First session: we explored five scenarios for the future of copyright, built from Prof. Terry Fisher’s work and the subject of our ongoing research with Gartner|G2. It was a spirited discussion, in which the graduate students here posed as parliamentarians. Their job was to determine what types of further information they’d need to make a decision as to which scenario would be most advisable. (We’ll keep up this discussion with industry leaders at a conference in September here in Cambridge). This group was terrific in terms of seeing the value of doing further exploration of these future scenarios, suggesting ways that we might get back to first principles in thinking about our copyright systems around the globe, and determining what types of social science research might help to inform this discussion. Richard Hodkinson has more in his very first blog post.
Second session: Peter Davies, an very impressive ex-industry lawyer who’s a fellow here at OII, reviewed the Felten case. He made the very good point that IP issues have become dominated by more hyperbole than serious debate. Mr Davies and I disagreed, however, about the impact of the DMCA anti-circumvention on research. There have been multiple research projects that we’ve decided not to pursue or to publish, despite our belief that the information would be useful, because of our fear that the method of garnering the information could expose us to DMCA liability. The counter-point: that we wouldn’t really get sued and that there’s not so much to be worried about. Maybe so.