December 2008

Your Votes Are In: A Look Back on 2008’s Top Online Law Posts

December 30th 2008

A quick look at our log shows which stories visitors viewed most in 2008 on Useful Arts.  I had forgotten how important, and frequently bizarre, this year’s topics were. Three posts towered above the others: CAN-SPAM, teens behaving badly online, and Tiffany’s contributory infringement case against eBay. January: Catherine Douglas started the year off with […]

B2B Holiday eCards: The Best Branding Canvas Ever

December 23rd 2008

Holiday cards are perhaps the purest opportunity for marketers to put brands on center stage without pesky offers or product data messing getting in the way.  It lets us see pure branding and get some sense of how firms think of their clients and themselves. Here are three examples from internet marketing companies, the very people who […]

RIAA: Same Tune, Different Dance

December 22nd 2008

In what could have been a last-second shakedown effort, the RIAA has seen fit to ignore a judge’s order preventing the use of names determined through the discovery phase of Motown Record Company vs. John Doe from being used for anything beyond simple discovery. “The disclosure of such information is ordered pursuant to 20 U.S.C. […]

Ten Laws of Building a SaaS Company

December 21st 2008

Software as a Service (SaaS) market leader and service provider recently hosted a presentation by Bessemer Venture Partners, which has funded many of my favorite SaaS enterprises, including LinkedIn, Postini, Keynote, Eloqua, Skype,, and PTC. Since this presentation is locked up in a hard-to-search format, I’m republishing its insights for your enjoyment here, […]

Breaking: RIAA Abandoning P2P Lawsuits

December 19th 2008

The Wall Street Journal reports that the RIAA has decided to shift an ISP-focused enforcement approach, which would result in prosecution of individual P2P sharers only in extraordinary circumstances. Since 2003, the recording industry has opened legal proceedings against 35,000 people, including children, single mothers, and a dead person. It’s been a PR nightmare, inspired animosity […]

Google’s “Editorial Input” from Personalized Search Could Kill Objectivity

December 17th 2008

According to an article in The Register, Google’s Vice President of Search Product and User Experience, Marissa Mayer, observed that editorial judgments may play a key role in Google searches in the near future. Mayer made her comments at the Le Web conference in Paris on December 10th. If this change does materialize, the editorial […]

Brand Obama Wins “Marketer of the Year” for a Different Kind of Brand

December 15th 2008

My take on brands (which I hope someone will just once call “the Wieneke proposition“) is that brands are vessels that hold the good feelings generated by experiences created by staff or products. The implication is that those experiences have to be placed in front of the brand. Brands don’t create their own love; experiences do. […]

Thomson CompuMark Website Shows “Less is More”

December 13th 2008

The core palette of my firm’s new website has changed to white and a medium soft gray. That sounds pretty light. But these soft elements help create a canvas for the site’s accents: the use of stronger photo elements and the introduction of orange as a highlight color. Here’s an example of how an image […]

Can Schools Copyright Their Students’ Creations?

December 11th 2008

Tip of the hat to Gamasutra. A group of students at Redmond, WA-based DigiPen Institute of Technology spent three semesters working on a game that went on to win some awards. Unfortunately, part of the admissions process for this program included signing over the copyright of anything they created for assignments. The students incorporated and […]

Godzilla’s IP Team: Nothing Generic About This Monster

December 10th 2008

And speaking of dinosaurs… Apparently, Godzilla isn’t just a monster; he’s the mascot for Japanese intellectual property lawyers! In a very interesting article in Wired, David Kravets describes the extent the legal team at Toho Co. Ltd will go to protect the name ‘Godzilla.’ Toho has gone after Honda, a Napa Valley vineyard who produced […]