shalt not steal,’” an article suggesting that there’s some kind of official word limit, or percentage limit, to material you can copy in order for it to qualify as fair use. She writes:

“The Copyright Statute…includes a ‘fair use’ clause, so that a few lines or phrases of a writer’s work can be used as illustration by someone else. …The amount of words that constitute fair use varies according to court case. At present, it is 400 words. …Google cites ‘fair use,’ but it isn’t using 400 words; it plans to digitize whole libraries and make them available piece by piece.” (Emphasis added.)

Even this small quotation from Cheever’s article fundamentally misstates copyright law and misleads readers about Google Book Search..

First, no such 400-word rule exists. Indeed, in some cases courts have ruled that copying and republishing the entire work is fair use. (You can read about one such court decision here.)

Second, Google does not show more than two or three sentences without the author’s permission. And that’s not all. If a copyright holder chooses not to participate in Google Book Search, not a single word from the book will appear in any searches.

February 8, 2006  ·  Lessig

On February 8, 1996, Congress enacted the 1996 Telecom Act, which included the Communications Decency Act. After the President signed both laws, John Perry Barlow, at Davos, issued his “Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace.”

The Supreme Court struck the core of the CDA within 16 months. The Telecom Act is still being litigated, and Congress is now talking about trashing it.

But John Perry’s Declaration is still a great read.