18 January 2005

A Busy Morning

It's a busy morning in the news today. Very busy indeed, touching on many of my legal interests. And nonlegal interests. YOu may find out more about me than you're comfortable knowing after reading this…
  • I cannot approve enough of Professor Ribstein's recommendation of Hoop Dreams. This is particularly relevant for authors, songwriters, artists, and others who are the "direct creators" of copyrightable materials—except that the odds against William and Arthur are probably less than those against direct creators.
  • Over at Patently Obvious, Dennis Crouch muses on the Blackberry fiasco. I don't quite agree with him—I think the principle of "rights imply a remedy" might save the original opinion from the Federal Circuit—but it's a very, very close question, and his summary of Canada's argument is cogent. What? A whole nation intervening in a domestic patent dispute? Read his summary; I can't do better.
  • Speaking of international IP issues, the IPKat again wonders why the EU's head is up and locked (if you have to ask what it is up, you don't have a military background). And then, too, there's the IPKat's courteous inclusion of a blawg entry that actually translates and explains, in a remarkably clear fashion, a recent French decision on the French equivalent of the DMCA (§ 512, not the anticircumvention part). Since I have to use a dictionary to even read a French newspaper—badly—I really appreciate this commentary. To close the loop: This appears to be very consistent with the most-recent US-based decisions on "DMCA subpoenas"—subpoenas issued to ISPs to discover the identity of various account holders. Imagine that: A French court reached the same conclusion as a US court, for what I infer is approximately the same reason! I'll be blawging on these decisions in more detail in the next couple of days or so; for now, though, the issues as laid out by Jean-Baptiste bear considerable thought.
  • Apparently, not all is doom and gloom in publishing. At least, not in Japan, where bookstores reported higher profits in 2004… without any assistance from Harry Potter. The numbers for 2005, then, should be still better, particularly those on and after 16 July (when HP VI comes out).

    The one disturbing aspect of this story is buried in the middle of the article:

    According to the Yomiuri Shimbun (Nov. 24), pairing an unknown manga artist with a popular novel is now seen as a way to develop new manga talent. Many of the new generation of novelists share an affinity with manga writers and the stigma attached to having their novels published as manga is fading.

    Can you say "work for hire" three times fast? I knew you could.

  • Then there's the world of athlete doping control. Since the weather is so much nicer in Australia right now than in San Francisco, that's where today's action is. I'm still not entirely sure that ephedrine is truly a performance-enhancing substance for high-level tennis; but then, my argument all along has been that the context in which an athlete performs is at least as important as the substance in question. While ephedrine may act as a stimulant, tennis (at high levels) involves more control than it does strength, and a substantial risk of dehydration that will only be made worse by ephedrine and similar substances. But that would be calling for a rational doping-control policy, something that's just not going to happen in this political environment. And don't kid yourselves: The history of doping control reflects nothing more nor less than politicians attempting to protect the image of sport, regardless of the interests of the athletes or the integrity of competition.
  • Last for now, but far from least, President Bush asserted that he's not preparing to invade Iran. As Frankfurter Rundschau noted:

    US-Präsidentenberater Dan Bartlett meinte in einem CNN-Interview, der Beitrag von Hersh sei "voller Ungenauigkeiten". Er bezweifle, dass die von Hersh gezogenen Schlüsse auf Tatsachen basierten.

    "Natürlich sehen wir Iran mit Sorge", sagte Bartlett. Die USA setzten aber auch in der Frage des umstrittenen iranischen Atomprogramms auf Diplomatie sowie die Anstrengungen der Europäer und die Internationale Atomenergiebehörde. Militärisches Vorgehen der USA könne man allerdings nicht grundsätzlich ausschließen.

    "Bush schließt Krieg gegen Iran nicht aus" (18 Jan 2005). I can't say it better than that, so I won't try.