January 2006

Gosh, too much IP/Tech news is just never enough, right? There’s heaps going on right now. I’ve commented on the whole patent injunction issue (Blackberry, and eBay v MercExchange) below. But there’s so much more going on, I’ll just post a couple of pointers to more info. Over the fold, more on the many Google stories hitting the news, as well as Ed Felten on DRM. In addition, I note that the Kazaa contempt case (over Kazaa’s decision to block Australian access, rather than alter its software) was listed, as I understood, for hearing in Sydney yesterday. Does anyone know what happened? (more…)

Guess what Professor Sam Ricketson just put on my desk? The two volumes of Ricketson and Ginsburg’s new tome, International Copyright and Neighbouring Rights: The Berne Convention and Beyond. This book updates Ricketson’s seminal earlier work on The Berne Convention 1886 – 1986. The new edition not only adds Professor Jane Ginsburg’s expertise, but is quite comprehensively updated, including commentary on such treaties as the WIPO Copyright Treaty, and even developments in relation to Bilateral Free Trade Agreements, and Private International Law aspects of international copyright. It even has a companion website. While I’ve not yet dipped into these pages of wisdom and scholarship, I have a feeling this is bound to end up as important, frequently cited and influential as Professor Ricketson’s earlier work. Can’t wait to read it!

Today, Patently-O has a summary of the briefs received in the US Supreme Court thus far in the case of eBay v MercExchange . Parties briefing include Yahoo!, the EFF, AIPLA, 52 Law Professors (written by Mark Lemley, who has written prolifically and informatively on matters of patent litigation generally), a bunch of technology companies (including a joint brief from Intel, Microsoft, Oracle and Micron), Nokia and others. The summaries make an interesting read, because they reveal two things: that this dispute has a very broad background in some of the most contentious reform issues in patent law in the US today, and second, that this could well end up being, as Patently-O has described it , ‘the most important patent case in the past five years’. (more…)

Following on from our mention in the AFR, LawFont is now mentioned in lawyersweekly.com.au.

Again, the article has a focus on the gossipy law blog/blawg rather than those that go for serious discussion, but we do get a mention as one of “a small number of Australian legal bogs” — hope they meant “blogs”! :-)

Because of Chinese government restrictions on the information available to its citizens, access to Google’s main website (www.google.com) has either been prevented altogether or has been very slow. Google’s new Chinese website, www.google.cn, will not suffer the same problems. However, this access comes at a price. In exchange for access to the Chinese market, Google has agreed to censor its search results on the .cn version of the search engine. (more…)

The EFF has a press release on Field v. Google, in which the United States District Court for the District of Nevada rejected Field’s claims for copyright infringement arising from Google’s storing of his copyright works in its cache. (more…)

Mark Russinovich, the security researcher who found the Sony Rootkit, posted the results of his analysis of the Windows metadata flaw on his “Sysinternals” blog.

As expected, he concludes that the flaw was an intentional piece of design that turned out to be very poor and insecure–not an intentional, malicious backdoor as has recently been claimed. (more…)

This edition of “What is..?” considers VoIP, otherwise known as Internet telephony or IP telephony. VoIP, which stands for “Voice over Internet Protocol”, refers to the transmission of voice telephone calls over the Internet or any other IP-based network. VoIP systems use packet-switched networks to route and transmit voice calls, rather than the circuit-switching systems used by “traditional” voice telecommunications services.

This article provides an introduction to VoIP, including how it differs from traditional telephony services, and considers some of the regulatory issues raised by providing voice telephony over the Internet. While today VoIP might appear to be a niche product, it is in fact threatening to change the structure of the telephony industry, and is evidence of convergence between the Internet and telecommunications. (more…)

Legal blogs get a mention in today’s Australian Financial Review Legal Affairs section (sorry, registration/subscription required) in the intriguingly titled ‘Superhotties and divas: the blogs rule‘. LawFont gets a specific mention (yay!).

Oh, and we here at LawFont are not the ‘superhotties’ nor the ‘divas’ referred to; nor are the bloggers on the other sites mentioned: Quantum Meruit, and Inchoate (sorry, guys!). Rather, that headline refers to Justice Kirby (‘superhottie of the first order’) and Justice Crennan (‘diva’) (quoting judgments from the famous, or infamous law blog in the US, ‘Underneath their Robes’).

It’s a shame, though, that the only focus of the article is on the ‘gossip’ aspect of legal blogs (or blawgs). (more…)

It is far too hot and sticky this morning in Melbourne to spend vast amounts of time blogging. (hmmm, theory, how does weather affect blogging? More blogging if colder and stuck inside..?).

Four interesting stories today though, on the continuing Copyright and Politics saga in Canada, on the take-down of Wikipedia Germany, on Google Subpoenas and on the question of who owns the news in the US? More over the fold. (more…)

The Canadian Globe and Mail has a story on how a UK court ordered parts of an unauthorised biography of singer Loreena McKennitt to be deleted. (more…)

The Age has reprinted a copy of a letter written by Groucho Marx in response to a letter of demand from Warner Brothers studio. Old, but good.

Speaking of Groucho, Andrew Denton last year had a great interview with Alice Cooper, who knew Groucho well and had some amusing anecdotes.

No, copying your CDs isn’t legal (yet). But Sony has come to the party, announcing that it will make its catalogue available through Apple’s Australian iTunes music store. Good news indeed.

And in other iPod news: (more…)

The Trade Marks Office (IP Australia) has apparently ruled that ‘Ugg Boot’ is a generic term. As such, it can be removed from the Register, putting an end to the exclusive rights of the trade mark owner. Given that no decision appears in AustLII, I’m guessing that this is an initial decision, which could be the subject of review or later, appeal to the courts. The story may not be entirely over. >[Update: The decision is in fact available here; it is a decision by the delegate under s 101 relating to an application for removal under s 92. As such, it could be appealed to the Federal Court (s 104). The decision is worth reading, if only for the comedy value in seeing how ‘UGG’, ‘UGH’, etc have been used. After the decision, the trade mark owner’s lawyers issued a statement, (more…)

Slate Magazine has a fascinating article on the economics of Starbucks, which focuses on “the elusive ‘short’ cappuccino”; or why Starbucks will serve you “a better, stronger cappuccino if you want one, and they will charge you less for it.” (more…)

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