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 #412 Period ending 9 August 2011

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

The NPR issue on patent trolling seems to have hit a chord with a number of related articles. I noticed on an they had a poll question on whether patents harmed innovation - responses were 90% yes.

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Off Topic

The Latest Threat To Cloud Security

Happy 20th birthday, World Wide Web!

On August 6, 1991--20 years ago--Tim Berners-Lee posted a summary of a project for organizing information on a computer network using a "web" of hyperlinks: the "WorldWideWeb," or W3 .

“Real Names” Policies Are an Abuse of Power

***** Government/Policy

Swiss Proprietary Group Doesn't Want Court To Go Open Source

A protest by Swiss proprietary software vendors is delaying the publication as open source of OpenJustitia, a document management system (DMS) developed in-house by the federal court.

Helping out This American Life—with an Ogg copy of the show

At POSSE, professors discover the value(s) of open source

At this year's Professors' Open Source Summer Experience in Raleigh, NC, Hickerson met 15 other professors just as passionate about cultivating these principles in the classroom. POSSE is a two-day conference designed to help professors discover ways in which open tools--and open values--impact not only their respective fields, but also their pedagogy.

Patents against prosperity

AMERICA is still in denial, but among economists and wonks I think the hard truth is settling in: we're not as rich as we thought we were and our prospects for future high growth rates aren't looking so great. America's last best hope for breaking free from what Tyler Cowen has called "the great stagnation" is the discovery of new "disruptive" technologies that would transform the possibilities of economic production in the way the fossil-fuel-powered engine did. As it stands, growth, such as it is, depends largely on many thousands of small innovations increasing efficiency incrementally along many thousands of margins. Innovation and invention is the key to continuing gains in prosperity.

NASA's Open Government Site Built On Open Source

NASA has taken another step forward in its embrace of open-source technologies with a new website devoted to its Open Government Plan built and hosted on open-source technology.

The Spoilsmen: How Congress Corrupted Patent Reform

Today, the patent bill looks like a scorecard tallying points for powerful corporations: a win for pharmaceutical companies whose monopolies are driving up Medicare costs; a win for Wall Street's battle against check-processing patents; a loss for tech giants who had hoped to curb costly lawsuits.

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

Google Tries to Toss Android Copyright Suit

Attorneys for Google claim that Oracle's copyright infringement claim rests almost entirely on the use of specifications for application-programming interface and that any similarity between the two platforms should be considered fair use.

Barbie-in-a-blender artist wins $1.8 million award

The company has been ordered to reimburse artist Tom Forsythe the $1. 8 million legal costs he incurred during the five-year dispute which began when he published his "Food Chain Barbie" series of photographs in 1999.

Android’s Dominance Is Patent Pending

Mattel Must Pay Bratz $137 Million Dollars in Attorneys’ Fees an

Google: We didn’t co-bid on Novell patents because it was a trap

Two solicitors fined and suspended for file-sharer letters

A previous hearing found Gore and Miller had knowingly targeted innocent people when sending out letters based on IP addresses alone. The regulator said the two men knew there were other explanations but went ahead with sending out the letters.

Making Sense of Fair Use

Confirmation That Record Labels Wanted ISPs To Spy On Users And Report Infringement To RIAA

This is hardly surprising, given previous statements and actions, but a redaction failure by the UK government in a Freedom of Information document handover resulted in TorrentFreak being able to see how Lucian Grainge (now CEO of Universal Music) explained to Peter Mandelson (whom he was lobbying to create the Digital Economy Act) how they wanted ISPs to report directly to record labels on people who might be file sharing, so the labels could take legal action:

Righthaven, still angering judges, finally pays cash for its mistakes

Righthaven, the Las Vegas copyright enforcer that has filed hundreds of suits to "defend" newspaper articles, has been hammered repeatedly in court. Now, it is finally paying defense lawyers, even if it can't quite manage to send a check to the proper location.

UK shakes up copyright laws, scraps plan to block websites

He said the government planned to "bring the law in line with common sense" by legalizing the copying of CDs or DVDs onto digital music players or computers for personal use.

CAFC Reverses Rejections in Reexamination of 7 of 8 NTP Patents

U.S. trade panel to probe Apple claim against Samsung

A U. S. trade panel that hears patent disputes has agreed to investigate Apple Inc's complaint that mobile phones and tablets made by South Korean rival Samsung Electronics Co Ltd violate its technology intellectual property.

Apple Patent Suit Puts Samsung Tablet Sales in Australia on Hold

The crazy US patent system has turned Apple and Microsoft into trolls

Mobile computing giants in patent free-for-all

The mobile computing boom has turned into a courthouse war of the titans, as big tech companies are increasingly engaged in high-dollar legal disputes over lucrative patents for the software that makes smartphones and tablets so popular around the world.

Apple Sued over Fast Booting in OS X with a Patent linked to LG Electronics

A Floridian Company by the name Operating Systems Solutions, LCC, has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Apple for OS X's fast booting operation. The interesting twist to this lawsuit is that the patent was originally owned by LG Electronics.

Mattel's Lawsuit To Claim Ownership Of Bratz Comes Back To Bite Big Time

Thankfully, sanity was regained at the appelate level, and eventually things turned around to bite Mattel for bringing the lawsuit in the first place.


I think almost everyone I know in the software development field has a deep hatred for patents and the way they've been used in our field. I've had a post on my todo list for ages about this and have finally been moved to write about it after a particularly good piece of investigative journalism by This American Life.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Managing Your Dead Tree Library

If you have a sizable personal book library, you might be interested in Alexandria. With Alexandria, you not only can manage, sort, organize and consolidate your book collection, but you also can keep track of books you loan out. You can be a tiny little lending library, without the need for library cards!

NexentaStor 3.1.0 arrives

The proprietary NexentaStor is built on top of the free and open source Nexenta Core Platform (NCP), also known as Nexenta .

Skype Now Supports The Open Source VP8 Video Codec

In a blog post, John Luther, the Project Manager of Google's WebM Project, has announced that Skype now supports the VP8 codec.

WebODF: work with your office files in the cloud, on the desktop and on your mobile

WebODF is a Free Software project. All code is available under the AGPL. This means that you can use the code free of charge, investigate how it works, and share it with others.

***** Reports

Netatalk returns to open source

Ceph Advances Open Source Distributed Filesystem to the Cloud

The open source Ceph filesystem is a distributed filesystem that is intended to be massively scalable. The system was initially created by Sage Weil, who is also the co-founder of hosting provider Dreamhost. Dreamhost is now in the process of building out hosted cloud computing and storage products that will leverage Ceph.

Open source can innovate even beyond software

Open source, it seems, is not just a great way to develop code. It's a way to build better code and launch new ideas that can ultimately ripple throughout the business world.

HTC swallows cloud app biz Dashwire

Smartphone maker HTC has taken time out from its long-running patent battle with Apple to bid $18. 5m for US web-based application developer Dashwire.

Skype goes VP8, embraces open video codec

HP: If you want folks to hack the TouchPad, then Open Source it.

My ZDNet blogging colleague James Kendrick has written an excellent piece for HP TouchPad owners on how to dramatically improve performance by using a WebOS community-supported software stack called Preware that is written by a team of community software developers over at WebOS Internals.

***** Snippets

New beowulf cluster at EDF (200 Tflops) based on Debian 6.0 Squeeze

OpenStack success proves commercial, open source aren't exclusive

Linux Desktop Hits and Misses

Why Flash, HTML5 and the ChromeOS are good things for the Linux desktop

Google Music Manager now Plays to Ubuntu’s tunes.

Harmony horrors

When Your Open Source Code No Longer Belongs to You

Hadoop, Big Data and Small Businesses

Android Leaking Private Info

New game titles in the Ubuntu Software Center

Google Chrome 13 Released with Instant Pages

Linux 3.0.1 Released

An open farewell to Vivek Kundra

Red Hat's Jim Whitehurst: "I Want to Meet Linus"

Home Hacking Hardware Platform Arduino Launches Lab for Community Experiments

Android Closes on 50% of Global Smartphone Market: Canalys

Google Chrome becomes UK's second most popular web browser

Open Source Effort Will Deliver Low-Cost Wi-Fi for All

Why open source tools might need a hardware hook

If you want to see more jobs created – change patent laws

Netflix Instant is coming to the entire Linux Community!

United States has More 'Android' States
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