If you think the work of the ordinary archivist is hard, pity the computer game archivists. They have to contend with obsolesence of proprietary hardware, emulation of complex systems with minimal documentation, and copy controls (and the DMCA), not to mention the confused looks from those who don’t understand why games matter. Well, the games that fill our leisure environment clearly matter as culture, but archaeologists of the future will have a difficult time understanding that part of our culture without archivists like those just speaking at Wizard of OS: Open Archives II. Games.
If culture isn’t enough, though, computer and video games have also been the subjects of some of the best recent U.S. copyright decisions: Sega v. Accolade and Sony v. Connectix, both affirming that reverse engineering (and copying in the process) for the purpose of interoperability are fair use, not copyright infringement. The Internet Archive’s explanation of its work to preserve games and other software garnered one of the four DMCA exemptions granted by the Librarian of Congress in the Copyright Office’s recent rulemaking. Thanks guys!
I’ve been in Geneva for the past three days, where the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Standing Committee
on Copyright and Related Rights (SCCR 11) has been meeting to consider a treaty to protect broadcasters’ rights. Thanks to Jamie Love, of the Consumer Project on Technology, an unprecedented number of public-interest oriented non-governmental organizations — including CPTech, , UPD, IP Justice, Public Knowledge, and EDRi — attended and intervened at the meeting to raise concerns about preserving the public’s rights in the face of expanded “broadcast protection.” We also spoke with many governmental delegations and other NGOs about our concerns that this treaty would mandate international adoption of technological protection measures like the U.S. broadcast flag.
We also brought new transparency to the rather closed process of treaty preparation. To that end, we’ve posted notes taken collaboratively with SubEthaEdit (a great Mac collaboration app) —
Notes from the full Standing Committee meeting.
I’m flattered to have been invited to speak at two exciting events:
Supernova 2004, June 24-25 in Santa Clara, and BlogOn 2004 - The Business of Social Media, July 23 in Berkeley.
I’ll be talking about how intellectual property rights should be exercised — versus the way they often are. This isn’t a message just for activists and individuals, but one for businesses and corporations as well: You can court your customers or you can threaten to sue them. In the long run those who offer better value and better service will succeed over those who bully.
Here, dedicated to the public domain, are our joint notes from Day 2 of WIPO Meetings on the Draft Broadcasting Treaty. After the governmental delegations concluded their intial rounds of comments, non-governmental organizations such as EFF were permitted three minute statements. EFF tried to raise concerns about forcing technological protection measures, like the DMCA-endorsed DRM, into yet another sphere.
From Cory’s statement:
We believe that the technological measures in Articles 16 and 17 are not required for the protection of broadcasters’ signals and thus should not be incorporated in the proposed Treaty. EFF is a co-signer to the NGO statement of principles on the proposed treaty and has submitted a Floor Statement to the Secretariat detailing its views, and will briefly outline its concerns here.
Article 16 opens the door to an unprecedented range of technology mandates which will constrain technology development
Article 16 requires Member Countries to adopt extensive mandates over everyday technologies like televisions, and radios. It envisions broadcasters “marking” broadcasts, cable transmissions and webcasts with something like the American “broadcast flag”. All signal-receiving devices — even personal computers — will be required to detect and respond to the flag.
Tomorrow’s the day when we see whether the broadcasting treaty proposal moves to the next step on the road to treaty-hood, a diplomatic conference, stays with the Standing Committee agenda for further development, or dies.
WIPO: The First Day:
Meeting notes for the 11th meeting of the WIPO Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights, 7 June 2004
Thanks to budget air carriers and countries still willing to allow Americans in, I’ve been on a bit of a European tour. I got to talk with a great crowd at Vienna for FREE BITFLOWS, had a fantastic time at NotCon , in London, and am now in Geneva for WIPO’s Standing Committee on Copyright and Related Rights. Next stop, Berlin for Wizards of OS 3: The Future of the Digital Commons.
Via Cory, phone consultants say user rights are a bug:
New mobile devices based on a version of the Symbian OS are a serious threat to mobile operator revenue streams, according to consultancy Mako Analysis. Savvy users can use devices running on Symbian’s Series 60 operating system (OS) to completely bypass a range of services that are normally charged for by their mobile operator, the UK-based consultancy warned on Monday. While the threat is currently minimal, the loophole has the potential to cause major headaches for operators.
Open handsets let users choose their applications, which have to compete on pure value. Sure lock-in is nice for sellers — until buyers bypass the locked-in route altogether. Companies who take the path Mako recommends are just clearing the way for others to listen to their (former) customers.
If it weren’t already clear that copyright has no Hippocratic oath, the tale Suw Charman relays makes it obvious:
Reynolds works for
the London Ambulance Service, and has just been on a course covering
new treatment guidelines. He and his colleagues will, however, be
getting an out-of-date version of the course handbook
because the copyright holders won’t allow the London Ambulance Service
to edit the newest version so that it is more relevant to London.
Even those who can’t put lost creativity on a balance sheet should be disturbed by this kind of consequence.
After spotting several nuggets on her blog, I look forward to meeting Suw at NotCon 04.