Today's Digital Legalities

Post ImageSome notes from the digital law session hosted by Denise Howell, Buzz Bruggeman, and Jason Calacanis:

  • Very cool website that lets you subscribe to new patents: PatentMojo.
  • Denise: Law firms are starting to wise up to the fact that maybe they need to look at communication differently, and blogging is leading the charge.
  • Jason: If you get a letter from a lawyer, pick up the phone and call the lawyer to find out what they are really after, because the letter generally won’t tell you that. You have to try to understand their position.
  • Jason: “I force [laywers] to file papers, because it’s a significant amount of work.” Good strategy to find out how serious they are. Also, Jason says to extend discussions, because the longer you can extend them, the more likely things will go your way.
  • Denise: “Jason is a warrior on the frontlines of participatory law.”
  • Hanging up the phone is Jason’s favorite technique for dealing with attorneys.
  • You have to be careful about how you phrase things on your blog. Unless you absolutely know something to be true, phrase it in such a way that your source is clear (using words like “alleged”, “claimed”, etc). Also, if you make a mistake, be sure to update quickly. And don’t ignore comments!
  • Incorporating your blog doesn’t reduce the chances of getting sued, because filing a complaint is relatively inexpensive.
  • Jason: If you get a letter, post it on your weblog and talk about it.
  • Buzz: Don’t throw anything away.
  • Jason: If you care about a project enough to put effort into it, document it.
  • Jason: Don’t do any business deals without having everything in writing, it’s really not worth your time.
  • If you’re a podcaster looking to use some music, whether recorded or live, pay attention to the proposal recently released by the copyright office that attempts to have a one-stop shop for purchasing production licenses. Jason’s personal advice: Follow the definition of fair use, and keep the percentage of what you use down to something reasonable.
  • Denise: The problem with fair use, is that its decided on a case by case basis.
  • Jason: If it’s good enough for Google, it’s good enough for you. Denise: And it’s good enough for the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals who decided thumbnails such as the ones you would find on Google Images are fine (75 pixels by 75 pixels or less?).
  • Some related links for this talk at delicious.

Read: Gnomedex

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