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Berkman Buzz, week of May 26, 2006

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

Note: While I was assembling the Berkman Buzz, Faculty Fellow Urs Gasser told me that he's seeking feedback on the blogpost I've featured below, "Emotional Legal Design: A Proposal."   If you'd like to comment, just click on the link to his post and scroll down to the comments section.  That holds true for all posts, so please share your reactions!  

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

* Ethan Zuckerman gives the low down on Googlebombing.
* Bill McGeveran questions value of Zittrain's 'generativity.'
* Tim Armstrong asks which markets are fair game for fair use.
* David Weinberger paraphrases Q&A with Jack Goldsmith.
* Rebecca MacKinnon publishes letter to Skype about censorship.
* Urs Gasser wants feedback on his emotional legal design proposal.
* Dan Gillmor sizes up Wikipedia critics.
* puts new badware category up for debate - "deceptive functionality."

The full Buzz.

"Googlebombing is a technique where many bloggers link a word or phrase to a webpage, attempting to gain the top link on Google’s search results page for that search term. Search Google for “Arabian Gulf” for an example of a successful Googlebomb… or for “miserable failure”. (BBC has an article on the “miserable failure” hack, and Wikipedia has a comprehensive article on the technique...."
Ethan Zuckerman, "Googlebombs, or Googlebuys?"

"But does JZ have the right answer as well as the right question? Perhaps, but I am not fully persuaded, and this article does not consider alternatives. Here’s one possible alternative: maybe the most important value of the internet is the widespread ability to engage in one-to-many communication. To complicate it further, maybe the prime value is the capacity to do so anonymously. It is easy to imagine design choices that would promote generativity at the expense of these communicative virtues, and vice versa...."
Bill McGeveran, "Thoughts on Jonathan Zittrain's 'Generative Internet'"

"The fourth factor under the federal fair use statute requires courts to consider “the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work” when deciding whether a particular use is fair. This factor is easy enough to understand when well-developed markets for the copyrighted work already exist. What about when there are no such markets, though?..."
Tim Armstrong, "Fair Use and "Market Effects": Which Potential Markets Count?"

"The Internet is becoming bordered by geography, i.e., it's becoming balkanized. Some of the borders come from states applying their laws. But a lot is coming from bottom up pressures, i.e., Internet consumer demand. "This is most obviously true with respect to language." A great deal of the information that people want is about local stuff. Geographic identity technology lets applications know where Internet users are in real space; this has started not because government regulators want it but because advertisers do...."
David Weinberger, "Jack Goldsmith"
AudioBerkman recording of Jack Goldsmith's presentation: 

" Thanks very much Jaanus. However, given that the censorship is happening under Skype's brand name, don't you think that Skype should be taking responsibility for how censorship of your tool is being carried out? Otherwise if you don't want to take responsibility for TOM's practices, shouldn't the tool just be called TOM in order that users are clear about which company truly has control over their conversations??..."
Rebecca MacKinnon, "Skype passes the buck on China censorship"

"I’m fascinated by principles as a source from which things proceed. As a legal scholar, I’m particularly interested in legal principles (e.g. principle of equality); however, since doing research on Cyberlaw, I’m more and more fascinated by the emergence and effects of a different kind of principles, that is, by design principles (such as the end-to-end principle), which guide the building of complex systems, including (at least potentially) the legal system. I will refer to this type of principles also as “constructive principles.” ... So, the question I’d like to explore today is: What can we learn from the law & emotion discourse as far as either analytical and/or design principles are concerned?..."
Urs Gasser, "Emotional Legal Design: A Proposal"

"But the questions about Wikipedia that its critics aren’t interested in asking are whether a) it’s better than nothing (it is); b) is improving (it is); and c) helps people understand the value of online collaboration (it does).They seem to fear the idea of edge-in work that sometimes, not always but defintely sometimes, produces something better than what the annointed — through titles, degrees and, yes, achievement — might have done. ..."
Dan Gillmor, "Thriving Wikipedia pronounced dead by critic"

"Although we don’t formally have a section in our guidelines to deal with this type of behavior yet, we felt that tagging legitimate software and anti-spyware as “system threats” was sufficiently bad behavior that we needed to flag it. Thus the category “Deceptive Functionality” was born. We’re still figuring out the limits for this category, so comments and suggestions are welcome....", "Three New Reports, and 'Deceptive Functionality'"

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