Sunday, February 24, 2008

Bates Numbering with Adobe Acrobat 8 Pro

I have just mastered the Bates-numbering function of Adobe 8 Pro. It enables you to Bates-number large quantities of PDF files. Given that most cases are now filed electronically, this makes it that much easier to never see paper in the office. Adobe lets you place a large number of PDFs into one window, reorganize them, then insert a Bates-number into the first page of the first document that then continues throughout the rest of the batch. You can also easily search for documents by Bates number.

Working in a complex international case, I fought for a long time to convince my European counterparts of the wisdom of Bates-numbering. Now that documents number in the thousands, they are convinced of the wisdom!

I don't know how long lawyers have been seriously Bates-numbering documents, but I recently had occasion to review the Nuremberg trial exhibits in the USGPO publication Nazi Conspiracy and Agression (1946). It seems that each international team of prosecutors was using a unique Bates-style system to stamp hundreds of thousands of documents as they were received.

Probably only lawyers could get so worked up about page numbers, but there is nothing worse than collecting useless evidence because you can't tell what a witness was looking at, or fumbling around with mis-numbered or unnumbered pages in a courtroom.

Some Bates-numbering background and history from Wikipedia:

Bates numbering (also known as Bates stamping or Bates coding) is used in the legal, medical, and business fields to place identifying numbers and/or date/time-marks on images and documents as they are scanned or processed (for example, during the discovery stage of preparations for trial or identifying business receipts). Bates Stamping can be used to mark and identify images with copyrights by putting a company name, logo and/or legal copyright on them. This process provides identification, protection, and auto-increment numbering of the images.
Bates numbering is commonly used as an organizational method to label and identify legal documents. During the discovery phase of litigation, a large number of documents might necessitate the use of unique identifiers for each page of each document for reference and retreival. Bates numbering (named for the Bates automatic numbering machine), assigns an arbitrary unique identifier to each page. Such "numbering" may be solely numeric or may contain a combination of letters and numbers (alphanumeric). There is no standard method for numbering documents. Examples of Bates numbers schemes used in tobacco cases may be found here.
Manual Bates stamping uses a self inking stamp with numbered wheels (5, 6, and 7-wheeled models are common) that automatically increment each time the stamp is pressed down on a page (some stamps allow for duplicate documents by only incrementing after two or more presses). Today, preprinted, self-adhesive labels are common as is electronic document discovery (EDD) software that can electronically "stamp" documents stored as computer files by superimpsoing numbers onto them.
The Bates Automatic Numbering Machine was patented in 1891-93 by the Bates Manufacturing Company of Edison, NJ.[1]
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Sunday, February 17, 2008

Copyright and Publishing Online Program

If you would like to earn CLE (Continuing Legal Education) credits online, my publisher, West has made available online a course I delivered in Eagan, Minnesota. Below, you can find a video excerpt.

Anyone putting up a website or a blog is a "publisher" these days, so it helps to know the principles involved. What can you publish? What will get you in trouble? How do you analyze problems that arise in using content created by others?

Copyright Law and Publishing
Content Provider: Clarion LegalDuration: 2 hours 0 minutes
Program Description: This session is comprised of practical, hands-on examples designed to give participants the analytical tools with which to confront copyright issues facing publishers.

If you would like more information or want to enroll in this program, click on the program title listed above or paste this link into your web browser:

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Cooper Union and Marcel Duchamp

I gave a lecture on copyright and fine art last week at Cooper Union. The audience was an interesting mix of fine art and engineering students and the questions were varied and challenging. I learned more about my art examples - a student corrected me on the source photograph for a Vik Muniz memory drawing, and the program's Director, Robert Thill, happens to be particularly well-informed on Marcel Duchamp's artworks and career.
In my lectures, I cite Marcel Duchamp as the originator of the "Readymade" - which is generally credited with sparking the major debate of "what is art" that characterized the last half of the 20th Century. I show a photograph of the urinal (known as the "Fountain") that Duchamp submitted to an art show, which was famously refused.
Professor Thill referred me to an online journal called: "Tout-fait: The Marcel Duchamp Studies Online Journal, found at He referred me to an article called Marcel Duchamp: A readymade case for collecting objects of our cultural heritage along with works of art. by Rhonda Roland Shearer.
The article and journal is sponsored by the Art Science Research Laboratory on Greene Street. This group has studied all of the objects that Duchamp claims that he simply purchased from mass production and then used as artworks. From the little I read, it appears that Duchamp may have actually constructed the urinal himself, as well as many of the other objects that he claimed he simply found.
In my lecture, I use the Duchamp Fountain/urinal as an example of an artwork which is questionably a work of art and not protectable by copyright, both because it is a useful object and because it lacks protectable original authorial expression. The Tout-Fait journals are fascinating reading, and fascinating to know that Duchamp may have sculpted that urinal, since there was no urinal of that description commercially available at the time. Thanks, Cooper Union!

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Copyright, Architecture and McMansions

Architectural Works & Copyright Law:
Would you like fries with that McMansion?
A Joint Meeting of the Construction Law
Committee and the IP Subcommitteeof EMIPS

Date: Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Time: 6:00 pmLocation: NYCLA, 14 Vesey Street; Board Room

Presenters: Raymond Dowd and Braden Farber
Please join us for a discussion of Axelrod & Cherveny v. Winmar Homes(E.D.N.Y. March 6, 2007)< > and howcopyright law applies to architectural works under the Architectural WorksCopyright Act.
Our guest speaker, Braden Farber, was lead counsel in theAxelrod case. Pictures of the architectural works at issue are available at
Biographies:Raymond J. Dowd is a member of Dunnington, Bartholow & Millers's corporate,litigation and arbitration practice groups. He has broad commercial litigation experience in both federal and state courts, and has representedcopyright, trademark and domain name owners and content providers intransactions and litigation of almost every type, representing bothplaintiffs and defendants. He has conducted numerous bench and jury trials,and arbitrations, and has obtained, enforced, and collected numerousjudgments. In addition, he has provided corporate and transactionalrepresentation for a number of entrepreneurial companies from theincorporation and startup phase through significant growth. Mr. Dowd regularly speaks to trade associations on copyright, trademark andlitigation issues, and participates in organizing continuing legal educationprograms. Additionally, Mr. Dowd is the author of the Copyright LitigationHandbook. (
Braden Farber is a partner at Farber, Brocks & Zane. Mr. Farber specializesin representing architects, engineers, other design professionals andcontractors in construction related matters, and also serves as counsel tomany design firms, property owners, real estate developers and contractors.Mr. Farber is a member of several design professional organizations andsocieties, is a frequent lecturer on relevant topics of interest, and alsoprovides accredited continuing education courses. Mr. Farber also handlesgeneral liability and environmental claims for private and municipal property owners, contractors and other business owners.(
*From a New York County Lawyers' Association bulletin. Architecture and copyright is a hot topic. Many builders and architects don't know their rights and how to protect themselves. As we head into a recession, we should see many litigations relating to construction hitting the federal courts under the guise of copyright. Special thanks to EMIPS Chair Olivera Medenica and Construction Law Committee Chair Carol Sigmond for putting this together and getting us NYCLA's prestigious Board Room.