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9/26/2005
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Before We Educate The Foreigners, Let's Fix Things At Home

In This Issue:
1. Editor's Note: Before We Educate The Foreigners, Let's Fix Things At Home
2. Today's Top Story
    - Google Releases Toolbar For Firefox
    - Intellitext Debuts MSN Search Toolbar With Privacy Protection
    - AOL Portal Officially Out Of Beta
    - Ask Jeeves To Retire Mascot
3. Breaking News
    - IBM, Amid Layoffs, Scours Globe For IT Talent
    - Oracle Reports 25% Sales Growth
    - Court Battle Tests Consumer Protection Laws
    - Ellison Meets The Press
    - Easing The Complexity Of VoWLAN
    - First Planes To Trial Personal Cell Phones
    - TiVo Users Fear Recording Restrictions
    - Financial Firms Declare War On Hacking
    - Protection Gets Granular
4. In Depth: Hurricane Rita
5. Voice Of Authority: Intellectual-Property Protection
6. White Papers: Business Applications
7. Get More Out Of InformationWeek
8. Manage Your Newsletter Subscription

Quote of the day:
"Property has its duties as well as its rights." -- Thomas Drummond


1. Editor's Note: Before We Educate The Foreigners, Let's Fix Things At Home

My colleague Tish Keefe argued Friday that she hoped U.S. Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez misspoke when he said that fighting intellectual-property theft was a top priority for the Bush administration. She notes that there are plenty of other, more pressing issues that should be of greater concern for the federal government.

Tish is right, but I don't think she goes far enough. Before we educate the foreigners on how to correct their intellectual-property practices, we need to correct our own.

The United States hasn't had any kind of intelligent intellectual-property policy since 1999, when Napster caused a tsunami of music downloading. Since then, intellectual-property law has been driven by panic and fear. The recording industry started suing everybody in sight and pushing legislation through Congress expanding copyright and rights of enforcement. Meanwhile, established corporations like the SCO Group are trying to expand patent law and other intellectual-property protections in efforts that are stifling innovation.

Digital-rights management, or DRM, of consumer media is the most visible symptom of the United States' broken intellectual-property policy. Media and electronics companies are pouring fortunes into developing DRM technology. DRM is just plain bad business: It's expensive and unreliable, and it restricts customers' ability to use media as they want to. The DRM vendor's best hope is that the restrictions won't be too onerous. TiVo is learning that lesson the hard way.

Intellectual property is at the core of a recent lawsuit against Google. Google is getting ready to relaunch a program that will search inside copyrighted books the way that Google now searches inside Web pages. The Authors Guild is suing, saying Google should ask permission of the copyright owners before indexing their books.

In the ideal universe, the Google case would be decided by a public policy initiative, recognizing that the emergence of electronic media requires a revision of U.S. intellectual-property laws in such a way that public benefit and private right of property are balanced fairly. But we don't live in the ideal universe, so instead the case of the Authors Guild vs. Google will likely be decided by the side that has the lawyers with the fanciest suits.

I've got some more to say about this subject. For the full-length version of this Editor's Note, or to leave a comment about it, see my entry on the InformationWeek Weblog.

By the way, if you only read Tish's comments in the Editor's Note you haven't read the whole thing; you can find the rest here.

Mitch Wagner
mwagner@cmp.com
www.informationweek.com


2. Today's Top Story

Google Releases Toolbar For Firefox
Google's Firefox search toolbar includes features such as spell check and a word translator.

Related Stories:
Intellitext Debuts MSN Search Toolbar With Privacy Protection

The tool is designed to deliver information from the Web or desktop without capturing user information.

AOL Portal Officially Out Of Beta
The portal is the latest step in AOL's change from a subscription-only service to challenge Yahoo, Microsoft MSN, and Google in online ads.

Ask Jeeves To Retire Mascot
The butler's getting the ax.


3. Breaking News

IBM, Amid Layoffs, Scours Globe For IT Talent
With globalization considered one of the key factors in IBM's restructuring, Big Blue is scouting for new IT talent with numerous openings in Russia, China, Brazil, and India--as well as the United States.

No 'Net Neutrality' Laws Needed, Panel Says
Government intervention to keep the Internet "open" could do more harm than good, according to a panel of experts speaking at an industry forum.

Oracle Reports 25% Sales Growth
Database and middleware software sales grew only 1% while acquisitions gave application sales a boost in 1Q.

Court Battle Tests Consumer Protection Laws
Visa and MasterCard are heading to court over whether they must notify customers--at least those who live in California--that a hacker stole their account information.

Ellison Meets The Press
In a Q&A, the Oracle CEO talks about scale, security, other possible acquisitions, and his company's relationship with IBM.

Easing The Complexity Of VoWLAN
Setting up a system for voice over wireless LANs (VoWLAN) is complex. Two groups are working toward simplification.

First Planes To Trial Personal Cell Phones
The carriers, both in Western Europe, will undergo separate three-month trials late next year to test passengers' ability to make and receive calls on their own cell phones.

TiVo Users Fear Recording Restrictions
Users fear new technology will allow broadcasters to delete programming from the TV-recording device at will.

Financial Firms Declare War On Hacking
The focus is on eliminating vulnerabilities by building security into applications rather than relying on perimeter security tools.

Protection Gets Granular
Major database vendors add layers of security that can be used on information where it resides inside the database.

All our latest news

John Soat has his "Eye on IT" in the current episode of "The News Show."

Watch The News Show

Also in today's episode:

Elena Malykhina with "Wi-Fi For Free"

Doug Henschen with "BI's Big Year"

Tony Kontzer with "The Big Question"


----- The latest research, polls, and tools -----

A Week's Worth Of Dailies--All In One Place
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-----------------------------------------


4. In Depth: Hurricane Rita

Bracing For Hurricane Rita? Follow These Cell-Phone Tips
Here's one suggestion: instead of voice calls, send text messages. They'll most likely go through faster than voice calls and will help keep networks free for emergency personnel. Sprint Nextel customers can use the walkie-talkie function instead of phone calls.

HP Evacuates 8,000 Houston Employees, Helps Threatened Businesses
The company began evacuating employees based in the Houston area on Wednesday and set up disaster-recovery centers for customers of its business-continuity services.

Spy Agency Prepares To Record Images Of Hurricane Rita's Destructive Path
The idea is to help with search and rescue, and to record the locations of oil rigs, plants that have toxic chemicals, and other things that will need to be cleaned up.

Senate Introduces Funding For Emergency Communications
The bill would give states and communities up to $400 million in 2006, increasing gradually to $1 billion by 2010, to improve emergency communications capabilities.


5. Voice Of Authority: Intellectual-Property Protection

Interview With Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez
Thomas Claburn gets Gutierrez's insights about the Bush administration's new initiative to deal with intellectual-property theft. Listen to the recorded interview.


6. White Papers: Business Software

Customer Relationship Management: Putting Customers At The Center Of The Business
CRM can only be a success if the solution is integrated throughout the entire organization. This paper addresses how CRM technology has evolved, current challenges in merging existing processes, and the necessary requirements for making CRM an integral success throughout the entire organization, leading to better customer communication and retention.


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