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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 #356 Period ending 27 April 2010

OSWALD #356 Period ending 27 April 2010

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

This is the second 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.

There are a lot of interesting things this week. A report from the US says that implementing Australian style fair dealing laws would cost the US $4.7 trillion per year. The White House has released some code as open source. The EU has published some guidelines for acquiring open source. The ACTA text has been released, and it's awful. Also of interest for its IP-gone-made-quality is a story about Gizmodo being raided by the FBI - because they had an iPhone prototype.

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Government/Policy Releases Open Source Code

As part of our ongoing effort to develop an open platform for WhiteHouse. gov, we're releasing some of the custom code we've developed. This code is available for anyone to review, use, or modify.

Study: Fair Use Contributes Trillions to U.S. Economy

For the year 2007, the fair-use economy accounted for $4.7 trillion in revenue (.pdf) and $2.2 trillion in value added, roughly one-sixth the total gross domestic product of the United States, according to the study. The fair-use economy also employed more than 17 million people with a $1.2 trillion payroll.

Final version of Procurement and Open Source Software Guideline published

The final version of the Procurement and Open Source Software Guideline has been published on The study, commissioned by the European Commission as part of the "Dissemination of good practice in Open Source Software (GPOSS)" measure under the IDABC programme, gives guidelines for public administration on how and why publicly acquire open source software.

ACTA Draft Text Released: (Nearly) Same As It Ever Was

Those interested in deciphering that bigger picture, should look at the official release alongside the leaked version (text version here).

Google Tool Reveals Government Hunger For Data

In a move toward greater transparency, Google on Tuesday introduced a new tool that shows the number of requests for data and for data removal that Google has received from governments around the world.

Final Notes from the ODF Plugfest in Granada

A representative of the Spanish Ministry of Presidency, Miguel Angel Amutio Gomez, started the day explaining the crucial points of the Spanish law 11/2007: the right for everybody to use whatever digital technology they like best and the obligation for all Public Administrations to avoid discrimination of citizens based on their technological choices. In order to make this possible, the law stresses the importance of open standards, setting the goal that all e-government services and documents become available at least through such standards.

Case Study: How Open data saved Canada $3.2 Billion

Why does open data matter? Rather than talk in abstract terms, let me share a well documented but little known story about how open data helped expose one of the biggest tax frauds in Canada's history.

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

ACTA: threats to Free Software

Today with the first public release of ACTA, the effects the international agreement will have on Free Software appear to be dangerous for its development and its distribution. First, by extending infringements proceedings and criminal offences to a broad scope of "intellectual property" including software patents.

Big-Name Litigators Signing on to Apple's Patent Wars

In contrast, the cases against Nokia, Kodak and HTC are fights with real companies that all want a piece of the smartphone market. The companies can pay top dollar for lawyers, and have stockpiles of patents to lob at each other.

Patent Absurdity: The Movie on Patently O

Try and make an automobile that complies with safety regulations, that uses the latest technology, and that is competitive in the marketplace, and see if you can do that without infringing some patents.

Studio does content-ID takedown of my Hitler video about takedowns

In a bizarre twist of life imitating art that may be too "meta" for your brain, Constantin Films, the producer of the war movie "Downfall" has caused the takedown of my video which was put up to criticise their excessive use of takedowns.

German appeal court upholds Microsoft FAT patent

In judgement number X ZR 27/07, handed down on Tuesday, the tenth civil division of the Karlsruhe-based court confirmed the enforceability of the company's commercial rights in Germany. It has not yet published its reasoning, but has confirmed the decision in a short press release (German language link).

When Copyright Goes Bad

Ben Cato Clough and Luke Upchurch's "When Copyright Goes Bad" (from Consumers International) is a great, 15-minute mini-documentary on what copyright can do, what it is doing, and what it needs to stop doing.

Calling for Time: Why the Supreme Court Will Consider 'Costco v. Omega'

What's at stake in these disputes is the ability of resellers large (Costco) and small (Liu) to offer legitimate, non-pirated versions of copyrighted goods to U. S. consumers at prices that undercut those charged by the copyright holders -- something that's possible thanks to the robust secondary markets provided by major Internet retailers such as eBay and Amazon.

Kiwi 3 Strikes Anti-Piracy Bill Receives Unanimous Support

Yesterday the Bill, which will also allow fines of up to $15,000 ($10,500 US) to be handed down to file-sharers, received its first reading in Parliament.

The Pirate Bay, A Year After The Verdict

Since November, The Pirate Bay has continued without a tracker, with its website gaining more and more users month after month. This relative calm is expected to last for a few more months until the appeal trial starts. When that happens, The Pirate Bay will have close to 5 million registered users, which is 4 million more than when the legal troubles began.

***** Implementations

London Stock Exchange readies Turquoise for big-bang Linux migration

Turquoise, of which a controlling stake was bought by the LSE in December, will move away from the Cinnober Tradexpress platform, which is Java based. It will migrate to the MillenniumIT platform, after its creator, a Sri Lankan firm of the same name, was acquired by the LSE in September. MillenniumIT is based on Linux and Sun Solaris Unix environments and uses an Oracle database.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Cisco completes Tandberg takeover and offers to open source telepresence code

Cisco said it would launch a TIP open source project and would publish the TIP source code libraries by 1 July 2010. It has licensed nine videoconferencing and telepresence vendors.

Rugged Linux powered video serving robot remote controlled over internet

It's a rugged robot based on the surveyor open source robot. It can be remote controlled over the internet or programmed for autonomous missions.

Tiny DIY PC gets smaller, more powerful

According to Via Technologies, the Artigo A1100 is available now for $243, and the device is said to support Linux along with all the usual flavors of Windows

HP and Likewise to release Linux-based storage line

These HP StorageWork servers will use Likewise-CIFS, a high-performance, commercially supported, Windows-compatible file server, and Likewise Identity Service.

Multitouch Trackpad Gestures coming to Linux

Synaptics announced today the extension of its Gesture Suite to several Linux operating systems, which means that you can now zoom, flick, rotate, and ChiralScroll to your heart's content on your Linux box.

wall mounted touch screen linux computer features "green" technology

This is a wall mounted, touch screen, low power, linux computer. Made from recycled materials, this is a pretty environmental friendly device.

Metasploit Goes Commercial in New Express Edition

A new version of the open source Metasploit Framework penetration testing tool is set to debut next month with the release of Metasploit Express -- ushering in new enhancements for ease-of-use and management that come courtesy of its new commercial underpinnings.

Announcing the first free software Blu-ray encoder

But Blu-ray has yet to get that treatment. Despite the "format war" between Blu-ray and HD DVD ending over two years ago, free software has lagged behind.

***** Reports

Facebook Takes on the World,2817,2362953,00.asp

Usually there's an About editor (who may or may not be an About employee) who provides expert advice and wrangles the content and user-generated info. In Facebook's scenario, Wikipedia is the editor providing the base info. Facebook users will do the rest. As with all other things, Facebook will layer a heavy social experience on top of the information. About. com can't do this.

Cops Bust Into Gizmodo Editor's Home And Seize Computers, Documents In iPhone Probe

Police raided Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's home in Fremont, Calif. last week, seizing computers and other gadgets, as detectives probe how the gadget blog obtained an Apple iPhone prototype, which the blog first published photos and videos of last Monday. [Why are Government resources being wasted like this?]

Oracle's ODF Plug-in Pricing: What's up with That?

So like many others, I expect, I'm trying to get my brain around Oracle's reasoning in deciding to charge $90 for a formerly free ODF conversion plug-in developed by Sun Microsystems.

IBM Adopts Novell's Linux OS for Lotus, Websphere Appliances

IBM is turning to technology from Novell to build Linux OS powered software appliances -- a move that aims to deliver easy-to-deploy software for physical, virtual and cloud-based environments in use at small to midsized businesses.

Smearing Free Software is a Terrible Business/Marketing Strategy

It started with a white paper Jive published last month, provocatively titled "Jive vs. Open Source. " Jive took it down, but accounts describe it as positioning Jive's software as superior to open source alternatives, Drupal in particular.

Moral obligations of Free Software authors?

Yet I'll be honest and say I feel guilty about the bug reports that are stacking up in the OfflineIMAP bug tracking system. OfflineIMAP is used by people that have an expectation for improvement. My efforts to hand over maintainership of OfflineIMAP have failed (the people have gone AWOL shortly after agreeing to maintain it).

Intel's Meego OS to Reach Mainstream Laptops

The company plans to release an edition of Meego for entry-level desktops that will also work with mainstream laptops and desktops running on Intel's faster Core processors, Fisher said. He did not provide a specific release date for the Meego desktop edition.

Mr. Fixit Goes Open Source With DIY Repair Site

Now, the site has repurposed itself into a full-blown wiki for repair manuals, where contributors can collaborate on repair instructions in real time.

***** Snippets

On Adobe, Flash CS5 and iPhone Applications

Cities of the Future, Part 4: Open Source Avenue

Choosing Open Source Solutions

Announcing the 2010 We’re Linux Video Winners

Linux Credit Card

Jon 'maddog' Hall's Picks for Today's Six Best OSS Projects

Linux Shedding Indie Status is a Good Thing

Will 12,000 Ubuntu Cloud Computing Deployments Lead to Profit?

How to switch your small or home office to Linux

The Bank, the Linux User and the 9-Month Call for Help
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