December 2007

Getting ‘Gypped

December 31st 2007

The government of Egypt plans to pass a law that would require royalty payments on reproductions of museum pieces or national monuments such as the pyramids and the Sphinx. According to Zahi Hawass, chairman of Egypt’s Supreme Council of Antiquities, this law would apply to all countries, and is needed to cover the costs of […]

Paid RIAA Editorial Masquerading as News

December 25th 2007

The RIAA sank to a new all-time low by producing a two-minute video press release intended for local TV stations to broadcast about copyright infringement during the holiday season. A copy of the poorly made video may be found here. It matches a press release by the RIAA released on December 13, 2007. Among the […]

Media Lobbyists Want Whitehouse Advisor Role

December 19th 2007

The stick is back, and so is using the federal government as hired muscle. Media lobbyists are trying to get Congress to pass the PRO IP Act of 2007 (Prioritizing Resources and Organization for Intellectual Property), which creates the White House Intellectual Property Enforcement Representative, or “WHIPER.” This new agency will police U.S. intellectual property […]

Non-Compete Agreements: Bad for Business?

December 13th 2007

Mike Masnick offers an excellent article on, which points out that the goal of Non-Compete Agreements and those of Digital Rights Management (DRM) are essentially the same: to restrict the free flow of information. Masnick accurately note that non-competes are the “DRM of human capital.” A new study now shows that the degree of […]

No confusion about SPAM, Spam, & Spam

December 10th 2007

Spam Arrest, a provider of software and services aimed at stopping email spam, has won a U.S. Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ruling, allowing it to keep its trademark despite a petition from canned-meat producers Hormel. The TTAB blog quotes the ruling: “Simply put, the scope of protection of petitioner’s mark, while extremely broad, does not […]

Prince: IP Visionary or Comic Character?

December 9th 2007

Described in one of his own press releases as a “creative genius and forward thinker by nature,” the Purple One’s legal creativity is legendary. Recall his 1993 falling-out with Warner Bros. during which he only appeared in public with the word “slave” written on his cheek. Then he abandoned his stage name for a symbol. The line […]

RIAA & MPAA Using the Feds as Muscle

December 7th 2007

The RIAA and MPAA have never tried the carrot-and-stick approach to anti-piracy efforts — just the stick part. It’s all about the stick. The reason is a perception that an entire generation of kids and young adults does not respect copyrights, and that the combination of digital content and the widespread distribution medium of the […]

The Case of Megan Meier: Law, Journalism, Tragedy and Irony

December 5th 2007

The Case: The tragic story of Megan Meier, a 13-year-old St. Louis-area girl who committed suicide after being harassed on MySpace, has grabbed national headlines and inspired thousands of web readers to participate in a collective sorting of legal and ethical issues surrounding the case. Meier met a 16-year-old named “Josh Evans” on MySpace. Her […]

Infringement Nation and the NFL: Copyright Reductio Ad Absurdum

December 4th 2007

Can you imagine a more certain way to create a culture of lawlessness than to inspire a popular contempt for law? Few things are more likely to provoke contempt than to hand out rights so broad that to average people they are reduced to absurdity. That’s what University of Utah Law Professor John Tehranian illustrates […]

Trademarks in Virtual Worlds

December 2nd 2007

Part 3 in a series: Part 1 | Part 2 An avatar walks into a bar in Second Life, and another avatar looks at his shoes and says, “Hey! Nice Air Jordans!” Although it sounds like a classic joke set-up, it’s really a case of trademark infringement. Sorry if you’re disappointed there’s no punchline, but […]