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Interview with Ian Clarke of Freenet

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  • egroup@omegapoint.com
    The interview is at: http://www.oreillynet.com/lpt/a/457 Ian Clarke s company Uprizer is at: http://www.uprizer.com/ Slashdot has a thread about the interview:
    Message 1 of 2 , Nov 16, 2000
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      The interview is at:


      Ian Clarke's company Uprizer is at:


      Slashdot has a thread about the interview:

    • Gen Kanai
      http://www.redherring.com/mag/issue86/mag-rights-86.html Rights fielder Lawrence Lessig on intellectual property rights and cyberspace. By Lee Bruno From the
      Message 2 of 2 , Nov 17, 2000
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        Rights fielder
        Lawrence Lessig on intellectual property rights and cyberspace.

        By Lee Bruno
        From the December 04, 2000 issue

        No one is more prescient about the collision of the Internet, government,
        and business than Lawrence Lessig. During the past five years, Mr. Lessig
        has taught and written about some of the most vexing legal questions
        involving the U.S. Constitution and the law of cyberspace. At the heart of
        these critical issues is intellectual property and privacy and how they
        will be handled in cyberspace.

        In order to foster and preserve the openness of the Internet, it's
        imperative to make the right choices now. Mr. Lessig makes clear the danger
        from efforts to regulate the Internet, which will have long-lasting effects
        on its growth and development. But following a simple laissez-faire policy
        is also fraught with problems. Mr. Lessig maintains the approach that the
        openness of digital code can be used to restructure cyberspace. He also
        believes that the citizens of cyberspace must grapple with these issues, or
        else suffer the fate of being coded into a world they don't understand,
        designed without their help by software developers.

        Mr. Lessig was the Berkman Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and just
        recently moved to California, where he is now a professor of law at
        Stanford University.

        He is quick to point out the deficiencies in law, and says both business
        and government are missing the importance of intellectual property and its
        fundamental underpinnings for the future of e-commerce. His position on
        Internet issues places him in sharp contrast to cyber libertarians who
        believe the government poses the single biggest threat to the development
        of the Net. He speaks with eloquence and conviction about the critical
        issues that lie before us.

        Red Herring recently caught up with Mr. Lessig and talked to him about the
        future of intellectual property and peer-to-peer technologies.

        Some have placed the arrival of P2P on the same scale as the Mosaic
        browser. Do you believe this technology breaks new ground?
        I don't think the concept of peer-to-peer is new. It is an end-to-end
        architecture. We haven't even begun to understand or imagine the
        possibilities. This is the next great thing for the Internet. What has
        changed is the latent power of the PC and powerful networks being fully
        realized. Napster is a first, rough cut of this model as it makes implicit
        the intent of an end-to-end network. The potential cycles that were
        unavailable can now be deployed for any task.

        At the 9th International World Wide Web conference in Amsterdam this past
        June, you described in your lecture the parallels and differences between
        the Internet and the AT & T telecommunications network prior to
        deregulation. What understanding can we obtain from this parallel, and what
        are the implications for a P2P model?
        Peer-to-peer is an instantiation of an architecture that is not giving the
        network owner control over the network. To that extent, it is reflective of
        the move that enables this end-to-end creativity. To the extent that
        peer-to-peer is an expression of an end-to-end design, it's again expanding
        the scope of creativity outside traditional networks and distributors. This
        is largely what Hollywood has been. And a business model built around
        peer-to-peer undermines their distribution model.

        You've said that patents are a form of regulation. How do patents hurt the
        Patents create incentive for innovators but also create costs for
        innovators. Every step has to be monitored by the patent police. It is a
        huge regulatory burden. If we were going to double the monitoring of the
        Occupational Safety & Health Administration there'd be a chill on
        innovation, and the costs would be huge.

        What about Napster? What are the chances of the Napster case reaching the
        Supreme Court?
        This is a case that will pretty quickly ripen into the sort of case that
        goes to the Supreme Court. It is the first case, but it is not the case
        that will resolve the questions. If the court does what it did with VCR
        technology, that means this is going to be an industry that has to come to
        terms with this mode of distribution.

        If the court doesn't get a chance to address it, that will chill the VC
        money that might have been devoted to this kind of innovation. That is my

        What are the implications of a Supreme Court decision in the Napster case?
        If the Supreme Court writes an opinion in the style that it wrote in the
        Communications Decency Act, then it will be very difficult going forward. I
        think that would be the writing on the wall for the industry. It is
        possible for the court to write an opinion to move it to the next level,
        but it's not obvious that this will happen.

        Is this new P2P technology fragile in any sense?
        It is an emergent movement, so if it's crushed, it would create something
        much worse than the violation of the copyright is going to give them.

        As American law struggles to come to grips with these vexing intellectual
        property issues, what about international laws?
        It's likely that once the American law has struggled with intellectual
        property, the same issues will be addressed internationally. I don't think
        European regulators are up to speed yet on intellectual property issues.
        European regulators have been slower to take account of the Internet. That
        is a good thing, because if they did respond quickly, then they would
        probably do something that does not strike the necessary balance.

        What about business models involving P2P? Any thoughts on ways in which
        businesses might profit from these networks?
        I haven't thought through the business models, but there is a need for a
        different kind of sponsorship. In my view, it is a great thing for artists
        and content producers to get a larger piece of the pie. But because of the
        economics of production, we've been forced to take control of these rights.

        There are some people who believe that the notion of intellectual property
        might disappear completely over the next 20 years. Do you find this idea
        I don't think there is such a thing as intellectual property dying.
        Intellectual property is going to change. The owners don't have control
        over the use of it. That is the important limitation. The tradition of
        intellectual property is that it doesn't grant the owner perfect control
        over its use. That is the battle we are fighting.

        How has the Internet changed the prospects for intellectual property?
        There's never been a technology to give perfect control over content until
        the Internet.

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