Posted on September 30, 2008 in IP by Brian RoweView Comments

Endnote (owned by Reuters) has sued George Mason University and Dan Cohen for the latest version of Zotero (a Firefox plugin that lets you save, annotate and academically reference articles you find online).  Here are the case details from The Disruptive Library Technology Jester:

The suit was filed on September 5th in the civil division of Richmond City Circuit Court, case number CL08004225-00. There is not yet any significant information online, but if you are interested in the lawsuit you may want to keep an eye on the Virginia Circuit Court Case Information website. (Because of the way the site is built, one cannot link directly to the case. Select “Richmond City Circuit” from the pull-down list, select “Begin”, then at the next screen select “Civil” and plug in the case number listed above.) No public word from Zotero (nothing in the project’s blog or the forums) or Thomson Reuters (on the EndNote news or the Thomson Scientific news pages) on the lawsuit.

This is ridiculous suing an academic for making software that allows one to manage citations because it competes is with your proprietary software is clearly anti competitive and an abuse of IP law or EULAs.

Take Action: Download and start using Zoteo

Zotero [zoh-TAIR-oh] is a free, easy-to-use Firefox extension to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources.

Then stop using Reuters products.

I will post the complaint when it becomes publicly available.

Other Coverage:
Boing Boing: Reuters sues academic for making a Firefox plugin that lets you annotate and reference articles
Disruptive Library Technology Jester:  Endnote Zotero Lawsuit

Posted on September 30, 2008 in IP by Brian RoweView Comments

JK Rowlings lost the Hari Puttar case, article from 24 hour news:

Warner Bros, the entertainment giant which owns the rights to the blockbuster Harry Potter films, had sought to block the release of the Indian movie on the grounds that its title sounded too similar to the name of the wizard hero of their series.

The Delhi High Court on Monday threw out the petition by Warner Bros, saying that readers of the Harry Potter books, written by JK Rowling, were sufficiently educated to know Hari Puttar was different.

I think the court made the right call in this case, but wonder if we would have the same result in the US.  The US a trademark claim of initial interest confusion could end up with the opposite result. With initial interest confusion a trademark owner claims another is using a confusingly similar mark to create confusion in the minds of the public, but the use is in a way that prior to the actual transaction, the consumer is no longer actually confused as to the origins of the product or service.

Another way to think of this is that one is trading on anothers mark to get the attention of consumers, but not to confuse them as to the source of the products or services. (Please speak up if you do not agree with this statement of the law, Copyright and Patents my areas of expertise. Trademarks law is much newer to me)

Two images you make the call:

Hari Puttar Film Website

Posted on September 27, 2008 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

Opening, everyone at the conference got 8 seconds to introduce themselves.  There are a lot of user interface and usability people here also a lot of librarians.  Only three of us identified as law related the other two were law librarians.  Law has a lot they could learn from a usability perspective.  About 30% were students a lot of them from the Ischool.  Info camp is twice the size of last year with about 200 participants.

Keynote Speaker (Jacob O. Wobbrock):

Flipping the Burden; Making Computers Accessible with Everyday Input Devices

Accessibility is a form of Usability.  The burden of computers is that they require users to reform how they do things to interact.  Jacob talked about several really amazing accessibility research projects here are a few of them:

Edge Write =   EdgeWrite lettersEdgeWrite is a unistroke text entry method that works on a variety of devices. Its benefits include increased physical stability, tactility, accuracy, and the ability to function with very minimal sensing.

Edge interface allows one to find the edge and navigate to targets from the edge.  This helps enable people with tremors or other

True Keys = Auto correct on steroids! this is a great for motor impaired typist.  I am curious how it works for dyslexics.

Amazing demo for blind control of the iphone. (looking for the video to repost)

Vocal Joystick = The goal of this project is to develop a novel system that we call the Vocal Joystick (VJ). This device will enable individuals with motor impairments to use vocal parameters to control objects on a computer screen (buttons, sliders, etc.) and ultimately electro-mechanical instruments (e.g., robotic arms, wireless home automation devices).

AIM: Accessibility Interaction and Mobility

PS: The twitter tag is #Infocamp

Posted on September 24, 2008 in Free Culture, IP, Students for Free Culture by Brian RoweComments Off

Tim Hwang of Harvard Free Culture has a very interesting piece up on his blog about the future of Students for Free Culture.  Here is a short part of it on the possible national agenda:

Here are some national projects that I’d love to see Free Culture pursue that haven’t seen much attention.

1) Create A Preemptive Ultimatum Around Creative Works

Sure, we might not agree on the minuate of fair use, but everyone seems to agree that Girl Talk’s work should be defended. Same goes for other artists experimenting with the same methods that threaten the current mode of fair use. Free Culture should create a public list of people and works who are affirmatively protected by the threat of activism. Any organization that goes after them to shut down what is obviously a huge creative boon from remixing and reuse, FC can promise to retaliate against. FC will seed torrents, mass distribute copies, encourage further remixing, and bring in the involvement of litigators working in the space. In other words, we will be a major pain in the ass.

2) Connect With the Development Community

The development community has been wrangling increasingly with Free Culture issues, and there’s a host of natural allies to bring into a project. Many of these, particularly the UAEM community, have demonstrated the efficacy of student activists working in the university space to promote more sensible IP frameworks for innovation. As Benkler has pointed out, Free Culture is far from being limited to a first world issue: access to medicine, technology, and know-how in the developing world is increasingly dependent on an obsolete system of IP that needs resolving. However, no large student group currently acts broadly in the space, though FC is ideally suited to do such a thing.

3) Encourage Open Access Nationally

With the passing of the Open Access resolution at Harvard and efforts at MIT and Stanford, the space now exists for IP freedom activists to begin a full-scale mobilization to promote better public access to educational materials around the country. Many of the technical tools and organizational models to implement this are now being tested in these universities, and the sharing of these practices among student activists massively lowers the cost to universities who are trying to find their way with Open Access. Shooting towards an eventual goal of creating a nationally linked repository of Open Access materials from colleges around the country seems like an obvious resource to aim to create.

4) Promote Data Portability

Free and Open Source Software has been a broadly shared axe to grind for some time now with a bunch of organizations, but it seems like structurally, the salient issue in coming years won’t be merely making code free, but to advocate for data being portable. As the market largely moves towards tethered devices and thin client models, the question of freedom doesn’t turn so much on whether or not a particular software is free or open source — after all Google mostly doesn’t care if you want to go in and see how things work. All the forward-thinking tech company wants is for A) that product to be used, even at the cost of offering it for free, and B) that the data and hosting is kept with them. The real threat to freedom and innovation — as Zittrain’s pointed out — is that data is locked up remotely and that software on platforms increasingly becomes service. What does it mean when Apple can remotely shut down products, or can make movement to another service essentially impossible by raising the barriers to transferring personal information? At least within FC, no one’s been pushing hard on this point, and I think it’s an incredibly salient issue for the community to get involved in.

I strongly agree with basic agenda items of Fair Use, Open Access, Connecting with the Development Community and Data Portability.  But what I like most about this agenda is that it is proactive, SFFC needs to be active in defining what Free Culture means and what standards are in the information age. We also need to reach out beyond the rich west to include more people in the FC movement.

Read more at:

PS I need to write a post on Data Portability and a right to have your data deleted.  Data portability is essential for creating a landscape where competition can thrive, and a deletion right may be important in a post privacy era. I strongly support data portability, and am deeply conflicted on a deletion right.

Posted on September 23, 2008 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

It is great to see that CC is going to be running another tech summit. The first one held at Google was well worth attending.

It’s three months later and I want to thank you again for making Creative Commons’ first Technology Summit a success.  Based on the discussion and feedback we received after our June event, we’ve decided to do it again in December.  The next event will be help December 12, 2008, in Cambridge, MA.  You can find the full details, as always, in the wiki:

In addition to the location, we’re changing the format slightly.  The Technology Summits are about connecting the larger developer and technical community that has sprung up around Creative Commons licenses and technology, so we want to provide a venue where people doing interesting work can share it.  To that end, we’re accepting proposals for presentations for the December summit through October 24, 2008.

Details are in the wiki (see above), or see the announcement on our blog:

See you there!

Posted on September 19, 2008 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

The Slog reported today that the “Rat City Rollergirls have, by default, won a trademark dispute with the Starbucks corporation, and will not have to change their logo.”  That date for opposition came and went with Starbucks choosing not to oppose.  /cheer This is the right choice for Starbucks!  There was no chance of consumer confusion and the only real chance of harm to the Starbucks mark was from angry fans of the Rat City RollerGirls.


Seattle Trademark Blog: Starbucks Did Not Oppose Rat City Registration (Atkins reported this a month ago but I some how missed)
Slog: Starbucks Backs Off, Leaving Rat City Rollergirls Logo Intact posted by Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

Posted on September 19, 2008 in DMCA, Drupal, IP, privacy, UGC by Brian RoweComments Off

I have submitted two panels to this year’s Nonprofit Technology Conference in San Francisco. Please take a moment to look them over and vote for them if you’re interested:

Is privacy still important in the age of public social networks, GPS, microblogging and how do we protect our members?

With web applications and location based application gaining popularity, what obligations do we have to our members concerning their privacy and data.

Fair Use, User Generated Content, Terms of Service and the DMCA Safe Harbor

Panel discussion with professionals from NPOs and the legal profession to help answer your questions and provide access to best practices around User Generated Content.  This session will include 3 short presentations and lots of time for Q&A.  Samples best practices and hands on resources will also be provided.

Our volunteer web guru, Sarah, has also submitted a technical panel on Drupal:

Start to Finish Drupal Redesign

This will be a detailed technical case study of the ACLU of Washington website redesign using Drupal and Convio.

Posted on September 18, 2008 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

Tech Dirt has great post on blogging in class:

It’s quite common these days for people to “live blog” or “live Twitter” different conferences or events they’re attending, filling in others what’s happening in near real time. However, what happens when someone does that in a college class? Already, there are some professors struggling with the fact that students use the internet during class, but they’re not at all happy about the idea that they might not just be using the internet to surf around — but to report to others what’s happening inside the classroom. The issue is discussed in detail by Mark Glaser in his latest MediaShift column after an NYU professor told her students to stop blogging or Twittering things about her class.

The controversy apparently began when a student in the class actually wrote a guest “embedded” column for MediaShift a few weeks ago, complaining that NYU’s journalism school wasn’t up-to-date on teaching students about social media and the new tools of journalism. Read more at Techdirt

The teacher further argued that she should not be quoted without her permission…. Ironically the name of the class is”Reporting Gen Y.”

Here is my take:

I pay more than 30k a year for law school, I sure as hell am going to share what I learn.  Sharing what you learn or don’t learn is an important part of being a global citizen and helping free culture.  I often contribute my notes directly to Wikipedia during class or live blog academic lectures.  If I am going to take notes I might as well share them in real time.

Quoting with attribution to criticize is definitely legal.  If the quote is copyrighted it is often fair use.  Furthermore if the quote is not fixed by the professor it is not even copyrighted, fixation is a requirement to get copyright protection.

Posted on September 17, 2008 in IP by Brian RoweComments Off

John Palfrey talk at EMP
Definition: Digital natives = born after 1980 with access to the digital world.

Digital Landscape
I. Digital Identities – I blog therefore I am – online identities. online = offline
II. Distracting – Multi-tasking
III. Digital Media – Downloading is a norm. Youtube v. Hollywood -
IV. Creators and natural collaborators
V. International perspective

Conflicts or challenges
I. Security – the data does not show more danger to children just a permanent record
II. Privacy – more information is making it online
III. Intellectual Property – remix culture
IV. Credibility – What is reliable
V. Information overload – Real challenge having access to so much information

Opportunities -
Intellectual Property needs to be remade to allow for interactive democracy and remixing of culture
Credibility: How do we define and teach credibility checking. How do we establish credibility online.

Check out the website it includes a wiki with most of the research and an opportunity to contribute to a diolge about these findings.

The presentation ended with this video: The Ballad of Zack McCune- Part 2