Hearsay Culture 1.0 Site (2006-2021)
Covering modern technology and Internet issues
Hosted by Dave Levine.

A Related Topic: Pending Disaster and Webcast Royalty Rates

On occasion, I’ll blog here on topics directly related to this radio show, like . . . It’s old news by blog standards, as it happened last week, but the Copyright Royalty Board has announced the new royalty rates for webcasts. No surprise, they are higher than what your typical (if there is such a thing) small, non-commercial Internet radio station can afford, as cogently analyzed by the Radio and Internet Newsletter. And I’m not defining “afford” as in “turning a reasonable profit”; no, the analysis suggests that the royalty rate would consume total revenues of a “typical Internet radio station.” Bill Goldsmith, the operator of the outstanding Internet radio station Radio Paradise, wrote a superb analysis of the impact of these rates on small, non-commercial Internet radio stations, and the public generally.

Of course, what is a typical Internet radio station? That is the question that should be answered in more reasonable negotiated rates that factor in the specific needs of different categories of stations (i.e., commercial/non-commercial, profit/non-profit). To potentially crush the most successful small Internet radio stations under these new proposed rates (explained here), and deter others from entering the market for fear that they could not ever meet the royalty requirements, should be an outcome that no one, not even the content industry, wants. But similar to Google Book Search, a project that is under attack by the very creators who benefit from the service but claim that they are being robbed and/or cheated, we now have a burgeoning technology and community being threatened by extremely short-sighted thinking. Sound familiar?

Let’s start with a basic discussion topic for the royalty-seekers: maybe if more stations are allowed to grow, develop and flourish, then one day they might be able to afford higher rates. Or should rates be demanded now that will kill the industry? Please discuss among yourselves, and let the rest of us know the outcome.

There is some time to impact what is to come: look here for more information if you’re interested. [Note: this entry is cross-posted on the Center for Internet and Society at Stanford Law School website here].


Show #31 — Prof. Richard Epstein — posted and schedule update

I am pleased to post the audio for my interview with Prof. Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School and the Hoover Institution.

It is a rare treat to be able to interview someone who has influenced my thinking, and indeed whom I read even before I went to law school (as frightening as that may be). Richard was a terrific person to interview, and the conversation ranged from discussion of fair use to the need for patent reform. The focus of the interview was a report that Richard authored for the Manufacturing Institute entitled “Intellectual Property for the Technological Age.” A pdf version of the report can be found on the National Association of Manufacturing website here. I don’t agree with the entire report, but regardless, it is an impressive, cogent and readable critique of much of the current intellectual property regime. While Richard would keep more of the current system in place than I would, I learned from the report and commend anyone who is looking to learn about IP, or seeking the insight of one of the legal giants of the last 30+ years on our IP regime.

Of course, I tried to pick appropriate songs for one who is alternatively called a libertarian and/or a “classic liberal”:

(1) If You Love Somebody Set Them Free/Sting/Dream of the Blue Turtles
(2) Boulevard/Jackson Browne/Hold Out
(3) Living On a Thin Line/The Kinks/Come Dancing With the Kinks – the Best of the Kinks
(4) Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da/The Beatles/The Beatles (White Album)

Thanks Richard for being on Hearsay Culture, and I hope that everyone enjoys the interview!

Finally, last but not least, I’ve added to the schedule with a great group of guests, now posted to July 4.


Show #30 — David Brin — posted and where I’ll be

Show #30, my interview with David Brin, is posted. In a far ranging discussion, David expanded on the tech-sociological theories espoused in 1998’s forward-thinking The Transparent Society, and considered their application almost 10 years later. I enjoyed the conversation, and hope that you enjoy one of the more unstructured conversations had to date on Hearsay Culture!

The playlist for show #30:

(1) Doctor My Eyes/Jackson Browne/Jackson Browne
(2) Stumbling Through The Dark/The Jayhawks/Rainy Day Music
(3) Dark Hollow/Grateful Dead/Live – 1980-10-02 I
(4) Bad Reputation/Freedy Johnston/This Perfect World

Also, as a personal note, this Friday and Saturday I’ll be at U.C.Berkeley-Boalt Hall’s Copyright, DRM Technologies, and Consumer Protection conference. Maybe I’ll see you there!


Show #29 — Prof. Mark Lemley — posted

Show #29, my interview with Prof. Mark Lemley of Stanford Law School is posted. Thanks again to Mark for taking time out of a very busy schedule to be on the show.

The timing of the show is great, given the flood of patent cases in the Supreme Court. As the show was aired on Wednesday, February 21, the day that Microsoft v. AT&T was argued, Mark offered his first-impression thoughts on the case based upon the summary of the argument found on the PatentlyO blog.

Patent law is (or should be) a concern to all interested in how technology is created, commercialized and disseminated. The incentive-based innovation system that United States intellectual property law conceives is built, in large measure, around the dual roles of copyright and patent. Trademark and trade secret law (the latter near-and-dear to my research) take second place (starting from a constitutional perspective). While I would challenge the assertion that trade secrecy deserves such a designation, simply by virtue that it is primarily a beast of state law, it gets less national attention (although trade secret litigation is a booming business).

So I’ve embarked upon a pitch to be concerned about where patent law is headed, although perhaps none is needed. Mark is an expert (and prolific writer) in this area; hence the focus. Enjoy!

Playlist for Show #29 (the challenge of finding patent music referred me somehow to jazz, a personal love — I will try to figure out an explanation):

(1) Motel (Diner au Motel)/Miles Davis/Ascenseur Pour L’├ęchafaud
(2) My Favorite Things/Grant Green/Matador
(3) Monk’s Mood/Joe Lovano/I’m All for You
(4) Blues for Nina/Joe Pass/Joe Pass at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1975


Shows #27 and #28 posted and playlists

No sooner than announced, show #27, Prof. Emeritus Richard A. Lanham of UCLA, discussing his book “The Economics of Attention,” and #28, Julian Dibbell, discussing his book “Play Money, Or, How I Quit My Job and Struck It Rich In Virtual Loot Farming, are posted.

Prof. Lanham was an excellent guest, and, as I discussed on the show, I commend you to check out his “background conversations” in his book. These are the “backstories” of his book, and discuss numerous primary and secondary sources that he utilized in researching and writing his book. A testimony to the usefulness of these “conversations” is that I have acquired at least eight of the books that he mentioned. It is a fascinating book and well worth your time.

A different but no less interesting guest was Julian Dibbell. His book is a great primer on virtual worlds, and although we did not discuss them on the show, he identifies many interesting characters as he winds his way through Ultima Online. His take on the economics of these worlds is also notable, and my attempt to explore some of these economic concepts in some detail on the show reflects his focus.

I hope that you enjoy both shows.

Finally, a program note: those that listen to the show live on KZSU-FM, Wednesdays from 5-6 PM PST, know that I play music on the live show. I usually pick songs that in some way match the theme or a particular topic of the show, generally based upon lyrics and almost always with a humorous bent (based upon my somewhat obtuse sense of humor), and I have a lot of fun choosing the right songs for the shows. For example, I chose R.E.M.’s “Gardening at Night” for the portion of Julian Dibbell’s show when we discussed virtual “gold farming;” such is my sense of humor and fun.

Unfortunately, as I discuss under the heading “Listen,” United States copyright law prevents me from replicating the music on the podcast. But, I am aware of no US intellectual property law that prevents me from listing the playlists for each show [if anyone is aware of such law, please let me know!]. Thus, I will list the playlist for each show as they are posted, for those that are interested. If you can’t listen live, the truly industrious can replicate the glory of the live show by placing (or imagining) each song in each gap: song (1) at the beginning of the show, (2) before the interview begins, (3) at the bottom of the hour, (4) at the end of the interview, and return to (1) at the end. Especially for music fans, I hope that you find the playlists at least amusing (especially if you figure out the connection between the lyrics/title and the topic), if not integral to following the interview.

So, here’s the playlists (in song name/artist/album format):

Show #27, Prof. Richard Lanham
(1) Ignoreland/R.E.M./Automatic For The People
(2) Pretzel Logic/Steely Dan/Pretzel Logic
(3) Old England/The Waterboys/This Is The Sea
(4) One Thing Leads to Another/The Fixx/Reach the Beach

Show #28, Julian Dibbell
(1) Synchronicity 2/The Police/Synchronicity (Remastered)
(2) Pay Me My Money Down/Bruce Springsteen/We Shall Overcome – The Seeger Sessions
(3) Easy Money/Lowell George/Thanks I’ll Eat It Here
(4) Gardening At Night (Different Vocal Mix)/R.E.M./Eponymous

If anyone has any music suggestions for future guests, please let me know! Enjoy!


Schedule Changes and Upcoming Audio

Long time listeners (that is, those who have listened to Hearsay Culture for over four months) know that schedule changes do occur. More often than not, it is because of my work/personal responsibilities, but on occasion it is for better reasons. The below is such a change.

Prof. Richard Epstein of the University of Chicago Law School just happens to be down the street from the law school at the Hoover Institution. So, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to interview Richard in-studio, which I will do this week. Thus, the schedule change.

Additionally, the show is now scheduled through May thanks to a great addition: Brad Stone of The New York Times and return guest Jennifer Granick will be on the show in May to discuss the state of technology. It promises to be a lively discussion.

Finally, I will be posting audio to shows 27 and 28 (my interviews with Prof. Richard Lanham and Julian Dibbell, respectively) by next week, at the latest.

Thanks to Richard, and all of my guests, for doing the show, and I look forward to a live discussion with Prof. Mark Lemley of Stanford Law School this coming Wednesday!


Show #26 — Steve Aftergood of FAS — Posted

I very much enjoyed talking with Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) on government secrecy and the efforts of the FAS to access government information. His show is now posted.

What I particularly like about FAS’ Project on Government Secrecy, and to which I subscribe, is the email newsletter Secrecy News. It is a great resource for government information, like Congressional Research Service (CRS) reports, as well as a wealth of other government reports and documents and keen observation of various stories that touch on secrecy and/or national security. Thanks, Steve, for being on the show and discussing your great, and important, work.


The Newest (and Only Required) Hearsay Culture Listener

One logistical goal of launching this site was to have it done by January 31, 2007. I met this deadline, but you may wonder, why January 31, 2007? The reason is below:


Noah was born on February 1, 2007 and both my wife and my son are doing well. I am extremely grateful and thankful for this blessing.

This week’s show (#27), Prof. Emeritus Richard A. Lanham of UCLA, discussing his book “The Economics of Attention,” will air on Wednesday, February 7 from 5-6 PM PST (previously recorded) on KZSU-FM. A special thanks to my colleagues at KZSU-FM, particularly Chizzy and/or Mike, whose shows are on KZSU before and after mine, respectively, and who will be working the board (and have several times in the past) in my absence.

I will post information and audio from Show #26, Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists (FAS), next week.

Thanks for your patience as my wife and I get to know our son! I’ll post on how required listening to my show deters and/or advances Noah’s development. There is nothing like a captive audience . . .


Shows #24 and #25 Posted

I enjoyed interviewing Harry and Frank, and hope that you find these interviews illuminating:

CodeX jpg
Show #24, January 17, 2007: Harry Surden, Resident Fellow at the Stanford Center for Computers and the Law (CodeX), on the background and activities of Codex and current research.

Many of the projects discussed on the show can be found in more detail here.


Frank Pasquale

Show #25, January 24, 2007: Assoc. Prof. Frank Pasquale of Seton Hall Law School on “Limiting Exclusion and Inclusion Harms in Search,” an examination of web search engines and the impact of web search engine results.

Frank has already blogged about the show, but, as he mentioned, he will be providing follow-up links here, so look for an entry soon. I will cross-link to that post. Also, Frank’s SSRN research page is here.