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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.                                                                                                                                        
Welcome to the Open Source Law Weekly Open Source Digest (OSWALD)
The big news this week is the decision of the US Supreme Court in Mayo v Prometheus, which wipes out a lot of spurious patents claims there. In the EU, legislation making copyright legislation more sane was blocked, but with more votes cast than there were people voting(?!). Iceland's public administration are starting to move onto open source. Interesting too is an article about another company suing Megaupload. Apparently they are looking to take the benefit of the legislative damages regime to inflate their losses, allowing them to get at more of the assets of Megaupload. Normal creditors will be the ones out of pocket if this is successful.
*From my blog: http://brendanscott.wordpress.com/2012/01/31/megaupload-some-ip-is-more-equal-than-others/
Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.
Other distribution - email me.
Open Source Law
Mozilla Firefox Gives in on Web Video Patents http://www.internetnews.com/blog/skerner/mozilla-firefox-gives-in-on-web-video-patents.html
Mozilla had tried to get around using H. 264 by using and supporting open web video formats. The problem is that content providers haven't embraced the same model and more importantly, Google hasn't either (even though they champion WebM, H. 264 still runs on Android).
Mozilla on H.264: Mobile matters most http://www.itworld.com/mobile-wireless/260298/mozilla-h264-mobile-matters-most
Ultimately, the decision by the Mozilla Corporation to pick up H. 264 support for the Firefox browser and other Mozilla projects lies in the mobile destiny Mozilla sees for itself and in the death of Flash on mobile devices.
"What's an open standard?" says ISO [International Standards Organization] http://www.computerweekly.com/blogs/public-sector/2012/03/whats-an-open-standard-says-is.html
The International Standards Organisation has admitted it doesn't know what an open standard is, despite trying to have the UK's open standards policy quashed.
CEO dares Microsoft to sue him over virtual desktops that flout licensing http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2012/03/ceo-dares-microsoft-to-sue-him-over-virtual-desktops-that-flout-licensing.ars?clicked=related_right
We recently told you about a virtual desktop service for iPads and other devices that seems to exist only because it breaks Microsoft's Windows licensing rules in order to provide an unbeatable price: free, with the option to upgrade to a more robust service for just $5 a month.
Einstein online archive expands http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/19/einstein_archive_expands/
According to Caltech, which conducts the Einstein Papers Project, the site will ultimately hold all the documents held jointly by Caltech and the Einstein Archives at Hebrew University. There are more than 40,000 of Einstein’s personal papers, and more than 30,000 additional Einstein-related documents discovered since the 1980s.
Icelandic government prepares switch to open source http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Icelandic-government-prepares-switch-to-open-source-1478484.html
The new policy is a continuation of efforts to migrate all public institutions to free and open source software – over the last four years many schools and other public bodies have already moved away from using proprietary software – originally instituted in response to a guideline released by Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir which charges the government to evaluate open source software on equal terms to proprietary software whenever software purchases are being made.
Interview: Richard Stallman http://www.osnews.com/story/25724/Interview_Richard_Stallman
Others seemed to have a knee-jerk condemnation of criticizing someone who has died. One person told me it was unfair for me to criticize Jobs when he could not defend himself -- never mind that the entire PR staff of Apple was busy telling us how much the world had lost.
New OSI Directors http://webmink.com/2012/03/19/new-osi-directors/?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter
The OSI Board held a meeting on Friday to fill three vacancies on the Board. This was the first time we have had Affiliate Members, so we decided to ask them to nominate candidates to fill some of the vacancies.
Scott Turow on why we should fear Amazon http://www.salon.com/2012/03/13/scott_turow_on_why_we_should_fear_amazon/singleton/
The Guild’s beefs with Amazon became pronounced over the issue of the resale of new titles some years ago. This was something that Amazon pioneered. They would sell you a [just-released] book on Day One, buy it back from you on Day Two, and then resell it to another customer on Day Three. This was legal, but certainly not what anybody ever intended. [OSL: Why not????]
Crowdfunding Becomes Crowdbuying: Why Kickstarter Will Power the Maker Economy http://www.hunterwalk.com/2012/03/crowdfunding-becomes-crowdbuying-why.html
Whereas niche businesses were once dependent upon the density of cities or domestic mailorder, now you can find your community from across the world. Crowdfunding is simply asking these people to pay upfront.
The Software Patent War Escalates http://blogs.computerworlduk.com/simon-says/2012/03/the-software-patent-war-escalates/index.htm
The companies involved know what they are doing looks bad, so increasingly they work through proxies to try to hide their anti-competitive behaviour.
EU Parliament Blocks Copyright Reform With 113% Voter Turnout http://falkvinge.net/2012/03/14/european-parliament-blocks-copyright-reform-with-113-voter-turnout/
There’s a problem with this. There are 24 seats in the committee, and one group (non-inscrits) was absent, lacking deputies to fill that person’s vote. So, there should have been 23 votes at the most. But we just counted 12 votes for reform and 14 against. That’s 26.
Nonprofit open source organizations booming http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstrategy/260688/nonprofit-open-source-organizations-booming
According to the latest publicly available financial information, the Linux Foundation pulled in just over $9. 6 million for their 2010 fiscal year, and after $9. 1 million in expenses, generated $537,958 in positive cash flow for the year.
Microsoft Censors Pirate Bay Links in Windows Live Messenger http://torrentfreak.com/microsoft-censors-pirate-bay-links-in-windows-live-messenger-120324/
While it’s not clear whether the above is related to copyright concerns, censorship is indisputably an up-and-coming tool to protect the interests of the entertainment industries. Taking away your freedom of speech one link at a time.
Open Rights Group's Submission to the IPO's Copyright Consultation (UK) http://www.openrightsgroup.org/ourwork/reports/submission-to-the-ipos-copyright-consultation
We broadly support the proposals made in the consultation. In this submission we highlight in particular our support for the broadening of copyright exceptions, especially those that promote freedom of expression such as a new exception for parody.
The Mayo v Prometheus Decision Was Unanimous http://www.scotusblog.com/case-files/cases/mayo-collaborative-services-v-prometheus-laboratories-inc/
Holding: The process patent that Prometheus Laboratories had obtained for correlations between blood test results and patient health is not eligible for a patent because it incorporates laws of nature.
ValCom sues Megaupload for up to $900 million in damages http://thenextweb.com/insider/2012/03/23/valcom-sues-megaupload-for-up-to-900-million-in-damages/
This means that, if you do the math, ValCom is seeking anywhere between $4. 5 million (6,000 titles * $750) and $900 million (6,000 titles * $150,000). This figure, of course, suggests that nearly all of the company’s products were infringed upon. We’ll have to wait and see what is determined in court. [This raises the interesting problem of how to asssess such inflated damages when there is a limited pool to pay them from.]
Oracle's Google Android patent lawsuit cut down to size http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/oracles-google-android-patent-lawsuit-cut-down-to-size/10646
Oracle’s case quickly started to go wrong. Google asked the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) to re-examine Oracle’s patents and Oracle withdrew most of its patent claims after receiving the PTO make it clear that the patents weren’t going to stand up. Today, only two patents remain on the docket.
MPAA Wants Megaupload User Data Retained for Lawsuits http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/mpaa-megaupload-user-litigatio/
“The reason we did that filing [was] that there is a possibility that litigation might be pursued against Megaupload or various intermediaries involved in Megaupload’s operation. We’re not talking about individual users,” Gantman said.
Facebook buys 750 patents from IBM: source http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/22/us-facebook-ibm-patents-idUSBRE82L13O20120322
The 750 patents from IBM cover a broad range of technology, ranging from search to semiconductors, according to a person familiar with the matter. A Facebook spokeswoman said the company had no comment, and an IBM representative could not immediately be reached.
Court’s biotech case sends stern warning to Federal Circuit and software designers http://www.scotusblog.com/2012/03/court%E2%80%99s-biotech-case-sends-stern-warning-to-federal-circuit-and-software-designers/#more-141232
Though most of the attention to yesterday’s decision in Mayo Collaborative Services v. Prometheus Laboratories Inc. has focused on its immediate implications for medical providers, the broader effect of the case probably will be on the software industry.
Google Again Opposes Movie Industry in a Copyright Fight http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/thr-esq/google-again-opposes-movie-industry-302253
Last week, the search giant filed an amicus brief in the MPAA's lawsuit against Hotfile, a cyberlocker that the studios recently labeled "more egregious" than Napster and "indistinguishable" from Megaupload.
Google takes aim at MPAA in Hotfile case http://www.zdnet.com/blog/networking/google-takes-aim-at-mpaa-in-hotfile-case/2142
Hotfile has gained a somewhat unexpected ally against the MPAA’s demand that the company be shut down without a lengthy trial or investigation into its alleged illegal practices or business conduct: Google.
Google, Apple and Nintendo Sued for Patent Infringement http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/2012/03/google-apple-and-nintendo-sued-for-patent-infringement.html
The complaints, filed on March 15 by Washington-based electronics company Trans Video Electronics Inc. , accuse the three companies of infringing on two patents related to their video distribution services.
Samsung and RIM sued for infringing lol-worthy emoticon patent http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/03/samsung-and-rim-sued-for-infringing-lol-worthy-emoticon-patent.ars?clicked=related_right
In an apparent quest to make the patent system look even more ridiculous, a firm on Thursday sued Samsung and Research in Motion for allegedly infringing a patent titled "emoticon input method and apparatus. "
Anti-piracy movement in India gains heat: Cause for concern or justified response? http://spicyipindia.blogspot.com/2012/03/anti-piracy-movement-in-india-gains.html
Unsatisfied with the court order it recently obtained from the Calcutta High Court, granting an ex-parte injunction against the website www. songs. pk, the Indian Music Industry (‘IMI’) has gone all out against more than a hundred websites alleged to have been indulging in piracy of Bollywood music tracks.
Suing Facebook http://www.courthousenews.com/2012/03/19/44802.htm
Mitel Networks claims Facebook violates two of its patents, including an "automatic web page generator," in Federal Court.
Motorola, HTC, Samsung and others face antitrust suit http://www.itworld.com/it-managementstrategy/258758/motorola-htc-samsung-and-others-face-antitrust-suit
Cascades has a difficult battle ahead, but if it succeeds, it could make joint defense agreements, which are increasingly used by technology companies, illegal, said Jay Levine, an antitrust litigator with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP.
Chinese author group sues Apple in piracy row http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-17431103
A group of 22 Chinese authors are suing Apple over claims their work is being sold without a licence in the App Store.
Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich fight Facebook suit http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0312/74126.html
The lawsuit alleges that 4 million Facebook users are violating EveryMD’s patent, but Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich are the only named plaintiffs.
8,200+ Strong, Researchers Band Together To Force Science Journals To Open Access http://singularityhub.com/2012/03/18/8200-strong-researchers-band-together-to-force-science-journals-to-open-access/
Academic research is behind bars and an online boycott by 8,209 researchers (and counting) is seeking to set it free…well, more free than it has been. The boycott targets Elsevier, the publisher of popular journals like Cell and The Lancet, for its aggressive business practices, but opposition was electrified by Elsevier’s backing of a Congressional bill titled the Research Works Act (RWA).
Sharing Patents Encourages Innovation http://www.smartertechnology.com/c/a/Business-Agility/Sharing-Patents-Encourages-Innovation/
...according to a new study by a University at Buffalo economist, the practice of free-licensing important patents can sometimes profit patent holders even more. (The study will be published this summer in Economics Letters. )
Facebook asserts trademark on word "book" in new user agreement http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2012/03/facebook-asserts-trademark-on-word-book-in-new-user-agreement.ars
"You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Book and Wall), or any confusingly similar marks, except as expressly permitted by our Brand Usage Guidelines or with our prior written permission. "
AOL Said to Hire Evercore to Find Patent-Portfolio Buyer http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-23/aol-said-to-hire-evercore-to-find-buyer-for-800-patent-portfolio.html
AOL Inc. (AOL) hired Evercore Partners Inc. (EVR) to find a buyer for its more than 800 patents and explore other strategic options, according to three people with knowledge of the situation.
How Chicago Is Beating Silicon Valley At The Patent Game http://paidcontent.org/article/419-how-chicago-is-beating-silicon-valley-at-the-patent-game/#keep_reading
So where does Chicago fit into all this? The answer is that it’s behind the “liquid market” theory of patents that gives a gloss of legitimacy to what many people would call extortion.
Google Defends The DMCA's Safe Harbors Against The MPAA's Attempts To Reinterpret Them In Hotfil http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120321/04031218178/google-defends-dmcas-safe-harbors-against-mpaas-attempts-to-reinterpret-them-hotfile-case.shtml
It's as if the MPAA believes that if it just screams "but. . . but. . . piracy!" loud enough, the judge will forget to look at the actual law.
Dell teams up with Canonical to put OpenStack in the cloud http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/news/dell-teams-up-with-canonical-to-put-openstack-in-the-cloud/
During World Hosting Day in Germany today it was revealed that Canonical has struck up a partnership with Dell to start delivering, and supporting, OpenStack Clouds for businesses in the UK, Germany, and China.
DRONE: an open source Bluetooth controller for smartphones and tablets http://www.ubergizmo.com/2012/03/drone-open-source-bluetooth-controller/
Called an open source Bluetooth controller, it is a gamepad designed to work with your smartphones and tablets.
New Commodore AMIGA mini is a modern PC that comes with Linux http://www.linuxuser.co.uk/news/new-commodore-amiga-mini-is-a-modern-pc-that-runs-linux/
Both boxes come with HDMI, DVI, and DisplayPort out, as well as USB 2. 0 and 3. 0 ports. There’s also Wi-Fi and LAN, and as standard a 1 TB Hard Drive. Prices start pretty high though – $995 (£630) for the VIC mini and $2990 (£1900) for the AMIGA mini.
Linux 3.3 eats Android http://www.slashgear.com/linux-3-3-eats-android-19218970/
Nonetheless, the upshot is the possibility of cheaper Android devices with a broader potential developer audience to release apps.
Joomla Jumps to the Enterprise http://www.cio.com/article/702366/Joomla_Jumps_to_the_Enterprise
Today, Joomla—the name is a phonetic spelling for the Swahili word "Jumla," which means "as a whole"—is one of the most popular open source content management systems (CMS), claiming that 2. 7 percent of the Web is Joomla-based sites.
How important is software compliance? http://www.itworld.com/mobile-wireless/260010/how-important-software-compliance
With one open source monitoring vendor is repeating calls that nearly 71 percent of open source mobile apps are out of license compliance, the question of what actual priority free and open source license compliance gets continues to elude the community.
Cutting Off The Root: The Future Of Community Developed Android http://www.thepowerbase.com/2012/03/cutting-off-the-root-the-future-of-community-developed-android/
The CyanogenMod team made news last week when they announced that future versions of their venerable Android build would no longer include root-level access by default, a massive departure from essentially every other custom Android ROM. Some have questioned the move, claiming that removing root undermines the very idea of running a custom ROM.
Does the Average CIO Know Enough About OpenStack? http://ostatic.com/blog/does-the-average-cio-know-enough-about-openstack
Without a doubt, OpenStack has become one of the most influential and heavily backed cloud computing efforts ever. In the past month alone, IBM, Red Hat, Deutsche Telecom, Ericsson and other companies have joined OpenStack, which already has a huge laundry list of companies backing it. In fact, OpenStack is one of the most influential open source projects of any kind.
How to develop open-source software within any kind of company http://venturebeat.com/2012/03/19/how-to-develop-open-source-software-within-any-kind-of-company/
Strategizing to yield the greatest ROI in using OSS demands a high-level awareness of how, why, and where OSS is used, along with consistent knowledge of OSS benefits, risks, and policies.
Samsung opens up the Ice Cream Sandwich http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/19/samsung_open_source_ics/
Samsung has posted the source code for its Ice Cream Sandwich, Android version 4 for the Galaxy SII, opening the way for hackers to create their own Android spin.
Sony Caters to Open Source Community with Android Code http://www.thevarguy.com/2012/03/22/sony-caters-to-open-source-community-with-android-code
That situation improved a tad bit March 20, 2012, however, when Sony made the source code for the Xperia S publicly available, expanding the selection of code already offered for other devices. Importantly, documentation for using the software components is also being provided — a sign of real commitment on Sony’s part to the developer community.
Eucalyptus, OpenStack dogfight in cloud war http://www.itworld.com/cloud-computing/261010/eucalyptus-openstack-dogfight-cloud-war
The dogfight for the cloud is getting more intense, as competitors Eucalyptus and OpenStack swoop and dodge as they try to take control of the private and hybrid cloud sky.
GCC 4.7 Compiles Open Source History http://www.internetnews.com/blog/skerner/gcc-4.7-compiles-open-source-history.html
In the pantheon of Free Software, one program stands at the base of (nearly) all others: GCC. First release all the way back in 1987, by Richard Stallman it has been the compiler of choice for the last 25 years.
Wine 1.5.0 Fixes Flaws http://www.winehq.org/announce/1.5.0
What's new in Linux 3.3 http://www.h-online.com/open/features/What-s-new-in-Linux-3-3-1466872.html
The Children of Linux http://www.unixmen.com/the-children-of-linux/
Abhishek Arora wins Google's open source competition http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/news-by-industry/et-cetera/google-says-delhi-boy-is-1-of-10-smartest-kids/articleshow/12313616.cms
An Interview with Franz Reiter, lead developer of gCAD3D http://www.floss4science.com/interview-franz-reiter-gcad3d/
Open Source Cloud: Amazon EC2 Console Adds Ubuntu Support http://www.thevarguy.com/2012/03/19/amazon-ec2-console-adds-official-ubuntu-support/
Ubuntu Linux and Canonical Moving Forward, Two Years After Leadership Change http://www.internetnews.com/blog/skerner/ubuntu-linux-and-canonical-moving-forward.html
X.Org Was Not Accepted To GSoC 2012 http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=MTA3MjM
OpenStack: The Cloud Computing Answer for Dell, HP and IBM Partners? http://www.thevarguy.com/2012/03/19/openstack-cloud-computing-answer-for-dell-hp-and-ibm-resellers/
Smart Access Control with Apache http://olex.openlogic.com/wazi/2012/smart-access-control-with-apache/
A Peek Behind the Curtain at Puppet Labs http://www.linuxtoday.com/developer/2012032001041OSSW
openSUSE 12.2 Milestone 2 Screenshot Tour http://news.softpedia.com/news/openSUSE-12-2-Milestone-2-Screenshot-Tour-259818.shtml
Linpus Lite Desktop 1.7 review http://www.linuxbsdos.com/2012/03/19/linpus-lite-desktop-1-7-review/
GNOME 2 vs. GNOME 3 http://www.datamation.com/open-source/gnome-2-vs.-gnome-3-1.html
Greg KH Readies for Collaboration Summit, Talks Raspberry Pi http://www.linuxtoday.com/developer/2012032100141OSKN
Linus Torvalds: The King of Geeks (And Dad of 3) http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/03/mr-linux/
KDevelop 4.3.0 Final Released With Basic C++11 Support http://kdevelop.org/kdevelop/kdevelop-430-final-released-basic-c11-support
Fedora 16 And GNOME Shell: Tested And Reviewed http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/fedora-16-gnome-3-review,3155.html
Big data enters open-source hype cycle http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/03/20/who_is_making_money_in_big_data/
Exploring DIY Linux Router Distros http://www.dslreports.com/shownews/Exploring-DIY-Linux-Router-Distros-118897?nocomment=1
Six Open-Source Recommendations Every Enterprise Should Know in 2012 http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Linux-and-Open-Source/Six-OpenSource-Recommendations-Every-Enterprise-Should-Know-in-2012-498866/
Chrome: The people’s Web browser choice http://www.zdnet.com/blog/networking/chrome-the-peoples-web-browser-choice/2153
Drupal's Plan for Open Source CMS Success http://www.datamation.com/open-source/drupals-plan-for-open-source-cms-success.html
Bodhi Linux, the Beautiful Configurable Lightweight Linux http://www.linuxtoday.com/news/2012032200641RVDTSW
GNOME Classic in Ubuntu 12.04: It’s Like Nothing Ever Changed http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/2012/03/gnome-classic-in-ubuntu-12-04-its-like-nothing-ever-changed/
Enforcing the GPL with Judo moves http://www.h-online.com/open/features/Enforcing-the-GPL-with-Judo-moves-1471698.html
Linux and Android, together at last http://news.cnet.com/8301-30685_3-57399951-264/linux-and-android-together-at-last/
Say hello to Canonical's new Linux desktop: Ubuntu 12.04 beta review http://www.zdnet.com/blog/open-source/say-hello-to-canonicals-new-linux-desktop-ubuntu-1204-beta-review/10651
PlayOnLinux 4.0.16 now can start exe from terminal, support for Desura and more http://www.unixmen.com/playonlinux-4-0-16-now-can-start-exe-from-terminal-support-for-desura-and-more/
Eventbrite: Hadoop isn't for everybody http://gigaom.com/2012/03/22/eventbrite-structure-data-2012/
New Nvidia Video Driver Supports Linux Kernel 3.3 http://news.softpedia.com/news/New-Nvidia-Video-Driver-Supports-Linux-Kernel-3-3-260402.shtml
GNOME 3.4 Release Candidate Is Available for Download http://news.softpedia.com/news/GNOME-3-4-Release-Candidate-Is-Available-for-Download-260135.shtml
Life without Netflix, streaming on Linux can be awesome! http://opensuseadventures.blogspot.ca/2012/03/life-without-netflix-streaming-on-linux.html
Canonical's Ubuntu System Management Service Landscape become default in Ubuntu 12.04 http://ubuntuguide.net/canonicals-ubuntu-system-management-service-landscape-become-default-in-ubuntu-12-04
Dell, Ubuntu Team for Updated Linux Cloud Platform http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Linux-and-Open-Source/Dell-Ubuntu-Team-for-Updated-Linux-Cloud-Platform-429036/
GNOME 3.4 Release Candidate Finalized http://www.linuxtoday.com/developer/2012032600641OSGN
Why Linux on the Desktop Is Dead http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/252516/why_linux_on_the_desktop_is_dead.html
Linux Kernel 3.2.13 Is Available for Download http://news.softpedia.com/news/Linux-Kernel-3-2-13-Is-Available-for-Download-260945.shtml
XBMC 11.0 Has Support for iOS Devices http://news.softpedia.com/news/XBMC-11-0-Has-Support-for-iOS-Devices-260846.shtml
Linux 3.3: Finally a little good news for bufferbloat http://www.cringely.com/2012/03/linux-3-3-finally-a-little-good-news-for-bufferbloat/
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