Throwing the ‘book
Facebook is attempting to assert ownership over use of the word “book” in domain names, by filing a lawsuit in the US against unrelated site Teachbook.com. It has also been reported that Facebook is attempting to claim the word “face” as well. The “book” complaint alleges:
Misappropriating the distinctive book portion of Facebook’s trademark, defendant has created its own competing online networking community in a blatant attempt to become a Facebook for teachers.
It is not uncommon for trade mark owners to take action to stop “similar” names being used by another party, even where the other is innocently using them in an unrelated manner. A recent local example being designer Trelise Cooper’s unsuccessful attempt to stop another New Zealand designer from registering her own actual name, “Tamsin Cooper” as a trade mark. Facebook will not succeed in gaining a monopoly over either “face” or “book”, but may be seeking to force a lesser-resourced start-up into a settlement. Teachbook has said it will fight the suit.
ISP or not to ISP
Computerworld reports on ongoing concern over the very broad definition of “ISP” in the Copyright Act (see my post here). Submitters have suggested that the definition be modified to only apply to organisations that allocate IP addresses. While that would be a significant improvement, it would still leaves some organisation as unintended or unwilling ISPs. For example the University of Auckland has submitted:
The University currently controls a range of 65,534 unique IP addresses which it allocates to access points in the University and to halls of residence… The University thus has serious concerns about its status and the definitions of an ISP as drafted in the Bill. It will be apparent from the information provided that the University has essentially all the characteristics of an ISP and will be the entity that is contacted if illegal file sharing is alleged.
Government Open Access and Licensing
The Minister of State Services recently announced the release of the NZ Government Open Access and Licensing Framework – a series of Govt-approved licensing models that advocate the use of liberal Creative Commons licenses. The policy is available here. It applies to all public service departments and Crown entities, except (somewhat curiously) for tertiary institutes.
We called out for another drink, the waiter brought a cease-and-desist
Can you copyright a cocktail? The Atlantic reports on a Manhattan bar that may yet find out. For the record, a recipe can be copyright, but for heaven’s sake can’t they just settle it over a Long Island Iced Tea?