October 2007

You Can Judge a Man by the Poetry He Reads

by Lee Gesmer on October 30, 2007

According to the October 22, 2007 Time Magazine cover article on the Supreme Court (“Inside the Incredibly Shrinking Role of the Supreme Court, and Why John Roberts is O.K With That” (link)), every year, in January, Chief Justice John Roberts rereads the poem, “The Vanity of Human Wishes,” written by Samuel Johnson and first published in 1749. This is, the article says, a ritual John Roberts has followed since he was an undergrad at Harvard in the 1970s. The poem, according to Time, is “a devastating reflection on remorseless fate.” “Life protracted is protracted Woe,” quotes Time.

Here is the opening stanza of the full poem, and a link to the remainder of the poem, which is lengthy and, it almost goes without saying, challenging:

Remark each anxious Toil, each eager Strife,
And watch the busy Scenes of crouded Life;
Then say how Hope and Fear, Desire and Hate,
O’er spread with Snares the clouded Maze of Fate,
Where wav’ring Man, betray’d by vent’rous Pride,
To tread the dreary Paths without a Guide;
As treach’rous Phantoms in the Mist delude,
Shuns fancied Ills, or chases airy Good.

Read the full article

It’s A Tough Job, But Somebody’s Got To Do It

by Lee Gesmer on October 26, 2007

Litigation over noncompete agreements rarely gets this interesting.

The Contestants. In one corner you have Howie Carr, one of the most popular talk show hosts in the country. In next corner (there are players in all four corners of this ring) stands Entercom Boston, owned by Entercom Communications, one of the largest radio broadcasters in the U.S. and owner of Boston radio station WRKO-AM, which hosts the popular Howie Carr Show. Opposite WRKO stands Greater Media, owner of numerous media assets, including WTKK-FM in Boston, and would-be employer of Carr. Finally, in the corner directly opposite Mr. Carr is Massachusetts Superior Court Judge Allan Van Gestel.

The Contest, In Brief.
Howie Carr wants to leave WRKO and work for WTKK. However, his contract with WRKO gave WRKO the right to match the offer made by WTKK, and WRKO did match WTKK’s five year, $7 million offer. Carr filed suit, claiming that this provision of the contract is unenforceable under Massachusetts law.… Read the full article

Antitrust. It shouldn’t be a surprise that it might be illegal under the antitrust laws for a company with a 90% marketshare in a key, patented technology to agree as a member of a standards developing organization that it would license its technology on “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” (or FRAND) terms if that technology is included in the standard, and then, after adoption, violate that pledge. Nevertheless, a federal district court held that Qualcomm could not be held liable under the antitrust laws under these facts. In an important decision at the intersection of standard-setting and antitrust law the Third Circuit disagreed, reversing the lower court. Andy Updegrove addresses the case (and provides a link to the decision) in his article here, so I’ll defer to his extensive discussion and analysis. Read the full article

Party Like Its 1999

by Lee Gesmer on October 17, 2007

Xconomy.com is a well written and produced web site that describes itself thus –

the authoritative voice of on the exponential economy, the realm of business and innovation characterized by exponential technological growth …

Sounds a little Wired/Gilder-like, true, but this is the best way I’ve seen to keep up with developments in the Massachusetts technology markets. For example, their October 17, 2007 article, Boston: The Hidden Hub of Music and Technology, with its list of local music/technology companies, is an example of the kind of thing you would be unlikely to find elsewhere.… Read the full article