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Showing posts from November, 2013

GoldieBlox Sues Beastie Boys for Declaratory Judgment of Non-Infringement

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Earlier this week, a new product out on Kickstarter called GoldieBlox - a toy aimed at engaging young girls in engineering - made a pretty brilliant music video as an advertisement. The video features a parody of the song "Girls" by the Beastie Boys:

As reported by TechDirt:
The whole point is to mock the message of the original song, with its famous refrain: "Girls - to do the dishes; Girls - to clean up my room; Girls - to do the laundry; Girls - and in the bathroom; Girls - that's all I really want is girls." The new one switches it to: Girls - to build the spaceship; Girls - to code the new app; Girls - to grow up knowing; That they can engineer that; Girls - That’s all we really need is Girls." The point is pretty clear. Parody the original song to highlight how ridiculous that stereotypical image of girls is -- and, of course, highlight how the kinds of toys that GoldieBlox makes can be useful in learning.  I'd like to reference, once again, what i…

Artist Suing Jay-z Over Sample - I Hope it Goes to Trial

The long-short of it is that some artist is suing Jay-z over a sample included in Blueprint III. The details are almost irrelevant, because I cannot fathom how this falls outside of the scope of fair use. From what I've seen, and correct me if I'm wrong, the only reason people get away with suing in nonsense cases like this is because it is easier and cheaper to settle than to actually litigate to verdict.

HOV has the resources to litigate, however, and it would be nice to see copyright sample trolling of this sort simply put to bed altogether. It's a nonsense claim and very frustrating to see it reported on as if Jay-z was somehow a bad actor. It would be great if Campbell v. Acuff-Rose was unambiguously expanded to samples of all sorts, not merely parodic samples.

3D Printing 'Encryption' to Hide Contraband Objects Seems Really Overhyped

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Tl;dr Yesterday, on Forbes.com, this article ran about using 'encryption' to hide contraband objects in 3D printer blueprints. I think this claim is designed to incite moral panic, and is also an incorrect one. Centrally, distribution channels for contraband already exist online, and this so-called 'encryption' will add no value to that ecosystem.

The central claim of the Forbes article: If 3D printing companies and government agencies hope to police the spread of dangerous or pirated digital shapes, their task is about to get much more complicated.  Late last month Matthew Plummer-Fernandez, the 31-year-old creative technologist for Goldsmith College’s Interaction Research Studio at the University of London, released what he’s calling ‘Disarming Corruptor,’ a piece of free software designed to distort 3D-printable blueprints such that only another user with the app and the knowledge of a certain key combination can reverse the distortion and print the object. That mea…

Third Party IP Infringement Liability & You: What You, as a Contract Developer, Should Know

A while back I had a post on Contract Drafting for Software Development Agreements. Today's post is a followup, specifically about the issue of Third Party IP Infringement Liability.

If you are someone who offers engineering or design services on a contractor basis, or work for a firm that does, there will almost certainly be a series of clauses in your contract regarding third party IP infringement indemnification. That's a big legalese mouthful, but it is potentially the most expensive part of your agreement, so it should be negotiated carefully.

Essentially, when a service provider indemnifies a client over third party IP infringement claims, the provider is stating that the work-product it delivers doesn't infringe anyone else's copyright, trademarks or patents. Copyright and trademark is pretty easy to cover, as long as you are not using uncredited stock photos or rival company's logos.

Patent infringement is much trickier. There are millions upon millions of …