Jan 30, 2001

Author of Archie Challenges Alta Vista Patents
1/30/2001; 4:27:00 PM The author of Archie, a search engine for the Gopher system which pre-dated the web, challenges the AltaVista patents by claiming he already did what they were patenting.  I'm linking to the Slashdot story because there are some interesting comments in there, pointing out that it may not even matter if he has prior art claims. Patents are nasty little things.

Jan 30, 2001

Judge Orders 'Master' for
General IP Issues
1/30/2001; 4:20:54 PM 'The dispute over the domain name took a new twist Monday when a federal judge decided to add a special court adviser to the case.

'Following a hearing in U.S. District Court here, Judge James Ware told the gathering of attorneys that he would seek expert advice in bringing the case to a conclusion.'

Including a nice summary of the whole sordid, yet important, affair.

Jan 29, 2001

Napster confirms membership charge
Music & MP3
1/29/2001; 2:18:08 PM

'Napster's chief executive Hank Barry has told BBC News Online in an exclusive interview that users will soon be charged a membership fee.

'Mr Barry also said royalties would be paid to artists whose material is swapped over the internet with the help of Napster software.'

We all knew this was coming, now we know this is coming. No, wait... anyhow, I'm sure there was something to learn from this announcement...

Jan 27, 2001

Web Site Tests Verio's Role as Copyright Police
1/27/2001; 10:05:13 PM

'Standing by its customer, hosting firm Verio has refused to take down a Web site that the Motion Picture Association of America claims is breaking the law.

'The situation is testing the role of ISPs as copyright cops in the wired world and demonstrating the limits of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the law that gives ISPs a safe harbor as long as they respond quickly to takedown notices.

'The MPAA asked Verio in November to yank because it claimed the site was illegally posting DeCSS, a program that can crack code protecting copyrighted DVDs. John Young, Cryptome's administrator, denied the charges and has only admitted to posting the code for CSS, the scrambling system that DeCSS is designed to decode.'

Jan 26, 2001

Despair Suing 7,000,000 Email Users Over :-( (TM)
1/26/2001; 11:33:36 PM 'DALLAS, TX - January 2nd, 2001 - In a move that has millions across the Internet community frowning, Despair, Inc. today announced that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) had awarded them a registered trademark for the 'frowny' emoticon which serves as their logo.

'At a press conference, Despair's COO, Dr. E.L.Kersten, announced his intentions to sue "anyone and everyone who uses the so-called 'frowny' emoticon, or our trademarked logo, in their written email correspondence. Ever."'

Check the link! Despair Inc. is a good company and they aren't really suing everybody, but the trademark is for real! It was granted last year on May 2nd.

'The decision to award Despair, Inc. with a registered trademark for the :-( symbol left many in the field of intellectual property law stunned.

'Suzanna Markow, I.P. specialist of Markow, Ladley & Associates, said of the issuance, "This is a defining moment in the history of intellectual property law. To extend official registration to an emoticon, one who's common usage predated the existence of the trademark holder by several years, defies common sense and establishes a dangerous precedent."

Andrew Kirkus, co-editor of IP Magazine, offered a less dire assessment of the grant, ''Whether the issuance is a dangerous one remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that it appears that someone has finally bested patent 5443036 for most ridiculous intellectual property filing in history.'''

Nice hack of the trademark system!

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