Jennifer Lopez fights cybersquatting case

Singer Jennifer Lopez has filed papers against the owner of and, accusing him of cybersquatting.

The two sites are owned by one Jeremiah Tieman who lives in Arizona and uses the sites to display news, pictures and videos of and about the singer and includes a disclaimer at the bottom stating that the sites are fan sites and are not endorsed by Lopez. However, both sites also include prominent ads and links through to affiliate sites.

Case D2009-0057 was filed last week with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) by Lopez’s charitable foundation – which support women and children on low incomes – rather than her hard-hitting IP lawyers Fross, Zelnick, Lehrman and Zissu who are the registered owners of Lopez’s dotcom website.

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Sunset in Venice

One of the bizarre but wonderful things about living in Los Angeles is that when all your friends are freezing cold or trapped under the snow in January, you get to walk in the sun and witness the most extraordinary sunsets.

Last night I saw the makings of an extraordinary sunset and jumped on my bike to Venice to get some snaps. Here’s one and under that, a Flickr feed of the rest:

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Net marvels: the Obama Inauguration

There’s nothing like a big event to get people thinking, particularly when that event is the inauguration of a president who brings with him the hopes and dreams of a generation.

Barack Obama will be sworn in as 44th President of the United States in nine days on Tuesday 20th January. There are also a range of events in the weekend leading up to it and on the Monday before – Martin Luther King Day – and all that has got people’s online minds whirring.

Here’s a quick rundown of the best spots on the Net about the inauguration and inspired by the inauguration:

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Frost/Nixon: Film review

It may be worth declaring a conflict of interest straight off: I can’t stand David Frost.

As a child, he instilled a strange kind of lonely hatred on Through the Keyhole – a formulaic game show in which the preening host would constantly insert amusing anecdotes about some famous person he had interviewed decades earlier.

And as an adult, embarrassment turned to frustration as politician after politician was given an easy ride on Breakfast with Frost – the BBC Sunday morning current affairs show that was finally booted off air in 2005 (but not before 12 years of instantly forgettable and, in some cases, depressingly bad interviews).

But these shows are minor manifestations of the two things that David Frost has been doing with extraordinary consistency for the past 40 years: interviewing people and annoying people.

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Satriani vs Coldplay: court docs and audio links

So British superband of the moment Coldplay is being sued in Los Angeles for plagiarising guitarist Joe Satriani in their hit Viva la Vida. Joe says that the song – also the title of Coldplay’s fourth album “incorporated substantial, original portions of Plaintiff’s composition ‘If I Could Fly‘.”

Read the actual court document detailing the case against Coldplay here.

The court docs were filed last week – 4 December – and so of course, the Internet being the extraordinary global gossip network that it is, the story has swamped a million blogs and newspapers. Joe has done an interview with Music Radar saying that it “felt like a dagger went right through my heart” when he first heard Coldplay’s composition. Following the media frenzy, Coldplay has responded with a note on its website saying “if there are any similarities between our two pieces of music, they are entirely coincidental” and asking that Joe “respectfully accept our assurances” that they didn’t rip him off.

Something that always bugs me about stories covering lawsuits is that media outlets never provides links the documents themselves, so I thought I’d fix that and go grab the docs and post them here.

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The Internet Governance Forum – third time lucky

I was at the United Nations in Geneva last week to watch what was happening to the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) as it prepares for its third outing, this December in Hyderabad, India.

Actually I was there for a different reason – an ICANN consultative meeting on the future of the organization the morning before the UN meeting – but it seemed daft to fly all that way and not check out the day of open discussions about the IGF. Plus I have a real soft spot for the IGF and the people that have worked extremely hard to make it a success.

I was a witness to the IGF’s creation, on paper, at the World Summit on the Information Society back in 2005, and then followed it all the way through various preparatory sessions as a reporter.

At the inaugural IGF in Athens, I was asked to be the conference’s “blogger-in-chief” – a position that, ironically enough, my current employer tried to veto. As a semi-official part of the IGF, I also got to see behind the scenes, and was impressed with the hard work, dedication and calm handling of what was an enormous and risky experiment. A lot of people at the time confessed to turning up just to see what would happen – spectators to what could have been the biggest diplomatic car crash for a decade. In the end, despite the odds, it shone through.

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Blog posts to come

I have been itching to do some writing but have been caught up with other things: friends visiting, fixing up the van, and work. So I’ll quickly going to knock up a list of blog posts I want to write so I don’t forget next time I am in front of a laptop, have 20 minutes and the urge to write…

* A review of the film Bottleshock
* Fixing up a VW Split-screen camper: pain and pleasure
* Amazon’s Kindle – review of a revolution
* American politics: the horror that a bipartisan media represents
* A review of the film Gonzo
* Various book reviews
* Strange habits of Californians
* How to listen to the BBC Today programme in bed in Los Angeles
* Other nonsense

Surfing at 33

There are many reasons why people don’t surf. The biggest is probably that very few people live close to an area of sea that produces waves that can be surfed on. But there are others: it’s bloody hard work; it requires a significant amount of co-ordination; you are guaranteed to take in at least three pints of saltwater; you have to carry around a huge stick.

At the moment, the main reason why I don’t think I’ll be getting on my new surfboard again tomorrow morning is because my ribs are killing me. I forgot how punishing surfing was. I haven’t surfed in four years, not since I lived in the one part of the UK where you can: Cornwall. Exhilarating but exhausting.

Yesterday afternoon at around 4pm though, prodded by my work colleague inquiring what I was doing on my birth-day-off tomorrow, I decided I was finally going to take advantage of living right on a surfing beach. So I called up my landlord (well, building supervisor) who is a surfer dude, got a recommendation, and rode at full pelt to Horizons West on Main St, Santa Monica, where I spent a bloody fortune on a surfboard, lead, wax, wetsuit, board jacket and something else.

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US news rant: the video evidence

I forgot to add that I also found two fantastic video clips that demonstrate the sheer madness of the TV news in the United States.

One shows the mindless self-absorption the media has with itself in such an extraordinary way that it could easily be mistaken for genius satire.


And the other is John Stewart doing what John Stewart does best – despairing but in a very entertaining way.

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US news rant on Guardian comment site

Forgot to say last week that the “US news: utter utter rubbish” rant I wrote a fortnight earlier appeared in a slightly more professional format on the Guardian’s Comment is Free site on Wednesday under the headline: Why TV news in the US is utter rubbish.

The title I sent them was: “Why TV news in the US is utter rubbish (blows big time)”. I still like that, although it is, admittedly, too long. Anyway, I was asked to reprise my original post and so I did by pulling the first person out of it (I *hate* comment pieces with constant “I”, “me” and “my” inclusions – in fact as an editor I would fire anyone that used the word “I” in the first three paragraphs); by adding some examples of the different traits I’d noticed; and by adding a bit on other news options at the end.

It’s not a bad piece. And even though it was swiftly off the front page of the Guardian site, it was the number six most-read piece all through Thursday, dropping down to #7 on Friday, and finally falling off the top ten on Saturday. Not bad considering the competition: John Pilger, Russia and Georgia, and John Edwards being caught with his pants down.

I also got 133 comments on it last time I looked. Hardly any were actually that useful, but then the site option becomes a place for other commenters to argue with one another rather than an extension of an article – such is the Internet way. Alot of other bloggers appeared to agree with my analysis – but then who exactly is going to stand up for the US news stations? They’re so dreadful even the Yanks can’t get patriotic about them.

Anyway, you can read the whole piece in glorious Technicolor here, or put up with my site below:

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