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 #453 Period ending 19 June 2012

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

A ridiculous number of IP related stories this week. Interesting news about openly licensed recordings of Bach (shocking that it has taken so long for this though). New domain names went up for grabs and I released a short report on Open Standards for Linux Australia - take a look if that's your thing. Otherwise, a varied grab bag of stuff.

*From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Off Topic

ICANN Reveals new Top Level Domains

"This is a historic day for the Internet and this is biggest opening of the domain name system in history," Rob Beckstom, CEO of ICANN said in a press conference this morning. "I’m excited to see more choices for consumers and I'll be excited to see what the global community chooses as winners and losers. "

Neal Stephenson kickstarts realistic swordfighting game

Neal Stephenson and the good folks at the Subutai Corporation are looking to raise $500,000 on Kickstarter to fund CLANG, a rich, detailed and faithful swordfighting game.

Shopping website to fine customers using IE7

"Internet Explorer 7 has long since passed its use-by date," Mr Kogan has been quoted as saying. "It’s a constant source of frustration for our web guys and we’re sick of burning cash on a browser that hit the market nearly six years ago. It goes against everything Kogan stands for. "

***** Government/Policy

Open Source Law Releases Report on Open Standards

here are plenty of viable open formats which have not been standardised. Moreover, invariably any format used by an application will initially not be standardised, so there needs to be an incentive for that first format to be open.

Bach Goes Open Source With A Little Help From Some Fans

The Open Goldberg Variations project is a dream come true for Bach enthusiasts, open-source fans, app-makers, remixers, mashers-up of all stripes, and anyone with interested ears, created with the aim of “Setting Bach Free. ” Pristine recordings of this masterwork are available for free in sound qualities all the way up to 24-bit 96 Kbps FLAC (torrent), but that’s just for starters.

Where Are All the Jobs Patent Reform Promised?

One is left to ask, when will we get all these new jobs the politicians promised us during the patent reform process? As I wrote last month, I fear we never will, that the America Invents Act will actually harm American businesses and cause a net loss of jobs for Americans. I'd love to be proven wrong, but sadly doubt I ever will. Maybe next time we shouldn't be so fast to believe what our politicians promise us.

Why I think RMS is a fanatic, and why that matters.

A common failure mode in human reasoning is to become too attached to theory, to the point where we begin ignoring the reality it was intended to describe.

A heartbreaking look at software patents

My friend and former colleague from SFLC, Dan Ravicher, wrote to me about this little girl who relies on an app to speak. The app is under threat for patent infringement and Apple has already removed it from the itunes store.

Google gives $300,000 to OSU Open Source Lab

Google has made a $300,000 donation to the Oregon State University Open Source Lab, increasing its cumulative support of academia's premiere open source development and hosting operation to nearly $1. 9 million.

NASA Ditching Open Source OpenStack? Not So Fast

"While NASA has stopped funding active development of OpenStack as it has matured, which is very much in keeping with their focus on basic and early-stage applied research, there are still organizations within NASA that are actively scaling up their OpenStack adoption ," McKenty explained.

10 Terrible Tech Laws That Have You in Their Bull's-Eye

does legislating them away work?

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

Apple wins order for hearing on Motorola Mobility

Apple won a U. S. judge's order scheduling an injunction hearing in a patent lawsuit against Google's Motorola Mobility unit one week after the same jurist canceled a trial scheduled for Monday.

Wyden, Issa Say Digital Bill of Rights Needed to Prevent New Versions of SOPA

Prior to the failure of the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect IP Act, Hollywood and the recording industry were “used to asking for things and getting it,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif. ) said June 11 during a live-streamed event at the Personal Democracy Forum 2012 in New York.

Audio of Capitol v Thomas argument at US Ct of Appeals for 8th Circuit

However, the assumption that the person who pays for Internet access at a given location is the same individual who allegedly downloaded a single sexually explicit film is tenuous, and one that has grown more so over time. "

Apple's '647 Patent: What It Is and Why it's Bad for the Mobile Ecosystem

The broad scope of the patent is that it is a “system and method for performing an action on a structure in computer-generated data. ”

Comcast Protests “Shake Down” of Alleged BitTorrent Pirates

The real kicker, however, comes with the third argument. Here, Comcast accuses the copyright holders of a copyright shakedown, exploiting the court to coerce defendants into paying settlements.

Retired Judge Joins Fight Against DOJ’s ‘Outrageous’ Seizures in Megaupload Case

Abraham David Sofaer, a former New York federal judge, recently was presenting a paper at the National Academy of Sciences about deterring cyberattacks when he learned the feds had shut down Megaupload, seizing its domain names, in a criminal copyright infringement case.

Defensive Patent License

The Defensive Patent License (DPL) is a new legal mechanism to protect innovators by networking patents into powerful, mutually-beneficial legal shields that are 100% committed to defending innovation – no bullies, trolls, or other leeches allowed. It also helps prevent evildoers from patenting open technologies and pulling them out of the public domain.

Report says movie biz is still growing 3% a year

Despite the fact that U. S. DVD and movie-theater ticket sales respectively declined about 12 percent and 4 percent last year, a report says the global movie business will actually grow at a compound rate of nearly 3. 1 percent through 2016, when it will reach $99. 7 billion.

SFLC's Aaron Williamson testifies at DMCA hearing

The exemption, if granted, would make it legal for owners of personal computing devices to circumvent DRM for the purpose of installing alternative operating systems and applications.

Initial thoughts on Mayo v. Prometheus and software patents

Although the dispute before the Court did not involve software, it will certainly be cited as a precedent in future software cases, and it may ultimately be used to invalidate many bad software patents. The opinion shows that the Court is increasingly mindful of the risks that patents can hold for innovation.


Since my last ACTA update, quite a lot of good stuff has happened. For a start, all four European Parliament committees have recommended that ACTA should be rejected when the plenary vote takes place at the beginning of July.

ITC rejects Google patents in HTC legal dispute aganist Apple

The U. S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has tossed out five Google patents assigned to High Tech Computer in support of its legal complaint against Apple, dealing a blow to the Taiwanese smartphone maker's court dispute to stop the import of the iPhone, iPad and other Apple products into the country for alleged patent infringement.

Google, Mark Cuban, And A Glimpse Into The Heart Of Patent Darkness

This is a Markman hearing, which is like a secret dual between lawyers that the public never sees. Aside from members of the legal teams and a few Vringo executives, the only observers in the stiff-backed pews are investor and hedge fund representatives accompanied by technical advisors whispering the play-by-play.

Patent granted to encourage purchase of digital textbooks

In a newly approved patent, an economics professor hopes to bring to the academic publishing world what seems to be forthcoming in the video game industry—new restrictions that would seemingly eliminate a secondary market for digital goods and prevent legal borrowing.

Nokia (NOK)’s CFO Going to Sell Patents at Best Price

Nokia’s patent portfolio comprises of 30,000 patents and almost 10,000 patented innovations. Its research and development department forms an average of 1,000 patentable innovations yearly.

Forget Edison: This is How History's Greatest Inventions Really Happened

"Simultaneous invention and incremental improvement are the way innovation works, even for radical inventions," Mark A. Lemley writes in his fascinating paper The Myth of the Sole Inventor. [Earlier versions of this paper have been reported on earlier]

Nathan Myhrvold Will Not Apologize for Patent Trolling: The Full D10 Interview (Video)

“I never was a popular kid in class,” the former Microsoft executive told the audience of tech players. “I’m not going to be popular in this class. ”

***** Implementations

Google Chrome OS and Chromebooks: Catching On With Consultants?

Cloud Sherpas, a Google Apps and Salesforce. com consulting firm, has deployed roughly 50 Google Chromebooks internally and is rolling out the cloud-centric notebooks to some customers.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Is Media Explorer following MeeGo to the graveyard?

Media Explorer is a media center originally target for MeeGo, but also is the first real native GNOME 3 multimedia box powered by Clutter and Mx.

First Linux Mint PCs go on sale

These PCs, the fit-PC3 basic and pro models are now available with Linux Mint branding under the name “mintBox. ” According to Clement “Clem” Lefebvre, Mint’s founder, “The mintBox is amongst the toughest computers on the market.

Lightspark 0.6 Released, an Adobe Flash Alternative

Skype 4.0 for Linux

First off, we'd like to thank our Skype for Linux users for your patience awaiting Skype 4. 0 for Linux, codenamed 'Four Rooms for Improvement,' which is now available.

Phil Zimmermann's post-PGP project: privacy for a price

Phil Zimmermann released PGP for free, but he's planning to charge about $20 a month for his new Silent Circle encryption service. It's unlikely to be applauded by encryption-wary law enforcement agencies.

Ringmark now fully open sourced

The Ringmark performance tests are now fully open source according to a post by Facebook's Matt Kelly. Ringmark is designed to test mobile browsers for functionality and performance and then classifies the browser in one of three rings.

Acer’s Latest Iconia Tab Rivals New iPad With High-Res Display;jsessionid=maZYYwSCb1GxVsBjph-zgg**.ecappj01

Officially unveiled this week, the 10. 1-inch Iconia Tab A700 presents what Acer claims to be a "new level of clarity and realism" with its 1,920-by-1,200 high-res display. Delivering a 55 percent higher pixel density compared to the 1,280-by-800 displays native to most tablet PCs, everything from websites to texts to videos supposedly look clearer on Acer’s latest device.

***** Reports

Linux Foundation Brings Training to the Enterprise

The Linux Foundation is launching a new Enterprise Linux Training program. The program is all about preparing IT pros in a vendor-neutral way for Enterprise Linux architecture deployments.

Linus Torvalds on Windows 8, UEFI, and Fedora

The fly in the soup is that by default only Windows 8 will run on these systems, so no Linux, no BSD, heck, no Windows XP for that matter.

How to Get iOS 6 Best New Features in Android Right Now

Almost immediately after the WWDC announcement, I saw a lot of fellow Android users saying things like "Android's had these features for years!"

The GNOME Exodus and KDE

The indication is that KDE has failed to benefit from the exodus from GNOME. Meanwhile, Xfce was three times as popular as the year before.

Linus Torvalds: Linux succeeded thanks to selfishness and trust

I think your question assumes a level of planning that simply didn't really exist. It wasn't so much about me having any particular expectations of what would happen when I made the original kernel sources available: a lot of the impetus for releasing it was simply a kind of "hey, look at what I've done".

Robin Miller's formula for a successful open source career

The most successful applicants, however, can demonstrate knowledge not only of Linux but also of other platforms and architectures companies might already have in place. Yet Miller noted that experience with open source software provides distinct advantages for job seekers.

The Gift that Keeps on Giving – Distribution and Copyleft in Open Source Software Licenses

Copyleft obligations in licenses like GPL version 2 are triggered by "distribution," but what exactly does that mean? This article examines the question of what constitutes distribution under U. S. copyright law, and how that question plays out in complex business settings where free software thrives today.

Raspberry Pi IN THE SKY: Wallet-sized PC is disaster drone brain

A British-led Japan-based group is building a free-software-powered flying robot for use by disaster relief organisations – and at its heart is tech darling the Raspberry Pi.

Writing a new chapter for French books

Much of the world’s information is found on the printed page. But almost 75 percent of the world’s books are out-of-print and unavailable except to the lucky few who can find old copies in libraries. In order to make this treasure available to everyone, anywhere in the world, we digitised millions of out-of-print works in U. S. libraries.

Canonical announces Ubuntu apps showdown

Canonical hopes that the competition helps to raise awareness of Quickly, and popularize the toolkit among developers.

Nokia scraps Linux-based OS for feature phones

Citing sources familiar with the project, The Wall Street Journal reported in September 2011 that Nokia engineers were at work on a Linux-based operating system codenamed "Meltemi" (so named for the Greek word for summer winds that blow across the Aegean Sea) and intended to complement the company's suite of smartphones running Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT)

Dell's Big Data Move: Apache Hadoop Meets Pentaho Analytics

Where is Dell heading in the big data, business intelligence and analytics software markets? The answer involves Apache Hadoop and Pentaho — an open source software company that seems to be gaining more business momentum.

Open Source Crowd Mapping with Ushahidi

"Ushahidi", which means "testimony" in Swahili, was a website that was initially developed to map reports of violence in Kenya after the post-election fallout at the beginning of 2008. Since then, the name "Ushahidi" has come to represent the people behind the "Ushahidi Platform".

Jeff Bezos & Hillary Clinton, together at last for Kindle announcement next week

Earlier this week, we outlined why the U. S. State Department picked Amazon’s Kindle over other tablets and e-readers, including Apple’s iPad and Barnes and Noble’s Nook, among others. The State Department attributed their pick to the Kindle’s text-to-speech requirement, long-lasting battery life and ability to access free Wi-Fi worldwide, among other key factors like portability and durability.

Linux gaming on the rise: EA arrives on Ubuntu and Valve plans Steam port

Ubuntu’s built-in Software Center, which allows users of the popular Linux distribution to purchase software, is attracting game developers. A recent partnership with the backers of the Humble Indie Bundle proved successful. Mainstream publishers like EA are also starting to take an interest.

Nokia’s Linux-based Meltemi platform melts amid layoffs; Qt still afloat

Meltemi was a Linux-based operating system that was intended to be Nokia’s successor to the S40 feature phone platform. Used in conjunction with the Qt development toolkit, Meltemi was going to be the cornerstone of Nokia’s strategy for connecting the “next billion” smartphone users.

Embedded Linux Development in 6 Easy Steps

Millennium Technology Prize

***** Snippets

What do open source enterprise developers really need to know?

Oracle Loses Top Linux Filesystem Dev

Why Schmidt was wrong and developers still start on Apple

Linux on Microsoft Azure Platform-as-a-Service: Big Whoop

Linux 3.5 rc2

Wine 1.5.6 has been released!

Camera FV-5: Android Camera App for Serious Photographers

Ubuntu Linux 12.10 'Quantal Quetzal' Alpha 1 - New features

Android hits 900,000 activations per day - and Andy Rubin's staying put

Best Of LinuxCon Japan 2012

Sabayon Linux 9 Released

Introducing Ubuntu Rotten Tomatoes Scope for Unity

Android: not-so-open open source

Why Microsoft's Metro Push Is Good for Linux

GNU Emacs 24.1 introduces new packaging system

30 Linux Kernel Developers in 30 Weeks: Linus Torvalds

GNOME Developers Are Out of Touch With Their Users

Zorin OS 6 Lite: Windows replacement for low-end computers

openSUSE 12.2 delayed, community re-working development model

I started using LINUX because I didn't want to wait 20 minutes to find out the weather forecast

Second Beta of KDE SC 4.9 Is Available for Testing

How To Watch UEFA Euro 2012 Live (Online) Under Linux

Mandriva finally died! Well, sort of...

Opera 12 brings camera support, more themes, speed and security

Apple Really Is Going To Try To Kill Google

Linus Torvalds in Helsinki for Chance at Finnish Tech Glory

Gnome gains Microsoft SkyDrive Support

A Review Of MATE. Is It A True Gnome 2 Replica? [Linux]

OpenSUSE Linux Delays 12.2 Release in an Effort to Make the Distro Better

Gnome Developers are Working on a New Software Center
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