Profits in the Attic

In Slate, Daniel Gross discusses how Ampex has turned its patent portfolio and the threat of patent litigation into profit: The Profits in the Attic – How an old technology has turned Ampex into America’s hottest stock:

The hottest tech stock in America hasn’t been surging because of what its products promise to do in the future, but for breakthroughs it made more than a decade ago. Ampex has quietly risen a whopping 2,000 percent in the past six months. It is perhaps the most extreme vindication of Kevin G. Rivette and David Kline’s book Rembrandts in the Attic, which argued that companies’ patent collections could constitute an overlooked treasure trove. In the past year, Ampex has found several Rembrandts in its attic, and maybe even a Renoir or two.

Blawging in journalism

Washington Lawyer: Do You Blog?: “The legal technorati weren’t there at the dawn of the blogosphere, but by 2000 a handful of U.S. law professionals had joined diehard cybergeeks in discovering the sheer simplicity and power of web logs.”
Ben Wickert: Spanning the “Blawgsphere”: “Nnow, lawyers, law professors, law students, and even judges have grasped the Web as a medium of expression. Message boards, databases, and weblogs all over the internet have exponentially increased the dissemination of law-related information available to the public. Material once accessible only in trade journals or law libraries now can be found at the click of a button.”
Howard Rice: Corporate Blogging: Seize the Opportunity, but Control the Risks: “While corporate blogs offer novel opportunities, they also present significant legal risks. Companies that anticipate these issues and plan accordingly can reap the benefits of corporate blogging while reducing the risk of litigation.”
The Blawg Review is the latest legal blog community development project from Kevin Heller and Evan Schaeffer. This follows up on Blawgcast.com, the source for law-related podcasts.

History and Copyright

NY Times: Historical Epic Is Focus of Copyright Dispute: “In a letter this month, a lawyer for James Reston Jr., author of ‘Warriors of God: Richard the Lionheart and Saladin in the Third Crusade,’ accused the studio of violating American and international copyright law by using ‘events, characters, scenes, descriptions and character tensions’ in the film that were ‘strikingly similar’ to his narrative history.”
Scrivener’s Error: Children’s Crusade: “In a no-doubt unintentional bit of cognitive dissonance, today is the argument in MGM v. Grokster, concerning the theft—and that is the correct word—of musical recordings via the Internet, and who may be liable for that theft; and the alleged theft of ideas by Hollywood.”

“Dumb Ass” is not a defamatory term

InternetCases.com: California Court of Appeal: “Dumb Ass” is not a defamatory term: “It’s not too often that the courts get to pass judgment on the really important issues of our time. But in its March 24 decision in the case of Vogel v. Felice, the California Court of Appeal has determined that calling someone a ‘dumb ass’ does not give rise to liability for defamation. ”
Vogel v. Felice (Cal. Ct. App., March 24, 2005).

How legal is AllOfMP3?

In Slate, Dana Mulhauser looks at the legality of AllofMP3: Barely Legal – The hottest trend in file sharing.: “Could a scheme like Allofmp3.com be legal? Probably. Is it legal, in fact? Probably not. Will you get sued for using it? Not likely, or at least, far less likely than you would be for using Grokster or any of the other peer-to-peer networks.”
Earlier this month, Russian criminal authorities declined to prosecute AllOfMP3 for criminal copyright infringement. However, it remains to be seen what happens when international copyright owners pursue a civil copyright infringement case against AllOfMP3 in Russian courts.

Trademarks as Keywords

Jason Hunt and Brian Laurenzo, For Sale – Your Trademark as a Keyword, from IP Frontline magazine.

Most recently, Internet uses of trademarks, and in particular, uses in association with advertising through the Internet, have placed new strains on the traditional interpretation of trademark use sufficient to support a cause of action for trademark infringement. Due to the widespread use and availability of the Internet, advertising activity, and therefore use of trademarks on the Internet, affects nearly everyone who owns or uses a computer.

Notes from a new computer

After three years, I replaced my trusty iBook with a younger, thinner, aluminum version of itself.
In many ways, it doesn’t feel like a new computer, because all of my same files and settings are in place. Moving files from one Mac running OS X to another is incredibly easy. By simply connecting the two computers with a firewire cable and running the OS X Setup Assistant, the new system acts just like the old system, with the same files, applications and settings. And, the new system is noticeably faster.
The form is essentially the same as the iBook, although noticeably smaller. The one major difference is the keyboard. The keyboard on the Powerbook is significantly better than the keyboard on the iBook. It feel much more solid and the keys seem to be spaced better.
It is very refreshing to use a portable computer that is fully functional as a portable computer, with a battery that lasts for more than 30 minutes at a time. I am not missing the random interruptions and spinning beachballs caused by a hard drive on its way out.
The only drawback of the Powerbook is fan noise. When plugged in, the fan runs, which is noticeable. The slower and cooler iBook either does not have a fan or never had a need to run the fan.
Now, the question is: what to do with the iBook? Its resale value is minimal, as it needs a new battery and a new hard drive to be fully functional. Plugged into AC power and a firewire hard drive, it may make a useful iTunes and DVArchive server.

Brand X Reportage

Legal Times:  In Broadband Case, Justices Seem Attuned to Internet Services’ Arguments: “In a high-stakes dispute over the regulation of Internet access, the Supreme Court struggled Tuesday over how much deference it should give to a 2002 Federal Communications Commission decision freeing cable modem providers from the rules that govern telephone companies.”
Washington Post: FCC Ruling Limits Competition, ISP Tells Justices: “A Bush administration lawyer urged the Supreme Court to accept a 2002 Federal Communications Commission ruling that gave cable companies the right to bar rival Internet service providers from their lines, as the justices heard oral arguments yesterday in a case that could determine what choices are available to broadband subscribers.”
Wired News: Will Cable Quell the Competition? “After listening to oral arguments in the controversial Grokster case Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court stayed firmly in tech territory as it considered whether cable operators should be forced to open up their broadband data pipes to competition.”
AP: Justices Question Control of Cable Firms: “The Supreme Court on Tuesday questioned the tight control cable companies hold over high-speed Internet service in a case that will determine whether the industry must open up its lines to competitors.”
The Industry Standard: Supreme Court asks why cable broadband lacks regulation: “During oral arguments, Supreme Court justices questioned how cable modem service providers can argue that broadband access and Internet functionality are an inseparable service when the FCC has required large incumbent telecom carriers to sell access to their broadband networks to competing Internet service providers (ISPs).”