* LawLawLaw 2004-10-17

Law, Baseball, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

* Law Stuff

Can’t we all just get along? Both Linux Torvalds and JBoss have been criticized recently for trying to protect their trademarks (Linux and JBoss) from infringement. Presumably the accusations come from members of the open source community who equate “pro- open source” with “anti- intellectual property.” Trademarks protect a company’s brands and can potentially last forever, as long as the owner continues to use and police the mark, which is what Torvalds and JBoss were doing. Even the Free Software Foundation owns several registered trademarks, including one for GNU.

So these trademark critics can’t be serious. As I’ve written previously, the controversy surrounding a particular flavor of intellectual property protection is inversely proportional to the duration of the IP rights.

Torvalds weighs in on Linux trademark row (2005-08-22)
“Torvalds has also recently been accused of hypocrisy, with some in the open-source community claiming that his criticism of software patents is contradictory to his enforcement of trademarks.”

JBoss denies running a trademark monopoly (2005-10-11)
“JBoss has been accused of using its trademark to create a monopoly, but the company insists that it is merely protecting its brand.”

* Rock ‘n’ Roll Stuff

I am cautiously optimistic about the state of the music industry. While bad ideas (like proprietary file formats and suing your clients) abound, there are also plenty of good ideas, like Perl Jam offering downloadable concerts. And PEZ MP3 players. Heck, I’ve even purchased a few songs from iTunes after swearing that I’d never buy DRM-encumbered music. I like iTunes and Apple. Is that so wrong? Even one of my MIT Linux buddies caved and bought an iPod (although he still runs only Linux, no OS X, no Windows, no iTunes). Pick your poison.

Pearl Jam to Open Download Shop (2005-08-25)
“[S]tarting September 1, Pearl Jam will offer full concerts from their fall tour. Each show can be downloaded for $9.99 and will include artwork and a concert photo slideshow. The concert files will be encoded without Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions…”

“Wouldn’t it be cool if there was an MP3 player that looked like a PEZ dispenser? … Out of curiousity I thought I would ask PEZ if they might be willing to license their brand for such a thing. To my astonishment they didn’t think I was crazy…. If you love independent music, podcasts, blogs, maverick ideas, and doing it yourself… This is the MP3 player for you.”

Listening to Pandora (2005-09-07)
“Pandora matches your likes to new music that you haven’t heard before. Start by picking any artist or song that you already like. Pandora makes song suggestions based on similarities with the style and sound of what you chose…. Pandora is free for the first 10 hours of listening. After, it costs either $12 for 3 months or $36 for a year.”

Download of the Day: iTunes 6 (2005-10-12)
“iTunes 6 has full video support for music videos and television. An iTunes Music Store deal with ABC television lets you download shows – like Lost and Desperate Housewives – ad-free the day after they air for $1.99.”

* Baseball Stuff

Yankees Win BABY BOMBERS Trademark Dispute (2005-08-19)
From The TTABlog comes the news that the The New York Yankees and their minor league affiliate, The Staten Island Yankees, defeated a pending registration for the BABY BOMBERS trademark because the mark was confusingly similar to the identical mark BABY BOMBERS used by and associated with the Yankees for baseball entertainment services.

Cartoonbank.com (2005-10-05)
“The New Yorker’s Cartoonbank.com is a great place to find that dash of humor to liven up any meeting or presentation. They’ve got over 80,000 cartoons to select from and very decent licensing terms for use.” For example, here’s a baseball cartoon that reminds me of the many umpire controversies that there have been in the 2005 MLB playoffs: “All right! Have it your own way. It was a ball.”

Patent 1,499,128: Baseball Bat
The patent for the first aluminum bat, invented by William Shroyer, issued on 06/24/1924.

* Cool, Fun, and Funny Stuff

Patent 1,351,086: Toy Cabin Construction
The patent for Lincoln Logs building toys issued on 08/30/1920.

Patent 2,026,082: Board Game Apparatus
The patent for the Monopoly board game issued on 12/31/1935.

Conan O’Brien vs. BEAR
Have you ever wondered how late night television’s Conan O’Brien would fare against a bear? Have you ever wanted to illustrate the epic battle? Then this site is right up your alley.

The Generator Blog (2005-09-26)
“If you need something generated (a name, a ribbon, a password, some dummy text, corporate gibberish) a good place to start would be The Generator Blog. They’ve got links and overviews to well over a hundred different online generators.” My favorites on the list are the Academy Awards Acceptance Speech Generator, the eBay Feedback Generator, the Interactive Baseball Rules Quiz Generator, the Pirate Speak Generator, the Prior-Art-O-Matic Generator, and the Privacy Policy Generator.

Sears Accepts 12-Year-Old Gift Certificate
I was recently cleaning out my basement and I found a Sears gift certificate from 1993. Sears doesn’t even sell gift certificates anymore. Gift cards are the new thing. In stark contrast to the bad customer service that we’ve all come to expect (http://jeremy.zawodny.com/blog/archives/005031.html), Sears accepted my gift certificate without giving me a hard time. And I am now the proud owner of the Start Wars trilogy on DVD. Sears is definitely in the good empire.

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