The Digital Media Project  
Source L. Chiariglione
Title A report on my attendance at iLaw 2005 No. 050601chiariglione01


A report on my attendance at iLaw 2005 

This is a brief report on the experience I had last week from my day participation (the 26th of May) in iLaw Torino 2005, a course on “Internet Law” organised by Harvard. 

The first speech was by William Fisher of Harvard Law School. He made a good overview of the current situation and then briefly presented his Alternative Compensation System described at 

This is an interesting use case that I have called “Flat-taxed content use” and can be summarised as follows (in DMP lingo): 

What the author does not seem to realise (or if he does, he did not mention it – a suspicious oversight) is the fact that to make the system robust against kindergarden-level hackers to avoid the worst guitar player to suddenly become the most “popular” player, you must have as a minimum, secure players, against which I imagine the likes of Felten will exercise their libertarian spirits. And I am not considering the privacy issues created by user data. 

The following speech was by Marco Ricolfi of the Turin Law school. His speech was about the role of Collective Management Societies.

The third speech was mine and you already know the content of it :-). I presented Personal Photography, Open Release, Open Search and Internet Distribution, in support to the statement that DRM is a continuum that starts from very little and that protection of content is not just for the incumbent media companies, but for garage bands as well. 

The interlocutor was Yochai Benkler from Yale Law School. The only counterproposal to Internet Distribution that I heard was that “musicians should give their content away and make money out of their performances”. What is left to music composers and lyricsits in Yochai’s world is not clear. 

Two comments from the floor are worth recording. The first was that the DMP is not open because the guy was not subscribed. Something like saying that Italy is not democratic because he does not vote. The second (in regard to Personal Photography) is that I should choose my friends (to which I send my photos) better. The fact that a friend can be a business partner did not shake the unshakeable confidence in the good nature of humans on the part of the guy who asked the question. 

There were also questions about how a particular way of creating video content by sampling and juxtaposing copyrighted movies could be supported by DMP. My not unexpected answer was that the problem was well known by DMP as TRU #1 to quote, that this was the subject of the ongoing call for contributions and that technical solutions were possible, if the problem was correctly formulated, actually some had already been found. Unfortunately that was not enough because Charles Nesson of Hardward Law School who asked the question wanted to have free hand and not pay. To this I answered that if that was the problem it could only be solved by legislation and that he should ask his representatives in Congress to take action. He said that he was sure they would never do it and that he wanted the freedom to rip even against the law. I thought about exporting democracy but decided to shut up.