Skip to the main content

Berkman Buzz, week of May 19

A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations. If you'd like to receive this by email, just sign up here.

What’s going on…take your pick here or browse below.

* John Palfrey examines his roots in Negroponte.
* Derek Slater examines LaLa's legal and business model.
* David Weinberger mocks up his preferred tagging system.
* Ethan Zuckerman internationalizes Net Neutrality.
* Stopbadware releases new report, Jessica Simpson Screensaver.
* Bill McGeveran reports on Berkman's copyright & educational uses of technology workshop.

The full buzz.

"In preparing for the final lecture of a two-day seminar that Urs Gasser and I are teaching here at the University of St. Gallen, I was going back through one of the books that got me interested in Internet law in the first place — Nicholas Negroponte’s seminal book in atom form, Being Digital (1995). A passage that spoke to me, on p. 20: “One way to look at the future of being digital is to ask if the quality of one medium can be transposed to another. Can the television experience be more like the newspaper experience? Many people think of newspapers as having more depth than television news. Must that be so? Similarly, television is considered a richer sensory experience than what newspapers can deliver. Must that be so?..."
John Palfrey, "Re-Reading Negroponte, Being Digital (1995)"

"The LA Times reports that "Sharing [Is] Still Divisive," and this time the tool stirring the fires is, which allows individuals to trade their own CDs with each other.  Someone recently wrote me to say is based on "facilitating piracy."  It's sad that any time a novel sharing service comes out, the first instinct is to demonize it rather than find a way to embrace and monetize what music fans so obviously want. is just like eBay in two senses. First, enables a more efficient market by reducing transaction costs in ways not possible in the offline world.  Second, people already had the ability to sell their CDs via eBay -- LaLa just modifies the model. ..."
Derek Slater, " and Embracing Sharing"

"Yesterday's post about what tags should link to has spurred some really interesting discussion. As a result, I've mocked up a page that has some of the features and properties I'd like. It's where you'd be taken if you clicked on a tag at the bottom of one of my posts. ..."
David Weinberger, "Resolving Tags"

"I’d hoped to internationalize the conversation about net neutrality a bit - many of my friends who are passionate and smart about the subject, like David Isenberg, tend to focus on net neutrality in the US - in no small part because a major battle over net neutrality is currently shaping up in the US Congress. I wanted to make it clear that this battle isn’t just about the US - neutrality battles have already taken place in other nations and, in countries where voice over IP has a major presence, have pitted telephone incumbents against upstart internet providers in a way that’s eerily reminiscent of the battle taking place in the US. ..."
Ethan Zuckerman, "Net neutrality, and the hope the US could learn some lessons from African experience"

"We’ve recently taken a look at the Jessica Simpson Screensaver from, and it isn’t pretty. It claims to have 40 pictures of Ms. Simpson, and our research shows it has nearly as many bundled pieces of spyware- 15 or 16 all told (depending on the download). ...", "Jessica Simpson, Team Taylor Made, and 'bad sites'"

"I spent yesterday at a small workshop we organized to review a preliminary draft of the Berkman Center’s upcoming white paper, obstacles to Educational Uses of Content in the Digital Age (see status report here). The premise of the project is that copyright law and accompanying business models and institutional practices prevent educators from taking advantage of digital media more than helping them do so. The paper seeks to identify some of those impediments. It was a very stimulating event and a great group of people — scholars, lawyers, librarians, and educators (and some people who are all four of those things at once!). Among the several gazillion things we discussed: ... "
Bill McGeveran, "Workshop on Education & Copyright"