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Superman Grows Old

The question of what happens to Superman as he ages was never dealt with, you know. Does he age at all if left on Sol to operate by solar power? Do his powers fade with time? Does he achieve a sort of "super" senescence that is like the hip vibe of the World's Most Interesting Man, but lasts forever?

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“Men” Down in Case Down Under

The 80’s Australian pop-rock band Men at Work, whose vegemite-themed hit “Down Under” vaulted them into superstardom — winning them a Grammy for Best New Artist, and earning them a place in rock history as the only Aussie band to have ever concurrently had a No. 1 album and single in the U.S. —  has been found liable for infringing the copyright of the 1935 children’s campfire tune “Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree.”  An Australian court ruled today that the band had copied substantial portions of ‘Kookaburra,’ specifically finding that the flute riff in “Down Under” replicated a material section of the earlier work. The band was ordered to pay some 27 years of royalties earned by their hit song.

Attorneys for the company which owns the rights to ‘Kookaburra’ stated out of court that they may seek up to 60 percent of the royalties earned by “Down Under” since its release. Considering that the song has sold more than 20 million copies since its release, the anticipated damages could force the aging rockers into yet another round of reunion concerts.

Baidu Beats Piracy Charges

A Chinese court found no wrongdoing by Baidu in a copyright infringement case launched against the largest search engine in China some two years ago by Universal Music, Sony BMG Music Entertainment Hong Kong and Warner Music Hong Kong. The Beijing court ruled that the search engine had not broken the law by linking downloads that infringe copyright.

The IFPI expressed disappointment with the ruling, which left them contemplating their next steps in the face of yet another adverse ruling against the music companies by Chinese courts. In the view of IFPI, the verdict did not comport with their belief that Baidu had created its music search businesses “on the basis of facilitating mass copyright infringement, to the detriment of artists, producers and all those involved in China’s legitimate music market.” Given that Baidu now has a music partnership with seven labels (including EMI) that allows it to legally stream music, this may be the end of their legal woes with the recording industry.

McDonald’s sues teen over use of “McFest”

A Chicago teenager suddenly finds herself embroiled in a trademark dispute with McDonald’s Corp. over her use of the name McFest for an annual charity concert featuring high school and college bands.  Although the concert, which raises money for the Special Olympics, has been promoted under the McFest name since 2007, and the teen’s surname is McClusky, apparently the corporate giant fears that use of the McFest mark will diminish the power of its own mark. Given that McDonald’s has trademarked as many words beginning with “Mc” as the USPTO has been willing to hand out (e.g., Mc$ave, McButton, McRule, McFree and just plain Mc), it’s really not surprising, but one has to wonder where it will stop. Just out of curiosity I wrote down all the last names starting with Mc that I could think of, and was still going strong after I’d reached 50. Can McDonald’s really prevent everyone with a surname starting with Mc from opening their own McBusinesses?

The Busy Executive’s Guide to Self-Defense (Against Hackers)

In her new guide for corporate management, Enterprise Security for the Executive: Setting the Tone From The Top, Jennifer Bayuk, former head of information security for Bear Stearns, contends that assaults on corporate security over the Internet continue to put valuable corporate assets at risk, and offers guidance for measuring, managing and minimizing those risks. As long as people stand to make money by accessing your data, you can be sure that someone out there is tap-tap-tapping at your firewall, hoping that you’ve stopped paying attention momentarily. One possible solution? Follow the footsteps of the FBI and hire a former hacker to make your site impenetrable.