Thursday, February 20, 2020

Europe plans to strictly regulate high-risk AI technology; Science, February 19, 2020

Nicholas Wallace, Science; Europe plans to strictly regulate high-risk AI technology

"The European Commission today unveiled its plan to strictly regulate artificial intelligence (AI), distinguishing itself from more freewheeling approaches to the technology in the United States and China.

The commission will draft new laws—including a ban on “black box” AI systems that humans can’t interpret—to govern high-risk uses of the technology, such as in medical devices and self-driving cars. Although the regulations would be broader and stricter than any previous EU rules, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference today announcing the plan that the goal is to promote “trust, not fear.” The plan also includes measures to update the European Union’s 2018 AI strategy and pump billions into R&D over the next decade.

The proposals are not final: Over the next 12 weeks, experts, lobby groups, and the public can weigh in on the plan before the work of drafting concrete laws begins in earnest. Any final regulation will need to be approved by the European Parliament and national governments, which is unlikely to happen this year."
WBUR, On Point;

Walter Shaub Wants You To Fight For An Ethical Democracy

"For decades, Walter Shaub advised presidential candidates about transparency, ethics and how to avoid conflicts of interest. We talk to Shaub about how he ran the Office of Government Ethics and the future of ethics in government."

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Protecting Your Most Valuable Assets: How to Identify and Maintain Your Institution’s Trade Secrets; The National Law Review, January 23, 2020

Frank Amini, Ph.D., Robert Shaddox, The National Law Review; Protecting Your Most Valuable Assets: How to Identify and Maintain Your Institution’s Trade Secrets

"An institution’s trade secrets can be its most valuable and prolonged assets.   However, institutions must take numerous steps in order to maintain the enforceability of their trade secrets.  Such steps include: (1) identifying the trade secrets; and (2) taking “reasonable measures” to maintain the secrecy of the trade secrets."

On National Inventors’ Day, Celebrating IBM’s Innovators; Forbes, February 11, 2020

Dario Gil, Director of IBM Research, Forbes; On National Inventors’ Day, Celebrating IBM’s Innovators

"It all boils down to the culture, and the diverse global network of human beings who drive it. As Chieko Asakawa, who lost her eyesight at age 14 and went on to pioneer technologies that open the wonders of the Internet to visually impaired users, puts it: “IBM has a culture that respects each person’s own perspective. It’s a culture of listening, discussion and thinking about ideas together.”

Asakawa was recently inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame for her work to create the Home Page Reader, a web-to-speech system, improving internet accessibility and usability for the visually impaired. 

“When I started working for IBM,” she reflects, “my blindness became my strength.”

And her strength—along with the talent of all her inventive colleagues—is one of IBM’s greatest assets."

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Huge Job Fair at United States Patent & Trademark Office; Zebra, February 28-29, 2020

Mary Wadland, Zebra; Huge Job Fair at United States Patent & Trademark Office, February 28-29

USPTO is hiring hundreds of new examiners in 2020

"Are you ready to protect what’s next in American ingenuity? The United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) is holding a job fair and hiring 100s of engineers to examine America’s patents in 2020!

Hundreds of Open Positions

The Patent Examiner Recruitment Open House event in Alexandria, VA (DC Metro Area) is designed to attract soon-to-be graduates and professionals with backgrounds in biomedical, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering by offering actionable information about job opportunities, salary, benefits, and how to apply to hundreds of open positions currently available in Alexandria, VirginiaSan Jose, California; and Detroit. Even more positions will be opening up in the agency’s Rocky Mountain regional office in Denver later in the year...

Recruiters Will Be On Site

In addition to learning about the work of patent examination and hearing directly from those who love what they do, attendees will get a chance to speak one-on-one with recruiters who will review resumes and discuss qualifications.
The Alexandria job fair will take place at the Madison Building at the USPTO headquarters in Alexandria. Day one will take place in the Global IP Academy (GIPA) and day two in the Clara Barton Auditorium. The dates are on Friday, February 28th, and Saturday, February 29th.

Walk-ins are welcome. Register now!"

Job Posting, Copyright Librarian in Circulation Department, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

Job Posting, Copyright Librarian in Circulation Department, Naval War College, Newport, Rhode Island

"Don’t miss out on this opportunity to practice librarianship in this highly desirable location:  Newport, Rhode Island. The U.S. Naval War College (NWC) Library is hiring! The NWC Library invites applications for a newly created position as Copyright Librarian in the Circulation Department. Named in honor of Rear Admiral Henry Effingham Eccles, the Library recently adopted a Learning Commons model with the completion of a new, state-of-the-art, 86,000 square foot facility that brings together under one roof the Library, Writing Center, Information Resources Department (IT), Dean of Students, CafĂ©, and Bookstore.  The Copyright Librarian serves as a knowledgeable and service-oriented licensing and copyright professional who leads the copyright program for the NWC.  This includes performing a variety of functions and processes that relate to the implementation of copyright policy, formulation of procedures, licensing negotiation, workflows, and obtaining copyright permissions for all forms of published and unpublished materials requested by all NWC faculty and staff.

This federal (GS) position is open to all qualified U.S. citizens.  See USAJOBS announcement for requirements.  Salary is competitive and commensurate with qualifications and experience; position includes a full federal benefits package.

Applications will be made online at USAJobs. USAJobs postings are typically open for only five days.  To find job openings at the Naval War College search on the keywords Naval War College or Newport Rhode Island. Individuals interested in this position can learn more about the application process by visiting USAJobs and can begin by creating their account and uploading their resume. 

The Naval War College is an Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action Employer.

For additional information about the position please contact Lori Brostuen, Library Deputy Director at 401-841-2642 or email"

U.S.-China Feud Ensnares Obscure UN Intellectual Property Agency; Bloomberg, February 16, 2020

, Bloomberg; U.S.-China Feud Ensnares Obscure UN Intellectual Property Agency

"“The race for WIPO leadership has become the moment the U.S. woke up to the fact China is eating our lunch in the multilateral system and that great-power competition will be fought out in many theaters, including UN agencies,” said Daniel Runde, the director of the Project on Prosperity and Development at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “WIPO may seem obscure, but it’s a standard-maker and holds hundreds of billions of our trade secrets in its digital vaults.”"

Thursday, February 13, 2020

How To Teach Artificial Intelligence; Forbes, February 12, 2020

Tom Vander Ark, Forbes; How To Teach Artificial Intelligence

"Artificial intelligence—code that learns—is likely to be humankind’s most important invention. It’s a 60-year-old idea that took off five years ago when fast chips enabled massive computing and sensors, cameras, and robots fed data-hungry algorithms...

A World Economic Forum report indicated that 89% of U.S.-based companies are planning to adopt user and entity big data analytics by 2022, while more than 70% want to integrate the Internet of Things, explore web and app-enabled markets, and take advantage of machine learning and cloud computing.

Given these important and rapid shifts, it’s a good time to consider what young people need to know about AI and information technology. First, everyone needs to be able to recognize AI and its influence on people and systems, and be proactive as a user and citizen. Second, everyone should have the opportunity to use AI and big data to solve problems. And third, young people interested in computer science as a career should have a pathway for building AI...

The MIT Media Lab developed a middle school AI+Ethics course that hits many of these learning objectives. It was piloted by Montour Public Schools outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which has incorporated the three-day course in its media arts class."

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Acting U.S. Copyright Register Maria Strong: All Eyes on Modernization; IP Watchdog, February 10, 2020

Michelle Sara King, IP Watchdog; Acting U.S. Copyright Register Maria Strong: All Eyes on Modernization

"With IP champions in Congress turning their attention away from patent reform and toward copyright this year, IPWatchdog took the opportunity to interview Acting U.S. Register of Copyrights Maria Strong shortly after she assumed her new role."

David Gooder appointed USPTO Commissioner for Trademarks; United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), February 5, 2020

Press Release, United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO); David Gooder appointed USPTO Commissioner for Trademarks

"The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) announced today that U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross has appointed David Gooder to be the new Commissioner for Trademarks. As Commissioner, Gooder will be responsible for oversight of all aspects of the USPTO’s Trademarks organization.

Gooder has worked for more than 25 years on intellectual property (IP) and brand protection challenges facing iconic global brands. Gooder will begin his new role on March 2, 2020."

Sunday, February 9, 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has exposed the deep flaws of Xi’s autocracy; The Guardian, February 9, 2020

Richard McGregor, The Guardian; The coronavirus outbreak has exposed the deep flaws of Xi’s autocracy

"The authoritarian strictures of the Chinese party state place a premium on the control of information in the name of maintaining stability. In such a system, lower-level officials have no incentive to report bad news up the line. Under Xi, such restrictions have grown tighter.

In Wuhan, Li and seven of his fellow doctors had been talking among themselves in an internet chat group about a new cluster of viral infections. They stopped after being warned by police. By the time the authorities reacted and quarantined the city, it was too late.

Li was neither a dissident nor a pro-democracy activist seeking to overthrow the Communist party. But he was risking jail to even discuss the virus. For in Xi’s China, the professional classes – doctors, lawyers, journalists and the like – all must subsume their skills and ethics to the political directives of the moment."

How This CEO Is Streamlining The Copyright Process For Independent Artists; Forbes, January 27, 2020

Cheryl Robinson, Forbes; How This CEO Is Streamlining The Copyright Process For Independent Artists

"Jessica Sobhraj, cofounder and CEO of Cosynd, is on a mission to be the central hub that creators use to protect their work. The company designed a platform that automates copyright contracts and registrations for independent creators and businesses by working in conjunction with the U.S. Copyright Office. The company has simplified the process of documenting crucial ownership data and filing copyright registrations of all types of content – music, videos, imagery and literature...

“There's so many times when you're just going to hear ‘no’ in your face,” Sobhraj concludes. “You're going to be rejected and you're going to be let down. You've got to build tough skin, especially to make it in the music industry or the creative industry in general. You've got to be able to take criticism and turn it into something positive.”"

Saturday, February 8, 2020

Putting China in charge of the world’s intellectual property is a bad idea; The Washington Post, Janaury 30, 2020

"Beijing is lobbying hard to take over leadership of the international organization that oversees intellectual property, which could result in dire consequences for the future of technology and economic competition. But the U.S.-led effort to prevent this from happening faces a steep uphill climb.

In March, 83 countries will vote to elect the next director general of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a U.N.-created body founded in 1967 “to promote the protection of intellectual property throughout the world.” The Chinese candidate, Wang Binying, currently serves as one of its four deputy director-generals and is widely seen as the front-runner.

On its face, allowing China to assume leadership of the WIPO poses a clear risk to the integrity of the institution, given that the U.S. government has singled out China as the leading source of intellectual property theft in the world."

Friday, February 7, 2020

Disney CEO apologizes after elementary school is fined for Lion King showing; The Verge, February 6, 2020

, The Verge; Disney CEO apologizes after elementary school is fined for Lion King showing

"Movie Licensing USA, a licensing firm that works with Disney and a number of other companies, sent an email to Emerson Elementary, letting it know the firm was alerted to the PTA’s screening, and the school was facing a $250 fine as a result for showing a movie for which it didn’t have the licensing rights. The email, which was obtained by CNN, noted that “any time a movie is shown outside of the home, legal permission is needed to show it, as it is considered a Public Performance.”...

There are a number of unanswered questions. How did Movie Licensing USA even find out about the event? Who alerted the company to a small fundraising event, which led the firm to take action? Disney is notorious for its copyright takedown strategy, but it’s usually over parts of its movies ending up on YouTube or other hosting sites or merchandise using characters from its properties — not a fundraising event where a movie purchased by a local father was shown. 

At least Iger is trying to rectify the situation. But it doesn’t answer any of the questions listed above. The Verge has reached out to Disney and Movie Licensing USA for more information."

Saturday, February 1, 2020

It wasn’t just the National Archives. The Library of Congress also balked at a Women’s March photo.; The Washington Post, January 31, 2020

"The Library of Congress abandoned plans last year to showcase a mural-size photograph of demonstrators at the 2017 Women’s March in Washington because of concerns it would be perceived as critical of President Trump, according to emails obtained by The Washington Post...
Slayton said the decision to remove the photograph was made by leadership of the library’s Center for Exhibits and Interpretation. “No outside entities reviewed this exhibition’s content before it opened or opined on its content,” the spokeswoman wrote.

Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden was informed of the decision soon after and supported it, Slayton said. Hayden, who is in the fourth year of her 10-year term, was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2016 and confirmed by the Senate."

Friday, January 31, 2020

A whole class of Georgia state troopers was fired after cheating on an exam; The Washington Post, January 30, 2020

"An entire class of Georgia state troopers was compelled to hand over their badges after investigators found that they had cheated on an academy radar test, officials say.
Thirty members of the 106th Georgia State Patrol trooper class were removed from the force after an investigation found all of them had cheated on an exam that tests cadets on how to operate speed-detection technology."

Users Lament PAIR Changes During USPTO Forum; IP Watchdog, January 30, 2020

Eileen McDermott, IP Watchdog; Users Lament PAIR Changes During USPTO Forum

"Jamie Holcombe, Chief Information Officer at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), seemed surprised to learn on Wednesday that both the Public and Private versions of the USPTO’s Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) System have serious issues that are making workflows untenable for users.

Holcombe was participating in a public Forum on the PAIR system, where USPTO staff listened to stakeholders’ experiences since the Office implemented major security changes to the system on November 15, 2019. “The USPTO disabled the ability to look up public cases outside of a customer number using Private PAIR,” explained Shawn Lillemo, Software Product Manager at Harrity LLP, who attended the Forum. “Most patent professionals prior to the change could retrieve all the PAIR information they needed from Private PAIR. That is no longer true.”"

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Pitt researcher’s work featured by U.S. Patent & Trademark Office; Trib Live, November 12, 2019

Patrick Varine, Trib Live; Pitt researcher’s work featured by U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

"Rory Cooper, who was recognized earlier this year by the office with a trading card created to honor U.S. inventors, holds more than two dozen patents related to mobility-improvement research. Cooper is the director at Pitt’s Human Energy Research Laboratories, a U.S. Army veteran and also serves as director of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Research Foundation...

Cooper was recognized in the patent office’s SUCCESS report, an update on progress achieved through the 2018 Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act. The act aims to promote patent applications by women, minorities, veterans, the disabled and other underrepresented classes.

“Without diversity of thought, potentially life changing work for wheel chair users and others with disabilities might not be possible,” Cooper said. “We have a world-class team at our labs that is committed to helping people with disabilities and older adults live full lives and contribute to society as much as they can and they like.”"

Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act of 2018; U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, October 2019

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, October 2019; Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act of 2018.

"America’s long-standing economic prosperity and global technological leadership depend on a strong and vibrant innovation ecosystem. To maximize the nation’s potential, it is critically important that all Americans have the opportunity to innovate, seek patent protection for their inventions, start new companies, succeed in established companies, and achieve the American dream. 

The Study of Underrepresented Classes Chasing Engineering and Science Success (SUCCESS) Act of 2018 directed the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), in consultation with the administrator of the Small Business Administration, to prepare a report that: 
  • Identifies publicly available data on the number of patents annually applied for and obtained by women, minorities, and veterans 
  • Identifies publicly available data on the benefits of increasing the number of patents applied for and obtained by women, minorities, and veterans and the small businesses owned by them
  • Provides legislative recommendations for how to promote the participation of women, minorities, and veterans in entrepreneurship activities and increase the number of women, minorities, and veterans who apply for and obtain patents. 

Final report to Congress

The USPTO's SUCCESS Act report was transmitted to Congress on October 31, 2019. Among its major findings:
  • A review of literature and data sources found that there is a limited amount of publicly available information regarding the participation rates of women, minorities, and veterans in the patent system.
  • The bulk of the existing literature focuses on women, with a very small number of studies focused on minorities, and only some qualitative historical information on U.S. veteran inventor-patentees.
  • One of the most comprehensive studies focused on women inventor-patentees is "Progress and Potential: a profile of women inventors on U.S. patents," a report published by the USPTO in February 2019. It found that women comprised 12% of all inventors named on U.S. patents granted in 2016, up from 5% in the mid-1980s.
  • Overall, there is a need for additional information to determine the participation rates of women, minorities, and veterans in the patent system.
  • The report concludes with a list of six new USPTO initiatives and five legislative recommendations for increasing the participation of women, minorities, and veterans as inventor-patentees and entrepreneurs."

Libraries will champion an open future for scholarship; Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, January 29, 2020

Keith Webster, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette;

Libraries will champion an open future for scholarship

Open access deals help make knowledge and education accessible to the working class

"All of us who work in academic libraries here in Pittsburgh and around the world aspire to improve the quality of science and scholarship. It’s increasingly clear that this can best be done through the open exchange of ideas and data, which can accelerate the pace and reach of scientific discovery.

The desire of researchers and their funders to make their research freely available to all is evident. As a result, the acceptance of open access publishing and article sharing services has soared in recent years. Meanwhile, the rapidly escalating journal costs experienced by libraries over the past 25 years are agreed to be unsustainable. It is against this backdrop that Carnegie Mellon University is establishing open access agreements with top journal publishers, with a special focus on the the fields of science and computing."

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

A Citizen of the World Retires; University of Pittsburgh, January 29, 2020

University of Pittsburgh; A Citizen of the World Retires

"After a 54-year career at Pitt, E. Maxine Bruhns announced her retirement earlier this month as director of the Nationality Rooms and Intercultural Exchange Programs at age 96.

Born in West Virginia in 1924, Bruhns is considered at Pitt as a “citizen of the world”—growing the Nationality Rooms into a collection of 31 mini-museums representing the immigrant populations of Pittsburgh and their contributions to the city. Today, the rooms are collectively designated a historical landmark by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation.

“The Nationality Rooms are, and will forever be, linked to the identity of the city of Pittsburgh. Maxine has been absolutely instrumental in this achievement,” said Ariel C. Armony, vice provost for global affairs and director of the University Center for International Studies (UCIS), which houses the Nationality Rooms. “This is her legacy.”"

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Five Ways Companies Can Adopt Ethical AI; Forbes, January 23, 2020

Kay Firth-Butterfield, Head of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, World Economic Forum, Forbes; Five Ways Companies Can Adopt Ethical AI

"In 2014, Stephen Hawking said that AI would be humankind’s best or last invention. Six years later, as we welcome 2020, companies are looking at how to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) in their business to stay competitive. The question they are facing is how to evaluate whether the AI products they use will do more harm than good...

Here are five lessons for the ethical use of AI."

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Listening Session on Appointment of Next Register of Copyrights; The Library of Congress, January 2020

The Library of Congress 

"Listening Session on Appointment of Next Register of Copyrights

At 10:00 AM on Tuesday at the Library of Congress, Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Mumford Room (LM-649), Washington, D.C. 20540.

On January 5, Maria Strong’s tenure as Acting Register of Copyrights and Director of the U.S. Copyright Office began a few weeks after her appointment by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. This event will be the first of two listening sessions hosted by the Library of Congress this week to explore the appointment of the next Register of Copyrights to take over the position full-time after Karyn Temple stepped away from the Copyright Office in December. The session will feature a briefing from Librarian Hayden and Copyright Office staff on the selection process and will include time for comments and questions from attendees."

Monday, January 20, 2020

A Practical Guide for Building Ethical Tech; January 20, 2020

Zvika Krieger, Wired;

A Practical Guide for Building Ethical Tech

Companies are hiring "chief ethics officers," hoping to regain public trust. The World Economic Forum's head of technology policy has a few words of advice.

""Techlash," the rising public animosity toward big tech companies and their impacts on society, will continue to define the state of the tech world in 2020. Government leaders, historically the stewards of protecting society from the impacts of new innovations, are becoming exasperated at the inability of traditional policymaking to keep up with the unprecedented speed and scale of technological change. In that governance vacuum, corporate leaders are recognizing a growing crisis of trust with the public. Rising consumer demands and employee activism require more aggressive self-regulation.

In response, some companies are creating new offices or executive positions, such as a chief ethics officer, focused on ensuring that ethical considerations are integrated across product development and deployment. Over the past year, the World Economic Forum has convened these new “ethics executives” from over 40 technology companies from across the world to discuss shared challenges of implementing such a far-reaching and nebulous mandate. These executives are working through some of the most contentious issues in the public eye, and ways to drive cultural change within organizations that pride themselves on their willingness to “move fast and break things.”"

Sunday, January 19, 2020

The National Archives was wrong to alter history. Fortunately, it reversed course.; The Washington Post, January 18, 2020

Editorial Board, The Washington Post; The National Archives was wrong to alter history. Fortunately, it reversed course.

"This editorial has been updated.

IN AN era of “fake news,” “alternative facts” and other assaults on the very idea of truth, you would expect the National Archives — devoted to the preservation of the nation’s history — to be at the forefront of those pushing back. “The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) is the nation’s record keeper,” the government agency proudly announces on its website. How utterly depressing it was, then, to discover on Friday that the Archives had gone into the business of altering history.

And how reassuring to read the Archives’ forthright — and, for Washington, extraordinary — statement on Saturday: “We made a mistake. . . . We have removed the current display. . . . We apologize.”

The Post’s Joe Heim reported Friday that the Archives made numerous alterations to a photograph included in an exhibit dedicated to the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. The photo shows the massively attended Women’s March held in January 2017 to protest President Trump’s inauguration. But Archives curators altered signs being carried by the women to delete references to Mr. Trump — and thereby they seriously distorted the meaning of the event. “A placard that proclaims ‘God Hates Trump’ has ‘Trump’ blotted out so that it reads ‘God Hates,’ ” The Post reported. But “God Hates” was not the message of the protester carrying that sign. Another sign that reads “Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women” has the word ‘Trump” blurred out.

In their initial weak defense, Archives officials noted that they had not altered articles they preserve for safekeeping, only a photograph for a temporary exhibit. We did not find that reassuring, as we said in the first published version of this editorial. Photo alteration long has been the preserve of authoritarian governments, most famously Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, who erased comrades from historical photographs one by one as he had them executed.

The United States government should never play the same game, even on a small scale. The goal in this case may have been not to irritate the snowflake in chief residing up Pennsylvania Avenue from the Archives. After all, the Women’s March harks back to one of the foundational lies of the Trump presidency, when he falsely insisted, and insisted that his officials likewise falsely insist, that his inauguration crowd was the largest of all time. Mr. Trump’s refusal to back down then set the pattern for his presidency: Lies are acceptable, and evidence can be ignored.

Rather than remind anyone of such unpleasantness, the Archives chose to falsify history and pretend that the Women’s March had nothing to do with Mr. Trump. That, as we wrote, offered a terrible lesson to young visitors to the exhibit about how democracies deal with news, with history — with truth.

Now the Archives has presented a far more uplifting lesson. Admitting and correcting a mistake are usually a lot harder for any of us than erring in the first place. But in their statement, officials did not flinch. The Archives will replace the altered image “as soon as possible with one that uses the unaltered image. We apologize, and will immediately start a thorough review of our exhibit policies and procedures so that this does not happen again.”

Good for them."