chris_brand's blog

Mercury News on US IP policy

This opinion piece is well worth reading. It's actually tough to pick a few paragraphs to give you the flavour of it.

Software patents and disclosure

Techdirt has a useful article about how useful software patents actually are.

He points out that :
- companies will usually only patent stuff that would get disclosed anyway, relying on trade secret protection for the rest;
- Microsoft tells their employees to "never search, view, or speculate about patents", partly due to the worries over "willful infringement" and partly because you wouldn't learn anything from them anyway.

Globe and Mail on online fears

The Globe and Mail has an article by Ivor Tossell in which he tells us what he's afraid of online.

One section is "The copyright meltdown". It's a little vague - he's certainly afraid of C-61-like-legislation, but I'm not too clear on what he'd prefer to see. What I found interesting, though, is that he doesn't connect it to his first section "The approaching muzzle" on censorship.

The music industry and DRM

There are lots of reports today about comments about DRM made by RIAA executives.

Hughes also said that DRM must change so that the public sees it less as a sort of policeman that locks music a way. He would prefer a mode where consumers don't notice DRM at all. "People just want music when they want it," he said. "It's about access. If they get that then they don't care about DRM."

On counterfeiting and piracy

I was reading a Techdirt article about the US Attorney General equating counterfeiting with piracy, and starting thinking about the two.
What is the difference between a "counterfeit" tube of toothpaste and a "pirated" CD ?

The cost of bad patents

There seems to be more and more recognition of the idea that more and more patents aren't necessarily a good thing. This blog post points to a paper (PDF) that tries to quantify the costs of bad patents.

Cory Doctorow on "Intellectual Property"

Cory's article in The Guardian shows why the phrase "intellectual property" causes all sorts of problems.

Fundamentally, the stuff we call "intellectual property" is just knowledge - ideas, words, tunes, blueprints, identifiers, secrets, databases. This stuff is similar to property in some ways: it can be valuable, and sometimes you need to invest a lot of money and labour into its development to realise that value.

But it is also dissimilar from property in equally important ways.

LA Times op-ed has an interesting viewpoint on copyrights

This LA Times article by Dallas Weaver is well worth a read.

The present system treats these copyrighted works as a funny kind of real property with no carrying costs, taxes or significant fees.

A reply from the BC Ministry of Education

I got a reply to my letter to the BC Ministry of Education. It's not just a form letter, but actually contains some substance and addresses the issues I raised. Here it is full :

I am writing in response to your letter dated, December 11, 2007, addressed to the Minister of Education, regarding copyright reform, specifically the internet education exemption. I apologize for the delay in our response.

Win-win copyright proposals

When people talk of "balance" in copyright, I'm afraid that they're mostly thinking of a teeter-totter, where one person's gain is another's loss. I believe that it doesn't have to be like that. I think it's possible to find "win-win" changes that are an overall win. So in an attempt to back this up, here are a few modest proposals.

1. Reversion of copyright for out-of-print works

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