Sega's Crazy Taxi patent suit against EA is crazy
As reported by Boing-Boing: "Avi Bar Zeev, former Imagineer who invented a Crazy Taxi video game while at Disney, weighs in on a patent dispute between Sega (which hired a Disney exec who'd seen Avi's idea and which quickly produced and patented a Crazy Taxi game) and EA (which has its own Crazy Taxi game). Here's a case where none of the litigants in the patent dispute is the inventor of the patented material. Nice work, USPTO."
Can I get a trademark on that?
Newly coined sex term by Dan Savage that's named after a U.S. senator: SANTORUM (not for the easily offended).
December 5, 2003
SCO's legal entanglements are substantial
Not only are they embroiled in litigation against IBM, they must also defend counterclaims by Red Hat; have threatened 1,500 Linux users for infringing its intellectual property rights and now The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the "SCO Group plans to sue a major user of the Linux operating system for alleged violation of SCO's copyrights as part of an expanded legal effort ... to collect license fees from thousands of Linux users."
"When you do a Linux distribution, you are directly in the crosshairs of SCO's core products," SCO's CEO Darl McBride has said.
SCO has also said it will broaden its copyright protection efforts to include "copyrighted code included in the 1994 settlement between Unix Systems Laboratories and Berkeley Software Design (BSD)." SCO has said it does not expect to file any BSD-related lawsuits until the first half of 2004. [SCO Escalates Legal Battle on Three Fronts]
Finally, SCO is seeking to block the Novell-SUSE deal based on a contract clause that allegedly prevents Novell from competing against SCO's Unix products -- "SCO claims it acquired this noncompete contract as part of an agreement between Novell and one of SCO's previous incarnations." [SCO expands copyright enforcement actions, threatens Novell] Whereas, Bruce Lowry, a spokesman for Novell, said there is no such provision in the contract.
Additionally, in what the Journal is calling an unusual arrangement, SCO has given Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP 400,000 shares, along with $1 million in cash, as part of its contingency fees for pursuing the legal actions. The company said the shares represent an ownership stake in SCO of 2% to 3%.
As a result of all the proposed litigation by SCO and their supposed war chest of $50 million, George Weiss, of the Gartner group, recommends that Linux users keep a low profile and have a contingency plan and that SCO customers have a migration plan in case SCO's legal strategy falters. [SCO's Legal Fees Could Jeopardize Its Software Business]
Specifically, Mr. Weiss recommends that companies:
Because, as Weiss states, "an unfavorable judgment could cause SCO to cease operations or sell itself [which] could harm future support and maintenance.
keep a low profile and do not divulge details on Linux deployments; not pay SCO the license fees it has asked for to settle its allegations of infringement of intellectual property rights, Until a judgment in a case would unequivocally warrant it; not permit SCO to audit your premises without legal authorization; pressure high-profile Linux vendors to contractually guarantee against infringement claims by covering court costs; and fence off the innocuous Linux deployments (such as network-edge solutions) from the performance-intensive ones.
See also: Lawyer Rips SCO Facts in Linux Brouhaha - Free Software Foundation lawyer Eben Moglen makes a case for why SCO's legal claims to Linux code are without merit.
Update: SCO Forced To Show Evidence - SCO has 30 days to comply with a judges ruling that it show details to back up its contract dispute claims against IBM.
November 21, 2003: SCO v. IBM: proprietary or free? "A new lawsuit is roiling the world of computers. Software company SCO Group is suing IBM Corp. for putting SCO's proprietary computer code into Linux, the core of certain computer operating systems. However, the Linux computer code is governed by a licensing agreement specifically written to make it freely available to all. SCO's case weaves together threads of computer code, copyright and licensing law."
For extensive coverage, please visit: Groklaw.
What happens if you don't own your most valuable IP asset?
For FAO Schwarz, who doesn't own the trademark rights to its name - it makes selling the company that much harder. (WSJ.com sub req'd)
When FAO, which filed for bankruptcy-law protection Thursday for the second time this year, is desperately seeking a buyer to avoid the liquidation of its stores. But the company licenses the FAO name, known to generations of children and their parents, from a foundation set up by heirs of FAO Schwarz's founder. The license agreement appears to give the foundation the right to block a transfer of the name if the buyer doesn't meet the foundation's "first quality" standards.
Law and Film
Just found Xavier Morales (a Harvard Law School miscreant) blawg on film, philosophy, and law. [via Poon]
As Poon does, I completely agree with Morales' observation that: "Danny Boyle's 28 Days Later is easily the best horror movie released in the last ten years."
In my opinion Boyle can also be argued to be one of the best directors (not auteurs) over the last ten years. I'll assume you've seen Trainspotting (1996) but you might have missed Shallow Grave (1994) which is also excellent.
Expect your check for $12.60 in weeks
If you are one of the 3.5 million people who signed onto
a music antitrust lawsuit, the $12.60 check should be in the mail soon.
U.S. District Judge D. Brock Hornby approved the settlement of the $143 million music antitrust lawsuit that accused major record companies and large music retailers of conspiring to set minimum music prices. [CD antitrust lawsuit finalized]
December 4, 2003
Vulgar Counterfeiting of greatest comic strip ever goes unpunished
Cleveland Scene: "We've contemplated legal action," says Lee Salem, vice president and editor at Universal Press Syndicate, which distributed Calvin and Hobbes. But the cost involved in finding those who make and sell the decals would far exceed what Universal could win in damages. "Bill's as frustrated as we are."
RIAA Lawsuits by the numbers
Stats parsed via Recording Industry Continues Legal Duel Against Web Piracy (WSJ sub req'd).
Someone cites Statue of Anne
Chris Barton discusses Statue of Anne, copyleft and Creative Commons.
Should ISP subscribers pay for P2P?
Distributed Computing Industry Association proposal: peer-to-peer users would pay a flat monthly fee to the networks or to Internet service providers, which would be divided up among the record labels and musicians whose songs were downloaded. [Peer-To-Peer Group Floats Scheme to Pay for Music or Should ISP subscribers pay for P2P?]
Don't be surprised though if the current p2p networks just have their own self interests in mind with this or similar proposals.
See also: Group seeks political power for P2P: A new nonprofit organization aimed at welding file-swapping and open-source computing advocates into a political force is launching online this week.
December 3, 2003
Johnnie Cochran For Pooh
Johnnie Cochran has been hired by the family who owns Winnie the Pooh rights in their fight with Disney over millions in royalties.
October 11, 2003: Stephen Slesinger Inc., the company suing the Walt Disney Company over royalties from Winnie-the-Pooh merchandise, is looking for new lawyers for the second time this year.
They have had at least seven teams of lawyers during the 12-year-old case. The company, owned by the Slesinger family, which controls the rights to the Pooh children's books, dropped its most recent lawyers because their fees were too high. [Musical Chairs in Disney Suit]
Sometimes I'm too easily influenced
Seth Cohen of The OC is brilliant. Seth has created his own perfect december uber holiday of Chrismukkah, which is a blend of Christmas and Hannukah for his Wasp mom and Jewish dad, that is 8 days of gifts and 1 day of a lot of gifts. There's even a Star of David on their stockings.
Anyway, this is brilliant - now I know what to do for my son (since one set of grandparents celebrate Christmas and the other Hannukah). Just no one tell him that i got the idea from watching FOX.
See also: A Very Jewish Christmas
RIAA Information Awareness Activism
Downhill Battle and RIAA Radar are teaming up to educate consumers about record labels that pay radio stations to play their songsand those suing fans -- here.
RIAA files 41 more lawsuits against downloaders
USATODAY.com: The recording industry has filed 41 more lawsuits against computer users in at least 11 states it said were caught illegally distributing songs over the Internet, continuing its aggressive campaign against online music piracy.
Google Strikes Again
FOr some reason I don't believe that argument would hold that Google is an essential resource and I also agree with Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange of WDOK who stated that Google should be free to modify page rank, in dismissing Search King's suit because: 1) Google's page rankings are opinions and 2) Google has a First Amendment right to state its opinions.In many States, increasing the price of an essential resource, during a crisis or critical event is considered to be price gouging, with severe penalties. With Christmas just 3 weeks away, could the implementation of a filter, that basically forces more website owners to use Adwords, which in turn drives up the cost-per-bid, be considered price gouging? [Might Google be sued for latest algorithm change?]
Google's French Fracas: Trademark owners do have some serious and legitimate concerns about how words that are also their trademarks are sold. But it's a mistake to assume bidding on words that may also be trademarks is an open-and-shut case for trademark owners.
Diebold DMCA Retraction Letter
Jonas has posted a copy of a Diebold DMCA Retraction Letter.
It is as if every plankton is also a baleen whale
blogbook: Blogs, by their very nature, are a vehicle for information hyper-consumerism. There are tens of thousands of individuals posting regularly, and they in turn have consumed thousands of items from other sources each day.
December 2, 2003
Poon poses interesting question with lots of lawyerly conditions
Sugar, Mr. Poon?: "If you could remove one Supreme Court case from the books, which would it be?"
Way down in the comments Poon requests that you scrap a case you agree with.
The IP in me is saying to pick Sony.
RIAA asks and they shall receive
The RIAA has forced the transfer of SBC action (contending that the record industry's subpoenas for information on subscribers to Internet service providers were unconstitutional) to the Federal Circuit who previoulsy ruled against Verizon, requiring the ISP to reveal the names of their customers swapping files online. [c|net]
Google to Limit Some Drug Ads
Google will stop accepting advertising from unlicensed pharmacies that have used the Internet to sell millions of doses of narcotics and prescription drugs without medical supervision following hospitalization of teen used Google's search engine to locate and later order Vicodin from a Web site in Florida.
David Krane, a spokesman for Google, said the search engine will start using a third-party company to weed out rogue pharmacies that advertise on its site. Google also will ban the names of certain controlled drugs as keywords in its search-related advertising. [bizreport]
December 1, 2003
How Appealing has 20 questions with Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
Great Disclaimers in Blog History
The views expressed on this site are solely those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of his employer, girlfriend, family members, friends, relatives, neighbors, pets, strangers, stuffed animals, or Joe Pesci.
Mojo Mail is now Dada Mail
ReachCustomersOnline.com has alerted me to the following intellectual property abuse:
Curmudgeonly Clerk has more IP insanity here.Mojo Mail, a terrific open source (free) software tool for email newsletters, has had to change its name to Dada Mail.
I would note the reason for the name change is a great example of what is wrong with the internet in general and the US PTO in particular. Mojo Mail has existed since 1999. It has thousands of active users. Yet in November 2002 a company with lawyers was able to trademark the name Mojo Mail. Guess who wins a contest between an individual who writes great software, for free, and a corporation? Hopefully this is an indication the internet is still in its infancy rather than a portent of the future. Bullies should not be allowed to win, no contest. Otherwise you have a market place with fewer and more expensive alternatives.
Also, a new version of Mojo Mail has been released.
November 30, 2003
MLB attempts to distinguish themselves from NBA
Wired News: "We fully support the conclusion in the Motorola case, [said Bob Bowman, the CEO of MLB Advanced Media]. We don't think of broadcasting of the score every half-inning as an exhibition of the game. But if you're describing what happens every time the pitcher moves his arm, that is an exhibition of the game. Anything more granular than every half-inning is something we think might be a problem."
One problem MLB will face is that facts are not copyrightable.
Some notes on NBA v. Motorola (2d Cir. 1997): NBA did not want Motorola sending score updates via pagers. ‘Hot News’ claim of misappropriation failed becuase score updates only satisfied 3 of 5 ‘Hot News’ requirements: (i) cost gathering, (ii) time-sensitive, (iii) free-riding use, (iv) direct competition w/ similar service, (v) free-riding reduces incentive to produce such similar service. Specifically, Motorola spent their own time and money collecting that data.
See also: MLB Copyright Misuse
Elizabeth Rader: "Chris Sprigman alerted me to Major League Baseball's attempt to misuse copyright in its broadcasts to try to prevent sports websites from providing facts, real time, about ball games, play by play, urging that such speech constitutes an exhibition of copyrighted work."