I’ve discovered podcasts. Yes, I know it’s a little late in the piece, but really, it’s been a pretty recent thing: since I (a) got an iPhone and (b) started walking to work every day. At half an hour each day, I get a lot of listening done and music doesn’t quite do it for me. And lo and behold, there are all these interesting things to listen to online. I want to promote one specific thing, which is actually not a podcast, but a Webinar:

Managing IP magazine’s Asia editor Peter Ollier will be conducting a live online interview with IP Australia director general Philip Noonan on Friday March 6 at 4pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (3pm for us Brisbanites).

The one-hour interview will cover topics such as the recommendations in Terry Cutler’s venturousaustralia report, innovative step and inventive step in Australia’s patent law, the controversial Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and the impact of the credit crunch on patent and trade mark applications in Australia. Registration for this event is free. To register please go to Listeners will also be able to submit questions during the interview. Click here to go to the registration page.

Hey, how often do you get to hear about IP from the ‘horse’s mouth’, the dude in charge, so to speak? Think up your tricky questions about ACTA and the Innovation Review now! The other thing I wanted to mention was podcasts. There are a lot of cool podcasts out there. Apart from the wonderful material from our ABC, it’s worth highlighting:

  1. The IP Colloquium (run by Doug Lichtman, UCLA);
  2. The Software Freedom Law Center podcasts (all things open source)
  3. The amazing collection of stuff at iTunes U – lots of free lectures on all kinds of interesting things: from Berkeley, Stanford, LSE and other exciting places;
  4. Very cool.
  5. Digital Planet at the BBC
  6. Search Engine on CBC (Canadian Radio)
  7. Academic Earth (great lectures on all kinds of topics)

I’m sure there are others. Feel free to add them in the comments. Always looking for good new listening!

Ever wanted a copy of the Australian Constitution when not at your desk? If so, you may be interested to hear that the full text of the Australian Constitution is now available for your iPhone (or iPod Touch). It’s a free application, available internationally through iTunes (please note that this link will work only if you have iTunes installed).

It may interest readers to know that our own Ben wrote the application and uploaded it to the Apple App Store.

Thanks, Ben!

It’s always exciting to have a new Chief Justice of the High Court. Hearty congratulations of course to the CJ-elect, Robert French.

If this speech on IP is anything to go by – well, I suspect Inchoate is going to have plenty of material for his ‘High Court transcript funnies’ into the future. (hat tip: Emma Page Campbell and the Trade Marks Law Blog)

Taking a look through the LawFont log (as one does – it’s kind of like self-Googling – an attempt to make one feel important) I came across a link to LawFont from a website called “the rarest words“. This is their self-description:

What’s this? If you look at just the main pages of all sites in .com/.net/.org zones – you’ll see more than 17 millions words. Some of them got to be telling some interesting stories and that’s what we’re going to find out. Come back later when the system is really working (right now it’s more of a bunch of raw science stuff).

Basically, it lists some of the ‘rarest words’ that have been used on LawFont – as well as the most popular. Now, some of those ‘rarest words’ are typos or proper nouns – but take those away and you have some rather interesting words. Words that make it onto the ‘rarest’ list that we’ve used here on LawFont include:

  • outlandish
  • deterrence and deter (clearly the copyright owners need to do more work here)
  • overstated
  • inconvenient (what? people don’t talk about things being ‘inconvenient’? Or are they misspelling the word???)
  • fascinate (more people should use that word)
  • reprise
  • rumpus (what? no rumpuses online?)
  • adequately (ah, those adverbs)
  • econometric (yeah, that one is obscure :-))
  • repercussions (cool word)
  • disproportionate (a little surprising)
  • scoundrels (now there’s a word we should use more often, although I suspect that’s from Dale’s blog)
  • elucidated; and
  • terminate

Oh, and then there’s the embarrassing ones – like ‘resourced’, ‘lawish’ (we used that???). Very interesting.

And double your money, by doing it via the Club Troppo/John Quiggin appeal. Details here.

Via Joshua Gans: a very cool video showing cool things that can be done with a Wii Remote – including make an instant interactive whiteboard.

Of course, if you were at 2008, at open day, you saw the inimitable Rusty Russell do something very similar to make a fun projector tennis game.

Waugh Partners have released the Australian Open Source Industry and Community Report, 2008. It’s both beautiful, and interesting – and doesn’t support all the myths we generally have about the open source community. Congrats, Jeff & Pia.

Go read it!

Some Australian jurisdictions are experimenting with human rights charters. A very smart colleague of mine from Melbourne Uni, Jeremy Gans, has started a blog, Charterblog, to follow what’s happening. A valuable (and very attractively presented) resource, particularly now that there’s some discussion of a possible Federal version. Welcome to the blogosphere, Charterblog.

IP academia is a field dominated by obsession with new technologies. Every now and then we need a reality check. While there are lots of things one could read to get that reality check, this post, by Tarleton Gillespie (author of Wired Shut: Copyright and the Shape of Digital Culture (MIT Press, June 2007)) prompted me to think more broadly today.

Seen on New York Times website today…

Melbourne University Law School Masters program has changed its subject “Fundamentals of Islamic Law” to “Principles of Islamic Law”. He He He.

It must be Friday. All the IP stories are sports ones.

Several sites have picked up the story that the Major Baseball League is involved in a rather Major Technology Stuff-up. As Madisonian reports:

‘Apparently fans who purchased digital downloads from MLB have discovered that MLB has changed its DRM scheme. Fans who downloaded complete games from MLB had to log in through an MLB web page to verify that the download in question was being viewed on the appropriate, licensed computer. MLB has now removed this page, making those downloads unviewable. Apparently MLB does not know when the problem will be fixed. This means that those who purchased the downloads have been denied the benefits of their bargain.’

As the US sites are reporting – under US law, the fans are stuffed. Circumventing the DRM is illegal under their Copyright Act (the DMCA). And no one can sell the fans the means to access the games, because that’s illegal too.

Aren’t you proud that Australian law isn’t so silly? Here, under the Copyright Regulations 1969, we actually have a prescribed exception that allows circumvention of an access control to get access to stuff where:

(a) the technological protection measure is not operating normally; and
(b) a replacement technological protection measure is not reasonably available.

yay Australia! oh, but that’s right. STILL no one can sell you (or even provide to you for free, personally) with the means to do so. So GEEKY Australian baseball fans are ok. That must be a large group.

Oh, hang on, no. Geeky Australian baseball fans are not ok, because they might be circumventing under US law if they were to circumvent a US access control based on a US site … might depend on the technology; whether all the acts were occurring in Australia. Hmmm……

My brain hurts.

As Malik reports, we’ve having the “we own all rights to all images of sport for all time” debate again.

This time it’s cricket. Cricket Australia has been in disputes with all kinds of media over its accreditation rules (the rules that you have to follow if you want to be on the ground as a journalist, you know, to take photos and stuff).

As the Brisneyland Courier Mail reported the other day:

CA insists it holds the intellectual property rights to agency photographs taken at its venues, and that those photos cannot be re-sold without its permission. …
Cricket Australia said it was acting to protect the media rights that form its core revenue in a changing media landscape.
“Where cricket generates commercial value, we believe that some of it should be available for investment in the future of cricket,” CA spokesman Peter Young said.”

The SMH reports today that the accreditation stand-off between CA and News Ltd was resolved, but that international wire services Reuters, AP and AFP were still locked out of the Gabba after refusing to pay CA for images from the game.

Let’s think about this for a minute. “Where cricket generates commercial value, we believe that some of it should be available for investment in the future of cricket”. Hmmm. I quite like that reasoning. I guess that means also that where some journalist takes a photo with me in it and publishes it in a newspaper, that a picture of me is generating commercial value, and some of that value should be available for reinvestment in my appearance (then I could hire that personal trainer I’ve always wanted). Hey, and when I speak to journalists to explain stuff, I should get money for that to reinvest in finding out more stuff about IP law. yeah. Great reasoning.

Come on people. If we all sought to be paid for every little iota of commercial value that could be extracted out of everything, the world would grind to a halt.

Obviously, this is a dispute over media rights in sport, and obviously, that’s much bigger business than photos of me will ever be. And we ARE talking about a dispute between one big body (Cricket Australia) and several others (big international media companies). It’s a little silly to feel particularly sorry, in negotiations, for either side.

But sometimes I wish people would really think through the logic of their positions.

I have a chapter in a new book. The book is called TV Futures: Digital Television Policy in Australia. Further information, contents and the first chapter are available at the CMCL-Centre for Media and Communications Law, University of Melbourne. You can order the book here. You can also find an abstract of the chapter here. TVFuturesCover

QUT. For this one. Too funny, just too funny.

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