The European Union has taken a few steps in the quicksand of copyright law in the digital age

The European Union has taken a few steps in the quicksand of copyright law in the digital age:

“For that reason, the year 2010 promises to be richer in legislative initiatives in the field of digital books.”

E-Commerce News: IT Management: The Stunning Impact of E-Discovery on IT (via

Social Media in 2009 : Video

Check out this video:

Video: 2009 in social media

AIG’s General Counsel Scores Millions In Severance Pay – Law Blog – WSJ

Ten Predictions for 2010 – Financial Adviser – WSJ

Facebook and Privacy : FTC complaint says Facebook’s privacy changes are deceptive

Facebook faces an FTC complaint. As headlined by Jacqui Cheng at ars technica: FTC complaint says Facebook’s privacy changes are deceptive. The suit involves EPIC – the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Cheng writes:

The basic premise of the complaint is that most users either don’t understand the changes they are being prompted to make, or that the changes are so complex that even experienced users are confused by them.

Copyright Law : Google Books : Google is sued by Chinese author Mian Mian, China’s Literary Wild Child : Sex Drugs Rock & Roll

Everybody is now getting into the act of suing search engines for including scanned excerpts of their books in search results. See, for example:

BBC News – Google is sued by Chinese author Mian Mian

My own book, Stars, Stones and Scholars is found at Google Books and I am very pleased about it, since it makes that book much more accessible to millions of potential readers. Indeed, links are offered to major online booksellers where the book can be purchased. Below is a scan of the front cover website page at Google Books of Stars Stones and Scholars by Andis Kaulins:

People who are interested in the book’s amazing subject matter buy the book.

European Union EU approves Microsoft ballot screen for choice of browsers

The European Union (EU) has approved a Microsoft ballot screen for choosing web browsers.

As Peter Sayer writes at

The EU has accepted Microsoft’s ‘ballot screen’ offer, which will allow Windows users to choose the web browser they want, ending the commission’s antitrust investigation.”

Paris court rules against Google in book copyright case | The Industry Standard

Paris court rules against Google in book copyright case | The Industry Standard:

Google’s book search project suffered a legal setback in Paris on Friday, as a court ordered it to pay €300,000 (US$432,000) in damages for breach of copyright, and to stop distributing digital copies of French books to French Internet users without the permission of their publishers.

The decision in the case continues a string of anachronistic laws and equally antiquated judicial decisions – especially in France – regarding the exercise of individual rights and freedom of information on the Internet.

That anyone has been damaged to the tune of €300,000 in the instant case is of course idiotic. Who has ever even heard of the decaying (-45% in 2008) French publisher La Martinière Groupe?

The best way to deal with publishers like this is simply to refuse to buy their books – who needs them?

Leading-Edge Law: Congress made patent situation worse | Richmond Times-Dispatch

Leading-Edge Law: Congress made patent situation worse | Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Inventing a New Economy: What patent applications can tell us about America’s economic prospects. – By Eliot Spitzer – Slate Magazine

President Barack Obama : A Historic Moment : Senate Passes Health Care Overhaul on Party-Line Vote –

Senate Passes Health Care Overhaul on Party-Line Vote –

President Barack Obama sent out the following email:

Andis —

Although it’s Christmas Eve, I wanted to share some exciting news: The Senate just passed a historic health reform bill.

In all the back and forth, it’s easy to lose sight of what this incredible breakthrough really means. But consider this: This Christmas, there are millions of Americans without health insurance who risk losing everything if they get sick.

There are mothers and fathers who wonder how they’ll provide for their children because an illness has wiped out their savings. There are small business owners who worry that they’ll have to lay off a long-time employee because the cost of insurance is rapidly rising.

If we finish the job, all this can change. We will have beaten back the special interests who have for so long perpetuated the status quo. We will have enacted the most important piece of social policy since the Social Security Act in the 1930s, and the most important health reform since Medicare in the 1960s.

In Decembers to come, millions more will have access to affordable coverage. Parents will have the security and stability of knowing their insurance can’t be revoked at a moment’s notice. And the skyrocketing costs plaguing our small businesses will be brought under control.

When you make calls, write letters, organize, this is the change you’re making — a better life for your family and for men and women in every state.

There is still more to do before I can sign reform into law — a last round of negotiations and final votes in the Senate and the House — and I’m counting on your help every step of the way. But for now, I hope that as you celebrate this holiday season, you remember that the work you are doing is making our union more perfect, one step at a time. For that, I am grateful to you.

Merry Christmas and happy holidays,

President Barack Obama

P.S. — Organizing for America supporters are signing a note of appreciation to all the senators who have worked so hard to make this possible. I hope you’ll join them:

Holiday Greetings !





Health Care Bill Could Face String of Legal Challenges according to reports that the “Health Care Bill Could Face String of Legal Challenges” – Health Care Bill Could Face String of Legal Challenges

The U.S. Republican Party in their handling of national health care reform has shown itself to be about 64 years behind the times. The operative date for that timeline is the end of World War II, at which time much of Europe was in ruins at the same time that America was prospering as the venue of the victorious.

What has happened in the intervening period up to the present time is a tragic story showing the decline of the United States in many respects to the status of a 3rd world developing country, whereas Europe has emerged as the world leader on many fronts, especially in national health care.

Many people in Europe view the grand old GOP in the USA as just that – old and outdated, and totally out of tune with the reality of the times.

HEALTH LAW : National Health Bill Clears 3 Steps in Senate – Final Vote reportedly forthcoming on Thursday, Christmas Eve, to the Ire of the Scrooges

David M. Herszenhorn and Robert Pear report at the New York Times that Parties Stay United as Health Bill Clears Steps in Senate, writing that:

The Senate voted 60 to 39 early Tuesday on three steps leading up to a final vote Thursday morning on sweeping health care legislation.

We can only hope that this health care legislation will be passed, as the current health care situation in the United States is a national scandal. As written at the Baltimore Sun:

Today, there are at least 43.6 million Americans without health insurance of any kind. It is a number that has been growing for years as health care has grown increasingly unaffordable, not only for individuals but also for small businesses who employ them. These … people often end up getting medical treatment in the most expensive and inefficient way possible, the hospital emergency room, and their families generally live just one health crisis away from financial ruin. We are a nation with the most expensive health care system but far from the most effective one. By most any common measure from longevity to infant mortality, the U.S. lags shockingly behind much of the rest of the industrialized world.