Skip to navigation

Monday, August 30, 2004

Fall Is In The Air

Welcome back, my good friend Howard.


From today's L.A. Times (and see

Network With No Strings Attached: "Wide-area wireless networks are on the brink of deployment nationwide."

O.C. Resorts Finding a Rich Niche: "'It's not really over the top. It's added value.'"

Friday, August 27, 2004

PSA Re Law Firm Voicemail

Note to anyone who might be contemplating calling a law firm and leaving a voice message that might be even remotely considered, shall we say a novelty:

More and more firms are using voicemail integration systems like Cisco's Unity Messaging. The upshot of this is voicemail becomes automatically and immediately freed of the phone, showing up as a .wav attached to the recipient's email. (I'm now so used to receiving voicemail this way I've all but forgotten how to get it off the phone itself.) From there, the message becomes trivially easy to forward or upload, whereupon the analog circle is closed as audio bits become widely circulated paper.

Yet another check on lawyers behaving badly? Time will tell. In the meantime, make no mistake: we're laughing at you, not with you.

[Update, 8/31] Ernest Miller notes that VoIP is poised to make this phenomenon even more widespread.

Series B Linkage

My latest post for The Industry Standard finds Steve Jurvetson's blog. Again.

Pop Off

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Our California

Derek Powazek was on the radio yesterday, and I happened to catch the show. The book being flogged, My California, looks very worthwhile: a collection of unconventional essays about the Golden State, all donated by the authors, and with all proceeds going to the California Arts Council.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Ernest Goes To Court

I'm most honored to help inaugurate Ernest Miller's new series on IT Conversations, The Importance Of...The Law And IT. Fred von Lohmann, Tim Wu, C.E. Petit, and I participated in a panel discussion on MGM v. Grokster this afternoon, and it's live already tonight. I'm hopelessly addicted to IT Conversations, and my iPod is looking forward to future installments of Ernie's show. (There's apparently a cool way to point to audio clips from our talk, but I'm just not awake enough at the moment to take advantage.)

Postcard Optional

I've been blogging over at at The Industry Standard this week, including a post about my grandmother's burgeoning career as a tech industry advertising guru. My Dad, who says I don't blog enough about him any more, was inspired by PhotoStamps in a slightly different yet creative way: the Little River Inn is going to offer Inn stamps for those who just can't get enough of its vistas.

Monday, August 23, 2004

Horse's Mouth

(Not that I am implying anything equine about the good Judge's dentition!) Judge Posner: "The social and legal impact of technology is going to be the principal theme of my week as Larry's guest blogger."

IP MEMES: TiVo To Go Gets Go-Ahead — And More

(My August contribution to IP Memes follows.)

Good Gets Go-Ahead To Get Great, But May Have Other Gremlins

Over the objections of Hollywood and professional sports leagues, on August 4 the FCC gave the thumbs up to TiVo's plan to let users share recorded TV in a limited manner over the Internet. The Commission unanimously determined the copyright control technologies included in the TiVo To Go service met the FCC's "broadcast flag" requirements, thus permitting users to share and move shows across the Internet in a limited manner with no undue threat of wider distribution. In addition to giving users the ability to copy and move programming to other devices, TiVo To Go is expected to permit remote programming of TiVo devices from cell phones and PDAs.

As convenient and user-friendly as all this sounds, TiVo may not be out of the woods just yet. What the FCC giveth, Congress may taketh away, in the form of the proposed Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act. The Act is worded sufficiently broadly that, if passed, TiVo's new technology is among many innovations that could be rendered illegal for "intentionally inducing" copyright infringement.


Online Music Sharing That's Both Cool And Legal

I haven't yet seen any empirical data on this, I'm willing to wager we've entered an era where the vast majority of digital music on hard drives will have been put there legally, either thanks to legal downloading services or legally purchased and copied CDs. Must all these law abiding audiophiles exchange their scruples for subpenas simply because they'd like to share their collections online, or listen to selections others have mixed and picked? Not if they use Mercora P2P Radio. Mercora is a P2P network that lets users tune in and listen, radio style, to the music on one another's hard drives, without copying or distributing copyrighted works. Mercora's webcasts are licensed under the DMCA, and the company also takes care of applicable reporting and royalty requirements. Mercora tells users how to comply with non-interactive webcast rules (e.g., by not pre-announcing the time or order of specific programming), and turns them loose. The service also supports digital image sharing (both viewing and downloading), with video soon to come.


You're Licensed, You're Welcome

While services like Mercora might look after the legal details associated with webcasting music, increased use of Creative Commons licensing is helping create repositories of copyrighted works available for myriad purposes. One such effort is the Open Source Media Project, the brainchild of technologist Marc Canter and journalist JD Lasica. The project, which has the support of Brewster Kahle and the Internet Archive, will provide a two-way platform for users to both contribute and access visual media that are subject to reduced (or nonexistent) use restrictions based on their particular flavor of Creative Commons license. It promises to be a great platform for creativity and learning.


Reverse Engineering Apple Is The New Black

DVDCCA nemesis Jon Lech Johansen (of DeCSS fame, whose blog is aptly named "So sue me") has reverse engineered Apple's Airport Express. Airport Express is a must-have new device with uses like wirelessly transmitting tunes to your stereo, and setting up quick WiFi networks. With DVD Jon's hack, the Airport Express could conceivably be host to music streams from any application, not just iTunes. Ernest Miller, who, in his "Hatch's Hit List," is keeping track of all the technologies he comes across that could run afoul of the proposed Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act, points out that "Johansen would make an ideal defendant (from the plaintiff's point of view)."

A less ideal defendant (from the plaintiff's point of view) is RealNetworks, Inc., but that hasn't stopped Real from pursuing its own bout of Apple reverse-engineering, this time aimed at the iPod. As designed, the iPod plays standard MP3s and songs encrypted with Apple's FairPlay digital rights management, but does not support other encrypted file formats. Real's Harmony seeks to change this, in much the same way DVD Jon seeks to make the Airport Express compatible with non-iTunes applications. "Free your iPod," proclaims Real's new community site devoted to "compatibility issues," Freedom of Music Choice, and "Don't Break My iPod" is what Real urges users to tell Apple in a related online petition. Despite Real's efforts to win mindshare with its new site and petition, anti-Real sentiments left by users indicate that will be an uphill battle. For its part, Apple says it is "stunned" by Real's actions, investigating the legal ramifications, and likely to design around Harmony in forthcoming releases of the iPod software.


Sunday, August 22, 2004

Kids, Animals, And JD

I'm very excited to be guest blogging this week for The Industry Standard, even if I do have a tough act to follow. My first post follows up on something I mentioned here previously, Reed Smith University, and interviews some of the people involved in making that happen.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Grokking Grokster

Want to really get a blawger on a roll? Writing a headline or story that superficially, inaccurately, or sensationalistically looks at a legal decision will do it every time. C.E. Petit explains why much of the news coverage of yesterday's decision in the Grokster case fails to tell the whole story:

So, then, where does this leave us? It does not, contrary to headlines that I have already seen, mean that "file-sharing software is legal." It means that the plaintiff record companies didn't (not necessarily couldn't?just didn't) establish intent in the same way as was done in Napster. It also creates an extremely fine line between providing a tool used to infringe, which is subject to apparently more-searching analysis, and providing a forum used to infringe, as the record indicates Napster and AOL did, or at least did enough to require a jury to make a definitive determination.
Judge Thomas's emphasis on "market forces" at the end of his opinion points out the real solution to piracy: Making piracy economically unattractive by providing high-quality, easily accessible intangibles at a price that makes the perceived cost and inconvenience associated with downloading, storing, proofing, etc. "too much" for the potential audience. In other words, don't repeat the mistakes of Prohibition and the "War on Drugs": go after the demand side, not the supply.

Read the whole thing. Then read why he thinks rumors of a Circuit split are greatly exaggerated. Writing (or opposing) the petition for certiorari? I hope you're reading C.E.'s blawg.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

"Atrocities" Is Right

But at least he has a sense of humor about it: "[Tony Long's] previous atrocity against the cult of technology was inserting a hyphen in 'e-mail.'" [Via Doc]

From Your Blog To My Hips

Good thing it wasn't Dunkin' Donuts. Ordered last Friday (thanks, bOingbOing!), arrived today. Great transition item for when the sling is getting cramped but walking is a distant fantasy. So what if you feel like a moving van driver? It works.

HippyChick has swell shoes too. Which reminds me... (warning: things only of conceivable — and at best marginal — interest to new parents ahead):

  • It's been nearly 9 months and I'm still flummoxed by the thick, fluffy padding they put in new baby shoes. Toss it? Use it to pad too-big shoes until they fit? Sew a pillow? Bear in mind, the inquiry in my case is mostly academic.
  • Do those Hyland's tablets work for anyone, or are they just baby's first candy hit?

I'm Hip

Shoo Shoos
Stuffing Included

Text alternative
Clean And Jerk

Very Big Day For P2P

Grokster affirmed: Cory. John. Howard. Donna. Ernest. Fred.

Now it's either down to the users or up to the Supremes (or both).

Google In Small Pieces

Holy moly. Bit of a switch from the doom and gloom headlines this morning. Here's an unsolicited and sincere plug: ShareBuilder. For a very reasonable fee, ShareBuilder invests a set amount for you at regular intervals (I do monthly). You pick the stocks, it does the rest. Dollar-based purchasing lets you specify exactly what you want to spend, and shares are purchased incrementally to match the amount you set. This means a couple of things for the potential Google shareholder:

  • If you only have a little to spare but are dying to own some of Google, you need not even buy a full share.
  • If you set yourself up for automatic purchases, you won't have to remind yourself to buy in a few months after the frenzy subsides.


Yahoo! sees Google's blog, and raises it a very smart blogroll.

Among The Little Known Benefits Of Blogging

The opportunity from time to time to be immortalized in song.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Today's New Blawg Begging The Question. Launched the week before I had my son, which is my feeble justification for not sooner spotting "Milbarge" and "Fitz-Hume" — lawyer-denizens of one of the federal courts of appeals, and the chambers of an administrative law judge, respectively. With titles like "Motion For Life To Stop Sucking: DENIED," these two will blawg far.

Wet And WiFi'd

Send good mojo (and perhaps a generator) to Buzz and Tom as they mop up and wring out.

28 And Counting

To date, Ernie Miller has identified and analyzed at least 28 technologies potentially limited or restricted by the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act, including credit card companies and TiVo To Go. Spend some time with Hatch's Hit List. Then check out Congressman Boucher's thoughtful post (at Larry Lessig's) and responses to commenters: Induce No More.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Worst Practices, Best Ads

Grant Henninger thinks Wells Fargo holds the title for "Best line in any ad. Ever." He may be right. I just heard the ad that prompted Grant's excitement, and it does rock out loud that Wells has its lemonade-and-free-checking hawking youngster explain, when asked if she can print out statements, "I'm not allowed to use the computer since I got sued for downloading music."

Wells has strong competition though from the Co-Op Network for credit unions, which promises (on its billboard at the 405/110 interchange, and elsewhere) ATMs "Out the Wazoo!"

Out the Wazoo

Sunday, August 15, 2004


New York Lawyer: "In a few years' time, Reed Smith hopes to be the first major law firm staffed entirely by alumni of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of business." [Link added. Disclaimer: I work, er, study there.]

Past Pottery Barn, On The Right

She pulled up next to me in her diesel Mercedes with the bad brakes and confirmed it: I've become someone who looks like she knows where Build-A-Bear is. "Where's Build-A-Bear?" she pressed, without even so much as a good morning. And mind you this was while the stroller and baby were still well concealed in my car.

Thing is: I knew. Made having the kid at the Genius Bar dispatch my phone-syncing glitch in about two seconds somehow even more humiliating.

Friday, August 13, 2004

From Buffet To Bezos To Brin And Page

This seemed like an appropriate thing to point to today, from Fast Company's piece on Jeff Bezos:

"With respect to investors, there's a great Warren Buffettism," [Bezos] says. "You can hold a rock concert and that can be successful, and you can hold a ballet and that can be successful, but don't hold a rock concert and advertise it as a ballet. If you're very clear to the outside world that you're taking a long-term approach, then people can self-select in . . . As Buffett says, you get the shareholders you deserve."

Today's New Blawg

Pittsburgh attorney Anthony Cerminaro writes Bizz Bang Buzz. Anthony just started posting on August 1, but his blog already is full of interesting pointers and analysis focused on business issues affecting technology companies. What's more, Anthony has singlehandedly and considerably broadened the scope of Blogger's "Interests" categories.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Son Of Berkman Audio?

Is there a Berkman Audio site other than the Berkman Audio site? I'm looking in particular for all the excellent talks, presentations, etc., that John Palfrey and Dave Winer point to from time to time. Through some fortunate code glitch, the Weinberger and Rheingold MP3s have been living at the bottom of the Harvard weblog aggregator for a long time, so I finally got around to hearing them. These things are full of provocative ideas (and make tremendous adult company while out with the stroller).

No permission


I've had the kind of day where just getting the sheets changed was a monumental accomplishment, given the baby has somehow managed to wrap his 20-pound, cute-as-a-button skin around the attitude and demeanor of a strung out long-haul trucker. Don't miss Howard Bashman's ongoing coverage of today's gay marriage decision from the California Supreme Court, including especially the ScrappleFace items.

Friendly Flash

I wish there were a site design credit at Whoever they are, they did a great job. The site's clean, attractive, and fast.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

But — Which Is The Day Job?

Blogging Baby has good things to say about boys with working moms.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Retail Fix My grandma is going to DIG this. Ok, so it's a little too-too. Too-cute-by-half, as one of my colleagues is fond of saying. At least it'll be a break from those ubiquitous LOVE stamps on wedding invitations. [Via NPR]

Urban Outfitters now has its own shop on Amazon. What, no Anthropologie? [Via the place that sees no contradiction in recommending I buy changing pad covers and Tarantino Mania! Hey, complexity is the new black.]

[Update:] EEK! Too funny.

Monday, August 09, 2004

Magic Cory Ball

Not surprisingly, Cory Doctorow is involved in both of the following glimpses into Web's effect on the future of the law biz:

When Counterfeits Attack

Last night on 60 Minutes: The World's Greatest Fakes, discussing China as "the undisputed capital of counterfeiting." The story had this utterly chilling conclusion:

Since this report last January, dozens of children from one eastern Chinese city died after being fed counterfeit baby formula. Thousands of boxes of counterfeit formula have been discovered.

More on the arrests of those charged with making or selling the fake formula, which apparently has led to at least some 50-60 malnutrition deaths.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Lawyers Go A-Conference Bloggin'

The American Bar Association's Cyberspace Law Committee is blogging at the ABA's annual meeting happening now in Atlanta. Complete with key alimentary recommendations, nightlife reports, a separate rant blog, and the obligatory "Here I am, blogging this" photo.

Oh, and Vince likes Snow Crash, so there's always the possiblity of a Hiro Protagonist reference, you never know.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

And Elliot Should Know

Elliot Noss, on artificial distinctions between business vs. residential users: "It is the size of the bundle, not where you use it."

Friday, August 06, 2004

We The Audiobook

A readers' audio version of Dan Gillmor's We The Media (don't miss the blog) is not just desireable, it's necessary, yes? AKMA organized such an effort for Free Culture, and has useful information about what software to use, how to format ID3 tags, etc. Niall Kennedy kicked things off by recording the Introduction, which I did too before I realized Niall had this covered. Niall got the ball rolling and has offered to be the repository, so send your links his way. As best I can, I'll update this post to serve as an index as well. There's an Introduction, 12 chapters, and an Epilogue. (Watch all the blawgers pick Chapter 10.)

  • Introduction: read by Niall Kennedy (MP3; Ogg Vorbis); Denise Howell (MP3)*
  • Chapter 1, From Tom Paine to Blogs and Beyond: read by ___
  • Chapter 2, The Read-Write Web: read by ___
  • Chapter 3, The Gates Come Down: read by ___
  • Chapter 4, Newsmakers Turn the Table: read by ___
  • Chapter 5, The Consent of the Governed: read by ___
  • Chapter 6, Professional Journalists Join the Conversation: read by ___
  • Chapter 7, The Former Audience Joins the Party: read by ___
  • Chapter 8, Next Steps: read by ___
  • Chapter 9, Trolls, Spin, and the Boundaries of Trust: read by ___
  • Chapter 10, Here Come the Judges (and Lawyers): read by ___
  • Chapter 11, The Empires Strike Back: read by ___
  • Chapter 12, Making Our Own News: read by ___
  • Epilogue and Acknowledgements: read by ___

*For the time being this was the best way I could figure out to upload the MP3 I recorded (It's too big to upload to blog*spot, which has a roughly 3MB limit, but I'm not thrilled with putting it on .Mac.) Suggestions for improvement welcome.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Mission: Abort

Didn't They Used To Do Lincoln?

Former Baywatch babe Carmen Electra has an A&E Biography. Among other assets, of course.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

This Just In From The FCC

The FCC ruled today that TiVo will be permitted to go ahead with its plans to allow users to send recorded shows over the Internet. Declan McCullagh has more: "The FCC said at its meeting Wednesday that TiVo's security system will be 'appropriate for use' when receiving digital TV signals broadcast over the airwaves." (Note Politech is now a blog.) So does TiVo: "The FCC determined that digital broadcast television content should be protected, but that protection should still enable it to be accessed over the Internet so long as that access does not lead to mass indiscriminate redistribution of programs over the Internet." Guess it never hurts to have fans in high places!

IP Opportunity At Proyecto ACCESO

Proyecto ACCESO (English version) "strive[s] to create innovative and entertaining programs to increase access to justice and build confidence in the legal institutions of the Western Hemisphere," primarily by training legal professionals in Latin America. Additionally, as I learned recently from James Cooper, the project's Director and an Assistant Dean at California Western School of Law, Proyecto ACCESO has a new initiative focused on intellectual property:

Training for Intellectual Property Rights Protection and Enforcement
As you may know, the streets of the world are filled with vendors selling pirated copies of books, compact discs, DVDs and clothing. What many people have recently come to learn, however, is that the money gleaned from this theft often finance terrorist groups such as Hezbollah. To be sure, the devastating effects of intellectual property rights violations have not gone unrecognized nor has Chile's high potential for legitimate electronic commerce within its export and service-orientated economy.

Asst. Dean Cooper is looking for instructors to assist with the project's IP initiative, and emails,

Proyecto ACCESO, a not for profit legal skills training program that trains judges, prosecutors and defenders around Latin America, is looking for Spanish-speaking instructors with experience in prosecution and investigation of Intellectual Property rights crimes. A specialized training program in Chile is being developed and ACCESO is searching for instructors to join its interdisciplinary team. ... If you are interested in learning more, please email James Cooper ... at

Today's New Blawg: Justice Gilbert!

Justice Arthur Gilbert of the California Court of Appeal (Second District, Division 6) writes a wonderful column for the Los Angeles Daily Journal, "to a confused but devoted readership." It is our great good fortune (particularly because none of the Daily Journal's content is freely accessible online) that Justice Gilbert now has a blog, Gilbert Submits, comprised of "selected columns from the more than 140 that have appeared in past editions of the Daily Journal." Enjoy, and let's see if we can do something about Justice Gilbert's lament, "I have gotten some hits, but no home runs."

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Clueless Summer has come out with its Best of the Web for Summer 2004, featuring "over 3,700 sites . . . each rated according to five criteria: Content, Design, Speed, Navigation and Customization." The Technology News section includes the second coming of The Industry Standard, all well and good. From there though, things get wacky:

BEST: The revival of a formerly-highflying brand says comforting things about the state of the economy.

WORST: The site lets you subscribe to RSS feeds, a complicated, XML-related way of reading news which doesn't serve much purpose here.

[Emphasis added.] This seems destined to join Harry M. Warner — on talkies: "Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" — and others on pages like these dedicated to history's technological visionaries, insert air quotes here.

Spotted via The Standard's Trackback Blog — the first time I've seen someone annotate their trackbacks, which strikes me as visionary sans quotes. (Really. And not just because I've agreed to Guest Blog there soon, something I'm trying pretty hard but unsuccessfully to be blasé about.)

Monday, August 02, 2004

Ramble On, Rosie

It's good to see Sandra Rosenzweig updating her blog regularly. Sandra writes the Technicalities column for the California Lawyer (almost always my first stop in the magazine). Here's a great tip from her about number patterns recognized by Google:

Google now recognizes a whole lot of number patterns: FedEx, UPS, and USPS tracking numbers; vehicle ID numbers: U.S. patent numbers; UPC codes; area codes or whole phone numbers; and even FCC equipment IDs and FAA airplane reservation numbers. Usually, all you need to type into the usual Google search box is the number, and Google does the rest. However, for patent numbers you have to add the word patent to the beginning of the number, and for FCC equipment IDs you need to add fcc at the beginning. For flight information you need to type in the airline name or code before the flight number. Google says you need to enter the FCC airplane registration numbers that appear on each plane's tail, but I've never found that necessary.

Xeni Goes Public

Xeni Jardin recently discussed the INDUCE Act on NPR's Day to Day:

At first glance, there seems nothing threatening about the iPod. People bop along listening to the songs they've stored on it, apparently harming no one. But within the halls of the United States Senate, there is concern.

Of course, if the Act should pass you might have one less way to know something like this. (Don't forget to read the blog.)

Sunday, August 01, 2004

But Is It A BitTorrent?

David Starkoff, from a fascinating post on medium neutral citations: "It's almost a Napster for the legal publishing community: publishing companies being forced to demonstrate value or develop new revenue streams in the face of the increasing use of the Internet."

Creative Commons LicenseUnless 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.