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Digital music technology and copyright timeline

Technology and copyright issues for digital music have long been hot topics in Australia and worldwide. They are at the forefront of change for content and intellectual property business models involving the Internet.

In this regularly updated article, we track change in digital music since 1979. The timeline sets out developments both for digital music technology and music copyright.

"What a long, strange trip it's been", to quote the Grateful Dead.

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How to write a social media policy

I write social media policies. But whenever I'm asked to do so I review the relevant organisation's culture, market and personnel. As we'll see this context is important if you want to know how to write a social media policy.

A social media policy can be as short as a few paragraphs, a few pages or longer. A consideration governing length is - what is the purpose of the social media policy? In simple terms there are two purposes usually present - messages on what conduct is approved and what is disapproved.

As social media continues to grow (see graphics below), so do legal issues. People are people, offline and online.

Social media is still "new" (particularly for audiences familiar only with television, radio and newspapers). This keeps it ripe for moral panics and exaggerated over-emphasis in traditional media. Their focus is on bad things that can and do sometimes take place with a connection to Facebook, Twitter or other social media sites.

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Venture capital beginners guide and update

What types of investments do venture capitalists seek? How do they decide what to invest in? Two recent videos provide answers along with updates on the venture capital scene for IT sectors.

Each is an hour long question and answer session recorded at Stanford University. In the first video, serial entrepreneur Marc Andreessen talks to Stanford University students here.

He talks about ventures he's put money into or in which he serves on the board, eg Facebook and Ning.

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Viacom versus Google (friend of prosumers)

Wealth is increasingly created by empowering prosumers on networks. Google, Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and others are in on this.

They are onto the new paradigm. They challenge old business models.

The owners of old business models continue to respond with litigation seeking to preserve the basis of their monopoly rights. This includes the long standing litigation case by Viacom against YouTube.

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Anonymous and pseudonym lose defamation cases

My entry into social media in 2006 was facilitated by conversations in earlier years with Des Walsh.

As a strategist in the field, Des has a keen interest in legal considerations for social media. He has often spoken to me about the legal risk of defamation on a social media network, eg Facebook, YouTube or Whirlpool.

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ACDC's music business model

What is it about ACDC that explains their popularity and sales in the music business thirty seven years after their debut? This hard rock band has sold more than 200 million albums. The US is a key market, representing about one third of the albums sold. Back in Black is the second highest selling album in history, behind Michael Jackson's Thriller album.

Neil Shoebridge had some answers in his article in the The Australian Financial Review on 1 March 2010. A key informant for the piece is Steve Barnett, co-chairman of the Sony-owned Columbia Records USA, ACDC's record company.

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Acdc_black_ice_red

ACDC's music business model

What is it about ACDC that explains their popularity and sales in the music business thirty seven years after their debut? This hard rock band has sold more than 200 million albums. The US is a key market, representing about one third of the albums sold. Back in Black is the second highest selling album in history, behind Michael Jackson's Thriller album.

Neil Shoebridge had some answers in his article in the The Australian Financial Review on 1 March 2010. A key informant for the piece is Steve Barnett, co-chairman of the Sony-owned Columbia Records USA, ACDC's record company.

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9 game changers in IT, law and business in 2010

In 2010 major trends in IT, law and business intersect in the nine postulations or game changers below.

Readers who find them cryptic can use the tags or search facility on this site or see the reading list at the end.

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Research improves IP & IT law deliverables

I'm always researching. It's essential for business lawyers, especially for IP law, and even more IT law.

IT lawyers must be proficient in digital media and technology, business considerations and yes the law too.

During the Summer holidays I read Chris Andersen's 2009 Free book twice. It was a very useful muse. Then I read a few more books, which included The Google Story by David A. Vise. Since then I've monitored my usual daily fix of e-newsletters and weekly RSS feed, which includes about 130 blogs and websites.  From all this some working postulations have emerged about were things are heading. I'll write about that in the next Lightbulb article.

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Trade mark distinctive brands, save legal costs

After a 10 year gap in trade mark cases, the High Court of Australia delivered two trade mark decisions in December 2009.

Both involved applications for removal of trade marks from the trade marks register.

The cases provide technical legal guidance and valuable practical lessons.

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iiNet's copyright victory in round one cost $5.7 million

In February 2010 there have been two significant copyright decisions. The first is Roadshow Films Pty Ltd v iiNet Limited (No. 3) [2010] FCA 24. This first instance Federal Court of Australia decision went against the copyright claimants, 34 companies involved largely in film production funding and distribution.

In November 2008 they sued iiNet Ltd which claims the third largest number of clients for ISP services after Telstra and Optus. This followed a five month investigation by Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft ("AFACT") which was the lead representative for the 34 applicants. The round one hearing ran for 20 days.

At this time no appeal has been filed, but one is likely. That will be round two. [Update 25 Feb: An appeal has now been filed.]

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Electronic publishing in 2010, same same but different

In 1994 I attended a summit on electronic publishing and wrote the article below. Re-reading it I searched for whether the issues for publishers have changed.

Today the buzz is about mobile, cloud and tablet technologies. But I concluded that from a practical and legal perspective, remarkably little has changed. The short proof is the checklist at the end of the article. Read it first.

"My words fly up but my thoughts remain below. Words without thoughts never to heaven go." Claudius' famous lament was echoed in numerous comments made during the Electronic Publishing Summit held in Sydney on 5 September 1994. It was jointly convened by the Australian Book Publishers Association [Ed - now Australian Publishers Association] and the CSIRO with the aim of reaching consensus as to recommendations. Instead many questions flew up, few were answered definitively.

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Phone directories appeal to avoid copyright wipeout

News Corp sources indicate that Telstra and Sensis have obtained leave to appeal Justice Gordon's judgment to the full bench of the Federal Court. No comment appears so far from the websites of Telstra or the About Us section of Sensis.

The full court judgment may arrive in 2010, or later, there are many variables in this case.

Whatever the outcome is in this case there are practical, serious and urgent priorities for owners of directories and databases who claim copyright.

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Telstra loses as copyright blowback continues

Yet another Australian copyright decision, this one handed down on 10 February, has gone against the pro-copyright owner trend of recent decades.

Telstra and Sensis have lost in the Federal Court of Australia before Justice Michelle Gordon in seeking to protect claimed copyright in White Pages and Yellow Pages.

The defendants were Phone Directories Company Pty Ltd, its directors and others. The company has been competing against Telstra/Sensis since the mid-1990s. Cleverly, at least initially the business of Phone Directories Company Pty Ltd produced directories for regional areas, places where Telstra was not active or not greatly active.

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How to make people and their products celebrities

How does puffery about Sarah Palin become valuable airspace? How are Palin and Poh Ling Yeow linked by their desire for media presence?

Consider what process may have occurred that caused Australians to collectively recognise “Po” as a reference to a TV chef and not a Teletubbie, and the potential commercial value of that shift.

We have often written about the use of law to make and keep products and people celebrities. It’s the story of how to identify, build and own a trend.

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