Tracy Mitrano

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Most Recent Articles

November 5, 2012
With its headquarters in the Boulder area and many a national conference in Denver, Colorado is EDUCAUSE country!  It is great to be back here for another stunning national convention!
November 2, 2012
Business intelligence is all the go these days, and increasingly confused with information management.  People are wondering what these functions are exactly, whether they are the same or could be located in the same office.  Short answer: no.  Longer answer: Read on.
October 30, 2012
Kirtsaeng v. John Wiley & Sons is an interesting case more for what it points to than what upon decision will say.  It points to big chinks in the armor of "international copyright law," i.e. the Berne Treaty that extended U.S. copyright law to signatories whose arms were twisted to sign in exchange for trade agreements.
October 17, 2012
On the national policy front, or "Big 'P' Policy, both privacy and security issues are rising to the fore.  Do not track mechanisms are, to quote a New York Times recent article on this subject, "features on browsers — like Mozilla’s Firefox — that give consumers the option of sending out digital signals asking companies to stop collecting information about their online activities for purposes of targeted advertising."  The market sector is not happy.  Microsoft is releasing version 10 of its web browser, Internet Explorer, with a default do not track setting; to allow cookies or other tracking requires the user to change the setting.  Business interests have reacted angrily, with the Association of National Advertisers sending Microsoft's CEO, Steve Ballmer, an open letter objecting to that decision.
October 12, 2012
In April of 2001 I began working in the position from which I now write, Director of Information Technology Policy at Cornell. As a law student, I had elected to take a course in intellectual property.  Most of my classmates had engineering degrees and were headed for patent law as a career.  I was another "Eng." major, English Literature, and wanted to know why publishers of the J.D. Salinger biography had pulled it before it hit the shelves.  Turns out, the author had included full texts of letters Salinger had written a long-term lover.  The author had access to the letters, but she did not have the copyright in them.  A fair use defense would not have sufficed under the circumstances.  Consequently, the publishers removed the letters before publication.
October 11, 2012
We need to rethink the fair use doctrine by adding transformative works as they have been defined in United States case law to the existing four factors that are already codified, and expand its overall usage, especially in the area of not-for-profit educational endeavors.
October 10, 2012
Last week a colleague at Cornell asked me to give a talk to his class on intellectual property. I found myself explaining the historical dynamics behind the American Revolution, Constitution and a free-market political economy. "Unless you were a pirate," I said, "you could not trade anywhere in the world from England without a license."  Another quote:  "The first law to establish exclusive rights, a monopoly in copyright, dates back to 1557 when Elizabeth I squelched counterfeiters use the new technology, the printing press, to manufacture fraudulent documents for everything, including Royal charters to trade.
October 9, 2012
For the last decade, higher education has spent considerable and increasingly scarce funds defending itself from the publishing and entertainment industry, which, if they are sincere in their belief that it is colleges and universities causing their problems, both faculty and students, they would do well to listen carefully to the comments yesterday.
October 8, 2012
At the end of September I attended and spoke at a conference at the United States Consulate General in Florence, Italy on "Piracy and Counterfeiting in a Digital Environment: U.S. and Italian Experience."
September 24, 2012
A quick slice through the NYT yesterday disclosed two articles that raise interesting issues: Who Built the Internet and Free Speech.

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