Spring 2013 Issue

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Three-Dimensional Printing and Open Source Hardware
by Eli Greenbaum

This Article shows how the maturing technology of three-dimensional printing can be used to construct an enforceable open hardware license. Open hardware lacks the legal tools which allow the easy implementation of enforceable open source software licenses. As such, existing licenses cannot successfully implement open hardware principles. The author proposes the “Three-Dimensional Printing Open License” (the “TDPL”). The TDPL draws on the unique characteristics of three-dimensional printing to construct a license that incorporates enforceable documentation, attribution and copyleft provisions. As the technology of three dimensional printing improves and is gradually integrated into a broad range of industries, the scope of the license’s application will increase.
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Protecting Artistic Vandalism: Graffiti and Copyright Law
by Celia Lerman

Does copyright law protect graffiti? Preserving graffiti art and protecting it against unauthorized reproductions are growing concerns in the art scene. This article argues that copyright law should cover graffiti works because copyright should be neutral towards works created by illegal means. Because copyright should only be concerned with protecting expression, material transgressions related to the physical embodiment of an artistic work should not exclude the work from copyright protection. This is true even under an incentive-based copyright system, such as the one established by the United States Copyright Act. Illegal graffiti works are creative acts that fit within the scope of promoting “the progress of Science and Useful Arts,” as stated in the United States Constitution. Moreover, protecting graffiti may incentivize graffiti artists to create more legal works. This article analyzes the challenges that artists face when enforcing their rights in their graffiti, both under the Copyright Act and the Visual Artists Rights Act (VARA).
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The Recent DOJ and FTC Policy Suggestions for Standard Setting Organizations – the Way Out of Standard-Essential Patent Hold-Up
by Jonas Hein

When patent holders employ the threat of an injunction as a weapon against competitors, it raises eyebrows among antitrust lawyers and agencies instinctively. Such is the case when standard-essential patents are used to hold members of standard setting organizations hostage by threatening sunk technology investments. Prominently last year, Google purchased Motorola Mobility Inc., which included 17,000 patents predominately relating to smartphones, and Apple and Microsoft acquired Nortel Networks and its 6,000 telecommunications patents. The FTC and the DOJ reacted with concern about potential patent abuse in light of the ever-more salient “smartphone patent wars.” In this setting, Renata Hesse, Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the DOJ, and Joseph F. Wayland, then Assistant Attorney General of the FTC, published governance suggestions aimed at lessening the likelihood of hold-up in the standardization process. This article applies a law and economics analysis to three of the suggestions: disclosure requirements, cross-licensing provisions, and limitations of exclusion through injunctions. The discussion addresses problems relating to joint negotiation and monopsony, as well as royalty stacking and cournot complements. It demonstrates how cross-licensing among upstream firms can effectively raise their downstream rivals’ costs, and it explores the concept of “reverse hold-up.” The article finally concludes that Hesse and Wayland identify critical issues, but fail to provide a fully satisfying solution to the problem of standard-essential patent hold-up.
Standard-essential patents can be used to hold members of standard setting organizations hostage by threatening sunk technology investments. Renata Hesse, Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the DOJ, and Joseph F. Wayland, then Assistant Attorney General of the FTC, published governance suggestions aimed at lessening the likelihood of hold-up in the standardization process. This article applies a law and economics analysis to three of the suggestions: disclosure requirements, cross-licensing provisions, and limitations of exclusion through injunctions. The discussion addresses problems relating to joint negotiation and monopsony, as well as royalty stacking and cournot complements. It demonstrates how cross-licensing among upstream firms can effectively raise their downstream rivals’ costs, and it explores the concept of “reverse hold-up.” While Hesse and Wayland identify critical issues, they fail to provide a fully satisfying solution to the problem of standard-essential patent hold-up.
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Part of the Team: Building Closer Relationships Between MLB Teams and Independent Agents in the Dominican Republic Through an MLB Code of Conduct
by Dustin Williamson

Every year in the Dominican Republic, hundreds of boys enter baseball academies run by one of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) franchise teams. The dream of every player is to be sent to the team’s farm system in the United States and from there to be called up to the major leagues. The reality of the situation, however, is much less glamorous. Over the last decade, only two percent of players signed out of the Dominican Republic made it to the major leagues. When the vast majority of these athletes, who have devoted their lives to baseball, eventually wash out of the academy system after two or three years, they are thrown back into the working population with little education and no transferrable skills to show for the years they spent playing baseball. The situation is exacerbated by the treatment that players receive before they even get to the MLB academies. In the Dominican Republic, potential baseball players are cultivated as early as their preteen years by independent handler-agents known as buscones. The buscón-run academies receive little oversight. Given the type and scope of labor rights violations that occur as a result of MLB’s presence in the Dominican Republic, MLB should promulgate a voluntary corporate code of conduct to govern the relationship between MLB and buscones in the Dominican Republic. While a strict, penalty-based code of conduct would likely be counterproductive, a licensing program with a commitment to dialog instead of punishment might have a better chance of positively affecting the lives of young baseball players. Any solution should encourage cooperation between MLB, the teams, buscones, and the Dominican government, instead of punishing players or forcing teams to leave the Dominican Republic if violations are found.

Every year in the Dominican Republic, hundreds of boys enter baseball academies run by one of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) franchise teams. When the vast majority of these athletes, who have devoted their lives to baseball, eventually wash out of the academy system after two or three years, they are thrown back into the working population with little education and no transferrable skills to show for the years they spent playing baseball. In the Dominican Republic, the situation is exacerbated by the treatment that players receive before they even get to the MLB academies, by independent handler-agents known as buscones. Given the type and scope of labor rights violations that occur as a result of MLB’s presence in the Dominican Republic, MLB should promulgate a voluntary corporate code of conduct to govern the relationship between MLB and buscones in the Dominican Republic. Any solution should encourage cooperation between MLB, the teams, buscones, and the Dominican government, instead of punishing players or forcing teams to leave the Dominican Republic if violations are found.

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