Week 4

Jon’s Talk Jan. 23,2013: “Right to CREATe or Rights of Creation”

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Ian Verchere’s Talk: “Taking Games Literally: Games As Semiotic Domain”

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3 responses to “Week 4”

  1. Roch

    A few questions/ideas/comments that popped into my head today that I didn’t mention during class:

    1. Jon talked about Sweden and other European countries being innovation hotbeds because their IP laws are different from ours. Even assuming this is true (and it probably depends on the metrics you use; last I checked, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are all American), query correlation vs. causation. What about the effect of different education systems, tax systems, free trading zones, etc.

    2. A common refrain is that prescription drugs are cheaper in, e.g., Canada because of the United States because of our different IP laws. In effect, what happens is that American consumers subsidize drug development and Canadians reap a windfall. If countries outside the US are more successful at innovating and creating because of different IP laws, consider whether those countries are reaping an analogous windfall.

    3. We had a laugh today at the “integrity” of Dead or Alive as a copyrighted work. I would argue that Dead or Alive should be protected like any other form of expression. Fundamental to freedom of speech is the principle that just because I don’t think its meritorious doesn’t mean I should be able to stop you from saying it. There are, of course, exceptions to the rule (e.g.: hate speech, pornography).

    4. One thought re: I believe the Microstar case in which a company was sued for packaging and distributing gamers’ user created content without permission. The best way to handle this situation is to know what you want to do with the UGC from the outset, and to permit it to be done only if you receive a non-exclusive license to the UGC to do what you want with it.

    5. We talked about how copyright in a work provides a starting point for licensing rights to that work. I would add that if there were no copyright in a work and you had some of the same terms you find in some EULAs, I’d be concerned that the EULA was constitute an unenforceable restraint on trade. It may be a good paper to research the line between allowable contractual terms and unenforceable restraints on trade, both when there is an underlying IP right being licensed and when there isn’t.

    6. I thought it was interesting that Ian, who was fantastic, mentioned the incentive IP rights gave him to create.


  2. Jon Festinger, Q.C.

    One more reference. For those who want to know more about the source of Ian’s comments regarding what Ralph Nader said see:


  3. Jon Festinger, Q.C.

    With the benefit of hindsight a few comments per Roch’s numeration:

    1. As is clear from the Swedish Innovation Strategy Document Zohar posted elsewhere on the Blog, education is seen as a key part of economic growth. And though IP protections and laws are mentioned in that document, it is done almost in passing, seems very downplayed and is a tiny part of the strategy. That being evidence in my view that the Swedes see an open, sharing, collaborative, creative culture (yes, the best example of that being how higher education works – at least in theory) as a significant key to economic growth. In contrast, it does seem like in the U.S. (whose economy hasn’t been doing so well) strong IP Laws have been centre stage as the core of innovation strategy.

    2. What gets lost here when we talk about drugs is sick people. If you are ill you should be entitled to the cheapest (safe) drugs possible, as long as legally acquired. That IP laws get so significantly in the way of that is offensive at least, immoral at worst. Canada is acting morally in my view.

    3. Legally you are right. But through the lens of double standards, this may be one.Won’t go into the actual prurient details here but they are referred to in our book, and do make the double standard even more obvious. DOA EBV is a highly sexualized game, and the threatened lawsuit was aimed at a highly sexualized mod. Whatever the EULA says it sure seemed like the pot calling the kettle black which is funny…and not particularly helpful. From a psychological perspective makes one wonder if the concept of “Projection” was at play…

    5. Great paper idea!

    6. Maybe I’m projecting now but interpreted the overall tenor of Ian’s comments in quite the oposite way – that he would prefer freedom to create over copyright as a general principle.

    Good discussion.