Five Takeaways from World’s Fair Use Day

Gigi Sohn of Public Knowledge has a post that so well captures the lessons of the day that I am not sure I’ll be able to find anything in my notes that she overlooked. The event was the brain child of her organization, so this is hardly surprising. I might be able to offer some personal experiences and/or insights when I get a chance to sit down with my notes, tomorrow.

I especially liked how she captured the thread on understanding the difference between copyright/fair use concerns versus business model failures. That and the especially enlightened remarks of Nina Paley.

Of all the panelists, only filmmaker Nina Paley makes a living from her artistry, and interestingly, she admitted that she made more from giving away her film “Sita Sings the Blues” than she ever made by controlling her work. None of the other panelists blamed Internet “piracy” for the fact that their artistry is not their main source of income.

If you don’t have time to sift through the live blog posts from the day or sit through the video streams, you should at least read through Gigi’s post.

Write Up of WFUD ACTA Panel

I was at the event that Nate Anderson describes in this Ars piece. I have held back from writing about it because I just found the experience intensely frustrating. It was a great event, don’t get me wrong, but Steve Metalitz’s participation, as Anderson accurately describes, was just infuriating. He would contend, by turns, that ACTA won’t change the contours of US copyright law but that secrecy was necessary to keep trading partners at the table.

Do you see the problem here? If the effect of ACTA will be innocuous, then why would sharing details disrupt negotiations? If transparency might cause some parties to walk, then how can the terms being discussed be innocuous? Even more mind boggling is why we would need the controversial Internet chapter if it wouldn’t actually change anything.

Steve did concede once or twice that there are “exceptions” to what he sees as the normative enforcement rules. In that context, he most notoriously repeated the old saw about Canada essentially being a haven for copyright pirates.

I get that ACTA is more than just the Internet chapter and that the other portions of it are probably rightly kept at least somewhat under wraps. But why not disclose at least that one chapter to allow for clearer public discourse? The negotiators involved are unused to the public having an interest in copyright but hasn’t the opening up of WIPO taught them anything? Another alternative that would resolve the controversy almost entirely overnight would be to simply drop the problematic internet provisions and pursue them orthogonally, out in the open, through WIPO.  Sadly, I am not optimistic either of these will actually happen.