15-290 / 19-211 Computers and Society

Homework 3 - due February 21, 2006

Reading assignment:
Quinn 4,
Not at the Writers' Expense
Search and Rescue
DRM {and, or, vs.} the law
Why Software Should Not Have Owners

1. What are three important differences between copyrights and patents?

2. Professor Smith has been invited to give a presentation at a major conference. She will be paid a $1000 honorarium. Those attending her talk will be required to register for the conference and pay the admission fee. To inject some humor into her talk, Professor Smith has selected three of her favorite Dilbert cartoons from one of the Dilbert books she owns. She has scanned them into her computer and included them in the slides she will show during her talk. (a) Is this most likely fair use? Explain. (b) Does it make any difference if she posts her slides on the Internet after her talk? (c) What if she gives the presentation to her class rather than at the conference?

3. Should Google be permitted to scan and index library books and make short snippets from them available via Google Book Search without obtaining permission from each book's copyright holder? Write a short essay (roughly 500 words) in which you argue your position and support it with appropriate citations to the assigned reading materials and other sources. Your essay should clearly present your argument and explain why you disagree with some of the arguments made by people on another side of the debate (this means you need to cite articles supporting at least two different sides of the debate).

Question 3 will be the topic of our class debate #3 on February 21. Students will be assigned to argue for and against the statement: Google should not be permitted to scan and index library books and make short snippets from them available without permission of each book's copyright holder. Debate assignments will be made in class on February 7. We will pick debaters to play the following roles: Representative of the Authors Guild who opposes Google Book Search, representative of the Association of American Publishers who opposes Google Book Search, author who supports Google Book Search, publisher who supports Google Book Search.