Archive for November 2009


Memo to Andrew McLaughlin: Read the *** Constitution

In response to an earlier post on Net Neutrality, a reader asks if my “position changed since John McCain introduced his ‘Internet Freedom Act of 2009.’”  That bill, introduced as the FCC was announcing its proposed Neutrality rulemaking, is only one page long.  If passed, it would mean that the Commission could not “propose, promulgate, […]

SOC: Tempest in the Back of Your TV

I’m fascinated by the firestorm that has erupted over what sounds on paper like the most boring combination of a legal and technical discussion: the recent appeal by Hollywood for a waiver from the FCC’s Selectable Output Control (SOC) rule. First a little background, greatly simplified. (Those wanting the gory details can read the excellent […]

Tech Nation

Tech Nation, November, 2009.Larry was the guest on NPR’s “Tech Nation” with Moira Gunn. Listen to a podcast here.

Larry Downes on Tech Nation

My conversation with the wonderful Moira Gunn of NPR’s “Tech Nation” is now available as a podcast from IT Conversations. The conversation ranged from “The Laws of Disruption” to current problems in innovation and the law that have emerged just in the last few months. Moira always asks the best questions!

Supernova 2009 – Speaking on Copyright/Fair Use

I’ll be speaking on December 1st, 2009 at the Supernova Conference in San Francisco. I’ll be part of a panel on copyrights and fair use in digital life. Hope to see you there!

Apple Abandons its Principles…Not! (Necessarily)

Following reports by Randall Stross in The New York Times and elsewhere that Apple had filed a patent application for technology that forces users of mobile or other devices to watch ads, the blogosphere lit up with lamentations. One blogger quoted by The Independent on Monday, to pick a representative example, called it “the most […]

Google Books/CNET

“Two Cheers for Google Books,” CNET, November 16, 2009. Larry’s support for the Google Books Settlement following its revision highlights the real source of objections to the original: the out-of-control copyright system. The settlement would bring back to life millions of out-of-print books, but that forest is getting lost in the trees of a variety […]

An Unpopular View of Google Books

I’m starting to feel like the only person who thinks the Google Books settlement with authors and publishers is a good deal. One voice that seems not to be heard, however, over the din of Google competitors, panicky law professors, and regulators who wouldn’t know a workable solution to a copyright problem (created by regulators) […]

The Big Money/Bilski

“Can You Patent a Cat and a Laser Pointer?” The Big Money from Slate.com, Nov. 9, 2009. Larry’s article on the U.S. Supreme Court’s critical 2009 patent case, Bilski v. Kappos, explained why a challenge to business method patents was really one that asked the fundamental questions about patents for all kinds of information age […]

CNET/FCC Proposals

The Case Against the FCC’s Net Neutrality Plan. CNET News.com, Oct. 29, 2009. Larry’s provocative and much-cited editorial dismissing the FCC’s long-awaited Net Neutrality proposed rulemaking received almost 400 Diggs and over 150 Tweets.