IP Memes Sampler

I keep forgetting to follow the lead of my fellow IP Memesters Denise Howell and Stephen Nipper and post a sampling of the IP Memes Newsletter I work on at TechnoLawyer.com – (email subscription available with free reqistration).
Here’s a sampling from the July 12 issue I put together.
From the �Internet Avenger� to the Tenth Anniversary of TRIPs � �Do Something Constructive� and Read This Edition of IP Memes
The Arrival of the �Internet Avenger� � Glickman to Replace Valenti at MPAA
Former U.S. Department of Agriculture, Dan Glickman, has been named to replace the retiring Jack Valenti, who came to symbolize the U.S. entertainment industry and forcefully asserted its views of intellectual property rights during his long tenure as the head of the Motion Picture Association of America. Although I must admit to hearing a few notes of the �Green Acres� theme song in my head every time I think of a former Ag Secretary moving to Hollywood, some commentators have referred to Glickman as the �Internet Avenger� and expect his approach to differ from that of Valenti in some significant ways. In fact, his approach to complaints about the threat of Internet competition to the entertainment industry has been described as �do something constructive about it.� Others expect little change. If you want to single out one place to watch for IP developments in the U.S., that place would have to be what happens in the wake of Valenti�s departure.
Lockergnome Bits and Bytes �Internet Avenger� Story – http://channels.lockergnome.com/news/archives/20040706_hollywoods_internet_avenger.phtml
More from Wired – http://www.wired.com/news/business/0,1367,64063,00.html
More from Yahoo News – http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&u=/washpost/20040701/tc_washpost/a21151_2004jul1
More from Broadband Reports – http://www.broadbandreports.com/shownews/47269
Primer on Eighteen Hot IP Issues
Foley and Lardner�s Hal Wegner generated a lot of buzz this past week with his �18 Hot Issues in IP � A Checklist.� The list is a good one and picks up on a number of topics mentioned in the IP Memes newsletter over the past six months or so. I highly recommend it, but you may find it to be focused more on very specific issues and cases than on �big picture� matters. On the other hand, you will be hard-pressed to find a better list in one place with specific case and statute citations and links to key upcoming cases than Wegner�s list. As an aside, Wegner�s article illustrates the continuing ability of big law firms to �get� the Internet � there�s not a sign of Wegner�s article on the Foley website. As a result, the link below does not go to the Foley website. A great opportunity missed.
IP Memester Stephen Nipper�s Coverage – http://nip.blogs.com/patent/2004/07/primer_on_hot_i.html
Link to article on Foley website � Oops, Another Big Law Firm Missed a Good Web Opportunity.
[NOTE: I've recently heard that Foley, perhaps shamed by my comments (but I doubt it), is working on and may have now posted the article on their site. Unfortunately, they fooled me once and I'm not heading back to the site again to check.]
How Free Became Open and Everything Else Under the Sun
You can never have too much of an understanding of the Open Source licenses and the Open Source movement. Biella Coleman and Mako Hill�s recent paper, �How Free Became Open and Everything Else Under the Sun,� is a good addition to the Open Source literature, especially in an election year. It attempts to cover how Open Source works and the opportunities it offers for people and businesses of all political and economic stripes. For those who like to align their software and their politics, recent articles suggest that Republican websites run on Microsoft software and Democratic websites run on Open Source software. You are free to draw your own conclusions.
Free and Open Source Paper – http://www.media-culture.org.au/0406/02_Coleman-Hill.html
Trademark Licensing � The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.
As much as I hate to give away one of my best resources, I must mention the exceedingly valuable PLI Lawyer�s Toolbox email newsletter. What�s so great? In nearly every weekly issue is at least one link to a free download of an outline from a recent PLI program on intellectual property issues. The recent �Trademark Licensing – The Good, The Bad and the Ugly� is a great example of the useful material you can find. I�ll be kicking myself if PLI drops this feature because I mention it, but, until they do, it�s a fantastic resource, and it definitely makes it more likely that you will attend a PLI conference. :-)
Trademark Licensing Outline – http://www.pli.edu/emktg/toolbox/Trademark_Lic25.htm
TRIPS at Ten
The IPKAT blog is always worth a visit. Take a look at the coverage of the recent �TRIPs � Ten Years Later� conference honoring the tenth anniversary of the TRIPs agreement, designed, as you may recall, to globalize intellectual property law. IPKAT highlights some of the key issues that arose at the conference and point to useful links and resources.
IPKAT TRIPs Post – http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2004/06/ipkat-trips-light-fantastic.html
To Litigate or Innovate
It might be today�s most important IP question � �Litigate or innovate?� Donna Wentworth�s Copyfight blog collects three big IP hitters, Terry Fisher, Fred von Lohmann, and Kembrew McLeod, on exploring alternatives to common responses like mass lawsuits against filesharers and/or controversial and fast-tracked legislation like the Induce Act.
Copyfight post – http://www.corante.com/copyfight/archives/004597.html

Killing the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg: My New Policy on Announcing Your New Blog

I was shocked by the �perfect mini-storm� of blog posts I saw in the last few days advocating the following �search engine optimization� or �PR optimization� strategy.
In a nutshell, here’s how the “strategy” is described. When launching a new blog, website, business, whatever, simply contact a group of prominent bloggers and ask them to �announce� your news on their blogs. As the argument goes, you end up with great search engine placement, �buzz,� and visibility far beyond what you can expect by any other means and, best of all, it�s all free. You can use the audience and placement of the prominent bloggers to your own advantage, all for free. This �advice,� as best as I can tell, is offered without any sense of shame or conscience.
I saw examples of people advocating this strategy here, here, here, here and here.
One irony, by the way, is that I noticed these posts because I am a fan of these bloggers and might well have mentioned any of them on the strength of their posts alone. If that weren�t the case, I wouldn�t link to the posts in question and give another potential bump in their ratings. I agree with their assessment of the results of this strategy; I disagree with their approach of not considering all of the consequences of advocating this approach.
Kevin O�Keeffe, a legal web pioneer I admire greatly, also discusses this strategy in the legal blogspace in a nuanced fashion, but the casual reader of his post might easily take away a much less subtle notion of Kevin’s approach than he intends (note that Kevin’s post carefully (note that Kevin begins by saying that he was �politely asking fellow law bloggers by email if they would be nice enough to link to my blog from their law blog� � that little detail makes a world of difference).
I didn�t notice much mention in any of these posts about thanking, let alone compensating, the prominent bloggers. See the quote at the bottom of this post for one comment that was made that was especially memorable.
I don�t know that I�ve ever seen a clearer example of trying to kill the goose that laid the golden egg.
This subject (seeking blog mentions and links as a calculated method of optimizing search engine results) has been a source of irritation to me for a while now. A few months ago, someone said something to me that led me to the conclusion that some search engine placement consultants might be charging their law firm clients for the advice that the law firms could enhance their Google rankings by trying to get me and other prominent legal bloggers, all of whom you would know, to post something about the a firm’s website on our blogs. I�ve commiserated with a number of these bloggers in the last few months about the number of requests they get. I�ll also mention that I’ve seen requests that feel like orders (with an astonishing sense of entitlement), are not followed up by thank yous, do not result in my blog being listed on the blogroll of the requesting party, etc. You understand my point.
It�s clear that the promotion of this �strategy� will increase the number of requests for mentions of new blogs that I and others get. Am I right Ernie, Tom, Denise and Jerry? Of course, if you read on, you�ll see that my requests will probably decline in number, but I�ll be much more attentive to the ones I do get.
By the way, there�s no question that this �strategy� works. I�m happy to tell you that either for free or for half the amount that you are paying someone to tell you the same thing, except that I�ll tell you to ask nicely, respectfully and personally, to thank the bloggers you ask when they do mention you, and to offer something, even small, in return. The bloggers you ask would probably faint in shock.
Here�s an example of how I can illustrate the success of the strategy:
I published a post on my blog about my law firm annual meeting. Within about a week, my post was the #1 result to a Google search on �law firm retreat.� To me, that shows more about Google than about my �clout,� but that�s the world of search engines we live now live in. I also have nine years of experience getting my pages into search engines at very high rankings on the terms that I want without paying any �optimizers.� For free, here’s the biggest �secret� in search engine placement � care about what you are doing on your site.
Unfortunately, we�ve now moved to a world where blog mentions and the accompanying links are treated as one-sided economic transactions � all take and no give. Read the enthusiastic comments about the results of this strategy here and come up with a number for the dollars of economic value obtained by the use of this strategy. Consider that the bloggers who �implemented� the strategy for the beneficiaries got nothing (other than, arguably, to be shown as the chumps in crowing articles about this smart strategy). While it�s true that many of the most prominent bloggers are true believers who routinely list new blogs just as part of their efforts to promote the blog world, no one likes to feel that they�ve been publicly taken advantage of.
I�ve pulled way back from simply announcing new legal blogs already. Perhaps it was one snippy request too many. Perhaps it was seeing other blogs prominently mentioned on a blog I “announced” for someone and mine not mentioned at all. Mainly, though, people who launch blogs using this strategy tend not to follow through. They don�t have the commitment and the blog fades away and I�m left with a link to a dead blog in one of my posts that talks about �the great promise� of that new blog – chumped out twice.
Here�s what I do now. For my friends and people I like and respect, I will announce their new blog. If you send me a note about your posts that I might truly find interesting and I see, over a period of time, that you post consistently good content, I probably will mention you. If you are doing cool things and have great content on your blog, I�ll probably mention you consistently, because that�s what I care about.
Now, in response to the apparent advocacy of this “take advantage of the prominent bloggers” strategy, I�m formally adopting a new policy on mentioning new blogs when people send me an unsolicited request to mention them on my blog.
In these cases, I’ll announce new blogs that I find acceptable to me in exchange for one of the following:
1. You provide me with five decision-maker level personal referrals to potential clients for my services;
2. You purchase a sponsorship or advertising option on my site which will include placement in a list of �highlighted blogs� on my site for a limited amount of time, which can be extended for further payment;
3. You provide a reasonably equivalent mutual benefit to me in exchange � I�m willing to be creative and there are audiences that I currently do not reach that I would like to be in front of;
4. If we can agree, you pay me an amount that fairly reflects the economic value you believe you will obtain from the mention.
Otherwise, I�ll mention blogs because I like the people, what they are doing or the quality and usefulness of their content, which is probably how it should be anyway.
It never had to be �just business,� but now it appears that that�s where we are headed. If you want to reduce interactions with bloggers to purely economic transactions, I suggest that one think twice before taking an approach that makes them totally one-sided in your favor. As for this goose, I ain�t laying no more golden eggs for free no more.
Here�s the quote to remember: �Let me repeat – 5,000 links, lots of discussion, 130,000 downloads, and 6m links/hits all generated for $0 – yes, no money!�
It�s a powerful testament to the power of blogs and feeds, but half of the equation is missing. Is this the blog world we want to create? Do principled stands like the voluntary moratorium against placing ads in feeds still make sense when others are encouraged to take advantage of the audience prominent bloggers have worked to build over the years? I don�t know the answers, but I do know that the playing field may be rapidly changing and tilting away from the “old school” philosophies of blogging.
[Note: Links now should work - an example of the dreaded "curly quote marks" problem. Thanks for the heads-up from the TechLawAdvisor.]

New Study Gives Procrastinators a Great New Ethical Argument

Note: This is a reconstruction of the post I lost the other day when I lost my mind about Windows Updates.
Do the procrastinators in the world need any more justifications for their inactions? A new study from professors at Wharton will give procrastinators a way to take the moral high-ground when questioned about why they are lying on the couch all day watching television instead of doing something �productive.�
From the excellent Knowledge@Wharton email newsletter (now with a feed):
Goal-setting and Cheating: Why They Often Go Together in the Work Place
�From childhood on, individuals are told that setting goals for themselves will make them more successful in whatever they set out to do — whether it’s win tennis games, ace their exams or become CEO of their company. But goal-setting also has a dark side to it, according to a recent research paper by a Wharton faculty member and two colleagues. In addition to motivating constructive behavior, goal setting — especially if it involves rewards such as bonuses or perks — can also motivate unethical behavior when people fall short of the goals they set or that are set for them.�
I�ve often found �getting around to goal-setting� to be at least as problematic. The breakthrough I had on that subject, however, came from some comments from goals guru Brian Tracy. Tracy says that if at the beginning of each year, you take the time to formulate ten legitimate goals (specific, measurable, attainable, etc.), write them down on a piece of paper, and then fold up the piece of paper, put it away and never look at it again for the whole year, you will still find that in the average year you will achieve at least six or seven of your written goals. How liberating is that?
Don�t even get me started on the �working toward the goal� piece of the puzzle. Here, fortunately, David Allen�s �Getting Things Done� approach of identifying the �next physical action� is a huge help.
The aspect of goal-setting that gets too little attention and causes the greatest problem for many people I know is what happens when you attain a major goal, especially if you do so much more quickly than you ever imagined. I�ve seen this throw people way out of equilibrium. I have some examples, but my friends might not appreciate their stories being used to illustrate this point.
So, I look to myself as an example. For many years, I never got the hang of �goals.� I just did not compute. I blame that on the Cold War and the nuclear war drills we had in elementary school.
Finally, as my writing career started to unfold, I read an article by a famous expert I really admired that mentioned that he had published over 150 articles in his long career. I told my wife that I had found a real �goal� that I wanted to try. My goal would be to try to publish 100 articles in my career. Since I had gotten off to a late start in writing, I didn�t expect to reach the goal, but I thought that it was a good one to try for. Not quite two years later, I had blown past the 100 article goal. I soon left 150 behind and, when I last counted, I had gone by 300.
The point is not to say, look at me, look how I made my goal, but instead to focus on what happens when you achieve what feels like a very significant goal in a ridiculously short time. I really didn�t know what to think. I didn�t think that it meant that I should stop, but I didn�t know what it meant.
I felt like I stumbled around for a while trying to figure out what would come next. Blogs provided the answer. Think of Lou Reed�s song, �Rock and Roll,� and substitute �blog� and �blogging� where appropriate.
I decided that I had found a comfortable niche that I both enjoyed and in which I excelled � writing about technology in ways that lawyers especially found helpful and understandable. I knew from the way my friends ribbed me that I had mastered the �Ten Tips,� Six Steps,� style of articles. (But, it wasn�t as easy as you thought when you tried it, was it?) I wanted to keep doing that, but I wanted to do some other things with my writing, too.
My idea was to use this blog as a way to write in new ways, on new topics, and let my writing find a new audience. It�s a continuing experiment, a rewarding experiment and a great new goal for me � one that�s hard for me to cheat on. I�ve used a portion of the summer to push a little harder on that aspect of this blog, but will soon return to an approach that will either bring my posts on legal technology and technology law back to the forefront or put them into separate feeds or separate blogs.
Or, I might have another surprise in store, because now I have a new goal in mind.
Here are a few great books I�ve found to be quite helpful on goals over the last few years:
Brian Tracy�s Goals: How to Get Everything You Want-Faster Than You Ever Thought Possible – a classic work form one of the gurus.
Wade Cook’s Don’t Set Goals (the Old Way) – the �contrarian� approach really works for me.
David Allen�s Getting Things Done � the new classic that helps you accomplish exactly what the title says.

People I Know Who Are Doing Some Cool Stuff � Dativoci and BlackBerries

In the world of big law firms, BlackBerries are hot. For many other law firms, BlackBerries are on the �we must talk about this� lists.
My friends at Dativoci are doing some cool things in the BlackBerry world that might help law firms and other small businesses.
Dativoci is a Nextel Partner who develops, integrates and licenses mobile business solutions software for iDEN handsets and BlackBerry devices. It�s also a BlackBerry Alliance Partner whose products are featured in the most current BlackBerry Solutions Guide.
Dativoci usual work entails either deploying turnkey Microsoft Exchange and BlackBerry Enterprise Server infrastructure and/or extending existing back office applications into the mobile environment.
For a law firm, Dativoci might do projects ranging from getting a firm�s document management system to work on the attorneys� BlackBerrys to supplying a full-blown Microsoft Exchange / BlackBerry Server system either as an ASP or as an onsite turnkey system. I make no secret of my leanings toward the ASP environment in the small/medium business setting.
If you are one of the many law firms considering projects in these areas, check out what Dativoci might be able to do for you.

Paczkowski Solidifies Hold on King of Headlines Title

There’s no one who consistently brings a new perspective on tech news and writes better headlines that John Paczkowski on Good Morning Silicon Valley.
Today, he unleashed another gem:
Maybe you should rename it AIEEEEEEE!!!!!!
Not content to rest on his laurels, Paczkowski, on the same day, follows up with:
Jackhammer noise of IE repairs finally getting through to browser users
Industry giants form “Coalition of the Willing to Hobble Your Gadgets”
and
Ellison takes top honors in Peoplesoft-baiting contest
Just another day in the office for John. How were your headlines today?
More headline highlights can be found here, including recent classics like:
Seagate defrags workforce
Microsoft to ask court for more time to kill off competitors
Feds supersize Ebbers’ indictment
He’s not just a headliner either – he gets off great lines in his news summaries with a seemingly effortless regularity.
Here’s the feed.