Archive for Money

Maxwell Dworkin Building

Posted in Money by epictetus on February 14th, 2006

I’m currently taking a class on internet law, control, and governance at Harvard Extension. The class used to be taught by Larry Lessig; both the current professors are from Harvard Law’s Berkman Center.  The reason I am studying this stuff is that my goal in life is to advocate for free software and free culture.

Anyways, this class meets in the Maxwell Dworkin building at Harvard Law school, and today while reading a plaque I realized that the building was donated to the school by Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer.  I just found it funny that I am studying to learn how to put Microsoft out of business in a building Microsoft paid for.

Newspaper publishers attack news aggregators

Posted in Laws,Money by epictetus on February 1st, 2006

I saw a link to this reuters story on Arstechnica:

The Paris-based World Association of Newspapers, whose members include dozens of national newspaper trade bodies, said it is exploring ways to “challenge the exploitation of content by search engines without fair compensation to copyright owners.”

This is very typical of the content industry’s response to innovation. Google is bringing their sites more traffic and interest. I find their approach to be hypocrisy in the extreme; they claim Google is trying to profit from their works without fair compensation, when in fact Google is providing a valuable service. It’s the newspaper industry themselves who no longer provide the same valuable and necessary service they once did; the ability of the internet to instantly distribute content from writers to readers at little or no cost has made much of the service provided by publishers (who once served as a middleman between content and consumer) obsolete. An industry faced with the prospect of obsolescence, instead of finding ways to change their business model so that they can continue to provide a valuable middle-man service (like google is doing), are concentrating on trying to legislate a permanent monopoly, a “right to profit” in order to preserve their relevance.

Free Culture activist fired from intellectual property law firm

Posted in Money,Norms by epictetus on February 1st, 2006

This story was posted on slashdot about a legal clerk who worked for a New York City intellectual property law firm, who was fired after she was quoted in The Village Voice where she advocated against DRM, and talked about her involvement in the Free Culture movement.
I find this to be perfectly understandable but unfortunate on the part of the law firm; having an employee that is ideologically opposed to the laws underlying their business is understandably disturbing; I can see how it would be hard to trust such an employee to always do a good job. On the other hand, the firm might have been able to bring themselves some positive publicity by embracing instead of rejecting this dissenting view. Certainly they are within their rights to fire her.