Marie-Louise's picks, April 2009

Here are my picks of the intellectual property news that broke in the blogosphere and internet over the past month and most captured my interest. I also give my pick of the upcoming IP events to pencil into your diary for the month ahead.

Please join the discussion by adding your comments.

Amazon capitulates to Authors’ Guild with regard to Kindle 2 text-to-speech feature; Reading Rights Coalition mounts growing opposition

Last month Amazon decided to disable Kindle 2 text-to-speech functionality unless expressly authorised by e-book rights holders. This followed accusation by the Authors’ Guild that the product violated copyrights by creating derivative work and performance in public. However the issue hasn’t gone away quietly with the Reading Rights Coalition, a group representing 15 million Americans who cannot read print, launching a campaign against the Authors’ Guild demands. A protest was staged at the Authors’ Guild headquarters yesterday. In addition to the blow felt by those suffering reading impairments the decision also delivers quite a blow to general consumers who have purchased Kindle 2 on the basis that it can convert all books from text-to-speech to now find this functionality only applies to certain texts. Corey Doctorow has a great article in the Guardian discussing the role of consumer rights in the controversy.  

(KEI) (EFF) (Michael Geist) (Silicon Valley IP Licensing Law Blog) (Lessig) (Techdirt) (Michael Geist) (Excess Copyright) (Ars Technica) (Public Knowledge) (Excess Copyright) (Excess Copyright) (Public Knowledge) (EFF) (Internet Cases)


French police save millions of Euros by adopting Ubuntu

In March, Ars Technica reported that the Gendarmerie has reduced its annual IT budget by 70% without having to reduce its capabilities by shifting from Microsoft Windows to Ubuntu. The Gendarmerie’s shift to open source software began in 2005. Aside of the great cost savings achieved by shifting from proprietary to open source software, Gendarmerie Lieutenant-Colonel Xavier Guimard reports a host of other advantages including, greater interoperability with other applications, less need for training, and simplified remote maintenance tasks. 

Governments adopting and promoting OSS is not new. According to a paper by Jyh-An Lee New Perspectives on Public Goods Production: Policy Implications of Open Source Software, ‘as of September 4, 2006, at least 99 governments in 44 countries had undertaken administrative or legislative action in support of OSS development’.   The trend appears to be continuing with recent news of Canada and the US exploring the benefits of OSS, the UK looking to boost OSS uptake by government, and Vietnam mandating government’s migration to OSS by 2010.   It will be interesting to watch whether the pace of public sector uptake of OSS gains speed with heightened budgetary pressures brought about by the current economic climate. The successes described by Lt-Col Guimard can only offer further persuasion.


Event – Maximising returns on IP portfolios conference

This conference will take place in Philadelphia, 19 May. Registration closes 19 April. The conference will cover: IP asset management best practice; the role of patent reform and recent court cases in monetising and managing your portfolio; best practices for strategic licensing; the roles and responsibilities of CIPOs; the role of litigation in your IP strategy; commercialisation strategies; and the role of IP in M&A decisions. For further information please go to Incremental Advantage.

Photo credit: Faeryan


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