In the News


Pamela Samuelson in the news:



Serving a public that knows how to copy: orphan works and mass digitization

Pamela Samuelson, Jennifer Urban, Molly van Houweling, Jason Schultz cited in Publishers Weekly, April 14, 2012

-The UC Berkeley Center for Law and Technology (BCLT) is among the most eminent study centers for intellectual property (IP) law. Coordinated by Professor Pamela Samuelson, this last week it pulled together approximately 200 highly accomplished and well-spoken legal scholars, practitioners and librarians in a small conference on orphan works, “Orphan Works and Mass Digitization.”

-Jennifer Urban of BCLT cautioned that we need to evaluate the benefits and costs of diligent search requirements, a likely component of orphan works legislation, against the costs of collective licensing, which is more of a blunt end of the rights hammer, but would obviate the need for individualized search.

-Molly van Houweling observed that we need systems … that actively reward instead of punish efforts that produce information helping to re-unite rightsholders with their works.

-Jason Schultz noted in twitter that the key question was how people and their institutions can be part of this world, and learn to serve publics who know how to copy.


Perils of pay for play

Pamela Samuelson quoted in The Deal Magazine, March 30, 2012

“As enthusiastic as I am about copyright reform, I am not so naïve as to think that there is any realistic chance that a copyright reform effort will be undertaken in the next decade by the Copyright Office, the U.S. Congress, or any other organized group,” wrote Pamela Samuelson, a professor at University of California, Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law and a pioneer in digital-copyright law.


Pamela Samuelson Faults Guild’s Google Books Brief

Publishers Weekly, December 13, 2011 by Andrew Albanese
http://bit.ly/stYxVK

The brief in support of the motion does not address concerns about adequate class representation raised throughout the settlement process, specifically whether the guild, an organization which represents a sliver of the wide universe of authors, can effectively speak for the varied and divergent interests of “authors” writ large. Critics like UC’s Pam Samuelson, and D.C. attorney and author Scott Gant have argued there should be multiple classes all with different counsel.


Robert Merges, Pamela Samuelson Support First-to-File Patent Law

AllBusiness, September 19, 2011 by Don Sadler
http://www.allbusiness.com/finance/legal/16680947-1.html

Robert Merges, a professor of law at University of California, Berkeley, noted in a San Francisco Chronicle article that this provision gives inventors one year to hone their inventions after disclosure.

Pamela Samuelson, the director of UC Berkeley’s Center for Law and Technology, agreed: “The ‘little guy’ inventor story that this rule favors big firms is really a myth.”


Robert Merges, Pamela Samuelson Clarify Patent Study Results

Patently-O, August 5, 2011 by Robert Merges, Pam Samuelson, and Ted Sichelman
http://bit.ly/mZ95cm

First, our study only applies to U.S. startup companies. Second, many executives—particularly those in the biotechnology and medical device industries—reported that patents provide strong or moderate incentives to innovate. In the very least, prompt patent grants for these companies would not be “irrelevant” to stimulating innovation. Last, our responses on the role of patents in the innovation process relates to the patent system as it is currently constituted.


Robert Merges, Pamela Samuelson Discuss Patent Survey Findings

-Patently-O, July 19, 2011 by Robert Merges, Pam Samuelson, and Ted Sichelman
http://bit.ly/dc4GOo

The 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey has found that startups are patenting more than previous studies have suggested; that patents are being sought for a variety of reasons, the most prominent of which is to prevent copying of the innovation; and that there are considerable differences among startups in the perceived significance of patents for attaining competitive advantage, with biotech companies rating them as the most important strategy and software companies rating them least important.

-Patently-O, July 20, 2011 by Robert Merges, Pam Samuelson, and Ted Sichelman
http://bit.ly/bmJ4nB

Biotechnology companies report that patents provide closer to a “moderate” than a “strong” incentive to engage in the innovation process. Among software companies, the results are even more striking, with them reporting that patents provide less than a “slight” incentive. These findings raise questions about the importance of patents to innovation for entrepreneurs and startups. Indeed, the results have spurred some vigorous debate in the blogosphere.

-Patently-O, July 21, 2011 by Robert Merges, Pam Samuelson, and Ted Sichelman
http://bit.ly/blIB2W

One possible interpretation is that startup executives are generally unaware of the link between patents and success in the innovative process, which results in financial markets selecting those companies that patent more heavily. Another interpretation is that patents serve important functions not related to the innovation process, such as helping to prevent infringement lawsuits, providing leverage in cross-licensing negotiations, and acting as “signals” of firm competency, which drive investment.


Pamela Samuelson Proposes Alternative to Google Books

The Chronicle of Higher Education, May 29, 2011 by Marc Parry
http://chronicle.com/article/Out-of-Fear-Institutions-Lock/127701/

The system hinges on a collecting society that would negotiate licenses for works owned by both members and nonmembers. Unclaimed money from out-of-print books could be set aside for “a period of years,” Ms. Samuelson suggests. If efforts to find owners during that time were unsuccessful, she writes, “the works should be designated orphans and made available on an open-access basis.”


Pamela Samuelson Thinks Beyond Google Book Case

Publishers Weekly, May 16, 2011 by Calvin Reid
http://bit.ly/m1BH1i

“It’s time to talk about general copyright reform,” Samuelson said. “The [U.S.] Copyright Office is the best entity to find out what the parties want and what may be a good model for legislation. Google is in a strong position on fair use and the publishers are not interested in further litigation. Chin wants a new settlement with an opt-in for out-of-print books.”


Pamela Samuelson Adds to Google Books Debate

The Wire Report, May 6, 2011 by Howard Knopf
http://bit.ly/k6QjUR

For that tiny investment by Google standards, the company would have acquired a remarkable and likely insurmountable lead in the digitization and control of a database of all the world’s useful knowledge in book form, and a virtual monopoly on dealings with orphan works. It would have been relieved of potential liability that Pam Samuelson estimates to be in the trillions of dollars, based upon the statutory minimum damages.


Pamela Samuelson Suggests Solution to Orphan Works Copyright Issue

The Washington Examiner, May 2, 2011 by Nicole Ciandella
http://bit.ly/jcu9Rn

Steven Seidenberg suggests that the architects of the failed Google Books settlement may have inadvertently provided a blueprint for a long-awaited congressional solution for orphan works’ publication. He quotes Pamela Samuelson…. “One aspect of the Google Books settlement provides another model Congress might be willing to consider: allowing use of works that may be orphaned as long as the user pays for the use, with some of the funds used to search for the rights owner.”


Pamela Samuelson Cites Core Objection to Google Books

The New York Times, April 3, 2011 by Miguel Helft
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/04/technology/04library.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=Berkeley&st=nyt

“I think the biggest obstacle is copyright,” said Pamela Samuelson, a professor of law and information management at the University of California, Berkeley who opposed the settlement and is working on legal issues facing the digital public library.


Pamela Samuelson Applauds Google Books Ruling

-The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 22, 2011 by Jennifer Howard
http://chronicle.com/article/Judge-Rejects-Settlement-in/126864/

He went on to quote from a statement submitted by Pamela Samuelson, a professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley, who wrote that academic authors “are committed to maximizing access to knowledge,” while the plaintiffs “are institutionally committed to maximizing profits.”

-The New York Times, March 22, 2011 by Miguel Helft
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/23/technology/23google.html?scp=1&sq=Berkeley&st=nyt

“Even though it is efficient for Google to make all the books available, the orphan works and unclaimed books problem should be addressed by Congress, not by the private settlement of a lawsuit,” said Pamela Samuelson.

-Contra Costa Times, March 22, 2011 by Brandon Bailey
http://www.contracostatimes.com/business/ci_17673453?nclick_check=1

Other critics praised the judge for rejecting a plan they viewed as sharply contradicting the nation’s copyright laws. “That’s what copyright law stands for. Nobody gets to use your work without your permission,” said Pamela Samuelson.

-The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 23, 2011 by Marc Parry
http://chronicle.com/article/A-Copyright-Expert-Who-Spoke/126877/

“Libraries have been very, very careful over time about protecting the privacy interests of their user base. And Google was not willing to make commitments to essentially accomplish an equivalent level of protection. When we’re talking about a corpus of books that millions of people in the U.S. would be using, not to have any serious privacy commitments here really was distressing.”

-Inside Higher Ed, March 23, 2011 by Steve Kolowich
http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2011/03/23/judge_rejects_google_books_settlement

Samuelson had argued that it would be inappropriate for Google and the publishers to profit from the use of orphaned scholarly works—which she believes comprise a disproportionately large number of the orphans—when the academics who wrote them probably intended that they be as freely accessible as possible.

-The New York Times, March 23, 2011 by Claire Cain Miller
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/24/business/media/24google.html?_r=1

“The next thing to do is think about going to Congress and getting legislation that would make particularly orphan works available to the public.”

-San Jose Mercury News, March 27, 2011 by Chris O’Brien
http://www.mercurynews.com/chris-obrien

“The settlement would give them a monopoly that they would potentially use to fix prices,” said Pamela Samuelson, a professor of law at UC Berkeley, who has been among the most vocal opponents of the deal. “When the DOJ (Department of Justice) came out against the settlement that was a very significant development.”

-Beyond Chron, March 29, 2011 by Irvin Muchnick
http://www.beyondchron.org/news/index.php?itemid=9031

The federal government, after constructively intervening in Google, should find a way to coordinate the cases and spur Congress to codify compulsory licenses…. In an email exchange with Samuelson, a fellow Berkeleyan, she expressed sympathy for my viewpoint. “I am working on legislative alternatives,” Pam told me, “and an extended collective licensing regime is an interesting idea.”


Robert Merges, Pamela Samuelson Argue for First-to-File Patent Law

San Francisco Chronicle, March 9, 2011 by Carolyn Lochhead
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/03/09/MNQ01I6D0G.DTL

UC Berkeley law Professor Robert Merges said concerns among small inventors are wildly overblown. They would be able to file placeholder applications and have a year to hone their inventions, he said.

Pamela Samuelson … said in an e-mail that the United States and the Philippines are the only nations that have first-to-invent systems. “The international norm is that the first inventor to file gets a patent,” Samuelson said. “The economic arguments in favor of the first-to-file system are strong and the ‘little guy’ inventor story that this rule favors big firms is really a myth.”


Pamela Samuelson Explains Downside to SAP Damage Award

San Francisco Chronicle, November 24, 2010 by James Temple and Benny Evangelista
http://bit.ly/egNuDu

It might be a big enough number to inadvertently hamper technology development, Samuelson said…. Samuelson is worried the decision could make some companies overly cautious of pursuing otherwise innovative work that might appear comparable to existing products in the eyes of a jury. “People will be less likely to do things that might be worth doing because a jury might decide it was on this side of the (legal) line, instead of that side,” she said.


Pamela Samuelson Encourages WIPO to Reform A/V Copyright Law

Communications Daily, November 23, 2010 by Louis Trager
http://www.warren-news.com/cdtrial.htm (requires registration; go to G:\Law School in the News\News Clips for article)

There’s a good deal of support for an agreement on protecting audio-visual works…. The work plan “makes limitations and exceptions” to copyright a legitimate discussion topic and raises their profile, said Pamela Samuelson, director of the Berkeley Center for Law & Technology…. She encouraged WIPO to look into whether additional limits and exceptions should be created to increase “balance” in the law and “restore legitimacy to copyright.”


Pamela Samuelson Explains Intent of Copyright Reform Project

Copyhype, November 1, 2010 by Terry Hart
http://bit.ly/boCmK5

The Copyright Principles Project came about in part from Samuelson’s idea of creating a “model copyright law” … which could provide “an inchoate vision of a ‘good’ copyright law”; ”provide a platform from which to launch specific copyright reforms”: and prove useful as a resource to courts and commentators as they try to interpret ambiguous provisions of the existing statutes.”


Pamela Samuelson Accepts Public Knowledge IP3 Award

National Journal, Tech Daily Dose, October 14, 2010 by Eliza Krigman
http://techdailydose.nationaljournal.com/2010/10/telecom-community-gathers-for.php

Pamela Samuelson, professor at UC Berkeley’s Law School and School of Information, took home the Information Policy prize. “I can’t even program my way out a paper bag,” she joked to the crowd about her lack of technical expertise while thanking everyone for appreciating her work on the legal side of digital issues.


Pamela Samuelson Recommends Copyright Law Reform

-San Francisco Chronicle, September 26, 2010 by Pamela Samuelson
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/09/26/INGM1FGPKR.DTL

Did you ever imagine you could be held liable for copyright infringement for storing your music collection on your hard drive, downloading photos from the Internet or forwarding news articles to your friends? If you did not get the copyright owner’s permission for these actions, you could be violating the law. It sounds absurd, but copyright owners have the right to control reproductions of their works and claim statutory damages even when a use does not harm the market for their works.

-Los Angeles Examiner, September 28, 2010 by Seth Chavez
http://exm.nr/cYJTMS

Professor Samuelson says such user-generated content challenges copyright law because it’s typically created by non-professionals—amateurs with different needs than, say, Hollywood studios. “Copyright law touches us all on a daily basis and now millions of people who create user-generated works have become copyright stakeholders,” said professor Samuelson. “Copyright law needs to be simpler, understandable, and more flexible to change with the times.”


Pamela Samuelson Finds Patents a Low Priority for Software Entrepreneurs

-PRWire, September 3, 2010 by Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian
http://www.prwire.com.au/pr/19916/keeping-ip-rights-where-they-belong

“First mover advantages, reputation, and complementary assets are going to be much more important to firms than patents. In the software industry, we discovered that copyrights, trademarks, and secrecy are more important than patents in achieving competitive advantage.”

-The Wall Street Journal, Venture Capital Dispatch, September 8, 2010 by Jason Mendelson, Paul Kedrosky, Brad Feld
http://bit.ly/aW4xjU

This analysis isn’t just our opinion, but also that of Samuelson, who recently wrote the following summary regarding the importance of patents to entrepreneurs: “Two-thirds of the approximately 700 software entrepreneurs who participated in the 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey report that they neither have nor are seeking patents for innovations embodied in their products and services. These entrepreneurs rate patents as the least important mechanism among seven options for attaining competitive advantage in the marketplace.”


Robert Merges and Pamela Samuelson Analyze Patent Survey Findings

-Patently-O Blog, Parts I-III July 19-21, 2010 by Robert Merges, Pamela Samuelson, and Ted Sichelman
http://bit.ly/dc4GOo

The 2008 Berkeley Patent Survey has found that startups are patenting more than previous studies have suggested; that patents are being sought for a variety of reasons, the most prominent of which is to prevent copying of the innovation; and that there are considerable differences among startups in the perceived significance of patents for attaining competitive advantage, with biotech companies rating them as the most important strategy and software companies rating them least important.

http://bit.ly/bmJ4nB

Our fourth major result is that our respondents—particularly software companies—find the high costs of patenting and enforcing their patents deter them from filing for patents on their innovations. Given the reported importance of patents to startups not only in the financing process, but also for strategic reasons—especially for increasing bargaining power—these cost barriers are worrisome.

http://bit.ly/blIB2W

The data, however, present an interesting paradox: If executives believe that patents provide relatively weak incentives to innovate, why are so many startup firms seeking them? Our first post indicated that securing financing was a reason why many firms reported seeking patents…. Raising money, rather than invention itself, may be the key.

-O’Reilly Radar, July 21, 2010 by Pamela Samuelson
http://radar.oreilly.com/2010/07/why-software-startups-decide-t.html

The initial findings reported here and in the larger article suggest that software entrepreneurs do not find persuasive the canonical story that patents provide strong incentives to invest in technology innovation.

-Technology Review, Feld Thoughts Blog, July 28, 2010 by Brad Feld
http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/post.aspx?bid=358&bpid=25540

The juiciest conclusion is about halfway through the essay and is “One of the most striking findings of our study is that software firms ranked patents dead last among seven strategies for attaining competitive advantage identified by the survey.” Another one was “We were surprised to discover that the software respondents reported that patents provide only weak incentives for engaging in core activities, such as invention of new products (.96) and commercialization (.93).”