Why IP Lawyers Should be Involved in Business Strategic Decision-Making

keep-calm-and-call-your-ip-lawyer-3Just a Note: Recently, I am preparing for teaching a course for entrepreneurs and executive officers under the “Management of Cultural and Creative Business” postgraduate program held by the HKU SPACE. In addition, I myself have sat in a course of “Advanced Intellectual Property Law” led by William Fisher (Terry), the Wilmer Hale Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Harvard Law School.  These non-profit work brought me, partially, back to academic life, which is inspiring and interesting. However, after seven years full-time practice as an IP counsel, I see that my way of thinking has been more practical and industrial-oriented.

The following essay (after some edits before posting) was indeed a quick writing completed within 2.5 hours as a part of the answer book for the final exam of the aforesaid Advanced IP Law course.  Therefore, the first and biggest thank will be given to Terry, for his always enthusiastic seminars and informative contents therein.  This essay, along with the earlier blog posts and forthcoming ones, will become a series of my thoughts on IP & Creative Industry. And hopefully, it can bring something new to both academics and practitioners.

Continue reading “Why IP Lawyers Should be Involved in Business Strategic Decision-Making”

China’s top authorities issued a policy paper on protection of property rights

imageXinhua, China’s state news agency, has released a policy paper on the enhancement of property protection (“Paper”). The Paper was issued in the joint names of the top powerful authorities in China – Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party and the State Council, which indicates that it would be a very important document guiding the subsequent reform of regulations and bylaws in connection with various property rights.

The policy Paper has the following highlighted declarations:

Continue reading “China’s top authorities issued a policy paper on protection of property rights”

Be As Smart As A Puppy – Fast Readings for AI

Kate Crawford & Ryan Calo, There is a blind spot in AI research , Nature

We believe that a fourth approach is needed. A practical and broadly applicable social-systems analysis thinks through all the possible effects of AI systems on all parties. It also engages with social impacts at every stage — conception, design, deployment and regulation.

researchers … need to start investigating how differences in communities’ access to information, wealth and basic services shape the data that AI systems train on.

Domingos, P. The Master Algorithm: How the Quest for the Ultimate Learning Machine Will Remake Our World (Allen Lane, 2015):

“People worry that computers will get too smart and take over the world, but the real problem is that they’re too stupid and they’ve already taken over the world.”

Is Artificial Intelligence Permanently Inscrutable?

The European Union recently proposed to establish a “right to explanation,” which allows citizens to demand transparency for algorithmic decisions.

… Even if it were possible to impose this kind of interpretability, it may not always be desirable. The requirement for interpretability can be seen as another set of constraints, preventing a model from a “pure” solution that pays attention only to the input and output data it is given, and potentially reducing accuracy.

Bornstein-BR-2

… Yosinski, for example, says he is trying to understand deep networks “in the way we understand animals, or maybe even humans.”

… Thompson was surprised, however, to discover that the circuit used fewer components than any human engineer would have used—including several that were not physically connected to the rest, and yet were somehow still necessary for the circuit to work properly.

He took to dissecting the circuit. After several experiments, he learned that its success exploited subtle electromagnetic interference between adjacent components. The disconnected elements influenced the circuit by causing small fluctuations in local electrical fields. Human engineers usually guard against these interactions, because they are unpredictable. Sure enough, when Thompson copied the same circuit layout to another batch of components—or even changed the ambient temperature—it failed completely.

The circuit exhibited a hallmark feature of trained machines: They are as compact and simplified as they can be, exquisitely well suited to their environment—and ill-adapted to any other. They pick up on patterns invisible to their engineers; but can’t know which of those patterns exist nowhere else. Machine learning researchers go to great lengths to avoid this phenomenon, called “overfitting,” but as these algorithms are used in more and more dynamic situations, their brittleness will inevitably be exposed…

Be As Smart As A Puppy 

Non-human actors in our home, that we’ve selected personally and culturally. Designed and constructed but not finished. Learning and bonding. That intelligence can look as alien as staring into the eye of a bird (ever done that? Brrr.) or as warm as looking into the face of a puppy. New nature.

The smart bots are coming and this one is brilliant

The way Mortensen sees it, there will be two classes of digital assistants, the broad and the specific, or as it he calls it, “horizontal and vertical AI.”

The next hot job in Silicon Valley is for poets

As tech behemoths and a wave of start-ups double down on virtual assistants that can chat with human beings, writing for AI is becoming a hot job in Silicon Valley.

Why Do I Have to Call This App ‘Julie’?

And why does artificial intelligence need a gender at all?

Stanford AI 100 Report 2016

Contrary to the more fantastic predictions for AI in the popular press, the Study Panel found no cause for concern that AI is an imminent threat to humankind. No machines with self-sustaining long-term goals and intent have been developed, nor are they likely to be developed in the near future. Instead, increasingly useful applications of AI, with potentially profound positive impacts on our society and economy are likely to emerge between now and 2030, the period this report considers. At the same time, many of these developments will spur disruptions in Substantial increases in the future uses of AI applications, including more self-driving cars, healthcare diagnostics and targeted treatment, and physical assistance for elder care can be expected. 5 how human labor is augmented or replaced by AI, creating new challenges for the economy and society more broadly. Application design and policy decisions made in the near term are likely to have long-lasting influences on the nature and directions of such developments, making it important for AI researchers, developers, social scientists, and policymakers to balance the imperative to innovate with mechanisms to ensure that AI’s economic and social benefits are broadly shared across society. If society approaches these technologies primarily with fear and suspicion, missteps that slow AI’s development or drive it underground will result, impeding important work on ensuring the safety and reliability of AI technologies. On the other hand, if society approaches AI with a more open mind, the technologies emerging from the field could profoundly transform society for the better in the coming decades.

Tech TalkAt WorkTech Careers Computer Vision Leader Fei-Fei Li on Why AI Needs Diversity

“No matter what data we look at today, whether it’s from universities or companies, we lack diversity,”

China Issues a Film Industry Promotion Law

The PRC National Congress has passed a Film Industry Promotion Law (“FIPL”) on November 7, 2016.  The law will be in force since March 1, 2017.

In general, the FIPL has updated the existing regulations governing the film production and distribution in China.  As expected, content control plays a central role of the law.  It bans film content deemed harmful to the “dignity, honour and interests” of the country (Art. 14).  It also encourages the promotion of “socialist core values” (Arts. 1 & 36).  In addition, foreign individuals or organizations who has previously conducted activities that are deemed “prejudice the dignity, honor and interest of country, endanger the social stability or hurt the nationalist emotion” will be prohibited to participate in the film production in China.

In addition, the law also restricted overseas companies from independently shooting films in the territory of China even if the film is not planned to be disseminated in Chinese market.  The foreign production companies must cooperate with one of the Chinese companies in the industry so that they can use the scene in the territory of China.

Despite the above, the FIPL does loosen certain restrictions at the technical level.  For example, the law has repealed the government license for setting up a film production company.   The law also allows the provincial level authorities to conduct pre-distribution review and approval of the films (previously all films must be reviewed by a committee in the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television).

The law claims that the country should protect the intellectual property and has said that a local governmental authority at the county level has power to enforce the IP laws against pirates (Art. 7).  It remains unclear which authority would be empowered to conduct the enforcement actions.  Observing the current structure of local governmental authorities, it is very likely that the “Administration of Culture, Broadcasting, Film, Television, News and Publication” at the city level will be the enforcement agency.

Finally, the FIPL provides that the country will establish a “National Film File Archive” to collect the films.  Interestingly, the law says that this institute will also “make the film files available to the public”, which, in its literature meaning, may bring some intellectual property concerns and thus its implementation deserves to be closely monitored.

Born Digital in Video

re-born-digital.jpg

Re:Born Digital, in Video
2010 summer interns take up "Born Digital"
October 01, 2010

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/node/6385

This year’s Berkman Center summer interns tackled a big special project on top of their primary research responsibilities, working with the Youth and Media project and the Center’s digital media producer to create a set of videos — one for each chapter/topic of John Palfrey and Urs Gasser’s Born Digital.

Small teams of interns collected around the series of topics and formed video interpretations and presentations from out of their own perspectives and experiences, as well as the ways in which the topic intersected with their primary Berkman projects.

re-born-digital.jpg

Re:Born Digital, in Video
2010 summer interns take up "Born Digital"
October 01, 2010

http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/node/6385

This year’s Berkman Center summer interns tackled a big special project on top of their primary research responsibilities, working with the Youth and Media project and the Center’s digital media producer to create a set of videos — one for each chapter/topic of John Palfrey and Urs Gasser’s Born Digital.

Small teams of interns collected around the series of topics and formed video interpretations and presentations from out of their own perspectives and experiences, as well as the ways in which the topic intersected with their primary Berkman projects.

Ten shiny new videos are the result of their summer-long efforts (they join a previous group of interns’ work as Reporters in the Field). They had their debut at a community screening event with Berkman staff, family, and friends, and the batch is now online and CC-licensed:

The Jailbreaking Exemption and Apple Peel 520

As it has been known by all creatures on earth (maybe except lawyers), the U.S. Library of Congress issued a statement on Monday that legalized “jailbreaking” wireless telephone handsets.

It is no doubt a good news for jailbreakers, the unauthorized App developers, as well as iPhone buyers. Now you can strut up to the black corner of the computer arcade, looking straight inside the eyes of the guy who knows how to satisfy your desire (of anything that Jobs don’t want you do, such as watching flash video), and speak laudly: "break it, please."

"Wait, wait! It’s an iPod … OK … if you like to call it iTouch, then it is an iTouch… It’s not an iPhone, I mean … not a telephone handset."

"What?"

Let’s stop the drama and go back to the law:

At least from the literal meaning of the newly annouced exemption, iTouch owners may be excluded from the benificiaries. Here is the fulltext of the exemption:

… Persons making noninfringing uses of the following six classes of works will not be subject to the prohibition against circumventing access controls (17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)) until the conclusion of the next rulemaking.

(2) Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.

Is an iTouch a "wireless telephone handset"? I don’t know. At least Apple, even before such exemption promulgated, has already said it isn’t a telephone – it is a great iPod, a pocket computer and a game player, but not a telephone… because only iPhone will be a telephone. (How about iPad 3G? Too big to be a "handset"?)

As it has been known by all creatures on earth (maybe except lawyers), the U.S. Library of Congress issued a statement on Monday that legalized “jailbreaking” wireless telephone handsets.

It is no doubt a good news for jailbreakers, the unauthorized App developers, as well as iPhone buyers. Now you can strut up to the black corner of the computer arcade, looking straight inside the eyes of the guy who knows how to satisfy your desire (of anything that Jobs don’t want you do, such as watching flash video), and speak laudly: "break it, please."

"Wait, wait! It’s an iPod … OK … if you like to call it iTouch, then it is an iTouch… It’s not an iPhone, I mean … not a telephone handset."

"What?"

Let’s stop the drama and go back to the law:

At least from the literal meaning of the newly annouced exemption, iTouch owners may be excluded from the benificiaries. Here is the fulltext of the exemption:

… Persons making noninfringing uses of the following six classes of works will not be subject to the prohibition against circumventing access controls (17 U.S.C. § 1201(a)(1)) until the conclusion of the next rulemaking.

(2) Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute software applications, where circumvention is accomplished for the sole purpose of enabling interoperability of such applications, when they have been lawfully obtained, with computer programs on the telephone handset.

Is an iTouch a "wireless telephone handset"? I don’t know. At least Apple, even before such exemption promulgated, has already said it isn’t a telephone – it is a great iPod, a pocket computer and a game player, but not a telephone… because only iPhone will be a telephone. (How about iPad 3G? Too big to be a "handset"?)

While in practice, if you do own an iTouch, you must have tried make use it being a telephone – The easiest way is to install a Skype. That dose not need jailbreak.

Recently, there is a more exciting way to turn iTouch to a telephone, a real GSM mobile phone. After jailbreaking, you may turn your iTouch to be a real telephone in the near future by wearing this: Apple Peel 520.

This adapter not only offers voice calling and text messaging (presumably requiring a jailbroken iPod touch for the apps; GPRS not possible yet), but it also doubles up as an 800mAh battery and provides 4.5 hours of call time or 120 hours of standby juice.

This is interesting… And by the way, this is made in China. China do have the regulation prohibiting the circumvention tools. While such regulation does not have a mechanism of the administrative exemption.  It’s hard to say whether the copyright law can be used to prohibit the distribution of Apple Peel 520. In fact, from my knowledge, another heavier sword over Apple Peel would be: "Network Access License for Telecommunication", which is issued by the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. Every mode of cellphone must be licensed before being sold legally in China…again, license issued by the government might be a bigger problem than the copyright license.

 

BTW, "520" means "I love you" in Chinese cellphone message language.