Categories
Law

Familypants hasn’t a leg to stand on

Today, Dave Redl of www.familypants.com “fame” sent a rather informal cease-and-desist notice to the domain registrant of Reggieland, a discussion forum for musicians Reggie and the Full Effect. The notice is short so I will paste it verbatim:

Dear Bluecollardistro.com Registrant Sean Ingram,

Please be advised that FAMILYPANTS is a registered trademark of Dave Redl and is the brand of FamilyPants.com.

There is a profile on Bluecollardistro.com titled “FamilyPants” and information to contact “FamilyPants” with “FamilyPants” information.

http://www.bluecollardistro.com/reggieland/profile.php?mode=viewprofile&u=82

This link appears in various search engines such as Google.com. This is misleading to true potential customers of FAMILYPANTS.com. The use of this mark is not approved by the owner of the mark FAMILYPANTS nor is Bluecollardistro.com affiliated with FAMILYPANTS.

Please remove all instances of the mark, FAMILYPANTS from all parts of your web site, Bluecollardistro.com, immediately to avoid legal action.

On behalf of FamilyPants.com, we realize mistakes happen and wish you and your site continued success.

If you have any further questions regarding this matter please contact:
Dave Redl
dave@familypants.com


Best Wishes,

Dave Redl

The long and the short is that a Reggieland user called himself “Familypants”, and that user’s posts and profile appear on Google when daily millions search for this unhyphenated household compound word.

daveredl.jpg
Recent portrait of Dave Redl

Dave Redl, get a life. But first, buy a children’s book on how the internet works.

It’s obvious this douche can use Google, so why can’t he search for “improve google results“? If he did, he’d plainly see that elements embedded in Flash cannot be catalogued for search and are wasted from a PageRank perspective. Had he or his amateur web designer delved into any such widespread public knowledge he might have thought twice about requesting his entire web presence be made in a single Flash page with no HTML text whatsoever. He might also have learned that the meta keywords tag has been all but abandoned by Google since it has been so oft abused in years past.

That’s my advice on investing in a strong Google presence. Need another freebie, Davey? Don’t complain to a domain registrant about content on a forum. That’s about 4 degrees of separation you’re neglecting. Still not enough? Look up “trademark” in the dictionary and consider the grounds upon which this concept is breached.

I think it’s safe to say that when this forum user chose the name Familypants 3 years ago he wasn’t attempting to steal the vast popularity of the media production company of the same name, nor is he trying to do so now (though, ironically, he has). Chances are he didn’t make much money posting 25 messages on an indie musician’s web forum. When he wrote his last post on the message board 1.5 years ago he probably wasn’t concerned about showing up on Google at all, never mind stealing the thunder of some unlikely homonymic third party. The argument for trakemark violation is pretty slim here, and I sincerely hope the administrators of Reggieland don’t cave into some douche’s water-squirting temper tantrum.

The nefarious possibility exists, however, that articles such as mine in fact support a ploy by a very clever Mr. Redl. A few clicks of Blogger.com’s “NEXT BLOG” navbar link are likely to reveal several pseudoblogs whose sole purpose is to hock some cheap crap in the pretense of Harold Von Bloggington touting the virtues of an amazing deal he happened by. This practise is known as viral marketing – planting the seeds of personal commercial gain in someone else’s cybergarden. Perhaps Leif Garrett’s adage “there’s no such thing as bad publicity” is the tea in the Redl kettle as he blows off steam. It’s probably worked. Golfclap for the giant douche.

Dave, if your efforts were worth people’s time then they’d be linking to your site and clicking your Google results. Apparently you are not much more popular than an 18 month-old message board post. Maybe instead of sniping at anonymous music fans you feel threatened by you ought to do a little googling of your own, get some pointers on web design, and make a site that search engines can actually see. Next, fill it with engaging content that will make people interested in whatever it is you do all day. Finally, make some FRIENDS who are willing to put links to your site on their already successful websites.

If you’re banking on success based on a pissing contest with an indie band web forum then I commend you for setting such attainable goals. But Jack Thompson you ain’t, Dave, so why don’t you leave the public self-deprecating pleas for attention to members of the Bar Association.

daveredl2.jpg
Dave Redl’s strategy for success

Categories
Law

Wiped from immediacy, etched in eternity

I’ve read some really interesting articles lately about the immortality of data on the internet – a topic I’ve discussed previously. The most notable recent articles include:

In meatspace everything decays, including history. In cyberspace bits and bytes have the capacity to stand the test of time. Are we, as private individuals, entitled to the graceful decay of the past?

Let’s address the case of the recent lawsuit by a German family challenging Wikipedia to remove the real name of recently deceased hacker\phreaker, Tron. Being a non-profit organization, and thus not having a deutschmark to spare, Wikipedia was quick to comply. However, the gesture was purely for show. Wikipedia is contributed to and edited exclusively by the general public, and the gentleman’s deleted name was replaced very shortly thereafter.

The terms required to prevent a lawsuit have been met, and the matter has not changed one iota. The name can be found on both the German and English sites (in bold, no less), as plain as the nose on my face. The real name of Tron may as well be displayed in lights on Broadway. In fact…

tronborisfloricic.jpg

As long as this truth is known by someone who is aware of an internet repository of information, it will never be dulled, obscured, or forgotten.

The matter of archive.org‘s Wayback Machine being sued is equally frivolous. The terms of the lawsuit regard the service’s failure to reliably obey the webmaster’s passive request of content omission. This request was “voiced” in the form of robots.txt – a text file optionally placed in the domain root of a web server, which is optionally interpreted by automated services like search engines and archivers which may optionally choose to obey the commands in the file. No signed contracts + no obligation + no precedent == no court ruling. The archived data, unless actively requested, will remain publicly available.

Then there’s the flip side to consider – content which is forcably removed (or whose removal is demanded with force).

For example, take my favourite blog, SixthSeal. Proprietor Poh Huai Bin was recently threatened by police to remove illegal content from his web server, leaving the blog a still excellent but diluted shadow of its former glory. Thanks to internet archives, the taboo content lives on in nearly all its glory, including most of the contraversial photographs and videos. The URL for this content may as well be displayed in the corner of the TV screen during the Superbowl. In fact…

sixthsealarchive0.jpg

Showoffishness and smarminess aside, my point is simple. If you want it forgotten, don’t put it on the internet. With the trend of digital cameras being put into everything, the issue remains of one’s privacy being violated and shared without their consent. However, this is perhaps a topic for another day.

There are topics I’d love to discuss publicly, but I cannot afford to have them come back to bite me in the cyberbum. I urge you, my scores of loyal readers, to exercise restraint when voicing your spicier thoughts online. You never know whether a prospective employer, jealous mistress, spiteful nemesis, or mischevious child will happen upon your immortalized nuggets of incriminating gold.

Addendum:

I just happened across this related article from the EFFGoogle Cache Rule Fair Use

Categories
Law

HDTV For You From Me

So the gaming world is all in a huff over the advent of HDTV implemented into the new consoles. At long last, gamers will be able to see, in crisp clarity, close-ups of Mario’s various man-tufts.
What do I think of HDTV?

Hello, gamers? 1992 called. They want their resolution back.

1080i? High-def? And? If you consider this “next-gen” please send me your home address so that I can mail you my old $3 ATI Mach32 ISA video card.

I admit that this is a great step up for console gaming – one that’s a long time coming. The fore-thinking futurists at Sega were brilliantly overambitious in making available a VGA cable for their Dreamcast console. Ironically, this was the last generation of consoles I found paletable on SDTV (standard definition TV). To me, Xbox and PS2 may as well be played an old school lightbulb hockey arena jumbotron. They are so pixelated that I literally can hardly stand to look at them.

Think I’m exaggerating? Here’s what a modern PS2 game would look like on your computer monitor at native television resolution.

katamari-damacy.jpg
Katamari Damacy for PS2 – actual TV resolution

I’m a technology and video game enthusiast. I’m always on the look out (budget permitting) for the best realtime interactive multimedia experiences out there. That’s why I don’t give a feathery owl pellet about Xbox 360, save one advantage – Microsoft has taken care to design an accessible, easy-to-use DirectX programming infrastructure which will allow games developed for the console to port easily to Windows.

This is great news for us PC gamers because, instead of having our favourite developers sell out to the lowest common denominator, (e.g., Blizzard’s Starcraft: Ghost) our ever-superior platform of choice will share the limelight with Microsoft’s svelte new she-box (wasn’t that a Cindi Lauper song?). Hopefully this will mean tighter implementations of console hold-overs than the frame-chugging PC version of Halo (which, incidentally, was to be a PC game before MS gave Bungie “an offer they couldn’t refuse”).

This is master stroke by Microsoft, of course, as they they get to advertise and publish for both their gaming platforms in one fell swoop.

Outside gaming, HDTV promises untold ocular riches to moviegoers and sitcom slobberers alike – whether they like it or not. The US Congress has recently accepted the proposal by the National Association of Broadcasters to eradicate SDTV programming entirely by January 2009.

Why get Congress involved? Well, HDTV broadcasts won’t show up at all on SDTV sets without an external converter of some sort. Since Congress has deemed television an irrevocable cornerstone of American culture and consciousness, they are subsidizing the purchase of such converters to households who cannot afford the requisite month’s salary invsetment to purchase an HDTV complient set.

That’s right. There are no bigger problems in America requiring this billions-dollar investment than ensuring no child is left behind – on tomorrow’s Pokemon gossip.

But it’s great news for those of us in the middle class, right? Just plug in your snazzy new HDTV and watch all your favourite DVDs in glorious new resolution, right?

Likely, nobody’s going to buy into the new HD-DVD or Blu-Ray video disc formats until at least 2009. They don’t need HDTV sets before then, and they’ll wait for the format war to declare a victor before re-re-buying all their favourite movies. They’ve been burned too recently on the VHS vs Betamax wars that punished adopters of the superior recording technology in the 80’s. In all likelihood, by 2009 they’ll still be enjoying their current library of DVDs, right?.

In 3 years they’ll learn what PC enthusiasts have known since its inception – DVD stinks.

dvdres0.png
actual modern-day DVD resolution

Yes, this is what your DVDs really look like on your computer monitor. Blow the image up to fullscreen and it’s a blocky mosaic of pachydermic pixels. It looks pretty good on SDTV, but stick a movie in your DVD-ROM drive, watch it on your 17″ computer monitor, and imagine the fidelity on a 30″ HDTV set. That’s right, it’s time set the alarm on your pocketbook to 2009 and disable the snooze button.

HDTV is barely here, but the 300 pound gorilla is already flinging feces all over you living room.

Don’t like it? Me neither. If, like me, you live outside the US, you’re pretty much up Dawson’s Creek without a clicker since most broadcast television comes from the land down under Canada. If you are a US citizen and would like to contest the imposed 2009 deadline, file a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission.

And even if those poor Americans choose to opt out of the high-def revolution, I hope they’ll take solace in the fact that they’re buying someone else’s TV with their tax dollars. Those elected officials sure know how to spread the bucks around, don’t they?