The Real Paul Jones

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Innovation and Rights (Digital and other)

Andrew Chin and I will be speaking to Computer Science 380 classes on “Digital Rights and Innovation” soon. Andrew will be speaking on November 14 and I’m up on November 28. Both are scheduled for 5:00 pm in Sitterson 014.

For my part, I’ve asked the students to read Chapters 1 and 8 of Eric von Hippel’s Democratizing Innovation. Chapter 1 is an Introduction and a Summary of the book by chapters that will give a great overview. Chapter 8 “Adapting Policy to User Innovation” is the meat of our discussion from a policy and law point of view.

Both chapters and in fact the whole book can be bought or downloaded for free from Eric von Hippel’s site.

I’m also asking folks in the class that have questions and/or issues that they’d like discussed to post them here as comments.


  1. Will you be talking about “intellectual rights” as they relate to music files on the internet? Not sure that this qualifies as an innovation…

  2. I can talk about mashups and remixes and even DRM (digital rights removal), but Andrew Chin may cover that tonight. Let’s see if he does.

    There are bands that allow and even encourage fans to trade music from their concerts. Many of those are represented on’s database and their bittorrent site.

  3. gosh, mashups and remixes as related to DRM are just new chapters in the [hip hop and then beyond to electronica] Sampling narrative, which is a really large topic that engages with copyright law over many years of its development even before the digital revolution. DJs and techno producers are the renegade hackers of the music world, i feel like they’ll find some way to circumvent any technology (even if it means putting a microphone to a speaker) and release an underground mix. So, what is there to talk about? I am curious

  4. one more. I read this interesting article for my DRM project:

    It was interesting to think about copyright as a social phenomenon (instead of just a legal construct). Can you go into that a bit?

  5. Whitney Broussard speaking at the FRAMED!! conference at Duke and the Full Frame Documentary Festival talks about sampling and remixing quite a bit in a very informed way — he represents hip hop artists who sample and who don’t. See the FRAMED!! archive for a video of his discussion. I’ve added a link to the wiki for this class presentation as well.

  6. On the First Monday article.

    Yes Capital does form the basis of if not the reformation or deformation of the IP discussion, but the basis, as I will briefly discuss in class, differs from country to country and culture to culture. In England, the right was a tool of censorship and control by the Crown, in France the reward given to the Great Men (in a Romantic sense), in the US it was completely Utilitarian (to promote science and the useful arts), in some cultures (China, Japan, and to some extent India) copying is traditionally a form of flattery and the Western idea of ownership is confusing.

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