Nice profile of Susan Crawford, highlighting her campaign against telco internet monopolies, by David Carr in today’s NYT.
A taste of Telecom’s Big Players Hold Back the Future:
Susan Crawford, a professor at [Cardozo School of Law], has written a book, “Captive Audience: The Telecom Industry and Monopoly Power in the New Gilded Age,” that offers a calm but chilling state-of-play on the information age in the United States. She is on a permanent campaign, speaking at schools, conferences and companies — she was at Google last week — and in front of Congress, asserting that the status quo has been great for providers but an expensive mess for everyone else.
Ms. Crawford argues that the airwaves, the cable systems and even access to the Internet itself have been overtaken by monopolists who resist innovation and chronically overcharge consumers.
The 1996 Telecommunications Act, which was meant to lay down track to foster competition in a new age, allowed cable companies and telecoms to simply divide markets and merge their way to monopoly. If you are looking for the answer to why much of the developed world has cheap, reliable connections to the Internet while America seems just one step ahead of the dial-up era, her office — or her book — would be a good place to find out.
‘Calm but chilling’ – that’s Susan when she’s doing business; she’s warm and funny when off duty.
EFF Will Accept Bitcoins to Support Digital Liberty. This follows a 2-year moratorium.
One key difference from past practice: EFF will liquidate any Bitcoins it receives as soon as it gets them.
EFF’s announcement pointed me to this recent (March 18, 2013) Fincen guidance document, Application of FinCEN’s Regulations to Persons Administering, Exchanging, or Using Virtual Currencies which I had missed. Key graph:
A user who obtains convertible virtual currency and uses it to purchase real or virtual goods or services is not an MSB [Money Services Businesses] under FinCEN’s regulations. Such activity, in and of itself, does not fit within the definition of “money transmission services” and therefore is not subject to FinCEN’s registration, reporting, and recordkeeping regulations for MSBs.
The internets are going nuts over this stunning video remake of David Bowie’s Space Oddity, recorded by Commander Chris Hadfield on board the International Space Station.
It’s a visually stunning video, a fun idea, the law prof discussion about the copyright implications of creating a derivative work in space have been loads of fun … but I still can’t help but think that Commander Hadfield’s revisions (made for understandable reasons) took out the sting that made the original song so great back in the early ’70s when they just didn’t play stuff like that on the radio.
But wait. It seems that the canonical version isn’t even the original! In hunting for the version I of the song I knew, I found this subtly weird, and in one place [circa 2:26] quite awful, version that is apparently part of an original 1969 video. I’ll stick with the ’70s version, thank you.
Sooner or later, a record of voting against your constituents’ interests has to catch up with you, no matter how nice you are. Our own IRL voted to allow employers to take away overtime pay, which is currently required by law. Instead she would allow employers to choose to give workers comp time for overtime, and keep the money. The bill would disproportionately hurt women and mothers.
Stuff like this should case you electoral trouble. Unless of course the other party gives you a free pass.
My colleague Mary Anne Franks is the subject of an unusual (for a law professor) profile in the current issue of Ocean Drive magazine. For those unfamiliar with Ocean Drive, it is a big thick glossy thing aimed squarely at the handmaidens of the plutocracy. The magazine celebrates Miami’s (and especially Miami Beach’s) moneyed party-goers, and is stuffed with ads for wildly expensive clothing and jewelery. In between the ads there are little articles about photogenic local celebutantes and charity party-goers. As far as I know, in 20 years in Miami I have never attended an event covered by Ocean Drive, but then again I’m hardly a regular reader. The thing does appear in the mail at my house — I’m guessing I got on their mailing list by subscribing to the Economist, which says something about either the Economist or Ocean Drive‘s demographic assumptions.
Anyway, Mary Anne is not Ocean Drive‘s covergirl — that’s a Bond girl — but she is the background for the table of contents, which must be the next best thing, and the subject of a writeup that begins, “Mary Anne Franks could shatter your kneecap if she wanted to” and goes on to discuss her expertise in Krav Maga, an Israeli martial art; it also touches on her expertise as a feminist legal thinker.
Before joining the Miami Law faculty, Mary Anne Franks was a Bigelow Fellow and Lecturer in Law at the University of Chicago Law School. She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 2007. She received her D.Phil in 2004 and her M.Phil in 2001 from Oxford University, where she studied on a Rhodes Scholarship. Mary Anne’s latest article is How to Feel Like a Woman, or, Why Punishment Is a Drag, which is forthcoming in the UCLA Law Review.
Judge Otis Wright issued a doozy of a sanctions order against Prenda Law, the notorious copyright trolls.
I could have done without the Star Trek references, but given the overall context of the case, footnote five did make me laugh long and loud.
Normally, I worry that when Judges try to write creative orders they are reversal bait. In this case, the conduct appears to be so bad, and the punitive sanctions mild in context, so I don’t think that’s a major risk.
Ars Technica has been all over this story if you need background. The transcripts of the hearings are amazing reading.
Update: JT points me to the font of all things Prenda, Popehat.