Brendan Scott
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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 #355 Period ending 20 April 2010

OSWALD #355 Period ending 20 April 2010

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

This is the first of two OSWALDs to go out in quick succession, catching up on the time since 11 April. Just my luck there were an unusual number of stories in this period.

Anyone involved with innovation policy needs to read the paper by Baldwin and Von Hippel, which models open collaborative innovation. In other news of interest, Google is releasing a video codec as open source. While copyright ideologues are looking for ever more invasive powers, the US audit office suggests copyright piracy claims are bogus.

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Open Standards/ODF

Google to open source VP8 video codec

By making VP8 open source Google will provide a high-quality and open alternative to H.264 and other existing codecs.

Google funds OGG Theora

Google announced via its open source blog Friday its commitment to an ARM optimized version of the OGG Theora video codec in an attempt to create a video standard for mobile devices.

How Adobe might take on Apple in the courts

Since I wrote about Adobe considering taking Apple to court over the new iPad/iPhone SDK (software development kit) licensing restrictions, Adobe hasn't officially added anything to the story.

***** Other

Microsoft bars Machinarium from XBLA

In a surprise move, Microsoft has rejected the critically-acclaimed adventure game Machinarium, thus denying Xbox 360 owners the chance to download it via the Xbox LIVE Arcade. Czech developer Amanita Design has stated that the rejection had nothing to do with the quality of the atmospheric point-and-click mystery game. Rather, Microsoft was fearful that Mac and Linux users would drain away precious sales.

***** Off Topic

Portable Computing

I'm pleased I've got that Tandy around to witness the arrival of the iPad, because in 20 years and over a dozen mobile devices (where "mobile device" = "something portable I've used to get work done"), nothing has come close to pleasing me the way the Model 100 did.

7,500 Online Shoppers Unknowingly Sold Their Souls

The retailer, British firm GameStation, added the "immortal soul clause" to the contract signed before making any online purchases earlier this month. It states that customers grant the company the right to claim their soul.

***** Government/Policy

Modeling a Paradigm Shift: From Producer Innovation to User and Open Collaborative Innovation

In this paper we assess the economic viability of innovation by producers relative to two increasingly important alternative models: innovations by single user individuals or firms, and open collaborative innovation projects. We analyze the design costs and architectures and communication costs associated with each model. We conclude that innovation by individual users and also open collaborative innovation increasingly compete with - and may displace – producer innovation in many parts of the economy. We argue that a transition from producer innovation to open single user and open collaborative innovation is desirable in terms of social welfare, and so worthy of support by policymakers.

How “Dirty” MP3 Files Are A Back Door Into Cloud DRM

All the big music sellers may have moved to non-DRM MP3 files long ago, but the watermarking of files with your personal information continues.

Allegheny first-years dive into Fedora

This semester, a colleague and I have been running a parallel set of freshman seminar courses. Darren Miller (a photography professor in the Art Department) is teaching a course titled Art and Activism, and mine is titled Technology and Activism.

Republicans Turn to Open Source Asterisk

The Republican National Committee (RNC), which has already embraced the open source Asterisk VoIP IP-PBX (define), is ramping up its usage as the next election cycle nears.

RIAA/MPAA Want Monitoring Software, Border Checks,news-6496.html

We already know that content providers don't care one bit about hard-fought concepts like freedom and privacy, but the joint proposals by the RIAA and MPAA to the US Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator really blew my brains out: monitoring software installed on people's computers, border inspections - it's all there, and then some.

Google’s Schmidt: ‘We Have A Business Model Problem, Not A News Problem’

News still matters, Schmidt told members of the American Society of News Editors, with newspapers responsible for more than half of all original news coverage by his calculations: "We have a business model problem, we don't have a news problem. "

Plaintiff Sues Over Court Requiring LexisNexis for E-Filing

A requirement that civil litigants in a state district court in Montgomery County use LexisNexis for court filings violates the U. S. and Texas constitutions, a woman alleges in a class action filed in the U. S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston.

ACTA Participants Agree To Release Draft Text Next Week

The New Zealand round of ACTA negotiations concluded earlier today with participants promising to release the draft text next week.

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

Feds raise questions about big media's piracy claims

But the problem is, according to the GAO, the data used to quantify piracy isn't reliable.

DataTreasury Wins First Patent Trial, Against U.S. Bank

The verdict is a first for DataTreasury, which has two additional trials scheduled against a total of eight banks. In those cases, the holding company is demanding a combined $1. 39 billion in damages--more than half of it from Bank of America for processing 64 billion checks in a manner that DataTreasury says infringes its patents.

The Digital Economy bill

This will take at least six months, whilst regulator Ofcom consults with interested parties and gets clearance from the EU.

Adobe vs. Apple is going to get uglier

It was bad enough when Apple said, in effect, that Adobe Flash wasn't good enough to be allowed on the iPad. But the final straw was when Apple changed its iPhone SDK (software development kit) license so that developers may not submit programs to Apple that use cross-platform compilers.

Darkness Visible: Making Patent Absurdity Patent

The work in this paper and that of many others, suggests that this traditionally-struck `devil's bargain' may not be beneficial. First, there is increasing evidence that intellectual property protection does not increase innovation. As we saw in section 2. 2, studies carried out over 40 years do not find that firm managers are inclined to increase their innovation investments due to the availability of patent grant protections.

At the ITC, Patent Litigation is Not a Domestic Industry

Steptoe & Johnson partner Steven Barber, who has followed the case, said, "The practical effect is that patent trolls who want to pursue a complaint at the ITC need to do a little bit of work beforehand to establish a link to litigation and licensing activities. But it's not a particularly great burden. "

Think Gene Patents Are Controversial Now? Just Wait

As the WSJ reports, a Duke University study concludes that exclusive licensing of gene-based diagnostic tests can keep patients from benefiting from genetic discoveries and often leads to legal wrangling.

NZICT says patents 'integral' to software protection

A Commerce Select Committee recently recommended the government to remove patent protection for software. However, NZICT chief executive Brett O'Riley says the country's software development sector deserves the same protection as other sectors where invention and innovation occurs.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Linux-based rival for Apple iPad

The German maker of a new tablet PC is setting out to rival Apple's iPad with the promise of even more technology such as a bigger screen, a webcam and USB ports.

pocket hd multimedia dream device

If you're looking for a handheld hd multimedia device, your search ends here. This is such a cool device. The only downside is apparently the korean manufacturer can't keep up with demand as it's fully sold out at the moment of this writing.

HTC Incredible Close to Release, Will Pack Market's Best Phone Hardware

The phone, according to the manual and multiple sources, packs a 1 GHz Snapdragon processor from Qualcomm and is powered by Google's multi-touch and multitasking capable Android 2. 1 OS.

People of Lava Want to Put a Big Android in Your Living Room

Due to hit stores this fall, People of Lava's Scandinavia is a fully interactive Internet TV that combines the functionality of an Android smartphone with that of a high-end, full-HD LED TV set, according to the company.

Introducing the EVTV - A step forward in Linux-based Home Theater PCs

Element, is a Linux-powered open source operating system developed with your television in mind. Element features an innovative across the room 'ten-foot user interface' designed specifically to be connected to your HDTV, allowing you to enjoy a digital media and internet experience from the comforts of your own living room or lounge.

Linux-ready netbook touted for eight-hour battery life

ZaReason is shipping a Linux-ready, 10-inch netbook that uses the Intel Atom N450 processor and is claimed to offer eight hours of battery life. The ZaReason Teo Netbook offers 2GB of DDR2 RAM, a 160GB hard disk drive (HDD), 802/11n wireless networking, Ethernet, three USB 2. 0 ports, and a 1. 3-megapixel webcam, says the company.

Powerful Video Editor Lightworks Released as Open Source

EditShare, the company behind Academy and Emmy award-winning video editing software Lightworks announced plans to release its product under an open source license.

FSF Recommends CiviCRM donor/contact managment sysemt for nonprofits

The Free Software Foundation (FSF) today announced that CiviCRM has earned its recommendation as a fully featured donor and contact management system for nonprofits.

Linux AI robot baby dinosaur

a Linux powered baby dinosaur, with a arm processor heart.

New binary analysis tool finds FOSS in device firmware

Software development company Loohuis Consulting and process management consultancy OpenDawn have released a new binary analysis tool that is designed to detect Linux and BusyBox in binary firmware. The program, which is freely available for download, is intended to aid open source license compliance efforts.

Synaptics Gesture Suite Ported To Linux

On Friday we were briefed by Synaptics that they would be "announcing much-desired capabilities for notebook PCs running Linux and other open source operating systems", which we found out to mean that they were bringing their Synaptics Gesture Suite software to Linux.

Linux-powered BI appliance arrives

An open-source business intelligence appliance powered by Suse Linux has been released by database maker Ingres and Italian infrastructure software provider Engineering Ingegneria Informatica.

Version 1.0 of open source Transport Tycoon Deluxe clone released

***** Reports

Why I Believe IBM is Free to Sue The Pants Off TurboHercules - Updated 9Xs

And in the TurboHercules story, who is suing whom? It's not IBM, folks. The complaint against IBM was filed with the EU Commission by TurboHercules. At that exact moment, did they not take themselves out from under the patent pledge's safety umbrella?

In Assessing Employee Status in Copyright Ownership Disputes, Tech Start-Ups Are a Special Case

Michael Byce, the programmer who wrote most of the code in question, claimed to be an independent contractor and thus the author, and copyright owner, of the code. JustMed claimed that Byce was an employee and that the code was a work for hire, with copyright ownership vested in the company.

Open-source Sugar snared by Jobsian code block

Sugar moved its mobile application to Appcelerator so it could have one version of its application run on Apple, Google's Android, BlackBerry, Palm, and other devices without the need for its engineers to build completely different versions.

Oracle MySQL Investment Aims at Microsoft

In a bid to woo customers from rival Microsoft Corp, Oracle Corp will boost investment in the widely used MySQL open-source database that it acquired with its January purchase of Sun Microsystems.

NVIDIA Puts Out Its OpenGL 4.0 Linux Driver

VIDIA has now put out its OpenGL 4. 0 Linux driver.

Is That Embedded Software GPL-Compliant?

The Binary Analysis Tool is a modular framework that assists with auditing the contents of compiled software. It makes it easier and cheaper to look inside technology, and this helps compliance and due diligence activities.

Mobilizing Open Source: Intel, Nokia Dish on MeeGo's Progress

in the process, they've learned a great deal about interacting with the larger open source community.

Android OS Now Used To Drive Real Robots

They've managed to put an Android-powered phone, the Adruino platform, and a cart to create a fully mobile and semi-autonomous robot.

Orange Copies AT&T, Stifles Openness On Android Devices

As we know, AT&T has decided to lock down Android devices and limit app installation from the Android Market. Not that we support this notion, but fine. Orange is taking it one step further in stifling Android and its open nature, according to Android Community.

Ulteo Joins Open Invention Network

Ulteo has joined the growing list of companies that recognize the importance of participating in a substantial community of Linux supporters and leveraging the Open Invention Network to further spur open source innovation.

Closed source vendors hijack the term "open"

News flash to old-school software vendors: an "API" doesn't make your product "open" and it certainly doesn't make it "open source. " For the second time in two days, I've seen product marketing claiming a product was open because the vendor supplies an application program interface. Phooey.

Where's the Summer of Documentation?

I bring up documentation, but really the problem that I see is that the Summer programs are simply too code- and developer-centric. Projects and companies in this space should also be thinking about involving translators, user interface designers, artists, and other disciplines in their projects. Not only because it would help these projects be more well-rounded and address areas outside of just developing code, but because it would also provide a wonderful opportunity for cross-pollination.

***** Snippets

“Father of Java” Resigns from Sun/Oracle

WePad: Open iPad alternative "without censorship"

Linux: Strong and getting stronger

Dear Tech Republic, it’s called FOSS and that’s just how it’s done

IBM: You Can't Control LInux, You Can Only Influence It.

Linux Foundation Head Says OS Can Be 'Fabulous and Free'

Google in talks to re-admit Android to Linux kernel

Don’t let gaming be an excuse to not use Linux

The Dangers of Copyrighting Fashion

The viability of open source forking
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