15-290 / 19-211 Computers and Society

Homework 5 - due February 24, 2005

Reading assignment:
Quinn 4,
Tech Dodges a Bullet, DRM {and, or, vs.} the law, Me and My Shadow, Why Software Should Not Have Owners

1. Write a short summary of each article (not the text book chapter) in the reading assignment (2-5 sentences each). After each summary (in a separate paragraph) provide a "highlight" for that article. This can be something new you learned that you found particularly interesting, a point you would like to discuss further in class, a question the article did not fully answer, something you found confusing, a point you disagree with, or anything else you found noteworthy. Prepare a works cited list for all the articles in the reading assignment.

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

3. 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?

4. What kinds of intellectual property protections do you believe are appropriate for software? 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 (see for example, see John Carroll's columns, Philosophy of the GNU Project, Open Source Initiative, Eric Raymond's essays). 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).