21 September 2004

A Busy Morning

Yesterday was Monday. Naturally enough, all the interesting stuff came home in time for Tuesday's news reports.
  1. Over at Making Light, there is an interesting discussion on publishing scams in progress, inspired by (but not limited to) a certain Maryland-based vanity press.
  2. A well-regarded defense lawyer told the truth about typical defense tactics in litigation. It's not pretty. "Frivolous claims," eh? Sounds like a frivolous defense strategy to me!
  3. It seems like all I have to do is mention "antitrust" and "entertainment industry" in the same post and I've got another reason to decry it. Let's see, with an apparent HHI based on 2002 and 2003 (box-office sales plus DVD sales) of somewhere in excess of 1800, do you think this just might get some attention from the FTC or DoJ? No, I don't think so either.
  4. Speaking of entertainment-industry behemoths, it appears that an apple a day might work to keep doctors away—but that same apple positively attracts lawyers. I can think of few less-distinctive trademarks that have somehow been accorded secondary meaning than "apple" as it relates to the broad class of

    sound records, video records, cinematographic films; musical sound recordings; musical video recordings; audio and visual recordings featuring or relating to music, entertainment and films; pre-recorded compact discs, audio tapes, gramophone records, video tapes, video discs, DVDs, CD-ROMs and interactive compact discs, all featuring or relating to music and films; digitally recorded sound and video records; downloadable musical sound and video records; downloadable sound and video records featuring or relating to music, entertainment and films

    than U.S. Registration Number 78430230, which gives all these rights to a British holding corporation. OK, so it's the corporation that holds for the Beatles, but that's still rather excessive; how could anyone possibly believe that a recording of Phillip Glass could possibly implicate the Beatles as a point of origin? Far be it from me to defend Apple Computer, but this is excessive.

  5. Speaking, too, of older works that are not really of obvious broad scope, consider the status of "troll dolls" whose copyright was restored by the Uraguary Round. Then think for a moment on what that might mean, reciprocally, in someplace like Russia (which during the Soviet era summarily voided the Russian copyrights of a lot of "objectively capitalist" material imported from the West).
  6. This one is just too good to pass up. When is soy sauce not soy sauce? When it has passed through the hands of our friends in the soybean-product industry in the US. ConAgra (among others) doesn't want the traditional Japanese definition of "soy sauce" to be mandatory in every country. Some observers fear that "Next we'll be telling the French that Spam should be labeled as pâté"—which, given the poor quality of the last couple of imported pâtés I sampled, might not be such a bad idea after all. At least with Spam® one knows what to expect… which, come to think of it, is the real purpose of trademarks (see item 4 above)…
  7. Last, for the moment, and probably least, the publishing industry has found yet another trend to call "new" and copycat. Personally, I think I'll just go back to Chaucer and Bocaccio. "Christian bodice-rippers"?????