Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Rural Innovations Network: a profile

When Basil (Paul Basil, RIN's Founder & CEO) decided to target innovations and innovators, it was a journey from the scratch with the idea of keeping it simple. “We decided to focus on areas relating to water, agriculture, dairy and energy, while other areas were looked on case-for-case basis,” he says.RIN’s role was anything but simple in translating ideas to reality. “We had to first search for the innovators, identify those innovations which could work. Then we realised that we needed the resources to incubate them, before we help with patenting and technology transfers.”

Also, the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that undertake the manufacturing of the product themselves wanted help after the technology transfer for the initial sales push. “In such cases, we find venture capitalists that could partner the entrepreneur and sometimes ensure that the retail buyer has enough money to acquire the product,” Basil points out.

This learning came through stages, but Basil got a good hindsight into the cycle. Innovators were identified through business plan competitions for social entrepreneurs organised by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS); through innovation patent gazettes; the more recent Lemelson Recognition and Mentoring Programme (L-RAMP) Innovation Awards Programme by RIN-IIT Madras advertised in local language papers and scanning databases of other social networks.

Internationalised domain names may launch in 2009

Edmon Chung, chief executive of DotAsia, said that he is involved in a number of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) working groups that are striving to introduce IDNs and it is "possible" that this could take place "early next year".

"1999 was the year [in which] IDNs were first discussed; hopefully in 2009 we will see it happen," Chung said in an interview on the sidelines of eCommerce Asia Summit 2008 in Singapore.

Chung, also the vice chair for the Internet Society in Hong Kong, pointed out, however, that the launch of internationalised domain names (IDNs) does not just revolve around technical issues: "It's also a lot to do with policies, or even politics." It requires a great deal of international co-operation too, he added.
For instance, a letter from the Latin alphabet in the upper case and in the lower case is considered to be the same, but simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese characters may not be considered the same. A policy decision has to be taken to require that simplified and traditional Chinese characters be mapped together so that, when businesses register a domain, they are not made to register multiple versions.

"[That's just] one very obvious issue," said Chung. "There are many of these issues in different languages to deal with as well and that's why it's taking so long."

Technical policies, Chung pointed out, are necessary to prevent websites from being spoofed and used for phishing purposes.

"If it's just free flow — every character in the world can be used — it would create these problems [such as spoofing], but these are the kinds of things that registries like ourselves and other registries around the world address in terms of techno-policy arrangements," Chung said.

"When you register a name, we not only check that, machine-wise, it's unique and you can register it but also in terms of context, language, characters, variance issues; all these are being addressed by techno-policies," he noted.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Protecting Intellectual Property in India: a basic checklist

If you are currently manufacturing in India or are considering doing so, Law Wire℠ offers these ideas as a checklist for IP protection:

Educate Employees: Employees are the source of most IP losses, often unintentionally. Don’t rely on basic, theoretical training when an employee is hired; focus instead on situational, practical training that relates to everyday work. Consider using the term “Information Protection,” which may resonate more than the academic sounding “Intellectual Property.”
Enforce “Need to Know” Information Sharing and Access: While non-disclosure agreements should be used, the reality is that trying to enforce them after an employee leaves the company in India is most often a losing battle. Better to not share everything with employees, and limit access to documents, databases, and other information on a “need to know” basis. But there are other more basic steps as well: For example, “it shouldn't be possible for someone to walk through the production process and read gauges to cull data such as line speeds and critical temperatures and pressures. That data can easily be disguised by installing gauges with erroneous readings decipherable only to those who need the information,” according to Law Wire℠.
Be Quick with Patent and Trademark Registration: Most companies don’t know that, in India, patents are awarded to the first to file, not necessarily to the originator of the product or technology. Similar problems exist with trademarks, as locals file trademarks that are the most likely translations of Western names and brands. There’s no magic bullet here, and companies may have to buy their way out of many situations, but filing patents and trademarks as early as possible can mitigate the risk.
Keep Up with Emerging Knowledge and Best Practices: Too many Western companies fail to keep up to date with the latest ideas and practices after entering the Indian market, to their peril. One source is the Quality Brands Protection Committee, whose members include many major multi-national companies.
Put a Top Executive in Charge of IP Security, and Think Globally: In too many companies, IP protection is fragmented among different individuals and functions. It is critical to place a single senior executive in charge of overall IP protection, and to take a truly global, not just India-centric view.

“A company's strategy in India must be part of a global strategy for intellectual-property protection, since a leak anywhere can be taken advantage of around the world,” Law Wire℠ observes.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

World Book [and Copyright] Day - The Origins

The connection between 23 April and books was first made in 1923 by booksellers in Catalonia, Spain as a way to honour the author Miguel de Cervantes who died on that day. This became a part of the celebrations of the Saint George's Day (also 23 April) in the region, where it has been traditional since the medieval era for men to give roses to their lovers and since 1925 for the woman to give a book in exchange. Half the yearly sales of books in Catalonia are at this time with over 400,000 sold and exchanged for over 4 million roses.

In 1995, UNESCO decided that the World Book and Copyright Day would be celebrated on this date because of the Catalonian festival and because the date is also the anniversary of the birth and death of William Shakespeare, the death of Inca Garcilaso de la Vega and Josep Pla, the birth of Maurice Druon, Vladimir Nabokov, Manuel Mejía Vallejo and Halldór Laxness.

Although 23 April is often stated as the anniversary of the deaths of both Shakespeare and Cervantes, this is not strictly correct. Cervantes died on 23 April according the Gregorian calendar; however, at this time England still used the Julian calendar. Whilst Shakespeare died on 23 April by the Julian calendar in use in his own country at the time, in actual fact he died ten days after Cervantes, because of the discrepancy between the two date systems.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

World Book and Copyright Day

23 April is a symbolic date for world literature for on this date in 1616, Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. It is also the date of birth or death of other prominent authors such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.Laxness, Vladimir Nabokov, Josep Pla and Manuel Mejía Vallejo.

It was a natural choice for UNESCO's General Conference, held in Paris in 1995, to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors on this date, encouraging everyone, and in particular young people, to discover the pleasure of reading and gain a renewed respect for the irreplaceable contributions of those who have furthered the social and cultural progress of humanity. In this respect, UNESCO created both the World Book and Copyright Day and the UNESCO Prize for Children's and Young People's Literature in the Service of Tolerance.

China, India M&A seen as risky but fruitful

Multinationals see China, India and Southeast Asia as the most attractive destinations for merger and acquisition activity over the next 18 months, Marsh & McLennan Companies Inc said in a report. Despite viewing China, India and Southeast Asia as almost as risky for investments as Africa, 57 percent of executives surveyed described their interest in the area as significant or very significant, the report found.
It said questionable business practices, problems with the local intellectual property regime and insufficient financial recourse against sellers were cited as areas of concern. "Despite the perceived risks of investing in this region, the level of M&A activity in recent years suggests that the expected reward is much stronger," said Karen Beldy Torborg, Global Head of Marsh's Private Equity and M&A Practice, in the report. "We are witnessing a fundamental shift of the global business landscape, with companies all around the world eyeing the potential of these countries and ramping up their investment and presence, accordingly," she added. The report draws on a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit on the attitudes to cross-border deals of 670 multinational executives across the world. For North America, 43 percent of respondents described potential interest as significant or very significant while the figure was 41 percent for Western Europe, 31 percent for Eastern Europe, 29 percent for Latin America and 27 percent for the Middle East. Australia, Japan and Korea came in at 25 percent and Africa 19 percent.
However, executives gave China, India and Southeast Asia an average risk rating of 5.3 out of 8 for business-critical risks, just below Africa's rating of 5.5. Adding to widely acknowledged risks over intellectual property, a new area of concern in China was environmental legislation, the report said. "While the degree of environmental litigation and statutory enforcement in China still lags well behind North America and Europe, companies need to be aware of the increased regulatory scrutiny of their operations and the stricter enforcement of environmental legislation," it said. The survey also looked at executives' attitude to state-owned investment funds as potential M&A rivals. Such funds were seen as the strongest competition over the next 18 months for only 4 percent of those surveyed. Trade buyers and private equity firms were seen as a far greater threat, according to the report.

Indian Judiciary has the onerous responsibility of interpreting the balance between Private Interests and Public Welfare – D. Purandeswari [India]

Smt. D. Purandeswari, Minister of State for Human Resource Development has said that the Indian judiciary, as the defender of the majesty of law, has the onerous responsibility of interpreting the balance between private interests and public welfare.

She was speaking at the National Judicial Seminar on the Role of Judiciary in enforcement of the Copyright Law. Following is the full text of the speech of Smt. D.Purandeswari, Minister of State for Human Resource Development:

“I am happy to be here at the inaugural session of the National Judicial Seminar on the Role of Judiciary in Enforcement of the Copyright law. The importance of this Seminar is underlined by the inspiring presence of Shri JusticeV.S.Sirpurkar, Judge, Supreme Court of India, on this occasion. India has a strong parliamentary democracy and constitutional government and is committed to the principles of equity, social justice, secularism and above all, we pride ourselves in the rule of law which dictates the way we conduct our society. Obviously, rule of law is our strength when compared to so many other developing societies; and it is this strength which ranks India so high in the comity of nations, makes our economy a highly desirable destination for investments, gives stability and continuity to our polity, provides strong foundation to our institutions of governance, and makes the State accountable. Even though our present copyright legislation has been in force since 1957, dealing with the law of copyrights is nothing new to the judicial system in India, having been enforced in India since at least the year 1914, when the then Indian Copyrights Act was brought into force by the colonial power. Just as no one judicial decision can resolve al difficulties, similarly no law can for all times to come, lay down all the boundaries of action – technological advances, changing societal preferences and values, call for review and relook at the existing law from time to time. Any law, in the ultimate analysis, ought to provide a level playing field to all stake holders, which is a continuing legislative quest. The present copyright law itself has undergone a number of amendments, the last being those made in 1994 to make the provisions compliant with our commitments under the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). The need to review its existing provisions continues to exercise us, particularly in the light of the developments in digital technologies. This is yet another aspect that we need to bear in mind, that India, as a responsible member nation of the world community, respects global sensitivities, irrespective of whether we are signatories to formal agreements or not. A case in point is the Rome Convention, of which India is not a signatory; however, our copyright law is fully compliant with that Convention. Indeed, the process of law making in open democracies like our depends, not merely on treaty obligations or obligations towards the rest of the world, but perhaps even more on social, economic or political preferences from within the Indian society, which is sensitive to mankind’s common destiny and morality. This is also what needs to be appreciated by the outside world, when dealing with a large mature democracy like India, where the legislative intent factors in emerging concerns of humanity and the rule of law ensures justice to all. In its most simple understanding, the Copyright law, like all other intellectual property laws, is a compromise drawn up by society between the necessity of encouraging creativity on one side, and the desirability of society’s access to new knowledge or creative expressions, on the other. The rewards to the creators come from the value that they are permitted by law to derive from consumers in consonance with the rights and protection that the law accords to them from any infringement of exercising such rights. This balance between public welfare, as defined through the exemptions provided by “fair use” by society, and the private interest defined as copyright for a limited period of time is laid down under the copyright law. Infringements by illegal means and abuse of ‘fair use’ require enforcement by the copyright authorities and intervention by the appropriate courts when the occasion so demands. While action is called for against those who infringe copyrights of owners of such rights, those who induce infringement by others are also proceeded against, without affecting the legitimate rights of the public for “fair use” allowed under the law. It is obvious that without the concept of “fair use”, it would be impossible for any society to advance its knowledge for the many as knowledge would then confine itself to the few. Copyright is an intangible property right and the rationale for an entirely market driven approach is to my mind, some what suspect. We in India acknowledge the need to balance the rights of authors and the larger public interest of enriching education, research and access to information. I am aware that the judicial organ of the State cannot play its role effectively, unless copyright administration is made more efficient. Modernisation of the copyrights offices is a task that we have set for ourselves under the 11th Five Year Plan, so that copyright administration is more effective and facilitative for the users. At the same time there is a need for the industry and the copyright owners themselves to be alert to the exercise of the rights under the law. Conflicts among rights-holders put them against one another, thereby affecting all. The body of rights holders owes itself sincere, efforts to dialogue with each other, and also to productively negotiate agreements that make it possible for consumers to access copyrighted materials legitimately. This means a responsibility on rights holders also to ensure affordability for users of copyrighted materials easy accessibility, education of public to respect copyrights, and above all not putting up barriers for the exercise of the copyrights of others. As we all know enforcement of copyright law in India would not be effective of efficient unless the state governments are also co-opted in these efforts. The copyright Enforcement Advisory Council constituted by the Ministry of Human Resource Development with the participation of the rights holders representative bodies and the state governments advised the Central Government in improving enforcement measures. We have managed to persuade almost all our states to establish special cells for enforcement of the copyright law. A number of seminars and other events are held to sensitize public opinion and also to familiarize all concerned about the need for effective enforcement. Courts have an important role in protecting the copyrights and in ensuring a check on the legality and constitutionality of executive action. At the lower levels of the judiciary in particular, awareness building would lead to a more effective and timely execution of its functions. There are those who feel that we need to have special courts to handle copyrights and intellectual property rights matter; perhaps the opportunity provided by this Seminar could be utilized to debate and test the validity of such an idea. I need hardly reiterate before this august audience that the Indian judiciary, as the defender of the majesty of law, has the onerous responsibility of interpreting the balance between private interests and public welfare. In the context of the copyright law, this balance is even more delicate, and I am sure the present Seminar would help guide in particular, the lower judiciary in playing its effective role in the enforcement of copyright law with speed and alacrity. I wish this endeavor all success, and would look forward to the outcome.”

Bobby Bedi blames law enforcement agencies for piracy [India]

A veteran Bollywood filmmaker has said that problems of piracy and counterfeiting were plaguing the Indian entertainment and blamed the law enforcement agencies for the scenario.
Ahead of the World Intellectual Property Day on Saturday, filmmaker Bobby Bedi slammed the government of India for poor enforcement of the "great laws" to curb piracy.

"Today in Bombay, for example, you could go to jail for a night for talking on your mobile phone while driving. But if you are caught with cable piracy, it is not so easy to prosecute. There is no sense in having a law that cannot be enforced," Bedi said.
"But that is India's problem in so many areas. We have great laws and not so great enforcement," Bedi said.
Bedi's remarks assumes significance in view of a recent study by Ernst & Young showing that the Indian entertainment industry was losing $ 4 billion a year, representing almost 40 per cent of their potential annual revenue, due to piracy and counterfeiting.
"Tonight we hear the story of one filmmaker who has made a tremendous contribution to India's burgeoning entertainment industry. He represents one of the thousands of filmmakers around the world who are victims of piracy," said California Congresswoman Diane Watson.
Michael P. Ryan, director of the Creative and Innovative Economy at the GW Law School, argued that originality and innovation are essential to driving long-term growth in developing economies and that piracy creates a real dilemma for filmmakers like Bedi as it curtails their imagination.
"So long as pirates earn a high share of movie revenues, producers must focus on making relatively inexpensive movies. To finance a grander vision, the creators must receive not just the critical but also the monetary rewards of inventiveness.
"The Indian film industry is the largest in the world with more than 1,000 films produced each year," Ryan said.
Bedi is critically acclaimed for his work in films, including Bandit Queen, Fire and Saathya. He is now producing a three-film series on the Indian legend, the Mahabharata, at an estimated cost of $ 70 million. It will be India's most expensive movie venture ever.
According to a report India's television industry loses $ 2.68 billion and as many as 820,000 direct jobs are also lost as a result of theft and piracy.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

MySpace launches 'Indian' version

If your need to socialize online already hasn’t been satiated by the likes of Orkut, Facebook and a plethora of Indian social networks then there is good news!, the eponymous Richard Murdoch-owned social network has launched an India-specific website recently. And with at least another 10 million people on it worldwide you should have no trouble finding someone you fancy.

Myspace has several content channels with the ability to upload music and video particularly popular among its users. Several artists and actors have active Myspace pages with thousands of fans. Will the same happen in India? We must wait and watch. But competitors are gridling their collective loins. Bigadda, an Indian network, immediately responded to the launch by announcing an exclusive Big B blog.

World Intellectual Property Day Theme - Innovation: Respect It

This year’s World IP Day, coming up on April 26, has a theme of Innovation: Respect It.

"A well thought out IP strategy is the backbone of innovation. IP can develop into a significant business asset which often is worth more to a business than all the tangible assets such as factories and machinery combined. If you are in business and you don’t know about the various forms of IP such as patents and trade marks, then you are taking a significant risk."

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

USTR pushes for drug data exclusivity [India]

The thorny issue of providing data exclusivity to pharma MNCs has come under limelight. The United States Trade Representative (USTR) seems to be lobbying hard with the health ministry for data exclusivity, which if allowed, will adversely affect domestic pharma companies that are making generic versions of patented drugs. Data exclusivity, if implemented, will stop or delay marketing approval of many generic drugs as the domestic pharma companies will not be able to rely on the clinical data which has been submitted by MNCs to the drug regulator, when they seek approval.
The Indian health ministry has not been in favour of granting data exclusivity to pharma MNCs, which effectively offers monopoly to the developer of a new drug even without a patent, restricting cheaper generic versions for several years. While one round of negotiations have been held earlier this year between USTR representatives and health ministry officials, the issue is expected to come up again soon, sources said. "The focus (of USTR) has shifted to the health ministry which is being urged to take a decision on the issue," sources said. For USTR, a change in the ministry's view is important before WHO-established Intergovernmental Working Group on Public Health, Innovation and Intellectual Property (IGWG) meets in Geneva this month, to negotiate an action plan for R&D that prioritizes the health needs of developing countries. Data exclusivity can be introduced through an amendment in the Drugs and Cosmetics Act, which is under the purview of the health ministry. The health ministry had then suggested data protection and not data exclusivity, which is compliant with TRIPs. Data protection prevents disclosure of clinical test data to competitors, but allows the drug regulator to use it for granting approval to generic companies. On the other hand, if data exclusivity proposal is accepted, the regulator cannot use the clinical test data submitted by an innovator company, to give marketing approval, which are developing cheaper generic versions.
Says Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance secretary general DG Shah: "India is not obliged to grant data exclusivity under TRIPS. Protecting the originators data against 'unfair commercial use' is agreed by all sections of the industry. So why are attempts being made to get it (data exclusivity) back?" Developing countries along with the WHO, feel that the draft action plan being negotiated in Geneva should focus on a global strategy on health and innovation, and intellectual property should be managed in a pro-public health manner. Intellectual property rights should not become an obstacle to access low cost generic medicines public health groups say.

Monday, April 14, 2008

SMEs Urged to Unlock Value of their IP [UK]

A wealth of Intellectual Property (IP) advice and practical help will be on offer to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) at an event being held in Newcastle on April 15, 2008, a press release by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) stated.

Free information on a wide range of IP matters - from patents, trademarks, new designs legislation, commercial and mediation services - will be available at the Office’s Intellectual Property Awareness Day.

Organized by the UK-IPO in partnership with the North East Chamber of Commerce (NECC), the event brings together representatives from the professional bodies: the Institute of Trade Mark Attorneys (ITMA) and the Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) under one roof.

The event is a unique opportunity to obtain quality advice in a relaxed and informal setting. A presentation by the UK-IPO will focus on the IP system and the benefits of protecting business’s intellectual assets.

Local entrepreneurs will share their experience of working with the UK-IPO and highlight the benefits of protecting Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs). ITMA and CIPA will also deliver a short presentation about their role in the IP field.
In Newcastle alone, the Office's latest statistics show that 561 patent applications were filed during 2005 and 2007. This shows the strength of creativity and innovation the city has to offer.
"The UK Intellectual Property Office is keen to offer a high quality service to all UK businesses. By bringing experts in patents, trade marks, designs and copyright together at the Intellectual Property Awareness Days, we are providing a one-stop shop offering advice and information,” Business Development Manager at the UK-IPO Miles Rees said.

“There will be help on hand for every type of business because Intellectual Property is important and relevant whether you are a sole trader or you represent a multinational company," he added.

The UK-IPO Intellectual Property Awareness Day will be held on April 15, 2008.

SC reserves verdict in Dabur trademark case [India]

The Supreme Court on Friday reserved its judgement on a petition filed by Dabur India, which sought to restrain Andhra Pradesh-based K R Industries from violating the intellectual property rights on Dabur Dant Manjan (tooth powder).

A bench headed by Justice S B Sinha reserved the verdict on Dabur's plea against a Delhi High Court order that partly dismissed its petition on alleged IPR infringement by K R Industries. Dabur had moved the High Court in 2002 alleging that K R Industries was infringing its copyright by copying similar colour combination, layout and features as that of Dabur Dant Manjan. The division bench of the High Court had directed Dabur not to combine two different causes of action infringement of copyright and selling goods in similar packaging. The High Court observed that it did not have the territorial jurisdiction to decide on the issue and asked Dabur to file a fresh petition in a competent court.

According to Dabur, it had asked K R Industries to stop manufacturing and marketing its product in a similar packaging and colour combination as that of Dabur Dant Manjan. K R Industries had denied the allegations and filed an application saying that the Delhi High Court did not have the jurisdiction to entertain the Dabur's petition.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

End to `Krazzy4' row; film set for release with all songs [India]

Bollywood film `Krazzy4' is set for release on Friday with all song sequences after an advertisement-jingle composer and producer Rakesh Roshan reached a "settlement" shortly after the Mumbai High Court ordered deletion of two songs on plagiarism charges.

After a victory in the Bombay High Court, composer Ram Sampath reached a settlement with producer Rakesh Roshan and gave his consent for the movie's release with all the songs, which were embroiled in the legal case.

Earlier in the day, High Court had upheld Sampath's case prima facie, restraining Roshan from releasing the movie with the songs. Sampath had claimed that his tunes had been copied for two songs--`Krazzy4' (title song) and `Break-free'--and their remixed versions.

But in the afternoon, Sampath reached a settlement with Roshan, and both the parties approached Justice D G Karnik for revocation of his earlier order.
"I won the case, and then we settled the matter "inside the court", Sampath told PTI.

"We went back to the Judge, and got the (earlier) order vacated," he added.
However, he declined to divulge the terms of the settlement. "Once we end the case formally, the settlement will be in the public domain," the composer said.

Sampath's case was that his tunes for the advertisement for Sony Ericsson cell-phones was copied by music composer and Rakesh's brother Rajesh Roshan.

Though the amount that FilmKraft will have to pay as damages to the petitioner is not known, at the end of the day, Bollywood would now perhaps agree that one will really have to be Krazzy in Bollywood to copy ever again!

Two Krazzy4 songs a copy: Mumbai HC [India]

The Bombay High Court today ruled that two songs in forthcoming Hindi film "Krazzy4" are a copy of earlier compositions by jingle composer Ram Sampath and restrained producer Rakesh Roshan from releasing the movie with the songs.

The movie can be released without the songs in question, Justice D G Karnik said. "To my untrained ear, the music (in two works) appeared to be similar", Justice Karnik, who listened to both Sampath's work for a Sony Ericsson cellphone advertisement, and the two songs composed by Rajesh Roshan for the film, said.

The film was due for release tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

AIPLA: Model Patent Jury Instructions [International]

AIPLA [American Intellectual Property Law Association] has released an updated version of the Model Patent Jury Instructions. Please click on the links below to download the Instructions. The Instructions are currently available in the PDF, MS Word, and WordPerfect (to be provided soon) formats.

The Model Jury Instructions are provided as general assistance for the litigation of patent issues. While efforts have been and will be made to ensure that the Model Jury Instructions accurately reflect existing law, this work is not intended to replace the independent research necessary for formulating jury instructions that are best suited to particular facts and legal issues. AIPLA does not represent or warrant that the information contained in the Model Jury Instructions is accurate, complete or current. The work could contain typographical errors or technical inaccuracies, and AIPLA reserves the right to add, change or delete its contents or any part thereof without notice.

The Model Patent Jury Instructions are available for download here:

MS Word Version, Model Patent Jury Instructions (Word Document)

PDF Version, Model Patent Jury Instructions (PDF File)

Krazzy 4 receives copyright infringement notice from jingle composer [India]

Hrithik Roshan’s latest chartbuster item song, Krazzy4, has courted legal trouble. Music composer Ram Sampath has dragged Hrithik’s director father Rakesh Roshan and uncle, Rajesh Roshan, to court, alleging that they have “directly lifted” his music for the Krazzy4 album.
Sampath, 32, who has composed music for over 3,000 advertisements, music tracks of films like Khakee and Let’s Talk, and even done a remix for pop sensation Justin Timberlake, has filed a suit for copyright infringement in Bombay High Court. He has alleged that four tracks from Krazzy4 were “direct lifts” from the music he had composed for an advertisement titled ‘Thump’ for Sony Ericsson phones in March 2007.

Ironically, the mobile phone ad campaign too featured Hrithik and his sinewy dance moves. Krazzy4, a comedy produced by Rakesh Roshan featuring four crazy guys, is slated for release on April 11. Sampath, who was present in court on Monday with his wife, singer Sona Mahapatra, asked the court to restrain the Roshans from using the “plagiarised music” and sought Rs2 crore in damages. Justice DG Karnik, who heard the matter on Monday, would hear the music in his chamber on Tuesday to ascertain the allegations. Hearing of the case would continue on Wednesday. The Roshans have denied the claims of copyright infringement and plagiarism. “Irrespective of the outcome, somebody will have to face the music,” quipped advocate general Ravi Kadam, who is representing one of the Roshans.The trouble began in March when Sampath heard the title track of Krazzy4 being played on a music channel. His lawyer Virendra Tulzapurkar said that his client bought a CD of the album and was shocked to find that the title track, a song titled ‘Break Free’ and their remix versions were “directly lifted” from his music for ‘Thump’ without taking his permission or giving him any credit. In fact, credit for the music has been given to music composer Rajesh Roshan.Claiming to be the composer and the sole owner of music rights of ‘Thump’, Sampath has also objected to the “plagiarised music” being broadcast worldwide.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

USTR Plans Another Year Of Elevating IP Protection With Trading Partners [International]

The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) last week delivered to Congress its 2008 National Trade Estimate Report (NTE), which includes many intellectual property-related challenges in 62 trading partners around the world. The report shows USTR’s plan to pursue ever-stronger IP protection with its trading partners, large and small.

Many of the report’s highlights were also included in USTR’s 2008 Trade Agenda, delivered to Congress in early March.
USTR has been seeking stronger intellectual property rights provisions in many of the free trade agreements (FTAs) pursued with various countries. For example, in 2007, USTR worked on FTAs with Peru, Colombia, Panama and South Korea; the United States-Peru Trade Promotion Agreement was implemented via legislation in Congress. Colombia agencies, for one, have extensive backlogs in the granting of patents, copyrights and trademarks. A proposed United States-Colombia Trade Promotion Agreement would include calls for state-of-the-art protections for digital products like software and music, stronger protection for US patents and test data, and criminalising end-use piracy.
“Approval and entry into force of these pending FTAs will make American goods and services more competitive in these markets, and more competitive relative to other trading partners,” US Trade Representative Susan Schwab said of Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
Some intellectual property protection success stories of 2007 include, according to USTR: lodging complaints at the World Trade Organization against China for inadequate enforcement of intellectual property rights and market access barriers to US products; including “world-class IPR provisions” in the three pending FTAs; Oman and the Dominican Republic reformed their intellectual property laws as part of the FTA process; raids of unlicensed optical disc plants in Russia; implementation of measures to reduce end-user software piracy in China; prosecutions for business software piracy in Taiwan; and seizures of counterfeit drugs in Indonesia and Nigeria.
The USTR said in 2008, the United States will continue to pursue its rights at the WTO in the cases that are still pending, and will seek additional action, as needed, to ensure China’s compliance with its WTO obligations.
This year, the United States also will pursue trade opportunities and stronger intellectual property protections in India, Israel, Taiwan, China, and Africa, among other countries and regions. An issue that it said continues to hamper US exporters in several of the sub-Saharan African countries is import bans on certain products, onerous customs procedures, corruption, and ineffective enforcement of intellectual property rights. The US also is calling on Chile to provide more patent and test data protection in the pharmaceutical sector and crack down on copyright piracy of movies, music and software. Chile is on the 2007 Special 301 Priority Watch List of countries identified by USTR as having deficiencies in intellectual property rights protection. USTR will release its 2008 list on 30 April.
Other issues highlighted by USTR include:
-The United States-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS-FTA), signed last year, will provide strong intellectual property rights protections and “meaningful market access” to US providers; the United States continues to push Korea to strengthen its legal regime to protect temporary copies, and address internet service provider liability and copyright term extension, among other things.
-The US-Russia IPR Working Group meets quarterly to discuss Russia’s implementation of intellectual property-rights provisions of a bilateral agreement between the two countries; piracy in Russia reportedly resulted in losses of nearly $1.5 billion to the copyright industry in 2007. Internet piracy and trademark squatting are among the serious concerns. Russia also is on the 2007 Special 301 Priority Watch List.
-The United States has been engaging Middle Eastern countries on a variety of issues. Bilateral TIFA Councils (Trade and Investment Framework Agreement) established under TIFA agreements with countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and United Arab Emirates allow the US to work with those countries to promote market access, liberalisation of investment rules, intellectual property rights, and, where applicable, accession to the WTO. Some intellectual property enforcement has been added but more needs to be done.
-The Central American-Dominican Republic-United States Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA-DR), signed in 2004, continues to improve standards and enforcement on broad intellectual property rights issues but there is still a lack of enforcement; piracy of copyrighted materials such as audio and video recordings remains common and prosecutions are slow.
“The free trade agreements negotiated during this administration have set a new international standard for strong IPR protection and enforcement, in line with the high standards reflected in US law,” reads the 2008 trade agenda.
- Thailand, which has been under pressure from the brand-name pharmaceutical industry for its use of compulsory licences to increase availability of some medicines, was cited by USTR, which “expressed concern” about the practice and urged that it pursue policies that recognise IP rights. Some academics and activists cried foul on that message, saying it serves to undermine Thailand’s legitimate use of WTO rules that allow nations to decide for themselves when to use such licences.

"India will learn to manufacture faster than China will learn to market" : CKS releases Innovation Report

The Center for Knowledge Societies (CKS), India’s first and only innovation consulting company, today released ‘The Emerging Economy Report’ in Bangalore.

This Report focuses on seven countries: India, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt and Brazil. These key regions of the world, the Report claims, are “experiencing Informationalization under conditions of limited or partial Industrialization.”

Dr Aditya Dev Sood, Founder and CEO, CKS, explained that this report was dedicated to understanding the new directions in which these economies and societies are headed. “In our conception, Emerging Economy refers not only to a growing economy, but more importantly to a new kind of economy. One based on information, technology and knowledge.”

“The Report offers a blueprint for innovation in Emerging Economies. It is not merely an investment advisory, but rather equips corporations working in Emerging Economies with information and insight that can drive their corporate strategy, product and service innovation processes and marketing strategy. Companies will be interested in the extraordinary range and quality of data in the Report, but also in its structure, which explains exactly how to go about the process of creating new products and services and taking them to market.”

The Report uses quantitative, qualitative and visual data to create a comprehensive picture of social and economic change that can then be used by business leaders to plan new products, services and business strategies.

The Emerging Economy Report Team from CKS’ office in Bangalore visited each country in the study, working alongside research partners there. They visited elite homes as well as urban slums, smaller towns, and even very rural and remote environments. They also talked with different kinds of regional experts to understand social and technological changes being experienced in each country. They collected technology artifacts from each country and conducted abundant photography to create a visual cultural profile of each country.

This kind of societal, visual and technology-related data is not widely available in the business world, especially for Emerging Economies. Yet it is essential for marketing specialists as well as for technology teams seeking to create new kinds of technology for emerging markets. By collecting this kind of data for several key integrated markets from different parts of the world, CKS has created an extremely valuable intellectual resource which has the potential to accelerate innovation for these parts of the world.

China emerges from this study as the world’s factory – CKS researchers discovered Chinese artifacts replacing locally manufactured goods as far away as Egypt and Brazil. On the other hand, it is important to note that it is an Indian company that took the initiative to gather this strategic data from all around the world. India’s competitive edge resides in its ability to harness strategic consumer data and apply them in its key business sectors impacting global business practices.

Selected Strategic Forecasts on Emerging Economies:
Information replaces Industrialism: Strong and sustained employment growth is seen in the service sector, while the manufacturing sector sees variable change. We see that in Brazil, where at 64%, the largest share of Brazil’s GDP comes from the service sector while the industrial sector contributes only half of that at 30.8%.
Soft Infrastructure precedes Hard Infrastructure: Soft infrastructure includes terrestrial, cable and satellite television, mobile coverage, broadband cable and wireless broadband and other informational backbone while the term hard infrastructure includes highways, roads, bridges, water supply, sewage systems and electricity. In many Emerging Economy environments, especially in rural areas, soft infrastructure is encountered even in the absence of hard infrastructure. More importantly, the installation and use of soft infrastructure can generate and attract the capital resources necessary to build the more expensive hard infrastructure. For instance, Egypt’s population enjoys a substantially high mobile coverage at 87% while 29% of its villages still have no access to safe drinking water.
Informal Economies become Networked Economies: Large informal markets for intellectual property continue to coexist with newly organized corporate retail outlets, as each caters to different consumer segments. Where once only large corporations enjoyed sophisticated long distance access, even micro-enterprises can now be connected to one another. This is because today 16% of the world’s population worldwide, lives in informal cities, which will increase to 25% by 2020 and 85% of all future employments, will be created in these informal cities.
Formal and Informal Economies interact in New Ways: The vast majority of retail outlets in Emerging Economies are in the informal sector. So far informal enterprises have not been able to aggregate. In future, we predict that informal enterprises working in the information economy will be able to aggregate into organized, formal, publicly listed corporate entities. Moreover, global corporations will come to new accommodations with the informal economy. We see this happen as 87% of computer software in the Indonesian market is shared peer-to-peer resulting in considerable concern for an organization like Microsoft.
Energy Consumption rises with GDP growth: As economies grow, they demand more energy. Emerging Economies require energy to power new transportation, housing infrastructure, public infrastructure, retail environments and service companies. There is also more capital available in Emerging Economies to invest into energy infrastructure. The ways in which new capital investments into energy are made will substantially determine the environmental impacts of this increased consumption of energy. Globally, we will see total world consumption of marketed energy increasing by 57% from 2004 to 2030, with Emerging Economies accounting for more than 65% of this demand.
Energy Innovation enables Smaller Footprints: Emerging Economies will be able to make more informed choices about their energy portfolio based on the experiences of Industrialized nations. For instance, India has 17% of the world’s population but it emits only 4% of the global greenhouse gases. China has the world’s largest population but its CO2 emissions of 2.6 thousand metric tonnes per 1,000 people is far below the 10.16 thousand metric tonnes per 1,000 people for Germany.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

WIPO Member States Adopt 2008/09 Program and Budget

A one-day meeting of an extraordinary session of the World Intellectual Property Organization’s (WIPO) Assemblies on March 31, 2008 ended with agreement to adopt the Organization’s program and budget for 2008/09, as well as a 5% decrease in fees paid for international patent applications.

The proposed level of expenditure for the 2008/09 biennium is 626.3 million Swiss Francs (SFr). The full proposed program and budget for the 2008/09 biennium is available at The program and budget 2008/09 was adopted with no prejudice to any adjustments that may be required during the biennium.

The Chairman of the General Assembly, Ambassador Martin I. Uhomoibhi, who is also the Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the United Nations in Geneva, said the agreement is the result “of active consultations and negotiations aimed at resolving all pending issues” since the last WIPO Assemblies session in September-October 2007. Ambassador Uhomoibhi said “The outcome achieved was the collective agreement that this Extraordinary Session be convoked principally to adopt the budget. The fact that we are meeting here today, 31 March 2008, is a result of the agreement reached during these negotiations.” Ambassador Uhomoibhi said this session of the General Assembly will go down in history as one of the briefest, characterized by candor and clarity of all concerned. “I am personally touched by this cooperative spirit,” he added.

The agreement included a decision to reduce the international filing fee under the PCT by 5% (this means that the international filing fee will fall from 1,400 SFr to 1,330 SFr) and to increase the reduction from 75% to 90% for countries whose per capita national income is below US$3,000, as well as to Antigua and Barbuda, Bahrain, Barbados, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Arab Emirates. This fee reduction will be effective from 1 July 2008.

Speaking after the meeting, the Director General of WIPO, Dr. Kamil Idris, welcomed today’s decision on the program and budget for the 2008/09 biennium. He said “The adoption of the budget today is a sign of goodwill by all member states…It reflects mutual understanding that the Organization should move on.”

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Artist's Resale Royalties and Moral Rights: UK-IPO Report [International]

The UK Intellectual Property Office (UK-IPO) has published the report it commissioned into the impact on Artist’s Resale Rights on the UK art market [Please refer to the link:; and the study in PDF here:]. This report examines in detail both the costs and benefits of the right for both the UK art market and its artists.

The right was introduced in 2006, as the result of a European Directive. At the time there were concerns the new right would increase costs for the art industry. The report indicates that the right has not had a significant impact on the art trade but there may be some difficulties with the way the system is running. Among the major findings:

About £2.5 million of Artist Resale Rights is being collected annually, of which around £1.5 million accrues to British artists.
Most of these payments are quite small, and the median payment to artists based on auction house data is £256. Auction house data indicate that during the period since its introduction, 80% of all ARR payments should have gone to the top 100 artists.
The cost of administering ARR entailed a set-up cost in the region of £1 million and recurrent administration costs of £50,000 per year.
There is no evidence that ARR has diverted business away from the UK, where the size of the art market has grown as fast, if not faster, than the art market in jurisdictions where ARR is not currently payable.
There is no evidence that ARR has reduced prices, as prices have appreciated substantially for art eligible for ARR, and faster than in markets where ARR is not currently payable.
The extension of ARR in 2012 would on current figures increase the size of ARR payments about fourfold. Art market professionals expressed the view in the strongest terms that the extension will significantly damage the UK market by diverting trade elsewhere.
While the administrative burden of ARR does not seem to have been excessive for most businesses, there have been a number of problems associated with difficulties in establishing the nationality of artists and the requirement to calculate ARR liabilities in euros. A significant minority of art market professionals, including the major auction houses, deem the administration of ARR to be intrusive and burdensome.

Moral rights for Artists, Authors and Sculptors [International]

Thomas F. Cotter, Pragmatism, Economics, and the Droit Moral, 76 N.C. L. Rev. 1 (1997) provides a decent introduction to this topic. Also useful might be the module on Respect and Integrity in Professor William Fisher's mini-course Intellectual Property in Cyberspace 2000. The case of Napier's Distorted Barbie is fun.

Kant and Hegel provided the theoretical justification for an author's "moral right", but James MacNeill Whistler's refusal to provide Sir William Eden with a portrait of his wife and Eden's subsequent suit in 1989 provided the political impetus for France to pass legislation on the subject. France now has the strongest laws supporting the rights of artists. For Whistler's own take on this case, see Eden versus Whistler: The Baronet and the Butterfly. A Valentine with a Verdict, Paris and New York, 1899 (reprinted by Notable Trials Library, 1997) Call Number: FRA 996 WHI78 1997.

France recognizes four moral rights:

droit de divulgation, or right of disclosure;
the droit de repentir ou de retrait, or right to correct or withdraw works previously disclosed to the public;
the droit de paternite, or right of attribution, which includes
right against misattribution,
right against nonattributio,
right to publish anonymously or pseudonymously,
right to void a promise to publish anonymously or pseudonymously;
and the droit au respect de l'oeuvre, literally "the right to respect of the work," usually translated as the right of integrity.

The United States attempted to harmonize its copyright laws with those of European and other countries by joining the Berne Convention and enacting the Visual Artists Rights Act of 1990 (VARA). See especially 17 U.S.C. §§106, 106A, and 113. Cynthia Esworthy in the general counsel's office of the NEA provides a short introduction to US moral rights law in From Monty Python to Leona Helmsley: A Guide to the Visual Artists Rights Act. Check the sidebars as well. However, some assert that the US will have to expand its moral rights protections to achieve its alleged goal of harmonizing its intellectual property laws with those of the European Union. See Jowita Wysocka, Imposing Moral Rights on an Immoral System: An Analysis of the Further Legislative Reform Required for U.S. Compliance with the Berne Convention, Suffolk Journal of High Technology Law (Spring 2000).

Henry Hansmann & Marina Santilli, Authors' and Artists' Moral Rights: A Comparative Legal and Economic Analysis, 26 J. Legal Stud. 95 (1997) Carter v. Helmsley-Spear, Inc., 71 F. 3d 77 (2d Cir. 1995).

The video excerpt showing the misuse of Frederick Hart's sculpture Ex Nihilo by Warner Bros. in the film The Devil's Advocate can be found here. This case used a copyright claim to settle a moral rights problem.

The destruction of Diego Rivera's mural Man at the Crossroads, commissioned for Rockefeller Center but offensive to the patrons because of its inclusion of the image of Lenin, predated any effective moral rights statute. The PBS site Culture Shock has other interesting examples.
Moral rights apply to a somewhat expanded list of the traditional fine arts. Alfred Stieglitz is now an artist but Giorgio Armani is not. See Christine Magdo (JD '00), Protecting Works of Fashion from Design Piracy (2000). See also Matthew Rimmer, Crystal Palaces: Copyright Law And Public Architecture. 14(1) Bond Law Review (2002).

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"Verbatim copying"; a requirement for infringement rules US Court

You can copyright your words, not your ideas—and in an erudite opinion concerning two consulting firms duelling, a federal judge amplified that longstanding principle.
Judge William G. Young of the US District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed a copyright infringement suit brought by Situation Management Systems (SMS) against ASP Consulting Group, despite finding that that ASP did copy SMS’s workbooks.

“The ruling appears to limit claims of copyright infringement of business publications to instances of near verbatim copying,” said James J. Foster, a senior litigator with Wolf, Greenfield & Sacks, P.C., in Boston, which represented ASP.

“The backdrop to this suit is a bitter struggle between a company and its former employees,” Young wrote. Two ex-SMS employees, who helped create SMS’s workbooks, went on to become ASP’s cofounders. ASP charged that the pair infringed the copyright of three of its workbooks when they created similar SMS workbooks.

Young ruled that they did copy, but changed the wording sufficiently: “the copying is not actionable because ASP’s works are not substantially similar.”

Young’s witty 33-page decision quotes many sources on copyright and even tosses in a Shakespeare sonnet.

ITC, Punchgini and Bukhara: ITC prevails as Second Circuit Court applies Unfair Competition [United States]

In ITC Limited and ITC Hotels Limited v. Punchgini Inc. USCOA 2 No. 165 (N.Y. December 13, 2007), the Second Circuit court refused to apply the doctrine of famous marks to stop the infringement of an Indian trademark ‘Bukhara’. Nevertheless, the New York Court of Appeals applied the law of Unfair Competition to protect the trademark not specifically being used in the US at that point of time. The plaintiff was running a five star restaurant in New Delhi by the name ‘Bukhara’. It had acquired “some measure of reknown among those with an avid interest in fine cuisine.” Later, they decided to open nine restaurants in different parts of the world including US. However, the two Bukhara restaurants opened in US were closed down within a short span. Few former employees of Bukhara of New Delhi opened a Bukhara Grill and Bukhara II restaurants in Manhattan. They used the same logos, style, design, recipes and even the dresses of the waiters of the original Bukhara.

The Second Circuit refused to acknowledge trademark infringement because the plaintiff had abandoned the use of the trademark in the US, though they continued to operate in India.
The New York Court of Appeals later concluded that New York law "recognizes common law unfair competition claims, but not the ‘famous’ or ‘well-known’ marks doctrine."

Unfair Competition law prohibits use of another’s trademark or indication which is identical or similar to other persons goods that are widely recognized among users and thereby causing one's goods or business to be confounded with another person's business. Accordingly, “when a business, through reknown in New York, possesses goodwill constituting property or commercial advantage in this state, that goodwill is protected from misappropriation under New York unfair competition law. This is so whether the business is domestic or foreign.” Further, it was stated that the consumers of services provided by the defendants “must primarily associate the mark with the foreign plaintiff.” The court refused to exhaustively state the factors to determine this, stating that they would “vary with the facts of each case”. However, there has to be “evidence that the defendant intentionally associated its goods with those of the foreign plaintiff in the minds of the public, such as public statements or advertising stating or implying a connection with the foreign plaintiff; direct evidence, such as consumer surveys, indicating that consumers of defendant's goods or services believe them to be associated with the plaintiff; and evidence of actual overlap between customers of the New York defendant and the foreign plaintiff.”

The case is foundational in that it represents a paradigm shift in protection of foreign trademarks in the US. They now qualify for protection even though they may not be registered in the US, the underlying principle being that commercial unfairness should be restrained whenever there is misappropriation, for the benefit of the person who holds a legitimate property right.

EU Debates Cybercrime Law Enforcement [International]

One of the beauties, if you can call it that, of organized crime is that while the criminal organizations of the world respect none of the boundaries that we call jurisdictions and countries, and by definition, the rule of law must respect those boundaries. These criminals, whether they are the traditional mob that we all know and love or the terrorist organizations bent on the destruction of civilization as we know it, have for more than a decade or two have known about and exploited this fact.

Two groups working separately to boost Europe's defenses against online crime will present proposals this week, almost a year after most of the nation of Estonia's links to the Internet were disrupted for days or weeks. At a two-day conference starting today in Strasbourg, France, the Council of Europe will to review implementation of the international Convention on Cybercrime and discuss ways to improve international cooperation.

Cyber defense also will be on the agenda when heads of state from NATO's 26 member nations gather in Bucharest Wednesday for three days. The leaders are expected to debate new guidelines for coordinating cyber defense.

The Convention on Cybercrime, a binding treaty ratified by most members of the 47-nation Council of Europe, provides guidelines to protect computer users against hackers and Internet fraud.

The controversial agreement also covers electronic evidence used in prosecution of such offenses as child sexual exploitation, organized crime and terrorism. At this week's conference, the council will discuss guidelines to bolster the convention to improve cooperation between investigators and Internet providers, according to the council's Web site.

Participants and speakers at the conference — including police officials and representatives of technology companies such as Microsoft Corp., eBay Inc., McAfee Inc. and Symantec Inc. — also will address training.

NATO's three-day summit, which is to focus on enlarging the treaty organization and on its operations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, will include a special briefing on cyber defense, according to the treaty organization's Web site.

Some cybercrime experts are casting current Internet security challenges in terms of terrorism, while others remain focused on data loss, identity theft and fraud.

Privacy advocates, the American Civil Liberties Union and others are concerned that the Cybercrime Convention presses businesses and individuals to aid law enforcement in new ways and subjects them to surveillance that violates the U.S. Constitution.

President Bush signed the treaty in 2003 and the U.S. Senate ratified it in 2006. The convention has been ratified by 21 other nations.

Useful Links:

Crime, CyberSpace and the Singapore Model [International - Internet Law]

The Government of Singapore has devoted significant effort to combating computer crime. It passed legislation in 1993 and periodically amends this legislation as needed. It has created new agencies and given its law enforcement personnel greater powers in its fight against these crimes.
This has lead to both a proliferation of computer-based crime in Singapore and to efforts by the Singaporean government to combat such crime. The primary tool for law enforcement officials in Singapore is the Computer Misuse Act which was passed in 1993 and has been amended four times, as recently as 2005.Singapore has chosen to follow the model of the United Kingdom by enacting legislation that addresses computer crime and utilizing the existing Penal Code for cyber crime. Computer crime is dealt with in Singapore’s Computer Misuse Act. This law prohibits the obtaining of unauthorized access to computer material, modifying the contents of a computer, obtaining or intercepting any computer service or function, interfering with or obstructing the lawful use of a computer, impeding or preventing access to or impairing the usefulness or effectiveness of any computer program or data, or disclosing a password, access code, or other means of gaining access to a program or data.
Professor Warren Chik, a Singaporean law professor states, in a 2006 paper comparing cyber crime laws in the United States, the United Kingdom and Singapore, that Singapore adopted four approaches in combating computer crime.
These are:1) Passing new legislation that creates crimes where activity warrants it;2) Imposing severe penalties as punishment and as deterrents;3) Providing law enforcement agencies with additional powers, granting them extra-territorial jurisdiction, and creating new agencies with specially trained experts to deal with this technological crimes;4) Making it a crime to abet or even to attempt to perpetrate computer crimes.The agencies created to fight computer crime in Singapore include the Computer Crimes Branch of the Criminal Investigation Department, the Computer Forensics Branch of the Singapore Police, and the Singapore Computer Emergency Response Team. The creation of these specialized units was deemed necessary as a result of the ever more sophisticated nature of the technology involved in such crimes.What is “computer crime” and what is “cyber crime”?
Computer crime involves acts that attack the functions of a computer, access to a computer or the Internet, and similar items. They might be called “cyber-trespass”. They are viewed as crimes against a computer. Examples of these crimes are hacking, denying another access to Internet usage, and sending unsolicited or virus-causing electronic mail. Cyber crime, on the other hand, is traditional crime such as fraud, theft, extortion, and the like in which the computer is used as an instrument of the crime. These acts are traditional crimes that are facilitated through the use of a computer.
How has Singapore addressed these two types of crime?In 1993, Singapore passed the Computer Misuse Act (Chapter 50A of the Singapore Statutes), which it has amended four times, as recently as 2005. This Act addresses computer crimes and provides for stiff penalties for the violation of the law. It has applied its existing Penal Code provisions for activities that are deemed cyber crime. For example, the release of a virus would fall under the jurisdiction of the Computer Misuse Act, whereas an economic crime (e.g. extortion or securities fraud) would fall under the aegis of the Penal Code.What are the penalties for conviction of computer crime in Singapore?
Most of the provisions of the Computer Misuse Act carry a maximum fine up to $10,000 Singaporean dollars and/or imprisonment up to three years for a first offense. For the second and subsequent offenses, the penalty is a fine up to $20,000 Singaporean dollars and/or imprisonment up to five years. If there was damage caused as a result of the crime, the penalty is a fine up to $50,000 and/or imprisonment up to seven years. If the crime involved a threat to Singapore’s security, or to the banking or other financial, communications, or transportation industries, or to public services including utilities, safety, police, civil defense, or medicine, the penalty is a fine up to $100,000 Singaporean dollars and/or imprisonment up to 20 years.In what other manner is Singapore fighting computer crime?Singapore has created new law enforcement agencies with specially trained personnel to keep pace with the rapid advances in technology and the resulting proliferation of computer-based crimes. It has given its police force additional powers, including extra-territorial jurisdiction to aid in their efforts at apprehending computer-based criminals.

Ringtones, downloading and 'illegalities" [India]

If you are downloading a Bollywood ring tune on your mobile phone, you might be violating the copyright act; and the Indian Music Industry plans to take action on it. Over 13,000 cases of intellectual property right violation, mostly physical music piracy, were registered in the country in the past seven years and more than 200 cases of mobile chip piracy detected in the last two years, says IMI President V J Lazarus.

While mobile phone chips have joined the ranks as an instrument for physical form of piracy, public performance of the music and songs, which generally go unnoticed, also comes under the ambit of the law.

But lack of awareness has prevented law-enforcing agencies from dealing with the problem that results in losses of Rs 600-800 crore to the industry every year, Lazarus said.

India ranked 10th in the list of countries affected by piracy and with the current boom in the mobile entertainment segment, its market would encompass over 300 million users, he said.

Section 51 (a) of the Indian Copyright Act clearly states music cannot be played without permission of the copyright holder.

This means music-driven trade outlets like discotheques, hotels organising public music-based functions like New Year parties, coffee shops relying on instrumental or vocal pieces or even the barber shop playing a Bollywood number might be violating the law if they don’t procure proper licences, he said.

“IMI, which represents around 142 music companies, is not concentrating on small-time outlets violating the law at present, due to lack of awareness. But, larger establishments like a lavish hotels or a bustling disco joints are certainly our targets,” Lazarus said.

“We try to inform and convince them the violation and motivate them to procure legitimate licences. If they still refrain from doing so, legal action is taken,” he said.

With the current boom in the ‘mobile entertainment segment’, Indian market is expected to reach more than 300 million users making it among the top ten countries in the world in terms of mobile density.

This market would grow further with the advent of 3G (third generation) service phones opening newer avenues of possible intellectual property theft by way of Caller Ring Back Caller Service (CRBT), Embedded tones, background music, full track downloads, mobile radio and streaming and downloading of music, which bring joy and listening pleasure to the consumers, Lazarus said.

IMI, which issues licenses through its wings Indian Phonographic Ltd (PPL) and Indian Performing Rights Society (IPRS), has tied up with all telecom operators for legitimate use of music, he said.

Licenses have been issued to radio stations, television broadcasters (including those showing some new-age music-based reality shows) and big portals allowing streaming and downloading of music on the internet, IMI General Secretary Savio D’Souza said.

IMI’s internet anti-piracy team, while closely working with International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), has managed to close 500 sites, mostly based on servers in the USA, he said.

Of inventions, inventions and … paternity tests!

Invention may be mothered by necessity. But determining the father can require a paternity test.

Take the sound recording. Researchers said last week that they had discovered a recording of a human voice, made by a little-known Frenchman two decades before Thomas Edison’s invention of the phonograph.

An unusual case of innovation misconception? Hardly.
The reality is that the “Aha” moments of industrial creation are preceded by critical moments far less heralded. Behind and beside every big-name inventor are typically lots of others whom history forgot, or never knew. And it’s unusual that an innovation is created in a vacuum (including the vacuum, which itself claims several progenitors).

On Feb. 14, 1876, when both Alexander Graham Bell and Elisha Gray filed papers with the United States Patent Office to register their competing telephone technologies. Years earlier, the Italian immigrant Antonio Meucci devised his own version of the telephone, but ultimately couldn’t afford the patent application process to defend his innovation.

History remembers Bell, while his rivals are footnotes known mostly by aficionados of intellectual-property trivia.

Édouard-Léon Scott de Martinville has certainly been obscure, at least until now. Researchers say that in April 1860, the Parisian tinkerer used a device called a phonautograph to make visual recordings of a woman singing “Au Clair de la Lune.” That was 17 years before Thomas Edison received a patent for the phonograph, and 28 years before his technology was used to capture and play back a piece of a section of a Handel oratorio.

Whom we credit with an invention often has less to do with who came up with an idea, and more to do with who translated it into something usable, accessible, commercial. Garages and laboratories, workbenches and scribbled napkins are filled with brilliant ideas unmatched with determination, resources and market sensibilities.

A patent doesn’t hurt, especially the right one. Edison also gets credit for the light bulb, though he got help from the Supreme Court, which in 1895 ruled that his technology did not infringe on a patent the court ruled was too broad, filed by competing (and now forgotten) innovators.

The Wright Brothers held a critical patent for an early airplane, and history rewards them for it. But lots of other innovators were making significant advances in the technology.

Some part of the alchemy of anointing inventors has not to do with the innovator at all but with the rest of us — as audience and consumer. Sometimes we’re finally receptive to an idea — whether it is a political meme like civil rights as proffered by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., or an online auction site, like eBay. Great ideas, while perhaps not novel, are delivered to us in palatable packaging just as we’re hungry for them.

Oddly, by the time such a tipping point happens, the innovators of the original spark may find the ideas outdated.

Dennis Allison, a lecturer in electrical engineering at Stanford University; has a bit of personal experience both with innovation and watching others get credit for it. In the early and mid-1970s, he was a co-founder of the PCC — People’s Computer Company — which published papers and magazines describing essential early design and technology that begat the computer and then Internet revolution.

The names we remember are Gates and Jobs, and to a lesser extent Jobs’s early partner, Steve Wozniak. They had an entrepreneurial zeal, marketing genius, a capacity and desire to translate the language of geeks into the products of the common people — just as our lifestyles and work styles and pocketbooks were ready to open up.

Mr. Allison, one among many of the early Silicon Valley innovators whose names seem not destined to be recorded by history, is peaceful with his relatively obscurity.

U.S. Attorney General: Piracy Funds Terror [International]

Piracy funds terrorism, says U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey, and the Department of Justice is going to do something about it.

“While we celebrate the positive contributions of technology, we can't forget that there's a dark side to almost every innovation,” said Mukasey at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, “Every new technology we create can be abused – whether it's a common identity thief looking for a new way to steal your bank account information, or an international terrorist looking to advance a murderous plot.”

The Justice Department is committed to protecting the USA’s valuable intellectual property rights, said Mukasey, who promoted Deputy Attorney General and department official “number two” Mark Filip to the head of its IP Task Force, which is stepping up efforts in worldwide collaboration.

“International borders pose little hindrance to criminals, so we’ve been working to make sure those borders don’t pose an obstacle to effective enforcement,” he said.

Originally the domain of organized crime, terrorists are finding piracy – with its supposedly low level of risk – to be a tempting way to finance other, less aboveboard activities. “A primary goal of our IP enforcement mission is to show these criminals that they’re wrong.”

Those involved in piracy, counterfeiting, and identity theft certainly have something to worry about: 2007 saw a 33 percent increase in IP cases filed over 2005, a product of the Department’s ever-increasing international network, which now includes satellite offices in Bulgaria and Thailand to coordinate and train local enforcement efforts.

“One ongoing case resulted from years of diplomatic work with law enforcement in China, and an extensive investigation involving Chinese authorities and the FBI,” said Mukasey. “Last July, China’s Ministry of Public Security arrested 25 Chinese nationals and seized more than half a billion dollars worth of counterfeit software in the largest joint investigation ever conducted by the FBI and the People’s Republic of China.”

Historically, the Justice Department generally pursues criminal charges for IP theft where money changes hands, leaving file-sharing and the world of P2P to the graces of the content industry and its ongoing campaign of civil litigation. This comes despite frequent political efforts from content industry lobbyists, who have been trying for years to enact legislation that would essentially force the DoJ to pursue all forms of piracy – lumping Russian handbag counterfeiters and 15-year-old top-40 aficionados in the same boat.

Prior to the speech, Mukasey said he met privately with representatives from Hollywood, Adobe and Apple, but declined to say what was discussed.