Brendan Scott
+61 414 339 227

lists at
Linked In Profile

OSWALD Newsletter Archives (by issue #, click to view)

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.

[508] [507] [506] [505] [504] [503] [502] [501] [500] [499] [498] [497] [496] [495] [494] [493] [492] [491] [490] [489] [488] [487] [486] [485] [484] [483] [482] [481] [480] [479] [478] [477] [476] [474] [473] [472] [471] [470] [469] [468] [467] [466] [465] [464] [463] [462] [460] [459] [458] [457] [456] [455] [454] [453] [452] [451] [450] [449] [448] [447] [446] [445] [444] [443] [442] [441] [440] [439] [438] [437] [436] [435] [434] [433] [432] [430] [429] [428] [426] [425] [424] [423] [422] [421] [420] [419] [418] [417] [416] [415] [414] [413] [412] [411] [410] [409] [408] [407] [403] [389] [378] [375] [374] [373] [372] [371] [370] [369] [368] [367] [366] [365] [364] [363] [362] [361] [360] [359] [358] [357] [356] [355] [354] [353] [352] [351] [350] [349] [348] [347] [346] [345] [344] [343] [342] [341] [340]

OSWALD #360 Period ending 31 May 2010

OSWALD #360 Period ending 31 May 2010

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

There's still a bit of talk about WebM, with some suggesting its licence doesn't meet the OSI definition. Google has commented that it didn't want a submission and has also asked OSI to be more open in its process. OSI does have a problem with its process, but it is more the absence of any sensible review structure than that it is not open.

This is one of those hard-to-pick-a-theme weeks, with a lot of stories of interest, but without any clear unifying them. Some of them are: Novell and Mandriva look like they're up for sale, patent law blocks innovation, WebM, and Android and other mobile Linux implementations are on the warpath.

On this last point, I joined the movement, signing up for an HTC Desire last week and made some notes about it to myself. Now I'm getting 20-30 hits a day on that page without having advertised it. If you're interested too here's the link:

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Open Standards/ODF

Google’s “Royalty-Free” WebM Video May Not Be Royalty-Free for Long

The announcement of Google's new WebM video format and release of the VP8 video codec as an open standard have been hailed by some as the move that will free the Web from the proprietary H. 264 codec widely used for online video today and favored by Apple and Microsoft.

Why Open Digital Standards Matter in Government

Although we are rarely aware of the standards that are the foundation for our everyday activities, a host of such standards facilitate these activities and protect us from dangerous consequences.

***** Other

The Courage to Screw Up: Why DIY Is Good for You

Along the way, I've made an astronomical number of blunders. But the broken tools, barked knuckles, wasted materials, and countless trips to the hardware store have been a small price to pay for the fun and fulfillment my family and I have experienced.

***** Off Topic

"Pants Judge" Pearson Loses Appeal in D.C. Circuit

[for those of you who can remember the former judge Pearson]

Pearson’s suit against his dry cleaner was also not protected speech, the appeals court said. “That suit did not involve a matter of public concern; as the district court stated, it was more properly ‘characterized as a personal vendetta against a dry cleaners over a pair of pants.’”

What sites such as Facebook and Google know and whom they

Through a subpoena seeking information about the men's injuries, Wal-Mart was able to gain full access to her Facebook and MySpace social-networking accounts -- every public and private message, contact and photo for the previous 2 1/2 years.

***** Government/Policy

To Microsoft, Open Source means "Windows Encumbered"

This underscores something critical that we have all learned over the past few years while on our journey towards freer technology. That is that Open Source licenses are NOT enough to ensure (corporate or consumer) end-user empowerment. We also need Open Standards and Open Data.

Linux users cry fail over ATO AUSKey compatibility

The Australian Taxation Office is pushing the AUSkey public key infrastructure (PKI) for secure data exchange when submitting tax returns, but Linux users say they have again been left out in the cold.

BSA: Hardware Without Software Not Tax Deductible

The Czech Ministry of Finance along with the BSA threaten to disallow deducting hardware from base tax if purchased without software. This idea stems from their joint proclamation that for software to be used legally, it must be bought - thus completely ignoring the existence of free and open source software which can be obtained legally without any purchase whatsoever

Google asks for delay in WebM license consideration

[Basically I think Google has a point.]

Google has asked the Open Source Initiative to delay its consideration of the WebM license (requested by Bruce Perens) for a couple of weeks; the company has also requested some changes in how the OSI does business. "This might sound strident, but I think that OSI needs to be more open about its workings to retain credibility in the space."

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

Eircom to cut broadband over illegal downloads

Ireland is the first country in the world where a system of "graduated response" is being put in place. Under the pilot scheme, Eircom customers who illegally share copyrighted music will get three warnings before having their broadband service cut off for a year.

MPEG LA Shrugs Off Antitrust Allegations

Beeney told us that antitrust allegations are a pretty common tactic in the sort of licensing fee dispute MPEG LA and Nero are involved in. Earlier this year, MPEG sued Nero for breach of contract when it stopped paying to license technology that's part of the MPEG pool. Nero's suit was a standard countermeasure.

Stayin' Alive: An Overview of Copyright Termination

The year 2013 will mark the first year that authors can take advantage of the Copyright Act's §203 termination provision, likely setting off a flood of termination notices by artists seeking to regain rights previously granted to record labels, book publishers, advertising agencies, and other content owners. This newly effective right, particularly when combined with the increasing number of works subject to termination under the Act, will soon bring to the legal forefront the complex and until now largely ignored termination provisions of the Copyright Act.

Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) - Fast Track Examination of Applications

PPH will leverage fast-track examination procedures already available in the OSF to allow applicants in the OSF to obtain corresponding patents faster and more efficiently.

Hacking through the Software Patent Thickets

As their name implies, patents are about making something "patent", or public, so that others can use and build on an invention - but only after a certain period, during which time the patent-holder has a monopoly right (what kind of right is discussed below).

Stem Cell Patent Halts Hospital's Collection

The real disheartening news is that CHOC's Dr. Philip H. Schwartz -- the doctor collecting the cells -- was one of the original researchers who helped developed this technique at the Salk Institute. Now he can't even use the technique he helped create.

Bilski May Take Down Business Method Patents With Him

The Supreme Court is expected to uphold that brush-off, and the big question is whether it will do so in a way that eliminates forever dubious patents like the infamous government monopoly Amazon. com obtained on one-click purchases.

Words in Copyright Act vs Time

The Statute of Anne (1709) has about 2,500 words in it. It took roughly 200 years to reach 7,500 (in our 1905 Act). For your reference, the NSW Conveyancing Act 1919 No6 (which actually does deal with property) has about 82,000 words (ie about the number of words added to the Copyright Act in the last 10 years).

Patent enforcement companies speak at SF conference

At one point during the seminar, the moderator asked Spangenberg a question about how he approaches companies to whom he wants to license his patents. "Do you initiate contact with them or just file a lawsuit?" "File a lawsuit," said Spangenberg without hesitation, explaining why that, to him, is the best strategy in the post-MedImmune environment. "If you send a message, shortly thereafter you'll see a notice that you're a defendant in a declaratory judgment action, typically from Fish & Richardson or one of their other favored firms. . . Microsoft sues you based on that letter. Then they have the home field advantage. "

U.S. Copyright Official Challenges ACTA Criticism

U. S. Copyright Office official Steven Tepp appeared at a Future of Music Coalition debate on ACTA yesterday, arguing that the release of the ACTA text proved the prior concerns wrong.

Solicitor General Kagan did a good job in Cartoon Networks v. CSC Holdings case

Those considering President Obama's nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court should remember that she did an excellent job on the brief in Cartoon Networks v. CSC Holdings, where she took positions directly contrary to those being taken by the Jenner & Block law firm, whose pro-MPAA pro-RIAA partners occupy very high positions in the Obama administration's Department of Justice.

Petition for certiorari filed on 'innocent infringement' defense in Maverick v Harper

"The Court would be remiss if it did not take this opportunity to implore Congress to amend the Copyright Act to address liability and damages in peer to peer network cases. . . . The defendant is an individual, a consumer. She is not a business. She sought no profit from her acts. . . . . [T]he damages awarded in this case are wholly disproportionate to the damages suffered by Plaintiffs. " -Hon. Michael J. Davis, District Judge, Dist. Minnesota, September 24, 2008, Capitol v. Thomas

***** Applications/Gadgets

Microsoft launches open source Outlook tool, SDK projects

The two open source projects -- dubbed . pst Data Structure View Tool and . pst File Format Software Development Kit -- will make it easier for developers to access data stored in digital formats created by Microsoft Outlook and use that data in cross platform solutions.

Dell launches Streak tablet PC across Europe

The Streak is smaller than most tablets with a 5in (12. 5cm) screen and runs Google's Android operating system.

Microsoft Makes Outlook Tools Open Source

Microsoft is taking more steps to make it easier for enterprise and independent developers to create software that runs on top of its Outlook e-mail file format, releasing a pair of associated tools as open source.

Newly open source BitTorrent protocol aims to unclog tubes

The company behind the BitTorrent technology has opened the source code of its uTorrent Transport Protocol (uTP). A production-ready implementation of the protocol code in C++ is now available from GitHub under the MIT license.

Google offering free web fonts

Today we are excited to announce a collection of high quality open source web fonts in the Google Font Directory, and the Google Font API to make them available to everybody on the web.

mobile hsdpa/wifi router powered by Linux

A Linux powered device sharing mobile broadband EVDO/HSDPA on a wifi router. The hardware runs on 110/220 volt with a DC power supply but it's very flexible allowing for 11-56 Volt DC input and even 5 volt trough an internal connector.

Marvell backs ambitious $100 OLPC tablet

The backbone of the XO-3 will be an ARM processor (likely the Marvell Armada 610), with initial models running a version of Google's Android OS. As with the OLPC laptop, these initial models will be sold within developed nations, subsidizing the less-expensive $75 version (running the open-source, educational Sugar OS) distributed to children and institutions supported by the foundation.

Pandora Open Source, Linux-based Handheld Game Console Now Shipping

Pandora may look like a slightly bigger Nintendo DS but its hardware and software architectures are not closed down and it is open for home-brew development or hacking. It can also serve as a subnotebook and run as a low-power but full-featured Linux desktop.

Evolution Express (for MeeGo)

Acer unveils Android smartphone and teases with a tablet

Acer announced an Android 2. 1 smartphone called the Stream, offering a 1GHz Snapdragon, a 3. 7-inch AMOLED WVGA display, and a five-megapixel camera. At the device's Chinese launch, the company also showed off a LumiRead e-reader with a 6-inch grayscale display, WiFi, 3G, and an ISBN scanner, and provided a brief glimpse of a seven-inch Android tablet.

***** Reports

WebM: Missing The Assurances Open Source Needs?

There was still more homework to do, though. Once all the hoopla had died down, it became clear there are some serious questions that need considering.

Straight from Sony Chairman Sir Howard Stringer: Here's why Google TV is a huge deal for Sony

In fact, Sony's Abary said Android will become the platform for apps that will turn the TV into an information device as utilitarian as other computing devices -- apps in numbers and in kinds we simply "can't imagine now. "

Want to buy a Linux company?

Want to buy your very own Linux company? Two important ones, Mandriva and Novell are looking for buyers.

First Look: H.264 and VP8 Compared

VP8 is now free, but if the quality is substandard, who cares? Well, it turns out that the quality isn't substandard, so that's not an issue, but neither is it twice the quality of H. 264 at half the bandwidth.

VIA's Linux Dreams Are Not Materializing

We're almost half-way through 2010 and it doesn't look like VIA will be doing much this year for their open-source graphics drivers.

Can regain momentum?

The release from Peter Brown is polite. "The FSF asked the OpenOffice. org Community Council to list only free software extensions, or to provide a second independent listing which only included free extensions, but they declined to change their policy. "

MeeGo, the new netbook Linux, arrives

Jim Zemlin has called this new embedded Linux, the open-source uber-platform for the next generation of computing devices: tablets, pocketable computers, netbooks, automotive IVI (In-Vehicle Infotainment) and more. "

GPL Enforcement in Apple's App Store

The primary problem is that Apple imposes numerous legal restrictions on use and distribution of GNU Go through the iTunes Store Terms of Service, which is forbidden by section 6 of GPLv2. So today we have written to Apple and asked them to come into compliance. We would be happy to see Apple distribute these programs under the GPL's terms, but unfortunately, it seems much more likely that they'll simply make the problem go away by removing GNU Go from the App Store.

Regulating and Not Regulating

Providers of transport services to the general public were required to conduct their business on equal and fair terms for all comers. The idea was that all of society benefited when these general-purpose services, which facilitated many types of other commerce and cultural activities, were accessible to all.

Szulik to step down as Red Hat chairman

in the May 20 letter, Szulik says he has no disagreements or concerns about Red Hat and is stepping down to spend more time with his family.

IT Buying More x86 Servers, Paying Less: IDC

Demand for Microsoft Windows Server products grew 22. 1 year over year on a unit basis, while Linux demand was up 36. 5 percent. Linux servers now represent 18. 4 percent of all server revenue, up 4. 3 points over the same quarter last year. Unix server revenue declined 29 percent from a year earlier.

MeeGo 1.0 Offers Devs Stable Platform with Few Surprises

I was pretty stoked to see the release of MeeGo 1. 0 yesterday afternoon, and was eager to try it out. What I found was, as promised, a developer's platform--so things were understandably rough around the edges. But there were bright spots and dull spots beyond the instabilities that should be pointed out.

Sugar on a Stick 'Mirabelle' gets sweeter with Fedora Linux

One such solution is the Sugar On A Stick Fedora Linux spin which adds the Sugar learning environment originally built for the One Laptop Per Child effort to Fedora and packages it up so it'll run on a USB stick.

Novell Revenues, Linux Business Slide

"A closely watched portion of Novell's income hinges on its Linux business. But CFO Dana Russell reported that the company's Linux platform product revenue decreased by 4 percent on a year-over-year basis, hitting the $35 million mark. "

CentOS Goes Commercial

CentOS is a freely available clone of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system. Until recently, CentOS users had to rely on the community for support, but that changed in December 2009 when services vendor OpenLogic began to offer commercial support for CentOS.

Installing Android on the iPhone - The Complete Guide

it is not for the faint of heart.

Android 2.2 and Its Previous Versions: A Sweet Developer Review

The Android platform adoption rate (measured in device activations) recently outpaced that of the Apple iPhone. There are now millions of users running Android devices worldwide, with 3 million new devices added monthly. Having aggressive adoption rates is excellent news for Android developers -- after all, they need people to buy their apps.

***** Snippets

Linux trading system to save London Stock Exchange £10m a year

BYO Linux router to the NBN

Still no Bilski

Steve Ballmer's claim: Android isn't really free (video)

Canonical Landscape 1.5 Extends Ubuntu Linux Management for Enterprises

Show me the money...

VIA's Linux Strategy Takes A Turn With Hidden Driver

CAFC Grants En Banc Rehearing of Tivo, Dish Patent Dispute

Sgi advances linux on the hpc front

Google Chrome 5 Hits Stable Status on Linux, Mac

Red Hat: The one true open source company?

The behavioral economics of free software

Firefox, Chrome, Safari have finally killed Internet Explorer

Washing the windows myths. Ease of use.

Humble Indie Bundle Shows GNU/Linux Gaming Statistics

SpeechNow may be appealed
This Digest is sponsored by Open Source Law
see also:
Join: email with "Subscribe oswald" in subject line
Leave: email with "Unsubscribe oswald" in subject line
Note: This email list is manually generated.
Archives: (not maintained)
General disclaimer: I am a member of Open Source Industry Australia Limited

Recent Papers:

Research Note: Trade Practices Implications of Infringing Copies of Open Source Software
Software Patents: Microsoft Jumps the Shark
Reading the BSD License in Isolation
  View other publications