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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 #485 Period ending 28 March 2013

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

More news on the Weev conviction, Aaron Schwarz and new computer crimes legislation in the US (which I have lumped together). Of interest is the (off topic) story about the pervasiveness of Google. Wishing you all a Happy Easter.

*From my blog:

Verbatim distribution with attribution ok.

Other distribution - email me.



***** Open Standards/ODF

Google starts using HTML5 and WebM for premium content

Google has quietly started to switch some aspects of its premium content offerings to its open source WebM video format. Google’s WebM product manager John Luther explained during a developer Hangout Wednesday that YouTube and Google Play video rentals are now using WebM as opposed to Flash on Samsung’s Chromebooks. “We will be rolling that out on more Chrome OS devices and other platforms soon,” he added.

***** Off Topic

Closed-source Linux Tycoon Now Available For DOS

>From the deepest darkest corner of the deepest darkest dungeon of Bizarro World, Bryan Lunduke releases Linux Tycoon, his closed-source game about an open source operating system for a closed source operating system no one uses.

MasterCard stings PayPal with payment fee hike

Individuals selling stuff on eBay might still need PayPal or similar, the argument goes, but everyone else should sign up with one of the numerous online payment schemes popping up around the world and share the purchasing data with the credit-card companies like they're supposed to.

Google's Google problem

What Google has actually done is create a powerful infrastructure. The shape of that infrastructure influences everything that goes online. And it influences the allocation of mental resources of everyone who interacts with the online world. But there isn't much to the real human world that isn't shaped by the mental activity of the people in it!

Seventh Circuit: no right to force search engines to delete embarrassing public records

In a recent 3-0 ruling, Nieman v. VersusLaw, Inc., a federal appeals court in Illinois reaffirmed that there is no right to demand the “de-archiving” of truthful information contained in lawsuits and other public records.

Ad industry threatens Firefox users with more ads if Mozilla moves on tracking plans

The online ad industry has attacked Mozilla over its decision to block third-party cookies in a future release of Firefox, calling the move "dangerous and highly disturbing," and claiming that it will result in more ads shown to users.

Alan Kay, godfather of mobile computing, bashes the iPad

“The iPad’s been dumbed down so far it’s distressing,” said Kay, during a Churchill Club event sponsored by SAP. “And Microsoft of course followed suit with its interface.”

***** Government/Policy

Canonical and Chinese standards body announce Ubuntu collaboration

CSIP, which is a part of the Chinese Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MII), has selected Canonical’s Ubuntu as the basis for that reference architecture in order to provide a flexible, open, widely-used and standardised operating system. The announcement is part of the Chinese government’s five year plan to promote open source software and accelerate the growth of the open source ecosystem within China.

Why I Am Representing Auernheimer Pro Bono on Appeal Before the Third Circuit

In the government’s view, visiting the URLs was an unauthorized access of AT&T’s website. But I think that’s wrong. At bottom, the conduct here was visiting a public website.

Canonical Partners with China for Ubuntu Kaylin Linux

"This partnership is the result of many months of conversation that came about from Canonical's existing presence in China," Canonical CEO, Jane Silber told

Microsoft faces new EU antitrust probe as Linux group files complaint

Hispalinux, which represents some 8,000 open-source users and developers in Spain, lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission, the EU's antitrust agency, early Tuesday, the group said in a blog post.

copiesofcopies/youtube-transcription · GitHub

It took just 27 hours for the $500 speech transcription bounty to be claimed. Aaron Williamson produced youtube-transcription, a Python-based pair of scripts that upload video to YouTube and download the resulting machine-generated transcripts of speech.

Monsanto Protection Act Sneaks Through Senate

But one inclusion in particular is especially controversial. The “biotech rider” would require the USDA to approve the harvest and sale of crops from genetically modified seed even if a court has ruled the environmental studies on the crop were inadequate. This aspect of the bill infuriated many sustainable food and agriculture groups, who nicknamed the bill the “Monsanto Protection Act.”

Entire library journal editorial board resigns, citing 'crisis of conscience' (Aaron Swartz)

In a dramatic show of support for the open access movement, the editor-in-chief and entire editorial board of the Journal of Library Administration announced their resignation last week. In a letter to contributors, the board singled out a conflict with owners over the journal's licensing terms, which stripped authors of almost all claim to ownership of their work.

Tell W3C: We don't want the Hollyweb

Hollywood is at it again. Its latest ploy to take over the Web? Use its influence at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to weave Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) into HTML5 — in other words, into the very fabric of the Web.

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

House Judiciary Committee Hearing Yesterday on Copyright Reform

Monsanto’s Death Patents

But more broadly the case also raises implications regarding control of the food supply and the patenting of life – questions that current patent laws are ill-equipped to meaningfully address.

Samsung-Ericsson standard-essential patent battle heats up as Samsung asserts additional patents

Pulling no punches, Samsung not only accuses Ericsson of breaching its FRAND obligations (an accusation it has previously made), but also asserts additional patents against Ericsson — including patents already being asserted in the ITC.

Judge says Xbox doesn't infringe Google patent

A U.S. International Trade Commission judge has decided that Microsoft's Xbox doesn't infringe on a patent held by Motorola Mobility, reversing his original decision.

Lawyer Suggests That Prenda Law May Have Only 'Released' Movies It Sued Over As A Honeypot For L

Well, Syfert looked at the details of the lawsuits, and then looked around, and basically found that the "movies" in question never appear to be distributed in any way, except via BitTorrent, all seeded by the same user. Hmmmm....

U.S. Congressmen Told About 'Next Great Copyright Act' at Hearing

According to a prepared statement she gave before taking questions from U.S. congressmen, Pallante said that "if one needs an army of lawyers to understand the basic precepts of the law, then it is time for a new law."

Appeals court questions public interest scope in Apple secrecy hearing

Such a decision from the Washington-based appeals court would set an important precedent for high-level intellectual property cases, in which filing documents under seal has become almost standard procedure as companies try to keep their trade secrets and other sensitive business information from becoming public in court.

Ericsson sues Micromax for patent infringement, claims about Rs 100 crore in damages

Ericsson alleged that India's largest domestic handset maker has refused to enter into a licensing agreement covering its patented innovations across several wireless technology standards such as GSM, EDGE and 3G.

Lawsuit claiming MMS services are like Napster finally fails

When the cards were forwarded more than once, that was copyright infringement in the company's view

Supreme Court reverses in Kirtsaeng

Cisco ordered to pay $70 million in civil fraud patent case

Cisco Systems Inc must pay $70 million in damages to patent licenser XpertUniverse Inc for fraudulently obtaining technology developed by the New York company, a jury found on Friday, according to court filings.

***** Applications/Gadgets

RasPlex ??? Plex on Raspberry Pi, Beta out now

Plex comes to Raspberry Pi, threatening to usurp XBMCs throne by adding a server functionality to a Pi HTPC

Atlassian extends Git graphical client to Windows

” Developer tools provider Atlassian has released a free client that will allow programmers to access Git distributed revision control systems (DVCS) from Windows computers.

Open-Xchange to launch open-source, browser-based office suite

The first application for the suite is OX Text, an in-browser word processing tool with editing capabilities for Microsoft Word .docx files and and LibreOffice .odt files, the Nuremberg, Germany, company announced on Wednesday.

Chromebook's biggest fan: Linus Torvalds

Not only has HP recently joined in selling these Linux-based, lightweight netbooks, but now Acer, HP and Samsung Chromebooks are available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Open Source Project Mimics Yahoo Pipes on Your Own Machine

Huginn — named for a roving raven in Norse mythology — can monitor the web and collect user data from a variety of services.

Open source, Web-based office suite takes on Google Docs, LibreOffice

A usable version of OX Text is scheduled to be released next month, with spreadsheet and presentation software coming later this year. OX Text will also be released in early April under the GNU General Public License 2 and Creative Commons. Open-Xchange will make money by selling a supported version to businesses.

Plasma Media Center - Release One

KDE's Plasma Media Center (PMC) is aimed towards a unified media experience on PCs, Tablets, Netbooks, TVs and any other device that is capable of running KDE software.

Big Data Open Source App Framework Gets Funded

Concurrent raises $4 million and gets a new CEO, as it pushes the Cascading open source project used for building Big Data apps into the enterprise.

OpenKit launches its closed beta for open-source social-mobile platform

OpenKit is unveiling the first version of its open-source backend social infrastructure for mobile games. That is the first step in helping thousands of mobile game developers get over the loss of their now-defunct OpenFeint predecessor platform.

Open source genealogy with Gramps

With Gramps, you have all of the functionality available that Windows users have enjoyed for some time. Gramps is written in Python and is designed with a plug-in architecture.

PlayOnLinux - Run Windows Applications and Games on Linux

Tasktop Offers Open-Source Effort To Link And Sync The API Economy

To counter the increasing complexity, Tasktop Technologies, an application lifecycle management (ALM) integrator, is today launching an open-source effort called Software Lifecycle Integration (SLI) that would link the disparate tools in the software lifecycle management process. The new initiative is called M4, and if approved at EclipseCon, it will become part of an open-source project under Eclipse-Mylyn.

Big Switch Shines a Switch Light on Open Source OpenFlow Switching

He added that Switch Light is not a proprietary vSwitch. Rather it is an open source implementation of OpenFlow that works with the open vSwitch that is already in the Linux kernel.

Hands-on with Mozillas Web-based Firefox OS for smartphones

Is it actually possible to build full-featured mobile apps entirely in HTML5? Earlier this month, Mozilla sent us a review unit of the Geeksphone Keon with a "developer preview" of its new OS, and we put the system and its "Web apps" approach through their paces.

***** Reports

Android poised to overtake Apple in mobile realm

A study released last week by the technology sector analysis firm reported that Apple's majority rule of the tablet market will end in 2013 for the first time since the iPad was introduced, with the Cupertino, Calif., company's share of the market expected to drop from 51 percent in 2012 to 46 percent in 2013.

The freedoms, concerns of an open source society

Imagine a large vault that houses everyone’s personal information: medical records, financial data, Facebook pictures, etc. Now imagine everyone in the world has a key to that vault.

Mentoring Organization Applications Now Being Accepted for Google Summer of Code 2013!

Basho open sources Riak CS

Basho has announced that it has open sourced Riak CS, an S3-compatible object storage system based on the already open source Riak distributed database.

Google's Schmidt: Android, Chrome Won't Be Combined

Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said the search giant’s Android and Chrome operating systems will not be combined into one platform but did allow that some overlap between the two might occur, according to reports.

Pentaho Hires Execs for Open Source Big Data Growth

These executive additions to Pentaho’s North American operations follow on other recent hires earlier this month by the company in France, Germany and Britain. They are part of the company’s strategy “to continue to accelerate its big data product and platform development as well as its high revenue growth,” according to a statement.

Openshot Creator Launches Kickstarter

However, users of Windows and Mac have never before had access to OpenShot, due to dependencies and other technical reasons. With your help, that is all about to change.

Goodbye Google Reader, Linux Has Its Own RSS Aggregators

It's a good lesson in the perils of relying on a service provider instead of your own local applications. There are plenty of good RSS clients for Linux users, so let's look at some good alternatives to the party-pooper Google Reader.

Celebrating the Life of Pi

The large number of projects for which the Pi has been put to use has been phenomenal and the team say they still cannot believe the innovation which is evident on an almost daily basis. “Just today I was looking at a post on the blog about water droplet photography which somebody is doing with a Raspberry Pi,” says Liz

Schmidt does not rule out Android and Chrome OS merger

Schmidt then started talking about the two operating systems' different development models. Finally, he spoke about how eventually the two will merge. At no point does he state that a marriage between the two platforms won't happen.

Steve Kondik, CyanogenMod Android founder, leaves Samsung

With Kondik still with CyanogenMod, however, I strongly suspect that we will eventually see a version of the popular alternative Android fimrware for S4 in due time.

Apache helps free CloudStack from Citrix fetters

The Apache Software Foundation (ASF) has approved CloudStack as a top-level project (TLP), helping the open-source cloud software effort further establish its independence from Citrix, which acquired the program's codebase in its 2011 purchase of

U.S. Defense Agency Feeds Python

This investment will extend the work already underway with the the NumPy and SciPy Python libraries. NumPy is the package for scientific computing with Python containing an N-dimensional array object and tools for integrating C/C++ and Fortran code. SciPy (pronounced "Sigh Pie") is an instance of open-source software for mathematics.

***** Snippets

Google Chrome OS Linux WAS Exploited at Pwnium 2013 for $40,000

GNOME 3.10 Might Be Ported to Wayland

9 Google Reader alternatives

VirtualBox 4.2.10 Adds Initial Support for Linux Kernel 3.9

A Comprehensive Guide To Linux touch Command

Dispelling FUD About Ubuntu

Open Source Ubuntu Speech Recognition App is Shaping up Nicely, Already Installable in Ubuntu!

SparkyLinux 2.1 Has Been Officially Released

GNOME 3.8 is Nearly Ready

Open Source GCC 4.8 Compiler Including Address Sanitizer Security

Documenting Your Work With Liferay

There is Ubuntu, There is Linux and Then There are Others

MongoDB refines load balancing

Ubuntu Technical Board Meeting Decisions Regarding The New Release Proposals

OpenStack Grizzly Open Source Cloud Nears RC1

Ubuntu to halve support length for non-LTS releases

GNOME 3.8 - Jon McCann talks of future in GNOME

HDD & SSD File-System Benchmarks On Linux 3.9 Kernel

Debian Wheezy Linux Nearing the Finish Line as 100 Bugs Remain

Sabayon 11 Review - Usability Upgrades

New Mageia Board Members Elected

[VIDEO] Does an Open Source OpenStack Cloud Mean Better Security Compliance?

Clonezilla vs. FOG: The clone wars

Google Keep geared for Google Glass

New Kmix is Coming, New Kmix is Coming

Review: Sidebar Pro and Lite, multitasking the Ubuntu Touch way [VIDEO]

LibrePlanet: Conference -- Sunday March 24 program

Favorite Distributions for Spring 2013

Kali Linux: The Next BackTrack

Windows Malware Takes Advantage of Weak Linux Setups

A look at Linux Mint Debian Edition (LMDE) 201303

Slackware Linux switches to MariaDB

Wine 1.5.26 Fixes Windows Media Player 9 Installation

75 Open Source Apps To Replace Popular Security Software

GTK+ Is Becoming Very Usable With Wayland

Cairo-Dock 3.2 release!

OpenStack Open Source Cloud Project Setup Set for a Shakeup?

Apache CloudStack Advances Open Source Cloud Efforts

Increasingly, Virginias Rocket Docket extends its jurisdiction to international cases
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