Friday, April 13, 2012

Fordham IP law and policy conference

Technology and Intellectual Property: Out of Sync or Hope for the Future?
I came in late, but some highlights: Hugh Hansen suggesting that democracy was a really bad thing because citizens think short term and elites give us rights, and that’s why IP can only be protected without democracy, or as he put it, with "filters."  (If by “us” you mean white men holding property.  I do not believe I am exaggerating: he pointed to revolutionary Virginia as the great model for providing rights and the rest of American history as decline as things were turned over to the greedy proles.  I obviously beg to differ, and this November the Commonwealth will indeed let me vote.  I understand that Hansen likes to provoke, but the ugliness of his claims should not go unremarked.)
Steven J. Metalitz, Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp LLP, Washington D.C.
SOPA public discourse was a bunch of error.  Need to teach consumers that IP industries produce a lot of economic value so they’ll respect IP rights.
Carey R. Ramos, Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP, New York
Consumers believed that they were getting value for their DVDs and were prepared to pay; this was not true of CDs, which cost more and delivered no more to them than previous delivery methods.  This was why they were willing to download individual songs.
Hansen: consumers will only be moral if they’re taught that copying is wrong.  Copying is just like shoplifting.
David J. Kappos, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property & Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
“The adults in the room” (direct quote) know you have to pay for patents or you’re going to get sued.  
Well, that was an interesting set of perspectives; since I was already in a snarky mood, I couldn’t help but think in response to Kappos about what a lawyer might have said pre-NYT v. Sullivan etc.: “the adults in the room know that if you say negative things about public officials you’re going to get sued.”  Sounds sort of like wisdom, but this conference isn’t just practice pointers, or at least I hope it isn’t; maybe it’s an adult thing to give up on a better world, but I don’t think so.

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