Wednesday, 19 September 2012
As a law librarian you might have come across the brilliant IPKat weblog which has "intellectual property news and fun for everyone". The Kat tells us about the blog below...
Launched in June 2003 as a supplement to out-of-date London LLB and LLM Intellectual Property Law reading lists, the IPKat is now the most widely-read English language IP blog in the world. The blog’s function was simple: to draw the attention of students to recent legal cases, law reform proposals and commercial developments as viewed by a fictional cat, the IPKat. This Kat was later joined by a second fictional feline, Merpel. The two-cat team fulfilled a didactic function: while the IPKat’s comments and questions were simple and often verged on the naïve, Merpel’s were frequently sharply critical of judicial rulings, reform proposals or even decisions made by parties or the tactics employed by their legal advisors.
Since intellectual property law has been shaped by international treaties for more than a century and a quarter, and is substantially harmonised in Europe and through the World Trade Organization’s TRIPS Agreement, it was easy for the IPKat to reach out to an international readership. The addition of bloggers from Australia, Canada, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Israel, Switzerland and the United States has helped spread its scope of coverage. The blog also often commissions guest posts from professional colleagues, academics or fellow bloggers in other jurisdictions.
The permanent team of IPKat bloggers stands at six, this squad being supplemented by three guest Kats each of whom serves for a period of six months. Between them, the team generally post between 12 and 20 items a week. The IPKat’s searchable archive now contains over 7,000 items: case notes, analyses, opinion pieces, news items and reviews.
At present the IPKat serves 7,288 email subscribers, some 3,200 RSS feeders and getting on for 4,600 followers on Twitter. In addition, some 3,000 or so visitors come to the site each day of the working week. Earlier this year the IPKat welcomed its 4 millionth site visitor.
Various rules govern the blog posts. All sources must be given, ideally by hyperlink to an original information source or by hosting original documents themselves. Any member of the blog team may amend another team member’s blog if he or she thinks he can improve upon it, or take it down if it appears wrong. Where there is consensus between the team members, this is expressed by the phrase “The IPKat says …” whereas, if an expression of opinion belongs to one author alone, he or she writes “This Kat says …”. Every post must be written on the assumption that the reader is encountering intellectual property law for the first time, so should never assume too much knowledge —and, wherever possible, a cat theme should be employed. Also, all the blog team take the view that IP law is basically good, though one should not shrink from criticising its faults and arguing for its improvement.
The IPKat is an interactive blog which receives many comments and emails from readers. These comments are greatly appreciated and have done a great deal to keep the IPKat on its toes. Without the interaction, the authors would have no idea if their didactic ideals were having any effect.
Posted by Philip Cable at 22:11