The Sydney Morning Herald is carrying a story entitled “The fine art of patent trolling”, which focusses on Forgent Networks Inc. Forgent is perhaps best known for its 2004 litigation against 31 companies, including Apple, Microsoft and Adobe, alleging infringement of a patent covering the jpeg image compression algorithm. That suit is still pending, but has so far netted a significant sum in settlement payments from some of the respondents. (more…)

Labor MP Bob McMullan is intending to introduce a private members bill when Parliament next sits (on 27 March) that would give artists royalties on the resale of their creations. (more…)

Michael Geist has a great post analysing a study just released by the CRIA. He concludes that the study contradicts a number of the usual claims made by the CRIA, with perhaps the two most interesting points being:

“even among those who download music from P2P services, the music acquired on those services account for only one-third of the music on their computers as store-bought CDs remain the single largest source of music for downloaders”


“consistent with many other studies, people who download music from P2P services frequently buy that same music. The study found that only 25% of respondents said they never bought music after listening to it as a P2P downloaded track. That obviously leaves nearly 75% as future purchasers, including 21% who have bought music ten times or more.”

So while there is definitely music piracy out there, is it as bad as has been stated?

(The appendix containing the data analysed is available here).

From GrokLaw, the District Court of Amsterdam has upheld the validity of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Sharealike license. Adam Curry, a well-known media figure now living in Holland, posted some pictures of his family on photo-sharing site Flickr (his profile appears to be here). The photos carried a notice saying “This photo is public”, and were published under a non-commercial Creative Commons licence. A Dutch magazine reprinted four of the photos in a story on Curry and his children. (more…)

The Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit handed down an interesting judgment on when deleting files might amount to a crime. The plaintiff, IAC, had employed the defendant, Citrin, to identify properties that IAC might want to acquire. It issued him a laptop computer he was to use to record data collected in the course of his employment.

Citrin decided to go into business for himself, and he returned his laptop to IAC — with, apparently, all information on it securely deleted, such that it was irrecoverable. This, IAC suspected, included data that implicated Citrin in breach of his employment contract. IAC brought suit under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, but its suit was dismissed for failure to state a case. (more…)

Breaking news is that Research in Motion (RIM), maker of the BlackBerry, has settled its dispute with NTP for $612.5m. This is higher than the $450m settlement reached a year ago, which was later invalidated by a judge. (more…)

Napster CEO has pointed the finger at Microsoft as part of the reason it has not been successful competing against Apple’s iTunes. “There is no question that their execution has been less than brilliant over the last 12 months,” the article quotes Napster CEO and Chairman as saying. (more…)

The LA Times is carrying a remarkable story about a man charged with criminal offences in relation to the leaking of documents of Diebold Corporation, makers of electronic ballot systems used in US elections. (more…)

It looks like the SCO litigation is hotting up a little. IBM has reportedly issued subpoenas to Microsoft, Hewlett Packard, Sun and BayStar Capital in relation to their dealings with SCO. (more…)

The BBC has a thoughtful piece on the pending expiry of copyright in sound recordings of a number of major pieces of music.

[T]he message from the industry is one of impending gloom. They are warning that they face one of the biggest challenges to their survival since popular music exploded in the 1960s. In 2013, copyright in the sound recording of the Beatles’ first album expires, as it will for recordings from Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard and other performers of the same period.


Macworld has a short news update reporting that Apple’s iTunes store now sells 3m songs per day, and is approaching the 1 billionth sale mark.

An interesting counterpoint to a story in the same publication 27 months previously, which linked to a blog post by Dave Fester, general manager of Microsoft’s Windows Digital Media Division.

My favourite excerpt from that post is:

iTunes captured some early media interest with their store on the Mac, but I think the Windows platform will be a significant challenge for them. Unless Apple decides to make radical changes to their service model, a Windows-based version of iTunes will still remain a closed system, where iPod owners cannot access content from other services. Additionally, users of iTunes are limited to music from Apple’s Music Store. As I mentioned earlier, this is a drawback for Windows users, who expect choice in music services, choice in devices, and choice in music from a wide-variety of music services to burn to a CD or put on a portable device. Lastly, if you use Apple’s music store along with iTunes, you don’t have the ability of using the over 40 different Windows Media-compatible portable music devices. When I’m paying for music, I want to know that I have choices today and in the future.

As Homer would say, “mmm, retrospection”.

ZDNet had a recent article about RIM winning a patent case in the UK. The action was unrelated to the NTP/RIM litigation, and appears to have been an action by RIM to have an InPro patent revoked, provoking InPro to countersue for infringement. (more…)

Following on my post the other day about courts ordering the release of “private” data about net usage, an interesting case in point is a decision of the Dutch Supreme Court in late November, which ordered Lycos to reveal the identity of a user of one of its websites who had anonymously posted slanderous (or potentially slanderous) allegations against a postage stamp dealer. (more…)

The New York Times has a story on the use of data held by internet companies in court. I don’t think it’s actually all that new a story; it’s more of a ‘lawyers are finally starting to catch up with the net’ story, in the same way you would have had a story about lawyers coming to terms with fax technology 20 years ago. (more…)

Following on from our mention in the AFR, LawFont is now mentioned in

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”! :-)

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