Rollie Cole’s Techdirt Profile


About Rollie Cole

Lawyer and policy analyst with particular interest in, and experience with, broadband, alternative energy, higher education, and local economic development, as well as the laws surrounding political campaign finance.

Rollie Cole’s Comments comment rss

  • Dec 4th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    Fair Use Factor #2

    Although Techdirt rarely makes mistakes, I think the description of factor #2 is a [slight] one. He says the major concern is published versus unpublished -- most copyright lawyers and teachers, I suspect, would say the major concern in factor #2 analysis is whether the material is "factual" or "non-factual" (fiction versus nonfiction; drawing/photo of real person versus imaginary person, etc.). They say that because the scope of protection is broader for nonfactual material. Published versus unpublished comes up more often in factor #4 analysis, although it is not completely dispositive even there -- some courts have held that there can be fair use of unpublished works in certain situations.
  • Jan 30th, 2010 @ 11:17am

    Commercial/Noncommercial vs Corporate/Individual

    There are many more solo proprietorships and partnerships then there are corporations, so an individual/corporate division leaves a lot of "business" use on the non-corporate side.

    As someone who taught Copyright Law at a law school, and practiced Copyright Law for several years, I actually favor the commercial/noncommercial distinction and think it could be made to work, SO LONG AS "commercial" is given a fairly limited and specific definition.

    Here are few examples -- selling a copy (and/or licensing it) for a fee would be clearly commercial. But if I were czar of the universe, "using" a copy (e.g. a software program like MS Word) in a commercial place would not be a "commercial" use, especially since the copyright law (in the US at least) is fairly clear about what rights a copyright holder has control of, (reproduction, distribution, et al), and "use" is NOT one of those.

    Reproducing and distributing copies, in my universe, would be subject to a fact-based analysis, with the idea that such activity is only "non-commercial" if in fact bundles without the work in question are being distributed with no change in the fee collected. This would apply to both per-item and subscription bundles. I would put the burden of proof on the party claiming "non-commercial." So "attend a conference, get free software or photos or music or whatever" would have to prove that a number of people came, for exactly the same price, without receiving the item(s) in question.

    I would allow "Superbowl parties," for instance, so long as no fee was charged, or if a fee was charged (say to pay for chips and beer), people were allowed to come without paying if they promised not to consume and chips or beer, to make it clear the fee was for the "chips and beer," not the Superbowl.

    If the organization was regularly in the business of selling chips and beer, and wanted the Superbowl to increase such sales, that would be a different case.

    But I would allow churches, etc. to do "movie nights" so long as the charge was for the refreshments, not entry per se.

    This is NOT a perfect system by any means; but I think it would be better than the status quo.
  • Aug 12th, 2009 @ 8:48am

    WRONG on Rural (as Roland Cole)

    Techdirt said "but those are sparsely populated areas where broadband doesn't do all that much" Wrong! Numerous other commenters have preceeded me to make similar points. Broadband has NETWORK effects -- the more people with it, the more valuable to me. More readers for Techdirt, for instance -- more contributors to Techdirt -- and more goods and services to and from those people. Plus - broadband enables and facilitates -- it may be faster, better, cheaper to deliver some forms of health care, education, et al. via broadband, ESPECIALLY if the recipients are few and far apart. So broadband does MORE in rural areas, not less. Admittedly, it also costs more, so cost/benefit analysis is relevant. But if we start assuming the benefits are less, when in fact they are more, the analysis will be wrong from the start.
  • May 13th, 2009 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Uh

    You can NOT copyright an idea, so (oh never mind...)
  • Mar 21st, 2009 @ 12:51pm

    Use/Abuse of Copyright Law

    Does Canada have a "first sale doctrine"? Under US law, it is NOT a violation of copyright to sell a copy that you obtained legally.
  • Nov 10th, 2008 @ 1:38pm

    Sprint Limits vs Sprint Football

    The signal is NOT mixed; it is parental -- i.e.

    "You can have all the food I provide to you, but I am going to sharply limit your intake of what you choose for yourself."

    In this case, it is not for the good of the child/user but for the profit of the provider.

    Now, it may still be true that most kids are not seeking unreasonable amounts of un-parent food, and that the parents can more easily keep food spending within budget with this system.
  • Jan 30th, 2008 @ 7:10am

    Other Uses for Video Surveillance

    "crummy" video cameras, as well as "good" ones do have roles to play other than deterring or detecting crime. Let's think "outside the box" for a minute, add to this list:
    1. They can show traffic - is there none, normal, slow, stopped?
    2. They can show nice views - one could imagine "electronic windows" that would stream feeds from video cameras from chosen spots around the world
    3. They can verify the state of something -- I note that Google maps shows whether the umbrella on my back deck is open or closed -- in addition to traffic, could show firms open or closed, has parade started, is weather clear or cloudy, are lights still on; are kids still playing in the park; is babysitter still with them
  • Jan 26th, 2008 @ 4:04pm

    Re: hmm -- no magic in typing versus scanning

    I have taught Copyright Law -- re-typing would be legally the same as scanning. But...

    1. It may be a "fair use" to reproduce the entire document, even if it is copyrighted.

    2. You may be able to paraphrase -- copyright protects expression, NOT ideas, so telling the world that xyz law firm sent you a nasty letter on behalf of abc may be deemed extracting the unprotectible ideas, not the copyrightable expression

    3. Telling the world that the copyright letter told you not to post it would NOT be a copyright violation, although in some circumstances it might be some other type of violation
  • Nov 17th, 2007 @ 7:25am

    ebook comments

    I actually have a Sony ebook, and love it, although it is far from perfect.

    1. fits in a suit pocket, and holds 50 or more full-length books.

    2. I can adjust the type size for my over-40 eyes

    3. I can find plenty of legal content (and since I have a high-speed scanner and quality OCR software, I can do the equivalent of RIP for any book I am willing to cut apart -- e.g. cheap paperbacks

    4. pages are flat -- I can hold the ebook and turn pages with one hand -- unlike paperback, pages stay flat when using hands to do something else.

    5. has sufficient battery life -- lasts for several days of reading (since ePaper, supposedly only uses power when turning pages, but if I leave alone (on or off) for several days, I have to re-charge).

    Some cons:

    1. contrast is OK (great in outdoors) but of course NOT equal to paper

    2. This version does NOT highlight, annotate, or search -- it is the equivalent of a single purpose tool (It does bookmark, but I do not use the feature)

    3. airlines deem it an electronic device, so I am asked to turn it off during take-offs and landings.

    Bottom line

    For what it is -- great way to do recreational reading (I do read dozens of books on a trip while sitting on the beach -- and I can put the eBook in a plastic bag and still use it).

    But what I really want is a tablet PC with (a) a screen as good as the ebook for outdoor, but backlit for indoor; (b) all the features of search, annotation, etc. (c) same size and weight factor -- especially that it fits in the outer suit pocket.

    Rollie Cole

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