Setting the Agenda for Copyright and Technology 2018 Conference

Summer’s here and the time is right for planning the agenda for the next Copyright and Technology Conference — which will be in NYC in late January 2018 (exact date TBD), now in its ninth year and once again in partnership with the Copyright Society of the USA. For those of you who have attended in the past, you know that we structure the agenda with plenary sessions and keynote speakers in the morning; then in the afternoon we split up into two tracks: Technology and Law & Policy.

We have some ideas for sessions at our next event, but we’d like to hear from you. Who would be interesting as a keynote speaker? Recent keynotes have included Mike Smith and Rahul Telang of Carnegie Mellon University, authors of the book Streaming, Sharing Stealing: Big Data and the Future of Entertainment; Jacqueline Charlesworth, General Counsel of the U.S. Copyright Office; Robert Levine, author of the groundbreaking book Free Ride, and Tom Rubin, chief IP Strategy Counsel at Microsoft.

We also have a tradition of featuring presentations on new research related to copyright and technology. Previous research talks have included Northeastern University Prof. Imke Reimers’s study on the effects of automated copyright enforcement on e-book piracy; Joe Karaganis of Columbia University and Jennifer Urban of Berkeley Law School discussing their research on notice-and-takedown practices under the DMCA; and MarkMonitor showing how piracy data can be used for Big Data analytics. Do you know of — or are you doing — any noteworthy research that could make for a compelling presentation?

Finally, we’d love to hear your ideas for afternoon track sessions. What are the hot topics in copyright and technology from legal and technological perspectives?  Here are the ideas we’re considering now:

For the Law & Policy track:

  • Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore: Software Protection in the Post-Alice Era
    The Supreme Court’s landmark 2014 decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank sent a shockwave through the software landscape by limiting the power of patents to protect software. Since then, software companies have been relying more on copyrights to protect their intellectual property, and cases like Oracle v. Google have tested the limits of that protection. We’ll discuss the state of copyright law as a means of protecting software, the roles of open source and fair use, and the path forward for software as protectable intellectual property.
  • Driven to Exhaustion: The Future of Digital First Sale
    The First Sale doctrine gives a buyer of a copyrighted work the right to dispose of it as she wishes without interference from the publisher. The applicability of First Sale (known as copyright exhaustion outside the U.S.) to digital content has been under several microscopes lately, including Capitol Records v. ReDigi, the Copyright Office’s inquiry into Section 108 of the copyright law (rights for libraries and archives), and several cases in Europe that have established certain exhaustion rights for digital content. Our panelists will consider where the law is headed in this area, and in an era when streaming is overtaking downloads, how much it even matters anymore.

For the Technology track:

  • Match Game: The Problem of Matching Music Recordings to Compositions
    The dramatic growth of streaming has exposed an Achilles’ Heel in the music industry: the challenges that music services face in determining which songwriters and music publishers they should pay royalties for the tracks they stream for their users. This requires accurate matching of sound recordings to compositions, which has proven problematic and has been the source of controversies and lawsuits as well as opportunities for technological solutions. We’ll discover the state of the art in technology as well as industry-level attempts to solve this growing problem.
  • A Hidden Revolution: The Rise of E-Book Watermarking
    Watermarking — embedding user data into purchased e-books and journal articles — is quietly becoming accepted practice in more and more segments and geographies of the publishing market. A growing number of publishers are using watermarking instead of DRM, and more technology vendors and e-book distributors are offering watermarking solutions. Which publishers are doing this, who is providing the solutions, and is DRM on its way out in publishing? We’ll find out in this session.

Please send your ideas! We will also be making sponsorships available; our top-level sponsorship will enable your organization to craft a session at the conference in collaboration with us. Please inquire if you’re interested in discussing sponsorship.

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