Web week

The Lawyer‘s Web Week is a weekly commentary on legal activity on the web. This includes an overview of the best of the week’s blogs. If you want to direct us to useful links, email webweek@thelawyer.com.

Goody turns baddie in Bolly blog
Web Week could hardly ignore Celebrity Big Brother in a week when Shilpa Shetty and Jade Goody got more press mentions than George Bush.

www.marketingweek.co.uk was first to the news that Carphone Warehouse was suspending its Celebrity Big Brother sponsorship. “The telecoms giant says it was forced to act after last night’s episode, in which Bollywood film star Shilpa Shetty accused housemates, including Jade Goody, of being racist for the first time,” it wrote.

“Carphone Warehouse chief executive Charles Dunstone says: ‘We had already made our position clear to Channel 4 that, were this to continue, we would have to consider our position. Nothing we saw last night gave us any comfort. Accordingly, we have instructed Channel 4 to remove our sponsorship and branding with immediate effect.'”This prompted the question of whether this was the first time a contract has been broken due to an argument over a stock cube. Oxo’s lawyers were unavailable for comment.

But Leeds firm Levi Solicitors was the first to the ‘send’ button, with a press release linking the housemates’ antics to the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974. Which is a bit of a stretch.

Learn IP in 6,000 pages
Google’s senior copyright counsel William Patry was pleased to use his award-winning blog ‘The Patry copyright blog’ to announce the publication of his new book: “After seven years of intensive work, my new treatise on copyright is finally available… In single space, printed form, the treatise is close to 6,000 pages and will be that length after the first year’s updates: it is looseleaf and will be updated twice a year. It is, by almost 100 per cent, the largest treatise on copyright published, and is the first new multi-volume treatise on US copyright law in 17 years.”

Better still are his musings on the Recording Industry Association of America-inspired arrest of DJ Drama, creator of the Gangsta Grillz hip-hop mix-up compilations. Read about the music industry’s latest heavyhanded attempt to protect its profits at williampatry. blogspot.com.

Getting under Apple’s skin
Web Week noted Cisco general counsel Mark Chambers’ online announcement of his company’s suit against Apple last week. The suit has caused much consternation in the blawgosphere. UK blawg Human Law (humanlaw.type pad.com) opened a discussion over whether “the Court of PR has more importance than the Court of Law”.

Human Law quoted Kevin O’Keefe at kevin.lexblog.com, who wrote: “Mark Chandler, Cisco’s SVP [senior vice-president] and general counsel, is making wise use of Cisco’s blog to respond to questions regarding Cisco’s suit with Apple over Cisco’s iPhone trademark. Chandler responds in a down to earth transparent fashion that’s likely to influence bloggers, mass media, and the financial community who are covering the suit.

“Look at some of the wording from Cisco’s Mark Chandler: ‘Fundamentally we wanted an open approach. We hoped our products could interoperate in the future. In our view, the network provides the basis to make this happen – it provides the foundation of innovation that allows converged devices to deliver the services that consumers want. Our goal was to take that to the next level by facilitating collaboration with Apple. And we wanted to make sure to differentiate the brands in a way that could work for both companies and not confuse people.’

Some observations:1. It takes a strong knowledge of blogging to have the confidence to use a blog in litigation.2. The language is clear, open and avoids legal lease [sic]. Most lawyers would struggle with that.3. Some negative comments have been made on the Cisco blog… To be expected, but with the power of search engines and ease of publication, better to have speak [sic] on your blog than elsewhere. Overall the feedback is positive.4. Could the blog influence perception of the litigation? Yes, if enough bloggers support Cisco.”

A sign of things to come? Watch this space.