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Law firm for Nordic tech companies
Law firm for Nordic tech companies

Linclaw's posts

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Back from our holiday with new projects. Here's a link to the first draft of our creative commons licensed NDA. The purpose of the NDA is to be used in cases where parties want something simple in place to make sure what they do remains confidential. 

It's a first draft, so feel free to comment and make sure to check up on the draft to see how it develops. 

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For our Finnish-speaking followers, here's a short summary of some issues startup founders should consider when trying to anticipate founder relationships going sour. 

One idea we have been toying around with at our Nordic firm is to offer video webinars on various topics we usually present at client locations. Google+ Hangouts seems like a possible tool for this. Can anyone point us to any good examples of Hangouts used successfully by law firms or other professional services firms?

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As our first test of how the collaboration features of Google's platform can help our law firm better serve our clients, we thought we'd publish the first draft of our technology practice area brochure here on Google+ (after this, we are planning to release an agreement template). 

Take a look, and let us know what you think. What kind of impressions does  it create in you. Do you feel like it would get you interested in our technology law services? If not, why not?

Welcome new followers. After a little company retreat in the sun, we are back in action and looking forward to dealing with new legal challenges you can throw our way.

In the meantime, if any of our followers have experience (or know someone who has) of developing web apps for document production (i.e., producing word docs & PDFs etc from form input), feel free to throw us some names. We have a few legal offering ideas in the pipeline in which we'd need some tech help.  

Today's law industry software trend observation: It seems that Microsoft Office is no longer as important as it was to lawyers before. Our law firm has now moved most of our personal productivity work into the cloud to Google, and we've seen productivity improve significantly.

More importantly, more and more customers are happy to receive links to docs in the cloud instead of MS Office files (although we still send .docs to the majority of them). It could of course be that our clients are cooler than the typical well-established tech company from pre-Web days;)

Finland considers a copyright tax on Google Drive, Microsoft Skydrive, Dropbox and Apple iCloud.

According to a leaked draft report, the government is asked to extent the current copyright levy regime to cover not only mobile phones and similar devices, but also web-based storage services such as those listed above. It is unclear how the levy would be implemented in practice especially if the user is only using a free version of the storage service.

UPDATE 10.5.2012 - The proposal has now been made public. The levy on web storage services would be roughly 0.5-1% of the price of the service. The report does not state how to charge the levy if the service is free.

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Attorney-coach Roy Ginsburg tells us lawyers that we should not try to compete on price. According to him, clients don't want low prices and expect quality to cost. What do you think?

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The European Court of Justice has published its decision in Europe’s Oracle v Google equivalent, SAS v WPL.

The case dealt with, amongst other things, with the issue of whether WPL infringed SAS’s copyright by developing a competing platform for running scripts created in SAS’s proprietary script language. WPL’s run-time platform was designed to emulate SAS’s own platform to the extent, that it accepted the same inputs by scripts and provided the same outputs, so that a SAS script could run on WPL’s platform as well.

SAS claimed the development of WPL’s run-time environment infringed SAS’ copyrights in the “functionality of a computer program and the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program”.

According to the Court of Justice, WPL did not infringe SAS’s copyrights because the allegedly copied elements were not protected under EU copyright law. According to the court (at paragraph 46),

“neither the functionality of a computer program nor the programming language and the format of data files used in a computer program in order to exploit certain of its functions constitute a form of expression of that program and, as such, are not protected by copyright in computer programs for the purposes of that directive.”

In other words, comparing this to the copyright issue in Oracle v Google, under EU copyright law Google would not infringe copyright if it would merely reproduce Oracle Java’s functionality, the actual Java language, or file formats used by Java.

There is, however, a significant difference between Oracle v Google and the case at hand in Europe. The alleged infringer in the EU case, WPL, never had access to the source code of SAS’s own run-time environment. Google, on the other hand, has copied parts of Oracle’s Java, with the issue merely being whether the copied parts were protected and whether Google had a license for the copying. The Court of Justice points out this material difference clearly in paragraph 43 of its opinion, where it states that:

In that context, it should be made clear that, if a third party were to procure the part of the source code or the object code relating to the programming language or to the format of data files used in a computer program, and if that party were to create, with the aid of that code, similar elements in its own computer program, that conduct would be liable to constitute partial reproduction within the meaning of Article 4(a) of Directive 91/250.

Thus, although the SAS v WPL case brings welcome clarity to the scope of copyright protection of computer programs in the EU, it is arguably too early to say that a finding of copyright infringement in the Oracle v Google case would bring US copyright law into conflict with EU copyright law.

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With Google's launch of its Drive cloud storage, attention has focused on the terms and conditions of the service which some say give Google ownership of your data.

According to Linclaw lawyer Ossi Niiranen, the discussion has been blown out of proportion.

"The terms of service do not grant Google ownership of your documents, merely a license to use them for the purpose of operating the service and developing new services. It is in fact this latter rather vague purpose that is more troubling, but it is typical provision in Google's terms and services and applies also to Android Apps submitted to Google Play."
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