Friday, July 02, 2004

The Dutch paliamemt is forcing the minister who supported the EU software patent directive to withdraw his support. This is apparently the first time in EU history that this has happened.

The EFF have name their top ten most-wanted patents

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Mattel have paid a heavy price, according to the NYT, for bringing a frivolous copyright and trademark lawsuit against an artist parodying Barbie.

"After a lengthy legal tussle, which included a series of appeals, a federal judge late last week instructed Mattel to pay Mr. Forsythe legal fees of more than $1.8 million...

...Mattel has aggressively protected the Barbie likeness and trademark...

"Plaintiff had access to sophisticated counsel who could have determined that such a suit was objectively unreasonable and frivolous," Judge Lew wrote in his order. "Instead it appears plaintiff forced defendant into costly litigation to discourage him from using Barbie's image in his artwork. This is just the sort of situation in which this court should award attorneys fees to deter this type of litigation which contravenes the intent of the Copyright Act.''

The order also characterized Mattel's claim of trademark infringement as "groundless and unreasonable.''

Jonathan Zittrain, a professor at Harvard Law School who specializes in Internet and copyright law, said, "It's enough to give corporations with brands they want to protect and expand pause to consider whether to simply reflexively unleash the hounds the minute they see somebody doing something that relates to their brand of which they don't approve.

"It may send a signal that a 'take no prisoner' litigation strategy against the little guy has new risks for the plaintiff," he said. "

There's an interesting article in the Independent about the US scientific community's concerns about the politicisation of science by the current Bush adminstration.
IP Law bulletin (subscriber only access) reported that the US Senate passed the INDUCE (or as it is now called the 'Inducing Infringement of Copyrights'). According to Wendy Selzer at the EFF the report was wrong but the bill is still being rushed through at breakneck speed.

Monday, June 28, 2004

Well PIRATE Act has got past the US Senate. Senator Hatch is backing the legislation and hoping for tens of thousands of enforcement actions by the department of justice (DOJ) on behalf of the entertainment industries. Yes the PIRATE act requires the DOJ and (not the entertainment industry) to spend money on investigators and lawyers to go after those diseased children with copyright infringing tendencies, who Senator Hatch will simultaneously protect with his INDUCE act. The leaps of logic here, if it were possible to produce a physical manifestation of them, would be worthy of a world class gymnast.

Senator Hatch has come a long way since Larry Lessig proclaimed him as someone who understood.