The end of expensive law school casebooks?

I teach advanced patent prosecution as an adjunct professor at the University of Denver.  I hear from my students what it costs these days to buy a casebook for a class.  Some cost $150.  Some cost $200.  So I am delighted to see that there is some movement in the direction of reducing this cost for the student.  It comes from publishing-on-demand services such as Createspace and Lulu, as I will describe. Continue reading “The end of expensive law school casebooks?”

The background music in the Nashville airport

A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of teaching a class at the annual meeting of the Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association.  It was a delightful time.  The Association members made me feel welcome and the class went well.  (I spoke about best practices for use of the Patent Cooperation Treaty.)  But that’s not the point of today’s post.  The point of today’s post is to comment on the background music in the Nashville airport. Continue reading “The background music in the Nashville airport”

USPTO continues to fail to provide up-to-date web security

It’s been many years since I first tried to nudge the USPTO in the direction of providing up-to-date web security for its customers.  Up-to-date web security includes at least three measures:

  • HTTPS connections for all e-commerce web sites
  • PFS (perfect forward secrecy) for all HTTPS web sites
  • DNSSEC (Domain Name System security) for all domain names

I’m not the only one trying to nudge the USPTO in the right direction.  No less an authority than the White House has also tried to nudge the USPTO in this direction, by means of presidential executive order:

  • In 2008, the White House directed all US government agencies (including the USPTO) to implement DNSSEC on all of their domain names (memorandum M-08-233).
  • In 2015, the White House directed all US government agencies (including the USPTO) to implement HTTPS on all of their web sites (memorandum M-15-13).

A White House CIO web page explains to US government agencies how to implement HTTPS on their web sites.  The web page says:

Federal websites that do not convert to HTTPS will not keep pace with privacy and security practices used by commercial organizations, and with current and upcoming Internet standards. This leaves Americans vulnerable to known threats, and may reduce their confidence in their government.

In August of 2014 I urged the USPTO to implement HTTPS on its servers (“USPTO needs to implement SSL and PFS on all servers“).  I pointed out that TESS, TEAS, EPAS, ETAS, AOTW, PATFT, and TSDR all lacked HTTPS and PFS.  I pointed out that EPO and WIPO have PFS on their servers that have HTTPS.

What progress has USPTO made since August of 2014 when I nudged the USPTO?  What progress has USPTO made since June of 2015 when the President nudged the USPTO? Continue reading “USPTO continues to fail to provide up-to-date web security”

The Super Bowl goes Over The Top

Regular readers of this blog know that I have been exploring the many recent media distribution developments that hold out the possibility of eventually “cutting the cord”, which in my case might mean discontinuing a monthly subscription to DirecTV.  (Others who are thinking of becoming a cord-cutter might discontinue a monthly subscription to a channel lineup with Comcast or Time-Warner cable or Dish network.)  Hulu, HBO Now, Netflix, Amazon Prime, CBS All Access … they each offer a taste of OTT (Over The Top), meaning, a way to get what you want using nothing more than an Internet connection.  Each involves some monthly fee paid to the service provider.

One of the areas of anxiety for some would-be cord-cutters is “will I be able to see my favorite sporting events?”

It’s one thing to wonder “what if I were to miss an episode of Big Bang Theory?”  If there were to be some mixup or problem viewing the episode, you could always watch it later.  Life does not end if a person is forced to watch an episode of a sitcom a day later than originally planned.  But for many sports fans, the prospect of “watching it later” if something were to go wrong is just unacceptable.

Which raises the question of the Super Bowl.  Can a cord-cutter watch today’s Super Bowl?  If so, what does it cost?  How do I do it?

The answer surprised me when I learned it.  The answer is, anybody (anybody in the US, at least) with an Internet connection can watch the Super Bowl.  They can watch it for free!

Amazon Fire TV.  If you have a Fire TV box, or Fire TV stick, just download the CBS Sports app and run it.  You will get to see the Super Bowl for free.

Roku.  Same deal.  If you have a Roku box or Roku stick, just download the CBS Sports app and run it.  You will get to see the Super Bowl for free.

Chromecast.  Same thing.

Android tablets and Android TV.  Same thing.

iPads and Apple TV.   Same thing.

XBox One.  Same thing.

It’s pretty clear that the NFL and CBS would rather get the largest possible number of eyeballs than try to charge a few bucks for the use of the app.

Keep in mind that if you use this app instead of watching the Super Bowl through your local CBS television broadcaster, you won’t see local ads.  It’s interesting to wonder how CBS will fill those advertising time slots that usually are set aside for local ads.

The local CBS television broadcasters probably won’t like this OTT offering very much, since it could cut into their eyeball count.




Baby steps toward cord-cutting

Over the past year or so I have been making baby steps toward “cutting the cord”, which in my case means maybe some day discontinuing service from DirecTV. (For others, “cord cutting” might mean discontinuing television service from Comcast or Dish or Time-Warner.)  In past blog articles I have written about the best media stick to use when traveling and over-the-top service from HBO.  For my household it was a big step to drop the HBO service from DirecTV and to use HBO Now instead.

But there is a category of television reception that I have found to be harder to tackle, namely the reception of “local” network broadcast stations.  Where I live in the mountains of Colorado there are precisely no broadcast television stations.  For many, many years my household has been paying DirecTV to provide “local” television stations, by which I mean the Denver television stations.  I can’t receive the Denver stations at my home, because a mountain range blocks the signal.  Some of my neighbors pay Comcast cable to provide those same “local” television stations to them.  The point is that a would-be cord-cutter who lives in a place with few or no broadcast television signals faces the question what to do about picking up network broadcast stations.

The usual cord-cutting approach for most households is to use an antenna to receive over-the-air television signals.  But as I say, that approach doesn’t work where I live in the mountains of Colorado.  I’ve stumbled upon a new approach that may finally permit discontinuing all DirecTV service. Continue reading “Baby steps toward cord-cutting”

Music on hold and copyright rights

We all sort of vaguely know that because of copyright rights, one can’t just hook up any old audio source to the music-on-hold (“MOH”) port of one’s telephone system.  In this posting I describe the usual ways that people make mistakes about MOH and the new approach that our patent law firm is trying.  And I describe a way that the alert reader might win a prize.   Continue reading “Music on hold and copyright rights”

The software in your car

Readers may recall that some months ago I blogged that I had replaced the (incandescent) brake lights in my Subaru car with LEDs.  Readers will also recall that Volkswagen is in the news for having included software in the engine computer of some diesel cars that would detect when an emissions test was going on, and at such times would adjust the engine to greatly reduce the emissions.  All of this reminds me of the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) which generally forbids reverse engineering of software in consumer electronic products.  So how do my LED brake lights fit into this story? Continue reading “The software in your car”

Over-the-top entertainment redux

The last you heard from me about over-the-top entertainment was here (blog article) where I commented on the growing resolve at HBO that it might eventually be able to bypass its traditional distributiohbo-nownhbo-go mechanisms (cable TV companies and satellite TV companies) and distribute its programs straight to consumers.  This has now reached fruition.  Those who wish to be trendy, modern, and up-to-date will want to try out HBO Now as a successor to HBO Go. Continue reading “Over-the-top entertainment redux”