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 #428 Period ending 8 December 2011

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

Far too many Gov related stories this week, as I have percolated some IP stories to Gov. However a lot of it is pretty interesting! In the EU, there's an opinion saying that programming languages can't be the subject of copyright and an EU body is suggesting that open standards requires an open source implementation. Finally, the Swiss have said there is no reason to make downloading copyright material illegal.

The most popular news is Carrier IQ, which everyone is writing about. This is OT, but there are so many stories I felt obliged to include it.

Check my Posts on Authorization in AU/iiNet:

*From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



Brendan Scott

Open Source Law

***** Off Topic

Hacking Scandal Spreads to Government

When you read the security precautions offered by carriers for voicemail, you can only weep and cry and scream in desperation. Essentially, from the perspective of an attacker, there aren’t any precautions per-se, just a few inconveniences.

Carrier IQ,0,6557172.story,2817,2397128,00.asp

***** Government/Policy

UELMA: A Law We All Can Love

Earlier this summer I wrote a post about the Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act, a uniform law that will establish digital preservation protections for “official” state government electronic legal materials by requiring that official publishers provide for the preservation and security of the records.

EU: 'A standard is open when implemented in open source'

A public sector organisation should only refer to a software or file format standard if the standard has been implemented in a sustainable open source software implementation. Without such implementation there is significant risk for the organisation, recommends Björn Lundell after a review of public administration's policies. Lundell is a researcher at the University of Skövde in Sweden.

Programming languages cannot be copyrighted, says senior EU court adviser

The functionalities of a computer program and programming languages cannot be protected by copyright. according to the European Court of Justice's senior adviser.

Shuttleworth: 'Whole Patent System Is A Sham'

The whole patent system is a sham, unfortunately. Patents were invented to encourage inventors to publish their trade secrets, because society would benefit from the disclosure. But we now allow patents on things you could never keep secret in the first place, like software and business methods and medicines. That's insanity. Innovation happens because people solve problems, not because they might get a monopoly on it.

Paul Allen is a Proponent of Open Science Data, But You Need a Subscription to Find Out Why

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen argues in today’s Wall Street Journal that scientific data should be open and free for all to access. He suggests that government agencies and private funders should consider a researcher’s sharing track record before issuing grants or checks. [but you have to pay the WSJ to read his opinion on openness]

Amazon's Kindle source code: Much ado about nothing

A lot of the hype we've seen is simply unwarranted; while you can download the source code that Amazon was legally required to publish, most of the software on the device remains proprietary, and every Kindle is still Defective by Design. Much of the confusion apparently stems from the fact that the Kindle Fire's operating system is based on Android. Google releases Android source code to the public under the Apache License, a free software, non-copyleft license.

Swiss Govt: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal

The government report further concludes that even in the current situation where piracy is rampant, the entertainment industries are not necessarily losing money. To reach this conclusion, the researchers extrapolated the findings of a study conducted by the Dutch government last year, since the countries are considered to be similar in many aspects.

Class Says Sony Changed Rules Midstream

A federal class action claims Sony unfairly changed the terms of use for its PlayStation 3 games, forcing customers to waive their right to sue to keep playing.

Proposed DMCA Exemption Would Unchain Device Owners

The Software Freedom Law Center submitted comments yesterday to the U. S. Copyright Office proposing an exemption from the Digital Millennium Copyright Act's anti-circumvention provisions. If granted, the exemption would ensure that owners of personal computing devices have the right to install whatever software they choose on their devices.

Amazon Fire Not Really Open

According the FSF, the source code Amazon has released doesn't include any of of the modifications made to create the Fire operating system. In particular there are no deals of the user interface or the DRM.

Stallman: Facebook IS Mass Surveillance

"Facebook does massive surveillance. If there is a like button in a page, Facebook knows who visited that page. And it can get IP address of the computer visiting the page even if the person is not a Facebook user. So you visit several pages that have like button and Facebook knows that you visited all of those, even if it doesnt really know who you are," he said.

White House releases early test code for platform, moves closer to open source reality

The White House's Open Government Partnership inched closer to maturity last week, with the release of a new open data platform, designed to help other governments set up their own Data. gov portals.

Google's Schmidt warns Europe to avoid system prone to patent wars

"When you pick these big patent fights, the winners are the lawyers," Schmidt said at the Innovation Convention in Brussels organized by the European Commission. "As much as I like lawyers, I'd rather be hiring engineers. "

EU watchdog launches antitrust probe of Apple, ebook publishers

European Union (EU) antitrust regulators today launched a formal investigation into how Apple and several major publishers priced electronic books.

C|Net Download.Com is now bundling Nmap with malware!

Iʼve just discovered that C|Netʼs Download. Com site has started wrapping their Nmap downloads (as well as other free software like VLC) in a trojan installer which does things like installing a sketchy "StartNow" toolbar, changing the userʼs default search engine to Microsoft Bing, and changing their home page to Microsoftʼs MSN.

Gary McKinnon gets MPs' backing in extradition debate

MPs have urged the government to improve safeguards for British citizens wanted by authorities overseas by reforming extradition laws, indicating the strength of political feeling in support of Gary McKinnon, who has been battling for six years against a US extradition bid to face hacking charges.

A Close Look at SOPA

The law’s real force is focused domestically. Once a foreign infringing site has been made the subject of a court order, the Attorney General may apply the court order not only at the site but at American companies that occupy the space between the infringing site and an American end user’s browser- specifically, service providers, search engines, payment network providers, and advertising networks.

Mayo takes patent case to U.S. Supreme Court [Wednesday]

The point of contention for Mayo is a diagnostic test that allows doctors to measure how individuals absorb a particular type of medicine and use the results to immediately adjust dosages so they are most effective. A California medical laboratory bought the rights to the concept and successfully filed for a patent. The company claimed patent infringement in a lawsuit when Mayo tried to introduce a similar version of the test.

Back home after successful KOSS Legal Conference

Some of the questions were easy to respond to, some other questionWhat was clear to see from the Industry participants: FOSS License Compliance has become an important topic in the last couple of years: One the one hand as a result of virtually no TV set / mobile phone / PMP or other device running without Linux or other FOSS.

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

SOPA on the ropes? Bipartisan alternative to 'Net censorship emerges

The Senate's PROTECT IP Act and the House's Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are so noxious that even the Business Software Alliance has serious reservations, and SOPA's main backer had to take to the virtual pages of National Review today to quell a growing revolt among his conservative colleagues about "regulating the Internet. "

Apple v Samsung

A spokeswoman for the High Court in Canberra said that the court will hear Apple's application for special leave Dec. 9. Apple has won an extension of the injunction on sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 until its application for special leave is heard, the spokeswoman said. - WSJ

Antitrust Standing and the New Economy

Although courts have begun to apply this new perspective to substantive antitrust doctrine, they are only beginning to grapple with these issues in the antitrust standing context. Two aspects — network effects and innovation — of what is often termed the "new economy" have the potential to alter antitrust standing analysis.

SONY BMG Music v Tenenbaum case reassigned, on for conference Dec 13

Patent Pilot Program Becomes Active January 1, 2012

'Eat More Kale' trademark flap more complex than simple slogan

The dispute between the backyard Vermont T-shirt maker, founded in 2000, and the chicken sandwich giant, founded in 1967 in a suburban Atlanta mall, hinges on the phrase, "Eat More Kale. " Chick-fil-A says Muller-Moore's T-shirt infringes on its trademarked slogan, "Eat More Chikin," the centerpiece of a clever advertising campaign launched in 1995, featuring a "renegade cow" painting the three words on a billboard in Atlanta.

Lovefilm drops Flash, kills Linux support

"We've been asked to make this change by the studios who provide us with the films in the first place, because they're insisting — understandably — that we use robust security to protect their films from piracy, and they see the Silverlight software as more secure than Flash," streaming project manager Paul Thompson wrote. "Simply put: without meeting their requirements, we'd suddenly have next-to-no films to stream online," Thompson added. [ie DRM is killing the internet]

Google rips Senate's online piracy bill: 'This is what is wrong with Washington'

Google is exhorting senators to oppose an online piracy bill, arguing it would threaten national security, shackle the Internet with regulations and imperil free speech, according to a document obtained by The Hill.

Recent patentable subject matter decisions at the BPAI

***** Applications/Gadgets

appMobi Open Sources HTML5 Technologies

HTML5 development shop appMobi will now open source key elements of its mobile technology in an attempt to accelerate industry migration to HTML5.

Version 1.0 of QEMU published

Following four release candidates, the QEMU project has announced the arrival of version 1. 0 of its open source system emulator. QEMU can be used as a stand-alone desktop virtualisation product or be used to emulate guest hardware, such as an ARM-based board on a standard x86 PC.

Project Management with Redmine

The Redmine project management system includes Gantt charts, a calendar, a roadmap, and other helpful features you can use to keep track of what’s going on with your software development projects.

Introducing LibrePlan: Project Planning, Monitoring and Control

LibrePlan is a new web-based collaborative application that allows you to plan, monitor and control your projects, via a rich web interface that provides a desktop-like user experience.

Version 1.9.0 of OpenMeetings released

***** Reports

Layered Open Source - A better open core model?

The trouble for an open core vendor is that on one hand they're telling customers that open source is great and produces superior software. On the hand the open core vendors are saying open source is great, except when it comes to the stuff they want to charge for, which will be kept secret. It leads confusion since if open source is a superior model, shouldn't it superior for the add-ons too?

PC-friendly version of Android released

Android developers have released a version of 4. 0 Ice Cream Sandwich that is compatible with "x86" chips. That is, Android can run on chips by Intel and AMD, the ones found in most personal computers, from netbooks and laptops to desktop towers.

TDF Celebrates 100 Extensions

Little over one month ago The Document Foundation announced their new online extension repository. At that time it had maybe a couple of dozen total extensions and templates, but now the number totals over 100.

Linux Server Revenues Grow, but Unix Still has More Share

According to IDC's Q3 2011 Server stats, Linux server revenues for the quarter grew to $2. 3 billion. That's a 12. 3 percent year-over-year gain. Overall, Linux holds an 18. 6 share of total server revenues.

Open source offers an answer to the CarrierIQ spying controversy

As this version of Android is based entirely on work from the Android Open Source Project, the CyanogenMod team would like to assure everyone that Carrier IQ has never, and will never be a part of our Operating System.

The importance of Wikipedia

Wikipedia has over 100,000 active volunteers working in 270 languages. You're probably most familiar with the English language version, with its 3. 8 million articles. But that's less than 20% of the total, which now comes to over 20 million.

Dell kills off its last Android tablet in the US

Dell has taken its 7-inch Streak Android tablet out of commission, according to its website. While some retail sites still have stock, the company no longer offers the Streak for sale from its own website and will no longer produce it. The Dell Android tablet species is officially extinct in the US.

***** Snippets

25 Ways Open Source is Catching On Beyond Software

Oracle Sun ZFS Storage Appliance Buyer's Guide

The Lustre Distributed Filesystem

The End of the Distro Wars

Thunderbird 8.0 Officially Lands in Ubuntu 11.10

Why Supercomputing Matters

Open-source skills best hope for landing a good job

Argentinean Tango with Gecko

DIY search engine takes on Google

A conversation with Dave Neary

SwipePad: A Must Have App for Every Android Device

The "Ubuntu Pig Thesis"

Kernel Log: Coming in 3.2 (Part 2) - Filesystems

Gtk heading for a bumpy time in mobile space?

Ensure High Availability with CentOS 6 Clustering

Rumble in the cloud: 5 cloud storage services compared

Is Chrome More Popular than Firefox?

Why Hasn't Google Put ChromeOS Out to Pasture?

Sorting out Red Hat Linux based distributions

FLOSS for Neuroscience: An interview with the NeuroDebian team

Readers' Choice Awards 2011

opensource Asset Managment software : Fusion Inventory

Linux 3.2 rc4

Ubuntu 12.04 Development update

Will Google bail out on Mozilla royalties?

For Ubuntu's Mobile Endeavors, Android Has Some Bitter Lessons to Offer

Why an Open Source Forge Matters

Xamarin Brings Mono to Ice Cream Sandwich

Is Ubuntu's Popularity Declining? The Answer is Yes... and No
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