January 2007 Archives

Inside Higher Ed: A Stand Against Wikipedia: "While plenty of professors have complained about the lack of accuracy or completeness of entries, and some have discouraged or tried to bar students from using it, the history department at Middlebury College is trying to take a stronger, collective stand. It voted this month to bar students from citing the Web site as a source in papers or other academic work. All faculty members will be telling students about the policy and explaining why material on Wikipedia — while convenient — may not be trustworthy."

The New York Times: Courts Turn to Wikipedia, but Selectively: "A simple search of published court decisions shows that Wikipedia is frequently cited by judges around the country, involving serious issues and the bizarre — such as a 2005 tax case before the Tennessee Court of Appeals concerning the definition of 'beverage' that involved hundreds of thousands of dollars, and, just this week, a case in Federal District Court in Florida that involved the term 'booty music' as played during a wet T-shirt contest."

While universities are discouraging undergraduates from citing to Wikipedia, courts are more frequently relying on the site. Undergrad students are expected to be researching from primary sources, not from encyclopedias. So, just like the Encyclopedia Britannica should not be cited in a university level term paper, neither should Wikipedia. But in court? Wikipedia should be considered a valid citation for those facts that are considered to be common knowledge, obvious, or where no better citation can be found, such as for booty music.

Catching Up

Here are a number of interesting links I came across in the last month, presented without comment:

Eric Goldman and John Ottaviani: Top Cyberlaw Developments of 2006

Eriq Gardner, The Hollywood Reporter, Esq: High-Tech, High Anxiety: Innovations Likely to Rattle Nerves: "Keep an eye out for these seven emerging technologies, all threatening to attract the ire of content owners in the new year."

Google AdWords Trademark Policy

NY Times: Music of the Hemispheres: "You hear only one note, and you already know who it is… How we do this? Why are we so good at recognizing music?"

Ask.MeFi: For which products or services is it worth it to buy name brand instead of generic brand?

A dozen years ago on the internet: The Best and Worst of 1994 and Predictions for '95

William Patry's Copyright treatise has been released along with The Patry Treatise Blog. See also Ann Bartow, The Hegemony of the Copyright Treatise. University of Cincinnati Law Review, Vol. 73, pp. 1-64, Fall 2004.

Thomas Field, IP Frontline: Lawyers Should Be Cautious When Copying Other Lawyers' Work

Get a First Life

Ninth Circuit Opinions-- an automatically generated feed for opinions from the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. How about for the Second Circuit?

James Grimmelmann: The Structure of Search Engine Law

The TTABlog: Google Sues Leo Stoller's Companies for RICO violations: "The 25-page Complaint, accompanied by nearly 200 pages of exhibits, charges the Defendants with violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), 18 U.S. C. Sec. 1961 et. seq., of Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, and of the law of unfair competition." Complaint.

BBC News: Ninja kitten band win Coke battle: "The band, 7 Seconds of Love, argued that Coke used their song Ninja and its distinctive kitten-filled video without permission in a South American advert."

New York Times: Levi’s Turns to Suing Its Rivals: "United States Patent and Trademark No. 1,139,254 is not much to look at: a pentagon surrounding a childlike drawing of a seagull in flight. But the design for a Levi’s pocket, first used 133 years ago, has become the biggest legal battleground in American fashion."

Hollywood Reporter, Esq: File-Sharing Judge Questions 'Making Available' Standard: "On the meaning of "distribution," Karas seemed to question whether "making available" is the same as "distribution," saying the former was a "more passive concept." Since U.S. copyright law does not recognize "making available" as actionable in itself, Karas asked Gabriel how he could use Barker's list of available songs on the Kazaa service as proof of an infringing distribution activity."


For years, the rumor mill has expected Apple to release a mobile phone, with the name assumed to be "iPhone," to be consistent with the iMac and iPod.

Cisco owns a federally registered trademark for iPhone and introduced new VoIP phones in the iPhone brand at the end of last year: Cisco -- not apple -- announces iPhone branded VoIP phones.

Today, Apple introduced its iPhone device, which is a mobile communicator and media player that also happens to run a version of OS X.

I'm ready to line up to buy one.

Not surprisingly, Reuters reports that Apple and Cisco are preparing to enter a licensing agreement over the mark: Cisco expects Apple agreement on iPhone trademark: "Cisco spokeswoman Penny Bruce said the two companies had been in discussions, and it believed that Apple intends to agree to a final document and public statement concerning the trademark."

In addition, the company is now known as Apple, Inc and no longer as Apple Computer, Inc., reflecting the move beyond the computer into consumer electronics.