How to protect IP

The Washington Post editorial board favors legislation to protect copyright holders from infringement online. Here’s how the Protect IP Act would work: The proposal would allow the Justice Department or a private rights holder to move against a rogue foreign Web site by convincing a federal judge that the site is “dedicated to” and has …

NPR on patent trolls

A friend asked for my thoughts on NPR’s piece from a few weeks back on “patent trolls.” Whereas, I am fairly confident about my views on copyright, I’m much less so with respect to patents. But hopefully my response below represents at least a decent starting point for thinking about their efficacy. What follows is …

Bylines and “cultural credibility”

My latest Atlantic post is up: As I wrote in a previous story, media outlets have an opportunity to design media that accounts for users’ biases. Author bios present such a chance. Without any change to the authors or their content, bios could be constructed in a way that maximizes cultural credibility by tapping into the …

TV vs. internet

I didn’t bother to write anything on Neal Gabler’s vacuous piece in NYT’s Sunday Review on how the internet has somehow killed big ideas. Luckily others came up with worthwhile responses. I confess, I’m tired of responding to evidence-free anti-internet screeds (see here, here.) But Kevin Drum’s response had an interesting tidbit: Honestly, I think …

What makes a great Washington scoop?

We know our political journalism is deeply, deeply messed up. But Politico is taking process coverage to a new level with its coverage of its coverage of Biden calling Republican debt negotiators terrorists. I get that it’s defending itself against other outlets questioning sources, something any publication would do. But how self-satisfied is this? All …

Was I wrong about the NYT paywall?

In a nutshell: not yet. I wrote a post for The Atlantic back in March when the paywall first launched that called it “unsustainable.” And yet, as Felix Salmon has detailed here and here, the paper is on track to hit its goal of 300,000 digital subscribers. Was I wrong? I don’t think so; at …

NYT ignores draconian copyright terms

The New York Times had a lengthy piece on a legal battle between musical artists and the recording industry. Here’s the lede: When copyright law was revised in the mid-1970s, musicians, like creators of other works of art, were granted “termination rights,” which allow them to regain control of their work after 35 years, so …

Record companies are for it? Then I’m against it.

What is the biggest impediment to a digital read-write folk culture in music today? Draconian intellectual property law, of course, that resists the application of fair use, presumes bad faith, and seeks to intimidate. What accounts for the continued existence of draconian IP in music, and for the over zealous attempts to enforce it? The …

Nieman Lab on Journalism and Open Source

Nieman Lab – far and away the best resource for tracking the evolution of journalism – has a good post up the Knight-Mozilla News Technology Partnership, and on what lessons journalism can learn from open source. Overall it’s characteristally excellent, but I have to take issue with this: Finding 4: * Open-source development is collaborative, …

Overcoming bias means better social processes

I know I’ve already written twice about the Mercier/Sperber argumentation research, but this NYT piece brings to mind one more point to make. Mercier and Sperber argue that we evolved our capacity for reason largely to convince one another. They make the related point that reasoning is a social rather than an individual process. Regardless …