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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 #430 Period ending 2 January 2012

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

Happy New Year!

A bumper edition of Oswald today, covering a couple of weeks at once. Now you have some reading until things start to pick up. A lot of interesting stories this week, although not as many year in review type stories as I would expect this year. Cory Doctorow argues that general purpose computing is under threat (I actually think property itself is under threat) from IP laws. There is a lot of continuing criticism of the SOPA in the US. There are a lot of government related stories of interest, with the Portugese government refusing to subsidise further licensing of closed source office products, a city in Finland migrating to OpenOffice and US Departent of Defense has given a tick of approval to the use of some Android software on its network.

*From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Off Topic

Blizzard sues Pocket Gnome World of Warcraft bot creators

As you can see from the interface image below, Pocket Gnome allows the player to automate a whole load of repetitive tasks in the MMO. If used effectively, you could leave WoW running all day and return to find your character has leveled up significantly without any direct input from you.

EPIC Sues DHS Over Covert Surveillance of Facebook and Twitter

The agency plans to create fictitious user accounts and scan posts of users for key terms. User data will be stored for five years and shared with other government agencies.

LAPD Bails on Google Apps Because of Security & Privacy Concerns

The LAPD and the city attorney’s office ultimately decided, some two years after deciding to move their e-mail systems to the cloud in order to save costs, that no cloud computing solution is really compatible with the federal security guidelines that the departments are required to follow.

***** Government/Policy

Report: DARPA Cozies Up to Open Source

Yes, it can be important to keep new defense technologies under wraps, but software and hardware components that the final projects are based on can be open sourced, and it's clear that DARPA officials now see the value of open development models.

Can open source save the planet?

the participants in the Open Source Ecology project take ambition to new heights.

Tools for My Trade

There has been some movement towards using XML in legislative documents in the U. S. For example, most current legislation in THOMAS is published in XML.

Helsinki city officials highly satisfied with Free Software

City officials in Helsinki, Finland, are overwhelmingly satisfied after trying out the Free Software office suite OpenOffice. org on their laptops. 75% of 600 officials have been using OpenOffice. org exclusively since February, as part of a pilot project where the city installed the program on 22,500 workstations.

FCC doles out $100K to open source community apps challenge winners

The $100,000 challenge: Develop useful, localized open source apps that make local public information more personalized and usable.

Doctorow: the Coming War On General-Purpose Computing

GuerillaRadio writes: "Cory Doctorow's keynote at 28C3 was about the upcoming war on general-purpose computing driven by increasingly futile regulation to appease big content.

Canonical Will Remove Java From Ubuntu

Because Oracle retired the "Operating System Distributor License for Java", Canonical no longer has permission to redistribute new Java packages.

MIT launches online learning initiative

MITx will offer a portfolio of MIT courses through an online interactive learning platform that will: ... operate on an open-source, scalable software infrastructure in order to make it continuously improving and readily available to other educational institutions.

Firefox Add-On Bypasses SOPA DNS Blocking

When installed, users can click a single button to resolve a blocked domain via foreign DNS servers, bypassing all domestic DNS blockades and allowing the user to browse the site though the bare IP-address (if supported).

Portuguese government recommends school not renew proprietary licences

The ministry thinks the new policy will help save 850. 000 euro in the current school year.

Is Apple intentionally delaying a W3C Touch interface spec?

Perhaps the key technology which Apple has used as a cornerstone for their multitude of patent lawsuits against handset and tablet makers around the world are is the touch screen. Simply put, Apple wants to use patents to restrict other companies' touch implementations.

Apple's struggle to defeat Amazon set to be exposed by European ebook inquiry

Amazon has lobbied furiously against the agency model. European regulators fear consumers may be paying too high a price to keep the American retail superpower at bay. "The commission has concerns the publishers may have colluded to raise the price of ebooks and that Apple may have facilitated this," says the commission's competition spokeswoman, Amelia Torres.

Open Source Licensing Defuses Copyright Law’s Threat to Medicine

Enforcing copyright law could potentially interfere with patient care, stifle innovation and discourage research, but using open source licensing instead can prevent the problem, according to a physician – who practices both at the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco VA Medical Center – and a legal scholar at the UC Hastings College of Law.

Copyright and Open Access at the Bedside

For three decades after its publication, in 1975, the Mini–Mental State Examination (MMSE) was widely distributed in textbooks, pocket guides, and Web sites and memorized by countless residents and medical students. ... In 2000, its authors, Marshal Folstein, Susan Folstein, and Paul McHugh, began taking steps to enforce their rights, first transferring the copyright to MiniMental, a corporation the Folsteins founded, and then in 2001 granting a worldwide exclusive license to Psychological Assessment Resources (PAR) to publish, distribute, and manage all intellectual property rights. 1,2 A licensed version of the MMSE can now be purchased from PAR for $1. 23 per test. The MMSE form is gradually disappearing from textbooks, Web sites, and clinical tool kits. 1

"Reverse robocall" campaign lets citizens phone-blast SOPA supporters

For a fee of $10, Reverse Robocall will let you record a message that will be delivered as a phone call to the offices of the co-sponsors of SOPA and each of the associations and lobbying groups that have backed the bill in Congress—88 in all. You can even customize the phone number that will appear in caller ID for the call in order to avoid being blocked by systems that reject calls without them. And, if you choose, you can let others listen into your message on the site and rate your effort.

Can You Keep Up With Everyone Suing Over How Avatar 'Stole' Its Story?

Thanks to the rise of "ownership society" where intellectual property maximalists like to push the concept that you can "own" ideas, any time there's a remotely successful book, movie or TV show, we hear about lawsuits from people insisting that the idea for the story was "stolen. " Of course, almost none of these have any merit whatsoever

DOD approves Android version for official use

The Pentagon this week approved a key security document that allows a version of Android to access Defense Department computer networks – but don’t rush to hook up your personal smartphone to work email just yet.

While Drafting SOPA, the U.S. House Harbors BitTorrent Pirates

In recent weeks we discovered BitTorrent pirates at the RIAA, Sony, Fox, Universal and even law-abiding organizations such as the Department of Homeland Security.

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

The Private and Social Costs of Patent Trolls

Do nonpracticing entities benefit society by facilitating markets for technology?

Chris Dodd's Defense of SOPA Makes Him Sound Like a Despot

It's pretty problematic how former Senator Chris Dodd is vehemently defending the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) with the same argument that despots have been using to justify censorship for years.

Why Spotify can never be profitable: The secret demands of record labels

Instead of simply charging a fixed price for hot dogs, that supplier demands the HIGHER of the following: $1 per hot dog sold OR $2 for every customer served OR 50 percent of all revenues for anything sold in the store. In addition, the supplier requires a two-year minimum order of 300 hot dogs per day, payable all in advance. If fewer hot dogs are sold, there is no refund. If more than 300 hot dogs are sold each day, payments to the supplier are generated by calculating $2 per customer or 50 percent of total revenues, so an additional payment is due to the supplier. After the first two years, the supplier can unilaterally adjust any of the pricing terms and the shop can never switch suppliers.


Well. . . except that if you then read the next section, 18 USC 2319(c)(2), you realize that 3 years may only count for one video. A second video could net him 6 years:

Customers Punish GoDaddy for Supporting SOPA

Apple slapped with patent suit by Seattle maker of mobile caller ID products

Cequint, the maker of caller ID products for mobile phones, has sued Apple for patent infringement. The Seattle company, which was acquired last year by TNS Network for up to $112 million, alleges in the suit that Apple’s iOS 5. 0 mobile operating system violates two patents held by Cequint.

HTC Completed Workaround to Skirt a U.S. Apple Patent Ruling

HTC Corp. (2498) has already completed a technical workaround to skirt a U. S. agency ruling that found a user interface in some handsets infringed an Apple Inc. (AAPL) patent.

Big Entertainment Companies Issuing Wrongful YouTube Claims On Public Domain Works

There are two issues here. One is the general over-claiming of material by others. That's generally known as copyfraud and should be punishable, but rarely is. The second, perhaps bigger, point is how this ContentID system -- the kind of pre-monitoring system that the entertainment industry has been trying to foist on every user-generated-content site for the past few years -- isn't always so benign.

Defendant asks US Marshals to drag Righthaven principals to court

The copyright trolling firm Righthaven hit a new low on Monday when one of its targets sought to have a US Marshal drag Righthaven officers into court to explain their failure to comply with a previous court order.

Apple Claims Samsung Tablet, Phone Cases Infringe Patents

The Australian trial will be a prelude for Samsung in its U. S. case before the International Trade Commission on similar claims. Burley had said at an earlier hearing that will be heard in May and June.

Court's file-sharing ruling favors Veoh Networks

A federal appeals court ruled in favor of online file-sharing sites Tuesday in a battle with the music industry, saying a website owner that tries to keep users from posting copyrighted videos can't be sued for infringement by the publishing company that owns the copyrights.

ITC Initial Ruling: Motorola Infringes Single Microsoft Patent, but Not Six Others

Microsoft won a partial victory in its patent dispute with Motorola, as the International Trade Commission issued an initial ruling that certain Motorola products infringe on one of the software maker’s patents. However, the same administrative law judge found no infringement of six other patents that Microsoft had claimed infringed on its intellectual property.

Twelve Comments Filed in Response to Copyright Office Proposal to Amend 512 Designation Requirem

In both situations, a service provider without a designated agent instantly loses all 512(c)/512(d) eligibility--even if the failure was an administrative accident or mistake, and even if the service provider properly filed a valid designation initially. Worse yet, the Copyright Office hasn't shown how the existing database causes problems for copyright owners, so the Copyright Office is proposing to jeopardize these essential safe harbors for no apparent gain to anyone else.

X-Men pirate sentenced to one year in federal prison

Gilberto Sanchez has been sentenced to one year in federal prison for uploading an unfinished version of the X-Men Origins: Wolverine film to his Megaupload account.

BT sues over hyperlink claim

The telco aims to require all ISPs who use hyperlinks -- a fundamental Web technology -- to pay BT a licence fee. BT declined to say what rate it plans to charge, but critics say the patent enforcement will make BT immensely unpopular no matter what the fee. It is also unclear whether BT's claim will be sustainable given the existence of previous hypertext-like inventions.

Samsung expands patent row with Apple in Germany

Samsung Electronics has filed new claims in its patent war with Apple Inc over alleged patent infringements in Germany, a spokesman for the company said on Monday.

Ex-Morpheus & Kazaa Execs Team Up To Become Patent Trolls

However, it appears that two former execs associated with those two file sharing systems have teamed up. . . to become patent trolls who are now suing Google, Amazon and others for infringement.

Mike Loukides An open response to Sen. Blumenthal on Protect IP and SOPA

Neither is intellectual property an "engine of job creation. " The danger we face now is that the abuse of intellectual property will put a halt to job creation in the one area of the economy that is actually generating jobs, as Tim O'Reilly and Fred Wilson have pointed out on several occasions.

Exclusive: YouTube Responds to UMG vs. Megaupload

Last week Megaupload, which has been the target of the RIAA’s and MPAA’s ire for its perceived role in piracy, posted a video in which a number of big-name stars sang about their support for Megaupload. UMG flagged the video via YouTube’s automated content management system. When Megaupload protested and re-posted the video, UMG removed it again.

As GoDaddy Deals With SOPA Fallout, Hollywood Wants To Punish GoDaddy For Enabling Infringement

We've always been a bit baffled by GoDaddy's original support of COICA/PIPA/SOPA. As we noted in the fall, under the original definitions in SOPA, GoDaddy itself was almost certainly a rogue site.

Injunctive Relief and the Public Interest at the ITC

The U. S. International Trade Commission is a branch of the U. S. government designed to protect and serve U. S. interests. The ITC handles a variety of international trade issues, including passing judgment on whether importation of accused products constitutes actionable patent infringement.

Actual damages for single unauthorized download of software program held to be cost of single li

Actual damages for single unauthorized download of software program held to be cost of single license fee ["ACTUAL" damages would not even be that]

U.S. takes bite out of Oracle's Google lawsuit

According to Groklaw, which obtained the notice, 17 of the 21 claims in Patent No. 6,192,476 have been rejected by the USPTO, following a re-examination the agency conducted earlier this year.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Opensource Asset Managment software: GLPI

IBM Lotus Symphony Viewer (ODF)

With the IBM® Lotus® Symphony Viewer you can view Open Document Format (ODF) text documents, presentations, and spreadsheets downloaded to your phone or tablet without the need for any network connection.

Amazon Selling 'Well Over' 1 Million Kindle Devices Per Week,2817,2397690,00.asp

Apple made Galaxy Tab a 'household name': Samsung

Samsung's Galaxy Tab 10. 1 will be in stores in Australia by the end of the week.

Nook Color gets new streaming content

TorTV Run Tor on your TV

TorTV is a build of the Tor Project maintained to run on TV devices and set-top boxes, so that anyone with such an household appliance can contribute to strengthen the Tor network.

Skype For Linux With Tabs Support Using SkypeTab NG

Convert WordPress into a Scholarly Publishing Platform with Annotum

Red Hat Revamps JBoss Portal and Operations Network

According to Red Hat, there is a misconception in the marketplace that middleware can be difficult to use for content creation. It's a misconception the company aims to challenge

Linux Game 'Marble Arena 2' Released with New HD Graphics

Brightside Entertainment is proud to announce the release of Marble Arena 2, a family friendly, physics based, free 3D marble game, featuring vibrant HD graphics, fun and addictive gameplay, and an easy to use built-in editor for creating custom levels.

Think Penguin's "Penguin Air" reviewed.

Think Penguin sells desktops, laptops and accessories that are completely compatible with Linux. Not Ubuntu, not Fedora, just Linux.

***** Reports

Microsoft welcomes OSI open source to Win8 store

“If your app includes FOSS, it must not cause any non-FOSS Microsoft software to become subject to the terms of any FOSS license. ” Although Microsoft didn't name it, it's talking about GPL. [These clauses display deficient advice. If you are not the copyright holder over software you can't change the licence]

Open source is not a dumping ground

One of the unfortunate by-products of HP's decision to shift webOS to an open source project is the notion that somehow webOS has been "dumped"--cast aside or buried in the open source graveyard.

Open Source Datamining for Social Media Accounts with ThinkUp

Using the official APIs of various social media services, ThinkUp lets you import all of your own posts, and drill down through the relevant information about them which proved popular with other users, what topics are the hottest, and so on.

DotNetNuke squares off against the GPL

In the Dec. 13 blog entry, Scott Willhite, Director of Community Relations for DotNetNuke Corporation, unsubtly takes potshots at the GPL with just about every piece of ammunition he can think of.

Microsoft Azure gets an open source rival

Tier 3 is using EMC VMware's open source code as the basis of its offering, which opens the door for direct competition between VMware and Microsoft for . Net cloud workloads in the future.


"You didn't expect agreement did you? Some think GNOME 3 was a winner and Ubuntu the big loser while some think both lost out. I'm in the latter camp by the way. Most agree that Linux Mint is on the winning team, despite the brouhaha over the Banshee revenue. One guy thinks Ubuntu made a comeback this year. Folks couldn't even agree on a winning browser. Some think Chrome wiped the floor with Firefox, while just as many think Firefox is winning. I prefer Firefox over Chrome, but I think they messed up with that accelerated release cycle thing. I don't trust Chrome or Google. I use Gmail, but I signed up before my paranoia kicked in."Man oh man, the number of folks mentioning Android is surprising to me. I know some circles really want to push Android, but I didn't predict how many regular desktop users were going to seem pro-Android. Again, for me, the whole Google thing... Just how open is that Android anywho? Did we ever decide?"

Do You Want Your OwnCloud?

The open source OwnCloud project enables users to set up their own cloud storage service, analogous in many ways to what the proprietary DropBox service provides today.

Google's Chrome browser overtakes Internet Explorer 8

It says Chrome topped Internet Explorer 8 in the last week of November, when Chrome took 23. 6% of the global market and IE8 took 23. 5%.

Samsung's Cell Phone Sales Surpass 300 Million

Comp. , Ltd.. Samsung recently bested rival Apple, Inc. (AAPL) by 65 percent in calendar Q3 2011 unit sales to seize the global lead.

Red Hat: ARM in Linux Is Not Ready for Prime Time

Considering the mission critical systems that Red Hat support and the need for certifications, I can see where Burke is coming from. ARM might be a possible future for Linux, but reality is that it's likely a bit too early for the enterprise.

Behind the Mozilla Apps Developer Preview

Many others have already covered the question of “why” we are doing this: all the major app ecosystems out there are closed, tied to a single vendor, and could certainly use a healthy dose of the openness. There are many great things about Apps, and many great things about the Web, and we want to bring them together.

App Internet and Mobile Devices to Drive Massive Technology Demands in 2012

The rise of the "app internet" -- in which users' PCs, smartphones and tablets run the business applications - will drive completely different demands from technology next year.

NVIDIA Open-Sources its CUDA Compiler

NVIDIA has open sourced its CUDA compiler for the benefit of "academic researchers and software-tool vendors. " [? then it isn't open source]

Why Do Developers Contribute Code as Open Source?

The study found that 90 percent of their survey respondents were using open source. The top reason why? 80 percent said it saves time and money.

LiMux project exceeds annual target

The LiMux project directors also note that almost all copies of Microsoft Office have been uninstalled and replaced with version 3. 2. 1 of the open source OpenOffice. org office suite. However, a few exceptions were authorised by officials. The remaining 3,000+ systems will be switched to the LiMux client next year.

On the continuing decline of the GPL

The figures indicate that not only has the usage of the GNU GPL family of licenses (GPL2+3, LGPL2+3, AGPL) continued to decline since June, but that the decline has accelerated. The GPL family now accounts for about 57% of all open source software, compared to 61% in June.

Red Hat Grows Million-Dollar Linux Deals

"27 of the top 30 deals in the quarter exceeded $1 million, a 69 percent increase over Q3 of last fiscal year, and five deals exceeded $5 million, a new quarterly record. "

Mozilla Releases Firefox 9, Renews Google Deal

Mozilla derives the majority of its revenues from a multi-year search deal with Google that expired last month. The new deal will extend the deal by another three years. Full terms of the deal are not being publicly disclosed.

Apache forges ahead with suite

Built for testing and debugging, version 3. 4 is not intended to be a feature release but is geared to comply with Apache IP clearance policies.

Members of European Parliament ask Santa Claus for a unitary patent

Moreover, the architecture of the unitary patent as voted today betrays the withdrawal from European Union (EU) legislators in deciding about EU policy on innovation for the profit of the European Patent Office, a self-governed non-EU agency, which is notably known to favour software patents against the letter and the spirit of European Patent Law.

Google renews search deal for Firefox

Mozilla, the maker of of Firefox, today announced that it has struck a new three-year deal with Google in which Google will remain the default search engine in the browser.

Free Software Foundation Europe concerned about Nortel patent sale

Our concerns center around the transfer of a large set of patents, many of which are presumed to relate to basic computing and mobile technologies such as networking, to companies which have a record of aggressively using patents for anticompetive purposes. Additionally, this transfer is taking place in a market where patent aggression has recently reached unprecedented levels.

Red Hat CEO Explains Open Source Success

"Red Hat has been successful in open source where others have not because when we release a new system every two years, we pledge to support it for 10 years," Whitehurst noted. The Raleigh, N. Cc-based company reported earnings earnings Monday that beat Wall Street estimates; it also raised fourth-quarter and full-year guidance.

Who Sat on My Red Hat?

That's not the case at all. Revenue jumped 23% year-over-year to $290 million, right in line with analyst expectations, while $0. 28 of non-GAAP earnings per share beat the $0. 26 Street target. The next-quarter and 2012 outlooks also generally fell in line with analyst expectations.

Linux Controversies of 2011: Is Microsoft Out to Get Linux?

That was a big controversy in 2011 and will remain one in 2012 (and likely for years to come). Microsoft will continue to protect what it sees as its own intellectual property. The Linux community in turn will continue to ask for proof in instead of just FUD.

Boxee 1.5 for Linux desktops arrives, but the end is nigh

“As a platform, we have been able to bring Boxee for Computers to about 85 percent of the Boxee Box in terms of features and functionality,” says Boxee. “Due to extensive DRM and certification requirements premium apps will not be available on the downloadable version of Boxee, most notably Netflix, Vudu, and Pandora”

There Is No Such Thing as Android, Only Android-Compatible

Even to call Android “fragmented” assumes that it was or ought to be unified and singular from the beginning. It makes more sense to start talking about “Android-compatible” devices, rather than Android.

Occupy Geeks Are Building a Facebook for the 99%

“I don’t want to say we’re making our own Facebook. But, we’re making our own Facebook,” said Ed Knutson, a web and mobile app developer who joined a team of activist-geeks redesigning social networking for the era of global protest.

Google Thumps Oracle In Heavyweight Bout Over Android

Android is the country’s most popular mobile operation system, running on approximately 43 percent of all smartphones in the United States, according to Nielsen. Apple’s iOS stands at 28 percent, Blackberry at 18 percent.

Nokia N9 outsells all other phones in Finland during October

Last week, we pondered why Nokia would move its focus from something as beautiful as MeeGo, to Windows Phone. Today, it seems the company should begin wondering this too. According to a press release from Elisa, one of the largest telecommunications companies in Finland, the Nokia N9 was the most popular phone on the market during the month of October for personal customers.

Former Microsoft Exec Scopes Windows Phone's Failure,2817,2398070,00.asp

"Android and iOS are 'safe' because that's where the apps are. Anything else? Not safe. Every conversation, every ad, and every Techcrunch post, er, Verge post, will remind them of where the apps are," blogger Robert Scoble said in response.

Amazon Relents: Kindle Fire Browses Android Market,news-13641.html

Amazon now allows Kindle Fire owners to browse the Android Market via the Silk browser. Ebook reader apps even briefly appeared on the Appstore before disappearing into the abyss again.

Mozilla's Three Big Bets to Keep the Web Open

Mozilla's Apps initiative aims to make Web technologies the basis of building applications that can run across devices.

***** Snippets

Download Linux Kernel 3.2 RC5 and Linux Kernel 3.1.5

Holiday Gift Ideas for Linux and Android Fans

2011: The year of the Android OS

FFmpeg 0.9 "Harmony" released

WordPress 3.3 Improves Usability in Open Source CMS

The 10 Most Important Open Source Projects of 2011

CrunchBang Linux Rescues Old Computers!

December 2011 Web Server Survey (Punch Line: Apache WINS! again..)

What's in Store for SUSE in 2012

Novell Advances NetWare Linux Integration

Google's vow to keep Android open source may hurt its bottom line

Plasma Active Two Boosts Performance, New Features

Is Android the most closed open source project?

Open source doesn't repeal laws of economics

2011: The Year of Linux Disappointments

Is There a Google Conspiracy?

Apple v Samsung

Carrier IQ: Which wireless carrier is the biggest user?

Jurors in Novell-Microsoft case ask court about meaning of 'hung jury'

Google Docs: Providing Enterprise Security to the Masses

Red Hat CFO: We have a Plan B if Duke-Progress merger faces complications

Linux Kernel 3.2 RC6 Is Available for Testing

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.8 Enters Testing

New Release of REMnux for Malware Analysts Now Available

Microsoft vs Google Assessment Matrix - UC Berkeley Chooses Google

Sony sued over terms of service update

Quality in Ubuntu

Wargus - Open-Source Warcraft II On Linux

$25 Linux PC 'Raspberry Pi' to Go in Production Early Next Year

What Makes Android Revolutionary
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