New TED Talk with Larry Lessig

TED, an annual conference that brings together people from technology, entertainment, and design, just posted a video of a March 2007 talk by the patron saint of progressive copyright thinkers—Lawrence Lessig. Like all TED talks it is less than twenty minutes.

For those familiar with Lessig’s talks or recent books the first 1/3-1/2 of talk is the same stories he frequently uses to illustrate the history and evolution of technology, law and copyright—i.e., John Sousa’s congressional testimony, airplanes, and BMI vs. ASCAP.

Lessig next provides a primer on remixing media, showing the “old people” how “young people” enjoy/use their media. He analogize it to the singing of songs in the time of Sousa.

In the last part of the talk Lessig offers something new, at least to me—a more refined vision of and justifications for content that is more free of restriction on its use. He connects the current prohibitions on the use of content and the stigmas created by the prohibitions to the mental and social health of young people. It is an argument that I have made to my friends and family— a legal framework that 40+ million Americans violate everyday is not viable nor democratic.

As a bonus TED has bookmarked the chapters of the talk. UPDATE: the chapters are only available if you watch the video on TED’s site.

Real World Example of Need to Enlarge Fair Use

In this six minute clip film maker Brian De Palma, who directed Scarface and Mission: Impossible, debates fair use with Eamonn Bowles—the president of Magnolia Pictures.

Despite the heated debate Magnolia is distributing De Palma’s new film Redacted. Ironically clips from the film are redacted out of fear that use of the clips is not protected by fair use. De Palma thinks they are protected. Bowles and more importantly the owner of the Dallas Mavericks and Magnolia, Mark Cuban, thinks they are not protected by fair use.

A couple minutes into the clip the producer of the film gets on stage and gives an evenhanded, though sad description of how unclear fair use laws and fear of litigation chill the work of artists like De Palma.

I hope use of this clip is protected by fair use.

1L Law School Study Aids

This semester I am using five law school study aids:

“Gilbert Law Summaries: Torts” (Marc A. Franklin)

“Gilbert Law Summaries: Contracts” (Melvin Aron Eisenberg)“Gilbert Law Summaries: Constitutional Law/With Supplement Included” (Jesse H. Choper)“Civil Procedure: Examples & Explanations 5th edition” (Joseph W. Glannon)

Gilbert- (Torts, Contracts, Constitutional Law) I like the Gilbert books because they really help me test my knowledge and fill in any holes in my understanding. These books are not great for learning a topic from scratch.

These guides are organized in four sections- Casebook map, short outline (~60 pages), long outline, and practice questions. The first section is a table that shows which pages in the guide correspond specific pages in the case books. This table is very helpful in determining what portions of the outlines correspond to what the professor assigned.

Obviously, the short outline is an abbreviated version of the long outline. The short outline is where I start reviewing. When I come across a section that is not clear to me I refer to the longer outline. Both the long and short outlines use the same numbering making it very easy to find the expanded explanation in the longer outline.

The last section of the book contains practice questions with answers. The first 100+ questions present simple, short, two or three sentence hypotheticals and one or two direct questions. The issue is clearly identified and the answer is also short and clear. I like reviewing these when I only have a short period of time to spend studying. Since there no need to “spot the issue” they work almost like flash cards.

After the short answer questions there about five traditional issue spotter essay questions with model answers.

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Guruza.com might rule on US legality of Trade Sports and futures prediction markets

On Guruza.com I set a $5 bounty for the following question:

Is it against the law for US citizens or residents to trade on overseas futures markets such as TradeSports.com?

Many view these types of prediction markets as gambling or betting. Does anyone have any experience with the US legal system’s view of US residents and citizens participating in these sorts of prediction markets?

I has asked the question on MetaFilter earlier but got no authoritative answers. If you know the answer or know of some relevant cases stop by Guruza.com and pick up $5.