Copycense Clippings (Oct. 23 to Oct. 29, 2007)
This week’s edition of Clippings is all “straight, no chaser”: a good number of new stories, a good number of older stories, and a QoTW that questions core elements of the U.S. patent system.
Quote of the Week
“Even if AT&T’s [telephone] patent is theoretically applicable to the Internet, why should AT&T be allowed to claim such rights? If I set up an packet-based extraterrestrial communications network five years from now, should AT&T ‘own’ the rights to it?” — Alexander Wolfe
Wolfe’s Den. AT&T Suit Against Vonage Makes Mockery Of U.S. Patent System. Oct 22, 2007. Information Week columnist Alexander Wolfe blows hard, but true in his incredulity at the state of the U.S. patent system, which contributed to AT&T’s patent infringement lawsuit against Vonage. Cases: Cases & Litigation; Patent; Web & Online.
Catherine Pickavet. Trademark Infringement Meets Consumer Privacy. Internet News. Oct. 29, 2007. Similarly named companies battle over trademark confusion, while consumers routinely send private and confidential e-mail to the wrong financial institution. Categories: Privacy & Security; Trademark.
The Wired Campus (Chronicle of Higher Education). Senators Support Open-Access Measure. Oct. 29, 2007. The Senate passes appropriations bill HR 3043, which includes language requiring all NIH-funded researchers to submit their final manuscripts to the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central. Now the measure, already passed in the House, needs to survive a Bush veto. Categories: Legislation & Regulation; Open Access; Science & Medicine.
OFF/Beat (Washington Post). Second Life Players Bring Virtual Reality to Court. Oct. 29, 2007. The virtual world is not immune to real life litigation, as sex toy merchants in Second Life accuse (.pdf) a rival of pilfering the computer code used for its … ahem, paraphernalia. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Computers; Web & Online.
Public Knowledge. Six Steps to Digital Copyright Sanity: Reforming a Pre-VCR Law for a YouTube World. Oct. 26, 2007. PK president Gigi Sohn returns to Boston University and proposes wide ranging copyright reform. Categories: Events; Legislation & Regulation.
Bit Player (LATimes.com) Court to Weigh P2P Filtering Systems. Oct. 26, 2007. Yes the Morpheus P2P case still has not concluded, despite the Supreme Court’s 2005 opinion in MGM v. Grokster. What we find significant here, though, is the district court’s appointment of a special master to determine how best to implement a filtering system. Given the complex technical issues involved in several recent copyright cases, it’s a wonder trial courts don’t appoint special masters more often. William Patry has said to us that federal court judges know civil procedure quite well; we’re convinced they don’t know technology well. Categories: Cases & Litigation; File Sharing, P2P & Downloads.
Eric Bangeman. Judge: Educational Privacy Law Not Sufficient to Block RIAA’s Subpoenas. ArsTechnica. Oct. 25, 2007. A University of Tennessee student named as a “Doe” in yet another RIAA lawsuit cannot use FERPA to quash an infringement subpoena. Category: Cases & Litigation; Privacy & Security.
Jay Greene. Microsoft and Facebook Hook Up. Business Week. Oct. 25, 2007. Redmond wins the latest tussle for online hegemony for now. But what we want to know is how analysts are coming up with a $15 billion valuation for Facebook? Categories: Business & Commerce; Web & Online.
Frank Ahrens. Apple in a Fight for Rights to TV Shows. WashingtonPost.com. Oct. 25, 2007. The Post analyzes the back story behind Apple’s recent, spectacular quarterly earnings report: the increasing number of content providers (especially video content providers) who are balking at Apple’s iTunes pricing scheme. Ahrens sagely notes that where Apple made the download market for the music industry, broadcasters have greater control over their content, and their industry is not in the same dire straits. Categories: Broadcast & Journalism; File Sharing, P2P & Downloads.
News Blog (News.com). Congressman to Comcast: Stop Interfering with BitTorrent. Oct. 25, 2007. Rick Boucher, who has been carving a legacy that suggests an understanding of the technology-law space that is broader than that held by most of his colleagues, sends Comcast a verbal wrist slap over the cable provider’s “accidental” filtering of heavy Internet traffic through its pipes. Categories: Telecommunications; Web & Online.
The Caucus (The New York Times). Fox Orders Halt to McCain Ad. Oct. 25, 2007. So much for Fox being “fair and balanced” on the issue of fair use. We wonder if the broadcaster would have taken this stance against a Republican candidate that is being perceived as a nomination frontrunner. Categories: Broadcasting & Journalism; Fair Use & Other Limitations.
Cristina Jimenez. Net Giants Test Web Health. BBC News. Oct. 24, 2007. We think it’s OK to use, for example, an online word processor and chat software from either Microsoft or Google, but medical records with social security numbers, dates of birth, and ailments? Not so much. It’s easy to think one does not have any privacy left in 2007. Still, we’re still interested in maintaining the pretense. Categories: Databases; Privacy & Security; Science & Medical.
Jacqui Cheng. ICANN Probing “Insider Trading” Allegations with Domain Name Registrations. ArsTechnica. Oct. 24, 2007. Ever wonder if your domain name registrar is skimming the real hot domains off for itself, and selling them in a secondary market? Your concerns may not be unfounded. Categories: Trademark; Web & Online.
Intellectual Property Watch. Top Economies To Negotiate Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Pact. Oct. 24, 2007. We have written (and warned) about this trend before, most comprehensively in K. Matthew Dames’ March/April 2007 article in Online magazine, “Trade Agreement as the New Copyright Law.” ruckus. Billboard reports that the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will complement the Bush Administration’s work to encourage other countries to meet the enforcement standards of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) under the World Trade Organization, and to comply with other international IP agreements. Categories: International; Legislation & Regulation; Politics & Government.
Andrew Pollack. Amgen Wins a Crucial Patent Ruling. The New York Times. Oct. 23, 2007. Amgen’s patent infringement victory means it will be able to preserve an anemia drug market that is estimated to be worth $7 billion. Categories: Cases & Litigation; Patent; Science & Medical.
Rewind: Stories We Missed
(Interesting stories we noticed after we sent previous editions to press.)
Walter S. Mossberg. Free My Phone. WSJ.com. Oct. 22, 2007. Wall Street Journal columnist Mossberg complains about the terms and conditions (slings and arrows?) of cell phone carrier contracts, including carrier lock in. Categories: Mobile Devices.
O’Reilly Radar. Music Industry Association Recommends Flat-Rate File Sharing. Oct. 22, 2007. A proposal from International Federation of Phonogram and Videogram Producers (IFPI), the RIAA’s counterpart in Europe, is consistent with the general consensus in Europe that music should be offered to the public without copy restriction technology. (Note: BusinessWeek also had this story.) Categories: File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; International; Music.
Josh Smith. Copyright Violations Prompt Change. SUUJournal.com. Oct. 22, 2007. Southern Utah University in Cedar City cancels student organization film showings because they violate the public performance right in Section 106. This situation is not novel, but we mention the story because it mentions that film licensing fees can run $700 to $1,000 per film, a sum that may be outside the budget of most student organizations. Categories: Education; Film & Video; Licensing & Permissions.
CNN.com International. Brega Sound Turning Industry On Its Ear. Oct. 19, 2007. Remember a few weeks back, when we noted a story quoting film director Leon Ichaso saying that established entertainment businesses could learn from counterfeiters because they have the best distribution systems? This article reports how this concept extends to music in Brazil. Categories: Music; Web & Online.
MSNBC.com (via Associated Press). Comcast Blocks Some Internet Traffic. Oct. 19, 2007. The Associated Press does its own investigative reporting and finds Comcast is blocking subscribers’ Internet traffic if it suspects that traffic is coming from downloading media files. A few days later, Comcast said to the Times that it “delays” certain transmissions, never blocks them. Categories: FIle, P2P & Downloads; Web & Downloads.
Open and Shut? The Basement Interviews: Peter Suber. Oct. 19, 2007. A wide-ranging interview with Peter Suber, research professor at Earlham College, and author of Open Access News. Categories: Open Access.
Tim Wu. Tolerated Use: The Copyright Problem. Slate. Oct. 16, 2007. Columbia law professor Wu comments on unenforced applications of American law; in this installment, he looks at the everyday copies made on the computer. Categories: Bundle of Rights; Computers; Infringement.
Bit Player (LATimes.com). Enough Radiohead Already! Updated. Oct. 12, 2007. Some (refuted) sales figures for Radiohead’s new album, In Rainbows, which the band released online, without copy restriction technology, and with a customer-centric pricing scheme (which included free). Categories: File Sharing, P2P & Downloads; Music.
Copycense™: Code + Content.™ A venture of Seso Group LLC.