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Friday, September 30, 2005

Publishers Sue Copy Shop

Six publishers has filed suit against a San Jose copy shop for allegedly "routinely [producing] unauthorized photocopies of entire textbooks and academic monographs and [selling] them to college students in the San Jose area"

Press Release here.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

LogoWorks Response

Laura Reis, President of Reis & Reis, and daughter of Al Reis author of the marketing classic Positioning (which is an EXCELLENT book), published a response to the recent flak about riped-off logos.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Patently Intriguing

PHOSITA and Patently-O report on the recently decided Crater Corp. v. Lucent Technologies, Inc. (PDF) case. This case involved a group of inventors that invented an elegant connector for linking one pipe or cable to another without nut threads or bolted flanges. Their design was based upon the seams of a tennis ball. They got a patent, then went out to try to license it. Lucent contacted them and said they were working on something for the government and thought it could use the inventors' invention. The inventors worked with Lucent, and lo' and behold, their invention worked perferctly for the government's needs. When the inventors called to license the patent, Lucent said, sorry, we don't have to pay you guys "because of some sort of provision for military secrets." Hence the lawsuit. The government intervened and said the stuff was secret and that the inventors could not get documents from Lucent to prove its case. The court agreed, effectively killing the suit. Wired does an excellent job outlining the details.

Here's the intrigue part from the wired story:

A Navy spokeswoman declined to comment on the Crater case, but outside experts say it's easy enough to guess the nature of the top-secret project the government is protecting. "It's all but self-evident that it has to do with the clandestine monitoring of fiber-optics communications cables on the ocean floor," says Aftergood.

"They've been interested in it since the first fiber-optic cable was ever invented," says James Bamford, author of two books on the NSA. "It's clear that they have a major operation in terms of tapping into sea cables."

Fiber-optic cables were well on their way to supplanting less-secure communications technologies at the time that Lucent approached the Crater inventors, and it's been widely reported that the switch threatened to cut off the electronic spies at the NSA. "There's been this huge shift from using satellite communications, which is very easy to tap into, to using both terrestrial and transoceanic fiber-optic cables, and that's presented a major problem for NSA," says Bamford.

To counter that problem, and keep the electronic intelligence flowing, NSA has reportedly developed
sophisticated techniques for wiretapping undersea cables, relying on specially equipped Navy submarines, the most advanced of which is the newly recommissioned USS Jimmy Carter, fresh from a $1 billion upgrade that reportedly includes state-of-the-art technology for tapping into undersea fiber-optic communications.

Kind of like Operation Ivy Bells. Which, my good friend Eric E. Willison has a screenplay on the topic, if any one is interested.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

Orignality in Logo Design

Mike Davidson wrote an excellent post about originality in logo design. The comments are equally excellent.

His wish:

The best way, theoretically, to protect against all of these situations is some sort of global database of trademarked identities which can be matched automatically with algorithms. I believe, but am not sure, that the USPTO may have something like this either set up or in the works, but if a system like this could be perfected, we’d all feel a lot safer with our creations. It would catch a lot of ripoffs during the trademarking stage, but it would also be a great tool with which designers could “check” their work before even submitting it to a client.

That would be nice.

Related to my logo rip-off post.

Hat tip: some guy's blog I can't read and Google can't translate, but he linked to me, and that's how I found his post.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

JetBlue 292

Thank God that JetBlue Flight 292 landed safely into LAX. I watched MSNBC's excellent coverage all night.

What struck me as amazing was the pilot's decision to keep the plane's
DirecTV Inflight Entertainment on for most of the ordeal. What an excellent decision. I know if I was in the same situation, I would want to have as much information as possible. At least I wouldn't be distracting the important work of the flight attendants asking for information. For those who didn't want to know what's going on, they could always switch off the TV or change the channel.

I've heard good things about JetBlue before this incident, but have never flown on it because they don't have flights to Columbus, Ohio. I would still fly JetBlue if I could. It would be my airline of choice.


Logo Rip-Offs?

Bad Design Kills has posted a page which claim that LogoWorks.com and LogoWorks owned InstaLogo.com has "riped-off" the logos of various sources. Bad Design Kills says it posted the alleged LogoWorks rip-offs "for no other reason then to educate the public in regards to online hack-design service." According to Bad Design Kills, they have been threatened with lawsuits by Arteis (note: not a link to the Arteis website), LogoWorks and InstaLogo's parent company. I imagine that the owners of the ripped-off logos will or have likewise contacted Arteis.

In this HOW Design message forum, a LogoWorks designer states that:

I admit that there were some morons who used stolen work to get profits on LogoWorks. They already have been banned. LogoWorks took the images offline. I believe LogoWorks from now on will have less designers and more strict control on the work done. Thanks to everyone who pointed it out.

Hat tip: Boing Boing

Makes you wonder whether the Yakety Yak logo was designed by LogoWorks. (Tounge-in-cheek)



Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Entourage Theme Song II - a/k/a How to Drive Traffic to a Blog

Monitoring web traffic to the MT Law Blog has been an obsession for me. This post deals with the traffic driven to this blog by fans of the HBO series Entourage.

On August 1, 2005 I posted a story about how I thought the show was
slamming citizen media. In viewing my stats, it appeared that a lot of traffic was directed to our blog because of the following innocuous appearing sentence: "It's one of the best shows out there, and it's theme song often runs rampant in my brain."

So on
August 24, 2005, as a public service to searchers for the Entourage Theme Song, I posted the name and group of the song, which is by the way Superhero by Jane's Addiction. Well, that post really caused a spike in readership. See the graph of visitors from August 21 through September 20 below. I'd say we've been getting about 60-70 visitors a day searching for the Entourage Theme Song.

Why is that? Because we're either the Number 1 or Number 2 hit when searching for the Entourage Theme Song.

So quite by accident, we've driven people that would not otherwise visit our blog to our blog. Now, we've got to figure out a way to keep them coming back : )


The Ad Industry Turns to the Web to Predict Hits - The New York Times (free registration required)


Monday, September 19, 2005

Photographer's Rights

Attorney Bret Krages, author of the Legal Handbook for Photographers, has a one page pamphlet outlining a photographer's rights and remedies when stopped or confronted (PDF). It's loosely based on the ACLU's Bustcard.


Thursday, September 15, 2005

Stop Motion Animation with a Digital SLR

Tim Burton's new movie Corpse Bride is a stop-motion animated feature film that was filmed using a Canon EOS-1D Mark II digital SLR. Fascinating read.


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Name in an IP Address

I have never seen this before, but today I was checking my stats for this blog, and saw a person's name appear in the IP Address field. Usually it's just a series of numbers and/or the name of the person's ISP, but never an actual name. This was from a big company too. Interesting. Has anyone had a similar experience?


Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Disaster Recovery

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, disaster recovery and business continuity planning is again a hot topic for business (see Ernie's request for temporary computers here: "My advice to the law firms that haven't set up a disaster recovery plan is to start now"). In the aftermath of 9/11, the need for an effective BCP was brought to light. Indeed, I was on a committee at my previous place of employment to create and implement a BCP.

For those interested in the topic, Dennis Kennedy posted his Disaster Recovery Handout from the ABA Techshow 2005.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ernie the Attorney

Ernie the Attorney is blogging his experience of daily living in the aftermath of Katrina.



I just got my Vonage VoIP router and set up my new home phone system. So far so good. I don't know why it took me so long to switch.