“Sheesh! Don’t let the ‘little people’ see this”
An excellent little catch from Glyn Moody reveals just what is happening behind people’s backs. The finding is a leak, courtesy of Wiki Leaks which found itself in trouble earlier this year for exposing ‘too much’ truth (see [1, 2, 3] at the bottom).
Glyn’s observations, which seem to be based purely on this self-serving document, are as follows:
Politicans remain the ultimate dinosaurs in terms of openness: ideally, the rich and powerful would like to make their cosy deals – often aimed at that dangerous openness – behind closed doors.
This secret agreement, drawn up without any public discussion or oversight, would basically impose all of the worst aspects of US intellectual monopolies on everyone in sight – starting with willing stooges like the UK, and progressing to the unwilling but powerless.
Not so long ago, Microsoft was caught deceiving on copyrights using inaccurate ‘propaganda documents’ for a reform in Canada. But that’s not all. Recall the recent (and heated) debate about whether or not the US tries to squeeze software patents into other nations from the back door, along with other draconian laws (it already bit Australia).
Of great relevance to software patents and OOXML you may also find the following new article from Reuters. It’s about a former judge with professional tendencies that favour monopolisation. He just doesn’t realise this yet and lobbying might play a role here too. Deception through persistence and repetition can be alarmingly effective.
Earlier, he told the conference that although he signed the Microsoft judgment in September and was bound by secrecy, he understood “some of the worries” critics have expressed.
Vesterdorf said “one should be careful” not to encroach too much on patent rights “by a too-zealous enforcement of competition law”.
“It may give rise to frivolous private litigation, create legal uncertainty for holders of IP (intellectual property) rights, thereby perhaps diminishing the incentives to sometimes desirable but very expensive research and development,” Vesterdorf said.
Come to consider the fact that Microsoft patented protocols which Neelie Kroes describes as too trivial to be patentable and too essential to have royalties imposed with their use, whose necessity is the result of brute market aggression.
Recall what Mark Webbink (of Red Hat at the time) said not so long ago:
“…there has been a proliferation of trivial and contestable patents triggered by a relaxation of the rules by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which has progressively lowered the bar for patent claims.”
Let the Bilski case [1, 2, 3, 4] serve as a reminder that questions now arise about the patentability of a curve ball! It becomes endlessly insane when the boundaries are improperly set to permit patentability of mathematics (algorithms at the least).
Don Knuth wrote a wonderful letter many years ago to warn about this. He is probably the world’s #1 authority on the subject of algorithms, but who is he to counter multi-billion-dollar software companies with multi-million-dollar lobbying budgets?
“Don Knuth wrote a wonderful letter many years ago to warn about this.”Think about it for a second. If Microsoft spends about $10 million a year on lobbying (that which is discloses alone), this permits the company to employ more than 100 full-time people in suits — people whose career involves walking around Washington and taking people out to lunch, making phonecalls, back-room deals, etc.
Knuth, on the other hand, with all his wisdom granted, humbly lounges in his library near the Stanford campus. Can brains trump money? Can sanity defeat greed? Ask the friends in South Africa. They have suffered a lot from insults, abuse and aggressive lobbying by Microsoft agents recently. This courageous nation fights back at the moment, not only against OOXML but also against software patents (see video).
Speaking of lousy Microsoft patents, will you have a look at this one from the news?
Microsoft has just snared a U.S. patent for proactive virus protection, which is how security software helps secure your PC when it encounters shape-shifting malware not already in its antivirus definition file. What I want to know is, what does this mean for all the other vendors — like McAfee, Symantec, Kaspersky, and Trend Micro — that have been selling proactive protection software for years? Do they now have to pay Microsoft protection; I mean, royalties?
 WikiLeaks Under Fire
The transparency group WikiLeaks.org currently seems to be under heavy fire. The main WikiLeaks.org DNS entry is unavailable, reportedly due to a restraining order relating to a series of articles and documents released by WikiLeaks about off-shore trust structures in the Cayman Islands. The WikiLeaks whistle blower, allegedly former vice president of the Cayman Islands branch of swiss bank Julius Baer, states in the WikiLeaks documents that the bank supported tax evasion and money laundering by its clients from around the world
If Wikileaks were a print publication, the injunction that has shut down the site would be unthinkable. Back in 1931, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Minnesota law that allowed the closing of any “malicious, scandalous and defamatory” periodical. This court, by contrast, has not only barred future publication of the documents at issue but elected to put Wikileaks out of business.
In Bank Julius Baer & Co., Ltd v. Wikileaks, et al, the plaintiff claims that the posting of certain documents to the Wikileaks site violated Swiss and Cayman Island bank secrecy laws.
Judge Jeffrey White ordered domain registrar Dynadot to disable Wikileaks.org in response to Julius Baer & Co.’s complaint. The groups behind the request to lift the injunction claim that it violates the First Amendment.