Prof. Christopher Yoo on "The Transformation of the Internet"

The emergence of the Internet as the dominant means of communication over the past decade represents one of the most remarkable developments of our nation's technological history. A medium that began as a way for academics to send e-mail and exchange files has become a nearly ubiquitous phenomenon that has transformed almost every aspect of daily life.

The vision of the Internet as it existed in the late 1990s continues to serve as the starting point for current debates over communications policy. In framing the issues in this manner, policymakers overlook important changes in the economic and technological environment surrounding the Internet, including:

* The number and nature of Internet users
* The nature and variety of Internet applications
* The variety of networking and end user technologies
* The diversity of business relationships
* The maturation of the industry

In this lecture, delivered on April 21, 2009, Professor Christopher Yoo of the University of Pennsylvania Law School analyzed the nature of these changes and explored their potential for reframing current debates over Internet policy.

International: Pirates in Britain will not be disconnected from the internet

One of the new strategies of the music industry internationally is to find new policemen to enforce its rights in the digital world.

ISPs are extremely appealing candidates in this regard, since they can disconnect users from the Internet. Using ISPs can prevent repeated infringements and deter new ones. The music industry lobbied aggressively in various countries to enact a law that will force ISPs to disconnect repeated infringers from the Internet. The BRI, which represents the British record industry, has almost succeeded in passing such legislation in Britain, as the British government had seriously intended to compel internet companies to cut off customers who ignore warnings not to download music and video files illegally.

However, an interview with The Times with Mr. David Lammy, the British Intellectual Property Minister, revealed that the Government had ruled out creating a law. He questioned whether such a law can actually be possible.

While the music industry expressed disappointment of the reverse turn, ISPs--who consistently objected the heavy hand of the legislator being involved in their business--expressed satisfaction, saying that it is impossible to attract people to use the Internet and at the same time to scare them away.

Seven million British share files illegally every year, and the damage to the industry is said by the industry to amount to £180million a year.

Video: Panel on User-Generated Content

Our first panel of the day was titled "User-Generated Content: Cooperation or Litigation?" Topics included the Viacom-YouTube lawsuit, the validity of litigation in creating beneficial legal precedents, and the impediments to full cooperation between content owners and content providers. For the full video, scroll down to the bottom of this post.

Kevin Werbach asserts that "YouTube doesn't even know how it's going to make money" as Google's Bill Patry looks on.

Viacom's Stanley Pierre-Louis (right) discusses his company's recent initiatives to add online content. Professor Michael Carroll of Villanova (left) listens.

Kevin Werbach of Wharton (center) registers his objection to the term "user-generated content" when describing copyright infringement problems caused by sites like YouTube.

Video, Part 1:

Video, Part 2:

The panelists, seated from left to right, were:
• Michael Carroll, Professor of Law, Villanova School of Law
• Stanley Pierre-Louis, VP and Associate General Counsel, Viacom
• Kevin Werbach, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies, Wharton
• Lance Koonce, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine
• Gideon Parchomovsky, Professor of Law, UPenn Law (moderator)

Blogging the Symposium: Government Role in IP

The third panel featured a lively debate on the proper role for the government in enforcing intellectual property rights. In particular, discussion focused on the PRO-IP act, a controversial bill which had proposed increased damages for infringement and a new government bureaucracy to ensure the protection of copyright.

Sherwin Siy, above left, discussed the recent markup of the bill, which moved out of subcommittee only after the provision to disaggregate damages was struck.

Many of the questions focused on whether it was proper for the government to spend a significant amount of money to protect a private right. Prof. Post pointed out that the nature and protection of property rights changes with technology, noting that at one point flying an airplane over one's land was considered a trespass. The government, he said, should not be in the business of protecting outdated business models. From the audience, Prof. Parchomovsky, the moderator from the first panel, questioned whether the benefits would outweigh the costs of such a proposal.

Charles Sanders (far left) said that less protection for artists would lead to the decline of professional artists in favor of amateurs, countering a comment by Prof. David Post (far right) that people create even in the absence of an ability to make money. There may be more works of art than ever, Sanders said, but they are not of the same quality as professional products. Also pictured are Sherwin Siy and Sigal Mandelker from the DOJ. Ms. Mandelker opposed the creation of a new government office for copyright, noting that the DOJ has already been prosecuting large-scale infringers.

Prof. Christopher Yoo (far left) moderated debate between Mr. Sanders and Prof. Post. Mr. Sanders told Prof. Post that if they sat down and talked, they would probably agree 98% of the time. Prof. Post said if that was true, he would buy him a beer--by the end of the panel, it became clear that no beer would be forthcoming. They did agree, however, that the music industry needed to adopt a new business model in the face of changing technology.

Blogging the Symposium: Filtering and Fair Use

The second panel focused its discussion on whether current methods to control copyright infringement, especially filtering and DMCA takedown notices, unduly impinge on fair use. David Sohn voiced concerns that the filtering technology would be unable to recognize content that would be considered fair use. The panel also considered whether the current fair use is working, and agreed that although it is an imperfect system, it's the best we've got. Kathleen Carignan said that it would be easier if things could categorically be determined to be fair use, but the factors test is necessary to ensure that the use is indeed "fair."

ABOVE, LEFT: Gregory Marchwinski of Red Lambda, a manufacturer of filtering software, and the rest of the panel listen to a question from the moderator. ABOVE: Jennifer Pariser of Sony explains why copyright infringement harms the music industry. Also pictured are Gregory Marchwinski (left) and David Sohn of the Center for Democracy & Technology (right).

Robert Terrell (right) explains how the University of Pennsylvania responds to DMCA takedown notices while David Sohn (left) and Kathleen Carignan of Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts look on.

Moderator R. Polk Wagner, far left, and the full panel.

For more on this panel, see Sherwin Siy's commentary here.

Copyright & the Internet Symposium

March 20, 2008--Yesterday, PIPG hosted notable scholars, practitioners, and policy advocates at its inaugural symposium, entitled “Copyright & the Internet: Solutions for a Digital World.” The discussion focused on the entertainment industry's ability to respond to challenges posed by mass copyright infringement on the Internet, the use of filters, and what role, if any, the government should play in protecting copyrighted works.

In the upcoming days, we will post commentary and pictures from the event. The full schedule was as follows:

Panel 1: “Industry Response to User-Generated Content: Cooperation or Litigation?”
Moderator: Prof. Gideon Parchomovsky
Michael Carroll, Professor of Law, Villanova School of Law
Lance Koonce, Partner, Davis Wright Tremaine
Stanley Pierre-Louis, Vice President and Associate General Counsel, IP and Content Protection, Viacom
Kevin Werbach, Assistant Professor of Legal Studies, Wharton

Featured presentations
Kevin Kuzas, VP and General Counsel, Comcast Interactive Media
"Challenges in Internet Video"
William Patry, Senior Copyright Counsel, Google Inc.
"Internet Metaphors and Why We Need to Lose Them"

Panel 2: “Can Copyright and the First Amendment be Reconciled in the Internet Age? Filtering, Takedown Notices, & the Role of Fair Use”
Moderator: Prof. R. Polk Wagner
Kathleen Carignan, Director, Philadelphia Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts
Gregory Marchwinski, CEO, Red Lambda
Jennifer Pariser, Executive Vice President, Sony/BMG
David Sohn, Senior Policy Counsel and Director, Project on IP and Technology, Center for Democracy & Technology
Robert Terrell, LAW ’86, Associate General Counsel, UPenn

Panel 3: “Government Involvement in Copyright Regulation: Discussing the U.S. Role in Monitoring IP Infringement Online”
Moderator: Prof. Christopher Yoo
Sigal Mandelker, LAW '00, Deputy Asst. Attorney General, DOJ
David Post, Stern Professor of Law, Temple's Beasley School of Law
Charles J. Sanders, Counsel, Songwriter's Guild of America
Sherwin Siy, Staff Attorney and Director, Global Knowledge Initiative, Public Knowledge

PIPG would like to thank Hogan & Hartson for its generous support.