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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 #478 Period ending 28 January 2013

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

The most interesting stories this week seem to be the off topic ones - still more stories about Aaron Swartz this week (I have split out some stories on overcriminalisation and prosecutorial excess). Someone has stored Shakespeare's sonnets and a bunch of other stuff in DNA. Also, some interesting IP related stories, with NewEgg invalidating some patents of a non practising entity.

*From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



***** Off Topic

Aaron Swartz

There have been dozens of questions in the press and on the Net over the past week. But the most important questions are the ones that will come from the MIT community, because we are the ones who where you can suggest questions and issues to guide this review and you can comment on the questions of others. Please remember that this is about the first phase only — questClass of 1922 Professor of Computer Science and Engineering - MIT's The Tech ations, will follow.

Synthetic double-helix faithfully stores Shakespeare's sonnets

Along with the sonnets, the team encoded a 26-second audio clip from Martin Luther King’s famous “I have a dream" speech, a copy of James Watson and Francis Crick’s classic paper on the structure of DNA, a photo of the researchers' institute and a file that describes how the data were converted. The researchers report their results today on Nature’s website^1.

Ex-CIA officer sentenced in leak case,0,5078584.story

John Kiriakou, a 14-year CIA veteran, pleaded guilty in October to identifying an undercover operative who was involved in the use of severe interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, on terrorism suspects during the George W. Bush administration. While the Justice Department has said it won't prosecute CIA officials who approved or conducted those interrogations, Kiriakou becomes the sixth current or former government official charged with revealing classified information since 2009.

The Swartz suicide and the sick culture of the Justice Dept

It seems never to have occurred to Ortiz, nor to the career prosecutors in her office in charge of the prosecution, Stephen Heymann and Scott Garland, that there is something wrong with overcharging, and then raising the ante, merely to wring a guilty plea to a dubious statute. Nor does it occur generally to federal prosecutors that there’s something wrong with bringing prosecutions so complex that they are guaranteed to bankrupt all but the wealthiest.

Surveillance a la Skype: EFF, others seek answers

Microsoft needs to open up about the trustworthiness of its Skype software for confidential conversations, according to an open letter to the company posted today.

***** Government/Policy

That HP/Microsoft “study” on the Linux Migration in Munich? Hm.

Karl-Heinz Schneider, head of the municipal IT service IT@M:”Of course we want to deal with this criticism. I have asked Microsoft to share the study with us. What I could gather so far from press articles however raises a considerable amount of doubt on the validity of the study and its findings. ”

US government: Get hacking for a better nation

The US government has announced a hacking weekend during which public data is to be harnessed to create innovative solutions for existing problems.

OSSI - DHS Industry Day recap

Open Source Government and Industry Day event focuses on Department of Homeland Security technology needs

Obama's Techies Want To Open Source Their Work, But Politicians Want To Keep It Secret

When the campaign ended, these programmers wanted to put their work back into the coding community for other developers to study and improve upon. Politicians in the Democratic party felt otherwise, arguing that sharing the tech would give away a key advantage to the Republicans.

Unauthorized unlocking of smartphones becomes illegal Saturday

This all goes back to a final rule issued in late October by the Librarian of Congress (PDF) -- the Library of Congress handles the rulemaking for the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which is the specific law we're talking about here.

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

How Newegg crushed the “shopping cart” patent and saved online retail

The company's plan to extract a patent tax of about one percent of revenue from a huge swath of online retailers was snuffed out last week by Newegg and its lawyers, who won an appeal ruling [PDF] that invalidates the three patents Soverain used to spark a vast patent war.

US Brief: Farmers Can't Replant Commodity Soybeans Without Patent Infringement

the US Government has agreed with Bowman that violation of use restrictions on commodity GM soybeans cannot result in patent infringement. However, the Government ultimately sides with Monsanto in arguing that the progeny beans grown by Bowman represent an infringing "mak[ing]" of Monsanto's patented invention.

Steve Jobs threatened Palm with patent suit if it objected to no-poaching pact

Former Apple CEO Steve Jobs threatened Palm with a patent lawsuit if it did not enter into an agreement in which the companies pledged not to hire employees from each other, unsealed court documents show.

Porn trolling firm accused of colluding with defendant in sham lawsuit

Spencer Merkel's declaration suggests that Prenda came up with a novel, if ethically unsound, solution to this quandary: file fake lawsuits against defendants who were in bed with Prenda. By promising the people they sued that their lawsuits would eventually be dismissed, Prenda could ensure that the "defendants" wouldn't put up a serious fight. The tactic could buy Prenda more time to continue collecting contact information and extracting settlement payments from other, real defendants.

Ass'n for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad - Petitioner's Brief

Respondent MyriadGenetics obtained patents on two human genes thatcorrelate to this risk, known as BRCA1 and BRCA2.

Apple pressured to provide iOS 6 source code

Samsung Electronics claimed Friday it should be able to access Apple’s software source code to confirm whether or not its technology patents were infringed upon in the latest i0S 6 operating system powering iPhones and iPads.

17 USC 512(f) Is Dead--Lenz v. Universal Music

This is the long-running case involving a YouTube video of a baby dancing to a Prince song. Universal Music overzealously took the video down for 6 weeks in 2007 via a 512(c)(3) notice. The video now has 1. 2M+ views, so it's since become a cultural icon. The video has spawned 6 years of litigation over Universal's wrongful takedown notice--litigation that is going nowhere fast and unfortunately will yield nothing useful when it's done.

Macmillan will sell e-books to libraries in pilot program at $25 per title

Macmillan now says its titles will cost $25 (by comparison, some of its same bestselling titles in the Kindle store go for $8 to $12)—and once acquired by a library, each will be available for two years or 52 check-outs, whichever comes first.

Apple-Samsung Patent Ruling Gets ITC Once-Over

The U. S. International Trade Commission will review a ruling that found that more than a dozen Samsung mobile devices infringed a handful of Apple patents.

Software patents 'a bit of a mess' says Martin Goetz, the first man to get one

The man who was awarded the first software patent says that he thinks the field is now "a big mess" - but that he "hopes it will get straightened out in time".

More European patents awarded in 2012 than ever before

In 2012, the European Patent Office (EPO) has awarded 65,700 European patents, setting a new record for the third year in a row. A total of 257,833 patents have been filed during the year, the 40 EUREKA member countries accounting for nearly 95,000 of the filings.

***** Applications/Gadgets

KBOX — a miniature Linux distribution integrated with a terminal for non-rooted Android devices

KBOX is a project to create a miniature Linux distribution for non-rooted (i. e. , unmodified) Android devices, integrated directly into Jack Palevich's Android terminal emulator (see here).

Ford's open-source kit brings era of smart car apps

Car maker Ford has just released OpenXC - an open-source hardware and software toolkit that will let the hacker community play around with the computer systems that run modern cars.

***** Reports

Fedora Linux considering switching out MySQL for MariaDB

MariaDB, the open-source database management system (DBMS) and MySQL fork, may soon be replacing MySQL in the Fedora Linux distribution. Since Fedora is also the test bed for Red Hat's market-leading Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), this move may lead to major changes in the Linux DBMS world. MariaDB MariaDB, not MySQL, may soon become Fedora's default DBMS.

Mozilla announces Firefox OS developer preview phone

It has been built entirely using open standards and in this OS, a developer can make the phone do things such as call and vibrate, all using HTML5.

iOS gets more ported apps as Android dominance grows

As market share for the OS tilts and individual handsets like the Samsung Galaxy S3 pop up as legitimate one-on-one competitors with the iPhone, we’ve started seeing trends where apps are developed first on Android and later ported to iOS.

Why Open Source Hardware Is No Oxymoron

It was April 2011, and Heiliger — the man who oversaw all the hardware driving Facebook’s online empire — was announcing the creation of something Facebook called the Open Compute Project. As Google, Amazon, and other online giants jealously guarded the technology inside their massive computing facilities — treating data center design as the most important of trade secrets — Heiliger and Facebook took the opposite tack, sharing their hardware designs with the rest of the world and encouraging others to do the same.

Calibrate and Profile Monitor for Use with digiKam

High-quality professional colorimeters tend to be rather expensive, but you can use the excellent open source ColorHUG device instead.

Eclipse Releases Open Source Hudson 3.0 – What About Jenkins?

In the world of Continuous Integration (CI) servers, more often than not I only hear one name and it's not Hudson. The name I usually hear is Jenkins, the fork of the formerly Oracle project, now Eclipse project called Hudson.

Puppet Gets $30 Million from VMware

Puppet Labs today announced it is receiving a $30 million strategic investment from VMware. Puppet Labs and VMware are hardly strangers. In May 2012, Puppet debuted the Razor open source effort along with EMC for bare metal provisioning.

Flavours of Pi

I find it incredible that a small, cheap piece of hardware has produced so much interest. Fully realising the dream of the Raspberry Pi foundation to re-ignite the hacking ferver of the times of the BBS Micro (do you remember them?).

Canonical invites input on core Ubuntu Phone apps

Developed by Canonical (Ubuntu's parent company), a Ubuntu phone refers to a modified version of the Ubuntu operating system (OS) that is designed to run on mobile devices.

LibreOffice 4.0: An Existential Release

Apparently this allows The Document Foundation to develop and release LibreOffice under the MPL and GPL v3+, which are freer than the original codebase license of LGPL. Under the new scheme, LibreOffice can now be sold on apps stores and the like.

Meet the money behind Dotcom

Now he's got an even bigger role to play: Lentino is CEO of Mega - Dotcom's new file sharing and storage website. Added to that is the fact that he's the largest of the three outside investors in the venture, and the only New Zealander.

Common Crawl supplies a database of over five billion Web pages

Ben Zhao, an associate professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who uses large collections of Web data for research into activity on social sites (see “Hidden Industry Dupes Social Media Users”), says Common Crawl’s data is likely unique. “Fresh, large-scale crawls are quite rare, and I am not personally aware of places to get large crawl data on the Web,” he says.

Viewshare: Digital Interfaces as Scholarly Activity

But historians, archivists, and curators also know that search and browse are imperfect tools for illuminating change over time, connections between different sets of categorical information, or the spatial relationships between objects.

***** Snippets

On First Anniversary, ownCloud Boasts Strong Growth

Head-to-Head Desktop Comparison: Ubuntu 12.10 vs. OS X Mountain Lion

Sad news for deb users GetDeb and PlayDeb discontinue

Ubuntu to switch to rolling releases with version 14.04

Cinnamon proposed to replace GNOME Shell as default DE on Fedora 19

Linux Developer Alan Cox Leaves Intel, Slams Fedora 18

Microsoft Potential Dell Investment: Bad for Linux, FOSS?

9 Things That Are Never Admitted About Open Source

Fedora 18 Samba Standalone Server With tdbsam Backend

Fuduntu 2013.1 Review - Quite Punny

Exe GNU/Linux, New Distro with Trinity

Chrome for Android gets adventurous with WebGL, SPDY

Is Fedora 18 Linux - 'The Worst Red Hat Distro Ever'?

Apache CloudStack: Will Citrix Up the Battle vs OpenStack?

Enlightenments E17: Ready for prime time?

Cinnarch preview

Will Oracle Wake Up & Smell the Java?

Pear Linux 6.1 Released Installation Guide with Screenshots

Berkman Center Fellowship Opportunity
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