Joho the Blog[is2k7] Yesterday, and today's opening - Joho the Blog

[is2k7] Yesterday, and today’s opening

I’m at The Berkman Center’s Internet and Society Conference (“Knowledge beyond Authority”). Yesterday was an an invitation-only day for about 100 people. Today is a public conference:


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I found portions of yesterday’s meetings a little frustrating. It was a fantastic set of people, from all over Harvard, other universities, non-profits, open access folks, and representatives of the content industries (journal publishers, entertainment industry). There were many great discussions, but with some I think I’m just out of step with the times. I thought we spent too much time trying to find “common ground” with the content industries. Especially the Hollywood folks seemed to think common ground means a tit for a tat: We turn in file sharers and they let us have more access to their copyrighted content for educational purposes. I hate that deal. Whatever you think of file sharing, it should not be tied to the ability of the university to advance knowledge, research and education. We might as well be talking about giving away the stadium’s naming rights in return for more academic freedom.

That sounds good, but in fact it’s obstructionist. In fact, at one point I was so exercised about this that I behaved badly. And not in the cute or righteous way. More in the rude asshole way. I feel terrible about that, and have apologized to the person I was rude to. I really don’t like the self-righteous me. And it gets in the way of thought.

Charlie Nesson , the conference creator, has inspired me with the idea that the university can be the leading defender of the Internet and of the needed expansion intellectual rights. I’m not ready to be realistic. And that’s a problem.

Mary Wong is opening the conference (after Charles Ogletree ‘s welcome … subbing for Charlie Nesson who is in the hospital having something fixed (he’ll be fine)). She says the discussions yesterday focused not only on the challenges around universities using licensed material, but also around the licensing and commercialization of material generated by the university. She says there was a lot of discussion of the vagueness of Fair Use. Is there anything we can do to clarify it? And if we did, would that new understanding, intended as a floor, get taken as the ceiling, thus actually limiting Fair Use in practice?

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2 Responses to “[is2k7] Yesterday, and today’s opening”

  1. no doubt the person deserved it

    only concern is that you were not enough of an asshole to them

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