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 #408 Period ending 11 July 2011

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

A shortish OSWALD this week, perhaps because of the 4 July holiday in the US? A fair bit of IP news, with dozens of legal academics criticising the US "PROTECT IP" Act. A lot of stories about Microsoft licensing its patents to the producers of Android products. Also, a working group of the Freedom Task Force (established by the FSFE, based in Europe, I'm a member) has released some documents on wording for free software realted copyright assignments ("Project Harmony"), and Bradley Kuhn of the FSF criticises their efforts.

I have been having troubles with sending OSWALD because of changing policies at my ISP re outgoing mail. For the time being I have modified the sending. However I may one day ask you to join a Google group. Let me know if you don't get this (har har).

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Open Standards/ODF

Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cables face recall over licensing issues

The group explained to TechRadar that the HDMI specification defines an HDMI cable as having only HDMI connectors on either end. Anything else is not a licensed use of the specification and therefore, not allowed.

***** Other

TAC to FCC: Set a Date Certain for the End of the PSTN

According to the accompanying chart with projections from the National Center for Health Statistics, only 6% of the US population will still be served by the public switched telephone network (PSTN) by the end of 2018.

***** Government/Policy

Draft device-driver policy switches off Apple, RIM

Computer hardware and peripherals used by all new e-governance projects must work with Linux and other open source operating systems, says a draft policy. The rules for device drivers - software that make devices such as printers and servers talk to computers - have been put in the public domain by the department of information technology, which will take into account views of hardware makers and other stakeholders before finalising the policy. The proposed policy is expected to save government money as open source systems come cheap.

Dozens of law professors: PROTECT IP Act is unconstitutional

An ideologically diverse group of 90 law professors has signed a letter opposing the PROTECT IP Act, the Hollywood-backed copyright enforcement/Internet blacklist legislation now working its way through Congress. The letter argues that its domain-blocking provisions amount to Internet censorship that is barred by the First Amendment.

VLC media player suffering in face of crapware and uncaring Google

These other links are put there by companies that want you to download their modified version of VLC that includes adware and spyware. They trade on the good name of VLC in order to infect your system and then start earning money from you and your machine.

Brazilian government signs up to develop OpenOffice and LibreOffice

The Brazilian government has signed a letter of intent to work with both The Document Foundation and the Apache OpenOffice. org community to develop the Office Suite platforms maintained by both communities. The letter asserts that the ODF standard is already a guarantee of interoperability within the government. As Brazil is one of the biggest users of both LibreOffice and OpenOffice with an estimated million public computers running the free/open source office suites, the govenment aims to make the national contribution to the projects more effective.

CERN launches open source hardware effort

CERN has launched a new community-centric effort called the Open Hardware Repository (OHR) with the aim of encouraging collaborative electronics design. CERN has also developed a new license, called the Open Hardware License (OHL), to govern the distribution of open hardware designs.

How open source tools can create balanced learning environments

So how does all of this fit with the free software paradigm? Free and open source software (FOSS) has all the necessary features that involve creativity and sharing, and hence it helps to leverage the benefits of ICT integration into education.

Antitrust officials probing sale of patents to Google’s rivals

Why Google And Android Must Deal With The Mobile Protection Racket

P.orn litigation: Film studios threaten, and settle with, possibly guiltless Internet users

Critics say it's a business model masquerading as law - a quick buck for producers who can make much more money through the courts than from selling individual copies of skin flicks. Faced with the threat of a $150,000 copyright infringement judgment - and the embarrassment of being publicly identified with a sketchy film - viewers are coughing up four-figure settlements for what might be a $20 movie.

See Which IT Vendors Spent How Much Lobbying the Federal Government

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

Oracle Vs Google-what next?

Microsoft patent division taking cash from at least 5 Android vendors

Microsoft's latest target is Wistron Corp. , which has signed a patent agreement "that provides broad coverage under Microsoft's patent portfolio for Wistron's tablets, mobile phones, e-readers and other consumer devices running the Android or Chrome platform," Microsoft announced.

Apple Escalates Samsung Fight With ITC Case

Apple Inc. filed a U. S. trade complaint that seeks to block imports of Samsung Electronics Co. smartphones and tablet computers, days after asking a federal court to halt sales of the devices.

Microsoft signs Android patent deal with military contractor General Dynamics

Microsoft today made new progress in its Android patent campaign, announcing a licensing deal with General Dynamics Itronix, maker of rugged tablets and handheld devices used by the military.

More potential prior art for Lodsys patents

The costs of a winning strategy against Lodsys could cost a minimum of $50,000 - $100,000, so even if the couple dozen threatened developers get together, they might still have to pitch in at least $10,000 each. This may not be feasible or a good business decision for some application developers.

The Microsoft/Android war: Which patents are at stake?

But legal documents filed last October in the ongoing case against Motorola and in March of this year against Barnes & Noble detail more than a dozen patents Microsoft claims Android devices violate. Let's take a look first at a Microsoft complaint filed Oct. 1, 2010, with the U. S. International Trade Commission, which describes nine patents Motorola allegedly infringes upon.

It's Time to Start Worrying and Hate the Patent Bomb

"As things stand today, one of a company's best defenses against this kind of litigation is (ironically) to have a formidable patent portfolio, as this helps maintain your freedom to develop new products and services. Google is a relatively young company, and although we have a growing number of patents, many of our competitors have larger portfolios given their longer histories. "

Top ISPs agree to become copyright cops

This agreement hands the music and film sectors a big new stick with which to fight online illegal downloading of copyrighted works. The deal doesn't affect illegal streaming services. The film, music, and software sectors claim that online piracy costs the U. S. economy billions in lost revenue and jobs.

Apple denied [preliminary] injunction on Amazon's use of Appstore

A California court denied Apple's motion for a preliminary injunction on Amazon. com's use of the term "Appstore" in a trademark infringement case on Wednesday.

"Memo of understanding" between RIAA, MPAA, & which ISP's?

It appears that the RIAA and the MPAA have gotten together and created a collusive "Memorandum of understanding" for ISP's to sign, which calls for the signing ISP's to assist the Big 4 record companies and the Big 6 motion picture companies in enforcing their copyrights, in ways never contemplated by the Digital Millenium Copyright Act

Guest Post: Rein in the Big Bank Bail-Out

***** Applications/Gadgets

Linux-based system tries to tame San Francisco traffic

McCain says it will supply San Francisco with a new Linux-based traffic controller computer that meets the latest Advanced Transportation Controller (ATC) standards. Built around a Freescale PowerQUICC II Pro processor, the "2070LXN2 NEMA" offers several keypads, an 8x40 display, plus Ethernet, USB, serial, and SDLC connections, says the company.

***** Reports

Toyota Joins Linux Foundation

Toyota is joining The Linux Foundation as a Gold member to maximize its own investment in Linux while fostering open innovation throughout the automotive ecosystem.

CISL and communities strengthen FLOSS office suites

On Friday, July 1, at the International Free Software Forum (FISL) in Porto Alegre - Brazil, the Brazilian Government's Free Software Implementation Committee has signed, along with the communities of the LibreOffice and OpenOffice projects, maintained respectively by the The Document Foundation and Apache Foundation, a Letter of Intent which signals the mutual interest of cooperation with the FLOSS office suites.

Game Drift Linux – Distribution For Gamers

Game Drift Linux has finally been released - the perfect GNU/Linux distribution for gamers.

Harmony Agreements reach 1.0

Oracle VDI now mates with both Solaris and Linux

AMD in open source push

Chipmaker AMD wants to increase its presence on Linux and has hired two familiar names to the open source community.

***** Snippets

Linux 3.0 rc6

Are Android and Linux the same thing?

The Uzebox: An open source hardware games console

Ottawa may probe Nortel patent auction

The Open-Source Car

Red Hat Previews JBoss Application Server 7

Mozilla Thunderbird gets Conversations Mode

Kernel Log: Coming in 3.0 Architecture, infrastructure and virtualisation

RHEV 3.0 management: No Windows, new opportunities

The Browser Race analysis, June 2011

Java 7 Release Nears -

Community Distribution Patent Policy FAQ now available

Lawyer Trying To Trademark Bitcoin Explains His Legal Theory
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