Sunday, July 20, 2008

Notable presentations at the CCI Conference

Graham Vickery
from the OECD presented on the Participative Web.

He described the participative web in the following terms -

New web services, readily available software and high speed broadband enable:
  • development and customisation of content
  • commercial and non-commercial use of the “collective intelligence” of internet users
  • users contribute to developing, rating, collaborating and distributing Internet content and interacting with other
He spoke about the new business models that are emerging in response to the participative web. He identified five basic business models:
  1. voluntary contributions/giving away
  2. charging viewers for user created content (UCC) services – pay per item or subscriptions (including bundling)
  3. advertising-based
  4. licensing to third parties
  5. selling other goods and services online
The question for the future (and the present!) will be: how do we remunerate creators? By revenue sharing or content payment or...?

Jessica Coates from Creative Commons Australia (Ccau) spoke about issues surrounding how “commercial” and “non commercial” are defined in relation to Creative Commons licences.

Oli Wilson from the New Zealand band, Knives at Noon gave an enlightening presentation about how his band used Creative Commons licences to distribute their music and gain notoriety. You can read more about this or view a video of Knives at Noon speaking about their use of Creative Commons on NZ TV here.

Professor Brian Fitzgerald from QUT Law Faculty gave a comprehensive overview of the many legal issues still inherent in the Copyright Act 1968 (Cth) and areas of copyright law that are sorely in need of consideration, including:
  • authorisation of copyright infringement by ISPs etc;
  • wider exceptions to copyright infringement, include for transformative use;
  • the application of fair dealing exceptions to the online environment;
  • orphan works;
  • the overlap of copyright law with other areas of the law, such as designs;
  • TPMs, circumvention devices and region-locking;
  • [And a bunch of others which I wrote down and then lost, and I can't for the life of me remember now. ..If I do, I will amend this post].
[Any or all of these topics would be excellent for a Masters or PhD thesis].

Professor Fitzgerald suggested four fundamental reforms that would go a long way to making Australia a leader in copyright and innovation policy, being the introduction of clear rights to:
  • reuse copyright material for non-commercial purposes in circumstances where there is no financial detriment to the copyright owner;
  • engage in transformative and fair uses, including the right to communicate derivative works;
  • reuse Crown copyright material for non-commercial purposes; and
  • undertake format shifting in consistent circumstances for all copyright materials.

Nic Suzor from QUT Law Faculty had a very interesting presentation about the enforceability of EULAs and Terms of Use purporting to regulate virtual communities. Nic has written extensively about this topic on his blog.

Professor Christoph Antons, a Professor of Compartive Law and Director of the Centre for Comparative Law and Development Studies in Asia and the Pacific (CLDSAP) spoke about the internet and freedom of expression in Asia. His talk focused on a number of cases involving YouTube in countries including Thailand, India, Turkey, Pakistan and Indonesia. In these countries, it can be a crime to insult the King, the State, the national religion, or other traditional figures or leaders. As Professor Antons explains, videos screened over YouTube can be potentially more powerful tools for insulting than text messages, and messages conveyed via videos are immediate and reach a wider international audience. The conflict between internet tools such as YouTube and laws that forbid insulting – especially where the laws are phrased so that “insulting” is a subjective test [a huge concern!] - can be immense.

Ben Atkinson, a Research Fellow in the QUT Law Faculty and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Creative Innovation, looked at the evolution of intellectual property law by reference to the revolutions involving real property, such as the French Revolution. Ben has just released a book entitled, The True History of Copyright: The Australian Experience 1905-2005, which can be purchased from the Sydney University Press website here.

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