In 2010, freelance journalist Laura Amico launched Homicide Watch D.C., a groundbreaking website that tracked every murder in Washington, D.C. After finding great demand from news editors who wanted to replicate Homicide Watch’s data-rich storytelling in their newsrooms and not knowing how to pursue those opportunities, Amico came to Harvard as one of two inaugural fellows in a new joint partnership between Nieman and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society last fall, looking for entrepreneurial expertise and human connection.
In April, the Digital Public Library of America launched a beta version of its discovery portal, opening a free-access digital archive of 2.4 million works. The project, a virtual network of national and local libraries, started two years ago at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, itself an innovation machine.The Berkman Center developed H2O, an educational exchange platform for creating, editing, and sharing course materials electronically in collaboration with the Harvard Law School Library. But H2O will not always be “law-specific,” said law professor and center co-founder Jonathan Zittrain. Available in sharable electronic form, the new format could offer what he called “an intellectual playlist” of online materials widely used — and collaboratively assembled and vetted — by students and professors in any discipline.
The panel was led by Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard Law School professor and professor of computer science and co-founder of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, and included Hopi Hoekstra, Alexander Agassiz Professor of Zoology and professor of organismic and evolutionary biology and of molecular and cellular biology; Rebecca Henderson, McArthur University Professor and a professor at Harvard Business School; Alison Simmons, Harvard College professor and Wolcott Professor of Philosophy; and Peter Sorger, Krayer Professor of Systems Pharmacology at Harvard Medical School.
Susan Crawford, a supporter of the F.C.C.’s position who is co-director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard and a professor at Yeshiva University’s Cardozo School of Law, called the showdown “a moment of grandeur.”
But security experts accused them of attacking the internet itself and the privacy of all users. “Cryptography forms the basis for trust online,” said Bruce Schneier, an encryption specialist and fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. “By deliberately undermining online security in a short-sighted effort to eavesdrop, the NSA is undermining the very fabric of the internet.” Classified briefings between the agencies celebrate their success at “defeating network security and privacy”.
“The usual practice would definitely be to register the collective album [for copyright protection], along with the artwork that’s on the album and things like that,” says Andy Sellars, a staff attorney for the Digital Media Law Project housed at Harvard University. “I’m not aware of a case where someone has tried to claim just the playlist.”
Take e-cards, which Hallmark now offers in droves, but that it came to somewhat belatedly. The person who pioneered the e-cards industry as we know it today didn’t have any greeting card experience. It was Judith Donath, a faculty fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society, who as a postdoctoral student in 1994 launched a website called “the Electric Postcard.”
“It’s got enough impact now that governments around the world are going to want it on speed dial and are going to be seeking cooperation on a variety of fronts because Twitter now is such a vector for communications, particularly fast-breaking communications,” said Jonathan Zittrain, a Harvard law professor.
Jeff Hermes, director of the Digital Media Law Project at the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, said a “balance needs to be struck properly,” and he is not sure the California law will do that.