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 #473 Period ending 28 November 2012

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

Headline story for me this week was research out of Germany showing that the MegaUpload suit reduced box office takings overall. A little bit more about overcoming UEFI boot problems and there is some noise about the ITU wanting to give the UN a regulatory function over the internet.

I forgot to mention that submissions to IP issues paper #42 closed on 16 November, with the ALRC due to report on 30 November. Some of my comments are in my blog posts (below).

*From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



***** Off Topic

You are committing a crime right now

The CFAA was written in 1986. Back then, to access a computer, you had to have an explicit user account and password. It was therefore easy to tell whether access was authorized or not. But then the web happened, and we started accessing computers all over the world without explicit authorization.

Euro MPs: Do not let the ITU take control of the internet

On Thursday, members of the European Parliament backed resolutions criticising proposals to give more power to the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The UN group is looking to revise existing regulations to cover the internet and draw up a new worldwide treaty at its closed-door Dubai conference in December.

PACER federal court record fees exceed system costs

The federal government has collected millions from the online Public Access to Court Electronic Records system, or PACER – nearly five times what it cost to run the system.

Google Encourages Action Against UN Internet Proposals

The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) will be holding its World Conference on International Telecommunications in Dubai next month -- and Google contends that Internet censorship might be on the agenda.

***** Government/Policy

Researchers find Megaupload shutdown hurt box office revenues, despite gains for blockbusters

The study analyzed weekly data from 1,344 movies in 49 countries over a five-year period. Here’s the crux of the results: “In all specifications we find that the shutdown had a negative, yet in some cases insignificant effect on box office revenues. ” Not all movies were negatively affected: “For blockbusters (shown on more than 500 screens) the sign is positive (and significant, depending on the specification). ”

German city dumps OpenOffice and switches to Microsoft

The council voted 25 in favor and 20 against the decision with 2 abstentions in a vote on the switch on Tuesday afternoon, said Edith Lamersdorf, spokeswoman for the Freiburg city council in an email. "So Freiburg will return to Microsoft Office," she said.

Antitrust Enforcers to Consider Whether Patent Trolls Disrupt Competition

According to the story, the hearings will probe how patents are being used “as strategic weapons,” especially when claims are made based on patents that are part of industry technology standards.

Open Standards and Open Source

This is a bold step, and has been welcomed throughout the free and open source software community. It is also likely to peeve advocates of royalty-bearing FRAND standards

The Battle for the Books: Inside Google’s Gambit to Create the World’s Biggest Library

As Google beat a path to the door of the world’s libraries and proceeded to scan everything from War and Peace to Watership Down, the company’s quest to build the largest library triggered a power struggle of massive proportions, as everyone from Amazon to the Justice Department and writers across the world rushed to halt the project.

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

The Not-Ready Btrfs and ExFAT Linux Filesystems

Andrew Tridgell (one of the lead Samba developers) wrote a kernel patch to disable the creation of 8. 3 short filenames. This was enough to dodge the long-filename patent, which covers implementations that support both short- and long-filenames. (I am not making this up; see for yourself. )

Kickstarter sued over 3D Systems' printer patent

Although patent lawsuits are relatively common in the US tech industry, this marks the first time Kickstarter has become involved in a case linked to a product marketed on its site, according to the country's Pacer (Public Access to Court Electronic Records) system.

Samsung accuses iPad mini of patent infringement in latest legal salvo

Samsung successfully added the iPhone 5 to its newest patent battle with Apple, and today the company accused several more of Cupertino's products of infringement — including the iPad mini.

Mac Observer You'll Get Your Apple News Here From Now On Samsung: Without Us, There Is No iPho

A Samsung executive laid it out: Without the Korean company's patents there can be no iPhone, at least not one that works. Shin Jong-Kyun, President of Telecoms and IT at Samsung, told reporters in Seoul that the truth will out, and that Apple couldn't make the iPhone without using Samsung's patents.

“Your criticisms are completely wrong”: Stallman on software patents, 20 years in

The speaker he was denouncing, Professor John Duffy of the University of Virginia, had been defending software patents to the assembled crowd a moment ago. Duffy was actually proposing reforms, but as was the case with most speakers at this legal conference, Duffy's reforms weren't quite what Stallman was looking for. He was looking for a "safe harbor" for software—essentially, a total ban on any patents that touched on software.

Unitary Patent: a compromise that excludes the Parliament, the European law and its citizens

"De facto, the European Parliament is currently excluded of any decision making on the unitary patent" explains Jeanne Tadeusz, April's Public Affairs Officer. "If the Council's demands do no evolve, there will be no real debate since the Parliament will have the choice between approving the changes demanded by the Member States and sending the entire text back before the Council, which already stated that the current compromise had been too difficult to reach to be amendable. " [OSL: April is a French open source organisation]

HTC: Apple settlement estimates 'very, very wrong'; CEO gets all uppity

The two brands haven't disclosed which patents have been shared or whether any cross licensing has gone on, but HTC hasn't changed its financial predictions for the fourth quarter after the deal was struck.

US to review Apple-Samsung patent decision

The US International Trade Commission will review a judge's decision which found that Apple did not violate patents owned by Samsung in making the iPod touch, iPhone and iPad.

Google: Don’t Let Trolls Exploit Patent System Flaws

Let’s stop bad software patents from issuing. Patents should be about creative production, not just creative writing. We can stop bad software patents from issuing in the first place by applying the traditional patentability standards – but with an understanding of how progress and innovation happens in the software industry.

NZ sets TPP signing terms

New Zealand will not sign a Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless it removes tariffs on dairy products and allows the state-owned drug-buying agency to stay, Prime Minister John Key said yesterday.

David Kappos to Leave PTO Early Next Year

U. S. Patent and Trademark Office Director David Kappos, who oversaw the agency during the biggest change to the patent system in decades, will leave his post in January, according to a PTO spokesman.

Mediacheck Supreme Court to Big Pharma: 'No Games'

In this case, the court found that Pfizer failed to provide sufficient disclosure, since the pharmaceutical giant "obscured the true invention. " Pfizer argued that this should not result in invalidating the patent, but a unanimous court found no other alternative. The immediate effect is that the Viagra patent is therefore voided in Canada, which will allow for generic substitutes.

***** Applications/Gadgets

System76 unveils extreme performance Ubuntu Linux laptop

For data-crunching purposes, the Bonobo Extreme supports up to 32GB dual channel DDR3 1600 MHz memory, while up to 3TB is available for storage. Users can also upgrade to an Intel solid state drive to run Ubuntu and add additional drives for storage.

Skype 3.0 for Android Gets Tablet-Focused Boost,2817,2412359,00.asp

Microsoft-owned Skype on Tuesday released version 3. 0 for Android, which includes a brand-new design for tablets.

DreamWorks animation tech goes open source

OpenVDB is an open source C++ library comprising a novel hierarchical data structure and a suite of tools for the efficient storage and manipulation of sparse volumetric data discretized on three-dimensional grids. It is developed and maintained by DreamWorks Animation for use in volumetric applications typically encountered in feature film production.

***** Reports

Linux Foundation UEFI Secure Boot key for Windows 8 PCs delays explained

When you get to this stage, you also have to certify that the binary “to be signed must not be licensed under GPLv3 or similar open source licenses” I assume the fear here is key disclosure but it’s not at all clear (or indeed what 'similar open source licences' actually are). "

Google's Android is eating Apple's lunch

Smartphones and tablets powered by Google's Android software are devouring the mobile gadget market, eating into Apple's turf by feeding appetites for innovation and low prices, analysts say.

Is enterprise Android a BYOD hell?

This is not the CIO's (let along the chief security officer's) dream environment. There may indeed be undeniable potential for cost savings, but encryption is harder to pin down when faced with a multiplicity of device controls, application interfaces and unstructured data types.

Team Fortress 2 Available On Linux For Non-Beta Steam Accounts

It seems this is a mistake from Valve, which fixed a bug that prevented Ubuntu Developer Summit participants from playing Team Fortress 2 and in the process, somehow the game ended up as being available for everyone.

Open source Java for Android? Don't bet on it

Such an endeavor has been the subject of recent chatter on the OpenJDK online newsgroup. OpenJDK is the official, Oracle-sanctioned version of open source Java.

Android Community Demands MIUI ROM Comply With FOSS Licenses

A thorn in the side of many free software loving Android users, the Chinese MIUI ROM has long been accused of riding on the success of Android without fully complying with the free and open source licenses which it’s based on.

Report: Linux, Including Ubuntu, Faring Well on the Web

Web survery frim W3Techs has compiled its latest numbers on this front, and in addition to the fact that almost a third of websites surveyed report using Linux, a surprising seven percent of respondents say that they're running Ubuntu. That includes popular sites such as TMZ. com, according to W3Techs.

New Linux Rootkit Emerges

Researchers believe that the Linux rootkit likely is being used in cybercrime operations rather than in targeted attacks, as the quality of the code isn't high enough to have come from one of the groups engaged in the upper level attacks right now.

Red Hat Previews OpenStack Folsom Enterprise Cloud Release

Folsom was released by the upstream OpenStack community in September and includes new block storage and cloud networking capabilities. OpenStack is a multi-stakeholder cloud platform project with participation from many tech industry leaders, including HP, IBM, Dell and Intel.

Security Researchers Cry Foul Over Conviction Of AT&T iPad Hacker

In 2010, Auernheimer and fellow hacker Daniel Spitler found that AT&T automatically displayed iPad owners’ email addresses when an iPad owner with an AT&T account visited the company’s website using Apple’s tablet. When they discovered that AT&T would actually reveal those addresses to anyone who entered a URL based on a 19 or 20 digit number unique to every iPad SIM card known as an ICC-ID, they used a simple script to generate every possible ICC-ID and visit the associated pages of AT&T’s site, essentially impersonating thousands of iPads to reveal their owners’ email addresses.

Facebook Asking its Employees to Droidfood Android,2817,2412445,00.asp

While a Facebook spokesman was unable to confirm the ratio of iPhones to Android smartphones being used at Facebook, the company's early (and heavy) focus on iOS does ultimately give that platform the win among devices used.

***** Snippets

Linux 3.7 rc6

Mozilla Firefox 17 ARMs Up and Gets Social

Fedora 18 and fedup

FreeBSD Open Source OS Breached. Should We Be Worried?

Ubuntu Tweak: After three days dead, user outcry brings it back to life

OSSEC 2.7 released

GNOME development updates to 3.7.2

KMyMoney Is as Simple to Use as Quicken

Vyatta Core 6.5 Open Source Network OS Now Out. Your Move Brocade

Linux Kernel 3.7 Brings New Desktop, Server Features

GNOME 3 Fallback Makes a Comeback, of Sorts

KDE Ships First Beta of Plasma Workspaces, Applications and Platform 4.10

[ANNOUNCE] Git v1.8.0.1

Linux 3.7 rc7

GNOME: Can this Linux desktop be saved?

Why I Use Generic Computers and Open Source Software

30 Must Have Android Games for 2012

2.5 year old Android bug finally being fixed

Upstream vendors can harm small projects: OpenBSD dev

OpenStack: an open-source future for the cloud?
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