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 #432 Period ending 23 January 2012

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

SOPA is the main story again this week, with heaps of SOPA related stories. The US has also had a case recently in which the Supreme Court held that the Congress was competent to remove material from the public domain. Also a lot of policy related stories which might be of interest.

*From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Off Topic

Google Workers Caught 'Vandalizing' Open Source Maps

High-ranking members of the OpenStreetMap project — an open source mapping project that competes with Google Maps — have claimed that user accounts attached to a range of Google internet addresses in India have been maliciously tampering with its data.

Microsoft SkyDrive ‘Confuses Naked With Nude’, Art Account Frozen

Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) has an image police - but an arrest they have made may be mistaken. A blogger using its SkyDrive cloud storage service says it froze his account when it confused a famous work of art with pornography.

***** Government/Policy

User Sovereignty for our Data

The ability of big data and cloud service providers to monitor, log, store, use, correlate and sell information about who we are and what we do has huge implications for society and for individuals.

Open-source robotic surgery platform going to top medical research labs

"We decided to follow an open-source model, because if all of these labs have a common research platform for doing robotic surgery, the whole field will be able to advance more quickly," said Jacob Rosen, associate professor of computer engineering in the Baskin School of Engineering at UC Santa Cruz and principal investigator on the project.

LCA2012: Bruce Perens Says Open Source Needs To Do More

The Open Source movement, Perens suggests, is the only credible producer of software (and recently hardware), and therefore not bound to a single interest, economically or politically. Open Source is important in a world controlled by big business, and it’s up to us to ensure it’s not squashed like a bug by the interests of these large companies.

Egregious/Overreaching Ex Parte Orders for Rightsowners Keep Coming -- Deckers and Richemont

An order requiring the registries and/or registrars to “prevent the . . . domain names from connecting to corresponding” websites and prevent the registration or transfer of new domain names

>From CES: Will HTML5 Threaten the Closed World of the App Store?

With HTML5, developers can target multiple platforms with their applications, making silo’ed app stores less important than they are today.

Inching Towards Open Access: JSTOR Will Offer Reading Access to Some Journals Free

Back in September of 2011, JSTOR made freely available something on the order of half a million journal articles that have entered the public domain, specifically those published in the US from before 1923 and those from Europe published before 1870.

Network knowledge

As knowledge becomes networked, the smartest person in the room isn’t the person standing at the front lecturing us, and isn’t the collective wisdom of those in the room. The smartest person in the room is the room itself: the network that joins the people and ideas in the room, and connects to those outside of it.

Code for America opens 'civic accelerator' in S.F.

The details are still being worked out, but Code for America will work with the city to identify departments in particular need of new online tools. Code for America will sponsor so-called hackathons this spring and summer to find and fund entrepreneurs building the most promising solutions.

The Unprecedented Audacity of the iBooks Author EULA

If you charge a fee for any book or other work you generate using this software (a “Work”), you may only sell or distribute such Work through Apple (e. g. , through the iBookstore) and such distribution will be subject to a separate agreement with Apple.

NASA Clears Runway for Open Source Software

The NASA Open Government Initiative has launched a new Web site to expand the agency’s open source software development.

Obama Nominates RIAA Lawyer for Solicitor General

President Barack Obama nominated former Recording Industry Association of America lawyer Donald Verrilli Jr. on Monday to serve as the nation’s solicitor general.

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

Opinion recap: The public domain shrinks

No one, the Court said flatly, obtains any personal right under the Constitution to copy or perform a work just because it has come out from under earlier copyright protection, so no one can object if copyright is later restored. Any legal rights that exist belong only to the author or composer, the ruling said. If anyone wants to resume the use or performance of a work after it regains copyright, they must pay for the privilege, the decision made clear.

Apple Files German Design Suit Against 10 Samsung Smartphones

File-Sharing Site Megaupload Shut Down Over Piracy, Execs Indicted,2817,2399105,00.asp

Seven people and two corporations—Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited—were indicted by a New York grand jury on Jan. 5 and charged with engaging in a racketeering conspiracy, conspiring to commit copyright infringement, conspiring to commit money laundering, and two substantive counts of criminal copyright infringement. If convicted, those involved face up to 50 years in prison on all charges.

Tim Berners-Lee fights subpoena from Barnes & Noble

A lawyer for Barnes & Noble, in a July 2011 letter that is included as an exhibit with Berners-Lee’s motion, says his testimony is needed because Alcatal Lucent and predecessors Bell Labs and AT&T have “asserted (their) patents are directly responsible for the creation and success of the World Wide Web. ”

Nokia sells over 450 patents, some of them deemed essential to GSM, to a patent troll

Sisvel is a company you’ve probably never heard of, and to give you an idea of what they do just read their slogan: “We protect ideas. ” Yes folks, they’re a patent troll, which is a defined as a company that buys up patents and then proceeds to bring other companies to court for infringing on said patents.

Eye-Fi CEO slams SD Association's similar Wireless SD card standard, says his IP violated

As it turns out, Eye-Fi's none too pleased about it, and Koren has gone so far as to publicly admit that the standard is seriously infringing upon highly valuable Eye-Fi technology. To quote: "As [the SDA's standard is] currently written, essential Eye-Fi patented technology would be violated by anyone implementing this draft specification. "

Europe Says It Won’t Adopt ‘Bad’ Digital Policy Like SOPA

One of Kroes’ current key policy planks is creating a “single market for digital content” across Europe’s 27 separate states. Her view is that payment processing and content licensing are too complex, too territorial and include too many supply fees. She wants to drive down fees and drive up legal digital consumption on a pan-continental basis.

***** Reports

Microsoft to lock out other operating systems from Windows 8 ARM PCs & devices

It turns out Microsoft will use UEFI to imprison Windows 8 device users to Windows 8.


"There are a lot of BIG tech vendors that aren't talking about SOPA.Yes, I know there has been lots of noise about SOPA in recent weeks, but I was surprised to discover how few of the vendors that I regularly write about have an official view on the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA).

Samsung Merging Its Bada OS With Intel-Backed Tizen Project

There has also been a lot of industry speculation about the value Samsung attaches to bada and the reason Samsung got involved in Tizen, an industry consortium that is producing an open-source operating system.

Hands-on with Ubuntu TV, above and under the hood

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas on Monday, platform vendor Canonical unveiled a special version of Ubuntu that is designed for televisions.

Canonical Removes Java from Ubuntu on February 16

As announced last month, Canonical is preparing to remove the Sun JDK (Java Development Kit) packages from the software repositories, starting with February 16th, 2012, affecting Ubuntu 10. 04 LTS, Ubuntu 10. 10 and Ubuntu 11. 04.

Open source needed to save democracy

Open-source software developers face greater risks today than they ever have, to the point where the constraints inherent in proprietary software now represent a risk to democracy, according to one of the movement's leading figures.

Freedom, Out of the Box! - Update on activites at the FreedomBox Foundation

FreedomBox is a personal server running a free software operating system and free applications, designed to create and preserve personal privacy by providing a secure platform upon which federated social networks can be constructed.

Bitwig Studio: A Professional Music Creation Software (DAW) Comes To Linux

Bitwig has now released Bitwig Studio, a multi-platform professional music-creation system and Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) for production, performance and DJing and unlike Ableton Live, it will have a Linux version. This is definitely good news as more companies are showing interest in Linux. Just couple of days back, Corel announced availability of AfterShot Pro for Linux.

Report: Open Source Application Servers Are More Prevalent Than You Think

Obviously, the open source solutions are carving out serious market share here, and the other thing that jumps out of the data is how prevalent Apache Tomcat is. If you've followed Apache's solutions at the server level for any length of time, you know that they've been extremely competitive for years. All the way back in 2008, we reported on that trend.

Microsoft gets about $27 for each Windows Phone ZTE makes

The most costly aspect of building a smartphone may in fact be the licensing for the operating system. IntoMobile reports that ZTE is paying Microsoft to the tune of about $27 for each Windows Phone it makes.

INFLUENCE GAME: Online companies win piracy fight

Outspent but hardly outgunned, online and high-tech companies triggered an avalanche of Internet clicks to force Congress to shelve legislation that would curb online piracy. They outmaneuvered the entertainment industry and other old guard business interests, leaving them bitter and befuddled.

***** Snippets

MLK and Open Source: 2 Degrees of Separation

Are Your Linux Skills Right for HPC Jobs?

The Fragmentation of the Linux Desktop

Mandriva bankruptcy decision delayed

Linux Continues to Grow in the Enterprise - Is Anyone Surprised?

Is the Linux Desktop actually growing?

Red Hat Turns to Linux for Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization 3

Has the World outgrown Commercial UNIX?

Has Firefox Lost Its Edge?
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