Last Build Date: Fri, 26 Aug 2016 23:12:44 +0000Copyright: Blog posts are Creative Commons licensed [ http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/ ]; all other rights reserved.
Fri, 26 Aug 2016 23:07:03 +0000Bag and Baggage was fun while it lasted! But that was only until Jan. 2013. If you're looking for Denise Howell please visit denisehowell.info.
Tue, 29 Jan 2013 00:36:59 +0000I'll be speaking Thursday at the 2013 Chapman Law Review Symposium on how law school (and particularly IP law) curriculum should change to keep pace with technology. Our moderator is the brilliant John Tehranian (TWiL fans will remember him from Episode 120), and it'll be great to meet David Levine (me = huge fan of Hearsay Culture) and Deven Desai (me = huge and very long-time fan of Concurring Opinions). Here are some points I'd like to raise: From Ruocaled on Flickr (CC/Attribution)Online distribution, licensing, and selective enforcement. A traditional IP law education probably equips lawyers to help clients address the "Hey, they're using my thing and I didn't say they could" problem. I don't know if it adequately equips lawyers to help clients with the "Hey, how do I get them to use my thing?" issue, however. How can clients effectively use Creative Commons? How can they effectively partner with YouTube and other distribution hubs? In the case of Psy, thousands of parodies and remixes of an original work turned relative obscurity into global ubiquity. A modern IP curriculum should give granting rights equal shrift with establishing and preserving them. IP for all, and terms of service. IP lawyers are traditionally well equipped to help commercial clients manage IP, but IP is increasingly something that touches people in their daily lives. Can Facebook sell photos of your kid to AT&T? What happens to IP you've posted to a social networking site after you terminate your account? After your death? Even though people don't read terms of service they care a lot about what rights they may be granting in their online photographs, reviews, tweets, blog posts, etc. Lawyers should be learning how to draft IP terms of service that are clear and not overbroad. They should also be learning how to advise clients about their rights in materials submitted to social networks, and about related right of publicity issues. From crschmidt on Flickr (CC/Attribution)Globalization. I don't know how well a traditional IP law education equips lawyers trained in the U.S. to deal with the fact that a business with an online presence or business model is an international one. Lawyers should be learning about treaties and global policies that effect IP considerations around the world. IP Policy. I hope a modern IP law curriculum looks at the state ofIP lawmaking: recent unsuccessful attempts to extend IP protections(SOPA, PIPA), the competing interests shaping IP legislation,copyright and patent reform, etc. If you're a law student and have any thoughts about what kind of changes you'd like to see in the IP law curriculum, please chime in. (You'll be doing me a huge favor, as the last time I directly experienced IP law in the law school context, Ronald Reagan was President.) [...]
Mon, 16 Apr 2012 22:02:43 +0000Looking up at the verdant walls of the huge bowl that is Medellín, and hearing the birds squawk "Chicharrón!" at us from the hotel garden, on our second morning in Medellín I felt like we'd already arrived in the jungle. By nightfall I'd realize how wrong I was about that. Medellín has more in common with Paris than with the region of Colombia we were about to visit: the coastal area of the Chocó department, a scant 50 minute flight to the northwest. We spent a good, long time that morning at Medellín's regional Enrique Olaya Herrera Airport. We'd been impressed the day before at the crisp, on-time bus arrivals and departures. Planes in Colombia, it seems, are another matter. Our Aerolínea de Antioquia flight's 10:00 a.m. departure time came and went, with no definite new time on the horizon. A "creeping delay," my pilot friend Lorri advised. There was rain, but not much, and I'm not sure that had anything to do with it. Interestingly, our trip window was to have been in Colombia's dry season, but we learned that's been a moving target the last several years, with La Niña extending the rainy season longer than usual. At one point an English speaking gate agent came over to check on us, leaving Lorri enormously impressed: "American Airlines would never do that." We also spotted a couple I initially pegged as German who were waiting for the same flight and we decided to follow their lead; when they started packing up, so would we. In the meantime, there were cappucinos, books, and journals, as well as donuts and Battleship played via bluetooth. (We thought about lacing the kids' treats with their malaria pills, but opted to wait for later opportunities. Bad call, that.) After about a 2-hour delay we were given earplugs to guard against the de Havilland Otter's loud engines and our flight was ready to go. Walking toward the plane we met the "German" couple, learned they spoke English, and that their destination was the same as ours: The El Cantil Lodge, an hour's boat ride south of Nuquí. We took off into a spitting rain, but still got some impressive views of Medellín as we ascended, flying over countless highrises and what looked like a sprawling university. Most of our short flight was up in the rain clouds, so the ground below us remained a mystery. When we started to descend, we could see where we were going, but the mystery, if anything, deepened. Looking down, there was dark green. No roads, no towns, no signs of human occupation. Just green. Then, also, brown, a river, and gray-blue, an ocean. The plane dipped lower and the green pulled back enough to offer up a landing strip. We were in Nuquí. Nuquí was 50 minutes away from Medellín, but might as well have been on the other side of the world for all the resemblance it bore to the city. You can hear and read over and over that you need to take a boat to where you're going because there are no roads, but you don't grasp what that means until you're there. In this part of Colombia, "no roads" is more accurately stated "just jungle." An abandoned twin engine prop plane was busy becoming more vegetable than mineral. The terminal interior was open-air, crumbling or under construction (perhaps both), roughly the size of my bedroom, and manned by two young soldiers bristling with automatic weaponry and special forces torsos. I wasn't brave enough to take their picture, or even broach the subject. Our eight-year olds were impressed, fascinated, and nowhere near as cowed by them as I felt (but cowed enough to bring their usual exclamations to a dull roar). The document checking and collection of our strictly weight-limited luggage took just a few minutes, and we turned our attention to finding the boat that would take us to El Cantil[...]
Sat, 18 Feb 2012 01:41:00 +0000Yawn, stretch: if it's Tuesday, this must be Medellín! After about six hours' sleep in Hotel San Lorenzo de Aná, it was time to get moving and see some of Colombia. We'd been combing over our Viventura itinerary for so long, it was hard to believe we were now about to live it. Our hotel was small, basic, clean, had TVs in the rooms, and a pretty garden. The boys were fascinated by the garden's birds, bugs, and rocks. Though Medellín is not coastal, and sits at elevation 1,495 meters/4,905 feet, it is nevertheless lush, green, and tropical. At our post-midnight check-in, my pal Lorri and her son Ryan (who'd been there a day, and had stayed up to welcome us), let us know we'd need to leave with our guide Stephanie at 8:30 sharp . We enjoyed our arepas, eggs, and excellent coffee. Lorri and Ryan had had a great time exploring the city the day before, and Lorri was anxious to see more of Parque Jjeras down the hill. We liked our little hotel, though Lorri's shower knob was broken or touchy or both, and she'd had a hard time dialing in the right temperature. (Later in the trip, we'd find ourselves grateful for any semblance of hot water, but we were blissfully ignorant of this as yet.) Our guide Stephanie arrived and told us we'd be going to the bus station, then a drive up and over the mountains surrounding Medellín to the towns of Peñol and Guatapé. A tiny car met us in the driveway for the short ride to the bus station, so we put Stephanie up front, stuffed the four of us in the back, and were on our way. The Terminale del Norte bus station was busy but not packed. I could tell the boys were impressed by the place, mainly because there were no shortage of opportunities to buy candy and sweets. There were enough open seats on the bus for Tyler and Ryan to sit together, and for Lorri and I to sit behind them. The boys were both equipped with app-laden iPads for the long drive and were itching to plunge into them. Though I'd rather my son appreciate the view more than on-the-road electronics permit, you've got to pick your battles and I enjoy peaceful rides as much as I presumed our fellow passengers did. As we followed the Río Medellín out of town, Stephanie told us about the elaborate Christmas displays we were passing, and the huge farmer's market, the Central Mayorista. She was German, but had been living in the city for five years, and was knowledgeable, friendly, and sweet. Once out of Medellín, the bus stopped every 15 or 20 minutes to let people on and off. At these stops, and also especially at toll plazas, Extreme Food Vendors would board in front and traverse the length of the bus. They had mostly sweet snacks wrapped in paper or plastic and dangling from sticks. Once they'd satisfied everyone's craving for chocolate or coconut filled bread, they'd step lightly out the rear exit — and the fact the bus by then was doing 10-20 MPH didn't phase them a bit. The drive was fascinating. There were farms with skinny horses, nurseries, places you could buy pre-fabricated homes, tons of small roadside cafés. Many of the buildings were made of or used bamboo, and Stephanie told us how a plentiful local species is often used in housing. The roads were in excellent shape except where they weren't — mudslides are commonplace in the lush, densely vegetated mountains. (I kept an eye out for Kathleen Turner in her newly macheted flats.) We had excellent cell signal throughout, so I was able to pull up Peñol and Guatapé in Stuck On Earth and give Lorri a preview of our destination. We reached El Peñón de Guatapé, a black monolith rising out of the landscape between two small towns about 55 miles NE of Medellín, at about 11:00 a.m. [...]
Tue, 10 Jan 2012 20:21:00 +0000Tyler and I left at the crack of dawn to make our 9 a.m. flight from L.A. on the one day it rained in December. Some day in my life I'll be early for a flight. This wasn't the day — but I did manage to slap on a coat of mascara just before running out the door. En route to Miami I did mental victory laps about finishing Christmas wrapping, tree trimming, and otherwise clearing the decks so we wouldn't return to a mess of holiday stress and activity. (By the way/groan: as I write this, our tree is still up.) I read our itinerary, Spanish vocabulary cards, and the Lonely Planet guide, and tried not to re-read the part about how few visitors bring young children to Colombia. Early evening in Miami, we traversed the airport by train and foot to make our connection to Medellín. We've been through Miami airport before, and Tyler reminisced loudly about trips gone by as we trotted along. I gave serious consideration to cutting, running, and re-routing our journey to the Florida Keys. In the departure lounge for Medellín, I perused our fellow travelers discreetly. Lots of U.S. business people with sensible polos, khakis, and rollerboard carry-ons. Lots of families returning home. Very vanilla; I felt like we blended right in. But no amount of swiping could make the electronic boarding passes on our iDevices work (though they'd gotten us to Miami without a hitch), so it was out of line, get paper boarding passes, try again, board late, and scramble to our cramped aft seats. Enter Damien. Damien was tall and broad-shouldered, sporting dark glasses in the already dark cabin, and a blonde, ungelled mohawk flowing down across his shoulders. His thick arms wore only a series of intricate, reptile skin tattoos. Boarding just before the cabin doors shut, Damien stashed his bag in a first-class overhead bin, then combat-booted it back to our row in the cheap seats. Apparently Tyler and I had accidentally taken window-middle instead of middle-aisle. (Doesn't A-B-C usually mean window-middle-aisle?) I offered to move but Damien let us stay put — after dropping an f-bomb, p-bomb (i.e., "If I weren't such a f****** p****..."), and making it clear I knew it was a good thing he wasn't an a-hole. (Which had something of the opposite effect.) Tyler would have thoroughly enjoyed Damien's "sentence enhancers" (as Spongebob would put it), but was deep in an audio book and oblivious. [Update: in the comments, Damien swears — heh — no f-bombs were dropped, and I'll take his word for it. My memory may have embellished.] Once seated, Damien looked us over. "You're awfully white to be going to Colombia," he deadpanned, despite the fact he himself was clearly of Viking stock, with snowy white skin but for his scaly green forearm flexors. I told him what we were up to, and Damien and I had a great chat for the next 2 1/2 hours. He's from Toronto and lives most of the year in Medellín. He's been to L.A. but not Newport Beach, which I tried to describe: shopping malls, law firms and stock brokerages, gated communities (though saying you don't live in one is like Clinton proclaiming he didn't inhale). "Coach bags and SUVs?" he asked. "Bingo." Damien has a place in Medellín, where life is good and real estate prices are, he told me, very attractive. His local knowledge was far more interesting and potentially useful than the guide book's. I learned: Manicures and pedicures cost the equivalent of $4 U.S. in Medellín and are awesome. Colombians love to have well-groomed nails. Wedding bands are worn on the right hand. (I moved mine.) Damien said Colombian men were "10 times worse than Italians" when it comes to hitting on unaccompanied women. To [...]
Wed, 28 Dec 2011 18:30:42 +0000On August 4, 2011, I'd never thought of visiting Colombia. I didn't even have a precise idea where it was in South America. However, I'd joined Google+ the month before, had been using the service, and at that time I think about 10,000 people had me in circles. (The growth on Google+ has been remarkable. On Twitter, some 8,000 people follow me and that's been constant for awhile. On Google+ at the moment, 245,590 people have me in circles, up from 10K in early August and 0 in early July. I have no idea why there's such rapid uptake on Google+ or why the huge disparity with Twitter, which I've used for five years.) For this reason, 26-year old Matt Dickhaus, head of U.S. marketing for Viventura, emailed and asked if I wanted to "participate in a South American tour," possibly for free. With apologies to Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, thus began my Six Stages of Colombia. Stage 1 - Incredulity. People don't offer me trips to South America every day. I was intrigued but skeptical. I don't stay at "free" hotels that require a time-share pitch, and this seemed like a possible branch of that tree. Also, I have an 8-year-old, Tyler, who, when you pick him up and shake him, feels only somewhat ready for international travel - not quite ripe, in other words. Leaving him home wasn't an option, nor did I want to. Stage 2 - Excitement. Matt and I started emailing and speaking by phone. Tyler adores animals, and has been obsessed with the rainforest since age 3. We honed in on Colombia. Viventura had never had young children join a tour (they generally recommend travelers be at least 14), but Matt and his team began putting together a new itinerary: "a kid friendly journey with a focus on the beautiful beaches and extraordinary wildlife Colombia has to offer." Plus, what Viventura wanted from me was something I'd want to do anyway: post pictures, share the experience online. Viventura could accommodate up to 9 people on a tour, so I started asking friends with kids if this was something they could see themselves doing. I offered to spread my "free" trip across all the travelers so what it would amount to was a slightly deeper discount than the 10% off they would already receive. I asked local friends. I asked relatives. I asked Evan Brown. I asked Rick Klau. Many were interested but it's a lot for people to drop everything and haul their kids to South America, and our travel dates were right up against the holidays. Stage 3 - Panic. By October 3, I was serious enough about the trip to be looking into nitty-gritty details, like air fare (expensive and indirect, from Los Angeles), and safety. Our anchor city for much of the trip was Medellín, which no North American adult can hear without also immediately inserting the words "Drug Cartel." U.S. State Department advisories about Colombia are somewhat encouraging ("Security in Colombia has improved significantly in recent years" and "The incidence of kidnapping in Colombia has diminished significantly from its peak at the beginning of this decade"), but also chilling: [T]errorist groups such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), the National Liberation Army (ELN), and other criminal organizations continue to kidnap and hold civilians for ransom or as political bargaining chips. No one is immune from kidnapping on the basis of occupation, nationality, or other factors. Kidnapping remains a serious threat, with two kidnapping cases of U.S. citizens reported since August 2010. One kidnapped citizen was rescued within 4 days and the other case resulted in the murder of the victim. Kidnapping in rural areas is of particular concern. On July[...]
Sun, 25 Dec 2011 00:22:03 +0000
(image) At the behest and hospitality of Matt Dickhaus and Viventura, I've just gotten back from a trip to Colombia, where I was joined by my son Tyler (8), good friend Lorri Megonigal, and her son Ryan (8), on an amazing adventure. We went to Medellín and its environs, the Pacific coast, the Caribbean coast, and one or two unexpected places along the way.
Over the next couple of weeks as the holiday dust settles, I'll tell you much more about how we decided to go to Colombia (it unfailingly raises eyebrows), where we went, the people we met, the animals who ate our food and pooped on us, our impressions along the way, the mud we wore (voluntarily and otherwise), and what's on my list for our next visit. I can't wait to narrate and re-live our experiences, as it was alternately magical, frustrating, eye-opening, and once-in-a-lifetime fun.
As you know I'm a technology lawyer, not a travel writer. But I have a medium-ish online footprint, and Viventura would like U.S. travelers interested in South America to know they're there. I've never opted in to a subsidized trip like this before (and don't know if I would again, or even be asked), but the good thing about being tapped to beta-test Viventura's program is it got me and my son off our keisters and on the road. We weren't looking to go to South America but I'm so glad we did.
Viventura comped the expense of my tour (otherwise $1,745 U.S.), and gave a 10% discount to everyone traveling with me. We paid for our own international airfare (pricey) and most of our food while there (cheap). I'm under no obligation to say good things about the experience or the company, and when I write it up in detail I'll let you know what was spectacular and what was less so.
I look forward to telling you more soon about our time in Colombia! In the meantime, a warm and tranquil holiday to you and your family. (For our part, we have a renewed appreciation for hot showers and sane drivers.)
Sun, 11 Dec 2011 15:10:42 +0000
Thanks to our wonderful panels on the last several episodes of This WEEK in LAW!