Sunday, May 27, 2007

Demand for Tenured Lawyers Increases

Law firms and corporate legal departments will be adding to their teams in the year ahead, a new survey shows. Forty-seven per cent of lawyers polled said they plan to hire personnel in the next 12 months; just 2 per cent of respondents anticipate staff reductions. Litigation, corporate governance and intellectual property were identified as the areas of law expected to experience the most growth.

The survey was developed by Robert Half Legal, a leading staffing service specializing in lawyers, law clerks, paralegals and other highly skilled legal professionals.

"Litigation activity - from labour and employment disputes to contract issues and patent and copyright protection - is creating demand for tenured lawyers with relevant case experience and successful track records," said Charles Volkert, executive director of Robert Half Legal. "Litigation occurs in every industry and is a practice area that continually produces a significant volume of work. Because case demands vary, however, law firms often supplement their full-time staff with project professionals to meet peak workloads."

Volkert added, "As companies expand into overseas markets and enter into partnerships on a global scale, they'll look to outside counsel for advice on operating within a foreign locale's regulatory framework as well as for guidance on how to minimize risk while making the most of new business opportunities."

Critical Trademark Case to Be Heard in November

Google will face a jury for the first time over its "Adwords" program, after a federal judge set November 9, 2007 for jury selection in a historic trademark infringement lawsuit brought on behalf of American Blind & Wallpaper Factory, Inc. (ABWF).

The trial will focus on ABWF's contention that Google violates trademark laws by allowing competitors of ABWF to buy advertisements, tied to keyword web searches, using ABWF's trademarks. In an April 18, 2007 decision denying Google's motion to dismiss the case, the court wrote that "the evidence suggests that Google used [ABWF's] mark with the intent to maximize its own profit ... [and] ABWF has produced sufficient evidence of likelihood of [consumer] confusion [to allow the case to be decided by a jury]."

The closely watched case could have a significant impact on Google. According to Google's filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the "Adwords" advertising program accounts for more than 98% of Google's $11 billion annual revenue. "Adwords" is Google's proprietary program that enables its paying customers to use search terms, such as ABWF's trademarks, which trigger displays of advertisements of ABWF's competitors.

The case could also have a large impact on all businesses that have spent time and money building brand names only to have their competitors take advantage of that effort through advertising on Google. In addition, the outcome of this case will likely affect the consumers using Google's search engine who are bombarded with unsolicited advertisements when searching for a particular company.

ABWF, a leading company in the sale of custom window blinds and treatments and wall coverings, argues it has lost customers and significant revenue as a result of these trademark infringements. The trial will be held in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Jose. Judge Jeremy Fogel is presiding over the case.

Kelley Drye & Warren, the law firm representing ABWF, and its lead attorney David Rammelt stated:

"The downside of search optimization based on use of trademarks is rarely discussed. The reality is that companies large and small are hurt when Google uses a company's trademark, without permission, for the benefit of the company's competitors and Google. This is the first time a jury will have the chance to hear how Google's business model takes advantage of companies that have built the value of their trademarks through hard work and investment."

Thursday, May 24, 2007

$10,000 Reward in John Grisham Anonymous Letter Saga

Attorneys DiMuroGinsberg, P.C. today announced that their client, Katharine Almy, and her family are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the true author or authors of the unseemly anonymous letters written to Donna Swanson that began in 1996 and continued for a number of years later. These letters are at the heart of a pending civil lawsuit for intentional infliction of emotional distress involving John Grisham, Alan Swanson and Donna Swanson. Mrs. Almy was falsely accused of writing the letters. Additional information is available at:

“Someone with ties to the Charlottesville, Virginia community either knows who actually wrote the letters or has other information that would help lead us to identify the true author,” said Michael S. Lieberman, a partner with DiMuroGinsberg, P.C. “Mrs. Almy and her family are appealing to anyone who believes they have relevant information to come forward and help – it’s the right and decent thing to do, and there’s a generous reward for someone who will.”

According to court documents, beginning in 1996 and for a period of years afterwards, Donna Swanson received several anonymous letters that made various unseemly accusations about her and her husband, Alan Swanson. In 1998, Mr. Grisham also received an anonymous letter.

Mr. Grisham and the Swansons decided that they wanted to determine the source of the anonymous letters, and in doing so, they are alleged to have undertaken a course of conduct against Ms. Almy that was described by the Virginia Supreme Court as follows: “[w]e hold that reasonable persons could view the conduct alleged [against Grisham and the Swansons], if proved, as being ‘so outrageous in character, and so extreme in degree, as to go beyond all possible bounds of decency, and to be regarded as atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.’” The Supreme Court added, “Almy’s motion for judgment sufficiently alleges emotional distress ‘so severe that no reasonable person could be expected to endure it.’”

These actions directly led to Mrs. Almy being falsely accused of authoring those letters according to allegations set forth in court documents. (Supreme Court of Virginia Record No. 052378 and Circuit Court of Albemarle County, VA Case No. CL04-9694)

Samples of the anonymous letters addressed to Mrs. Swanson are being made available to the public through a new website, ‘The Innocent Woman,’ in the hopes that someone will come forward and identify the true author. In addition, the Almys have retained two highly respected retired FBI special agents - Robert K. Taubert, who will serve as chief investigator - and Robert K. Ressler, an internationally acclaimed forensic behavioral expert to assist Mrs. Almy’s attorneys in evaluating leads and administering the reward program.

To review the letter samples, details of the case, rules governing the reward, how the reward program will be administered, along with a personal plea from Mrs. Almy, visit:

Worldwide Software Piracy Rate Holds at 35%

A new study reveals that 35% of the software installed in 2006 on personal computers (PCs) worldwide was obtained illegally, amounting to nearly $40 billion in global losses due to software piracy. Progress was seen in a number of emerging markets, most notably in China, where the piracy rate dropped ten percentage points in three years, and in Russia, where piracy fell seven percentage points over three years.

These are among the findings of the fourth annual global PC software piracy study released today by the Business Software Alliance (BSA), an international association representing the commercial software industry. The study was conducted independently by IDC, the information technology (IT) industry’s leading global market research and forecasting firm.

“The good news is we are making progress, however, we still have a lot of work to do to reduce unacceptable levels of piracy,” said BSA President and CEO Robert Holleyman. “These significant losses translate into negative impacts on IT industry employment, revenues, and financial resources available for future innovation and the development of new technologies.”

Worldwide, for every two dollars of software purchased legitimately, one dollar was obtained illegally. Global losses increased in 2006 by more than $5 billion (15%) over the previous year. Of the 102 countries covered in this year’s study, piracy rates dropped moderately in sixty-two countries, while increasing in thirteen.

China’s piracy rate dropped four percentage points for the second consecutive year and has dropped ten percentage points in the last three years, from 92% in 2003 to 82% in 2006. By reducing China’s piracy rate by ten percentage points over three years, $864 million in losses was saved, according to IDC. The reduction in the piracy rate and the savings are the result of government efforts to increase the use of legitimate software within its own departments, vendor arrangements with PC suppliers to use legitimate software, and increasing industry and government education and enforcement efforts. The legitimate software market in China grew to nearly $1.2 billion in 2006, an increase of 88% over 2005. Since 2003, the legitimate software market in China has grown over 358%.

“Considering the vast PC growth taking place in the Chinese IT market, this continued decline in China’s software piracy rate is quite promising,” said Holleyman. “BSA is encouraged by the commitment from the Chinese government to ensure legal software use. We look forward to continued dialogue between the US and China aimed at addressing issues that affect both economies.”

And in Russia, the piracy rate decreased by seven percentage points since 2003, down from 87% in 2003 to 80% in 2006.

In addition, the study indicates that even relatively low piracy rates can amount to huge losses in large markets. For example, while the US had the lowest piracy rate of all countries studied at 21%, it also had the greatest total losses at $7.3 billion. China saw the second highest losses at $5.4 billion with a piracy rate of 82%, followed by France with losses of $2.7 billion and a piracy rate of 45%.

Source: The Business Software Alliance (

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Warner Bros. Pictures to Stem Wave of Pirated Films in Canada

In response to the growing tide of pirated feature film releases originating from Canadian theaters, Warner Bros. Pictures Canada is taking a bold step to combat piracy, canceling all promotional and word-of-mouth screenings on all of its forthcoming releases, effective immediately. The policy will be implemented with the Studio’s next release, Ocean’s Thirteen, and will be in effect for all films thereafter from Warner Independent Pictures and Warner Bros. Pictures, including the July 13 release of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The announcement was made today by Darcy Antonellis, Senior Vice President, Worldwide Anti-Piracy Operations, Warner Bros. Entertainment, and Executive Vice President, Distribution and Technology Operations, Warner Bros. Technical Operations.

The newly enacted policy represents the Studio’s response to the lack of legislation in Canada to curtail the growing wave of camcorder-shot ("camcorded") films being trafficked around the world. From 2003 to 2005, 37 states and the District of Columbia enacted tough laws against camcording. In May of 2005, the U.S. federal government followed suit. Yet, despite incontrovertible evidence that film piracy has become a major economic and law enforcement issue, Canada has not adopted a federal law making camcording illegal or permitting the confiscation of equipment, and, as a result, has become the main source for most of the world’s film piracy.

Over the last 18 months roughly 70% of Warner Bros. titles released have been camcorded in Canada.

"Canada is the number one priority in terms of anti-camcording legislation," Antonellis said. "Within the first week of a film’s release, you can almost be certain that somewhere out there a Canadian copy will show up. Within the last 12 to 18 months we’ve seen a significant increase in terms of first-source proliferation that shows up on the Internet and subsequently shows up as hard goods elsewhere."

"We regret having to cancel our screenings in Canada but our Studio must take steps to protect not only our branded assets but our commitment to our filmmakers and to theaters all over the world," said Dan Fellman, President, Warner Bros. Pictures Domestic, a division of Warner Bros. Distributing Inc. "We’ve been working collaboratively with the exhibitors to encourage the government to put additional measures in place to deter and stop camcording."

"This is an important step towards curbing piracy on a global scale," said Veronika Kwan-Rubinek, President of Distribution, Warner Bros. International. "Piracy is the leading issue the international film industry struggles with everyday and content recorded in Canada is the first place to take action, as Canadian recorded content is distributed and viewed everywhere."

For the past two years, Warner Bros. Pictures Canada has been working with the Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (CMPDA) as it has been lobbying the federal government to make the act of camcording a punishable offense.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Internet File-Sharing, Illegal Movie Downloads and In-Theatre Camcording Plague Film Producers

DigitalMediaStocks, an investor and industry news portal for the digital media sector, reports on issues of movie piracy and the escalating problems film makers face with Internet file-sharing, illegal downloads and in-theatre camcording. USA Video Interactive Corp., developer of anti-piracy products, discusses how they are providing Hollywood with digital watermarking technology to 'embed the proof to catch the crooks.' Motion Picture Association of America, Inc. (MPAA) and Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association (CMPDA) identify key drivers to the growing rates of piracy and explain their efforts as they continue to be strong industry voices calling for changes through education, innovative technology and stronger policies. The full report is available at:

Over the past few years movie piracy has cost the film industry billions of dollars, with 2005 alone estimated at over $18 billion globally. These costs have made resolving this problem a key priority for many major Hollywood studios and industry participants who have seen the piracy problem taking a bigger and bigger share of their box office returns.

According to Elizabeth Kaltman, Communications Director, Motion Picture Association of America, Inc., "There are a number of factors that have led to the proliferation of film piracy in the U.S. and abroad. Improved technologies that enable faster downloads and file-sharing, combined with increased broadband width, enhanced infrastructure and accessibility have enabled millions more users to engage in online movie theft."

Helping Hollywood to better protect their content is USA Video Interactive Corp., developer of anti-piracy products surrounding digital watermarking technology. The Company is currently working with a major Hollywood studio, recently delivering the first installment of its MediaEscort™ product specific for protecting content distributed over the Internet through the seamless embedding of SmartMarks.

For some regions around the world, the lack of strict and prohibitive legislation has added fuel to the piracy fire. Canada in particular has been under the microscope as this area has become a major source for movie piracy and a thorn in Hollywood's side. Warner Bros. Entertainment recently cancelled promotional public screenings in Canada in an attempt to minimize the number of illegal copies being made from this region and according to a company spokesperson will likely continue this trend throughout the summer for several of their blockbuster titles.

A major reason for many of Canada's problems stems from the lack of adequate anti-piracy legislation. Mr. Serve Corriveau, Vice President, Anti-Copyright, Canadian Motion Picture Distributors Association, describes, "In Canada, one of the things that we are trying to achieve is to get the government to pass a criminal law prohibiting camcording because currently there is no law against this."

While movie piracy may never be fully eliminated, innovative technology has created valuable opportunities for reducing the problem.

Mr. Patrick Gregston, Business Development for USA Video Interactive Corp., explains, "The technologies that make piracy relatively easy are also technologies that enable a wealth of new opportunities. Over the last year, the leadership is starting to focus on those opportunities more. Watermarking is a relatively low cost, low resistance security function compared to the complex systems that go with rights management and encryption, the other leading approaches. Our SmartMarks enable transactions, does nothing to complicate usage or inhibit people from doing what they have always done and had the rights to do. Should an individual choose to violate that license, SmartMarks make it possible to provide proof that the content is not licensed for that use, and are accepted by western courts as such."

A key component in the fight against piracy according to MPAA's Elizabeth Kaltman is ensuring that consumers are able to get movies hassle free at a reasonable cost. "Studios are adopting new business models allowing them to get product to people using new technologies that allow consumers to see movies when and how they want," states Kaltman.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

MySpace Launches Take Down Stay Down Copyright Protection

MySpace, the world's leading lifestyle portal, has launched Take Down Stay Down, an innovative new feature for copyright holders that prevents users from re-posting video content in the MySpace community after that content has been removed at the request of the copyright owner. MySpace is the first internet company to launch this type of sophisticated content protection feature, which it is offering to all copyright owners free of charge.

Take Down Stay Down utilizes a number of steps to ensure the content is identified, taken down, and kept out of the MySpace community. When a content owner informs MySpace that a user has improperly posted its content onto MySpace Videos, not only is the video promptly removed by MySpace, but MySpace also creates a digital fingerprint of the video content and adds it to its copyright filter, which is based on industry-leading Audible Magic technology.

If any user tries to upload the same content that has been removed, the filter will recognize the digital fingerprint and block the content from being uploaded. This way, when copyright owners remove content from MySpace, they will have greater comfort that it will stay down and not be reposted. MySpace is the first to offer this feature to copyright owners.

Internet Piracy Considered Worse than Speeding

Over two-thirds of U.S. households believe the acquisition of pirated content is wrong, a similar level of moral outrage as when they are asked about cheating on their taxes, according to Global Digital Living™ II. This new study from Parks Associates, which investigated online piracy habits in 13 countries around the world, found 69% percent of American households believe it is wrong to download pirated music and video from the Internet, 77% believe it is wrong to cheat on your taxes, and only 44% believe it is wrong to drive over the speed limit.

Attitudes regarding pirated content differ sharply by age, however. Just 50% of respondents ages 18-25 believe downloading unauthorized content is wrong compared with 75% of respondents ages 45 and over.

“Downloading will be a phase for some, but these young consumers still represent a threat to the music and movie industries,” said John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates. “Young adults are the key consumers for music and movies. Even a temporary lull in their purchasing can have a big impact.”

Global Digital Living™ II is a thirteen-country survey of international technology trends that included over 13,000 respondents. For more information on this project, visit

Video Fingerprints Prevents Copyright Infringement

Advestigo has launched AdvestiPRINT™, a revolutionary stand-alone appliance that allows motion picture content owners to generate video fingerprints on their own to prevent copyright infringement.

AdvestiPRINT is part of Advestigo’s comprehensive solution for automatically filtering copyrighted files uploaded to user-generated content (UGC) websites. Advestigo’s technology has already been installed at, and used by, some of the world’s leading content providers.

“AdvestiPRINT empowers studios to start protecting video content prior to release or distribution,” says Michel Roux, President and CEO, Advestigo. “This breakthrough software will also come as a relief to UGC websites that must work closely with studios to detect or filter copyrighted content.”

Beyond copyright management, AdvestiPRINT also enables UGC websites to generate video fingerprints on a local level for a number of purposes – to “de-duplicate” files, to automatically monitor any previously disqualified content (for instance, characterized as violent, explicit, etc.) and to comply with court decisions by filtering specific banned content in uploaded copies (accurate or similar).


Thursday, May 10, 2007

Pirates of the Internet, Beware!

Congress is stepping up its crackdown on Internet piracy on universities in an effort to help the entertainment industry and higher education work together. Nineteen universities have received letters demanding they curb piracy or Congress "will be forced to act."

"The fact that copyright piracy is not unique to college and university campuses is not an excuse for higher education officials to fail to take reasonable steps neither to eliminate such activity nor to appropriately sanction such conduct when discovered," said a letter addressed to President Martin C. Jischke, Purdue University, on May 1, 2007. Purdue is among the top 10 universities with the most illegal Internet downloading activity in the U.S.

Recent studies reveal that 44 percent of domestic piracy losses suffered by the U.S. motion picture industry - more than a half billion dollars annually - can be attributed to college students, while a Spring 2006 survey by Student Monitor found more than half of all college students download music and movies illegally.

Source: SafeMedia Corp.

Pirates of the Internet, Beware!

Congress is stepping up its crackdown on Internet piracy on universities in an effort to help the entertainment industry and higher education work together. Nineteen universities have received letters demanding they curb piracy or Congress "will be forced to act."

"The fact that copyright piracy is not unique to college and university campuses is not an excuse for higher education officials to fail to take reasonable steps neither to eliminate such activity nor to appropriately sanction such conduct when discovered," said a letter addressed to President Martin C. Jischke, Purdue University, on May 1, 2007. Purdue is among the top 10 universities with the most illegal Internet downloading activity in the U.S.

Recent studies reveal that 44 percent of domestic piracy losses suffered by the U.S. motion picture industry - more than a half billion dollars annually - can be attributed to college students, while a Spring 2006 survey by Student Monitor found more than half of all college students download music and movies illegally.

Source: SafeMedia Corp.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Internet Radio Bill Would Strip Artist Payments

Proposed legislation that seeks to nullify the March 2, 2007 ruling of the Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) would gut the fair market rates set by the CRB and result in musicians having to return royalty payments they have already received.

If passed, the bill would also result in a windfall of more than $50 million to mega-corporate webcasters like Clear Channel and Microsoft at the expense of recording artists across the country. Because the bill is retroactive, artists would have to write checks to cover refunds to corporations whose CEOs and top executives are paid millions of dollars per year.

"The idea that this bill would help small webcasters or artists is ludicrous since less than 2 percent of all royalty payments in 2006 came from small webcasters," said John Simson, Executive Director of SoundExchange. "The true beneficiaries are the mega-multiplex services like AOL, Yahoo!, Microsoft and Clear Channel, which will benefit from rates substantially lower than those set by the Librarian of Congress in 2002."

This bill, introduced by Representatives Jay Inslee (D-WA) and Donald Mazullo (R-IL), would arbitrarily reverse the painstaking work of the CRB, the three-judge panel created at the request of the webcasters three years ago.

"Because the bill is so heavily favored to enrich the big webcasters, it raises questions as to who is really behind the SaveNetRadio Coalition," observed Simson. "Although this coalition purports to be on the side of musicians, they have come out in support of this anti-artist bill. SoundExchange has reached out to various webcasters to explore ways to accommodate their needs."

The CRB panel listened exhaustively for 18 months to all interested parties, heard from dozens of witnesses in weeks of live hearings, read countless depositions and examined tens of thousands of pages of evidence focused on, among other things, the services' ability to pay and the value of music in the marketplace. In contrast, the proposed bill presents no factual or economic basis for rejecting the reasoned decision of the CRB. This legislation, if passed, would come at the expense of hard-working artists, who, on average, received just $360 each in royalties from webcasting in 2006. "This bill would put at risk the very artists that webcasters purport to care about," said Simson.

New Website Exposes Lousy Lawyers

An unusual new Website,, is not a gripe site but an educational tool for consumers who need to hire lawyers. includes lists of lawyers disciplined by various state bar associations, sued for malpractice, and/or indicted on criminal charges. Viewers can click links to the legal documents that support this information.

The Website is an example of the type of research consumers need to do before hiring a lawyer. Consumer advocate and author Gloria Grening Wolk failed to do this research on her own behalf, when she hired a lawyer recommended by another attorney. Now she is suing an attorney who she claims extorted money from her.

"I learned the hard way," said Wolk, who used research to help another victim of lawyers find a competent, trustworthy attorney in another state.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

CitizenHawk Cracks Down on Online Fraud with Launch of TypoSquasher

CitizenHawk, a leading provider of digital brand management solutions, today announced general availability of TypoSquasher, new patent-pending technology that enables companies to monitor, protect and enforce proper use of their brand online. TypoSquasher allows companies to reclaim millions in revenues lost to cybersquatters who are monetizing "typo" domain names through pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, gambling, phishing schemes, pop-up ads, spyware, affiliate fraud and other spurious means.

With up to 20% of all hand-typed URLs being misspelled, a large market has emerged for "typo" domain names that exploit and monetize accidental traffic at the brand holder's expense. This practice, known as typosquatting, is estimated to cost brand holders millions of dollars each year in lost revenues and affiliate fraud. Because brand holders have had few tools to help them combat typosquatters, the problem has now escalated to staggering proportions.

CitizenHawk has uncovered over 10,000 typo domains on the Internet Retailer Top 50 online retail brands alone. For example, there are currently more than 400 fraudulent domains squatting on versions of Disney brands and over 600 domains squatting on misspellings of