One of the best ways to stay on top of IP/Tech legal developments is by subscribing to blogs. In the IP/Tech field, there are many very good ones to choose from. Justia’s BlawgSearch lists and ranks many of them. I subscribe to over 90. Over the holidays, and with the help of McCarthy Tetrault articling student Addison Cameron-Huff, I ranked them by popularity.
There is no perfect tool for conducting this type of evaluation. I relied on RSS subscriber counts using the RSS subscriber base of Google Reader, iGoogle and Google Desktop as a proxy.[i] I also reviewed each site’s Google PaegRank and Alexa rank which were somewhat helpful in confirming or determining popularity.[ii]
Set out below is a listing of legal IP/Tech blogs ordered by popularity and geography as follows:
- Top 10 blogs worldwide
- UK/Australia and other Commonwealth countries
If I missed anyone’s blog, please let me know. I will use the feedback when I update the rankings. I am also interested in knowing about any foreign blogs I may have overlooked. I read as many as I can to help keep my six volume book Computer, Internet and eCommerce Law up to date with international developments.
The 10 most popular IP/Tech blogs from around the world are shown below. US blogs predominate the rankings with patent blogs being at the top led by the most popular blogs, Patently-O, Patent Baristas, and FOSS Patents. The most popular Internet/IP blogs are Michael Geist’s blog, the only Canadian blog to make the top 10, Prof. Eric Goldman’s Technology & Marketing Law Blog, and Evan Brown’s blog, Internet Cases. The IPKat, a very popular UK/EU IP blog narrowly missed being in this elite list, ranking 12th worldwide.
The world’s most popular legal IP/IT news picks blog is Groklaw NewsPicks.
The only legal IP/IT blog to make the list from India is Spicy IP.
There are many more excellent blogs around the world. They are ranked by geography and popularity below.
One caveat to keep in mind in reviewing the rankings is that popularity is not always the best measure of a blog’s quality. Some blogs, for example, have a relatively lower ranking but have excellent, insightful, reliable, and timely content. There are many “diamonds in the rough” in the blogs ranked below. Some blogs may be lower in the rankings because they cater to niche topics, a narrower spectrum of the public, or are just not as widely known as others. I encourage you, therefore, to explore the blogs listed below to find the ones for you.
Canada, has a surprisingly large number of IP/Tech blogs. By far, the most popular is Michael Geist’s blog. By my estimation, his blog is more than 5 times more popular than the next most popular blog, that of his comrade, Howard Knopf’s EXCESS COPYRIGHT blog.
The next most popular is the excellent IP Osgoode blog. It features regular updates by student IPilogue Editors and contributors from across Canada and other countries, with posts by leading academics such as Osgoode Profs. David Vaver and Pina D’Agostoino.
My blog, Copyright, Intellectual Property, Computer, Internet, e-Commerce Law which came in 4th in the rankings, was recognized in this year’s Canadian Law Blog Awards (ClawBies) as runner up for Best Canadian Law Blog.
There are other excellent blogs. Bob Tarantino and Stephen Zolf are frequent contributors to Entertainment & Media Law Signal. The most popular privacy blog is David Fraser’s Canadian Privacy Law Blog. All About Information, a blog published by lawyers at Hicks Morley, also deals with privacy as well as other topics. David canton also has a popular tech blog eLegal Canton. Clark Wilson from Vancouver publishes the popular trademarks blog Canadian Trademark Blog. A relatively unknown blog is published by Vancouver lawyer Andrei Mincov. He has some interesting posts including ones in which he debated copyright reform issues with Google’s William Patry.
McCarthy Tetrault’s new snIP/Its blog also reports on legal developments from across the country.
The list below doesn’t rank the very popular legal blog Slaw which includes some IP/tech content including posts by John Gregory that are usually also posted on his popular e-commerce listserve.
There are some excellent blogs from around the Commonwealth. The IPKat has a team of bloggers lead by Jeremy Phillips. The IPkat has posts that cover the gamut of IP issues including developments in the UK and throughout the EU. It is a must read blog for those wanting to keep up with UK/EU developments. One of my personal favourite blogs is the 1709 Copyright Blog. The 1709 Bog Squad focuses on copyright developments in the UK and EU, but also has postings about copyright developments elsewhere. Inforrm’s Blog is one of the best media blogs which covers UK and foreign developments. Pinsent Masons’ Out-Law.com is also a popular UK based blog. It started off focusing on IP/Tech issues and expanded to cover a wider range of topics.
An excellent Australian blog is IP Whiteboard published by King & Wood Mallesons. You can also keep up to date with Australian copyright law by subscribing to the e-mail feed published by the Australian Copyright Council.
A very popular IP blog from India is Spicy IP.
There are also good english speaking blogs that focus on legal developments in Europe. I already referred to The IPKat and the 1709 Copyright Blog. For European developments Kluwer Copyright Blog is excellent. The Dutch-based blog, FUTURE OF COPYRIGHT, also provides a good summary of developments in that country as well as elsewhere.
The US has the largest and most diverse spectrum of legal IP/Tech blogs. Its most popular blogs focus on patents with Patently-O being ahead of its nearest rival Patent Baristas by a ratio of approximately 7:4. Gene Quinn’s IPwatchdog is also a popular blog, with a pro-patent/innovation orientation. If you want to follow the smartphone IP wars, a current source is FOSS Patents published by Florian Mueller.
For trademark law, Rebecca Tushnet’s 43(B)log, The Trademark Blog, The TTABlog®, and Likelihood of Confusion® are most popular. For privacy developments including developments in the US and EU, Francoise Gilbert – Privacy – Security – Cloud Computing blog is informative.
Several popular copyright blogs are Ray Dowd’s Copyright Litigation Blog, David Lowery’s The Trichordist, Fairly Used published by Stanford, Copyhype published by Terry Hart and Chris Castle’s blog MUSIC • TECHNOLOGY • POLICY.
Pamela Jones’ Groklaw NewsPicks has a great compilation of IP/Tech news picks. It is somewhat like my daily and weekly Computer and Internet Law Updates, but its focus, understandably, is mainly on US developments.
A legal blog that focuses on social media legal issues is SociallyAware published by Morrison Foerster. Dear Rich: Nolo’s Intellectual Property Blog is one of the few blogs that answers IP questions posed by members of the public.
There are many other effective ways for IP/Tech lawyers to keep abreast of legal developments. For example, publishers of legal cases and related materials such as Canlii, Westlaw (Westwatch), and Google Scholar all enable automated keyword searches with daily delivery options which include RSS feeds. Setting up multiple Google Alerts is also a good way to monitor the web to keep abreast of legal developments. Following the right people on Twitter can also be useful.
Unlike some other sources, blogs can offer a current source of legal developments with commentary that provides context and insights that the other sources lack. As the you can see, there are many to choose from.
One last caveat. Blog posts are not peer reviewed law articles and bloggers are not necessarily experts or unbiased specialists in their fields. Accordingly, you should take the time to evaluate the posts you read to reach your own conclusions about the degree to which you can rely on the information or views of any blog or blogger. Popularity may be an indication of reliability but is no guarantee of it.
[i] http://www.labnol.org/internet/find-rss-subscriber-count/18241/, http://hellboundbloggers.com/2010/12/17/find-rss-subscribers-of-any-blog/ [ii] I can’t guarantee that the tables are 100% accurate. This is due to a number of factors that are inherent in this kind of exercise. For example, RSS subscription data is only one factor that measures popularity. The data changes daily. Some of the rankings were very close, especially at the lower end. The measures used are only proxies of popularity. Every proxy has some defects in accuracy. Note, not ranked are commercial blogs that have a heavy focus on legal developments in various technology sectors. These include, for example, PaidContent, Techdirt, Ars Technica’s Law & Disorder, TorrentFreak which are substantially more popular than any of the blogs ranked.