Confused "Intellectual Property" question in Question Period.

I never know whether to report some of the conversation about PCT (Patent, Copyright, Trademarks) by members of the House of Commons as they often show they don't understand these issues. While parliamentarians are asked to vote on bills and study issues in committees, often their discussions demonstrate they don't even know the differences between these areas of law -- leave alone the very different issues within them.

Canadians Three Times More Likely Than Americans To Buy Counterfeit Goods?

A press release by The Canadian Anti-Counterfeiting Network (CACN) reports about a POLLARA survey. While the press release could just as easily have alleged that Canadians are three times more likely than Americans to be honest on surveys, there is still something interesting to discuss.

What makes you think that it's YOUR X-BOX?

Mod chips are handy little devices which can be put into game consoles to significantly expand their capabilities. With them game consoles such as the Xbox or the PS3 can be modified to use larger hard drives, recordable DVD drives, run alternate operating systems, and many other things.

An Inconvenient Truth - the first and second most important issues of our planet.

I finally watched an inconvenient truth, the documentary about the climate change crisis by Al Gore. It is appropriate that this is a story by a politician, given this is entirely a political issue. The science behind knowing the problems, and most the science and economics behind the solutions are already known : the problem that is stopping us from solving the greatest problem ever faced by humanity is entirely a matter of political will and knowledge sharing.

It is our lack of skills in social sciences, not natural sciences, that are the real threat to the planet's survival.

Talking IP with Kimberlee Weatherall and Rusty Russell

A Video on Builder AU is introduced as:

In this video, law professor and intellectual property (IP) expert Kimberlee Weatherall and Linux Australia's IP Policy Adviser, Rusty Russell, talk about the new intellectual property laws and their thoughts on the processes that have got us to this point.

Rusty Russell is my counterpart in Australia, with me being the policy coordinator for CLUE.

Alphabet soup of acronyms: TPM, DRM, TCPA, RMS, RMI

There is an alphabet soup of acronyms people use when talking about some of the controversies around copyright related issues. While learning the acronyms are hard enough, we also have to deal with the fact that different communities are using the terms in different ways. I have had the opportunity to interact with technical, legal and law making communities and will try to make sense out of a few most often heard acronyms.


This acronym is most often used to mean Technical Protection Measure. Whenever you hear the word "protection" you should be thinking of what is being protected from who? This is a policy question, and the policy questions are often far more important than the technology being used.

Toronto's Comwave owns iPhone name in Canada

A CBC article discusses how Comwave Telecom Inc. owns the Canadian Trade-mark (See: Canadian Trade-mark database) for "iPhone". With all the lawyers that Apple must have to deal with PCT issues (including negotiating with incumbent major studios/labels to revoke the rights of technology owners) I am surprised how badly researched their claim to the iPhone name is.

GetAFirstLifee.com receives a "proceed and permitted letter"

In a twist to the traditional "cease and desist" letter, the owner of GetAFirstLife.com received what he could only call a "proceed and permitted letter" from Linden Labs, owners of the trademarks for SecondLife.

While many trademark owners tend to ignore Fair Use doctrine for trademarks, this letter included a reference to applicable US law:

Although lesser known and lesser recognized by trademark owners, the Lanham Act (Title 15, Chapter 22, U.S. Code) protecting trademarks is also limited by a judicial doctrine of fair use of trademarks.

See also: AP article.

Dark cloud over good works of Gates Foundation

An article by Charles Piller, Edmund Sanders and Robyn Dixon, LA Times Staff Writers includes:

In a contradiction between its grants and its endowment holdings, a Times investigation has found, the foundation reaps vast financial gains every year from investments that contravene its good works.

More at: latimes.com/gates.

They only touched the surface of some of the PTC issues, such as their investments in "Pharmaceutical companies that price drugs beyond the reach of AIDS patients the foundation is trying to treat".

YouTube part of public relations..

A YouTube video titled Starbucks talks about coffee farmers in Africa shows how some companies realize the need to communicate online with potential customers. This video is in response to a video posted by the Oxfam.

As to the request from the Oxfam activists supporting Trademarks as a way to get farmers more money -- I think this is a demonstration of how far too many activists don't really understand the PCT (patent, copyright, trademark) system and how it can't be bent to be politically biased in who it benefits. Excessively strong PCT is a far greater threat to the livelihoods and other interests of individual creators, innovators and farmers than nearly anything else. Incorrectly confusing the issue of exclusive rights (in this case trademarks) with the need to pay people fair prices for their work only harms these creators, innovators and farmers.

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