Digital Media Project
A research initiative of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard Law School
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Podcast Legal Guide: Rules for the Revolution

On April 27, 2006, Creative Commons and the Berkman Center Clinical Program in Cyberlaw released the Podcasting Legal Guide: Rules for the Revolution. The Guide provides a comprehensive summary of the complex body of copyright, trademark and publicity rights issues that face podcasters, as well as a helpful list of resources for podcasters, ranging from technical overviews to useful software to ways to find "podsafe" content that may be freely used. Equally important, the complexity revealed by the Guide illustrates the disconnect between current law and the technological upheaval represented by new digital media tools such as podcasting.

As Larry Lessig writes in his foreword, "my hope for this Guide . . . is that it will begin to make obvious what digital creators have been saying for some time - that it is time we update copyright law to the digital age. Something fantastic has changed: technology now invites the widest range of citizens to become speakers and creators. It is time that the law remove the unnecessary burdens that it imposes on this creativity. 'Copyright law' is essential in a digital age. But it ought to be a copyright law made for a digital age. Ours is not. And this fantastic Guide for those wanting to obey the rules should be evidence enough to convince anyone of that fact."

A copy of the report is available here.

From Mixtape to Playlist

New tools enable consumers to expose each other to music and to play a more significant role as tastemakers. Recommendation engines, playlists, blogs, podcasting, and many other tools may help consumers better satisfy their tastes and discover a more diverse array of music than they can through traditional channels. By engaging music and each other, consumers may also more actively shape their cultural environment and form community. Working with market research firm Gartner, this project analyzes the effect these new tools may have on consumers and the key legal, business, and cultural issues at stake. It also will support the Digital Media Exchange.

On December 13, 2005, Derek Slater and Mike McGuire of Gartner released a paper treating on development and licensing of non-p2p music sharing (e.g. podcasts and playlist-sharing sites), Consumer Taste Sharing Is Driving the Online Music Business and Democratizing Culture.

A copy of the report is available here.