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The cooks, the critics, the restaurant proprietors and their court cases

On 14 June 2007 the High Court of Australia ruled a restaurant review can be liable for defamation.

However in the final court decision in the matter, on 19 December 2009, Justice Ian Harrison in the Supreme Court of NSW held in favour of the publisher and the food critic, Matthew Evans.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the three defamatory meanings in the critic's article were: "Firstly, that it sold some unpalatable food, secondly, that it provided some bad service, and thirdly, that the trio were incompetent restaurant owners because they employed a chef who made poor quality food."

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A recipe to make a high net worth celebrity chef

For kicking off fame for chefs, Masterchef has a winning formulae. For building revenues, the traditional path is mapped in this article, first published in October 2006. Masterchef graduates confirm the path with their cookbooks, advertising appearances, and TV series.

Pepper and other spices were highly valued in pre-modern times. Fortunes were made by traders who transported them from distant lands to the privileged in Europe. Today spices are a commodity, they are readily available for a few dollars at the supermarket. What we highly value today are the traders of information, entertainment and fashion ideas about cooking. Prominent among these traders are celebrity chefs. What they can earn is astonishing.

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Technology diffusion and the Hollywood business model

The Hollywood business model combines talent, fame, distribution networks and familiar messages. Another simplification is that Hollywood is a fame factory and fame is an easily understood business model.

Fame begets fame. Sometimes it arrives very quickly. In comparison it is usually slower going with technology diffusion (see Footnote 1).

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Why register a trade mark?

In the legal arena a trade mark is in essence a sign for the source or origin of a product (eg branded magazine) or service (eg branded publishing services). In the eyes of the law - the mark sources the trader.

All businesses have trade marks. Their legal status and ease of protection varies for reasons briefly noted here.

In common usage a "trade mark" may be a brand, logo, word or other sign. A trade mark registered in Australia gives its owner the advantage of a monopoly statutory right (ie law made by parliament) to use it in Australia. This legal monopoly right comes into force on registration without evidence of use.

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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'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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