Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Who Knew There Was a Market for Nude Photos of Barbie Menaced by Kitchen Appliances? Rejecting a trademark and copyright infringement lawsuit brought by Mattel, the Ninth Circuit held the photos to be protected free speech.
UHaul Brought Suit in the Wrong Court... A federal judge in New York has issued an injunction against WhenU.com in a trademark infringement action brought by 1-800 Contacts.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Dutch Court: Kaaza Not Liable for Copyright Infringement The AP has this report, while Reuters has this report on the ruling.
Set Back for RIAA A federal appeals court has ruled that the RIAA cannot use DMCA subpoenas to obtain the identity of P2P users. The AP has this report on the ruling, and this analysis of the impact.

Wednesday, December 17, 2003

They May Be Infringers, But They Have Damn Good Shakes CNN has a report about a trademark dispute between Chicago's Billy Goat tavern, which uses the slogan "Cheezborger, Cheezborger," and the Florida-based chain Cheeburger Cheeburger. The Cheeburger Cheeburger in Richmond has an excellent Cotton Candy milkshake. Haven't found one of their restaurants up here in DC yet, though.
SCO Wins Battle to Protect Code The judge in SCO's patent infringement case against IBM has ruled that SCO's code will be protected from disclosure to the public.
Phillips to Introduce New DRM System Wired reports in "No, Really, You Can't Copy These."
The Ins and Outs of Buying Foreign Films Wired reports on the intricacies of copyright law for aficionados of foreign martial arts films here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

This is What Happens When You Adopt Patented Technology for Industry Standards C-Net reports that "CD-burning software prompts patent suit."
More Copyright News From Our Neighbors to the North C-Net is reporting that "Canada deems P2P downloading legal."

Monday, December 15, 2003

Score One for Microsoft PCWorld.com reports that "Lindows.com Ordered to Change Name."
Copyright Fees in the Great White North The Globe and Mail reports that "Copyright Board freezes music-media levies," while Reuters reports that "Canada Slaps Copyright Levy on MP3 Players."
First it was the Rat Olympics. Now it's the Robolympics. Robolympics founder David Calkins has received a cease and desist letter from the United States Olympic Committee demanding his group stop using the word "olympic" to describe a robotics competition.
Link Earns Kung Fu Fansite Cease and Desist Letter from Miramax Wired has this report.

Saturday, December 13, 2003

Guess There's No First Amendment in Alphaville Salon has an interesting article on Peter Ludlow, real-world academic and Sims Online muckraker, who apparently published one too many criticisms of Electronic Arts in his Alphaville Herald.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Jackson 4 Reach Copyright Settlement E! Online is reporting that four of the Jackson brothers (minus embattled Michael) have reached a tentative settlement in two copyright infringement cases brought by producer Gordon Keith and R&B group Ripples & Waves.
Say Goodbye Reuters is reporting that "Voyeur Web Site JenniCam to Go Dark After 7 Years."

Friday, December 05, 2003

Trademarks and the Nonprofit The Christian Science Monitor discusses branding and nonprofits in the article "Smaller nonprofits latch on to logos." Would have made a great link to include in my article "What Every Nonprofit Needs to Know About Trademark Law."
Google Brings Trademark Declaratory Judgment Action Reuters is reporting that Google has asked a U.S. District Court judge in San Jose, California to decide whether Google's keyword advertising constitutes trademark infringement.

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

CA Court Transfers RIAA Suit to DC C-Net has this report about a California District Court's decision to transfer the suit filed by SBC against the RIAA to challenge the latter's file-swapping subpoenas to the District of Columbia.
Presidential Candidate Dennis Kucinich Calls for Inquiry into Diebold C-Net has this report.
DeCSS Redux Reuters reports that "DVD 'Hacker' Pleads Not Guilty in Piracy Appeal."

Monday, December 01, 2003

Diebold Sees the Light The AP is reporting that Diebold has promised not to file copyright infringement actions against dozens of students, computer scientists and ISP operators that posted internal company memoranda regarding flaws in Diebold's electronic voting systems.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Monday, November 24, 2003

He Asked So Nicely... Dan Fingerman, a 2003 Boston Law School Grad, has a new blog, DTM :<|. And you gotta like someone who can use alliteration.
Red Hat Trademark Policy Prompts Opposition InfoWorld is reporting that researchers at UVa and Cornell plan to oppose Red Hat's trademark application for the mark FEDORA, based on their prior use of the mark for their digital management system. The researchers are concerned that Red Hat would attempt to prevent them from using the mark should Red Hat's mark be registered.

Friday, November 21, 2003

Court Hearing on SBC's Challenge to the RIAA's Subpoenas Today C-Net has this report.
They Just Can't Get a Break After being sued by one of Hunton's clients, the AP is reporting that EBay and PayPal now face another patent infringement lawsuit from AT&T. Reuters has this report.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Anti-Diebold Forces Have Their Day in Court Following up on a post a bit further down, C-Net has this report about oral arguments in a case brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society seeking to block further DMCA claims by the e-voting software firm.
New EU Copyright Law Takes Effect in UK Today Vnunet.com has this report about the European Union Copyright Directive which took affect at the end of October and makes it a crime to copy a copyrighted DVD, CD or music file, even for personal use. How many US lawyers would be quoted in the press calling the law an "ass"?

Monday, November 17, 2003

What is "Effective" DRM? In a classic chicken-or-the-egg formulation, Rob Semaan, head of US-based company 321 Studios, has put forth a novel interpretation of the new European copyright law that contains anti-circumvention provisions similar to the DMCA. The European law makes it a copyright violation to circumvent "effective" digital rights management technology. According to Semaan, the technology isn't "effective" if it can be broken. Which leads to the question: if Semaan's interpretation is correct ($20 says the judge laughs it out of court), how would you ever violate the anti-circumvention provisions? Seems the technology would only be "effective" if the would-be hacker was unable to crack it, and thus unable to distribute technology to circumvent it.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Inspiration for Flashdance Sues J.Lo We've all heard the canard that everyone in the world is connected within six degrees of separation (probably less if they've ever worked with Kevin Bacon). But a new lawsuit poses the question: how many degrees removed from the original can a work be and still violate the right of publicity? Maureen Marder was the real-life inspiration for 1983's Flashdance. J.Lo decides to turn the video for her single "I'm Glad" into an homage to the movie. Maureen Mauder sues J.Lo. What if I did a parody of the homage to the movie about Maureen Mauder's life?

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

P2P Monitoring Activities Said to Violate Altnet Patent C-Net reports that Altnet has been sending cease and desist letters to nine companies that monitor file-trading networks, accusing them of violating its patent rights. I'm waiting for the inevitable DMCA claim once someone begins encrypting P2P user information.
Gives "Keep Your Enemies Closer" a Whole New Meaning C-Net is reporting on a move by chief executives of LinkedIn and Tribe.net, who are not only competitors of Friendster but also investors, to buy a patent they call a key asset in the battle for the nascent social networking market.
Browser Plug-in Patent under Scrutiny C-Net reports that "Patent office to re-examine Eolas patent".
Global Webcast License Introduced Reuters has this report.

Friday, November 07, 2003

Arrested Development II E! Online has this report about Arrested Development's trademark infringement lawsuit against Fox. Of course, I'm still wondering why they waited until the show was on the air to bring a lawsuit, since I've been reading about the show for months. Maybe they're looking for a pay out?

Thursday, November 06, 2003

What Goes Around, Comes Around The band Arrested Development has sued Fox for trademark infringement over the name of Fox's recently-debuted sitcom "Arrested Development." Looks like my old firm has been tapped as local counsel for Fox. And what's with everyone filing trademark infringement suits in state court? Not sure why they want to stay there, but they've certainly done all they could by adding the local Fox affiliate as a defendant to defeat diversity jurisdiction.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Guess They're Not a Fan of Bob Marley Reuters has this report about a Canadian lawyer who faces possible disbarment for singing Bob Marley's "I Shot the Sherrif" in the hallway during a break in his client's murder trial for shooting and killing a police officer.
Maybe They Should Call it White Whale Beer The AP is reporting that a federal judge has ruled against a New Hampshire brewery attempting to sell "Billy Budd" beer, named for the title character from Herman Melville's posthumously published work, "Billy Budd, Sailor (An Inside Narrative)," on the grounds that the name is confusingly similar to Budweiser's BUD trademark.
Will This Hurt Their Ability to Show Irreparable Harm? Reuters has this report on how some companies, at the direction of major entertainment firms, are using the same P2P networks the RIAA is trying to shut down for marketing purposes, in some cases even deliberately releasing copyrighted content onto the network.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Do You Trust These Guys with an Election? The New York Times has an article about the controversy surrounding the distribution on the Internet of internal memos from Diebold Election Systems, that include discussions of bugs in Diebold’s software and warnings that its computer network are poorly protected against hackers. Donna has a rundown of the issue here.

Friday, October 31, 2003

There's a Blog for Everything Check out the Open Source Software Law Blog. Or Unsecure Privacy.
Lessig Has a New Guest Blogger Presidential candidate Senator Edwards will be taking over blogging duties at Lessig's Blog next week.
UK Cracks Down on P2P Reuters has this report about a new copyright law that has taken effect in the UK, designed to curb the exchange of copyrighted files on the Internet.
Here We Go Again The AP is reporting that the RIAA has filed an additional 80 lawsuits against P2P music downloaders.

Thursday, October 30, 2003

Copyright Office Issues Rulemaking in Lexmark DMCA Case The Globe and Mail has this report on the Copyright Office's recent rulemaking on Lexmark's suit against Static Control Components, which alleged that SCC violated the DMCA by making components for use in remanufactured laser printer toner cartridges. C-Net has this report. Bag and Baggage has a pretty good rundown of the opinion.

Wednesday, October 29, 2003

Library of Congress Grants DMCA Exemptions C-Net is reporting that the Library of Congress has approved four exemptions to the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA:
• Lists of sites blocked by commercial Internet filtering software, but not spam-fighting lists.
• Computer programs protected by hardware dongles that are broken or obsolete.
• Computer programs or video games that use obsolete formats or hardware.
• E-books that prevent read-aloud or other handicapped access formats from functioning.
Alphabet Soup: SCO Challenges GPL in IBM Suit C-Net is reporting that SCO has launched a broadside attack against the General Public License ("GPL") in its lawsuit against IBM, claiming that the "GPL violates the U.S. Constitution, together with copyright, antitrust and export control laws."
Disney Gets Chance to Keep Pooh Rights Reuters is reporting that the federal district judge presiding over Clare Milne's attempts to regain rights to the Winnie the Pooh franchise, based on the character created by her grandfather, has agreed to certify her adverse May ruling for interlocutory appeal. Milne has struck a deal with Disney whereby Disney will be allowed to continue selling Pooh merchandise if Milne's appeal is successful.
Attention Patent Practitioners The FTC has presented Congress with a proposal that would lower the standard for proving patent invalidity from "clear and convincing" evidence to a preponderance of the evidence.

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Get Your Copies of Ghettopoly While You Can... The AP is reporting that Hasbro, makers of Monopoly, have sued the maker of Ghettopoly, claiming trademark and copyright infringement. Somehow, I think they'll have more luck getting a preliminary injunction than Caterpillar did...
It's Raining... Copyright Infringement Lawsuits? Launch is reporting that a lawsuit has been filed against Enrique Iglesias, alleging that he copied the music for his song "Escape" from a song by Henry Lorenzo Haynes called "Remind Me." And E! Online is reporting that Miami-based producer Terrence "T-Robb" Robinson is suing Destiny's Child, claiming that the music to the group's hit "Survivor" is a rip off of Robinson's song "Glorious."

Tuesday, October 21, 2003

If it Looks too Good to be True... The New York Times is reporting on a disappointed group of customers that thought they were buying Tiffany heart-shaped pendant necklaces for half the usual price from the bargain Web site Overstock.com, only to find out the necklaces were fake. Tiffany plans to sue.
George of the Jungle 2 to Move Ahead as Planned The AP is reporting that a federal district court has rejected Caterpillar's request for a preliminary injunction against distribution of the new Disney movie George of the Jungle 2.

Monday, October 20, 2003

Hope You Didn't Buy the DVD for the Music... Reuters has an interesting story about the problems facing studios trying to release popular television shows on DVD. Apparently, the cost of licensing many of the songs that appeared on the television shows is cost prohibitive, requiring studios to replace the music before release. Which is too bad. I, for one, found several new bands by watching Felicity and Dawson's Creek. And yes, I actually bought the CDs.
3rd Circuit Upholds Webcasting Royalties The Third Circuit Court of Appeals has sided with the RIAA, holding that the Copyright Office correctly determined that radio stations are required to pay a digital recording license when they stream their AM/FM broadcasts over the Internet.
Google Hit with Trademark Infringement Fine in France Reuters is reporting that a French judge has fined Google over the practice of allowing advertisers to link text Internet advertisements to trademarked search terms, and has ordered Google to cease the practice within 30 days.

Friday, October 17, 2003

Do They Actually Expect Anyone to See the Movie? Looks like Caterpillar didn't learn anything from the Fox and Slip 'n' Slide suits. Reuters is reporting that the construction equipment manufacturer has filed a trademark infringement suit against Disney over the made-for-video movie George of the Jungle2, alleging that the movie's depiction of "bulldozing bullies" riding Caterpillar equipment will create a negative image of the manufacturer in the minds of the children that view the movie. All 10 of them.

Friday, October 10, 2003

If You Don't Like Their Review, Sue
SunnComm Technologies Inc. (not to be confused with SunCom, the cell phone carrier) is suing Princeton graduate student Alex Halderman over an article he posted of a digitally protected CD, in which Halderman asserted that SunnComm's MediaMax CD-3 software could be defeated by pressing "Shift" while the disc was inserted into the computer. SunnComm alleges that Halderman violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act when he disclosed the existence of driver files loaded by SunnComm's software onto the user's computer, the deletion of which prevents SunnComm's software from protecting the contents of the CD from copying.

Not So Fast C-Net is reporting that SunnComm has decided not to sue.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003

Another Company Stands Up to the RIAA Reuters is reporting that Charter Communications, a broadband service provider, has sued the RIAA, seeking to block it from gaining access to the names of Charter customers accused to illegally trading copyrighted music. Anyone betting on whether it will be more successful than Verizon's challenge?
Talking Book Wars The AP is reporting that LeapFrog Enterprises has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Mattel Inc.'s Fisher-Price, alleging that Fisher-Price's new PowerTouch Learning System infringes on a 1998 patent on interactive learning books for toddlers and preschoolers. Who knew talking books were such a big industry?
I'm Back! After moving a few hours north and changing jobs, I finally have Internet access again. So I'll try to catch up on some of the stuff I missed.

Tuesday, September 23, 2003

RIAA Sues File Trading System C-Net reports that "RIAA sues iMesh file-trading firm."
They're At it Again IP Justice has a report on another case filed by the movie studios to block distribution of DVD copying software.
Hotel Sued Over Use of Dewey Decimal System Who knew that the Dewey Decimal System was trademarked? And how do you trademark a system, anyway? The New York Times is reporting that the "owners" of the Dewey Decimal System trademark have sued the owners of the Library Hotel in New York for using the system without a license. This is one complaint I would love to read, since I have a feeling that the write up probably isn't capturing the whole issue.
JetBlue Data Transfer Backfires The
AP is reporting that a group of JetBlue passengers has sued the airline for providing historical flight data to a Defense Department contractor testing the new Homeland Security Airline Passenger Risk Assessment system.

Thursday, September 18, 2003

Senators Balk at Brownback Proposals Reuters reports that several members of the Senate Commerce Committee have indicated a reluctance to change the existing digital copyright laws.
More DVD Suits Reuters reports that "Film Studios Sue Over DVD Copying Software."

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

More on Grokster Appeal Reuters reports that "Grokster, Morpheus File Briefs in Song-Swap Appeal."
There Goes the RIAA's Favorite Chestnut Reuters is reporting that "Europe's Internet downloaders are avid music fans who own multiple gadgets and are as likely to buy a compact disc as anyone else, according to new research released on Wednesday."
Six Degrees of Separation on the Web The New York Times reports that "Setback for Microsoft Ripples Through the World Wide Web."
Internet Software Consortium to VeriSign's Site Finder: Get Lost! Wired details the Internet Software Consortium's plans to disable VeriSign's new Site Finder service, since the new feature "breaks" many ISP's spam filters. Marty has a report on the news here.
Follow Up on Garage Door DMCA Suit Wired has this report on the Chamberlain Group's lawsuit against Skylink Technologies, which alleges that Skylink's universal garage door opener violates the DMCA.
Brownback Proposes Greater Protections for Internet Users Wired has an article about a bill recently introduced by Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) which seeks to modify the DMCA by requiring owners of digital media to file a John Doe lawsuit before obtaining the contact information of an Internet user. In addition, Brownback's bill (entitled the Consumers, Schools, and Libraries Digital Rights Management Awareness Act of 2003) would require record companies to label all digital media protected by digital rights management measures.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Monsanto Sues Family Farms Wired has this report about Monsanto's recent lawsuit alleging that milk labels that boast "No rBST" or "rBST-free" are misleading, unfair and deceptive.
SBC Stands Firm The New York Times is reporting that ISP SBC Communications is the lone holdout, refusing to comply with the RIAA's subpoenas in the file sharing cases.
SCO Moves to Dismiss Red Hat Suit C-Net has this report.
Verizon Tries Again Verizon has filed an appeal of the district court order requiring it to turn over the identities of Verizon subscribers sought by the RIAA. In its court papers, Verizon challenges the constitutionality of the subpoena provisions of the DMCA. The AP has this report on oral arguments before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Monday, September 15, 2003

Beatles Management Sues Apple Over Use of "Apple" Trademark The Beatles Management company, Apple Corps., is suing Apple computer, claiming that Apple violated a 1991 agreement in which Apple agreed to limit its use of the "Apple" trademark to computer products. At issue is Apple's expansion of the Apple brand in connection with the new iTunes music service. My question is: does Apple Corp. actually use the word "Apple" as a trademark? While they have a federal registration for the mark (which they obtained in 1997), they seem to use it more as a business name than as an actual trademark or service mark. And who advised Apple to sign the 1991 agreement in the first place? I guess I'll have to stop using Apple as an example of a strong, arbitrary trademark now. More information about the suit can be found here.

Thursday, September 11, 2003

Kazaa Users Surprised by RIAA Lawsuits Wired has this report, entitled "Rude Awakening for File Sharers."
Reaction on Campus Reuters has this report on college students' reactions to the recent RIAA lawsuits.

Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Sun Seeks to Capitalize on SCO Threats C-net is reporting that Sun is considering offering Java customers indemnity from Linux-related lawsuits filed by SCO.
First Sale Doctrine in Cyberspace C-net has an interesting article about the intricacies of one man's attempt to resell a song bought from Apple's iTunes store.
Time to Move to Canada? No, this post isn't about our esteemed commander in chief. Globe and Mail is reporting that lawsuits like the ones recently filed by the RIAA may be less likely in Canada than the U.S., due to differences in the two countries' copyright laws.
Be Careful Before You File that Lawsuit Wired is reporting that EmarketersAmerica.org, which recently filed a lawsuit against a group of spam opponents, is having a difficult time extricating itself from the case. While EmarketersAmerica.org filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal last week, defendants are seeking a court order for $75,000 in legal fees.
Legal Challenge to RIAA Amnesty Plan Wired has this report on a legal challenge to the RIAA's amnesty plan, contending that the program could result in lawsuits from parties not represented by the RIAA.
More on Porn Wars in Pennsylvania In a follow up to one of the stories I posted the other day, the AP is reporting that "Pa. Won't Force Providers to Block Porn."
RIAA Suits in the News The AP has an article entitled "Music Download Suits Could Raise Backlash," and another one announcing that "Girl, 12, Settles Piracy Suit for $2,000." Reuters has this report on the settlement, while Wired has this report. The Washington Post has this report on the defendants in the RIAA suits. Finally, C-net has a fairly complete round-up of RIAA news here.

Tuesday, September 09, 2003

WooHoo! Completely off-topic, but Opus is returning! Cartoonist Berkeley Breathed will introduce a new comic, aptly entitled "Opus," in November. I still have the series of Outland strips featuring Mary Poppins and Pooh Bear somewhere...
From the Free Publicity Files The makers of Slip 'N Slide have guaranteed extra press for the new David Spade movie by suing the studio for trademark infringement over the inclusion of a scene in which Spade jumps belly first on the yellow plastic sheet without first inflating it with air and water. You gotta wonder about the mental acuity of the guy who sued Wham-O when he became paralyzed after diving onto the slide while intoxicated... And Reuters has a report here.
Good News for Gator A federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia has dismissed a lawsuit filed by U-Haul against the purveyors of pop-up ads, alleging that the ads infringed U-Haul's copyright and trademark rights.
Pornography Laws in the News Reuters is reporting that two civil liberties groups are challenging the anti-porn tactics of Pennsylvania's attorney general. Law.com reports here that the 2nd Circuit has ruled that the Protection of Children Against Sexual Exploitation Act of 1977, as amended, does not violate the commerce clause, even if the images are not shipped across state lines.
RIAA Sues... A Yale Professor? The AP has a story on the lawsuits recently filed by the RIAA, which, if the details are correct, seems to contradict the RIAA's assertion that they are only going after the most egregious file sharers. One comment though: what 26 year old in their right mind didn't know that file sharing was illegal, or at the very least, probably not a good idea? Reuters has this report and this report. And E!Online has this story. Finally, the New York Times has this commentary.

Thursday, September 04, 2003

Score 1 for IP Justice I've been asked to post about the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois' recent ruling in the case Chamberlain v. Skylink, which contains a good run-down of recent opinions under the DMCA. Chamberlain had brought a claim against Skylink under the DMCA, arguing that Skylink's competing garage door opener was an illegal circumvention device. Citing disputed issues of material fact, the Court denied Chamberlain's motion for a preliminary injunction. The Court also cited favorably amici briefs filed by CCIA and Consumers Union, which pointed out the stifling effect the DMCA has on innovation and competition under Chamberlain's theory. IP Justice has further details on the case here.
Typosquatters Beware The first charges have been filed under the new Amber Alert legislation, which makes it illegal to use misleading Internet URLs to lure children to pornographic websites. Who knew there was a Truth in Domain Names statute? The AP has a report here.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003

The Onion Takes on Trademark Disputes Online satire magazine The Onion has this spoof of recent trademark disputes. Thanks to Larry and Marty for the link.
RIAA Faces Legal Challenge The lawyers for a New York woman accused of copyright infringement by the RIAA have asked a federal magistrate to delay any order requiring her ISP to turn over her identity. In arguing for the delay, her lawyers have suggested that the RIAA acted illegally when investigating her online activities.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

Jeff Burgar At it Again Infamous cybersquatter Jeff Burgar has lost another one, this time to Pierce Brosnan over piercebrosnan.com.

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Ever Wondered How they Caught You? The AP has a story detailing the methods the RIAA has used to catch online music swappers.
It's a Great Time to be an RIAA Lawyer The AP is reporting that Webcaster Alliance has sued the RIAA. The move comes after the group, which represents online music broadcasters, was unable to reach an agreement with the RIAA on Internet broadcast royalties. The suit alleges antitrust violations, and seeks an injunction prohibiting the RIAA from enforcing their IP rights and collecting royalty payments.
Wait Just a Second, Honey. I Need to Call the Karma Sutra Hotline From the "What will they think of next?" files: A Brazilian company has begun offering a service that beams animations of sexual positions from the Karma Sutra directly to a user's mobile phone. The service costs $.33. Apparently, a similar service is already in place in Europe. Wait until the Bible Belt gets a load of this one...
Earthlink Sues Spammers Reuters is reporting that Earthlink has sued two spam "rings," located in Alabama and British Columbia, that allegedly flooded Earthlink's network with 250 million e-mails.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

5th Circuit: "You Gotta Suck da Head on dem der Crawfish" not Original In a decision sure to comfort Mystikal fans everywhere, Launch is reporting that the Fifth Circuit has cleared Mystikal of copyright infringement. The court ruled that Mystikal's hit "Shake Ya Ass" did not infringe on Emanation Inc.'s copyright in its handheld toy Cajun in Your Pocket, since the allegedly copyrighted phrases, including the ever-so-erudite "We gon pass a good time, yeah, cher" and "You gotta suck da head on dem der crawfish," were unoriginal, and thus not protected by copyright law.
Amazon Sues Spoofers The AP has this report on Amazon.com's lawsuit against 11 e-mail marketers that spoofed the company's domain name. You can find the AP report here.
Looking for Some New Songs? Reuters has a summary of new music services.
Final Franken Round-Up E! Online has their take here. Reuters has a report here. The AP has another report here. Finally, CNN has a report here.
DeCSS Update The California Supreme Court has ruled that a lower court's order to remove the DVD decryption code from the Internet does not violate the defendant's rights under the First Amendment. Reuters has another report here. The New York Times has an additional report here.

Monday, August 25, 2003

Surely There Was Extensive Third Party Use... The Atlanta Journal Constitution has a report on the recent decision in a trademark infringement case which held that the name EntrepreneurPR for a public relations firm infringed the trademark "Entrepreneur" for a magazine.
Fox Finally Gets a Clue The AP is reporting that Fox has dropped its lawsuit against Al Franken. Of course, they couldn't resist getting in a few snarky comments first.
Who's Responsible for the Fox/Franken Fracas? According to the New Yorker, responsibility for Fox's ill-fated lawsuit against Franken can be laid squarely at the feet of O'Reilly.
Franken Case Has them Laughing in the Aisles Despite the fact that Fox's lawyers judge Franken to be "increasingly unfunny," according to this New York Times report the oral argument on Fox's motion for a preliminary injunction against Franken was a lot more entertaining than most court hearings.

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Mixed Results from RIAA Crackdown The Washington Post has an article about a recent market research study which showed that, while the number of music downloaders has decreased by 28 percent since the RIAA began issuing ISP subpoenas, the average number of files downloaded by each household has actually increased by 6.7 percent.
Judge Puts the Smack Down on Fox I hope the term "Smack Down" isn't trademarked by the WWF... But E! Online is reporting that the judge in Fox's trademark infringement suit against Franken has rejected Fox's bid for a preliminary injunction, calling Fox's suit "wholly without merit, both factually and legally." Reuters has this report. Salon has a fairly extensive report here (subscription or day pass required to view the entire article).
Patent Infringement Suit Against Palm Reinstated Law.com is reporting that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has reinstated E-Pass Technologies Inc.'s patent infringement suit against Palm.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

More Chilling Effects Showing the need for efforts like Chilling Effects, Wired has this report on the parody site DontBuyMusic.com, which shut down after legal threats from BuyMusic.
RIAA Subpoena Fall Out Wired is reporting on the reaction to the RIAA's latest statements that it will target only "substantial" users of P2P for lawsuits.
Grokster Decision Appealed Reuters is reporting that the MPAA and RIAA have filed briefs in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals seeking to overturn the district court's grant of summary judgment to Grokster and Morpheus on claims of copyright infringement.
Internet Pundits Expect Fight Over Search Engines' Ad Scheme In an article that quotes Wendy, Reuters is reporting that a fight could be brewing over Google and Overture's sale of "paid listings" linked to companies' trademarks.

Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Administration Seeks to Defend PATRIOT Act The AP reports here that the Bush administration is sending Ashcroft around the country to stump in support of the USA PATRIOT Act.
Oral Arguments Scheduled in Fox v. Franken Proving that Fox really doesn't know when to call it quits, the AP is reporting that oral arguments have been scheduled for Friday in Fox's trademark infringement suit against Al Franken. It appears that Franken's lawyers have removed the case to federal district court. Reuters has this report.
RIAA: We Won't Sue Small Downloaders The RIAA has provided Congress with written assurances that it won't target "de minimis" P2P traders. Reuters has additional coverage here.

Monday, August 18, 2003

Citigroup Victim of Phishing Scam Citigroup has become the latest victim in a series of scams seeking to trade on consumers' trust of well-known corporate entities. The e-mail, emblazoned with the Citigroup corporate logo, asks consumers to click on a link to review and agree to Citibank's terms and conditions, providing the hoaxsters with personal information in the process. You'll just have to read the article for the origin of the term "phishing." Reuters has more background here.

Saturday, August 16, 2003

Amazon Wins UDRP Proceeding WIPO has ordered a Seattle man to turn over the domain names amazonbooks.com and amazonbooks.org to Amazon.com. Reuters story here.

Friday, August 15, 2003

Senate to Investigate RIAA Senator Norm Coleman, R-Minn, head of the Senate Governmental Affairs' Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, has announced plans to hold hearings on the RIAA's recent efforts to crack down on online file traders.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Is That a Photocopy in Your Inbox? Bag and Baggage has an interesting post about a recent decision by a Maryland district court considering whether intra-company distribution of subscription-only materials is copyright infringement.
For All Those Searching the Keywords "judge rejects subpoenas music" I apparently missed this, but Infringing Actions has a post on the recent decision by a Massachusetts federal court quashing the RIAA's subpoenas to MIT and Boston College, because they were improperly issued out of a district court in Washington, DC. (It's the third post down.)
New IP Blawg Check out Kelly D. Talcott's Infringing Actions. Via Denise (who I just realized works at the same firm as a good friend of mine here in Richmond).
Balkin's Take on Fox v. Franken Professor Jack Balkin has an op-ed about the Fox v. Franken case in the LA Times.
Larry Has Another Guest Blogger Check out Lessig's Blog, where presidential candidate Dennis J. Kucinich is filling in for Larry this week. (Yeah, I know I should have posted this much earlier in the week. I forgot.)
Go Marty, It's Your Birthday Just getting a chance to check out The Trademark Blog for the first time in a few days. Check out his posts on the Fox v. Franken fracas here, here, and here. (Apparently, I'm not the only one to speculate on canceling Fox's FAIR AND BALANCED mark based on misdescriptiveness.) Marty also has a post about a Wall Street Journal article I missed, discussing SCO's challenge to the GPL in its case against IBM. Finally, all you Black Dog fans should check out this post.
HP Wins Battle Against Gray Marketers C-Net has an article about a case recently brought by HP against a company that obtained $5.7 million in equipment from Compaq Computer using an educational discount, which it then tried to resell.
More Legal Challenges to RIAA Subpoenas The LA Times is reporting that a Verizon customer has filed to quash the subpoena issued by the RIAA seeking to uncover her identity.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

SCO Terminates Second IBM Unix License C-Net has this report.
New Software for Tracking Copyright Licenses The LA Times has this report on software developed by RightsLine Inc.
More on the Fox/Franken Wars E! Online has this. (Was the case really filed in state court?) And you can find Franken's take on it here.
China Plays Nice According to the AP, China recently destroyed 42 million pirated discs, including CDs, DVDs, and other videodiscs.
COPA, We Hardly Knew Ya... ... but the Bush administration is trying to change all of that. The AP is reporting that the government has filed a petition for cert in Ashcroft v. ACLU, after the Third Circuit ruled it unconstitutional. And it's good to see JZ making the news rounds again.

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Hermès Sues to Protect Birkin Bag from Rubber Interlopers The New York Times has an article about a recent trade dress infringement case filed by Hermès in New York District Court. The offending item is a knock-off of its Birkin bag, made out of translucent rubber.
Are You on the Internet, or the Web? Popular Science explains the difference.
Could You Cancel on the Grounds that it Comprises Deceptive Matter Under Section 2(a)? According to Reuters, Fox is suing Al Franken for using their trademark FAIR AND BALANCED as part of the title for his new book, Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them, A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right." Doesn't quite seem like trademark usage to me. (Of course, some of us wonder how Fox ever got a registration, since it would seem to be barred by TMEP section 1203.02.) The AP has this report.
More Flack for RIAA Subpoenas Reuters is reporting that NetCoalition, which represents hundreds of Internet providers, sent a letter to the RIAA regarding the latter's recent subpoena campaign. The Internet group raised the concern that small Internet providers would be forced to police their customer's online activities, and to bear the cost of tracking down those who may have violated copyright laws while using their services.
Microsoft Hit with $520 Million Verdict The AP has this report on the jury's decision in a patent infringement case brought by Eolas Technologies Inc. and the University of California against Microsoft; Reuters has this report. Finally, the Washington Post has this report, while the New York Times has this report.

Monday, August 11, 2003

Interesting UK Trademark Decision The Trademark Blog has an interesting post about a decision by the UK Trademark Office to sustain an opposition by the owners of the TOYS 'R' US mark against an application to register TOYS AREN'T US by the National Canine Defense League.
New Way to Fight Spam I remember reading about this service a while ago, and wondering whether or not it would actually work... The Register is reporting on a recent court victory won by Habeas. Habeas is a company that helps users identify spam by embedding copyrighted haikus into the headers of legitimate e-mail.
P2P Tackled in Freshman Orientation SFGate.com is reporting that the UC system has added warnings regarding the consequences of file sharing to freshman orientation.
Another Talk To Have With Your Kids: File Sharing vnunet.com is reporting on parental liability for their children's file sharing activities in an article entitled "Parents liable for kids' P2P downloads".

Friday, August 08, 2003

"Gossip Column"??? After posting the last link, I just had to check out the Google results for "nerdlaw." Not sure what I think of LawBore's description of my site.
Nobody's Purchased "Nerdlaw" The Trademark Blog has an interesting post on Google's keyword program.
New Blawgs The Intellect Law Group has started The Copyright Blog and The Patent Blog.
Technology News Reuters is reporting that "Broadcom and Intel Settle Patent Battle". Also from Reuters, "Linux Advocates Mount Attack Against SCO".
Sex.com Case Wrap-up The ABA Journal has an interesting write-up of the 9th Circuit's decision in the Sex.com case.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

More Background on SCO Fight Check out the links in this Plastic thread.
I Wonder if This Will Mean Bigger Bonuses? The AP has a report on MercExchange's $29.5 million award in its patent infringement suit against eBay. Reuters has this report. Full disclosure: I work for the firm that represents MercExchange.
IBM Follows Red Hat's Lead IBM has filed a counterclaim against SCO in the copyright infringement suit filed by the latter.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Gotta Love the Times Dispatch Plastic has an interesting thread on the Richmond Times Dispatch's decision to edit a Doonesbury comic.
What Liberal Media? A new Harvard study confirms what many have long suspected: Conservative editorial pages are more partisan than "liberal" editorial pages. Not that the conservatives will ever believe it. After all, the study came from the Boston-Washington corridor.
Forbes Asks the Question "Why Won't IBM Indemnify Linux Users?"
RIAA Missing the Forest for the Trees? The BBC is reporting on the real threat to the recording industry. And no, it's not your average P2P user. Check out the Plastic thread on this issue. Finally, Forbes has an article about a recent study which found the number of downloaders to be lower than had previously been forecast.
One More Challenge to the PATRIOT Act Internetnews.com is reporting that Senator Lisa Murkowski (R. Ala.) has introduced legislation to rollback certain provisions of the PATRIOT Act.
Be Careful What You Link To The AP is reporting that a California man has been sentenced to a year in prison for creating an anarchist web site with links to information on how to build bombs.

Monday, August 04, 2003

Red Hat Challenges SCO's Linux Claims Reuters is reporting that Red Hat has filed in federal district court in Delaware to stop SCO from making copyright infringement claims that would harm Red Hat's Linux business.
RIAA Roundup The Washington Post has a roundup of recent articles on the RIAA's efforts to subpoena the identities of file traders.

Friday, August 01, 2003

More on the ACLU's Challenge to the Patriot Act Wired has this report.
Senator Questions RIAA Actions According to Wired, Senator Norm Coleman (R-Minn.) wants the RIAA to answer a few questions about its recent subpoena activities. According to Coleman, "In this country, we don't chop off fingers for people who steal something. . . I think we need to have a broader discussion about how to deal with this issue. I want to be sure that any process being utilized here is fair." The New York Times has a report here.
Why Would it Ever be Down? The AP is reporting on a recent poll conducted by the First Amendment Center and American Journalism Review magazine, which found support for the First Amendment to be on the rise.
News of the Obvious The AP has the shocking report that two-thirds of Internet users who download copyrighted songs aren't concerned about whether or not they're violating the copyright laws. And in other news: two thirds of people who rob banks don't care whether they're violating the law!
Nuremburg Documents to be Available On-line My alma mater is planning to post Nuremberg trial documents on the web, with a grant from an alumnus.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

Time to Send in My Check CNN has this article about a recent lawsuit filed by the ACLU challenging the constitutionality of the USA Patriot Act. The New York Times also has a report here.
Pac Bell Joins P2P Fight The AP is reporting that SBC Communications Inc. has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in San Francisco challenging the constitutionality of the RIAA's subpoenas under the DMCA. C-Net covers the suit here.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Use of Trademark in Metatags Affirmed as Infringement The Trademark Blog has this report on the recent Ninth Circuit decision.
Lesson To Writers: Never Use a Real Person's Name... ... especially for a villain. The AP is reporting on Antonio "Tony Twist" Twistelli's lawsuit against the creators of the "Spawn" comic book.
Rather Like Closing the Barn Door After the Horse Has Already Left The AP has a report on Hormel's efforts to reclaim the name "spam." (Yes, I know they claim to be "defending" the name rather than "reclaiming" it, but I think that almost ten years of inaction in the face of increasing use of the name to mean unsolicited e-mail on the Internet gives rise to a pretty good claim that Hormel has acquiesced in the usage.)
Another Typosquatting Case Reuters is reporting that WIPO has awarded the domain name arifrance.com to Air France.

Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Do You Know the Secret Handshake? CNN has an article about private file sharing networks that are popping up on the Internet in the wake of the RIAA's crackdown on open file sharing networks like Grokster and Kazaa. The networks employ strong encryption schemes to keep out prying record association eyes.
Electronic Evidence Ruling According to C-Net, a federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York has issued a ruling in a gender discrimination case against UBS, setting forth rules to determine which party should bear the cost of restoring and producing lost e-mail in discovery. Based on the plaintiff's $650,000 salary before her termination and the possibility of a multi-million dollar payout from the case, the judge determined that the plaintiff should pay 25% of the cost of the restoration costs.
Canadians, You're Out of Luck The AP has an interesting story about the geographic restrictions on music download sites like iTunes and Rhapsody.

Monday, July 28, 2003

My First Link to Fatmixx About time I returned the favor. Anyway, Sujal has an interesting post about a recent article on CNN.com entitled "Why I've stopped sharing music."
Expecting to be the Subject of an RIAA Subpoena? Then you might want to check out SFGate.com's advice on how to avoid a copyright infringement lawsuit. The New York Times has a follow up on the RIAA subpoenas entitled "Subpoenas Sent to File-Sharers Prompt Anger and Remorse." And Denise tells you how to find out if the subpoenas contain your IP address or P2P handle.

Friday, July 25, 2003

Check it Out James Grimmelmann has an interesting response to a recent note in the Duke Law & Technology Review entitled "iBRIEF: Eldred v. Ashcroft: How Artists and Creators Finally Got Their Due." Courtesy of Donna.
Next Bag and Baggage has posted a compilation of reviews of the new BuyMusic.com download service. I think I'll wait until iTunes migrates to the PC.
Good Practice Tips for DMCA Notices The Trademark Blog has some helpful practice tips about sending infringement notices under the DMCA.
Libraries Get Brief Reprieve C-Net is reporting that the FCC has agreed to extend the CIPA deadline by which all libraries that accept federal funds must install Internet filters. The new deadline for installing the filters is July 1, 2004.
Universities and RIAA Team Up Wired is reporting that universities are teaming up with the RIAA to curtail peer-to-peer file sharing, while attempting to develop downloading services geared to the university market.
Be Careful Who You Let Use Your Internet Account The AP has this report on the targets of the first round of RIAA subpoenas. Among those subpoenaed are the father of a 23-year-old who used the family Internet account to download copyrighted songs (the father wins the prize for head furthest in the sand: "I don't think anybody knew this was illegal, just a way to get some music."), and the roommate of a West Virginia college student that downloaded more than 1,4000 music files.

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

It's Spreading Wired is reporting that a Spanish law firm has announced plans to file copyright-infringement lawsuits against 4,000 people who downloaded copyrighted music off of peer-to-peer networks in that country. The firm is seeking jail terms of up to 4 years for each infringer.
Boston Colleges Fighting Back The AP is reporting that Boston College and MIT are seeking to have the RIAA's subpoenas quashed, on the grounds that they didn't allow for adequate time to notify the students whose identities were being sought.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Time to Get on the Media Consolidation Bandwagon I guess I've left this topic to Lessig long enough. Reuters is reporting that the White House has promised to veto any bill that reimposed the media-ownership caps that were recently relaxed by the Federal Communications Commission.
With Friends Like This... ? Reuters is reporting that Michael Jackson has spoken out against a proposed law that would make file swapping punishable by jail time.
So Would Microsoft's Net Worth Become Admissible in Proceedings Against its Clients? C-Net is reporting that Microsoft has decided to indemnify its software users in potential intellectual property infringement cases.
New Addition to Trademark Clearance Searches? Maybe Thomson & Thomson will introduce a "history" section... Fortune is reporting on VW's troubles with the trademark for its new SUV. Turns out, the Saharan tribe after which the new Touareg is name has a bit of a skeleton in the closet: they were notorious slave owners and traders until the beginning of the 20th century. Better luck next time.

Sunday, July 20, 2003

Where's the Fun in That? Just had to include a pointer to an AP article on the recent UC decision to ban faculty from dating students they supervise. I'm glad to see that UC didn't ban all student/faculty relations. I certainly understand the desire to limit student/faculty dating in the undergraduate context, or when the faculty member is supervising the student. In the context of UC's professional schools, however, where the students are much closer in age and maturity to the members of the faculty, such an outright ban would be unworkable and ill-advised. Of course, I never had the guts (or really, the opportunity) to date any professors in law school. Oh, well.
Do You Think They Could Make the RIAA Pay the Overtime Costs? The AP is reporting that the large number of federal subpoenas issued by the RIAA in recent weeks, some citing as few as five songs made available for download, has forced the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to reassign employees from elsewhere in the clerk's office to help process paperwork. Interestingly, while Verizon has received more than 150 subpoenas in this latest push, AOL Time Warner Inc., the nation's largest Internet provider (and parent company of Warner Music Group) has received no subpoenas.
When Crusin' Goes Bad The Detroit News is reporting on the case of a Michigan man that sold an embroidered T-shirt on Ebay, featuring a picture of the PT Cruiser and the phrase "PT Cruisin'," attracting the attention of DaimlerChrysler AG's trademark attorneys. Via The Trademark Blog.

Friday, July 18, 2003

Grokster Back in Court SiliconValley.com is reporting that the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has agreed to expedite the appeal of the Grokster case. Look for a decision around the end of the year.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Et tu, Democrats? Two Democratic lawmakers, Michigan Rep. John Conyers and California Rep. Howard Berman, have introduced legislation that would authorize jail time for consumers who make copyrighted works available on peer to peer networks.
Unleash the Monkeys Reuters is reporting that the RIAA will soon be issuing subpoenas to ISPs as they prepare to sue hundreds of individual consumers who participate in peer to peer file trading.

Monday, July 14, 2003

Publishers Going After Copy Shops The Boston Globe is reporting that the publishing industry is stepping up efforts to go after copy shops that infringe copyrights in materials reprinted in course packs.
Now This is Interesting Democratic Presidential hopeful Howard Dean is taking over Lessig's blog.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

They Certainly Keep their Lawyers Busy The RIAA is suing the Spanish company that operates Puretunes.com. According to the suit, Puretunes falsely represents itself to be licensed by the record companies.
Shilling for a Good Cause If you plan on being in the Richmond area on Friday, September 26, please consider participating in or donating to the Light the Night Walk to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Even if you aren't going to be in or around Richmond, check out the website to locate a walk near you.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Time to Play Whack the RIAA The Washington Post is reporting that the Webcaster Alliance, a trade group made up of Internet radio stations, is threatening to sue the RIAA for antitrust violations if the RIAA doesn't agree to renegotiate webcast royalty rates.
I Think They Mean "Trademark" This is one of my pet peeves. Reuters is reporting that the Missionaries of Charity are trying to "copyright" Mother Teresa's name to prevent others from cashing in on her image.

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

Wonder if the RIAA Will Condemn Dylan Now Yet more fodder for the cultural copyright wars: When does "borrowing" from copyrighted works become legitimate creative expression? The Wall Street Journal is reporting on eerie similarities between the recent Bob Dylan album and an obscure memoir by a Japanese physician, entitled "Confessions of a Yakuza."
P2P Fights Fire With Fire C-Net is reporting that P2P outfits have a new weapon in their fight against the lobbying power of the RIAA: their own trade group. Formed by Grokster President Wayne Rosso and other P2P executives, the trade group will lobby Congress in an effort to demonstrate that peer-to-peer companies can be legitimate ventures.
Thumbnails Fair Use The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court decision that found a search engine's display of thumbnails of copyrighted works to be fair use. Report from C-Net.
Antitrust Claim Against Music Labels Rejected CNN is reporting that a California federal judge has rejected Kazaa's antitrust claims against the music labels.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

7th Circuit: Sony Does Apply, but Willful Ignorance no Protection In a mixed ruling, the 7th Circuit upheld a lower court injunction shutting down Madster prior to trial, but agreed that the Sony Betamax case was controlling precedent. The Court rejected Madster's argument that encryption technology built into the system, which effectively masks the identity of files being shared on-line, relieved Madster of the obligation to block illegal file swapping. "One who, knowingly or strongly suspecting that he is involved in shady dealings, takes steps to ensure that he does not acquire full or exact knowledge of the nature and extent of those dealings, is held to have criminal intent," the Court wrote. Considering the claim for contributory infringement under the Sony doctrine, the Court held that, if detection and prevention of copyright infringement were "highly burdensome" to a service provider, that provider would escape liability for contributory infringement. A copy of the opinion can be found here. Report from C-Net.

Update on "Reclaim the Public Domain" Lobbying Efforts Lessig has an update on recent lobbying efforts to get the Public Domain Enhancement Act (H.R. 2601) introduced in Congress. The Washington Post has this report. I think I'm going to have to write a check to Rep. Rick Boucher.
California Court Limits Trespass to Chattels Theory Rejecting a bid by Intel to halt unwanted e-mails from a former employee under a trespass to chattels theory, the California Supreme Court has ruled that companies can only sue under state common law for trespass to chattels if the messages cause actual damage to equipment or property. Report via Law.com. C-Net has another report here.

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Making a Federal Case Out of Peer-to-Peer Internetnews.com has this report on the Piracy Deterrence and Education Act, a piece of proposed legislation that would instruct the FBI to "develop a program to deter members of the public from committing acts of copyright infringement," and would require the DoJ to formulate programs to educate the public on the copyright laws.

Monday, June 23, 2003

Supreme Court OKs Requirement for Porn Filters in Libraries The AP has this report.

Friday, June 20, 2003

Court Rejects Bid by Original "Roe" to Revisit Roe v. Wade The AP is reporting that a federal district court has rejected the now anti-abortion Norma McCorvey's motion for relief from judgment. McCorvey sought to have the case reopened after 30 years to adduce evidence that abortion hurts women.
Sixth Circuit Rejects Likeness as Trademark The New York Times is reporting that the Supreme Court has rejected a claim by Tiger Woods' licensing agent that a painting of Woods' 1997 Masters victory violates the Lanham Act. Upholding the lower court's decision against Woods' claims, the Court held that "as a general rule, a person's image or likeness cannot function as a trademark."
Congress to Hold Hearing on Controversial Provision of DMCA Reuters is reporting that Sen. John McCain, chair of the Senate Commerce Committee, has agreed to hold a hearing on a proposed bill that would require copyright owners to file a formal lawsuit before ISPs would be required to turn over subscriber information on accused copyright infringers. Currently, under the DMCA all that is required is a court clerk's signature.

Thursday, June 19, 2003

Rowling to Fanfic Writers: Not So Fast The Washington Post is reporting on J.K. Rowling's efforts to reign in NC-17 themed fanfic, discussing the copyright implications of such work. And they quote Wendy!

Monday, June 16, 2003

Can You Say "Conflict of Interest"? Rep. Mary Bono, major proponent of the Sony Bono Copyright Term Extension Act and founder of the new Congressional caucus on piracy and copyright issues, has announced she would like to be chief executive of the RIAA.

Thursday, June 05, 2003

RIAA: 2, Verizon: 0 The AP is reporting that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has rejected Verizon's motion to delay turning over the names of four subscribers suspected of copyright infringement. Additional reporting by Reuters at Wired.

Wednesday, June 04, 2003

If At First You Don't Succeed... Wired is reporting that the RIAA has filed yet another lawsuit against Streamcast Networks, the company which distributes the popular file swapping software Morpheus. In its complaint, the RIAA alleges that Streamcast, in preparation for a Web radio service that never launched, copied thousands of CDs into a digital database without the permission of the copyright owners.

Monday, June 02, 2003

Supreme Court Rejects Bid to Extend Copyright Protection Via Trademark Law The Washington Post has this report about the Supreme Court's recent decision in Dastar Corp. v. 20th Century Fox Film Corp.. At issue in the case was whether or not Dastar committed "reverse passing off" by modifying footage from a 20th Century Fox World War II documentary, which was then sold under a new title and with new production credits, with no attribution to the makers of the original series. Interpreting the meaning of "origin" in the Lanham Act's prohibition on false designation of origin, the Supreme Court in an 8-0 decision authored by Justice Scalia determined that "origin" does not refer to the source of the ideas or communications embodied in the work, but instead refers to the source of the physical product (in this case, the videotape). The Court held that a contrary interpretation would result in an irreconcilable conflict between the trademark and copyright laws. A copy of the opinion can be found here.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Lessig Sounds Call to Arms Lawrence Lessig has issued a call for support in the fight to introduce a bill to soften the blow from the Sony Bono Copyright Term Extension Act into the U.S. Congress. Via the Trademark Blog.
Shoot First, Ask Questions Later CNet is reporting that the RIAA erroneously mailed out dozens of infringement notices last week, including one to Penn State University's astronomy and astrophysics department. The RIAA has attributed the letters to an over-zealous intern.
California Town: DMCA Compliance Criminal CNN is reporting that the City Council of Arcata, California, in a mostly symbolic move, has passed an ordinance making it a misdemeanor for any city department head to voluntarily comply with investigations or arrests under the Patriot Act. Violation of the ordinance carries with it a $57 fine.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Latest Challenge to DMCA Appears Unlikely to Succeed Law.com is reporting that the federal judge in the newest case to challenge the DMCA, 321 Studios v. Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios has indicated that she is leaning towards the studios. The case involves a challenge to the DMCA by 321 Studios, which distributes two programs, DVD X-Copy and DVD Copy Plus, that crack the encryption on DVDs to allow users to make copies. 321 Studios is arguing that its programs allow users to make backup copies, and that such uses of their program are fair use under copyright law. The AP has a report here, and Wired has a report here.
DVD In the News, Part II Again on Law.com, the California Supreme Court has refused to dismiss as moot the appeal in DVD Copy Control Association v. Bunner. The DVD Copy Control Association had sued Bunner for linking to the code for DeCSS, a program that circumvents the encryption found on DVDs, allowing the DVD to be copied and played on "unauthorized" devices like Linux boxes, claiming that Bunner's actions amounted to dissemination of stolen trade secrets.
DVD Wars, Part III Reuters is reporting that the Hollywood studios have filed an additional five lawsuits in New York against the makers of DVD copying software. Background information on the DVD battles can be found on the Berkman Center's Open DVD site.

Sunday, May 04, 2003

Spawn of DMCA: Law of Unintended Consequences? The AP has a report on the state-versions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, or Super DMCAs, and what many fear is overly broad language that could criminalize something as innocuous as security software.

Saturday, May 03, 2003

Wonder What the Class Action Would Look Like... The New York Times is reporting that the recording industry is quietly financing the development of a number of technological "self-help" measures, which vary in degree of maliciousness, as well as legality. Yet another reason to oppose Congressional attempts to legalize copyright infringement self help.

Friday, May 02, 2003

What's Good for the Goose Despite blocking scores of Clinton judicial nominees, the Republicans are now so upset over the Democratic filibusters of Bush nominees Owens and Estrada that they're considering filing a lawsuit, seeking a judicial determination that failure to vote up or down on a judicial nominee is unconstitutional. (Never mind the holds that Sen. Helms exercised on judicial nominees for years.)
RIAA Settles with College Students The New York Times is reporting that the four college students sued by the RIAA for making search engines available over their school networks, thus allegedly contributing to peer-to-peer downloading of copyrighted songs, have settled with the RIAA, agreeing to pay between $12,000 to $17,000 each over the next three years. Additional reporting from the AP here, and from Wired here..

Thursday, May 01, 2003

Completely Off-Topic But funny nonetheless. Seems that a British man called the police because his wife refused to cook him dinner. Would ordering him pizza suffice?