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 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 entitled "Why I've stopped sharing music."
Expecting to be the Subject of an RIAA Subpoena? Then you might want to check out'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 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 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 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 C-Net has another report here.