Wednesday, October 26, 2011

OPINION: Copyright and 'the cloud': What goes up must come down


(A Canadian icon who knows something about clouds)

From the Wire Report, October 25, 2011

OPINION: Copyright and 'the cloud': What goes up must come down

On Oct. 14, 2011, I had the pleasure of being a commentator along with Grace Westcott on a panel about competition and intellectual property implications of “the cloud.” The panelists were Prof. Salil Mehra, Prof. Pamela Samuelson, Dr. Craig McTaggart, and Prof. Oliver Goodenough. This was the wrap-up panel to a day-long conference organized by Prof. Ariel Katz who is the director of the Centre for Innovation Law and Policy at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. (A webcast is archived here). My remarks here are an elaboration of points I raised in my own brief comments that followed excellent presentations.
The cloud generally refers to some or all of remote storage, access and processing of data by third party service providers. These services are generally accessible from anywhere on a variety of devices. The cloud does not merely refer to mysterious cyber-lockers where millions of illicit files are stored. We are all using the cloud, whether we realize it or not. Common examples would include such diverse services as Gmail, Google Docs, Scribd, Dropbox, and Facebook. Proposed new services include Apple's iCloud, which would feature a very sophisticated music storage and delivery service that would include all of a user's previously acquired tracks, with presumably no questions about where they came from. It would substitute better quality authorized versions where possible, all of this for about $25 a year. But, for reasons that follow, Canadians should not hold their breath waiting for this potentially very positive development that could benefit both musicians and consumers.
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The rest, including the rather pessimistic conclusion, is available here.
HK

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