* LawLawLaw 2007-04-17

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

Introduction Stuff
Client Stuff
Law Stuff
Technology Stuff
Baseball Stuff
Rock ‘n’ Roll Stuff
Random Stuff

The opinions expressed in LawLawLaw do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Clock Tower Law Group, its employees, or the author. Edited for television.

Introduction Stuff

Constant Contact Update
In February 2007, I switched to Constant Contact for sending and managing this LawLawLaw newsletter. Shortly thereafter, privacy concerns surfaced, because Constant Contact was tracking opens and clicks on a per-user basis without giving the sender or the receiver a means for opting out of this tracking. Since then, I’ve learned (no thanks to Constant Contact) that if you create your own HTML template for these messages (as I’ve done), then there will be no per-user tracking of opens and clicks. So read in peace. The only stats I’ll have is whether or not your email address is valid.

The Power Of Two: Less Is More
I am always trying to improve this newsletter (see above). My latest tweak is limiting the number of articles to two per category. Seriously, do you need five blades in a razor? Less … more.

Client Stuff

BzzAgent Launches Word-of-Mouth Marketing In The UK (2007-03-38)
When you signup with BzzAgent UK, you have the opportunity to engage in meaningful communication with UK brands and companies; you receive exclusive product samples, vouchers and other special offers from some of the biggest brands in the UK; and you have the chance to share these product vouchers, special offers, and exclusive discounts with others.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game (2007-04-11)
Kayak travel deals for major league cities. Don’t wait for Web 3.0. Try Kayak for travel today.

Law Stuff

Many people have asked me why I don’t blog exclusively about the law. There are several reasons. First, intellectual property law (patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets) really hasn’t changed very much in the last 30 years. Second, much of the day-to-day changes are subtle and uninteresting to most of my readers. Third, the intersection of interesting and relevant (think “forest and trees” or “P and L statement”) material is minuscule. So I’m just trying to keep it real, relevant, and interesting.

Now On Martindale: Top 10 Lists (2007-03-19)
Martindale-Hubbell’s legal directory site Martindale.com announced a new feature: top 10 law firm lists, ranking law firms in various categories. It’s not the first time Martindale-Hubbell has put top 10 lists on its website. I wrote top ten lists for Martindale-Hubbell in 1997 (over ten years ago). What’s old is new again.

Is Copyright Violation Stealing? (2007-04-07)
It’s not a trick question. Neither is it a hard question. But it is certainly an interesting question with interesting answers, especially when it comes from Dilbert Creator Scott Adams.

Technology Stuff

The two biggest tech stories in the last month (where “month” is defined as 03/17/07 – 04/17/07, welcome to my world) are both Apple stories. In my opinion, we are just starting to see the impact that Apple TV will have on the cable TV industry. Already I am considering dumping Verizon FiOS TV. Also, Apple started selling music without copy-protection technology (so called Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology) in its iTunes Music Store. I have been a frequent critic of the music industry for not selling the products that its customers want to buy. But DRM-free music on iTunes is huge news for many reasons. First, the DRM-free tracks come at 256 Kbps, which is indistinguishable from CD audio. (128 Kbps is not CD-quality. Most people can hear the difference.) Second, we no longer have to waste our time doing the burn-rip cycle to rid iTunes tracks of their DRM. Third, the price for the better tracks is rightly higher, so the record companies will finally see that people are willing to pay more to get more. It’s huge news, and it’s only the beginning. Hopefully it’s also the beginning of the end of the dark ages.

Apple TV Reinvents TV Around What Consumers Want (2007-03-22)
“Apple TV is about to attack the fundamental assumptions underpinning the TV business just as the iPod cut the legs out from under CDs and radio stations.”

DRM-Free Songs On iTunes Mean More Differentiation For Apple (2007-04-02)
“Record label EMI and Apple have reached an agreement that allows Apple’s iTunes store to carry a significant portion of EMI’s music catalog without Digital Rights Management (DRM) restrictions. The new DRM-free AAC files will sell for a premium price, $1.29 [per] song, allowing that music to be played on many third-party music players, not just iPods. For those who don’t want to pay for the higher quality or lack of DRM, the same songs will be available [with] Apple’s Fairplay DRM for $0.99. Buyers who purchase albums will automatically get the higher quality versions without DRM.” See also a nice summary of the reaction to Apple’s DRM-free announcement.

Baseball Stuff

I’m quickly realizing that this two-article-per-category limit may prevent me from mentioning some really interesting stories, like how Manny Ramirez was selling his grill on eBay. Then again, maybe it won’t.

Yahoo Picks Curt Schilling’s Blog (2007-03-28)
“Blogs written by public figures too often have the plastic sheen of public relations all over them. True believers of the Web don’t ask for a lot, but they do appreciate the unvarnished truth. Anything less reeks of insincerity about the medium. That’s why Curt Schilling’s personal blog is a welcome respite from the watered-down happy talk that permeates the blogs of many well-known folks.”

Dice-KKKKKKKKKK (2007-04-05)
Daisuke Matsuzaka strikes out ten in his MLB debut. And for the record, Beth is still my favorite Sox blogger. Sorry, Curt.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Stuff

Traveling Wilburys Albums To Be Reissued (2007-03-21)
“The two albums from ’80s supergroup Traveling Wilburys will finally be reissued on June 12 by the noble historians at Rhino Records.” What’s next? The Beatles on iTunes?

The Day Sanjaya Won American Idol (2007-03-21)
American Idol is the most popular TV show in the history of television, and Sanjaya Malakar is Season Six’s breakout star. Here’s why. (Or you could just ask my nearly 9-year-old daughter.)

Random Stuff

Again feeling constrained by my self-imposed two-article-per-category limit, I feel compelled to mention the Game Over Project (featuring Space Invaders acted out by people) and this year’s April Fools’ Day round-up. I guess it depends on what the definition of “two” is.

Works On My Machine (2007-03-23)
This blog post reminded me of a funny story from MIT. My friend Peter S. and I were lab partners in a notoriously challenging electrical engineering lab class. In this class, we built a functioning computer step by step. Mis-wire one chip and your kit would not work. We sat opposite each other in the lab, cutting, splicing, and wiring from a specific pin on one chip to a specific pin on another chip. We spoke out loud, checking and double-checking our work. At the end of each phase, we powered on the kits and ran a series of tests to make sure that we had wired everything correctly. One wiring mistake could mean hours of re-wiring. When we finally powered on our kits to check our progress, my lights instantly turned on, his did not. “Drat!,” he said (to paraphrase). We checked and double-checked. Everything looked fine on both kits. That’s when I said, not too helpfully, “If it’s any consolation, mine works!” Long story short. Because we were sitting facing each other, it wasn’t immediately obvious that I’d wired one set of lights and he’d wired another set. His was correct, mine was wrong. The lights weren’t supposed to go on! It’s become a running joke ever since. (Peter and I would later go on to work in QA at both BBN and Cayman.)

The Joy Of Righteous Indignation (2007-03-20)
Dilbert creator Scott Adams blogs about working as a desk clerk at a resort in the Catskills and how his boss told him that dealing with complainers was part of the job. His story reminded me of our neighbors in Eliot, Maine (our first house). We invited the neighbors to an open house after we moved in. When I asked one couple what they did for a living, the husband replied that he was retired and that he “just likes to sit at home and criticize.” It helps to say that in a heavy Maine accent. It’s a worthy goal, one that I’ve been trying to achieve ever since, and one that is partially fulfilled by blogging. Thanks for reading.

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