President Obama named three more czars this past week: Chris Henderson as Recovery Czar, Van Jones as Green Jobs Czar, and Vivek Kundra as Technology Czar. The President had already selected his Drug Czar, Cybersecurity Czar, Energy and Environment Czar, Health Czar, Urban Affairs Czar, and attempted to appoint a Government Performance Czar.
What Czar hasn’t President Obama appointed yet? The IP Czar. I’ll continue to stand by this prediction. (Though, the IP-Czar, unlike the other czar positions, is Senate-confirmable so one would assume that the position would take longer to staff.)
Patently-O, this past week, ran a point-counterpoint from Google and Monsanto on the merits of patent reform. The debate between Google and Monsanto may be a preview of the fight we will see over future copyright term extension legislation — with content companies arguing for more expansive rights, and Google arguing for less. It’s been about 10 and half years since President Clinton signed the Copyright Term Extension Act. It will be interesting to see if the anti-copyright term extension crowd has reached a tipping point and Google represents critical mass. For that matter, if a term extension were up for debate now, would it pass? Regardless, blood sport is right around the corner.
Doug Lichtman, Professor of Law at UCLA, has posted a webcast on Tenenbaum that features Professor Charlie Nesson, Steven Marks from RIAA, Cathy Sharkey from NYU, Tom Colby from GW, and Dan Markel from Florida State. The webcast has spurred impassioned detractors, a sign of how heated the debate will be in the coming months.
Deven R. Desai, Associate Professor of Law at Thomas Jefferson, has posted a historical paper at SSRN titled “Copyright’s Hidden Assumption: A Critical Analysis of the Foundations of Descendible Copyright.” A snipit from the Abstract:
Copyright operates under a hidden, erroneous assumption: heirs matter in copyright. This Article examines the possible historical and theoretical bases for the heirs assumption and finds that neither supports it. In short, the assumption is a myth that harms copyright policy and ignores a less obvious, but quite important, heir: society in general. An examination of the historical debates shows that the idea of providing for heirs through copyright has played a minor role in U.S. copyright history. Instead, heirs have been props to advance an agenda of furthering term extensions, advancing rent-seeking opportunities, and allowing authors to exert power against publishers.
Marc L. Roark, Associate Professor of Law, University of Missouri, posted an empirical paper titled “Limitation of Sales Warranties as an Alternative to Intellectual Property Rights: An Empirical Analysis of iPhone Warranties’ Deterrent Impact on Consumers.” A snipit from the abstract:
This article considers whether limitation of warranties may actually have the deterrence effect on consumers that manufacturers desire; said differently, the article weighs whether manufacturers can achieve their goals of preventing consumers from using their products in an unauthorized manner by removing warranty protections from the consumer. The Article presents a behavioral model based on the Triandis’ model of planned behavior and enhances the model by accounting for likely and unlikely benefits and detriments. The model suggests that participants weigh the detrimental impact together with the probability and magnitude of the detriment against the beneficial impact together with the probability and magnitude of the benefit when making the decision to engage in technological piracy. Considering only half of the equation – what deterrents are likely to impact consumer behavior – the Article then reconciles the model to empirical evidence suggesting that Apple’s warranty could be a stronger deterrent for consumers than civil liability.