Popular sentiment often has it that intellectual property (IP) law exists to keep powerful corporations from having to share their IP with little-guy competitors and the broader culture -- Disney is frequently cited for having reworked public domain stories into copyright-protected imagery to great profit. Today we hear about a little-guy competitor using the very same IP laws to protect itself from a very powerful corporation.
Toronto-based i4i Inc. has succeeded in winning a $290 million (USD) judgement against Microsoft Inc. after the software giant apparently included some of i4i's intellectual property in past versions of Microsoft Word.
And, on the other side of the constantly spinning IP wheel, Amazon's proprietary Kindle code has been hacked, rendering their entire store of e-books vulnerable to illegal p2p sharing.
No word yet on whether or not the "little-guy" who hacked the Kindle gets the irony of my reporting these two stories together in one posting.
UPDATE: One more little thing in IP today:
American fantasy writer Ursula K. LeGuin resigns from the Authors Guild, citing her disagreement with them on the Google settlement. Thanks for the tip, NMcG.
Annnnnd finally: I ran across this entirely confusing IP-related posting on Boing Boing -- by way of context, one normally visits Boing Boing to find all sorts of comments supporting the idea that locking anything away from the consumer is an idea spawned in the underworld. But judging by the comments after this criticism of a Google policy, I now understand that Boing Boing fans believe they should be allowed to hack anything they want to, except for Google's code. Because?