I’m the co-teacher of a class, called Internet & Society: The Technologies and Politics of Control, at Harvard Extension School with Urs
Gasser. Urs is talking right now, so I thought I would blog his
lecture a bit. It’s Class 3, the Misuse of Copyright.
Urs says that there are big changes wrought by enabling technologies:
* changes in the way we produce info (Wikipedia)
* changes in the way we distribute info (p2p)
* lower access barriers (relatively cheap access)
* changed usage barriers (mash-ups, creative re-uses, fan fic).
These changes are both opportunity and threat, depending upon whose
perspective one adopts. The goal for businesses, he says, is to
emphasize the opportunities and to focus on developing new business models to exploit them.
Urs concludes by talking about the tension between the net as an
“enabling, liberating technology” and “the use of technology to gain
back control that has been lost.” Lawmakers, around the world,
have generally aligned with the content industry. “Challenge: how
can we find a new equilibrium, balancing the conflicting interests in a
Urs is also telling the Ed Felten/SDMI story and the Dmitri
Sklyarov/DMCA story. There’s some confusion about how US law
would have applied to the Russian programmer Sklyarov in this
case. I suspect that confusion is reflected in how the US DOJ
ultimately resolved the matter.