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The Open Source Law Weekly Digest or OSWALD first launched late in 2002. Since then it has been regularly providing updates on all things open source related. The focus of this newsletter is on business, rather than technical developments in open source. Another strong component of the newsletter is IP news, as it is of interest to me and has an effect on open source.

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OSWALD #354 Period ending 11 April 2010

OSWALD #354 Period ending 11 April 2010

Welcome to the Open Source Law Weekly Open Source Digest (OSWALD)

A shorter OSWALD this week, going out early. There won't be any more OSWALD until probably the first week of May. The iPad seems unavoidable at the moment, so there are some stories about how it's not such a good idea, including one from BoingBoing. A continuing kerfuffle about IBM sending a letter listing a number of patents.

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Off Topic

But it Works on TV! Forensic 'science' often isn't.

According to the Innocence Project, of the 252 DNA exonerations since 1989, half the convictions were based at least partly on "unvalidated or improper forensic science. " The surprise is that the rate isn't higher: a 2009 report by the National Academy of Sciences found that, in contrast to DNA matching, "for many other forensic disciplines--such as fingerprint and toolmark analysis--no studies have been conducted" to determine how many shoes, teeth, fibers, sand grains, or anything else "share the same or similar features" and so might be linked to the wrong person. As a result, invalid forensic science "may have" helped convict innocent people.

Court Finds FCC Lacks Authority to Regulate Internet

In Comcast Corp. v. FCC, the court considered whether the FCC could bar Comcast from interfering with its customers' use of peer-to-peer networking applications. The FCC acknowledged it had no explicit regulatory authority to do so, but the agency claimed it had "ancillary" jurisdiction over such network management practices.

***** Government/Policy

Poisoned Apple?

This is why we end up with systems that allow Amazon, for instance, to retrospectively delete copies of a book from a Kindle because of someone else's licensing problems.

Proprietary Licenses Are Even Worse Than They Look

I've certainly become numb to the constant barrage of horrible restrictions they place on users. But, sometimes, proprietary licenses go so far that I'm taken aback by their gratuitous cruelty.

The BBC, DRM and the demise (?) of get_iplayer. what the hell is going on?

The iPlayer did stuff that left the BBC's iPlayer eating its dust

Our Future Remade by 'Maker Culture'

If in the near future individuals or small teams of people, rather than highly organized corporations, can make everything: including children's toys, weapons, cars, or our own organs, then what?

Microsoft's Violation of the Law Costing Fines in Wisconsin, But Fines Paid Back

Some sources call this "Computer Vouchers", but we previously saw evidence that such vouchers are useless for Free software because they only encourage more spendings on Microsoft software that costs nothing to produce and further increases dependence on Microsoft.

Copyright and wrong

Over the past 50 years, however, that balance has shifted. Largely thanks to the entertainment industry's lawyers and lobbyists, copyright's scope and duration have vastly increased. In America, copyright holders get 95 years' protection as a result of an extension granted in 1998, derided by critics as the "Mickey Mouse Protection Act". They are now calling for even greater protection, and there have been efforts to introduce similar terms in Europe. Such arguments should be resisted: it is time to tip the balance back.

Why I won't buy an iPad (and think you shouldn't, either)

Most of the really exciting stuff hasn't come from big corporations with enormous budgets, it's come from experimentalist amateurs.

***** Patent/CR/DRM News+Policy

IBM Denies Breaking Its Open-Source Promise

In response to a query from eWEEK, IBM issued the following statement: "IBM sent TurboHercules a non-exhaustive list of patents that pertain to our mainframe technology. We did not make any explicit assertions or claims that TurboHercules had violated them. We were merely responding to TurboHercules' surprise that IBM had intellectual property rights on a platform we've been developing for more than 40 years. We stand behind the pledge we made in 2005, and also our rights to protect our significant investments in mainframe technology. "

Artists’ Lawsuit Demands Piece of Google Books Pie

The suit brought by the American Society of Media Photographers and others claims Google should compensate them because the company is violating their copyrights (. pdf). [Apparently the law is that they should be compensated for sitting around while Google takes the initiative and puts their works to use]

Gene patenting and free software: a breakthrough

Last week, to the surprise of patent lawyers and the biotechnology industry, advocates for technological freedom won an enormous victory against socially harmful distortions of patent law. The Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York held invalid patents owned by Myriad Genetics on diagnostic testing for genetic susceptibility to the most common hereditary forms of breast and ovarian cancer.

PlayStation 3 Owner Gets A $100 Refund For Losing Linux

European PS3 owner and NeoGAF forum moderator "iapetus" received more than $100 USD (£84.00) in credit from Amazon for his original purchase of the console. Why? He filed a complaint with the online retailer that the removal of functionality in the PlayStation 3's latest firmware update violated a 2002 European law, essentially that his console no longer performed as advertised.

Playstation 3 Update locks out Linux and Ubuntu, bricks consoles

Now, nearly a week later, consumers are reporting that the update has led to a variety of bugs, including slowed internet connections, controller compatibility issues, and resolution issues when using HDMI. And that's if the update installs at all, as there have been reports that the download cycle hits an endless loop and never fully completes.

Wi-LAN sues everybody over Bluetooth

Ottawa-based Wi-LAN, which patents wireless products, is suing around 18 of the tech industry's largest players over what it claims are patent violations of Bluetooth technology.

Response to Software Exception in Patent Bill

Law firms that supported continued software patents have published critiques of the arguments put forward by those who opposed software patents and asked for an exclusion to be added to the Patent Bill. In this article Peter Harrison, vice President of the NZOSS responds.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Pogoplug: An Interesting, Linux-Friendly NAS

The Pogoplug device runs Linux and is built upon popular open-source packages, but Pogoplug does not hide this fact and they actually encourage community developers to work on the Pogoplug with complete support for SSH-ing into these devices and making modifications.

VIA M'SERV: the Perfect Little Linux Box?

we take a look at the latest incarnation of the small server box from VIA named the M'Serv S2100.

Five open source alternatives to the iPad

Interest in iPad app development is waning, and the device just got here. Maybe that means it's time to explore more open options. Here are five.

9 Weird Places to Find Linux

Farm equipment manufacturer DeLaval makes a robotic milking machine that not only runs on Linux (and Windows), but lets the farmer operate it via a wireless, remote control. Now that's what we call milking a free OS.

Linux multimedia dream machine, cool!

Dream multimedia, the german company selling these devices sells several different Linux powered satellite and digital cable television receivers.

Is your tv running Linux? (yet)

Sony is using Linux in it's bravia series of tv's too bad there's not much you can do with that as of today. Samsung on the other hand has a list of tv's which are readily able to be hacked into. Always wanted to control your tv from a shell?

***** Reports

Emacs & the birth of the GPL

Emacs is not so much a text editor, more a way of life - an "extensible, customisable self-documenting real time display editor" with thousands of ready made extensions that take you way beyond its original remit as a text editor, some of which can be found at the Emacs wiki or on the Emacs Lisp list.

FSFE and FFII to Radio Station Winners: "rOGG on"

The radio stations Deutschlandradio and Radio Orange received the awards from the Free Software Foundation Europe and Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure because they transmitted over the Internet in the Ogg Vorbis media container format.

Canonical announces phone sync for Ubuntu One subscribers

Canonical officially launched the Ubuntu One service last year alongside the release of Ubuntu 9. 10. The service allows users to keep files and some application data synchronized between multiple computers.

Ubuntu: Canonical Focuses on Wall Street

Call it a small but strategic step in the right direction. Following in the footsteps of Red Hat and Novell, the folks at Canonical are positioning Ubuntu for use by Wall Street firms. Some details about the effort could surface on April 19, during the HPC (High Performance Computing) Linux Financial Markets conference in New York. Here are some details.

Do You Want Groklaw to Be Included in the Library of Congress?

Groklaw has been selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in its web archival project, in the category of Legal Blawgs.

Review: iPad is pure innovation - one of best computers ever,ihnatko-ipad-apple-review-033110.article

In fact, after a week with the iPad, Im suddenly wondering if any other company is as committed to invention as Apple. Has any other company ever demonstrated a restlessness to stray from the safe and proven, and actually invent things? [Ahem...]

Google Android Growth Has Most Momentum Over Industr

According to ComScore, Android based phones are only at about 9% of the US market, the the software has posted the fastest growth of any other platform in the last three months.

Linux Remains a Recession Proof Niche

What I found was surprising, even to someone expecting Linux to fair well in tough economic times.

GroundWork, Eucalyptus Team Up on Open Source Cloud Management

Cloud technology vendor Eucalyptus System is partnering with networking monitoring vendor GroundWork Open Source in a new beta effort called GroundWork Monitor Enterprise Cloud. The new cloud solution aims to provide enhanced cloud monitoring and management capabilities.

10th Anniversary of Linux for the Mainframe: Beginning to Today

The year was 1999. It was the beginning of Linux for the mainframe. IBM and SUSE (which was later acquired by Novell in 2004) began working on a version of Linux for the mainframe.

The Coming War: ARM versus x86

However, with the success of Linux and the maturity of its underlying and critical GNU development toolset, Linux/GNU support could be the great equalizer that allows ARM to finally overcome the x86 stranglehold in netbooks and even notebooks and desktops. Maturing Linux support might also assist ARM chips to make further incursions into gaming devices.

***** Snippets

Nexus One… Close, But No Calendar!

DIYers Hack Windows Mobile Phones to Run Android

Discovery Failure Sinks Lockheed's $37 Million Win

More on Novell Win/SCO loss

Mandriva Linux Names New CEO

Editor's Note: The Motley Crew Collection of Backup Schemes and Devices

QA with IBM's Dan Frye: "Everything Has Changed"

Linux's worst enemies? Linux fans

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