Saturday, August 16, 2003
When Camilo put out the call for ideas to enhance his presentation to the CIO about blogs in corporate environments, he got some excellent responses, including pointers to a series of essays from Dave Pollard, a paper from Martin Roell, and insights from Anil Dash. All are worth some quality time if you are analyzing or advocating the role of weblogs within your company.
If you deal with the SEC, NASD, NYSE, CFTC, NFA, CBOT, CME, BOTCC, OCC, CHX, PCX, AMEX, PHLX, EUREX or CBOE (or any combination thereof), you're in the right place.
There's a wealth of securities law information to be had at AS, not to mention help with the SEC's FAQ concerning the nonapplication of certain AIRs to auditors of non-issuer BDs and IAs. Light too is shed on many another TRICKY concept, IYKWIMAITYD.
Friday, August 15, 2003
We recently submitted an amicus curiae brief (911 KB PDF) on behalf of Sony Computer Entertainment America Inc. in the Lexmark International, Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc. case pending in the Sixth Circuit. The appeal is from a preliminary injunction determination described further here, and analyzed in one of the articles available from Kelly Talcott's blog. Some of the issues involved also are the subject of an InfoWorld article of yesterday's date ("Ink cartridges getting smarter").
The Summer X-Games are in full swing down the street at the Staples Center. Here's the schedule; pics; more great pics from Arlene (born the year I graduated high school—so, she's getting up there!); Real Skate's Gurlz On Boards; and About.com's Skateboarding blog (w/ RSS).
[Update] AP: "[Bush] told donors he's 'loosening up' in preparation for next year's run. But he insisted politics remains a secondary consideration — behind 'the people's business.'
Organizers [of the fundraiser] expect to net a (m) million dollars for Bush's war chest — on top of the 40 (m) million already there."
Today is the last day to take advantage of the Pop!Tech registration discount available to Bag and Baggage readers. It's also the last day of preregistration for the conference. Buzz Bruggeman's already getting excited. Bottom line: if you're thinking about going to the conference, you'll spend a total of $500 less if you sign up today by clicking through this link or the graphic over there on the right (from there, navigate to the "Registration" page). And if five people register from B&B, I get to give away a complimentary registration to someone who otherwise might not be able to go. Good all around, no?
We'll be looking at copyright, patent, trade mark (that's trademark to our American friends), branding and privacy/confidential information issues from a mainly UK and European perspective.
Jeremy and Ilanah already have given us rubber duckies, patent trolls, Absolut Hunks, and frequent lists of bonus links at the end of their posts that take things from the ridiculous to the sublime. Today's post considers the intellectual property implications of MSBlast and other worms. Fascinating in its own right to be sure, but unbeatable when capped with:
God, I love the Web!
Thursday, August 14, 2003
Sophisticate Beanie discovers blawg finishing school: "As a result I will also refrain from speaking about rodeos, tractor pulls, dirt track racing, demolition derbies, or farming. I wouldn't want my prospective clients to misjudge me. None of my clients could ever have similar interests, right?"
Powers Phillips, P.C., my favorite law firm I've never visited or exchanged a lick of communication with, has revamped its Web site—don't worry, if anything it's even more entertaining: "Are we real or aren't we? That's the question plaguing web browsers everywhere."
Ken Hamidi (yes, that Ken Hamidi) is running against Gray Davis on the Libertarian ticket. [Via ILN] Ken is joined by 134 other souls (and perhaps one news show), as listed by the Santa Rosa Press Democrat.
Kelly D. Talcott writes Infringing Actions:
Bringing you recent events in Intellectual Property and Technology law, plus my attempt at reasoned commentary. I am a registered patent attorney and a member of an Intellectual Property law firm.
(Link added.) Kelly, whose firm bio is available from the drop-down list here, also points out that "Reading a blawg is not the same as consulting with a lawyer." In mostly good ways, I'm sure!
Infringing Actions will be one week old tomorrow, and already is full of thoughtful analyses and commentary. An added bonus (for me; you can't make this stuff up) is that Kelly authored a New York Law Journal article I was having trouble just yesterday accessing from Law.com. No trouble accessing it from Kelly's weblog, though.
Wednesday, August 13, 2003
No, I'm not calling you "stupid," I'm merely paying homage to a rising trend in the war on the gray goo that is unsolicited commercial email, a.k.a. spam. Joi Ito has just declared email "officially broken," and there aren't many who would disagree. Filters become by turns more sophisticated and more invasive, to the point where "[t]o pick the right solution, you don't need a product review—you need a personality test." What to do, what to do?
An approach that seems to be gaining momentum is "Hit 'em where it hurts—in the pocket book," and the burgeoning economic spam war has at least two fronts. The first would put spammers out of business through legislation and litigation. One example of this approach is highlighted in Keith Hammonds' Fast Company article, "The Dirty Little Secret About Spam." The article looks at the Inbox Defense Task Force and its "1-2-3 Solution To Spam:"
- Find the Spammers
- Create Courtroom Quality Documentation
- Enable Prosecution and Private Legal Action.
Well and good, but the obstacles are formidable:
When it comes to email marketing, this is the reality: What the good guys want and what the bad guys want are more or less the same thing. J.P. Morgan Chase and Kraft U.S.A. promote credit cards and coffee in ways that aren't so different from the tactics employed by anonymous peddlers of porn and gambling. "Legitimate" marketers would rather the spammers disappear — but not if that means quashing the opportunity that both groups enjoy.
If the "stick" approach is doomed to being hamstrung by powerful business interests, perhaps the key lies with the "carrot." This is what began to dawn on me almost a month ago, when I started looking into an email I'd received that referenced Global Removal and "The Official Do-Not-Email list for bulk-emailers." I was immediately suspicious and skeptical—fending off the day in, day out assaults of clever spammers will do that to you—and said so. Within a few days I heard from Tom Jackson, Global Removal's CEO (more here), who convinced me the company is on the up and up, and that it too has a "1-2-3" approach that is undeniably compelling:
- Charge a reasonable fee for opting out ($5.00 per address)
- Use the fees to make it more attractive for spammers to leave you alone than to spam you
- Use secure technology that prevents spammers from abusing the system.
"Win, win, win," as Tom told me, and I'm starting to see his point. Some may still find this strategy objectionable as a form of permissive extortion: why should I have to pay to secure space on an effective opt-out list? It's a valid argument, but there are at least two responses: a comprehensive, broadly applicable legislative solution still is a long way off, and, in any event, more flies are famously caught with honey than with vinegar. Consider the FTC's Do Not Call registry. It's a huge step forward but still not a complete solution. Would you pay $5.00 for one that was? I think in the case of spam many would answer, loudly and with relief, "yes," thus creating an economic incentive that would at least complement, and maybe surpass, whatever legislative solutions may be in the offing.
[Update] Checking the link cosmos for Global Removal produced these additional thoughts from the "this can't work!" and "why should I pay?" perspectives:
[Update] The Miami Herald, "Solicitors dialing 'L' for loophole in no-call law:" "Robert Bulmash, the president of Private Citizen, an Illinois-based group that litigates against unwanted callers...predicts that telemarketing calls will be cut by as little as 25 percent because of telemarketers' exploitation of loopholes and other strategies." [Via ILN]
Original Mullet Wig: "If you ever wondered what you would look like with a mullet...now's your chance to find out." [Via, weirdly, CNN] Don't forget the mullet Toys and Accessories: with The Randy Laughlin Pop 'N Fliq Lighter, "You can open your beer light a chicks cigarette and drive her home."
U.S.A. Today provides an update on the additional disclosure amendment passed by the ABA House of Delegates yesterday in San Francisco ("Attorneys, execs cringe at rule for whistle-blowing"):
There has been wide support for rules requiring lawyers to report violations up the chain of command at companies where they work. But going outside, essentially becoming whistle-blowers, not only threatens to violate the attorney-client privilege, critics say, but will make lawyers the last people executives will confide in for fear they will be obligated to report actions that are even borderline unethical or illegal.
Tuesday, August 12, 2003
Cory Doctorow did an excellent job (as usual) guesting on The Screen Savers this afternoon and discussing the EFF's new Let The Music Play campaign. It'll be fun to meet Cory this fall at Digital ID World.
Personally, I Quite Agree
The little blog break was a good thing, too, because I now have a better feel for some of the things I'd like to do with this blog – new directions, a somewhat more personal approach, and some surprises, I suppose. I know that I sure do disagree with the recent article suggesting that lawyers who blog should take care to show no personality or, God forbid, mention their interest in Nascar. How will people know how much I'd appreciate great tickets to the Daytona 500 if I can't mention it in my blog? Interestingly, in talking with friends, I notice the most eye-rolling and head-shaking about lawyers when I mention the comments of others that lawyers should take care to hide personality and opinions in blogs.
I wonder if Google eventually will include news or news alert queries in its Zeitgeist (or already is doing so)? That could be pretty interesting. I don't know about you, but the searches I run in "news" generally are aimed at completely different types of information than the searches I run from the main page.
[Update] This is odd: the current Zeitgeist says it includes top news searches for June, but all of those links map to regular (non-news) searches.
I'm not sure what it is about August, '03, but it seems to be a particularly propitious time for new blawgs. Here are the latest I've seen on the scene:
- David Hoggard hopes to blog his way to a City Council seat in Greensboro, NC. [Via Doc Searls and Ed Cone]
- Senator John Kerry has even loftier aspirations. [28 Daypop and climbing]
- Georgy Russell is 26, from Oakland, and running for governor: "Georgy was the co-founder of a storage software company, and an avid dancer. She has filed for several patents, and currently works innovating new technologies for a leading software company. Her next goal is to represent California's values with the perspective and insight of an average hard working Californian." [Via Doc Searls]
Learning The Craft
- Sarah [via the Blawg Ring] attends the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, and also highlights the blogs of her classmates,
- Kate, and
- William Blake. (The same?)
- Nick starts class very soon, and could be the Justin Timberlake of 1Ls. [Via the Blawg Ring]
- Shane is
nota law student, butand is the product of a law student's imagination. [Via the Blawg Ring]
Reuters: "The American Bar Association on Monday narrowly passed a controversial proposal that will allow lawyers to pierce sacred attorney-client secrecy rules to help stop financial crimes. In a 218 to 201 vote, the ABA's policy-making body amended its ethics code to allow, but not require, lawyers to breach attorney-client privilege if they believe doing so would stop a client from committing a financial crime or fraud."
Now, I understand. In an attempt to avoid federal regulation, we are left with a new Model Rule 1.6 that allows but does not require disclosure of a crime or fraud likely to cause significant financial or injury. The ABA hopes this will allow more lawyers to follow their consciences and do the societally right thing — while making sure the feds don't actually make them all do it.
It seems to me, it is far more likely that the new rule will (1) cause clients to demand steelclad promises of confidentiality, unless disclosure is mandated by law; and (2) prompt law firms to explicitly adopt "no tell" rules to maintain current clients, attract new ones, and silence any firm members with overactive consciences. [...]
Two Cents from Jack Cliente: If the ABA has amended Rule 1.6 merely to avoid regulation of the profession by "outsiders" like the federal government, perhaps someone should turn in the Association for perpetrating a fraud of its own.
And on that note, back to the Reuters coverage: "Some SEC rules for lawyers went into effect last week, and the agency could adopt more stringent requirements if it is dissatisfied with the ABA's actions." Also,
The group is scheduled to vote on another controversial ethics amendment on Tuesday that applies to lawyers who represent corporate clients. The proposal clarifies "triggers" that would require lawyers to report a corporate officer's conduct to the company's upper management. It also addresses circumstances in which lawyers can reveal information to authorities about their corporate clients.
The ABA model rules are not law, but as David points out they often lead states to enact similar rules that are. In California it's worth noting the differences between the ABA proposals and Rules of Professional Conduct 3-600 ("If...the organization insists upon action or a refusal to act that is a violation of law...the member's response is limited to the member's right, and, where appropriate, duty to resign in accordance with rule 3-700") and 3-700 (concerning permissive withdrawal where a client "seeks to pursue an illegal course of conduct").
Monday, August 11, 2003
Have you ever worked at a company where unauthorized copies of third party subscription newsletters and alerts were made and distributed? I'm betting you have, and maybe still do. A Maryland district court recently considered such practices on cross motions for summary judgment, in Lowry's Reports, Inc. v. Legg Mason, Inc. (PDF). [Via ILN] The case involves a financial services firm's intra-company distribution of market analyses and news contained in the paid-subscription-only Lowry's Reports. One employee in Legg Mason's research department had a subscription to the reports, which then were disseminated through the firm by way of a "morning call" to all brokers, as well as via email and intranet. The short version of the court's lengthy analysis is that the email sends and intranet postings either did or could be found by a trier of fact to constitute copyright infringement, and that enhanced statutory damages for willful infringement remained a possibility at trial, despite Legg Mason's express company policies against unauthorized and unapproved distribution of third party works. Go have yourself a read, it's a nuanced decision with potentially broadly applicable reasoning and facts, and a detailed analysis of the fair use doctrine in the business context. Lowry's has more about the dispute on its Web site.
- Jimmy Frazier, like me, is celebrating the end of Blog*Spot's server glitch that temporarily vanished our archives. Jimmy also is an attorney at a federal court in Philadelphia. And much more, of course.
- The Korean and international business lawyers at Aurora Law Offices are writing the Aurora Log. Very nice. [Via the Blawg Ring]
- MultiReg.com is a multi-faceted forum devoted to domain names and intellectual property. [Via the Blawg Ring]
That's it for now; a leap of law students to come.
- Rio Making a Play to Regain Dominance in Portable Music: "[T]he Santa Clara, Calif.-based maker of portable digital music players is spending the next three weeks replacing its entire product line in a bold bid to regain the dominance it squandered during Sonicblue's financial troubles."
- Where's Jeeves? Web Firm Is Glad You Asked: "Although [Ask Jeeves President Steven] Berkowitz believes Ask Jeeves has built a search engine 'second to none,' it isn't getting much respect on the Internet."
Sunday, August 10, 2003
It's beginning: the baby's starting to move stuff around and it's not scheduled to make an appearance for another few months. Fortunately, this is not happening in a Linda Blair kind of way, but what has been my home office soon will become the nursery, and before then its roof will get ripped off and a new room (the office-to-be) will be plunked on top. Today I finally got around to moving key office material to the guestroom in anticipation of the pitter-pat of little work boots. There's an adjacent Fibber McGee's closet, full of mostly old tech wreckage, that eventually will have to be cleared out before the arrival of You Know Who. It's mindboggling how the Diamond Rios, Audible Mobile Players, antiquated cell phones, USB cables (why do I have so many USB cables? have they been breeding??), ISDN modems, phone cords, keyboards, docking stations, spare batteries for laptops long gone, ETC., will pile up if you let them. I could/should start a spare parts shop. I don't seem to have busted our connectivity in the process of moving, which of course is Good. Also good will be the chance to build an office that accomodates both lawyers in the family, rather than relegating my husband always to the life of WiFi vagabond.
The weekend brought yet another telltale sign this pregnancy thing is getting real: yesterday, two 65 cm FitBALLS followed me home, one to lounge around on now, one to keep deflated and bring to The Hospital.
As long as we're on the subject of word-of-blog:
- Fast Company now has a staff blog! First entries August 5, and called FC Now. This is nothing short of thrilling. Frequent writing and insights from some of the best, and an unbeatable model for other businesses that also might happen to have a talented writer (or dozens) in their midst.
- The August issue of the magazine also features an article by FC Now co-blogger Linda Tischler called Buzz Without Bucks. A sample:
As traditional media channels fragment and consumers zap commercials quicker than you can say TiVo, more companies are looking to harness the power of buzz. "Word of mouth has superseded any form of paid advertising, in terms of influence," says Marian Salzman, chief strategy officer at Euro RSCG Worldwide and author of Buzz: Harness the Power of Influence and Create Demand (John Wiley, 2003). Personal recommendations, she says, have become far more reliable and authentic than conventional hype.
Politicians (and soft drink manufacturers) aren't the only people experimenting with word-of-blog these days. The folks presenting Pop!Tech 2003 got in touch with me last month to see if I'd be willing to promote the conference on Bag and Baggage:
We think that blogs at their best foster the same kind of conversation the conference at its best does. And so we're looking for friends who have blogs and others who may not have heard about the conference yet but might be willing to participate. There are a few bloggers you may know who have been involved in PopTech, including Clay Shirky, Kevin Sites, Xeni Jardin, and Larry Lessig.
If you're interested, this is what we're offering: if you mention the conference, and post a logo and a short descriptor of the conference somewhere on the blog site, as a sponsor, we would offer your readers a registration savings offer and would give you a private url link so that your readers can click to get the special deal. We'd also put you on our "blog sponsors" list. As a thank-you for getting the word out to more like-minded folks, we'll give you a discount as well for each registrant who comes to us from your blog. If your recommendation brings us 5 registrants, your seat to the conference would be free.
Ernie, Buzz, David, and many others are serious fans of this event, and one of these years I would love to go. (See: Ernie's conference coverage; Buzz's conference blog; and David's entries as compiled in the 10/24/02 issue of JOHO.) This can't be the year for me however, as I am speaking at Digital ID World 2003, and the dates conflict.
So here's the thing. Well, three things.
- If you sign up for Pop!Tech by August 15 by clicking through the graphic here, or using the Pop!Tech links in this post, you will get an additional $200 off the August 15 pre-registration price ($1,495 versus $1,695; after August 15, registration jumps to $1,995). Note that these links take you first to the conference home page; when you go to "Registration" from there you will be directed to a special discount page for Bag and Baggage readers.
- If five people actually register from Bag and Baggage, resulting in a complimentary registration, Pop!Tech says I can give it away. I'll ask for readers to nominate themselves or others as the beneficiary.
- Let's not forget Digital ID World 2003! Last year was amazing (here's the aggregator of real-time coverage to refresh your memory), this year will be even better. It too has an early registration discount (before August 30, $1,295; after August 30, $1,495), and again—I can get you an even better deal! If you're interested in joining us in Denver, please email me.
Thanks. Hope to see you in Denver, and let's try to send someone to Camden.
Unless otherwise expressly stated, all original material of whatever nature created by Denise M. Howell and included in the Bag and Baggage weblog and any related pages, including the weblog's archives, is licensed under a Creative Commons License.