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Berkman Blog Buzz, week of February 17

A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations.  For a complete picture, please visit our Berkman aggregator.  Last week's Blog Buzz is here.

 "While the first part of the definition makes a lot of sense, the second part is more problematic to the extent that it suggests, at least at a glance, a de facto export of U.S. free speech standards to the rest of the world. Although recent Internet rulings by U.S. courts have suggested an expansion of the standard under which U.S. courts will assert jurisdictions over free speech disputes that arise in foreign jurisdiction, it has been my and others impression that U.S. courts are (still?) reluctant to globally export free speech protections (see, e.g. the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal’s recent Yahoo! ruling.)...."
Urs Gasser, "Global Online Freedom Act of 2006: Evil is in the details" 

"This kind of advance assurance of nonliability is exactly what’s missing under the RIAA’s revisionist view, which makes the legality of CD ripping turn upon permissions granted by the copyright holder.  An inventor can never know at the time of the invention whether rights holders might in the future expressly authorize uses of the invention that would otherwise be infringing.  Without that advance assurance, however, Justice Breyer’s stated fear of chilling innovation applies with full force.  This is why the quoted statement from the petitioners’ counsel couldn’t possibly have been about authorization after the fact: because if it was, it would have been unresponsive to Justice Breyer’s question.  A small point, perhaps, but it’s surely preferable to hold litigants to those interpretations of their statements that don’t presuppose they were playing fast and loose with the Supreme Court. I also think the RIAA’s revisionism is dubious on factual grounds...."
Tim Armstrong"RIAA: We Never Conceded CD Format-Shifting Was a Noninfringing Use" 

"In this sense, while “the west” may not be able to “save” Africa, there are ways that countries like the US can help transform the continent. Paradoxically, they may have less to do with direct aid to developing economies and more to do with open borders, educational exchange and a role in a “beneficial diaspora”, where ambitious Africans come to the US to study and work and return home with knowledge and capital, ready to start businesses. While lowering debt burdens may (or may not) be critical for Africa’s development, opening American and European universities to Africa’s best and brightest may have as great an impact.  As it happens, I was in a meeting with Monique Maddy earlier today...."
Ethan Zuckerman"The West Can't Save Africa, but maybe some US MBAs can" 

"Second, it may be the case that the Congress, or other branches of the United States government, must take new action to solve this problem. That said, any outcome that bans United States technology companies from doing business in China, in the long-run, would not be in the best interests of democracy there or in states with similar Internet policies.  There are many other options beyond an outright ban that could help, if it is clear that the industry cannot solve its own problem. This issue of censorship and surveillance should be the Administration’s top priority with respect to global Internet governance discussions, which have to date focused on the policy backwaters of the functioning of the domain name system. This issue – ultimately, a key issue of human rights and of the development of
well-functioning democracies around the world – should be a top priority in trade negotiations, not an after-thought....."
John Palfrey"Written Testimony for US House IR Committee Hearing on China and Internet" 

"In general, I bet (or, rather, I hope) that our first intuition about libraries is that they're perfectly justifiable and socially beneficial.  If DeLong or others want to push us to accept their analogy to shopping carts, they should also be willing to bite the bullet and say that libraries are at best a tolerable though unfortunate historical accident and at worst unsound policy that must be eliminated as soon as possible; alternatively, he ought to have a clever way of distinguishing this case or clarifying his principle.  If these principles lead to ostensibly wrong conclusions, we ought reject the intuitions pumped from the shopping cart comparison...."
Derek Slater, "How far does the intuition pump go?"

 "They don’t confirm or deny whether they do or don’t provide instruction, training and/or service which helps customers use the routers for censorship purposes, or whether they market their technology to Chinese corporate and government customers with this function as a selling point.  He also does not address the fact that Cisco sells surveillance equipment to the Chinese Public Security Bureau, an institution with a well-documented track-record of human rights abuses. Although previously one Cisco spokesman told me that’s not a problem because it’s not illegal...."
Rebecca MacKinnon, "Chinese Censorship: Cisco Responds"

 "Here's what I think is happening, if my understanding of the stats is correct (which it probably isn't): As more people blog, the sites that we all read in common remain the MSM. Links to the MSM thus increase in almost a straight line as the overall size of the blogosphere increases. But as blogging spreads, interests get more diverse, so there are fewer blogs that we all read; those sites get forced into the python's lump.  Does this mean the mainstream media are "winning"?..."
David Weinberger, "Blogosphere changes shape"

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