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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 #443 Period ending 11 April 2012

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

This edition is a little late after Easter, but has a lot of interesting articles. The Mayor of Munich says that their switch to Linux has reduced costs and complaints. An Australian artist has been awarded AU$150K using a little known section of the AU Copyright Act because someone wrongly issued a takedown notice against one of his works. The US has a Son-Of-SOPA Act on the table. Peru says its investment in computers for kids hasn't made a difference (OT). There's research on how much patent litigation tends to cost in the US. Finally, there's a story about the expiry of a patent on a one line conditional statement which was essential to fax machine standards.

*From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Open Standards/ODF

Nokia v Apple nanoSIM format war: Victor will be named next month

Nokia claims its own design is smaller, given Apple's approach uses a tray-loading mechanism which must be included in the calculations, but as neither proposal is in the public domain it's hard for anyone outside ETSI to say which is the superior design.

The Global Knock-on Effects of China’s Home-Grown Standards Preferences

The West first became widely aware of these policies in the middle of the last decade when Chinese authorities announced that wireless chips sold in China would need to implement a “home grown” WiFi standard called WAPI. Significantly, implementing WAPI would require foreign vendors to enter into expensive license agreements a handful of Chinese companies.

Of Microsoft, Netscape, Patents and Open Standards

AOL didn’t disclose the name of that subsidiary in its press release, but a person familiar with the transaction has clued me in: It’s Netscape.

***** Off Topic

Global Payments: Breach Contained, But Damage Done

Visa drops credit card processor Global Payments Inc. from registry of secure providers as details emerge about theft of 1. 5 million card records.

How Apple and Google help police bypass iPhone, Android lock screens

It's more difficult to gain access to a locked Android phone. The document (PDF page 25) says that according to T-Mobile and Google, the only way to "unlock the phone is to have the Gmail user name and password. " But Google employs good security -- presumably a so-called cryptographic hash for passwords -- and does "not have access to particular e-mail account passwords, as they are encrypted. "

E-voting system awards election to wrong candidates in Florida village

- An optical scan vote tallying system, now used by some 300 U. S. municipalities, misreported the results of a Palm Beach County, Florida, municipal election last month.

E-book revolution: We're reading more than ever

Some 21 percent of adults have read an e-book in the past year, according to a new study by the Pew Internet Project. What’s more, readers of e-books read an average of 10 books more per year than readers of print books.

A disappointing return from an investment in computing

GIVING a child a computer does not seem to turn him or her into a future Bill Gates—indeed it does not accomplish anything in particular. That is the conclusion from Peru, site of the largest single programme involving One Laptop per Child, an American charity with backers from the computer industry and which is active in more than 30 developing countries around the world.

Looks like Apple paid off victim of ham-handed iPhone search

It would seem that the missing iPhone prototype wasn't "priceless," after all. Apple has apparently reached an out-of-court settlement to keep a San Francisco man from suing the company over what his attorney -- and virtually everyone else -- called an "outrageous" warrantless search of the man's home, car and computer last summer by two Apple employees accompanied by four city police officers.

***** Government/Policy

Munich mayor says switch to Linux is much cheaper and has reduced complaints

By migrating to its own Linux distribution, LiMux, the German city of Munich reduced both IT costs and user complaints, according to figures provided by Mayor Christian Ude.

Announcing New Open Compliance Template

Today, we are releasing a new template that will help companies manage the flow of data through the compliance process.

Blackboard starts offering support for open source competitors

Course management software company Blackboard has acquired the two leading support companies behind their open source competitor Moodle: NetSpot and Moodlerooms. The company has also hired one of the founders of Sakai, another open source alternative to its own commercial software platform.

EU Parliament: Hacking IT systems to become a criminal offence

Possessing or distributing hacking software and tools would also be an offence, and companies would be liable for cyber attacks committed for their benefit.

A one-line software patent – and a fix

Why the excitement? Well, 17 years ago, I wrote JBIG-KIT, a free and open-source implementation of JBIG1, the image compression algorithm used in all modern fax machines. My software is about 4000 lines of code long (in C), and only one single “if” statement in it is covered by the above patent: if (s->a < lsz) { s->c += s->a; s->a = lsz; } And sadly, there was no way to implement a JBIG1 encoder or decoder without using this patented line of code (in some form) while remaining compatible with all other JBIG1 implementations out there.

How One Non-Profit Aims to Create Open-Source Government

As a non-partisan, non-profit organization, the Sunlight Foundation is taking the ethos found among the open-source software movement and applying it to government. It’s one goal is to publish the government’s public data in an easy-to-access location, at no cost to users.

The Social Networking Patent Thicket Consists Of At Least 30,000 Patents

In other words, there's a massive patent thicket in the social networking space. I don't how see anyone can legitimately suggest that the patent system is working when someone developing a social network has to be concerned about the fact that they might get sued over upwards of 30,000 patents.

Ninth Circuit Hands Down En Banc Decision in United States v. Nosal

Chief Judge Kozinski’s analysis essentially adopts the argument we made in the Lori Drew case (and that I pushed in two articles) that “exceeds authorized access” has to be interpreted narrowly to avoid turning the CFAA into the statute that inadvertently criminalizes a tremendous scope of innocuous activity.

Wellcome Trust joins 'academic spring' to open up science

He also said that the Wellcome Trust, which spends more than £600m on scientific research a year, would soon adopt a more robust approach with the scientists it funds, to ensure that results are freely available to the public within six months of first publication.

Copy Rights

‘I think about so many things when I think about working with an image that I just can’t name it,” says Kelley Walker, when asked if he is an appropriation artist.

Even worse than SOPA: New CISPA cybersecurity bill will censor the Web

There’s a fine line between offensive and hilarious, and Arizona lawmakers aim to make that boundary legally protected. If House Bill 2549 passes, online harassment could become a criminal offense – but some hacktivists are there to help you rejoice.

Are College Professors and Librarians Digital Pirates?

academic publishers are crying foul in federal courts from Georgia to New York to California. Backed by trade groups and copyright enforcement houses, the publishers are litigating aggressively, while the universities—almost all of them public—are zealously defending the practice of putting some portion of course content online.

Apple Preparing to Defend Price Agreement With Publishers

The Justice Department is probing whether Apple’s interaction with publishers over pricing hampered competition in the market for electronic books. The government is seeking a settlement that would let Amazon. com Inc. (AMZN) (AMZN) and other retailers return to a wholesale model, where retailers decide what to charge customers, the people said.

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

A Copyright First: Bogus Copyright Takedown Leads To Australian Court Awarding $150k Damages


In response, Bell went to the (Australian) courts, which declared him the owner of the copyright in the film, and deemed Steele's threats "unjustifiable". Bell then asked for damages. These were granted in the latest judgment because Bell had lost the opportunity to sell some of his works, which typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, as a result of Steels' threats. The Australian judge awarded over $150,000 in damages plus another $23,000 costs against her.

Microsoft shuts German distribution center in patent dispute

"We would have preferred to keep our European distribution center in Germany, where it has been for many years. But unfortunately the risk from disruptions from Motorola's patent litigation is simply too high," Microsoft spokesman Thomas Baumgaertner said on Monday.

Judge calls Apple motion to reconsider Motorola ruling 'troubling'

U. S. Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner shot down Apple's motion to reconsider a ruling of a Motorola patent case, writing that the document's two main arguments are founded on "flagrant misreadings" of the March 29 order.

Facebook v Yahoo

Facebook has responded to a ten patent lawsuit from Yahoo by asserting ten patents of its own — including two that list CEO Mark Zuckerberg as the inventor....

In a widely publicized deal, Facebook recently acquired a license to hundreds ofFacebook’s counterclaim includes ten patents that represent eight acquisitions an - Jeff John Roberts, paidContent

Australian government patent troll collects from Wi-Fi vendors

Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) has picked up $229-million from technology companies for their Wi-Fi patent. This time around, CSIRO hit up Lenovo, Acer, Sony, AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. These companies settled with CSIRO rather than face off in the infamously pro-patent Eastern District Court of Texas, United States.

Man in the Middle Wants Out of Dragnet

A man caught in the middle of a federal probe into Megaupload. com asked the government to return the files he needs to run his small business. Kyle Goodwin, who runs a business reporting on high school sports in Ohio, filed a brief in support of an emergency motion for protective order on March 30. According to his brief, Goodwin paid for Megaupload's premium service so he could store an unlimited number of videos, interviews and news stories on the website's cloud storage service. He then shares footage of the sporting events he covers, creates news packages, or makes games available for streaming.

Motorola Mobility in double Euro probe over patent warfare

The European Commission's anti-competition division has opened two formal investigations into Motorola Mobility after complaints from Apple and Microsoft about how it uses its patents against them.

Talks over: Google, Oracle head to court

Grewal — the same judge who presided over similarly failed settlement talks last year — issued a memo on Monday explaining that "the parties have reached an irreconcilable impasse in their settlement discussions with the undersigned", and that "no further conferences shall be convened".

Supreme Court Considers GM Crop Patent Case

Can a farmer commit patent infringement just by planting soybeans he bought on the open market? This week, the Supreme Court asked the Obama administration to weigh in on the question. The Court is pondering an appeals court decision saying that such planting can, in fact, infringe patents.

Why Copyright Law Excludes Systems and Processes from the Scope of Its Protection

The idea/expression distinction predated Baker, and a close analysis of the Baker decision and of its progeny reveals that the principal contribution of Baker made to U. S. copyright law has been its exclusion of systems, processes, and other useful arts from the scope of copyright protection.

Boundless Learning sued by textbook makers after $8M raise

The suit — from Pearson Education, Cengage Learning and MacMillan Higher Education — accuses Boundless Learning of copying material from the companies’ biology, economics and psychology textbooks.

>From Knowledge to Ideas: The Two Faces of Innovation

Innovative ideas have unique properties arising from low communication costs. But ideas come from knowledge that is costly to communicate.

How much is that patent lawsuit going to cost you?

For a claim that could be worth less than a $1 million, median legal costs are $650,000. When $1 million to $25 million is considered "at risk," total litigation costs can hit $2. 5 million. For a claim over $25 million, median legal costs are $5 million.

Why tech vendors fund patent 'trolls'

In that testimony, Lutton said, "The IT industry, like so many others, is encountering the enormous costs of dealing with poor quality patents. We are also faced with a growing cottage industry of patent assertions, orchestrated by entities with no business other than acquiring and asserting patents. "

Viacom wins reversal in landmark YouTube case

But writing for a two-judge panel of the 2nd Circuit, Judge Jose Cabranes concluded that "a reasonable jury could find that YouTube had actual knowledge or awareness of specific infringing activity on its website. "

Industry nervous on reasons for Patents Bill delay – NZCS CEO

US TPPA negotiators are known to be pushing hard against New Zealand’s decision to remove software from the realm of patent and also appear to have reservations about the protection and pricing of pharmaceuticals in this country, Matthews says.

Why the coming patent crisis is inevitable

The reason is simple: there isn't enough political will or pressure to institute massive patent reform without a crisis to rally around.

The Impact of Mayo v. Prometheus: Three Weeks In

It has been three weeks since the Supreme Court decided Mayo v. Prometheus, and in that time four additional decisions have been released that rely on the Supreme Court opinion.

Megaupload Adds Superstar Lawyer to Defense Team

Schapiro earned rave reviews last autumn

Judge tosses suits over downloaded porn because of nonadmitted lawyer

David Fisher Tamaroff of Miami-based Tamaroff & Tamaroff, whose firm is representing 16 John Does in the cases, said the ruling "demonstrates how the plaintiffs' attorneys handling these types of mass copyright litigations…have a disregard for the rules of procedure in bringing these suits. "

Where TPP Goes Beyond ACTA -- And How It Shows Us The Future Of IP Enforcement

But in many ways, what's really interesting is how the two treaties differ, because it's clear that in many places TPP goes well beyond ACTA -- it's not simply a transposition of ACTA to the Pacific Rim. As such, those differences represent the next turn of the copyright enforcement screw, and give us a fascinating insight into where the copyright maximalists are likely to be pushing for more when it comes to drawing up successors to ACTA and SOPA, say.

Inside the Failed Patent Litigation Strategy of Rambus, Inc.

But some of Rambus's rivals have a very different take. They've argued that the company delivered a flawed product; that it defrauded the Joint Electron Device Engineering Council (the body tasked with creating industry standards for computer memory); and that it ambushed JEDEC participants with unreasonable demands for royalty payments.

Challenge to Social Networking Patent among the Reexamination Requests Filed Week of March 26

Earlier this year, Real Time Social Inventions sued ten companies, including Facebook and Oracle, for infringement of U. S. Patent No. 7,853,881. Now, RT Social Networks has requested reexamination (see inter partes Request No. (2)), stating that it is the only real party in interest, even though RT Social Networks is not one of the defendants named in those infringement actions.

2011 - Record Year for # of Utility Patents Issued by USPTO

In 2011, the USPTO issued a record number of utility patents – just shy of 225,000 issued patents. My indicators are that the 2012 figure will be around 6–10% greater. On April 3, the USPTO issued 5,176 utility patents — once again a new record and fully 200 more than the previous record set in March of this year.

U.S. court wary of Apple request to block Samsung

A U.S. appeals court on Friday showed few signs that it was prepared to support a request by Apple Inc to block immediately the sale of some Samsung Electronics smartphones and tablets.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Canadian Developer Building Open Source Tricorders

In the first two tricorders, Jansen used atmospheric, electromagnetic, and spatial sensors in a device with 2. 8 screen, and SD card storage.

The Secret History of OpenStack, the Free Cloud Software That’s Changing Everything

OpenStack is software anyone can use to build their own version of Amazon’s Elastic Compute Cloud, the massively popular web service that gives developers and businesses instant access to virtual servers.

Vendor Touts Open-Source Trading Platform

Kirk Wylie, founder and chief executive officer of OpenGamma, called the platform the plumbing that connects a trading firm’s proprietary systems with the low-level infrastructure and data feeds they work with on a daily basis.

Yahoo Open Sources Its Apple App Store Killer

Mojito is a way of building applications with JavaScript, the standard web programming language that runs on most any smartphone, tablet or PC.

Linberry – Blackberry Phone Manager for Linux

So it falls to the Linux community to provide solutions. And the most thorough of these comes in the shape of LinBerry – a dedicated desktop manager for Blackberry devices that’s currently in beta.

Intel's New Studybook Tablet Reignites Rivalry With OLPC

The tablet comes with either Microsoft's Windows 7 or Google's Android operating systems, and runs on a single-core Intel Atom Z650 processor with a clock speed of 1. 5GHz.

OpenStack Essex Delivers Cloud Dashboard

The open source OpenStack cloud platform is out with its fifth major release today, delivering new features for clouds. OpenStack enjoys the support of more than 150 companies, including big names like Rackspace, Cisco, Dell, AT&T and HP, all of whom are building clouds with OpenStack technology.

***** Reports

Who helps make Linux? Microsoft.

According to The Linux Foundation, this is “the first time, Microsoft appears on list of companies that are contributing to the Linux kernel. Ranking at number 17, the company that once called Linux a ‘cancer,’ today is working within the collaborative development model to support its virtualization efforts and its customers.

Dell's Clerity Acquisition Could Boost Linux Server Applications

Dell remains on an acquisition binge. The latest deal involves Dell acquiring Clerity Solutions, which helps customers to migrate applications from IBM mainframes to x86 servers running Linux and Windows.

Forrester Predicts Increase in Use of Open Source DI Tools

But open source isn’t just expanding its enterprise footprint through Big Data — we’ll also see a rise in open source data integration and business intelligence deployments, Kobielus says.

Intel outlines open source development projects

Intel is fully committed to open source, Sousou explained, because it wants the maximum number of people using its hardware to the best advantage. The best way to do this is to join the community, and he said Intel was now the second biggest corporate sponsor of Linux, behind Red Hat, as well as being a board member of The Document Foundation, which produces the open source office suite LibreOffice.

Citrix Walks Away from OpenStack, Moves to Apache CloudStack

Sameer Dholakia, group VP and GM of Cloud Platforms at Citrix, explained during a press conference, that it is Citrix's view that when it comes to cloud technologies, being open is the key.

Blue Coat Advances IPv6 Visibility - Moving from RTOS to Linux (soon).

"We plan to move to a 64 bit Linux or FreeBSD operating system and, over time, we will be offering virtual solutions," House said.

Linux boss: We're number one where it counts

Linux's success is, however, causing some bottlenecks. There aren't enough systems developers at present to manage the number of Linux rollouts currently under development, Zemlin suggests, and while there are plenty of skilled coders, large-scale implementations require a certain skill set. That said, there is a huge base of Linux coders out there working today.

Apache OpenOffice: who knows where the time goes?

Significantly, the pledge to release the code of Lotus Symphony to the Apache Software Foundation, made last July, is yet to be realised, perhaps because of a combination of ongoing code development and relicensing issues.

Owncloud Takes Open Source Storage Sharing to the Enterprise

The new editions provide additional management capabilities and commercial support. What ownCloud is essentially doing is providing an open source alternative to Dropbox that is now more integrated with enterprise systems. A Brand New Community For Mobile Open Source!

A fresh new community has recently come together in the form of OpenTablets. org. The brain-child of Matthias Lee, the community’s primary effort centers around MakePlayLive’s premier tablet, Vivaldi.

As Yahoo Trims Down, Open Source Contributions Could Pick Up

What a lot of people don't realize is that many innovative initiatives and platform tools that Yahoo has leveraged over the years either were originally or became open source projects. As Yahoo slims down, we're likely to see some of its core technologies released as open source.

Microsoft and Open Source

Microsoft has no vision when it comes to Open-Source, no strategy and no leadership. Some groups are seen as more progressive, and do tend towards a better approach to OSS. Some people consider those steps as sufficient to stop pressuring Microsoft towards responsible OSS, and I disagree: itâs only some groups, and even within those groups, the advances are still very much one of exporter.

Comparing participation in the open source cloud communities

With competition heating up in open source clouds, an analysis of community participation among four major projects shows that Eucalyptus - the oldest of those studied - has the largest standing community but OpenStack and CloudStack are gaining momentum in the developer community.

LINUX TYCOON a Distro simulator for some great fun

What is Linux Tycoon? the game is about developing a Linux Distro using the given the several resources and then getting their distro to top Distro Charts. Though this is the typical lifecycle of every distro, Linux Tycoon, plays at being different.

Linux 2.4 Hits the End of the Line

The 2. 4 kernel has been in maintenance only mode for the most part for the last six years since the 2. 6 kernel was first released. There has long been a subset of vendors (many on the embedded side) that still relied 2. 4, but that's no longer the case.

SugarCRM Grows 67 percent, Raises $33 Million for Enterprise CRM Push

SugarCRM, which competes with Salesforce. com and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, has raised $33 million in funding to push deeper into the enterprise market.

Red Hat Storage 2.0 Aims to Unify File and Object Access

Red Hat is advancing its storage platform development with Monday's beta release of Red Hat Storage 2. 0. The Red Hat Storage platform is based on the GlusterFS open source filesystem technology that Red Hat acquired in October 2011 for $136 million.

10Gen Takes Open Source NoSQL MongoDB Commercial with Red Hat

The partnership will see MongoDB certified for enterprise use on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 and 6 as well as providing tools and support for joint customers.

Raspberry Pi works with a 30-year-old mini CRT display

Although the $25 price point is a key selling point of the tiny ARM computer, there is another important feature the device carries: it works with really old tech.

Instagram's $Billion Sale Powered by Ubuntu Linux

Instagram's back-end is powered by Ubuntu 11. 04 running on EC2.

Windows-on-iPad service goes legit as Microsoft licensing demands are met

Under Microsoft licensing rules, hosted virtual instances of Windows 7 cannot be provided unless each user has a license from Microsoft, and Office can't be provided as a service at all except when it's hosted on Windows Server and Remote Desktop Services.

A Common Set of APIs

Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Eucalyptus Systems announced an agreement last week that enables customers to more efficiently migrate workloads between their existing data centers and the AWS cloud while using the same management tools and skills across both environments.

Whither the GPL? Why we don’t need it anymore

Not to mention that copyleft licenses make it much harder to build proprietary products. An exceedingly popular business model is opening the infrastructure while building a closed layer on top as a product, often some sort of administration or management interface in the case of cloud.

***** Snippets

Google Chrome 18 Accelerates Canvas

SUSE Linux Upgrade Could Benefit Retailers

The Gnome 3 Meteor: Revisited

Linux 3.4 rc1

Xfce 4.10pre1 released

Fuduntu 2012.2 Release

Linux Mint vs. Ubuntu: the Best Option?

You — yes, you — are using Linux, and you probably don’t even know it

Who Are the 'Unknown' Linux Kernel Developers?

When Will Android be a First Class Linux Citizen?

Shuttleworth defends Ubuntu's Linux contributions

Is April Still A Magic Month for Ubuntu?

Mageia 2 Beta 2 Review

KDE SC 4.8.2 Is Now Available for Download

Linux Kernel Developers Detail Top Gripes

Open-source data mapping tool CartoDB provides customizable views

Mageia 2 Delayed for More Bug Hunting (

It's Not Highlander: There Can Be More Than One Open Source Cloud

Should you be worried about Ubuntu Desktop’s privacy settings?

Linux 3.4 rc2

First look: Qt 5 makes JavaScript a first-class citizen for app development

How Canonical's next moves could repaint the Linux landscape

Chrome OS gets updated with Aura UI

Kernel Comment: Taking a partial view
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