Wal-Queda Defeats Wal-Mart

A new decision from a federal district court in Atlanta illustrates perfectly what I have been saying is right and wrong with trademark fair use doctrine. The case involves Charles Smith, a rather offbeat critic who created two portmanteaus to describe the megalithic retailer Wal-Mart somewhat, um, unfavorably: WAL-OCAUST and WAL-QUEDA. He set up web […]

Changes in Realspace

Info/Law isn’t going anywhere, but I am. In the fall, I’ll take up residence as an assistant prof at Brooklyn Law School, which has kindly offered to put up with my collection of tech cartoons, Legos, and Lotus memorabilia. It will be hard to leave my friends at Wayne State, but I hope to entice […]

A Big Day for Open Access, But More Work Remains

Via BoingBoing comes news of another big crop of United States Court of Appeals decisions being scanned and made publicly available by public.resource.org. They are scanning the entire Federal Reporter (First Series), which includes late-19th and early-20th century United States case law. Enormous PDFs (and even more enormous TIFFs) of the scanned volumes are available […]

Harry Potter and the Lexicon of Fair Use

No, it’s not the eighth installment of the Rowling series – rather, it’s the latest installment of the ongoing legal fistfight over RDR Books and Steven Vander Ark’s attempt to publish a book version of the on-line guide to the Harry Potter wizarding world. (I posted briefly on this earlier, when I was annoyed by […]

Companies Enabling Censorship

Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing writes a great op-ed in the New York Times on the use of American technology, from companies such as Secure Computing and Websense, in helping authoritarian countries censor the Internet. (Presumably space was too short for her to mention Cisco in China, or Fortinet, which both helps Burma and misled ONI […]

Hannah Montana Fights the Tix Bots

The Minnesota Legislature is considering a proposed bill aimed at an important and very large constituency: fans of tween-pop sensation Hannah Montana who couldn’t get tickets to her, like, totally sold-out show here a few months ago (and their frustrated parents). The same phenomenon occurred nationwide as ticket brokers swooped in to buy up all […]

My Trademark Fair Use Project

I have been relatively absent from the blog for a few weeks as I worked to complete two pieces of writing that have consumed all my time and brainpower. Both concern trademark “fair use” — the defenses available to those who use trademarks to facilitate their free expression. The first piece, Four Free Speech Goals […]

Is the DMCA Still Relevant?

That’s the question I’ve been asking myself (and, occasionally, others) for most of the last year. (As some of you know, I’ve spent quite a bit of that time working on a new paper about the DMCA, and I’m not jaded enough yet not to feel a twinge of regret at the prospect that the […]