Remember a little while back when CNN tried to force YouTube to take down an original broadcast of an interview so it could substitute its own lame version? Right, stupid.
Now comes NBC, host of the popular and occasionally risque skit show "Saturday Night Live." Recently the show ran a parody of sappy holiday songs called "Dick in a Box." As you might expect from the title, the song had some bits that weren't exactly censor-friendly and it was edited a bit when originally broadcast. The skit was popular with fans so copies ended up on YouTube. Now the story gets better...
NBC, of course, told YouTube to take down the fan-recorded copies. But instead of just bringing down the hammer (a la CNN) they gave the site a full UNEDITED version to post. Material that couldn't be shown on broadcast TV is included (personally I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but that's not the point of this story).
The point that interests me is that here we have an instance of something I've been arguing for since early Napster days. Big content houses can make use of peer sharing sites to promote brands, build loyalty, expand audiences - all on the cheap and at low risk. NBC has made a very smart move and the contrast with CNN's retrogressive actions only makes that clearer.
December 15, 2006
A friend has asked a question to which I don't have an aswer. To wit: "What constitutes infringement against a design (not utility) patent in the Web space?"
Does anyone have examples of cases being brought against Web design patents?
The source of this question, of course, is the recent award of a design patent for search results, to Google. That is Design Patent No. 533,561 which appears to be patenting the design of incorporating non-traditional search results (news stories, product links) into a search results page. CNET gave me this PDF link to supporting drawings for the patent and all the images show a header section above the list of results.
So without getting into the specific merits/demerits of this patent it's hard for me to say what, in general, constitutes infringement on a design patent within the Web space.
In a possibly related bit of patent irony, Google also announced this week the Beta of a patent search site. The USPTO's search is a bit arcane but even as a layman I've found it useful. Has anyone compared the two, yet?
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December 11, 2006
Barbie's Dream Lawsuit
I have a stack of entries I want to make, just as soon as work and life lighten up a bit, but I couldn't resist this one if only for the headline.
Mattel, the makers of Barbie and all things Barbie-ish, are suing the creators of the Bratz doll line. The allegations include claims of breach of contract, theft of trade secrets, copyright infringement, and racketeering. (Racketeering? When did that get to be a civil tort?)
According to the story in Businessweek, Mattel has literally been kicking down doors in its search for evidence. Funny, I thought that was the RIAA's job.
posted by Alan Wexelblat |