December 17, 2002

Associated Press: Cubs file lawsuit against rooftop owners (the Cubs should fare better in court than on the field)

November 20, 2002

Wired News: Big retailers squeeze FatWallet (Wal-Mart and other big retailers threaten bargain shopping site with copyright suit for reporting their sale prices)

October 21, 2002

CNET Judge: Disabilities Act doesn't cover web (federal court rejects ADA suit challenging Southwest's inaccessible web site)
CNET Direct marketers want anti-spam laws (not surprisingly, the type of law favored by the DMA would simply prohibit forged message headers; the result would be to legitimize spam, and the quantity of spam would increase dramatically, so no legislation at all would be far better)

October 19, 2002

Wired News: Privacy czar: Past haunts present (Peter Swire compares war against terrorism to 1950s anticommunism)

October 14, 2002

Wired News: Man sues airlines for fare access (lawsuit contends that Southwest and American Airlines are violating Americans with Disabilities Act by designing their web sites to thwart access by screen reading programs)

October 11, 2002

CNET IBM flushes restroom patent (I thought this might be a joke, especially after noticing all of the bathroom humor in the article, but the patent is for real -- see U.S. patent no. 6,329,919, "System and method for providing reservations for restroom use")

October 09, 2002

Washington State U. Daily Evergreen, Oct. 3: Filipino-American history recognized ("The month of October is officially observed as Filipino-American History Month. On Oct. 18, 1587, the first Filipinos landed on the shores of Morro Bay, California on a Spanish galleon called the Nuestra Senora de Buena Esperanza, which translates to 'The Big Ass Spanish Boat.'")
Daily Evergreen, Oct. 4: Apology and retraction ("The story 'Filipino-American history recognized' stated that the 'Nuestra Senora de Buena Esperanza,' the galleon on which the first Filipinos landed at Morro, Bay, Calif., loosely translates to 'The Big Ass Spanish Boat.' It actually translates to 'Our Lady of Good Peace.' Parts of the story, including the translation above, were plagiarized from an inaccurate Web site.") (also see, from which the story was copied, and Seattle Times coverage)
Martin Schwimmer's Trademark Blog: 7th Circuit Fair Use Decision re: BARGAINBEANIES.COM (also see Ty v. Perryman [alternate link] (7th Cir. Oct. 4, 2002) [PDF])
Chicago Sun-Times: I-Pass has a new role: I spy

October 01, 2002

This court decision isn't particularly interesting if you're not a patent type ("In order to prevent the flexible elastic ring from being dislodged from its seating by the intense compression of the parts, the '657 patent discloses the use of an annular extension 33 on the cutting ring 14, and a corresponding annular extension 34 on the shutter mechanism 3, to hold the flexible elastic ring in place.") . . . but you gotta love the name of the case:  Schwing GmbH v. Putzmeister AG, ___ F.3d ___, 2002 WL 31109922, 2002 U.S. App. LEXIS 20205 (Fed. Cir. Sept. 24, 2002).

September 18, 2002

CNET SparkList confirms e-mail address theft (but why should people have to keep their e-mail addresses secret to avoid spam?)

August 14, 2002

CNET Godzilla vs. the blog thing
Forbes: Top-earning dead celebrities (Elvis lives, but he's listed here anyway, followed by Charles Schulz, John Lennon, Dale Earnhardt, and Dr. Seuss)
ABC News: Bleacher fan's right to heckle players upheld (Ohio appeals court reverses conviction of baseball fan who shouted insults at player)

July 22, 2002

New Scientist: Maths improves baseball batting line-up (mathematician says best hitter should bat second, not fourth)

July 21, 2002

The Recorder (via Name dropping: Wide trademark impact could be felt in suit over sale of cheaper brand under Shell canopy (meatspace imitates cyberspace, or something like that, as Shell Oil Co. files initial interest confusion trademark suit against San Francisco Shell franchisee that advertises both Shell brand and cheaper gas under Shell sign)

July 15, 2002

What does "medireview" mean? Apparently Yahoo Mail quietly changes all instances of "eval" in HTML messages and attachments to "review," and makes similar substitutions for other words that also correspond to Javascript commands. And apparently many people copy text from Yahoo Mail to other places without noticing the substitutions made by Yahoo. As a result there now are thousands of published articles, reports, CVs, web pages, and other documents that use words like "medireview," "reviewuation", "Chreviewier," "prreviewent," and "retrireview." (See RISKS Digest (11 April 2001), NTKnow (12 July 2002), New Scientist, and this list of Yahoo's word substitutions.)

July 12, 2002

CNET Judge: See ya later, Gator (federal court orders parasitic web ad firm to stop displaying popup ads over competitors' sites) attempts to educate rude mobile phone users. The site includes a form you can use to send an anonymous message to someone telling them about their poor mobile phone etiquette.
CNET Canning spam without eating up real mail

July 10, 2002

Reuters: PBS discusses advertising with FCC (the 15-second "sponsorship messages" are a minor annoyance -- what they really ought to crack down on are the interminable pledge drive breaks)

July 03, 2002

CNET Yahoo relaunches with streamlined look (Yahoo's popular web site directory now appears in smaller type buried in a corner of Yahoo's home page. For a more usable version, go directly to instead)

June 10, 2002

CNET Old code in Windows is security threat (last week, a Finnish security company warned of a serious vulnerability in the gopher protocol support in Microsoft's Internet Explorer web browser; several days later, Microsoft responds by simply removing gopher support from the browser entirely, rather than trying to fix the vulnerability)

June 07, 2002

Reuters: China paper bites on Onion gag (Beijing Evening News reports that the U.S. Congress may relocate from Washington to Charlotte or Memphis, based upon a report in The Onion)

May 31, 2002

Associated Press: Federal judges toss out online pornography law (also see CNET,, Wired News, and Eugene Volokh's summary of the decision) -- American Library Ass'n v. United States, No. 01-1303 (E.D. Pa. May 31, 2002)
EFF's Consensus at Lawyerpoint blog (via LawMeme): A long time ago, in an industry far, far away (testifying before Congress in 1982, MPAA president Jack Valenti attacked the "savagery" and "ravages" of VCRs, saying that "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone") (also see full transcript of Valenti's testimony on Cryptome)
MSNBC (Brock Meeks editorial): Cannibals in cyberspace: Internet governing body feasts on itself (yay, more ICANN bashing!)

May 30, 2002

ZDNet Australia: Aussie spammer sues anti-spammer
Washington Post: Critics say ICANN should compete for net governance duties (groups challenging ICANN's control over Internet domain name system include ACLU, CPSR, Consumers Union, EFF, EPIC, and others)

May 25, 2002

Politech: Neulevel's PostMinder tracks email without recipient approval (also see PostMinder) (isn't this what e-mail marketers and spammers have been doing for a long time?)

May 22, 2002

AP: AT&T Broadband e-mail filter may work too well (ISP-endorsed spam filter blocks e-mail from the ISP itself -- including a notification of a pending rate increase) (also see RISKS)
WeirdBytes: Info-security and privacy: a dog's view (describing cats as "pathological individualistic privacy freaks")

May 21, 2002

eWeek: Allchin: Disclosure may endanger U.S. (Microsoft exec tells a federal court that Microsoft code has so many flaws that disclosing it to competitors may threaten national security) (also see Slashdot)

May 20, 2002

CD crack: Magic marker indeed (also available via CNET) (Sony's new copy-protection scheme for what it still claims are "compact discs" -- an irritating scheme that distorts the data, preventing legitimate purchasers from played CDs they've bought and paid for on CD/DVD players, car CD players, and computers -- apparently can be defeated simply by writing on the disk's rim with a felt-tip pen. So, is the pen mightier than the RIAA, or will the RIAA seek to ban felt-tip pens next?)

May 18, 2002

Cosmiverse (via Fark): New technology creates realistic videos of false testimony (researchers at MIT can make videos of people appearing to say anything)
Reuters: Senate toughens up on spam (Commerce Committee marks up "CAN SPAM" Act, sends it to Senate floor)  (Memo to Congress: Please don't pass yet another ill-advised Internet bill. A feeble spam law like this one would legitimize spam, making the problem much worse than it is now. Even those who support antispam legislation should prefer no law at all to this inept approach.)

May 01, 2002

Politechbot: Exciting new use of DMCA! Banning font-twiddling software! (commercial font vendors claim that a distributor of free fonts violated copyright law by posting a program that enabled him to easily change one character in his own font files ... but never fear, ChillingEffects is watching)

April 27, 2002 Online privacy bill raising 'grave' e-commerce concerns (of course, the industry would have similar concerns about a law against fraud)

April 02, 2002

Wall Street Journal (via Politech): Microsoft's anti-Unix website runs, well, Unix; CNET Anti-Unix Web site on the fritz? (This week, Microsoft launched a web site intended to persuade people to switch from Unix to Microsoft's server software ... but it was quickly discovered that the site was running on the free Apache web server software, under an open-source version of Unix ... so an embarrassed Microsoft moved the site to a server running its own software ... which promptly crashed.)

March 21, 2002

Wired News: Anti-copy bill hits D.C. (S. 2048, introduced by Sen. Fritz Hollings, would ban computers and other electronic devices that don't include crippling technologies that prevent them from performing functions for which they were designed. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is a co-sponsor. This profoundly stupid bill is supported by the motion picture and recording industries, but just about everyone else is against it, including the IT and electronics industries and consumer groups. Let's hope it dies a quick and permanent death.)
Wired News: Google yanks anti-church sites (also see CNET and update at Politech) (in response to complaints from the Church of Scientology, search engine Google has stopped providing links to anti-Scientology web sites, to comply with Digital Millennium Copyright Act -- among the sites that Google no longer links to are and Companies taking desperate steps against spam Blackhole list, facing legal challenge, closes (also see The Register and Wired News)

March 13, 2002

AP: Wyoming cries foul over postal stamp (Wyoming officials complain that bucking bronco pictured on new Montana stamp infringes Wyoming's trademark)

February 27, 2002

February 19, 2002

Wired News: Not all Asian e-mail is spam (many ISPs block all incoming e-mail from Asian countries, because so much of it is spam)

February 03, 2002

January 17, 2002

Reuters: CD creator burns copy-protection efforts (Philips blocks use of trademarked "compact disc" logo on copy-protected CDs that won't play on computer CD-ROM drives or DVD players)
Wired News: Europe GPS plan shelved