The final full faculty-led session of our programme returned to the theme of copyright, and the speaker was William (Terry) Fisher, IP law professor at Harvard and director of the Berkman Center. Prof. Fisher built his talk around the ideas he put forward in the last chapter of Promises To Keep, his 2004 book on copyright law and new technology. In his book, he argued that there are three approaches to dealing with the ‘crisis’ in the entertainment industry: strengthen copyright law, support technological measures (i.e. DRM) or build an alternative compensation system. He favours and proposes the last option; Noank Media is an implementation and testbed for this project.
More to come.
We got stuck into some privacy issues. The big question is how do you provide for the necessary data collection (so as to ensure direct reward to creators under the Noank/PtK business model) without raising difficult or sensitive privacy questions. (As a sidenote, a few people noted the exciting prospect of using such data in research – I saw a few eyes light up at this!) One participant raised the question of whether the ‘use’ of music (or other cultural products) would be measured in an adequate fashion by things like ‘number of times played’ – noting, accurately, that some people spend money for a CD that they may only listen to from time to time, but still ‘value’ and be happy to pay for. Fisher mentioned the Blur-Banff proposal, which is worth exploring if you’re into this area.