New seminar series 2014

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Free-riding, cooperation, and ‘peaceful revolutions’ in copyright (post-print draft)

I have a new article in press with the Harvard Journal of Law & Technology. I’m interested in comments on the post-print draft. Abstract:

Modern copyright law is based on the inescapable assumption that users, given the choice, will free-ride rather than pay for access. In fact, many consumers of cultural works – music, books, films, games, and other works – fundamentally want to support their production. It turns out that humans are motivated to support cultural production not only by extrinsic incentives, but also by social norms of fairness and reciprocity. This article explains how producers across the creative industries have used this insight to develop increasingly sophisticated business models that rely on voluntary payments (including pay-what-you-want schemes) to fund their costs of production.

Seminar: Practicing IP Law: A Career Discussion

We are delighted to announce a new series of discussions aimed at giving assistance to students interested in career opportunities in the intellectual property field, and to provide awareness about current events in IP. The series will help QUT students understand what it takes to be an IP professional, what jobs are available in the field, and give guidance on how to network effectively in IP. It will also provide awareness of current cases and law reform issues of relevance to students interested in IP and hoping to work in the field.

This week, we have a panel discussion on practicing IP law, with speakers who have practiced as patent and trade mark attorneys, and as IP barristers and solicitors.

What: “Practicing IP Law: A Career Discussion”

Baidu’s perfect paradox: free speech and the right to censor

Originally posted on The Conversation, by Suzannah Wood and Nic Suzor.

According to a US court, ‘free speech’ means internet search engines can choose what they allow to show up and filter out.
Brian J. Matis/Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA

China’s biggest search engine has a constitutional right to filter its search results, a US court found last month. But that’s just the start of the story.

Eight New York-based pro-democracy activists sued Baidu Inc in 2011, seeking damages because Baidu prevents their work from showing up in search results. Baidu follows Chinese law that requires it to censor politically sensitive results.

But in what the plaintiffs’ lawyer has dubbed a “perfect paradox”, US District Judge Jesse Furman has dismissed the challenge, explaining that to hold Baidu liable for its decisions to censor pro-democracy content would itself infringe the right to free speech.

GoldieBlox would beat the Beastie Boys rap in court

Originally published in The Conversation

This week, a US toy firm withdrew a viral ad that used a parody of a song by the Brooklyn hip hop greats the Beastie Boys, after the band challenged the company’s right to use their tune in a commercial.

The toy company, GoldieBlox, has now re-released the ad without the parody song. It looks a lot like a victory for the Brooklyn rappers, right?

It’s not. And here’s why.

Google Books wins ‘fair use’ but Australian copyright lags

Originally published in The Conversation

Australia wants to foster innovation in a digital economy, but our copyright laws discourage businesses from investing in new technologies and make it harder for individuals to access the knowledge upon which innovation is based. Yesterday’s US decision in the Google Books case shows why US copyright law is much more supportive of innovation than ours.

PhD scholarships available in QUT’s Intellectual Property and Innovation Law program in Brisbane, Australia.

QUT Law School is one of the strongest sites for legal research in intellectual property and innovation in the Australasian region, and in the world. With the recent addition of Professor Dan Hunter, an expert in intellectual property theory, copyright, high technology and branding, the program now boasts six full-time legal academics working across all intellectual property regimes. These include Professor Kamal Puri (International IP), Dr Nic Suzor (Copyright, Systems of Cultural Production, Videogames), Dr Lucy Cradduck (Broadband Policy) Dr Ben McEniery (Patents) and Peter Black (Media and Entertainment, Digital Government).

  • Content and the digital transformation: collective action, cooperation, and models for the production of knowledge and cultural goods; open access and open education; amateur content and the copyright system; free and open source software; content creation and distribution models in the creative industries.
  • Branding and trademark theory: cultural histories of brands; social, cognitive and economic models of value; brands vs trademarks.
  • International IP: IP and development; comparative IP; access to knowledge;the international digital divide.
  • Broadband Policy: infrastructure development; network neutrality; network access as a human right.
  • Social media: regulation and governance of social networks; liability issues.
  • Open Government: open data; transparency; cyberterrorism; models for civic engagement.

This is an exciting time for IP and innovation research at QUT. The law school and the university are committed to developing research in this area, and the program is rapidly expanding. In addition to the academic staff there are currently eight research higher degree students (PhD or SJD) pursuing doctorates in IP, as well as the internationally significant QUT-WIPO Masters in Intellectual Property Law. QUT hosts Creative Commons Australia, was the first university in the world to adopt university-wide open access policies, and was instrumental in forming the Australian Digital Alliance. The IP and Innovation program is directly connected with world-leading cross-disciplinary researchers in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Industries and Innovation, also based at QUT, currently working on a wide range of topics including data models of the Twitterverse, new innovation models in cinema, analysis of royalty repatriation in the recording industry, labour and creative capital, and large-scale mapping of internet use. PhD students can expect to be involved with some or all of these aspects of the program.

Applications are welcome from domestic and international students. Applications for scholarships close on 13 October 2013. A step-by-step guide to the PhD applications process at QUT is located here. QUT offers a range of scholarships for domestic and international students. While we cannot guarantee that you will be awarded a scholarship, quality PhD projects do stand a good chance of receiving funding support. For further information about PhD research at QUT, please see here.

If you are interested in applying for a PhD scholarship commencing in 2014 or for a place in the PhD program, please contact Professor Dan Hunter <dan.hunter@qut.edu.au>

Roundtable discussion with Dr Blayne Haggart, 9 November 2011

On 9 November 2011, QUT's IP:KCE project will host a roundtable discussion with Dr Blayne Haggart.

Dr Haggart will provide a brief overview of his most recent research, followed by a roundtable discussion with QUT and other interested scholars.

Abstract:

This presentation examines the implementation of the 1996 World Intellectual Property Organization ‘Internet treaties’ in Canada and Mexico. Understanding their implementation requires accounting for domestic institutional, economic and political actors and ideas. Even though Mexico and Canada are highly interdependent with the United States (the main proponent of the Internet treaties), they have demonstrated a significant degree of autonomy in determining whether and how to implement the treaties. While the United States influences copyright reform in its neighbours, both countries’ policies continue to be shaped significantly by domestic factors. In short, they are policy takers, but on their own terms.

Dr Haggart received his PhD in Political Science with a Specialization in Political Economy in May 2011 from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. His dissertation focused on North American regional governance through the lens of digital-copyright policy reform. His current research focuses on copyright reform and the policy autonomy of smaller states. A former economist and journalist, he is currently a Visiting Scholar at the Regulatory Institutions Network (RegNet) at the Australian National University.

Please register your attendance at this event either below or using this form.

United States Peer To Patent Project to Relaunch

United States Peer To Patent Project to Relaunch

Peer-to-Patent US Logo

New York Law School has announced that its Peer To Patent project will relaunch on 25 October this year. The new pilot was announced in separate press releases from New York Law School and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Building on the success of the first pilot, which ran from June 2007 to June 2009, the new pilot will test the ability of the project to scale, both in terms of volume and subject matter. The maximum number of applications to be processed has increased from 400 to 1000, and the classes of eligible subject matter has increased threefold and will now include biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and speech recognition technology. Other changes include shortening of the time for review by two weeks and reducing the number of items of prior art being forwarded to the USPTO from 10 to six.

The new pilot will commence on October 25, 2010 and will continue to accept applications through September 30, 2011.

Interested applicants will need to submit a consent form to include an application in the peer review process. In order to be eligible, applications will need to be unpublished (or not have published for more than four weeks prior to the submission of a consent form) and fall into one of the eligible subject matter classes. The USPTO will endeavour to notify applicants with respect to eligible applications on a regular basis.

The 2007-2009 pilot established the effectiveness of the peer review process with more than 600 items of prior art being submitted on 189 applications. This prior art was used in almost 20% of cases as a basis for rejecting claims, a rate that evidences the contribution of the program but which also underscore the broad effectiveness of existing examiner-conducted searches. More than 2700 individuals have previously registered to participate as peer reviewers from more than 140 countries around the world.

For more information, see www.peertopatent.org.