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MSNBC/ZDNN: Intellectual property laws in flux

Apr 07, 2000, 05:28 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Lisa M. Bowman)

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"Big corporations are working diligently and successfully to expand intellectual property laws in the digital age - a trend that's chipping away at individual rights."

"THAT'S THE MESSAGE a panel of law professors had at the Computer Freedom and Privacy Conference here, as they dissected a series of lawsuits and legislation aimed at making sure people don't copy material."

"... panelist, Randall Davis of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, outlined what he called the "digital dilemma," or the collision of the information infrastructure and intellectual property in the digital age."

"He said companies should look at new business models instead of just locking up their content. For example, companies can give away products and sell accompanying services or upgrades (as the Linux companies do), give away one product that promotes other products (such as Adobe's business model for its Adobe Reader); or they can differentiate themselves by customizing "to the extreme." Yochai Benkler, of the New York University Law School, said a proposal moving through the U.S. House of Representatives could make it illegal to use information that used to flow freely, by restricting how information about the world can be collected and stored in databases, such as a phone book."

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