2007 Report: IP Justice on WIPO in Global Information Society Watch

By |May 18th, 2007|

I’ve written a chapter about the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in a new report entitled “Global Information Society Watch” published by the Association for Progressive Communications (APC) and (iTeM). Besides WIPO, the report includes a number of other articles about global policy-making institutions such as ICANN, ITU, UNESCO, and UNDP. […]

Global Information Society Watch – Launch of the 2007 Report

By |April 30th, 2007|

Click on above title for more info on book launch on 22 May 2007 in Geneva, Switzerland. The meeting is open to the public and is part of the WSIS cluster of events in Switzerland in late May 2007.

ICANN Board Vote Signals Era of Censorship in Domain Names

By |April 2nd, 2007|

"While Friday's vote was specific to the application for a .XXX domain name space, the Board Members' vote signals their position as to whether they are comfortable with ICANN expanding its mission to become a regulator of online human behavior. By voting to turn down the .XXX application for public policy reasons, the Board indicated it will go beyond its technical mission of DNS coordination and seek to decide what ideas are allowed to be given a voice in the new domain name space. Unfortunately, it looks like it will be impossible for any idea that is politically or culturally controversial to be permitted a new domain name space by ICANN. ICANN is setting itself up as an institution of censorship and subordination to the conflicting goals of governments...."

Sample Letter to Govt Advisory Committee (GAC) Member on Proposed New gTLD Policy

By |March 22nd, 2007|

I am writing to you because I am concerned about the GNSO draft final report on the Introduction of New Generic Top-Level Domains, GNSO PDP-Dec05, released 16 March 2007. This proposal contains several troubling provisions involving criteria and processes to select which text strings will be accepted as new gTLDs. These provisions will threaten the national sovereignty of individual nations by allowing other countries to block new gTLD strings that are perfectly lawful in another country.

Power-Grab: ICANN to Become Internet’s “Word Police” — Top-Level Domain Policy to Bypass National Sovereignty and Free Speech

By |February 27th, 2007|

Civil Society Proposes Amendment to Protect Civil Liberties and Innovation ICANN’s Non-Commercial Users Constituency (NCUC) submitted a proposal to protect freedom of expression and innovation in the introduction of new generic top-level domains (gTLDs). ICANN’s policy council, the Generic Names Supporting Organization (GNSO), is currently developing policy recommendations to regulate the introduction of new top-level domain names on the Internet. NCUC is troubled by the GNSO’s draft recommendation to create string selection criteria that would prevent the registration of a new gTLD string that contains a controversial word or idea. ..."

IP Justice Report: TOP MYTHS About Karaoke CD-G Users’ Legal Rights

By |February 22nd, 2007|

Little case law exists in the United States that specifically deals with a consumer’s legal rights to use Karaoke CD+Graphic (CDG) discs. The lack of case law in this area leads to uncertainty among consumers regarding the legality of different uses of a CDG disc. This legal uncertainty has also lead to intimidation and fear of lawsuits stemming from over-zealous threats from karaoke producers, music publishers or record companies who hope to extend their rights in an unchartered area. Private consumers, karaoke hosting businesses (KJs), bars, restaurants, and others all make use of CDG discs in different ways and for different purposes. As a result, their legal rights may vary in some situations. ...

IPJ Intervention Statement at WIPO Broadcasting Treaty Negotiation

By |January 18th, 2007|

... Intellectual property rights can foster economic and social development. The Broadcast Treaty in its current form will not help to reach these aims and does not, in our understanding, comply with the decision of the 2006 General Assembly.

Comments of Robin Gross on Whois at Sao Paulo Public Forum

By |December 4th, 2006|

"... This year, the US Federal Trade Commission has announced that now in the US, online data mining is the number one crime. Privacy experts, in particular, EPIC, have testified that it is the Whois database that is one of the most significant contributors to this problem. We need to pay some attention to the security interests of ordinary, everyday Internet users who register domain names, and not just the large intellectual property rights holders. They have legal mechanisms at their disposal if someone is violating their rights. It's called due process of law. I really haven't heard any explanation for why legal due process should be circumvented in this case. ..."

IP Justice Report from 2006 Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Athens

By |November 15th, 2006|

The inaugural meeting of the United Nations Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is officially over, but it is really only the beginning. An outgrowth of 2003-2005 World Summit of Information Society (WSIS), the IGF, a 4-day multi-stakeholder dialogue forum for policy issues related to "Internet Governance", was held 30 October - 2 November 2006 in Athens, Greece, the birthplace of democracy. Over 1500 participants from governments, civil society, and business came from all corners of the world with a vision of building an "Internet for Development", the meeting's official theme. Internet policy discussions were grouped into 4 main categories: openness, security, diversity, and access. Each of 4 policy themes were discussed in a main plenary session and a number of complementary workshops. ...

DVD-Jon Liberates the iPod – Digital Music Wars Take New Direction – Unlocking the Devices

By |October 23rd, 2006|

Jon Johansen has done it again! He has has figured out how to improve existing technology by reverse engineering it and building innovative new software that expands consumer choice -- this time for digital music. You may remember in 1999, when 15-year-old Jon Johansen posted DeCSS, a tool created to build a DVD player for the Linux operating system, and started a fire-storm of movie studio lawsuits under the brand new 1998 US Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and California trade secrets law. (Jon was also acquitted twice in Norway by the Norwegian Supreme Court). The DeCSS case was my first case as an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and we were all treading on unchartered territory in those days. Since then, the DMCA and other anti-circumvention laws have created a legal quagmire for reverse engineers that has kept us all too busy. ....