June 2011

Pamela Samuelson on codifying the Google Books settlement

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Pamela Samuelson, the Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law at Berkeley Law School, discusses her new article in the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts entitled, Legislative Alternatives to the Google Book Settlement. Samuelson discusses the settlement, which was ultimately rejected, and highlights what she deems to be positive aspects. One aspect includes making out-of-print works available to a broad audience while keeping transaction costs low. Samuelson suggests encompassing these aspects into legislative reform. The goal of such reform would strike a balance that benefits rights holders, as well as the general public, while generating competition through implementation of a licensing scheme.

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Ronald Rychlak on online gambling laws

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Ronald Rychlak, Mississippi Defense Lawyers Association Professor of Law and Associate Dean at the University of Mississippi School of Law, discusses his new article in the Mississipi Law Journal entitled, The Legal Answer to Cyber-Gambling. Rychlak briefly comments on the history of gambling in the United States and the reasons usually given to prohibit or regulate gambling activity. He then talks about why it’s so difficult to regulate internet gambling and gives examples of how regulators have tried to enforce online gambling laws, which often involves deputizing middlemen — financial institutions. Rychlak also discusses his legal proposal: create an official framework to endorse, regulate, and tax online gambling entities.

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Steven Levy on how Google works

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Steven Levy, a columnist for Wired and author of the tech classic Hackers, among many other books, discusses his latest book, In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives. Levy talks about Googliness, the attribute of silliness and dedication embodied by Google employees, and whether it’s diminishing. He discusses Google’s privacy council, which discusses and manages the company’s privacy issues, and the evolution of how the company has dealt with issues like scanning Gmail users’ emails, scanning books for the Google Books project, and deciding whether to incorporate facial recognition technology in Google Goggles. Levy also talks about prospects for a Google antitrust suit and the future of Google’s relationship with China.

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Larry Downes on IP enforcement online

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Larry Downes, who writes for CNet, blogs at Forbes.com and the Technology Liberation Front, and is the author of several books, including most recently, The Laws of Disruption, discusses enforcement of intellectual property rights online. Downes talks about the Protect IP Act, a bill recently introduced into Congress that aims to curtail infringement of intellectual property rights online by so-called rogue websites. Downes argues that forcing intermediaries to blacklist domain names has the potential to “break the internet.” He discusses how the rogue website problem could better be addressed and how the proposed bill could be improved.

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