January 2006

The Register has a short story based on a survey conducted by XTN data, which found that while 25% of people admit to downloading music from file-sharing services, only 7% of iPod owners admit doing so.

If true, this, again, seems to prove Steve Jobs correct: give people a reasonably-priced legal means of downloading music, and they will not violate copyright.

‘The entire corpus of published printed material produced in a year, including books, newspapers, and periodicals occupies between 50TB – 200TB, depending on the compression technology. This amount could now easily fit in a refrigerator-size disk array.

So now it is becoming technologically feasible for all recordable information to be accessible by everyone on the planet. The barriers to accessibility are not technical in nature, they are social, legal, and economic.’

Hal Varian, ‘Universal Access to Information’, Communications of the ACM, October 2005, Vol 48(10) at 65.

I’ve not been reporting on the debate in Canada over the conduct of Sam Bulte, and her copyright industry-funded fundraiser. The place to go for background and comments is Michael Geist’s website. It’s a truly fascinating (and disturbing) story, but for the moment, it doesn’t impact on, or have implications for, the Australian situation. So I direct you elsewhere for that story.

But Geist has linked to what I think is a fascinating post, by Matthew Good, Canadian musician. It’s a comment on whether the interests of the ‘Canadian Music Industry’ and the interests of Canadian Musicians coincide. (more…)

A World Health Organisation Commission on Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation has delayed its report, due to disagreements amongst its members. The Commission is analysing how incentives and funding mechanisms may be created for research into, and the development of, medicines for diseases that “disproportionately affect developing countries”. Full story at IP Watch. Short quote over the fold. (more…)

See the full list here!

It’s been a long time coming, of course (I started publishing links to the submissions back in August, 2005, and the Copyright Council also did so). But all credit to the Department for putting them up. It is undoubtedly a good thing that they have done so – there are many I haven’t seen before. Having the submissions online contributes to the transparency of the lawmaking process. In this case, transparency is a good thing. Given that opacity of the law-making process was one factor in the High Court’s reasoning in the Stevens v Sony decision, putting the submissions online will also assist in the future. Thanks, AGs! (Thanks also to Matt Black (EFA) for alerting me to this).

If you want to know what they’re talking about in trade mark law in the US, you might want to head over to 43(b)log: in particular the posts summarising proceedings from the AALS Section on IP – Parts one, two, three, and four.

In other trade mark news, IPKat reports an ECJ decision (scroll down to C-361/04 P (2006-01-12) Ruiz-Picasso and Others v OHIM) on whether the mark PICARO for vehicles would be likely to be confused with an earlier mark, PICASSO (registered, inter alia, for vehicles). (more…)

News to hand today: the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has handed down its en banc judgment in the Yahoo! case regarding enforcement of the judgment of the French Court in La Ligue Contre Le Racisme et L’Antisemitisme v. Yahoo!, Inc. It would appear that:

  • 3 judges decided to dismiss for lack of ripeness
  • 3 decided to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction; thus the case was dismissed, despite the
  • 5 judges who thought that there was both jurisdiction and ripeness.

Huh? I hear you ask? Isn’t the Yahoo! case, like, ancient history in internet terms? Yes indeed, but remember, that we are working on law time here, not internet time. Brief precis of the case over the fold. (more…)

A few of the patent blogs over the last week or so have been reporting a decline in patent litigation in the US, sourced from analysis done by LegalMetrics. But is it so? I’m not so sure… (more…)

The other day I blogged about what was coming up in Australian IP. Not really predictions – these were more statements about the stuff I knew should be coming.

For a bunch of predictions – focused on the US but of course with more general relevance – see Freedom to Tinker’s list of 23.

An interesting press release from IBM yesterday, reported in today’s Australian here. and in the New York Times here (there’s a story in WSJ, too, but it’s subscriber only). In essence, IBM has announced 3 ways it is working with the USPTO, Open Source Development Labs (OSDL), members of the open source software community and academia to improve patent quality. Fascinating projects that put ‘peer development’ of knowledge and tools into practice.

[update: in addition to the above sources, it’s worth dropping by Groklaw for more on these initiatives]

More over the fold. (more…)

2005 was one of those years where the IP developments just kept coming. Kazaa, Fair Dealing/Fair Use, a TPM law inquiry, Stevens v Sony, the occasional patent judgment, another government inquiry. And that’s just the Australian stuff. We also of course had stuff like the Grokster judgment, developments in the Blackberry litigation … more treaty-making. It was hard keeping up. Matt Rimmer has done a run down over here.

Instead of doing my own round up, I thought it might be fun to list up the things that are still to come in Australian IP. Just so I can feel exhausted before we even really start the year. So, over the fold, my round up of developments to expect, and issues to come, in Australian IP law. (more…)

I’m more an IP person than a contract person, but in teaching IT law, you do often come up against that question – just how far can warranties go in excluding corporate liability?

The SMH reports that the ACCC has taken legal action in the Federal Court against LG Electronics for telling customers who bought its mobile phones that it offered only a limited and voluntary one-year warranty. (more…)

You know it’s time to start blogging again when you realise you are talking back at the television (although at least I refrained from yelling at the tv…). Sometimes I wonder whether I’m doomed to keep blogging for so long as US-Australia FTA IP issues keep periodically hitting the headlines.

Why was I displaying this mild form of insanity? Last night, the FTA, and pharmaceutical prices issues hit the 7:30 Report (transcript not yet available), building on a story that hit the newspaper sites yesterday. (more…)

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