Quite a few IP issues are getting attention in the news.

One of them is Amazon Kindle, an e-book reader with a Terms of Use agreement exercising the typical boilerplate collection of digital rights management language. Most of the time everyone seems to sign onto DRMs without too much question, when it comes to music and video, but since Kindle is about books, the application of DRM seems a lot less appropriate. Diveintomark has an entertaining blog post with references to Stallman’s Right to Read.

I’m not sure I’d view the default all-your-rights-are-terminated if you-fail-to-follow-this-agreement language as a harbinger of destroying one’s ability to learn, but I do see e-books being utilized in the classroom as a replacement for our current method of dragging heavy books around in carry-on suitcases. And it is worth asking ourselves if we would like to preserve our ability to move books around like property items, being able to sell and exchange them like old CDs.

You also have yet another patent holding company suing technology companies, this time over visual voicemail. Most lawyers who don’t do IP are probably familiar with patent holding companies in the form of RIM v. NTP, over some of the technology used in Research In Motion’s Blackberry smartphone. Patent trolling seems to be an increasing problem, although apparently there isn’t any problem as long as you don’t make any money off any ideas you have. The goal is to terrorize money out of users who might be somewhat close to the language of the patent rather than to promote new and creative uses of patent. Which goes against the whole point of patents. The lesson to be learned, it seems, is to not invent anything that you’re going to sell – which isn’t a very positive thing to think.

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