August 2008

Jacobsen v. Katzer

by Lee Gesmer on August 22, 2008

“Trust me, this is huge.” Larry Lessig

My partner Andy Updegrove has written a post discussing Jacobsen v. Katzer. In a nutshell, theCAFC upheld an open source copyright license, pointing to the work of Creative Commons and others. As Andy discusses, this is an important decision for the open source movement.

Update: Here is a link to a thoughtful post discussing whether this decision might have the unexpected effect of tipping the scales (in favor of licensors) on the legal enforceability of license provisions prohibiting reverse engineering of software: Be Careful What You Wish For: How the Jacobsen v. Katzer Decision Could Hurt the Free Software MovementRead the full article

Litigation takes the place of sex in middle age.
Gore Vidal

I wrote in some detail almost two years ago about how trials can be very bad for clients. In the linked article I wrote:

Sadly, too many lawyers (you hear their ads on the radio and see them in the legal journals – “courtroom lawyers,” “trial lawyers”) are often as willing to take their clients to trial as generals are to commit their troops to battle.

Now, a study reported in the New York Times seems to find empirical confirmation for this. I quote from the article, linked here:

Note to victims of accidents, medical malpractice, broken contracts and the like: When you sue, make a deal.

That is the clear lesson of a soon-to-be-released study of civil lawsuits that has found that most of the plaintiffs who decided to pass up a settlement offer and went to trial ended up getting less money than if they had taken that offer.

Read the full article

If my partner Andy Updegrove (he’s the one on the right) is not the most knowledgeable lawyer on the planet about ODF/OOXML standard adoption issues (1,2,3), I would be more than a little surprised. Here is a Q & A with Andy that Redmond Developer News has published, where he discusses the ongoing appeals process related to these standards. A link to the article on scribd.com is below, and here is a link to the article online. If you know absolutely nothing about this controversy, click here to read several articles Andy has published on the topic.

Read this document on Scribd: OOXML Q & A With Andy Updegrove
Read the full article

Bill Patry: End of Blog

by Lee Gesmer on August 5, 2008

In January 2007 I wrote:

Bill Patry, Senior Copyright Counsel at Google (how’s that for a great job), emailed me and asked me to mention the publication of his new copyright treatise, Patry on Copyright.

I like the fact that Mr. Patry said this about his 5,800-plus page, $1500 treatise: “ The book is also chock full of wikipedia references, anecdotes, riffs on logic, congitive linguistics, etc. It is many books in one.”

Although I haven’t seen this treatise yet, I hope that it is a change from Nimmer on Copyright, which is so densely academic as to often be unusable by practitioners. Somehow, I doubt that we’ll ever see Nimmer referencing Wikipedia.

On Friday, August 1, 2008, Bill Patry wrote as follows. I excerpt from the full post, here

I have decided to end the blog, and I owe readers an explanation. There are two reasons.

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