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…)

Earlier this month I posted Part 1 of “What is region coding?”, which described the technology, commercial rationale, and economic effects of this system. This posting is Part 2, and considers the legal implications of region coding, with a focus on developments in the United States and Australia. (more…)

Matt Rimmer has a nice round-up of the year’s IT and IP stories at CCH (registration may be required). It has the usual suspects (Grokster, Sony v Stevens, the Sony rootkit) and also a nice summary of a French decision (Stéphane P and Association UFC v Universal Pictures Video France — Court d’Appeal de Paris) about DRM that prevents DVDs being copied to VHS tapes for private use.

This edition of “What is…?” describes the regional coding systems used by the entertainment industry, with a particular emphasis on DVDs. This article will explain the technology behind region coding, describe how the system is enforced, and speculate on the commercial reasons for the system. It will then consider the economic effects of region coding and its possible legal implications, including a discussion of recent litigation in which region coding has been at issue.

This posting contains Part 1, which provides an introduction to how region coding works from both technological and legal perspectives, as well as the commercial justifications for region coding and its possible economic effects. Part 2 considers the legal issues raised by region coding, in the context of both competition/antitrust law as well as the anti-circumvention provisions that have been adopted as part of copyright law in both Australia and the United States. (more…)

The Sony/BMG rootkit fiasco has advanced to the next stage: Amazon has been flooded with reviews of CDs that contain the rootkit (and possibly some that don’t, but just contain other DRM). These reviews have uniformly been stingingly negative, and award one star (the lowest that Amazon lets you award) out of its one to five star rating system. (more…)

I see that matters have developed quickly in the Sony DRM story that I blogged about earlier. We’ve had a lawsuit filed, viruses developed that take advantage of the Sony rootkit system, instructions proliferating on how to remove the RootKit, and some warnings from US Government officials directed at Sony and others who do this kind of thing. Moreinfo, plus links, plus some thoughts on the legal issues, over the fold. (more…)

J. Alex Halderman has an interesting post today on Ed Felten’s blog on some new music CD DRM (digital rights management) that actually makes your computer less secure. (more…)

As the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee hunkers down to think about DRM, they might like to take note of a column just published in the Wall Street Journal, on DRM: (more…)

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