You Can Copyright A Cease-And-Desist Letter

Seems like there is the potential for a litigious recursive loop scenario here in the event that posting a cease-and-desist letter results in a new cease-and-desist letter and that could well upset the delicate balance of life as we know it.

The group Public Citizen hit back against this law firm’s claims, but surprisingly, a judge has now agreed that you can copyright cease-and-desist letters (thanks to Eric Goldman for emailing over the link). The news was announced in a press release by the lawyer in question, who claims this means he can now sue anytime someone posts one of his cease-and-desist letters.

[From Techdirt: Court Says You Can Copyright A Cease-And-Desist Letter]

Sunday Night Links

This is long overdue, IMO. When I look at the ever expanding endowments at major higher education institutions combined with rising tuition and fees that should be rolled into tuition, it occurs to me that student interests are often put behind self-interests at these universities. Publicly funded universities are not exempt either, consider for example UC Davis paying Sen. John Edwards $55,000 to give a speech on, ironically, poverty while also giving regents and employees big raises, severance agreements, loans and other payouts, courtesy of rising student fees, tuitions, and of course, your California tax dollars. Even the most liberal of Democrats in the state are “horrified” by what is going on in the UC system when it comes to salaries in light of rising fees and the scandals involving compensation in recent years.

Expanding their scrutiny of spending and other financial practices in higher education, leaders of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee on Thursday asked the 136 colleges with the largest endowments for a wealth of data and analysis about how they set tuition prices, mete out financial aid, and manage their endowments.

[From Senators Scrutinize Well-Endowed Colleges :: Inside Higher Ed :: Jobs, News and Views for All of Higher Education] Link via Instapundit

How would you feel if you found someone advertising, on Craigslist no less, for someone to help them “fine tune” their business, which they describe as like your own? I guess it could be considered a compliment or a sign that you have really made it.

A group of web entrepreneurs and myself are looking to build a web company specializing in web-based contracts- similar to echosign.com and docusign.com.

We are looking to partner with a Transactional Attorney or a lawyer who handles many contracts daily, in order to fine-tune our business focus, marketing pitch, policies, and liabilities.

Would you pay $1 for each non-ad supported feed you subscribe to? Me neither.

Here’s a neat little example of how a content database with an API can deliver value in unexpected ways.

But this shouldn’t be hard to fix. Even if Google’s index no longer includes my old posts, I know that NewsGator archives the contents of millions of RSS feeds. So I contacted Greg Reinacker to see how to access that archive, and he pointed me to the NewsGator Archive Service which has most of the data I need and a simple HTTP POST interface I can use from the command line:

Also NewsGator related, this old post from 2005 popped up that pointed to two very interesting data points. The first observation is really a reflection on the fact that we have been building out the back end infrastructure for organizing and delivering the “web of feeds” for quite some time, and the second point is that the “taxonomies vs. folksonomies” is the perpetual “tastes great, less filling” argument of the blogosphere and web content in general. It’s neither binary nor zero sum, the best solution is often a compromise between the two. We’ve been interested in the intersection of behavior and content for a while.

To make sense of the archive, Newsgator has actually hired a taxonomist. What most business people do not realize is the extent to which the use of controlled vocabularies (i.e., taxonomies) on the web play a role in translating a company’s information assets into something customers can hopefully understand.