9-12-class-notes

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Note on Feedback Received: Several students expressed concerns about lights on the projector screen / Law students are the primary audience for the course, and it is most important that they are able to see the screen.

A Word About the Production Process: Nesson has a process of production in mind, but the lectures are currently recorded and uploaded in unedited form. Wants to edit the product for more sophisticated ends / potential distribution to Community television and further internet distribution.

The course has taken over Rebecca’s life! She works on it pretty much 24/7.

Nesson has sensed an energy created by the students even though the projects have not even started yet. Law students have been expressing interest in getting to know the extension school and at-large participants. Nesson wants to make sure that desire is facilitated

Brief discussion of the various projects that are up on the Wiki. Students are encouraged to introduce their own projects that they have started or that they have in mind.



Law of Cyberspace: The law that we live in is divided between atoms and bits. The Law of Real Property is the relationship of the law to atoms. Law protects property, so that property can be protected.

We are expected to have good doors, and good locks, and good fences…all to protect our property.

How is code different? What do we mean by code? Code is language, code is a means of expressing ideas.

How does one protect investment in the development of code?

No law is needed when the methods of copying code are slow. Law is needed when the printing press comes along. In comes the law of copyright. The idea that the masses benefit when there are certain protections for the creative process.

Thomas Jefferson is the hero of the U.S. embodiment of the free flow of information. Jefferson championed the idea that people should not be able to possess a copyright over an idea. The flow of information should be free and flowing.

Congress has the power… To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

Creators need some incentive to create. They should be given some limited monopoly period to reap the benefits of their creation. The biggest benefit to man is that authors/creators have the incentive to create, even if the creator has control over the dissemination of that creation for a limited time. That is better than not having the creation at all.

Mickey Mouse Protection – Fear that Steamboat Willie would fall into the public domain.



The development of Hollywood really spurred the development of greater protections for creative intellectual property.

Jack Valenti – head of the MPAA for many years / he advances the idea of piracy in a powerful way / Has a totally welcoming President in Ronald Regan, a former Hollywood actor.

The islands of the Carribean were broadcasting films without permission. How could Valenti stop them?

Caribbean Basin Economic Recovery Act (1983)

Watch list (1988) – those who hold Cp, can complain to the US Trade Office when violations of Cp occur.

TRIPS (1994) – linking trade through the WTO / an Int’l trade act

Sonny Bono “Copyright forever!” “Copyright forever minus one day!”

Nesson – Copyright is the single greatest impediment to creative freedom and the dissemination of uninhibited creativity.

Copyright makes it easier and faster for corporations to make money.

Nesson was an undergrad at Harvard in 1958 – he was working on a UNIVAC / it looked like the 21st century, it was fantastic.

The UNIVAC took up two parts of the building / the front part with the nuclear plant controls / the back part that looked like the library stacks / library stacks full of vacuum tubes.

UNIVAC programs were written in a source code comprised of 1s and 0s.

For his final exam, Nesson had to write a program that would take and input list and reorganize it in alphabetical order.

Nesson was not back in touch with a computer until the early 1980’s when he got an IBM.

The high-level programs today all go back to the original language / binary code

Nesson wrote a great program that played excellent Jacks or Better 5 card Poker.


World Wide Web Burners Lee – the inventor of the WWW / combined the machine, the network, and the means from moving around from place to place.

John Perry Barlow – likes to dress as the angel of death / wrote a piece for Wired magazine in 1994 / the economy of ideas / argued that copyright in an environment of fluid information cannot survive / the bottle is broken / maintaining copyright in its traditional form is as fruitless and moving around deck chairs on the Titanic

Shawn Fanning – wrote the program for Napster

Other P2P file sharing programs: iMesh Gnutella Groskter Kazaa eDonkey WinMX Limewire Blubster



Back to Jefferson again… Is it appropriate to build property regimes around creative endeavors? To what extent do we need to restrain the rights of all to promote commerce?

This class is about promoting open access / open access to the bits, to the code, to the ideas. Open access to this environment is the argument.

BitTorrent – makes the possibility of an open digital library possible / and it works quite well

BitTorrent works in the following way: One user has a piece of digital information and logs onto the BitTorrent network. Another user accesses and downloads the digital information bit by bit. This process continues and continues. If 100 people have the same piece of digital information, the 101st person to access the file can download the information bit by bit from multiple users, making the process more efficient. Bits spreading everywhere….


Getting to the point now where production itself is starting to become a form of expression / one example of this production is the Democracy Player

Rebecca: Democracy Player essentially provides a television network for the CyberOne course / the player is an attempt to democratize the “broadcasting” of audio/visual work.


This is something that ____(missed name) works on in his non-CyberOne life.

The Participatory Culture Foundation – a nonprofit organization that created the “Democracy” website.

Pculture.org

The PCF evolved from the Napster controversy and gripes with the RIAA through Downhillbattle.org / That was a website run by a group of music artists that claimed that the music distribution process was not beneficial for most performers.

Getdemocracy.org

RSS – allows users to stay current with updates made on websites without going to the site every time to check the status of the site (RSS updater)

It is much like the Tivo of internet video / each video expires 6 days after first viewing, but can be saved to a hard drive at any time /

The RSS Aggregator does not only have to be used at the Democracy website, it can be used with any RSS feed that has video in it.

Democracy is different than YouTube.com because users have to go to the actual YouTube website to view videos.


Public Domain Common Wealth

In balance with

Proprietary Domain Corporate Wealth


Tao te ching – a work that Nesson recommends to all of us The idea of Taoism – each of us should look to ourselves for our sense of worth / not to the state


The concept of the military-industrial complex was brought to the attention of Americans in a speech made by Dwight D. Eisenhower, as he was about to relinquish his office as president to John F. Kennedy in 1961.

An interesting excerpt from that 1961 speech (inserted by note-taker):

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense; we have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions…We annually spend on military security more than the net income of all United States corporations…We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications…In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.


There were huge influences coming from that business to further the ends of that business. Sensibility of profit, the structure of the law to further the accumulation of profit.



Rebecca: Can we have an open-propriety forum that will provide a sufficient return to its architects?


Charles Fried “It is the rock-bottom, indigestible fact of each person’s lonely individuality, his ultimate responsibility for his own beliefs, judgments and choices that grounds our demand that we be free.”

Individually, we choose our experience. We choose our beliefs.

We sometimes have the urge not be as important as we really are.

Professor Charles Ogletree – Charles Hamilton Houston Institute of Race and Justice – Modern Liberty Conference…looking to invite as much participation from the class as possible.



Rebecca: Code functions as a type of law in the Cyber environment. The paper clip in Microsoft Word is something we cannot get rid of when we use Microsoft Word. The developers of the Word code made it an inescapable aspect of that environment.


The more people that have the ability to write these types of code, the more opportunities we have to pursue self-governance.


Understanding that code is all driven by 1’s and 0’s, and that it is a language is very significant and very important. You must be able to see the power of code.

Tomorrow: We will actually engage in the process of writing code