Posted on March 30, 2010 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

Public Knowledge has a great new tshirt the che-feld-shirt!  It looks like you can get it through donating to PK (although I am not sure at what level) They are $25 .  In the MPAA’s last letter to the FCC they mentions PK more then 25 times.  Nice to see someone actively fighting the MPAA when they want to control our electronics and abuse the broadband plan as a cover for copyright filtering.

Posted on March 13, 2010 in IP by Brian RoweView Comments

Apple announced that iPad will be able to read aloud “the contents of any page.” This is a huge step forward from Amazon allowing autohrs to disable read aloud features. /cheer for Apple on this one.  Apples long held commitment to text-to-speech is one of the reasons I moved form a Linux laptop to a Macbook Pro 3 years ago (although I usually dual boot now).  Being able to read any text aloud mitigates some of the challenges my dyslexia creates.

Disability access is an area where my beloved open source community has lagged behind for too long…. Until accessibly is a desgin spec in most OS projects it is tough for me to recommend OS tools to some of the communities I work with.

The real test of Apples brave choice will come if the authors guild decides to fight Apple by erroneously claiming that text-to-speech creates an infringement of ones copyright. Not only is there a strong fair use defense for text-to-speech, but also I do not believe that text-to-speech creates an infringement.  Private performances of copyrighted works are not covered in the exclusive rights granted by copyright.  The basic claim of the authors would make it illegal to read a book aloud to your child and then tries to piggyback this type of claim into a secondary liability.  If this happens I will be one of the first people to volunteer to write an amici fighting the expansion of copyright law to this basic technology.  We need to fight copyright expansion when it threatens to harm access to knowledge and accessibility.

Converting text to speech should be a basic human rights issue.  One should not need to register as a person with a disability to access these functions. Disability rights need to be be the default, as long as we have to go through extra transactional steps to access content those of us with disabilities will lag behind in access to knowledge and practical potential.

Hopefully the market pressure created by iPad will force others to adopt these features as defaults.

PS: I was so excited to report this I did not run the post through my editor please ping me if I missed an error text-to-speech helps but it does not catch everything. thx.

Posted on March 4, 2010 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off
Mark Walters, one of the few legal bloggers in Seattle, is speaking at the next Washington Lawyers for the session.  Mark is trial attorney that is good at translating patents & IP into plain English.  If you like patent law check out his blog WAPatents.  Here is the full announcement:
Photographic Center Northwest, 900 12th Ave, Seattle, WA 98122
Thursday, March 25, 2010, Noon – 1:30 pm

SEATTLE–As an artist or person working in a creative field, it’s important to understand the law as it relates to your work.  A basic understanding of the fundamentals of intellectual property law will help you to protect your work and avoid disputes with other parties.  Perhaps you’ve attended seminars in the past where the issues were too complex and you felt lost?  Or, perhaps you haven’t given it much though until now? In either case, this Brown Bag seminar is for you.

Mark P. Walters is a patent attorney with extensive experience in complex intellectual property cases, including asserting and defending claims of patent, copyright, and trademark infringement, as well as false advertising. His litigation experience includes jury trials, appeals, arbitration and mediation. For the past 10 years, Mark has represented inventors and artists as well as the companies that employ them. He is a Washington Law & Politics Magazine “Rising Star” (2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009), and recently became a principal in one of the Nation’s oldest IP boutiques, Darby & Darby P.C.

Mark will teach you the differences between copyrights, trademarks and patents.  You’ll also learn about copyright and trademark registration, including the benefits of registration and the costs.  You’ll learn about who owns the copyright in a work created by more than one person and works created in the course of employment.

Do you ever use someone else’s work? Mark will teach you how to decide when it is alright to use another person’s work, and how much of it can be used. And, when people or company logos show up in your work, you should know how to acquire appropriate releases. Have you ever felt that someone else has used your work inappropriately or without permission? You’ll learn the basics of copyright infringement: when you think someone has stolen from you, or when you’re accused of infringing on someone else’s copyright.

Bring your questions. An excellent introductory seminar for all artists, and for attorneys whose clients include artists.


Thursday, March 25, 2010
Noon to 1:30 pm (registration begins at 11:45, lunches welcome)

Photographic Center Northwest
900 12th Ave
Seattle, Washington 98122
Link to venue map

In advance: $35 attorneys and paralegals; $10 artists and students
At the door: $40 attorneys and paralegals; $15 artists and students

To register, click here to visit Brown Paper Tickets online, or call 800.838.3006. To pay at the door, RSVP to Washington Lawyers for the Arts at 206.328.7053. Please note that the event is subject to cancellation; visit or call 206.328.7053 for more information.

CLE Credit:
1.5 CLE credits pending