Archive for the 'peer collaboration' Category

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.

iLaw on Digital Media, EUCD, and OSS


Yesterday was the IP-day at iLaw Eurasia, a five-day program about ICT policy organized by the Berkman Center, the eGovernance Academy Estonia, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Advanced Network Research Group at the University of Cambridge, and the Open Society Institute. In the first session, Professor Terry Fisher provided a fantastic introduction to IP law in cyberspace in general and the current tussles over digital media in particular. He also analyzed and evaluated scenarios for the future of digital media, including approaches such as strengthening IP rights, self-help, and alternative compensation systems. I had the pleasure to talk about the implementation of the EU Copyright Directive and discuss basic policy approaches and -choices in the context of anti-circumvention legislation. We used the implementation of the EUCD as an example to illustrate some of the thorny problems often associated with the transposition of EU-IP directives and harmonizing treaty law more generally: Scope and definitions, exceptions and limitations, and sanction and remedies.

In a second module, we were discussing IP protection of computer software. Terry started the session with an excellent lecture, offering a comprehensive overview of the different approaches to – and the evolution of – software protection by law. Much of the subsequent discussion, most ably led by Berkman Center’s Excecutive Director and iLaw program chair John Palfrey, was about the promise of Free/Open Source Software in Eurasia. Many of the fifty representatives from government, the private sector, and civil society in Eurasia emphasized the important role of OSS in creating a more sustainable information industry in economically less developed countries. However, we also discussed potential problems related to OSS, such as documentation, training, maintenance, etc., and legal risks associated with it. In this context, we touched upon potential concerns such as liability and (increased?) exposure to IP litigation – a much discussed topic here and abroad, given recent litigation in the U.S.

Our fabulous Mary Bridges, Communication Director at the Berkman Center, has summarized some of the take-away points from yesterday’s discussion.

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