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Berkman Buzz, week of April 23

BERKMAN BUZZ: A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations
The Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School
Week of April 23, 2007

What's going on... take your pick or browse below.

*Lawrence Lessig works to protect political speech.
*Rebecca MacKinnon explains proposed Hong Kong copyright reforms.
*John Palfrey's considerations from Internet, Law and Politics course.
*Derek Slater addresses university anti-piracy policies.
*Ethan Zuckerman explores disparities in support for imprisoned bloggers.
*Dave Winer highlights programs providing perspective on the Iraq conflict.
*Internet & Society Conference 2007: Question of the week.

The full buzz.

“This next political cycle will see an explosion of citizen generated political content. Some of that speech will be crafted from clips taken from the Presidential debates. Some of that will be fantastically valuable and important. Yet as the law is right now, it is extremely difficult for an ordinary citizen to understand the boundaries of “fair use,” or the limits to copyright law. It is likewise difficult for companies such as YouTube, or Indeed, it is even difficult for a skilled practitioner. That uncertainty, if not checked, could produce a cloud over much of this political speech, as sites and universities don’t know how much is too much.”
Lawrence Lessig, “A call on the RNC & DNC to eliminate unnecessary regulation of political speech

“In [Peter Yu's] view, copyright reform is not the only way to address the issues Hong Kong's entertainment industry faces. What's more, the digital environment should not just be defined as a commercial environment: it also includes digital lifestyle, access to knowledge, political discourse, and many other things. The government has an opportunity to take advantage of the Internet's promise - and the opportunities for innovation it affords. Not just approach it as a threat to some of Hong Kong's most vocal industries.”
Rebecca MacKinnon, “Digital Copyright: What is really in the Hong Kong people’s interest?

“As with any neutral technology, Internet and other digital communications tools fundamentally can be used for good or for ill. It’s not about the technologies themselves; it’s about how people choose to use the technologies. A lot turns on who is making the decisions about how they can be used. Does the citizen decide, or does the state or the technology company or the market or her peers decide for her?”
John Palfrey, “Key Themes of Internet, Law and Politics, 2007

“Blocking P2P is bad not only for the university and its students, but also for innovation more generally. Today’s computer science students are tomorrow’s technology leaders, creating tools that can empower millions. Remember, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, and myriad other online technologies were created at by students at universities, and innovative companies like Skype, Joost and BitTorrent are built on basic P2P technologies.”
Derek Slater, “Ohio University Blocks All P2P File Sharing Software

“My friend Marc Lynch offered a challenging and provocative post ten days ago about “selective indignation”. He pointed out that Kareem Amer Soliman - a blogger sentenced to four years in prison for his online writings about the Egyptian government and about Islam - was receiving a great deal of attention in the global blogosphere, including a well-organized campaign to lobby for his release. Marc has argued that support for a blogger whose views happen to align with western critiques of Islam and failure to lobby for the free speech rights of other Egyptian activists sends a complex and contradictory message from the northern blogosphere to bloggers in the Middle East. Are we advocating for free speech, or for speech we’re inclined to agree with?”
Ethan Zuckerman, “Where’s the International Movement to Free Monem?

“First, Monday's Fresh Air interview with Bill Moyers, a preview of his Friday night PBS series, which begins this week with a look at how the press is in collusion with the administration in how they present news about the war. The interviewer challenged Moyers on that word, and he said there's no other word for it (although it's not universal, some of the press is, he says, trying to tell the truthful story). He also expresses a point I wish more journalists would get, it's not their responsibility to tell both sides of a story, it's their job to say what's actually happening.”
Dave Winer, “Iraq News

"How do you balance benefits and rights of enrolled/paying students and 'open' university participants?"
Harvard Internet & Society Conference 2007 - University: Knowledge Beyond Authority