Friday, January 31, 2003

Mixed Tapes for a Digital Age The New York Times has an article about the "increasingly popular hobby that has spawned an online subculture," namely, swapping mix CDs. Biggest non-surprise from the article:
Frank Creighton, who directs antipiracy efforts for the Recording Industry Association of America, said that money did not have to be involved for copying to be illegal. While mixes on cassette tapes may not have inspired the wrath of the record industry in the past, Mr. Creighton said, digital mixes have better sound quality. And given the proliferation of CD burning for friends and relatives, "it would be naïve of us to say that we should allow that type of activity," he said.
Audio Home Recording Act of 1992? What's that?
The Shrinkwrap Strikes Again I still have bad memories from briefing the enforceability of shrinkwrap licenses back in first year legal writing. In any event, How Appealing has a post about a current split in the circuits regarding whether a shrinkwrap license can override the fair use defense under the Copyright Act.
Napster, Part II? Wired has an article about a new file sharing program created by former Apple programmer Jim Speth. Speth has some ... unique ... ideas as to why his software should be immune from the copyright infringement lawsuits that shut down Napster. Anyone want to start a poll to determine when the RIAA will file suit?
Maybe I Should Switch to Verizon Verizon has announced its intention to appeal the district court ruling ordering Verizon to turn over a subscriber's information to the RIAA.
Another One Bites the Dust This brings to two the number of firms I interviewed with that have voted to disband.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

Interview with Kazaa's Counsel ZDNet Australia has an interesting article with quotes from U.S. counsel for Sherman Networks, owners of Kazaa. As you may recall, they recently filed a counterclaim for copyright misuse in the case brought against them by the music industry and Hollywood studios.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Some Light Reading Prof. Fisher has posted the Introduction to his new book, Promises to Keep: Technology, Law, and the Future of Entertainment. Via John Palfrey by way of bricoleur.
Maybe Bush Should Hire Them This is London is reporting that a Russian firm is planning to sue the studio behind the latest Harry Potter film, claiming that the elf Dobby was modeled on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Another Take on the Copyright Debate The Economist has an interesting article responding to proposals put forward by Larry Lessig, Terry Fisher, and others.
Internet Music Wars Across the Pond The AP is running an article about a recent case in Britain finding the proprietor of an Internet cafe guilty of copyright infringement for allowing customers to download music off the Internet. Citing the fact that recordings for private and domestic use were exempt from Britain's 1988 Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, the owner vowed to appeal: "I'm going on a crusade for the consumer and I'll take this all the way to the House of Lords."

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Washed Up Rockers Make for Fun Trademark Law The Trademark Blog has a post about a recent Ninth Circuit ruling that's worth a read.
Kazaa Turns the Tables The LA Times is reporting on a counterclaim filed by the P2P file trading service Kazaa in the lawsuit brought against it by Hollywood studios and the music industry, in which Kazaa seeks a judicial decree that the copyright infringement claims against Kazaa represent copyright misuse. More links at Copyfight.
Developments on the Internet Jurisdiction Front has an article about a recent Third Circuit decision in which the court determined that a defendant's operation of a commercial, interactive web site, while not granting personal jurisdiction, does entitled a plaintiff to jurisdictional discovery.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Thought You Were Good At Analogies? Guess Again So, is a grape more like (a) nectarines, plums, and peaches, or (b) mushrooms? According to the Ninth Circuit, at least for purposes of compulsory agriculture advertising laws, it's (b). Link stolen from How Appealing via The Trademark Blog.
Too Cute Donna had a link to this, and I just had to share.
Barbie Not Bound for High Court, After All The Associated Press is reporting that the Supreme Court has rejected Mattel's petition for cert in its trademark infringement case against Aqua, the creators of the dance song "Barbie Girl." I hadn't heard this song until the other weekend, when a pre-teen plugged it into the jukebox at the local Pizza Hut. I immediately started yammering about how the song was involved in a big trademark case that had been appealed to the Supreme Court. My family just looked at me like I was nuts. Maybe I need to get out more.
It's Not Who You Know, It's Who Your Customers Are Blackberry users love the little devices. has an interesting article showing just how much. As I noted below, Congresscritters have already made a plea for the continued operation of their beloved devices. Now it seems that U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Director James Rogan has ordered a reexaminations of the patents at issue in the lawsuit charging the manufacturer of Blackberrys with patent infringement. Moral of the story: it helps to have customers in high places.

Friday, January 24, 2003

Genericness of WINDOWS Isn't Open and Shut Case The Trademark Blog has a report on the recent denial of summary judgment in the LINDOWS case.
Justice Ginsburg Must not Have Been a MST3K Fan Hope you got your MST3K fix while you could. Apparently, the loss in Eldred (scroll down about mid-way), means that everyone's favorite irreverent movie critics are unlikely to be showing up in syndication or on DVD any time soon.
At War With Itself Wired has an intriguing article about the schizophrenia induced within the Sony behemoth by the advent of DRM technology.
If You Can't Stand the Heat, Stay Off eBay Well, it was only a matter of time until it happened. An eBay user is suing the company and another user, saying a posting in his feedback section amounted to libel. From the article: "The lawsuit also demands that buyers and sellers, who use aliases in eBay transactions, register their screen names with the state of California as fictitious business names, and that eBay be forced to collect state sales tax." And how, exactly, does he have standing to ask for this relief? It's stuff like this that give lawyers a bad name.
Your Definitive Guide to Internet Law? has a review of "The GigaLaw Guide to Internet Law: The One-Stop Legal Resource for Conducting Business Online".
It's Spreading The Japan Times is reporting that the Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency has proposed to extend copyright protection for movies from 50 years to 70 years. Interesting quote: "The panel also proposed the creation of a so-called free-use logo that would show a work can be freely used without the creator's prior approval." Seems like the Creative Commons concept is taking off.
Civil Libertarians: 1; Total Information Awareness: 0 Wired is reporting that the Senate voted Thursday to block funding for the Pentagon's Total Information Awareness project.
More Verizon Fall Out Wired has an interesting article about ISPs' responses to the recent decision in In re Verizon. Most interesting quote: "If this stands, I'm sure we'd work to get the law changed," Les Seagraves, chief privacy officer for Earthlink.

Thursday, January 23, 2003

All IP, All the Time INTA has posted a helpful collection of IP law resources on the web.
Another Non-profit Throws its Hat into the Ring has an interview with former EFF attorney Robin Gross, founder of a new "watchdog group" called IP Justice.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Jawboning in the Wake of Verizon Copyfight has collected an interesting assortment of responses to the recent decision ordering Verizon to produce the name of a subscriber accused of downloading copyrighted works from the P2P network Kazaa.

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

A Critical Theory of Cyberspace? Is that Possible? Professor A. Michael Froomkin of Harvard Law School has authored an article entitled "Habermas @ - Towards a Critical Theory of Cyberspace". Looks to be quite interesting, and I'm sure I'll have a comment or two if the firm's filtering program ever lets me access it. (I will never understand how they decide what sites to block...) Via The Trademark Blog.
Judge Orders Verizon to Cough it Up "It," of course, being the identity of a Verizon subscriber sought by the RIAA for allegedly downloading over 600 music files in one day. A report on the decision can be found here.

Monday, January 20, 2003

DMCA Harmful to Competition? Wired has an interesting commentary in which Lauren Weinstein compares recent DMCA cases like the Lexmark case to Ma Bell's attempts to stifle competition earlier last century. There seems to be a growing chorus questioning the advisability of the DMCA. If you haven't read it, check out Jack Balkin's take on how the Court's reasoning in Eldred raises questions about the constitutionality of the DMCA.
Global Nature of Internet Raises Questions About Canadian Judge's Reach Wired has an article about questions arising from a gag order issued by the Canadian judge overseeing the trial of Robert Pickton, a pig farmer accused of murdering 15 prostitutes in the Vancouver area. The judge ordered journalists attending the trial not to disclose details of the proceedings, for fear of tainting the potential jury pool. The only problem: while Canadian journalists are complying with the ban, editors of The Seattle Times have not agreed to refrain from publishing information about the case on the newspaper's website, which is accessible to Canadians, and thus to potential jurors.

Sunday, January 19, 2003

A Lessig Critique Edward Rothstein has a critique of Lessig's copyright crusade in yesterday's New York Times. I wish the website gave more information on exactly who Mr. Rothstein is. Whoever he is, he seems to be taken with hyperbole and misstatements:

For example, at the end of his piece, Mr. Rothstein states that, "As it turns out, the extension of 20 years means that copyright law has held off for a while what will be a large-scale entrance of television and movies into the public domain. In the meantime, the absence of a public domain has not hampered creativity in either medium." While I have a number of problems with this statement, I'll limit myself to four comments: 1) How does "television" enter the public domain? 2) There were television programs in the 1920s? 3) What about books, music, artwork, etc.? 4) Whether or not creativity in either medium has been hampered is debatable. But in any event, Mr. Rothstein admits that, "Even Disney had to purchase rights to 'Winnie the Pooh.'" What about the non-Disneys that can't afford to purchase rights to Winnie the Pooh? Isn't it safe to say that their creativity is being hampered?

"But the public domain is larger now than in 1928, not smaller, and the continuing influence of copyrighted works should not be underestimated." Yes, works have been added to the public domain that weren't there in 1928. But Congress has allowed copyright owners to prevent any works from falling into the public domain since 1962 (except for those works the copyright owners chose not to renew, and which were published before renewal became automatic). Nor has "Steamboat Bill," the original inspiration for "Steamboat Willie," fallen into the public domain, since the Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act retroactively extended copyrights on all works created after 1923 for an additional 20 years.

"In fact the 1998 law Mr. Lessig challenged was intended to match the kinds of copyright protections already offered by the European Union." Then why, Mr. Rothstein, is the European Union now seeking to increase copyright terms, and saying that it's necessary in order for European copyright terms to match U.S. copyright terms?

Finally, I find it highly ironic that Mr. Rothstein cites the publication of "The Wind Done Gone" as proof that fair use allows for parodies on the order of the original Steamboat Willie, since the publishers had to fight the Mitchell estate all the way up to the Eleventh Circuit to even get the work published. Is that something the average person could afford to do?

Now, this is not to say that a compelling critique of Lessig's ideas isn't possible. But Mr. Rothstein's arguments are not such a critique.
Now If Only They Can Invent One... that turns itself off when the user is trying to carry on a conversation while holding an drink and making a U-turn in her Ford Expedition in the middle of the street (and yes, I have seen it happen). The Economist has an interesting article about some high-concept cellular phones designed to give their users a lesson in etiquette.
The Myth of Fingerprints Over the mountain, down in the valley.... has an article about the growing chorus of judges and academics questioning the reliability of fingerprint analysis. So where's the quote from the former talk show host?
It's Not Over 'Til the Mouse Is Free? Larry Lessig had an editorial it yesterdays New York Times, in which he critiqued the Supreme Court's decision in Eldred and proposed a copyright renewal fee, to ferret out orphaned copyrighted works. More specifics on Larry's plan can be found here and here.
N.Y. Court Rejects Attempt to Limit Product Reviews The New York Times has an article about a recent ruling from a New York state court, holding that Network Associates may not enforce a standard clause in their licensing agreements that prohibits customers from publishing reviews of the product without prior consent. The court found that the clause impermissibly interfered with customers' First Amendment free speech rights.

Saturday, January 18, 2003

Total Information Awareness Runs into Senate Opposition Wired has a report on recent bills introduced in the U.S. Senate to reign in the controversial system.
RIAA to ISPs: Pay Up The RIAA has announced another prong in its war on file-trading. After shutting down Napster, only to have several new file trading services take its place, the RIAA has decided to seek fees from ISPs that allow their subscribers to access P2P file trading services.

Friday, January 17, 2003

Save the Blackberrys I know a number of partners who will be very glad to hear this.
Vaporware No More Wow. The Big Dig is finally finished.
Fighting Inanity with Humor For humorous takes on the outcome of Eldred, check out Jesse Walker's interview with Mickey and Mickey and Goofy in jail.
How Would Your Librarian Answer? Wired has an article about a recent survey conducted by the Library Research Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign which found that almost fifty percent of librarians have voluntarily provided patron's records to law enforcement officials, without requiring a subpoena or a court order. Of course, under the "Patriot Act" (and yes, I use the quotes intentionally), librarians are bared from publicizing the fact that law enforcement has requested such materials. So now your video rental records and cable records are safer than your library records. So far, I haven't seen any legal challenges to these provisions of the Patriot Act.
What's Next I was asked yesterday what I thought was next for the battle for the public domain, after the Supreme Court summarily rejected the plaintiffs' arguments in Eldred. Well, today in Salon, Siva Vaidhyanathan has the answer. Added later Larry Lessig's take here.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

Jack Balkin Has a Blog I just found this. And I was just writing about CLS...
The Search for Meaning Larry Lessig has a very interesting post about the recent Eldred decision. As someone who always bought legal realism, and at least found the Critical Legal Studies critique intriguing, my mantra generally is "Tell me who's on the Supreme Court and what their politics are, and I'll tell you what the outcome will be." Thus, I cannot say that the outcome of the Eldred case left me with quite the same sense of disillusionment as Lessig. If it's any consolation, I think there's value in professors not subscribing to the "faith" of the law. Skepticism and inquiry are things to be valued. We only run into trouble when we lose sight of the fact that, however many flaws the system may have, it's still one of the better systems devised by man. I know some may vehemently disagree with this sentiment, while others may be shocked to see it coming off of my keyboard, but I still stand by it. No, I'm not a "My country, right or wrong" person. And yes, I will be the first person to point out all of the flaws I see in our system, and all of the things we as a country have done wrong. But that doesn't make me anti-American. In fact, I argue that that makes me more of a patriot than someone blindly ingesting whatever they're spoon fed in civics class and on the evening news. But this is no time to delve into my opinions on the war on terror, so I will end here. But before I do, I just want to say that, despite the outcome of the case, Lessig's efforts, both as a professor and a lawyer, weren't lost on me, and I'm sure that there are others out there who feel the same. While it's disappointing to think back on how excited Larry, JZ and Eldred were in the early days of bringing the case, only to have seven Justices of the Supreme Court determine that their efforts weren't even worthy of a full trial before the district court, I have to hope that the time and effort everyone put into the case weren't in vain. If nothing else, I can say that they inspired at least a handful of us to take an interest in the social ramifications of intellectual property. That, at least, is something.
More Mickey Post Mortems Wired has an interesting article about yesterday's ruling. And check out Donna's collection of links.
Too Bad this site is no longer being maintained.
Interesting Copyright Case has an interesting article on the Gator Corp. case that is currently before the District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. I'm intrigued to see how this comes out. On the one hand, I certainly applaud any attempt to reign in the explosion of pop-up ads that seem to be everywhere these days. On the other hand, I'm not sure I buy the legal arguments. Despite framing cases like Washington Post v. Total News, framing still seems to be a common practice. While Hotmail caught some flack for instituting the process several years ago, my Angelfire account still displays links in a frame. And to me, that would be more problematic than a pop-up ad that does nothing to modify the original content on the screen. While hunting around for links, I found this page that has archived several cases on framing and deep linking. There's also an interesting collection of materials here. Worth a look.
In Case You Were Wondering What Was at Stake in Eldred v. Ashcroft, here's a report about the financial impact of the Supreme Court's ruling. I must disagree with O'Melveny & Myers entertainment litigator Robert Schwartz, however, who stated that "There's no reason to do a special edition of 'The Wizard of Oz' and dig up old outtakes and find anybody still living who was a part of that movie if it's going to fall into the public domain in two years." Based upon my own experience and the fact that so many of my friends are willing to shell out money to buy movies on DVD because of the bonus tracks, this is exactly the type of project that will sell, despite the material being in the public domain. Clearly, if you just release the movie on DVD without any extras, the public isn't necessarily going to flock to your version over another, perhaps cheaper version created because the work is in the public domain. But if you add value to the product, over and above the work that is in the public domain, I believe that consumers will purchase your product. What the studios are really afraid of, is that someone other than MGM might produce the best enhanced DVD.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003

Music Industry Pact Strikes Discordant Note Following up on my post from yesterday, is reporting that not everyone is convinced that the agreement between the RIAA and the technology industry is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Ever the contrarian, Jack Valenti publicly expressed his disagreement with the music industry's stance, stating, "We are not prepared to abandon the option of seeking technical protection measures via the Congress or appropriate regulatory agency, when necessary." The Berkman Center's own Wendy Seltzer is quoted, as well. has additional commentary here.
Go Boucher, It's Your Birthday Ok, I know a white girl can't pull it off. But the Richmond Times Dispatch has an article about Rep. Rick Boucher's proposed legislation that would codify the right of consumers to make copies of music or other digital material for personal use.
Defeat for the Free Mickey Forces In a vote that was far more lopsided than many had predicted, the Supreme Court affirmed dismissal of Eldred v. Ashcroft, upholding the constitutionality of the Sony Bono Copyright Extension Act. The vote was 7-2, with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg authoring the opinion for the majority. Justices John Paul Stevens and Stephen Breyer dissented. For reaction from the plaintiffs' lead lawyer, check out Larry Lessig's recent posts about the case. Donna has collected response to the decision here.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Silicon Valley and Music Industry See Eye to Eye Wired has an article about a new agreement between technology companies and the RIAA, under which the likes of IBM, Intel and Dell will support the RIAA's goal of rigorous enforcement of digital piracy laws. The move is likely to head off Congressional intervention to require digital rights management devices in all entertainment devices. Interestingly, the Motion Picture Association of America did not join in.
Celebrity Reality Show No "Survivor" CNN is reporting that the judge in the copyright lawsuit filed by CBS against ABC's new show "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" has sided with ABC, finding that "[b]oth shows combine well-known and frequently used elements of earlier works," and that "[e]ach series also includes well-known elements not in the other." Seems like "Survivor" is not as unique as CBS likes to think...

Monday, January 13, 2003

And You Thought Dealing with ASCAP Was Bad... has an interesting article about the obstacles to video-on-demand over the Internet. Of course, it doesn't really affect me since I'm still stuck with a 56k dial-up until I can get Earthlink to straighten out my DSL order.

Saturday, January 11, 2003

Legally Blonde? is reporting that the Supreme Court is set to consider whether to take up the case Mattel Inc. v. MCA Records Inc., after the Ninth Circuit ruled that the song "Barbie Girl" did not infringe Mattel's trademark rights in Barbie. What is that Lessig has been saying about creativity being free to feed off of popular culture?
When Copyright Infringement is Good For Business Larry Lessig has an interesting article about the phenomenon of dojinshi comics in Japan. Clearly, attorneys for Viacom and the Mets haven't read Mehra's law review article.

Friday, January 10, 2003

I Wonder How Many Lawyers Violate This Everyday... The Trademark Blog has an interesting post about the ethics involved in trademark clearance searches.
So Can I License 1-800-MCROSFT... to the folks at Slashdot? The Eighth Circuit has handed down an opinion in the Lanham Act case DaimlerChrysler AG v. Bloom, in which it affirmed the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota's grant of summary judgment in favor of the defendant. At issue was whether Bloom impermissibly used the MERCEDES mark in interstate commerce in violation of Mercedes' trademark rights when it secured the phone number 1-800-MERCEDES and licensed it to various Mercedes dealers around the country. Citing the 1-800-H0LIDAY case, the Eighth Circuit held that merely registering and licensing the number, without more, did not constitute "use in commerce," and that the advertising activities of Bloom's licensees, who were entitled to use the MERCEDES mark under their dealership agreements, could not be imputed to Bloom. Interestingly, the Eighth Circuit noted that, despite the fact that one alphanumeric translation of the number was 1-800-MERCEDES, "the number 1-800-637-2333 is neither phonetically nor visually similar enough to the Marks such that it could be considered a reproduction or a colorable imitation thereof." The Court then goes on to prove that they must be BMW drivers, by noting that "Mercedes argues, rather arrogantly we believe, that this phone number is the same as domain name because everyone knows that 1-800-637-2333 really means 1-800-MERCEDES. We doubt this proposition is as self-evident as Mercedes believes." All of which leads to the question - leaving aside the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (which sounds better than Anti-Cybersquatting Trademark Owner Protection Act, even though that's what it really is), could I legally register a domain name (say, without violating the Lanham Act, as long as I only advertise it by the IP number? Surely consumers couldn't be expected to know that really means (Yes, I'm being somewhat facetious.) It seems to me that the MERCEDES mark constituted the entire value of the 800-number to Bloom's licensees, and they would not have licensed the number but for the association with the MERCEDES trademark. However, I think I may come down on the side of no Lanham Act violation in any event, since Bloom's customers, i.e., the licensees, were surely aware that Bloom was not affiliated with Mercedes, and thus there is no likelihood of confusion. Added later You can check out what The Trademark Blog has to say about the case here.
Woohoo! I got a mention on Bag and Baggage. I feel special. (And yes, my life really is so boring right now that this is a Very Exciting Thing. Gotta love document review...)

Thursday, January 09, 2003

Almost Makes Me Proud to Be a Virginian Copyfight is reporting that Representative Rick Boucher has reintroduced the Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act.
More Webcasting Fallout Wired has an article about the mass exodus of Clear Channel stations from webcasting after Clear Channel announced that stations would have to pay the associated costs out of their local budgets. On a perhaps unrelated note, it seems that Boston's FNX is also having trouble finding a viable webcasting model, after Yahoo! pulled the plug on all of its FM radio streams.
The DMCA Gets Around... has an article about the newest attempt to expand the scope of the DMCA. It seems that Lexmark is asserting claims under the act against Static Control Components, which is one of the many companies involved in the toner cartridge remanufacturing industry. According to the lawsuit, Static Control's Smartek chips unlawfully tricks the printer into accepting an aftermarket cartridge by circumventing "the technological measure that controls access to the Toner Loading Program and the Printer Engine Program." Does the DMCA signal the end of the Sony v. Connectix doctrine?

Wednesday, January 08, 2003

In the "To Do" Pile More on this later...
Let Me Get This Straight... you can't deny computer access to someone convicted of possession of child pornography, but you can deny computer access to someone accused of hacking... How Appealing has an excerpt from a recent Third Circuit opinion striking down a ban on internet usage as part of a convict's supervised release.
It's Getting Scary Out There Add Testa, Hurwitz & Thibeault to the long list of firms I interviewed with that have announced layoffs. The Greedy Boston Board has indicated that these layoffs included 9 litigation associates. Ouch.
Digital Music Wars Up North Wired has an interesting article about the backlash against a rate hike on recordable media proposed by the Canadian Private Copying Collective (CPCC). The levy, built into the price paid by consumers for recordable media such as CDRs, is intended to balance the interests of consumers who wish to freely copy music, and the music industry who wishes to be paid for the fruits of its labors, by paying royalties to the artists whose music is being copied. A similar fee is imposed on the sale of recordable media in the United States under the Audio Home Recording Act of 1992 (AHRA). (For more information about the AHRA, go here, here, here, here, and here.)

The Canadian music industry seems to be attempting to radically alter the terms of its bargain in one fell swoop, rather than through incremental hikes (give them an inch...). The CPCC's proposal would more than double the levy charged for blank CDRs, and would expand the scope of levy to include sales of removable hard drives, recordable DVDs, MP3 players, and the like. Not surprisingly, these proposals have run into opposition from the Canadian computer industry.

In the U.S., the AHRA has run into concerns regarding its continued viability in the world of MP3s and P2P networks, necessitating a new compromise to rebalance the interests of consumers and the music industry. Canada's example points towards the need for close thought to be given to the contours of any such compromise. Added Later Copyfight is reporting on a somewhat related proposal by Harvard Law School professor Terry Fisher (HLS's own Robert Redford look-alike) to solve the problem of music piracy.
On the Hill has an article about what technology-related initiatives we can expect from the 108th Congress, including further debate on copyright and spam legislation.
Original Television Programming? Isn't That an Oxymoron? The AP has an article about the lawsuit CBS filed against ABC. The case involves allegations that ABC ripped off the hit show "Survivor" when producing its new reality series, "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" Of course, "Survivor" owes a debt to earlier "reality" shows, like "The Real World," "Road Rules," and "Battle of the Network Stars." It will be interesting to see how the court parses the idea/expression dichotomy in this case.

Monday, January 06, 2003

The Civil Libertarian's Dilemma Do you come down on the side of free speech, or separation of church and state? has an article discussing Fleming v. Jefferson County School District, one of the cases for which the Supreme Court is considering granting review.
Hazelwood Goes to College? How Appealing has an interesting post about upcoming oral arguments in front of the Seventh Circuit in Hosty v. Carter. At issue in the case is whether the administration of a public university has the right to preview and censor student publications. The Student Press Law Center has compiled a primer on the case here.
Who Owns Language? Wired has an interesting article about the trouble LEGO got itself into by borrowing words from the Polynesian Maori tribe's language for a new product offering.
I'll Trade You Season One Buffy for Season Two X-Files... Fortune has an interesting article asking the question "Is TV Show Swapping Legal?" Not surprisingly, HLS's own Jonathan Zittrain contributes a quote.

Sunday, January 05, 2003

IP Lawyers to USPTO: Not So Fast is reporting that the National Intellectual Property Researchers Association (NIPRA) has filed suit to prevent the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) from completing the transition from paper to electronic public search systems. Citing substantial data error rates in the automated patent and trademark databases and "hundreds of thousands of missing or corrupt entries in the USPTO search systems," the NIPRA wants the USPTO to hold off on dismantling the paper-based search systems until these problems have been addressed.

Friday, January 03, 2003

Everything Old is New Again JURIST's choice for a This Day in Legal History feature somehow seems particularly appropriate.
Completely Off-Topic But kinda cool nevertheless: The Insecurities Project.
First Mickey, Now Peter Pan More information on Stanford's Center for Internet and Society's suit against the U.K. copyright holders of Peter Pan here and here.
DVD Wars, Part II Seems Justice O'Connor has thought better of getting involved in the morass. The Washington Post Online is reporting that Justice O'Connor has lifted the emergency stay prohibiting Pavlovich from posting the DeCSS code to his website.
When a Fake is Better Than the Real Thing In the wake of Ashcroft v. Free Speech Coalition, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has held that possession of real child pornography is still a crime. From How Appealing.
Shudder I'm not sure which is worse. Hatch on the Supreme Court, or Thomas as Chief Justice. Found on How Appealing.

Bashman is on a Roll Once again from How Appealing, comes this report on the Ninth Circuit's certification to the California Supreme Court of the question whether an Internet domain name can be the subject tortious conversion under California law.
Fourth Circuit Clarifies Balance of Harms Test Under Blackwelder Check out pp. 27-28 for the Fourth Circuit's formulation of the balance of harms test to be applied in a Lanham Act preliminary injunction case in this recent opinion. And yes, it's that Jeff Sutton. Makes me wish I had gotten up early enough to attend oral arguments that day.

Thursday, January 02, 2003

More Trouble for the RIAA The New York Times has an article on the problems faced by the recording industry as European copyrights on recordings from the 1950's begin to expire. Which raises the question: If the major selling-point for the Sony Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was to "harmonize" U.S. Copyright law with copyright terms around the world, and more specifically the EU, how did we end up with protection that is greater than the copyright protection afforded by European countries? Added later Larry Lessig's take on the article can be found here.

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

Internet Libel Jurisdiction Add the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to the growing chorus of American courts rejecting the Internet jurisdictional doctrine advocated by the High Court of Australia.
Is AFLAC Somehow Involved in This? I really can't say it any better than The Trademark Blog already has. (And yes, he's trying to point out that "duck" in connection with "wine" isn't such a novelty, making the whole lawsuit, well, silly.)
Not Something You See Everyday Lessig has decided to put his job on the line in support of his proposed spam solution. Although, if private suits against abusers is one of the mechanisms of his proposal, I find it hard to believe that one academic year would be sufficient to judge the full impact. Unless, of course, all cases were brought in the Rocket Docket.