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 #351 Period ending 24 March 2010

OSWALD #351 Period ending 24 March 2010

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

Doesn't seem to have made it into the news yet, but Novell's executive have advised shareholders to reject the takeover bid. An emerging meme seems to be people comparing the process for accessing material legitimately vs illegitimately, this week the Brads have a comic strip on audio books. I also understand that Telstra in AU is shutting down its WMA key servers on short notice (no link) - so (as they say) sux to you if you bought music from them.

In other news, YouTube v Viacom was in court. Have included a couple of links to articles critical of Viacom.

>From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Open Standards/ODF

Sting in the tail for web's video codec search

The last of the US patents on H. 264 does not expire until 2028.

Microsoft, where did you get those data about ODF?

[Meandering, but maybe of interest?]

***** Off Topic

Hacker Disables More Than 100 Cars Remotely

The dealership used a system called Webtech Plus as an alternative to repossessing vehicles that haven't been paid for. Operated by Cleveland-based Pay Technologies, the system lets car dealers install a small black box under vehicle dashboards that responds to commands issued through a central website, and relayed over a wireless pager network. The dealer can disable a car's ignition system, or trigger the horn to begin honking, as a reminder that a payment is due. The system will not stop a running vehicle.

Dell bars Win 7 refunds from Linux lovers

Asked about refunds for rejected copies of Windows 7, Dell tells us that despite the $115 success of Reg reader Graeme Cobbett, the company policy is that it will only accept returns for the entire system. "We consider the OS part of the base config, like and other key components (e. g. processor, memory, etc. )," the company says.

Is Wikipedia's "Deletionism" Out of Control? [Ans: Yes]

The relentless pursuit of deleting content because someone unfamiliar with a topic decides that it's not "notable" enough is not. The fact that this continues to be a problem even for a project like dwm demonstrates that Wikipedia is still not working well. While the site certainly provides a valuable resource, some portion of its community is ensuring that it is not as valuable as it could be.

Insight into GNU/Linux boot process [Interesting but OT]

***** Government/Policy

More than 100 candidates to Italian regional elections support Free Software

This is the italian version of a much larger European initiative, the Free Software pact. The campaign consists of inviting all the candidates to any political or administrative election to subscribe the italian version of the Pact. The candidates who do it commit to actively promote Free Software and Open Standards in the Public Administrations where, if voted, they will work after the elections.

Open Source Gets Political

"I am baffled by the mindset that believes encouraging public institutions to use legitimate and free open source software solutions `does not give due consideration to the value to intellectual creations'," Guadamuz commented in a detailed analysis of the IIPA's recommendations. "It is nice to know where the IIPA stands: Only commercial intellectual property is worthy of protection, everything else is as bad as piracy. "

The battle for Internet freedom

In contrast, in Iceland, the Wikileaks organization, devoted to open publication of information about government malfeasance, is receiving support from legislators.

Why DRM Doesn’t Work [another flowchart]

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

PUBPAT Warns Congress of Harm From Proposed Change in False Marking Law

After a surprising proposal by the Senate Judiciary Committee to substantially eviscerate the current law against false patent marking that has been in place for over one hundred and fifty years, the Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) wrote leaders in both houses of Congress today to urge them to preserve the existing law.

YouTube's Summary Judgment Motion Against Viacom

This site contains the declarations and supporting exhibits filed by YouTube in support of its motion for summary judgment. For a full summary of our position, please see our brief... Our public statement is available on the YouTube blog.

VirnetX files same patent claims against Windows 7

On Tuesday, a Texas jury said Microsoft willfully used VirnetX's patented virtual private network (VPN) technology in products including Office, Windows XP and Windows Vista. Now that the 12-employee firm has confidence in its legal guns, VirnetX is going after Microsoft's newest operating system.

HTC Vows to Defend Against Apple Patent Suit

Did Spain Really Legalize File Sharing? Or Did It Really Just Move One Step Towards It?

In a case filed by the SGAE (the Spanish equivalent to the RIAA) against elrincondejesus, a torrent hosting website, a court in Barcelona recently sided with the website, and seemingly with the ability of internet users to pirate copyrighted content for non-profit reasons legally.

Lords pass controversial internet piracy bill

The bill, put forward by Business Secretary Lord Mandelson, has been welcomed by the music industry because it includes plans to suspend the internet accounts of people who persistently download material illegally.

PITTSBURGH: Music, Copyrights, and Free Speech in the Digital Age

Another option would be for the music industry to recognize that its business model is dead. This is a radical proposal under which artists would give away their music for free in order to sell the finite goods of concert tickets and merchandise. While the music industry has generally been reluctant to experiment with this model, major artists, such as Radiohead and Nine Inch Nails, have shown that it can be remarkably effective.

Viacom v. YouTube Summary Judgment Motions Highlights

Everyone else would be better off if Viacom and YouTube instead had poured their millions of dollars of legal fees towards developing innovative and profitable ways to serve consumers' interests. It's ridiculous that they can't find a way to do this.

Your life will some day end; ACTA will live on

Knowledge Ecology International got its hands on more of the leaked ACTA text this week, including a chapter on "Institutional Arrangements" that has not leaked before. The chapter makes clear that ACTA will be far more than a standard trade agreement; it appears to be nothing less than an attempt to make a new international institution that will handle some of the duties of groups like the WTO and WIPO.

Andrew Tridgell on patent defense: transcript of talk

For most free software projects -not all there's some that have the resources and could sustain a patent infringement damages type case- the vast majority of projects in your average distro, one death is enough. So in that case, do you walk blindly across the minefield in the hope that the blindfold will protect you from the shrapnel, or do you actually take it off and have a look and step around the mines?

Beware the King of the Trolls

They don't *invent* anything in the proper, deep sense of the word: they merely file and buy patents - with no intent of ever making stuff or solving real-life problems. It's purely a cynical exploitation of the broken US patent system that grants very broad patents on often obvious ideas, which are then used to *impede* other companies' activities.

Why I Am Against Software Patents

I am against software patents because it is not reasonable to expect that the current patent system, nor even one designed to improve or replace it, will ever be able to accurately determine what might be considered legitimately patentable from the overwhelming volume of innovations in software.

Electronics Manufacturers Use US Legal System to Thwart Hardware ‘Hacks’

Electronics manufacturers are taking legal action against users in the United States who communicate how to unlock or “hack” hardware devices. However, manufacturers’ use of their hired legal guns to crack down on hacking, which they say infringes on their intellectual property ownership rights, is a point of debate.

***** Implementations

Allianz CIO 'lost hair' over Linux upgrade

"It took a huge amount of cost out of our bottom line. So that was a real learning experience in multiple ways as well.

***** Applications/Gadgets

Hackable Linux clamshell goes on sale for $99

A startup that includes former members of Openmoko has begun shipping a hackable Linux-based "copyleft" clamshell for $99. Qi Hardware's Ben NanoNote incorporates Ingenic's MIPS-compatible 336MHz XBurst Jz4720 processor, 32MB SDRAM, and 2GB NAND flash, and offers a 3-inch, 320 x 240 display.

Fluendo announce Media Center for Linux

Fluendo, maker of codecs and players for licensed formats such as MP3 and MPEG2, has announced Fluendo Media Center, a EUR40 package which integrates the company's DVD player for Linux and other codecs into a single product that offers a legally licensed, albeit proprietary, media playback application for Linux users.

Cool: Linux heats your meal, washes your clothes, makes for household fun

There's a lot Linux can not do(yet) but you'll be suprised what it's already being used for. Look at this: a microwave running Linux (yes we can!) and a washing machine also.

Prototype $200 Tablet Runs Android, Chromium OS, Linux

What Freescale announced, and demoed in the video below, is the i. MX51. It is a 7-inch tablet that comes in multiple colors, and can run three different operating systems: Android, Chromium OS, or Linux. The demo tablet is used with a keyboard and mouse, but touch features exists as well - The Chrome Source reports that there was another demo tablet running a capacitive touch version of Linux.

Marvell promises $100 tablet for students

It's said the tablet will offer WiFi, Bluetooth, an FM radio, and a GPS receiver, and will be capable of 1080p video encoding and decoding. Unlike Apple's iPad, the Moby will be compatible with "full Adobe Flash," and it will run Android or Windows Mobile on a "gigahertz-class" processor, the company adds.

Alex eReader set to ship two weeks after iPad

Spring Design's Alex eReader is one of those products that probably would have gotten a lot more attention had it managed to come out before Apple's iPad. However, as it stands, the $399 Android-powered device, which features both a 6-inch e-ink display and a 3. 5-inch, 16-bit color touch-screen LCD, is scheduled to ship in the middle of April and threatens to get overshadowed by the iPad's arrival on April 3.

Cool: Or Hot? Linux really making your coffee, live a linux coffee machine

Embedded Linux on a coffee machine, touch screen. Build on Qt framework. Have Linux brew your coffee, finally a stable cup of coffee.

Moto, Sprint to Offer Push-To-Talk Android i1

Motorola and Sprint today released details of a new push-to-talk, Android-powered smartphone, the Motorola i1, combining the popular ruggedized form of the iDen device family with the features typically found in smartphones.

***** Reports

Linux on the Cloud: IBM, Novell & Red Hat

Red Hat and Novell have joined up with IBM to provide a new open cloud environment that goes by the unwieldy name Smart Business Development and Test on the IBM Cloud.

Microsoft licensing Linux

Microsoft is unlikely to demand Red Hat signs a deal with them, mostly because they are not looking to have their ownership of open source patents contested but rather to sow fear and doubt in the minds of business when it comes to Linux.

Red Hat CEO Says Innovation Trumps Cost Savings

The economy may still be in the doldrums, but Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst said pitching the cost savings of open source software doesn't necessarily seal the deal with enterprise customers as it once may have.

An example of the awesomeness of the open source community

Now, the only download available is the enterprise version, which is buried very deeply at Oracle's website (it took me like 15 minutes to find it, it isn't even listed as an Oracle product),and the patch sets that also were free to download, are now only available to paying customers with a valid support contract.

Novell Linux Appliances Boost Ingres over MySQL

Novell is expanding its SUSE Linux Appliance program by way of a new partnership with database vendor Ingres. The partnership is an effort to let ISVs rapidly package and deploy Linux based software appliances with the Ingres database.

Google and Linux are coming to your TV

What will they be using to do this? Why, they'll be using Google's Android Linux, of course.

Microsoft says its contentious relationship with open source is changing

Acknowledging the relationship between Microsoft and the open source community has been contentious, a Microsoft official Thursday nonetheless emphasized the company's embrace of the open source paradigm, even if it was not necessarily for altruistic purposes.

Google Summer of Code 2010: Mentoring organisations announced

During last year's event, just under 2,000 mentors from over 60 countries participated and over 85% of the 1,000 student participants passed their final evaluations. Overall, the students worked to improve the code bases of 150 projects, ranging from Wikimedia to Eclipse and openSUSE.

The Linux of Stock Markets

Today's news that TSE (Tokyo Stock Exchange) has moved to Red Hat's RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) as the operating platform for its next-generation "Arrowhead" trading system shouldn't come as a surprise. Linux has become the smart stock market's operating system of choice.

Ubuntu Music Store (coming soon!)

Similar to Apples iTunes music store, the Ubuntu Music store will allow the user to purchase music right from their desktop - and do it from within a single application. That application? As of this writing it is Rhythmbox. This was no small feat as an entire web browser engine has to be engineered into Rhythmbox. But from the latest releases, it is happening.

Free software's second era: The rise and fall of MySQL

Initially, [MySQL's founders] had another dual licence that said it's free on Linux but you pay on UNIX and Windows. And at some point, they realised to get included in the Linux distros, you needed a licence that people could readily accept. People had nothing against the MySQL licence, but it took time for them to read through it and accept it. And they argued that if they would adopt the GPL, there would be no questions asked.

Elliott Welcomes Novell Decision To Sell Company

We welcome the Board's decision to conduct a sale of the company, which we believe is the best way to maximize shareholder value. Our goal is to acquire Novell, and our cash offer to acquire all of the company's shares for $5. 75 per share provides shareholders with a substantial premium of 109% to the company's equity value net of cash on January 4, the day before we commenced actively acquiring Novell shares. We look forward to the process and to actively pursuing an acquisition of the Company.

***** Snippets

What Is the Top Mobile Platform for Open Source Developers?

Will The Linux Desktop Soon Be Irrelevant?

Novell Mono project bringing Silverlight to Apple iPhone

ROSE Blog Interviews: Margarita Manterola, Debian Developer

Ubuntu's Lucid Lynx: Ubuntu's Most Innovative

Amarok 2.3.0 "Clear Light" released

Snap Spiffy Linux Screenshots with Shutter

A rich web interface for mailing lists

What's been going on with Ardour?

Opera: 'Dramatic' rise since Microsoft's ballot page

The New Open Source Business Model Still Relies on Closed Source

7 (More) Free and Open Source Finance/Accounting Software for Linux

Intel Atom: NVIDIA ION vs. Radeon HD 4330 Graphics

SimplyMEPIS 8.5 RC3 Is Here, the Final Release Candidate

Claws Mail: Mail with Attitude

Kubuntu is not Ubuntu

Want to Watch an En Banc Appeals Court at Work?

9th Circuit Judge Bucks Tide on Ashcroft's Liability for Detention

Goldman Sachs Sued for Not Divulging Internal Madoff Ban to Client

Supreme Court Unveils New Web Site Design

SCO's 8-K About the Yarro Loan

It Ain’t 2007, But at Cravath, Revenues are Back on the Upswing

Android market going down the drain?

Open source and the Morevna project

Easy (and amazing) Debian for the N900

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