Friday, September 14, 2007

Instances of the "Seeds are Software" metaphor

From the blog Bitter Greens Journal:
Dominant traits: Can the seed trusts be busted?
posted Wednesday, September 28, 2005
--post references a Wall Street Journal article from 1999 quoting Alfonso Romo Garza, then Chairman and CEO of Seminis, the world's largest developer, grower and marketer of fruit and vegetable seeds. (Seminis is now wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto).

Here's how the Wall Street journal described Romo's GM dreams in 1999:

[Romo] envisions creating utopian vegetables: non-browning lettuce, broccoli with enhanced cancer-fighting properties, and produce of all kinds that won't wrinkle, spoil or blemish. Whether his own scientists or others develop the means to accomplish those goals, he believes he will benefit. "Seeds are software," he says. "And we have the seeds."

Fair Use Economy Represents One-Sixth of U.S. GDP

Fair Use Economy Represents One-Sixth of U.S. GDP
File Under: News, 2007, Copyright, CCIA
Sep 12, 2007

WASHINGTON D.C. - Fair Use exceptions to U.S. copyright laws are responsible for more than $4.5 trillion in annual revenue for the United States, according to the findings of an unprecedented economic study released today. According to the study commissioned by the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and conducted in accordance with a World Intellectual Property Organization methodology, companies benefiting from limitations on copyright-holders’ exclusive rights, such as “fair use” – generate substantial revenue, employ millions of workers, and, in 2006, represented one-sixth of total U.S. GDP.

The exhaustive report, released today at a briefing on Capitol Hill, quantifies for the first time ever the critical contributions of fair use to the U.S. economy. The timing proves particularly important as the debates over copyright law in the digital age move increasingly to center stage on Capitol Hill.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Jamais Cascio's Nature as an Information Economy

Nature as an Information Economy, a blog entry written by futurist Jamais Cascio on July 28, 2006

Includes an intriguing argument about how replicability and non-uniformity are what distinguish an information economy from an industrial and service economies

What makes the the information economy model different from industrial and service economies are two big factors: replicability and non-uniformity. Replicability means that information, especially digital information, can be copied without reducing its use value or its availability to the original possessor of the information. Biological aspects of an ecosystem clearly meet this condition, through the existence of DNA and built-in (if slow) copying mechanisms such as seeds. I can give you the "information" from my tree without losing value, even while you gain new value. Non-uniformity means that information has its greatest value in the context of other, different, kinds of information. Information can compete, leading to a "survival of the fittest" paradigm (a core concept of memetics), and can combine, leading to new kinds of information. In terms of ecosystems, diversity improves survivability, while uniformity increases vulnerability to threats (think here of monocultures).

He also ponders the participatory nature of knowledge production in an information ecomony, being a model of abundance.

If we think about nature in terms of information, however, the underlying model is abundance. Participants in the system create the most value for themselves not by hoarding or by passivity, but by adding more information into the system. The greater the amount and diversity of the ecosystem information, the more that can be done with the knowledge.

Friday, September 07, 2007

fashion and copies

Counterfeit Chic, a blog devoted to so-called counterfeit or copied fashion by Susan Scafidi, an American legal scholar and author of Who Owns Culture? Scafidi is also a supporter of the extention of copyright to fashion design and has testified on behalf of the Council of Fashion Designers of America who are lobbying for the changes in US law.

The blog collects news items related to the subject but given it's role as cheerleader for the high-end fashion industry, any analysis here should be taken with a grain of salt.

Coverage of CFDA's efforts to extend copyright to fashion design in California Lawyer.

"Design Piracy Prohibition Act (H.R. 5055), which would have amended section 1301 of title 17 of the United States Code, to create a limited three-year sui generis right for the design of outer garments, underwear, gloves, footwear, headgear, handbags, purses, tote bags, belts, and eyeglass frames.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Emperor's New Clothes?

From the department of unknown nudity:

"At least 11 percent of the world’s clothing is fake, according to 2000 figures from the Global Anti-Counterfeiting Group in Paris." wrote Dana Thomas in an op-ed piece in the New York Times, August 30, 2007.