Archive for the 'diversity' Category

Geist’s visions


Michael Geist notes in his weekly Toronto Star Law Bytes column (free registration required) that decades of international IP agreements “have failed to balance the interests of the developed and developing worlds and have led to annual outflows of billions of dollars from the developing world to the developed world.” As to copyright law in particular, Geist concludes that the WIPO’s development agenda provides “the first chance in years to fashion a global intellectual property policy that helps, rather than hinders, the developing world.” Let’s make sure that Geist’s vision comes true.

BTW, a new Berkman report on copyright law and digital media in Europe and the Asia/Pacific region will be released here within the next few days, togehter with an updated version of the foundational GartnerG2/Berkman Center White Paper “Copyright and Digital Media in a Post-Napster World.”

New Berkman Report on Digital Media Industry


The Berkman Center’s Digital Media Project team has released an in-depth analysis of the impacts of policy choises on emerging business models in the music and film industries. Here’s the link to the paper and the abstract:

Content and Control: Assessing the Impact of Policy Choices on Potential Online Business Models in the Music and Film Industries

The online environment and new digital technologies threaten the viability of the music and film industries’ traditional business models. The industries have responded by seeking government intervention, among other means, to protect their traditional models as well as by developing new models specifically adapted to the online market. Industry activity and public debate have focused on three key policy areas related to copyright holders’ control of content: technical interference with and potential liability of P2P services; copyright infringers’ civil and criminal liability; and legal reinforcement of digital rights management technologies (DRM).

This paper seeks to support policymakers’ decision making by delineating the potential consequences of policy actions in these areas. To do so, it assesses how such action would impact relevant social values and four business models representative of current and emerging attempts to generate viable revenues from digital media. The authors caution that government intervention is currently premature because it is unlikely to strike an appropriate balance between achieving industry goals while supporting other social values, such as consumer rights, the diversity of available content, and technological innovation.

Special thanks — and congratulations — to Derek Slater and Meg Smith of the Berkman team for their work.

WIPO Decision to Advance a Development Agenda


In the aftermath of the Geneva Declaration, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly has decided to advance a “development agenda” that acknowledges the need for balance in worldwide policy on IP rights. As our colleagues at EFF have observed:

“In the past, WIPO has been roundly resistant to attempts to balance the interests of copyright holders, who make up the majority of WIPO participants, and the public, which had never been represented at the meetings. Previous efforts to get WIPO to hold one-day information sessions on alternatives to copyright — such as the public-domain human genome database, the GPL software license that underpins GNU/Linux, and the Creative Commons project’s millions of ‘some rights reserved’ books, movies, songs, and images — has been firmly rebuffed, with major WIPO nations applying enormous pressure to see to it that the issue was never brought to the table.

Now, in the wake of the ‘Geneva Declaration’ — a document calling on WIPO to work in the interest of all of its stakeholders, including the public — WIPO’s General Assembly has adopted a ‘development agenda,’ a kind of lens of public-interest considerations through which the treaty-body will view all future activities.”

A comprehensive collection of materials and proposals can be found here.

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