Fordham footnotes

After several hours of listening to Lady Gaga,
some Kats are subject to personality changes ...
Within the context of third party liability and the extent, if any, to which internet service providers and hosts should bear responsibility for intellectual property infringements which they host or facilitate, fellow blogger Howard Knopf posed a question in Friday morning's session on "Rule of Law on the Internet: Feasible or Fantasy?" which raised a few eyebrows: "What do you call a website where you key in 'Lady Gaga' and 'bittorrent' and get taken straight to a site where you can download her songs free of charge?" No-one offered an answer, so Howard supplied it: "Google", he said.  This was not an exercise in blaming Google for all the ills of cyberspace; rather it was an highly effective means of drawing attention to the definitional problems that face policymakers and legislators in seeking to separate out the good from the bad -- or at least the morally neutral to the culpable: we don't want to see Google banned or sued; but nor do we feel comfortable with the wholesale capture of the hard work, the effort and the creativity of others without any reasonable prospect of remuneration. The IPKat, who was pleased to have caught several snippets of post-session conversation that turned on this issue, casts no aspersions on Howard's musical preferences ...

Eurotopia ...
At the same Fordham session, IPKat team member Jeremy gave an eight-minute presentation which was intended to stir up a little debate.  His theme was that public sector intellectual property enforcement was often poorly coordinated, poorly resourced, over-burdened with parallel non-IP responsibilities and generally disincentivised. A possible solution was for a government -- in this case the government of the mythical country of Eurotopia -- to sell licences to private sector enforcement firms who would be empowered to investigate and prosecute criminal infringers on an 'eat-what-you-kill' basis, retaining or being paid either a portion of the street value of infringing goods or the amount recouped by customs and taxation authorities.  The revenue derived from issuing licences to these firms could pay for the establishment of the office that would oversee and regulate their activity.  You can take a peep at Jeremy's PowerPoints here.

The big problem with Fordham is that, apart from the plenary sessions and the evening receptions, everything else is divided into streams.  This meant that, this time round, Jeremy had no chance of getting to any of the patent sessions.  If anyone who was at any of the patent sessions took decent notes which he or she would like to turn into something postable, all the Kats will be thrilled to hear from them.

For earlier IPKat posts on the Fordham Intellectual Property Conference 2011 click here, here, here, here, here and here
Fordham footnotes Fordham footnotes Reviewed by Jeremy on Tuesday, May 03, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. I didn't hear Howard Knopf's presentation so it is perhaps unfair to comment just based on Jeremey's reporting, but holding up Google (or any other OSP) as an example of how IP infringement is facilitated is about as pointless as railling against Mercedes Benz for making cars which can exceed the speed limit or cutlers for making carving knives which can be used to kill people.
    Information is neutral; if you don't like the message, shooting the messenger does not make the message more palatable.

  2. "without any reasonable prospect of remuneration"

    You do realize where Lady Gaga lives, right?

    She's poverty stricken, absolutely.


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