Oct.-Nov. 2007 Quick Links, Part 2

By Eric Goldman

Marketing/Branding

* To stimulate demand for its services, the British postal service is pointing out that snail mail is a good way to use olfactory marketing. Try to keep up with THAT, spammers! But doesn’t this give new meaning to the observation that “junk mail stinks”…?

* Dunlop Tires offered a free set of tires to people who would get a tattoo of the company’s logo. This tops a past promotion where they gave free tires to anyone who got tire tracks shaved into their hair. As a promotion, tattoos have an obvious advantage over hair-shaving because hair grows back. See my comprehensive post on tattoo advertising.

* As the Internet increases price competition and reduces margins in the jewelry market, diamond manufacturers are trying to prop up prices by branding their diamonds.

* Another lawsuit over the scorching-hot Hannah Montana concert tour—this time, alleging that the Hannah Montana fansite overpromised priority access to tickets.

* Anthony v. Yahoo, which involved a claim that Yahoo misled consumers of its dating service, has settled for $4M.

* I enjoyed this YouTube Video, Mr. Spam Man. Brought to mind the Spam-Free-or-Die video, which is still funny today.

Copyright

* William Patry on crazy copyright rulings against the “segOne,” a device that allows retailers showing broadcast TV to their patrons to substitute in ads sold by them instead of the ads sold by the broadcasters.

* Textile Secrets International, Inc. v. Ya-Ya Brand, Inc. (C.D. Cal. Oct. 31, 2007). 17 USC 1202 (the restriction on modification/removal of “copyright management information”) has been rarely interpreted, so this is a noteworthy case on that basis alone. This case involved the removal of CMI in offline activities. The court concludes “Court nevertheless cannot find that [1202] was intended to apply to circumstances that have no relation to the Internet, electronic commerce, automated copyright protections or management systems, public registers, or other technological measures or processes as contemplated in the DMCA as a whole.”

* The Copyright Office has (finally) updated its electronic copy of Title 17.

Blogging

* David Hoffman discusses some considerations when structuring a group blogging LLC’s operating agreement.

* U.S. v. Citgo Petroleum Corp., 2007 WL 4116066 (S.D. Tex. Nov. 19, 2007). An attendee at a trial blogs some of her observations about the jury. Her reward? One of the litigants can depose her as having potentially relevant information about jury impartiality. See my first-hand experience with potentially being deposed due to a blog post.

E-Commerce

* College students are ordering tires, pool tables and Winchester rifles online.

* The Canadian taxing authorities have won a victory allowing them to order eBay’s US company to disclose vast amounts of transactional data that presumably will be cross-checked against Canadian PowerSeller tax returns.

Miscellaneous

* Express Media Group, LLC, v. Express Corp., No. C 06-03504 WHA (N.D. Cal., May 10, 2007). Martin Samson’s summary: “Court finds defendant, who claimed to have purchased plaintiffs’ Express.com domain for $150,000 from someone who purported to be, but was not, the domain’s Administrative Contact, guilty of conversion and directs defendant to return the domain to plaintiffs.”

* Fallout from the Oracle v. SAP case: SAP may sell TomorrowNow, and several TN executives have been axed.

* A good use for a geolocated cellphone-mediated information service: the location of the nearest public toilet.

* Declan rallies against a federal “Do Not Track” list.

* NYT: US News & World Reports is getting into the consumer review business by aggregating third party opinions. According to the NYT, “The magazine has searched the work of dozens of automotive reviewers at newspapers and magazines, assigned a numerical value to each review (a process U.S. News describes as complex, rigorous and top secret), and then aggregated those into final scores. The Web site offers a description of each vehicle, sprinkled with snippets of quotes from those reviewers, so that it reads as much like a Zagat’s restaurant blurb as something you might find in Consumer Reports.”

* Don’tcensorme.com: a website for commenters who believe that their comments have been deleted by moderators on hubris overload.

* BusinessWeek: 101 Best Web Freebies.

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