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Technology & Academia

By 4 May 2010 No Comment

An interesting website which I just found by accident is Technology|Academics|Policy (TAP), created by Microsoft to be:

[A] forum for academics leading the dialogue on the impact of technological innovation in the following areas:

  • intellectual property, patents and licensing
  • cloud computing/software + services
  • competition policy and antitrust
  • economic growth and the knowledge economy
  • privacy and security

The goal of TAP is to promote academic research and generate substantive policy debate around these topics.

The participating institutions cover the intellectual spectrum, from the The Berkeley (UCal) Center for Law & Technology to Silicon Flatirons at the University  of Colorado to the University of Chicago’s John M. Olin Program in Law and Economics.Thales - Fresco from Univ. of Athens

The format, at least for the Intellectual Property, Patents & Licensing section, is a portal page that lists 68 scholars with research interests in the area. Each name links to a page on that person, where one finds further links to his/her works, with each work not only linked in full but also but also briefly summarized.

There are also sub-portals on more specific issues — to use IP as the example again, sub-issues are  Copyrights & Trademarks; Open Source (Software); & Patents. (Formatting glitch here: the main IP Portal and Patent Subportal seem to be the same.)  And a blog, an events calendar, and other features (like your smartphone, you just have to play with it).

When I was running the IPCentral.Info part of the Progress & Freedom Foundation, Microsoft was a supporter, and one of the nice things about dealing with the company was that its people were interested in promoting serious discussion about important issues.  They also had a high tolerance for disagreement and disputation, a trait rare in the  world of policy advocacy. TAP is a logical, and welcome, continuation and exemplification of these traits, and expresses, I think, a basic confidence within the company that if issues are discussed with depth and disinterest, Microsoft’s view of the appropriate governmental policy will be shown to be correct.  I like that in a company, especially when it leads to the production of useful public goods such as this website.

Would that the soi disantpublic interest groups” had the same dedication to the faith that the truth will set you free.

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