Monday, January 24, 2011

Bill introduced late in last Congress to have chilling effects on file-sharing

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act, introduced into the Senate last year as S. 3804, could have a chilling effect on file-sharing websites. The bill would allow the AG to bring in rem action against any domain name "dedicated to infringing activities" and would compel violators to "suspend operation of, and lock, the domain name."

This bill would seem to have a drastic effect on any number of domain name's with file sharing capabilities including many hip-hop sites that often post (with questionable auspices) songs, music videos, etc.

The bill's lead co-sponsor was Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont. The bill had 19 co-sponsors from both sides of the aisle, no small amount in the Senate.

Currently, there's been no talk of introducing it in the new Congress, but the bill did promisingly, for supporters, make it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill enjoys the support of a number of industries and industry groups including the Property Rights Alliance, Motion Picture Association of America, Association of American Publishers, NBC Universal, Entertainment Software Association, Coalition Against Domain Name Abuse, US Chamber of Commerce, Screen Actors Guild, Viacom, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Moving Picture Technicians, Artists and Allied Crafts of the United States, Warner Music Group, Major League Baseball, Nike Inc, and Communication Workers of America.

Opposed to the legislation are the Center for Democracy & Technology, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Distributed Computing Industry Association.

It will be interesting to see what the new Congress will do if given the opportunity to consider the bill.

Interesting Interview from Talib Kweli from NBC NY

View more news videos at:

Video from

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Not taking professors seriously when they talk about hip-hop?

There's an interesting article from January 5, 2011 over on The Chronicle... here. it talks about teaching copyright law in the classroom. The article's pretty good, but one quote from University of Illinois - Chicago UIC Distinguished Professor of Communication Steve Jones seemed particularly interesting.

Jones is quoted in the article as saying:

"I don’t think they [students] see anyone who’s a professor as having authority on hip-hop and rap."

Is that true? Does being a professor, or being academically inclined somehow detract from one's credibility or knowledge of "hip-hop and rap?" It seems to me this could not possibly be the case. Does one lose their street cred once one enters academia?

Many of the bloggers here on have experience in hip-hop culture beyond their academic interests, and as many fall in the loosely defined "hip-hop generation," it seems that they have some authority on the question of hip-hop. This seems to be a common charge against academics, the notion that they are somehow apart from their area of scholarship, but usually that charge is leveled by non-academics. But, that criticism is certainly not universally applicable. Is it even legitimate?

I don't think anyone is confusing any of the bloggers here with Nas, MC Lyte, or whomever, but I also don't think that's the point. No one on this blog is trying to become a hip-hop star (at least not to my knowledge). The goal for hip-hop scholars should not be to be rappers. I don't ever want to be mistaken for any of the people I listen to or write about, I just want to bring my personal story and research to the hip-hop and legal communit(y)(ies) and see what happens. I don't think what I write is valuable because I have a J.D., I think it's just another voice in the milieu, hopefully a voice that says something important and adds to the ongoing discussion. Most of us writing on this blog, are modest in this respect and I think it is something we try to convey to friends, colleagues, and students. But, according to professor Jones, few people may be taking us seriously...

I wonder what Professor Jones means when he talks of this monolithic "professor." What are the characteristics of his "professor?"

I'd be interested in seeing what others in the blogosphere think about this article and about the above mentioned quote.