Wednesday, March 10, 2004

News Story: Intellectual Property and Fair Use

Nader Wins Priceless Fair Use Victory v. MasterCard

Back in 2000, Ralph Nader ran a bunch of ads critiquing the corporate interests behind the Bush and Gore campaigns. To make his point, he used the style and some of ideas behind MasterCard's "Priceless" ad campaign -- specifically calling out the dollar amounts that corporate interests paid to candidates to secure their positions on the issues.

MasterCard sued Nader and his campaign committee, claiming that use of the ads violated copyright and trademark laws. My old firm, Fish & Richardson, defended Nader claiming that any similarity to the ads was protected by the fair use doctrine. Mastercard moved for a TRO against Nader and lost but continued to press the case toward trial.

Today, after four years of discovery battles and summary judgment briefing, the trial court ruled that Nader's use was, in fact, fair. A strong victory against overzealous copyright and trademark ownership and for non-commercial political speech.

The ruling:

News Story: Intellectual Property

MEPs wave through IP rights enforcement
By Lucy Sherriff
Posted: 09/03/2004 at 16:18 GMT

The European Parliament has passed the IP Rights Enforcement Directive, unchanged from its mid February draft.

It includes none of the amendments proposed by civil liberties and consumer rights groups, and sets the scene for a European version of the US Digital
Millennium Copyright Act.

The directive will become law in two days, and member states have two years to draft and pass legislation.

The announcement on the European Parliament's website refers to a "compromise agreement" with the Council, and says that the directive's full force need not be applied to individuals copying music files for their own use.

Although this sounds promising, the key phrase is: "need not be". Robin Gross, director of IP Justice, a US-based campaigning group, says there is no justification for such as statement.

"The scope of the directive, laid out in plain English in Article 2, remains unchanged," she says. This means file-sharers remain the same in the eyes of this law as large scale commercial pirates.

She also argues that references to a compromise are extremely misleading. In fact, the "compromise" is an earlier agreement between Parliament and the
Council of Ministers, says Gross. The original draft had called for criminal sanctions. This was dropped by Janelly Fourtou, the MEP responsible for the directive, to get the bill passed before the European elections on 13 June. Her husband is the CEO of Vivendi Universal.

Gross continues: "Madame Fourtou, the Rapporteur who has been ramming this directive through the process, will personally be enriched by through her
family ties to (one of the) the world's largest entertainment companies, which (could) now use these new enforcement procedures to harrass and extort
consumers for non-commercial and other minor infringements."

Her concerns about Fourtou were echoed during the debate. UK MEP Sir Neil MacCormick, who sits on the jury committtee, it was inappropriate fo Fourtou
to be pushing this bill through, because she stood to gain so much personally from its passing.

Some 330 MEPs voted in favour of the bill and 151 against, with 39 abstentions, so the bill will become law.

A statement on the European Parliament's website said the directive will help to combat counterfeiting and piracy in the single market, a problem which affects software, toys, CDs and even pharmaceuticals.

It also means European civil liberties and consumer rights have taken a serious knock, and file-sharers are on borrowed time. ®

Seminar Announcement: Religious Studies, New Religions

Inform Spring Seminar

How Dangerous are the New Religions?

Date: Saturday, 15 May 2004
Time: 9.30am to 5pm
Location: New Theatre, London School of Economics

Presenters will include:

London School of Economics

The UK Head of Al-Muhajiroun, Lecturer at the London School of Shari'ah & Chairman of The Society of Muslim Lawyers

London School of Economics

Director of Centre for Western Esotericism,
University of Wales, Lampeter

Center for the Study of New Religions (CESNUR), Italy

Institute for the Study of American Religion (ISAR), USA

Meadow Haven, USA

Anglican Chaplain to Brunel University

ADVANCE BOOKING: £30 (£12 for students/unwaged) Available until 1 May 2004
Includes morning coffee, buffet lunch and afternoon tea!

PAYABLE AT THE DOOR: £35 (£15 for students/unwaged)
Includes morning coffee, buffet lunch and afternoon tea!

To book for the event send cheque payable to 'Inform'.

Inform - Information on Religious Movements
LSE, Houghton St, London WC2A 2AE, United Kingdom

Tel: +44(0)20 7955 7977, Email:
Website: or

Call for Papers: Cultural Geography, Cultural Studies, Anthropology
A Reader in Themed Spaces
Mark Gottdiener and Scott A. Lukas, editors

The editors of a major volume on Themed Spaces are seeking contributions to the collection. The work will include selections organized into major tropes, including the structural, semiotic, experiential and political aspects of themed spaces.

Themed spaces featured in the volume will include, theme and amusement parks, shopping malls, casinos, themed restaurants, airports, museums (such
as the Museum of Tolerance), hotels, roadside attractions and virtual theming (in video games and Internet sites).

We are especially interested in new and innovative approaches from cultural studies, women's studies, history, geography, anthropology, sociology,
architecture, American studies, urban studies that reflect creative and theoretically informed analyses of themed spaces. Of particular interest are
pieces that relate to the political (race, class, gender and sexuality) and experiential underpinnings of the construction and negotiation of such contemporary landscapes.

Please send a 500 word abstract detailing your proposed paper, including contact information (name, address, e-mail) by April 1, 2004 to: (preferred)


Scott A. Lukas
Dept. Sociology/Anthropology
Lake Tahoe College
One College Drive
South Lake Tahoe CA 96150


CFP ends 15 March 2004
Journeys of Expression III: Tourism and Festivals as Transnational Practice

3rd annual Tourism and Festival Research Conference
Innsbruck, Austria, 5-7 May 2004

Journeys of Expression III is a three day academic conference being held in Innsbruck, Austria from 5 to 7 May 2004. It is being co-organised by the Centre for Tourism and Cultural Change at Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom) and the Institute for European Ethnology and Folklore at Innsbruck University (Austria).

The aim of the conference is to present and discuss a selection of case studies and theoretical approaches focusing on the relation between tourism and festivals in the context of the contemporary world(s). Why do tourists go to festivals? How do they participate? What do they experience and through which forms of symbolic or semiotic frameworks do they make this experience meaningful? Do festivals become nodes of a transnational social system, of a 'global village'? What is the meaning of the economic and symbolic exchange processes involved? How are the touristic strangers 'domesticated'? Are there meta-narratives, and what is their ideological grounding, and their vision of the world?

The conference welcomes case studies and theoretical explorations that address such questions. Themes of interest to the conference include:

- tourism and festivals as transnational social phenomena;
- tourism, festivals and symbolic economy within global communities;
- hospitality, participation and transnational exchange;
- 'cultural' festivals as international institutions, utopias and doctrines;
- enacting symbolic continuities of social space, time and cosmos;
- festivals between the expression of power and the communication of experience;
- tourism as a global geographical extension of ritual processes;
- heritage, culture and nature as sacred spaces;
- the challenge of internationalisation to cultural values and organisation patterns;
- domesticating the alien: cooking, eating and digesting the stranger.

We welcome critical contestations and discussions of such themes. Please send a 250 word abstract to Dr David Picard ( The deadline to submit abstracts is the 15th of March 2004.

Conference convenors: Mike Robinson, David Picard, Oliver Haid Executive producer: Frederic Revaz

David Picard Ph.D.
Tourism Development & Consultancy Unit
Centre for Tourism & Cultural Change
Sheffield Hallam University
Howard Street - Owen Building
Sheffield S1 1WB
United Kingdom

Phone +44 (0) 114 225 3973
Fax +44 (0) 114 225 3343