* LawLawLaw 2006-10-31

Technology, Law, Baseball, and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

* Introduction Stuff

This newsletter is Erik’s opinion, not the opinion of Clock Tower Law Group. Dolphin-safe <https://www.giantpeople.com/206.html>.

* Client Stuff

Clock Tower Law Group’s clients range in size from a sole proprietor to a publicly traded company. Here’s what some of them are up to.

* Road Warrior: Live from 37,000 Feet (2006-05-30)
“Peter Greenberg, host of the weekly, nationally syndicated radio program Travel Today , successfully aired his three hour talk show from a commercial airplane at 37,000 feet [using] a Comrex ACCESS and the public Internet.”

* Kayak Does TV (2006-07-10)
Funny ads that poke fun at conservatives and liberals alike.

* Kayak Ads Cause Controversy (2006-07-21)

* Overstock.com Selects SiteSpect for A/B and Multivariate Testing (2006-09-13)
Overstock.com … will use SiteSpect, which offers more flexibility than JavaScript-based solutions, to conduct A/B and multivariate testing across its highly dynamic web site.”

* Introducing the GetHuman 500 (2006-09-15)
According to GetHuman’s Paul English, “The purpose of the GetHuman standard is to put a stake in the ground for how large companies should design their customer service phone systems to support the needs of their customers.”

* Yahoo Makes Strategic Investment in Right Media (2006-10-17)
“Yahoo has made a strategic investment to acquire a twenty percent stake in Right Media. Yahoo will also join the Right Media Exchange to offer advertisers the ability to bid on Yahoo’s non-premium inventory through an open and transparent marketplace.”

* Law Stuff

Where law and technology intersect, copyright laws are usually front and center. Here is an article that I wrote that summarizes some of the issues. Plus a couple of pieces that put things issue into perspective, one by using historical quotes, the other by using humor.

* It’s The Metadata, Stupid (2006-09-19)
“For the music that I have purchased, I want all of the metadata: the MP3s, the album art, the BPM data, the liner notes, the lyrics, the tablatures, the recording dates, the release dates, the artists history, etc. Today, I can’t get all of the metadata from a single source…. Hopefully someday we will look back on the first decade of the 21st century … and wonder why we had to work so hard to get the entertainment experience that we wanted. And why the entertainment industry was so reluctant to sell it to us.”

* CEA Ad Defends Home Recording (2006-06-20)
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is running a great ad … reminding Congress that the entertainment oligopolies have cried wolf about new technologies many times before.
– “I forsee a marked deterioration in American music … and a host of other injuries to music in its artistic manifestations, by virtue – or rather by vice – of the multiplication of the various music-reproducing machines…” -John Philip Sousa on the Player Piano (1906)
– “The public will not buy songs that it can hear almost at will by a brief manipulation of the radio dials.” -Record Label Executive on FM Radio (1925)
– “But now we are faced with a new and very troubling assault on our fiscal security, on our very economic life and we are facing it from a thing called the videocassette recorder.” -MPAA on the VCR (1982)
– “When the manufacturers hand the public a license to record at home … not only will the songwriter tie a noose around his neck, not only will there be no more records to tape, [but] the innocent public will be made an accessory to the destruction of four industries.” -ASCAP on the Cassette Tape (1982)

* Never Share (2006-06-20)
“Files Are Not For Sharing,” a satire of a children’s book, says it all.

And the copyright badness continues. Plus one piece of good news.

* Bad News: Gracenote To Publish Music Lyrics Online (2006-07-14)
Goodbye free lyrics. Goodbye free guitar tabs.

* Bad News: Music Publishers Threaten To Sue Guitar Fan Sites (2006-08-21)
Trade groups representing music publishers have used the threat of copyright lawsuits to shut down music fan websites such as Olga.net, GuitarTabs.com, and MyGuitarTabs.com, where amateur musicians trade tablatures, lyrics, and chords for songs, many of which were created by the amateur musicians themselves. (Told you so.)

* Good News: Judge Rules Baseball Stats Do Not Belong To MLB (2006-08-10)
A federal judge ruled that Major League Baseball cannot claim exclusive ownership to player statistics, which means that fantasy baseball leagues will not have to pay for this data.

* Bad News: Music Industry Sues 8,000 P2P Users in 17 Countries (2006-10-17)

It is also worth noting that trademark owners have a powerful new weapon to protect their trademarks: The Trademark Dilution Revision Act. Federal courts, however, still are missing the point with regard to Google’s practice of allowing advertisers to bid on competitors’ trademarks. (Yahoo prohibits the practice. Good for Yahoo.) If somebody who is not Geico – but who is a competitor of Geico – is allowed to bid on the search term “Geico,” then the practice is likely to cause confusion to the public and is unfair to Geico. Give it time, the judges will eventually get this one right.

* Google Wins Another Keyword Lawsuit (2006-10-03)
A federal judge ruled that Google did not violate federal law when it sold trademarked terms in an online advertising auction.

* President Bush Signs Trademark Dilution Revision Act into Law (2006-10-09)
On 01/06/06, President Bush signed into law the Trademark Dilution Revision Act of 2006. The law establishes the “likelihood of dilution” standard for trademark dilution.

Patent lawsuits continue to be in the news. Here’s two things you need to know about software patent lawsuits: 1) they only exist when the defendant has money, and 2) software patents and open source are not incompatible just because RedHat (or anyone else) says that they are. If RedHat said that dogs meow, it also wouldn’t be true. If open source software were copyrighted and patented, then the GPL could explicitly include copyright and patent license grants. I bet there are software patent attorneys out there (I can think of at least one) who would donate patent services to open source projects. Some of Clock Tower Law Group’s clients are small software companies, companies who use software patents to defend their turf. Many of the largest contributors to open source projects are the Suns and the IBMs of the world, large public companies who can sell support services instead of software products. This option is simply not available to a lot of small software start-ups. See also <https://www.giantpeople.com/211.html>.

* RIM and NTP Settle Blackberry Patent Dispute (2006-03-06)
RIM paid NTP $612.5 million in a “full and final settlement of all claims”. Which is probably better than letting a judge shut down the company with an injunction. But you can be sure that Blackberry wishes it had settled earlier for less.

* Red Hat Faces Patent Infringement Suit (2006-06-28)
Software company FireStar has filed suit against open source seller Red Hat, alleging patent infringement…. Red Hat has its own patent policy that software patents generally impede innovation in software development and that software patents are inconsistent with open source/free software.”

* Technology Stuff

My favorite browser (Firefox) and email program (Eudora) announced new versions on the same day. I’ve also got strong opinions about the proper use of technology, as my “Steal This Article” article should make clear. Plus why buy a new $50 router when you can spend half a day fixing it?

* Steal This Article: It May Be My Last (2006-10-28)
Organizations large and small – including the ABA – need to evolve on the ever-changing Internet.

* Lifehacker: Dual monitors increase productivity (2006-04-20)
Surveys continue to show the benefit of larger (or multiple) monitors. Clock Tower Law Group recently switched to larger monitors and is thrilled with the results.

* James D. Hudnall: Socket PC (2006-06-02)
“The Jack PC, as its name suggests, will fit into a standard size wall socket. The entire PC sits on two layered circuit boards.”

* Lifehacker: Google search widget released (2006-06-02)
“Google has just released a nifty little Ajax-run search widget for webmasters and/or bloggers to place on their sites. The primary benefit of this widget is that search results are compiled via Ajax right there underneath the search box, so readers don’t leave the actual site in order to find something.”

* Lifehacker: Free daily summary of The Wall Street Journal (2006-06-30)

* Lifehacker: Excel tip: Instant in-cell graphs (2006-08-10)
A clever little Excel trick that creates a bar graph inside cells using the repeat (REPT) function. Also works with OpenOffice Calc.

* Stuff To Say After You Die (2006-08-29)

* Cool: check web pages in 20 different browsers (2006-09-06)
“This site will render your web page in up to 20 different browsers and show you how it looks. Way cool!”

* What happens to your email when you die? (2006-09-25)

* Cool: digital portraits of you! (2006-09-26)
This woman artist will make a “digital portrait” of your face from a photograph.

* One phone number to rule them all (2006-09-27)
“Someone can call you on your GrandCentral phone number and all of your phones will ring.”

* Google Purchases YouTube for $1.65 Billion (2006-10-10)

* Roll your own timeline (2006-10-13)
How to visualize a series of events using the open source dynamic widget called Timeline.

* Reviving a Linksys WRT54GS (2006-10-21)
How my friend Brad Parker spent half a day reviving a $50 router.

* Firefox 2 officially released (2006-10-24)

* Eudora Goes Open Source, Releases v7.1 (2006-10-24)

* Baseball Stuff

I lament the end of the baseball season. Especially when it ends with a thud. (Sorry Cardinals fans, the World Series this year was meh at best.) So here’s a bit of Red Sox stuff to remind me of what went right – and wrong – this year.

* Red Sox Mid-Season Report Card (2006-07-11)

* Devastating August ends for Red Sox (2006-08-31)
“The Red Sox were swept in five straight games by the Yankees at Fenway Park in August, and it was far from the worst thing that happened to them this month.”

* Ortiz sets Sox record with Numbers 51 and 52 (2006-09-22)
“David Ortiz launched another baseball into the Red Sox history books on Thursday night, ripping home run No. 51 off American League Cy Young Award candidate Johan Santana of the Twins in the bottom of the first inning.”

* Red Sox End-Of-Season Report Card (2006-10-01)

* Epstein officially signs new deal (2006-10-17)
Remember last year when we got the bad news on Halloween that Theo was gone? Maybe now the front office will be a bit more focused this off-season.

* October 27, 2004 (2006-10-26)
The two-year anniversary of the most meaningful sports date for any Red Sox fan.

* Rock ‘n’ Roll Stuff

In the fall, my band takes a break. In the winter, we have American Idol to keep us entertained. In the spring, we play again.

* Whither the Wonders? (2006-01-01)
Ten years ago, Fox released a nifty movie with a nifty website called That Thing You Do. But then, for reasons that are not yet clear, Fox took down the website. Could they not afford the website hosting bill?

* Re-download your lost iTunes music – Lifehacker (2006-05-25)
“If you lose all of your purchased iTunes music (due to something like a hard drive crash), iTunes will let you re-download all of your lost songs.”

* Gray Charles: Dave White – Officially 100% on The Gork’s side (2006-05-25)
This is a very funny summary of American Idol winner Taylor Hicks and his power to win over one very harsh critic.

* James D. Hudnall: Feel The Force: Part One (2006-05-26)
“A lot of people don’t like to admit they enjoy American Idol. But when 200 million people world-wide view a show, its safe to say you’re not alone. And really, why should anyone be ashamed of watching something they enjoy?”

* The Hype Machine (2006-08-03)
“Let the music studios whine. We cheer the online explosion of blogs devoted to unearthing, highlighting, and rejoicing in music…. The Hype Machine … scours a spectacular number of music sites for MP3s to gush about, and then bubbles up the most popular songs.”

* Apple Announces iTunes 7 (2006-09-12)
Now with games and auto-updating album art.

* Free Halloween music and spooky sounds (2006-10-19)
Just in time.

* Erik’s Band (The MCats) Has A New Website And A Blog (2006-10-29)
The MCats band was formed in 2005 to raise money for an elementary school in Acton, MA.

* Cool, Fun, And Funny Stuff

* defective yeti: Games: No Thanks! (2006-05-11)
“No Thanks! is such a great game for non-gamers (and gamers alike) that I usually pick up a few decks every time I place a game order and give them out as gifts. You could argue that $8 is a bit much to pay for 33 cards and a handful of chips, but I have plenty of games on my shelf that cost three times that and aren’t half as fun. If you consider yourself the sort of person who ‘doesn’t really like games,’ pick up a copy of No Thanks! — after a few rounds you are likely to reconsider.”

* Lifehacker: Erase permanent marker from your dry erase board (2006-05-24)
“WikiHow has a simple method for removing permanent marker from dry erase boards: 1. Get the board you want the stuff off. 2. Get a dry erase marker (yes, we will make marks to take marks [off]) and a dry eraser. 3. Draw over what you want to erase (make sure you draw slowly to fill it in better). 4. Erase. 5. Done!”

* The Credit Card Prank (2006-06-09)
“Nobody cares how you sign your credit card receipts, so go nuts, everybody. Just don’t sign my name. When MasterCard finally reads this, I’m going to be in enough trouble as it is.”

* Long Awkward Pose (2006-06-21)
“Tell your loved ones you would like to take their photo, then secretly videotape them.”

* Cool: actual houses at less than 100 square feet (2006-08-12)

* What ever happened to the ozone layer? (2006-09-20)
“So I guess the take-home message here is: if we all work together, as conscientious global citizens, we can collectively confront and even reverse the environmental cataclysms that threaten the future of our species. Or perhaps the moral is: if I, Matthew Baldwin, personally ignore a problem for a decade or so, it will go away. Could be either one, no way to tell.”

* Apple’s Get a Mac Ads (2006-09-21)
“Even the staunchest Windows supporter has to admit the new ‘Get a Mac’ ads are pretty funny and contain at least a grain of truth.”

* Poach salmon in the dishwasher (2006-09-27)

* The Miniature Earth (2006-10-01)
The Miniature Earth shows what the world’s population would be like (statistically) if there were only 100 people. In the project’s final words: “Appreciate what you have. And do your best for a better world.”


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