Stand By Your Words

Via Kevin, we learn what happens when a fictional, but entirely plausible, hiring partner hears the word ‘weblog’ for the first time:

Uh oh. One of the recruiting coordinators knocked on my door this morning. Apparently she had lunch over the weekend with one of her colleagues, and heard a story about an associate at another firm who had “some sort of online journal — something apparently called a weblog,” and was writing stuff about the firm, and her colleagues, and when they discovered this it became a big deal, because of what was up there, and they ended up reprimanding the associate and having her make the blog vanish immediately.

At Copyfight, Elizabeth Rader responds: Your Permanent Record:

My first reaction is one I have over and over in Internet law… firms–did you really think your employees never talk about the firm and its goings-on? Did you really think your candidates had no opinions other than those they glibly recited in their interviews and fancy lunches? Lawyers–did you really think the firm would never check your background? Did you really think the firm wouldn’t notice if you’re writing about it? My second reaction is also typical: Firm–get a thicker skin. Lawyers—own up to your past and, today, if you’re ashamed for someone to read what you’re saying, why are you saying it in the first place?

Even though it may seem ephemeral, what one posts publicly on the internet is searchable and increasingly permanent, thanks to tools like The Internet Archive and Google Groups.
Hence, I try to be responsible about what I post here and prefer to err on the side of discretion and silence.
Nick Morgan has adopted a similar approach towards responsible blawging: “writing in my own name forces me to take due responsibility for my public remarks. Plus, in the unlikely event that I some day produce a truly original thought, credit would be nice”
Incidentally, I Googled myself for the first time in a while and learned that my doppelganger in Australia is a cattle judge. Perhaps that bodes well for my chances of getting appointed to the bench someday?

My Next Phone?

Engadget reports on the arrival of the Motorola V600, a quad-band GSM mobile phone with bluetooth and camera. Mobile Burn digs the V600. This looks like a snazzy phone. If it were $299 cheaper, I’d be there.
On the other hand, the Sony Ericsson T610 also has Bluetooth and a camera, is much less expensive and is not a flip phone. However, I get lousy reception at my place with its predecessor (T68i) on the same network. With an actual antenna, the V600 should have better reception.
Not that I am in any rush to get a new phone, but I would like to be able to use my cell phone in my apartment without leaning up against the window.

Uploading Is Not Infringement

In Canada, a court ruled that making files available on a file sharing network is not proof of copyright infringement. The Toronto Globe and Mail reports: Court quashes music industry bid for IDs

Justice Konrad von Finckenstein ruled Wednesday that the Canadian Recording Industry Association did not prove there was copyright infringement by 29 so-called music uploaders.
He said that downloading a song or making files available in shared directories, like those on Kazaa, does not constitute copyright infringement under the current Canadian law.

It will be interesting to see if this ruling has any effect on pending cases here in the US.
Update (3:52pm): Via FurdLog, the opinion: BMG Canada Inc. v. Doe, 2004 FC 288.
The court finds that the plaintiffs (Canada record labels) failed to establish a prima facie case of copyright infringement for three reasons:

  1. The affadavits from MediaSentry (a p2p tracking firm employed by the plaintiffs) are hearsay and fail to meet the best evidence rule. The proffered evidence fails to establish that the files being offered are actually infringing files of the plaintiffs.
  2. The plaintiffs failed to provide clear and comprehensive evidence of how the usernames of the Kazaa or iMesh users are connected with the IP addresses identified by MediaSentry.
  3. Finally, “no evidence was presented that the alleged infringers either distributed or authorized the reproduction of sound recordings. They merely placed personal copies into their shared directories which were accessible to other computer users via a P2P service.” Downloading songs for personal use is not infringement.

The court goes on to evaluate the practical and privacy concerns in revealing the identity the user of a dynamically-assigned IP address.

Uploading Is Not Infringement

In Canada, a court ruled that making files available on a file sharing network is not proof of copyright infringement. The Toronto Globe and Mail reports: Court quashes music industry bid for IDs

Justice Konrad von Finckenstein ruled Wednesday that the Canadian Recording Industry Association did not prove there was copyright infringement by 29 so-called music uploaders.
He said that downloading a song or making files available in shared directories, like those on Kazaa, does not constitute copyright infringement under the current Canadian law.

It will be interesting to see if this ruling has any effect on pending cases here in the US.

Penguins Everywhere

SF Chronicle: Lawsuits change approach to Linux: Companies more cautious about use of open source

Companies large and small are still deploying new open-source projects just as rapidly as ever, say Cohen and other Linux watchers. Linux and other free programs have just become too big a part of business to abandon, with big hardware vendors selling servers preloaded with Linux and companies like Oracle Corp. pushing Linux as the best foundation on which to run its database software.
They’re just doing it more quietly and more cautiously. They’re also using more lawyers.

You’re Fired

At Findlaw, Irwin R. Kramer evaluates The Donald’s likelihood of success in obtaining trademark registration for the phrase “you’re fired”: The Donald’s New Game of Trademark Monopoly

To get his trademark, The Donald must establish that the slogan carries a “secondary meaning” which identifies America’s most flamboyant entrepreneur. Put another way, Trump must show that Americans link this phrase directly to him – so closely that this connection has actually become part of its meaning.

It’s what’s for dinner

Via Howard, we learn that the 9th Circuit is set to hear oral arguments in an appeal of some Montana ranchers’ challenge to the national beef checkoff program. Under this program, ranchers pay $1 per head of cattle to fund initiatives promoting beef. The program raises about $80 million each year.
A checkoff program funded those “Beef, it’s what’s for dinner” ads, which associated “Hoedown” (fromAaron Copland’s ballet “Rodeo“) with that phrase in the minds of millions of impressionable television viewers.
In order to free my readers’ minds from that association (or to further reinforce it), enjoy an MP3 of Béla Fleck and the Flecktones playing Hoedown, from the Beacon Theater on November 24, 2000, with special guests Paul Hanson, John Clark, Andy Narell and Sandip Burman: Hoedown (MP3). Download the complete show from archive.org.

E-Voting Threatens Democracy, Film at 11

Wired: How E-Voting Threatens Democracy

Over the past year, doubts about the accuracy and integrity of e-voting equipment have been growing, thanks to Harris’ discovery. Some election officials have called Harris, a 53-year-old mother of five and a self-employed publicist, a wacko, a conspiracy nut and even a threat to democracy for her role in raising the controversy. But day by day, other election officials, secretaries of state, legislators and voters have come to agree with her that something is seriously wrong with electronic voting systems and the companies that make them

E-Voting Threatens Democracy, Film at 11

Wired: How E-Voting Threatens Democracy

Over the past year, doubts about the accuracy and integrity of e-voting equipment have been growing, thanks to Harris’ discovery. Some election officials have called Harris, a 53-year-old mother of five and a self-employed publicist, a wacko, a conspiracy nut and even a threat to democracy for her role in raising the controversy. But day by day, other election officials, secretaries of state, legislators and voters have come to agree with her that something is seriously wrong with electronic voting systems and the companies that make them

First Skate

This afternoon, I broke out the skates for the first time this year. (In contrast, last year’s first skate happened during a warm spell in February.)
Last night, in conversation, I mentioned how little I know of the geography of Brooklyn north of the Manhattan Bridge. Perhaps because of inspiration from photos taken on the Satan’s Laundromat walking tour of Vinegar Hill, I decided to skate along the Brooklyn Navy Yard up towards the Williamsburg Bridge, then over the Williamsburg Bridge, and back to Brooklyn over the Mahnattan Bridge. The route is similar to Jake’s Around the Navy Yard. This was a nice easy warm-up for an early spring day, albeit over streets that have not fully recovered from winter’s potholes.
Skating this route provided me with a nice reminder of the diversity among the population of Brooklyn.