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All posts by Andrew Rens

Andrew Rens is an expert on law and technology who contributed to Memeburn and Ventureburn from 2010-12.
  • Q&A with Pria Chetty: Tech law, bright young minds and Geneva

    Pria Chetty is a rising star in the world of technology law. Memeburn recently spoke to her about the legal challenges which abound in delivering the benefits of IT to all South Africans, the future of internet regulation on the African continent and her goal of adding "a credible African voice to global tech law conversations". Andrew Rens: How did you get into tech law? Pria Chetty: In 2000 I saw a...

  • Q & A with Heather Ford: Makmende, Web Ethnography and Ostrich

    Heather Ford was recently selected as one of the 10 most influential women in science and technology in Africa by IT News Africa. Andrew Rens caught up with her for a Q & A session. AR: What have you done with your life since you and I met on a misty day in the Stanford Law School canteen to discuss starting Creative Commons South Africa? HF: That was eight years ago! And it changed my life! I was a fellow at the Reuters Digital Vision Fellowship Program at Stanford at the time. I spent the year working on conflict management tools...

  • How to find the right lawyer for your startup

    Choosing a tech-savvy lawyer for your startup isn't easy, but it's critical that you find the right person. Not all-self proclaimed web startup lawyers are equal, and some can do more harm than good. Figuring out how code and law fit together requires a great deal of curiosity and experience, and an ability to see the big picture. You will often find 21st-century lawyers playing with new technologies that don't have an obvious business case for lawyers, yet. They are just curious. The best lawyers for startups that I know move easily between worlds; helping non-profits that fight for a...

  • Q&A with Eve Gray: The Kindle, iPad, WWII and the future of publishing

    It is (too) easy to categorise reactionary attitudes like Nadine Gordimer opining that deadtree books are better than screens as a generation thing. It’s easy to assume that an appreciation of new technologies is a generation thing, that an entire generation gets it, but that previous ones don't. I don't think it’s a generation thing, I think it’s a generative thing. There are those who understand the generative potential of new tech and those who don't. Some of those who don't are 18, some of those who don't run tech companies, although perhaps not for much longer. To show...

  • The Fall of the 1000-year Copy Reich

    Is unintentional self parody an art form? Constantin Films, production company of an otherwise obscure movie entitled the 'Der Untergang' ('Downfall'), which spawned an internet meme, has certainly taken self parody to new heights (or is that depths?). The clip from the film which shows Hitler, exasperated by the inability of his generals to stem the advance of the Allied Forces throwing a spectacular tantrum, has been remixed so that subtitles have Hitler raving about anything from the difficulties of migrating from XP to Windows Vista, to having trouble getting tickets to Billy Elliot the musical. The clip isn't bad...

  • Open is the new black

    Open is a paradigm shift about how society is organised around simple rules that enable distributed co-operation, which breeds innovation and creates value. Open systems reduce transaction costs, allow interoperability and re-use. But open is opposed by a host of restrictive laws and practices, software patents, digital rights management and anti-circumvention provisions. An ever increasing number of open memes are changing our world. Open Source; Open Access; Open Standards; Open Licences; Open Innovation; Open Business; Open Spectrum; Open Data. What makes something open? A system is open when it uses simple rules to enable self-organisation in place of restrictive commands and controls that disable sharing. I make something, and...