August 20, 2003

2003 August 20 AM [8:07 am]

(entry last updated: 2003-08-20 14:13:04)

Making progress on switching over to WordPress - now to figure out Apache’s mod_rewrite so the old links will point to the right database entries.

  • According to Cory Doctorow, DontBuyMusic.com is back.

  • Search engines making money by "selling" words may be subjected to trademark infringement suits: Trademarks cast shadow on paid search

    So far, the issue of using trademarked terms in keyword-search advertising has not been tested in court. Danny Sullivan, moderator of the panel and editor of industry newsletter Search Engine Watch, said that the most closely related case to date involved Playboy, which sued Excite and Netscape Communications over the practice of selling banner ads to third parties keyed to its trademark. The court said that companies selling products and services related to Playboy could buy the term.

    An earlier case decided in 1997 went the opposite way, with the judge barring an online publisher of sexually explicit material from inserting the words “playboy” and “playmate” into a section of its site that is seen only by search engines.

    Sullivan said Google is setting a dangerous precedent by granting eBay exclusive use of terms related to its trademarks because “anything can be a trademark.”

  • CNet profiles Sterling Ball, a perennial posterchild for the open source industry - who took his company "Microsoft free" and lived to tell the tale: Rockin’ on without Microsoft

  • Offtopic - Tufte on Powerpoint: PowerPoint Is Evil

  • "Chilling effects" Department: Music Parody Site Pulls the Plug

    Nothing can deflate a joke faster than the threat of a lawsuit.

    In the case of parody website DontBuyMusic.com, a cease-and-desist notice forced the site to go offline last Friday.

    The website, created by the online community Macteens, spoofed the BuyMusic.com website by using the same format as the original site but rewriting the text and redirecting all clicks to the Apple iTunes website. ITunes and BuyMusic.com are both online paid music services.

    DontBuyMusic.com last week brought attention to the marked similarities between TV commercials for iTunes and BuyMusic (see the ads here and here).

  • As I’m sure was the intention, Vague Limits Vex Music Traders

    The RIAA’s statement to Sen. Norm Coleman (R-Minn.), chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, appeared to depart from previous statements in subpoenas against more than 900 file sharers, who appeared to be randomly named. The defendants included college students, unsuspecting parents, Internet service providers and even grandparents.

    “I don’t think I’ll download anymore since we don’t really know what they (RIAA) are going to do,” Craig said.

    It seems as if other file traders are in the same predicament. Because the RIAA has refused to quantify what constitutes a “substantial” amount of file sharing, file sharers are left to wonder whether they are vulnerable to litigation.

  • Media groups appeal P2P ruling

    Record labels and movie studios said Tuesday that they have appealed an April federal court ruling that held for the first time that some file-swapping software was legal.

    That ruling, made by a Los Angeles federal court judge, Stephen Wilson, came as a sharp blow to copyright holders’ strategy of suing peer-to-peer network operators and software developers in order to curb the explosive growth of file trading. Beginning with a ruling against Napster, all court rulings had been in favor of the record companies and movie studios.

    “(Wilson’s decision) was wrong,” Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) President Cary Sherman said in a statement Tuesday. “These are businesses that were built for the exclusive reason of illegally exchanging copyrighted works, and they make money hand over fist from it. The Court of Appeals should hold them accountable.”

    "hand over fist" - really? What about the businesses that make tape recorders, video recorders and other products with "substantial noninfringing uses?" So guns (rather than people) really do kill people?

    Inforworld: Recording, movie industries appeal file-trading ruling

  • Apparently the SCO presentation left them open to at least some scrutiny: see this Groklaw entry, whose conclusions were picked up in today’s Boston Globe republishing of an LATimes article - SCO undercuts its Linux case. Bruce Perens’ writeup even includes the much discussed photos of the slides posted. The Slashdot discussion: “Stolen” SCO Linux Code Snippets Leaked; a related followup: SCO Prepares To Sue Linux End Users

    Inforworld: SCO’s proof bogus, Linux advocate says

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