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Links 9/9/2016: IBM’s New Servers, SUSE Eaten by HPE

Posted in News Roundup at 7:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • How Google Uses and Contributes to Open Source

    Engineer Marc Merlin has been working at Google since 2001 but has been involved with Linux since 1993, in its very early days. Since then, open source adoption has dramatically increased, but a new challenge is emerging: Not many companies care about the license side of open source, Merlin stated in his talk “How Google Uses and Contributes to Open Source” at LinuxCon and ContainerCon North America.

  • Top 10 Open Source Ecommerce Tools

    According to the U.S. Census, online retailers in the United States sold $97.3 billion worth of goods in the second quarter this year. That represents roughly 8 percent of all retail sales in the country during that time period.

    If you’re a small business owner, getting a piece of that market can seem like a very attractive opportunity. But setting up an online shop may be a daunting prospect if you aren’t very technical.

    In this article, we feature 10 ecommerce software solutions that can make setting up an online store easier. These are all open source solutions, which means that they are completely free if you run the software on your own server. If you don’t want to host your own website, many of them are also available through hosting providers for a small fee.

  • What a Pixar open source project says about your software strategy

    Such open source is a signal to developers that an employer is developer-friendly, and it also allows companies to collaborate on code even as they compete for box office market share, automobile customers, etc. Whatever your organization, in short, you need more developers, which means you also need more open source. A lot more.

  • Open source algorithm helps spot social media shams

    Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University say they have developed an open source algorithm that can help spot social media frauds trying to sway valuable community influence.

    “Given the rise in popularity of social networks and other web services in recent years, fraudsters have strong incentives to manipulate these services. On several shady websites, anyone can buy fake Facebook page-likes or Twitter followers by the thousands. Yelp, Amazon and TripAdvisor fake reviews are also available for sale, misleading consumers about restaurants, hotels, and other services and products. Detecting and neutralizing these actions is important for companies and consumers alike,” the researchers wrote in a paper outlining their algorithm known as FRAUDAR.

    According to Carnegie Mellon researchers the new algorithm makes it possible to see through camouflage fraudsters use to make themselves look legitimate.

    According to Christos Faloutsos, professor of machine learning and computer at Carnegie Mellon the state-of-the-art for detecting fraudsters, with tools such as NetProbe, is to find a pattern known as a “bipartite core.” These are groups of users who have many transactions with members of a second group, but no transactions with each other. This suggests a group of fraudsters, whose only purpose is to inflate the reputations of others by following them, by having fake interactions with them, or by posting flattering or unflattering reviews of products and businesses, he said in a statement.

  • Destroy to create: How one CEO innovates in object storage, open source

    While VMworld 2016 is now in the rearview mirror, some major partnership announcements emerged from within the conference halls. One such announcement partnered cloud and object storage company Scality, Inc. with hosting and Internet infrastructure provider OVH. This new go-to-market team-up will provide enterprises large and small a solution to handle large-scale storage needs.

    This partnership is just latest in a string of pioneering ventures at Scality since it opened its doors in 2008. To explore the company’s impressive growth and market strategies, SiliconANGLE recently spoke to Jérôme Lecat, CEO of Scality.

  • Open Source Software & Security Are Key To 5G

    Open source software and security will be fundamental elements of 5G, according to top executives at the 2016 CTIA Super Mobility conference here.

    During yesterday’s opening keynote session, CTIA chairman and AT&T mobility president and CEO Glenn Lurie highlighted the role of open source software in the 5G roadmap. “We have to embrace open source, software-centric solutions. We know this drives flexibility and scalability with the growth of the network. It makes everything faster, better, and cheaper,” Lurie said.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Italian military move first 8000 PCs to LibreOffice

      The Italian military have switched the first 8000 PC workstations to Libreoffice, an open source office productivity suite, reports Sonia Montegiove, a software analyst working for the Italian province of Perugia who is helping the military with the switch to LibreOffice.

    • Italian Military Gets FLOSS

      Anyway, the Italians have figured out that they don’t have to stick with a single source of supply from USA for all their IT. Good for them. They wouldn’t do that for anything else. Why IT? So, they are gaining freedom from M$, saving money and getting better IT. It’s the right way to do IT. I hope they get around to using a FLOSS OS too someday. That will compound their savings and increase security.

    • LibreOffice Suite Now Competes Directly with Google Docs

      On the heels of announcing new versions 5.2 and 5.1.5 of the free, LibreOffice suite of productivity applications, The Document Foundation has provided statistics indicating that LibreOffice is gaining traction with Linux users, developers, administrators, and enterprises. In fact, the new version 5.1.5 of the suite is specifically tuned for enterprise users.

      The Document Foundation’s Annual Report notes that the LibreOffice project now has more than 1,000 contributors with 300 making commits in 2015. Moreover, new releases of the suite include enhanced focus on compatibility and standards. The suite’s import/export filters have improved exponentially, and — in a move that will appeal to many admins and cloud-minded users — the suite has been steadily adding direct integration with platforms and services including Google Drive, SharePoint, and Alfresco. You can now open files directly from — and save files to — these services via menu choices under the File menu in LibreOffice applications.

      Integration with these platforms and services, of course, means that LibreOffice is now much more competitive with Google Docs. Additionally, as security concerns remain on everyone’s radar, The Document Foundation is working closely with the Transglobal Secure Collaboration Program (TSCP), a public-private partnership formed to secure electronic communication for organizations including defense contractors and government entities. The TSCP has specifications and frameworks that preserve more secure shared documents online. LibreOffice 5.2 complies with these document classification specifications.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • Trying Out Eight BSDs On A Modern PC: Some Are Smooth, Others Troublesome

      Following the seven-way Linux distribution benchmark comparison published earlier this week, on the same system I set out to test a variety of BSD distributions on the same system and ultimately benchmark their out-of-the-box performance too. Those performance benchmark results will be published later this week while today were a few remarks I wanted to share when trying out TrueOS, DragonFlyBSD, GhostBSD, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, MidnightBSD, and PacBSD (Arch BSD) on this modern Intel Xeon system.

      All of my testing was done on an Intel Xeon E5-2509 v4 Broadwell-EP system with MSI X99A WORKSTATION motherboard, NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X, 16GB of DDR4 memory, and an OCZ TRION 150 120GB SATA 3.0 SSD. With the seven Linux distributions tested in recent days they all worked fine on the system: Ubuntu, Clear Linux, Scientific Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Fedora, Antergos, and Sabayon Linux.

      Below are my various brief remarks when testing the different BSDs on this Intel Xeon system. These are my thoughts with admittedly being a Linux enthusiast while just touching BSD, Solaris, and others only on a semi-frequent basis. I am by no means a diehard “Linux fan boy” and have no fundamental objections to BSD, I simply prefer the operating system that best fits my needs and for benchmarking where I can get my tests done in a reliable, reproducible, and timely manner. I at least prefer my operating systems have a clean and quick install process with sane defaults; working generally ~100 hour weeks, I don’t have time in 2016 if an OS cannot easily install and boot properly on a modern PC. I enjoy testing out the various BSDs and have no strong bias to any of them. This is the largest BSD testing comparison I’ve done in the past 12 years on Phoronix at the same time and on the same hardware.

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Open licenses don’t work for uncopyrightable subjects: 3D printing edition

      Michael Weinberg (who has written seminal stories on 3D printing and copyright) writes, “We are seeing widespread adoption of copyright-based open licenses in 3D printing and open source hardware. This is great in that it shows that the culture of openness has really permeated the culture. It is not so great because a significant number of the things nominally licensed in these communities aren’t actually protected by copyright.”

      “This could create problems by 1) undermining long term confidence in open licenses when people find out that they are not enforceable when a copyright isn’t involved and/or 2) creating a constituency of people who want to expand the scope of copyright protection in order to make their open licenses enforceable.”

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Access/Content

      • Report: Students Can Save Thousands By Using ‘Digital, Open-source Textbooks’

        A report related to a state pilot program has declared that college and university students from Vernon and across the state can save thousands with the use of “digital, open-source textbooks.”

        The results of the pilot program were published last month.

        See the report here.

        The pilot program was created through Special Act No. 15-18, “An Act Concerning the Use of Digital Open Source Textbooks in Higher Education.”


  • Science

  • Hardware

    • Wait… is that how you are supposed to configure your SSD card?

      I bought a laptop with only SSD drives a while ago and based on a limited amount of reading, added the “discard” option to my /etc/fstab file for all partitions and happily went on my way expecting to avoid the performance degradation problems that happen on SSD cards without this setting).

      Yesterday, after a several month ordeal, I finally installed SSD drives in one of May First/People Link’s servers and started doing more research to find the best way to set things up.

      I was quite surprised to learn that my change in /etc/fstab accomplished nothing. Well, not entirely true, my /boot partition was still getting empty sectors reported to the SSD card.

      Since my filesystem is on top of LVM and LVM is on top of an encrypted disk, those messages from the files system to the disk were not getting through. I learned that when I tried to run the fstrim command on one of the partitions and received the message that the disk didn’t support it. Since my /boot partition is not in LVM or encrypted, it worked on /boot.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Two US Congressional Leaders Criticize WTO For Stance On Trade Remedy, Food Safety Measures

      From a press release issued today: “House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) and Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Ron Wyden (D-OR) today sent a letter to World Trade Organization (WTO) Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, criticizing the WTO Secretariat’s stance on measures it views as protectionist, and urging the office to better support the rules-based global trading system.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • The Misunderstandings of the Anti-Transparency Hillary-Exonerating Left

      Of course the FBI never really addresses how Hillary violated the Federal Records Act. Of course the FBI never really addresses how Hillary tried to avoid FOIA. (Note too that Drum ignores that some of those “personal” emails have been found to be subject to FOIA and FRA and Congressional requests; they weren’t actually personal.)

    • Vox: If The Clinton Email Scandal Has Taught Us Nothing Else, It’s That Email Should Be Exempt From FOIA Requests

      This argument might make some sense if Yglesias had ever advocated for the alteration of federal statutes like the Electronic Communications Privacy Act or the Third Party Doctrine that have been abused for years by government agencies with complete disregard for wholesale changes in personal communication preferences. (Under the Yglesias theory, phone calls = emails, so the government should need a wiretap warrant to access the contents of these communications, rather than just regular search warrants.)

      Furthermore, he’s simply wrong about the FOIA’s treatment of phone calls and emails. If a public record is generated by a phone call, it too can be accessed with a FOIA request. One example would be 911 calls, which are always recorded and are considered public records.

      This was pointed out to Yglesias by USA Today journalist Steve Reilly. Yglesias responded once, indicating he was making a point, rather than aiming for accuracy.

  • Finance

    • Users Continue to Rock Against the TPP With Three New Tour Dates

      The Rock Against the TPP concert tour continues to gather steam as it makes its way around the country, giving voice to users whose concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership are being ignored. This Friday, the event will hit San Francisco, and there’s still time for you to claim your free tickets. Hip hop stars Dead Prez and punk legend Jello Biafra are headlining the event, joined by nine other acts in an event that will rock long into the night. EFF will also be there, as well as at a teach-in on the following day, to explain how the secretive deal will impact your digital rights.

    • Paying Taxes Is a Lot Better Than Phony Corporate Courage, Apple

      Every fall the internet and its resident tech mumblers congregate for The Apple Event, a quasi-pagan streaming-video rite in which Tim Cook boasts of just how much money his company is making (a lot) and just how much good it’s introducing to the world (this typically involves a new iPhone). This is merely annoying most years; but in 2016, when Apple is loudly, publicly denying its tax obligations around the world, it’s just gross.

    • Obama Promises Lame-Duck TPP Push Despite Uproar Over Pro-Corporate Provisions

      A provision that would let foreign corporations challenge new American laws and regulations has become the latest flashpoint in the battle over the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement, even as President Obama on Tuesday said he will renew his push for its passage in the lame-duck session of Congress.

      “We’re in a political season now and it’s always difficult to get things done,” Obama said at a town hall meeting in Laos. “So after the election, I think people can refocus attention on why this is so important.” He sounded confident: “I believe that we’ll get it done.”

    • Goldman Sachs tells employees they cannot donate to Trump campaign – but no restriction on Clinton’s

      One of America’s largest banks has told its high-ranking employees they cannot donate to Donald Trump – but has left open the way for them to contribute to the campaign of Hillary Clinton.

      According to a memo that was circulated to staff at Goldman Sachs, the bank said it had expanded its political restrictions to partners at the firm and listed those persons it now considered “restricted”.

    • Calm Down, People: Data Shows Airbnb Isn’t Really Driving Up Rent

      Last year, we did an episode of the Techdirt podcast discussing whether or not Airbnb was good or bad for cities, and afterwards I heard from a few people insisting that we were too quick to dismiss the concerns of the anti-Airbnb crowd. It seemed to us that the problem, if there was one, was in the overall housing stock of cities, rather than Airbnb having a legitimate impact. Yes, certainly there are some people who just use some homes/apartments/condos for doing short-term rentals, but it was difficult to see how (even at Airbnb’s scale) it was enough to significantly impact housing prices.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Green Party reaffirms support for nominees Jill Stein and Ajamu Baraka at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest after charges are filed

      Green Party leaders reaffirmed the party’s support for presidential nominee Jill Stein and running mate Ajamu Baraka as they face charges for civil disobedience during the ongoing protest against the Dakota Access Pipeline.

      “The Green Party stands in solidarity with Native Americans and others gathering at the Standing Rock Sioux reservation. The oil pipeline poses a serious danger to local drinking water — it was moved away from Bismarck for this very reason. It desecrates Lakota burial ground on land seized from the tribe. It shows that the Obama Administration, deferring to Energy Transfer Partners and the Army Corps of Engineers, still refuses to take the climate crisis and fossil-fuel consumption seriously,” said Chris Blankenhorn, co-chair of the Green Party of the United States.

    • Nobody Asked Hillary Last Night About the Messed Up Veterans Hiring Preferences at Her State Department

      Last night’s MSNBC Commander-in-Chief Forum featured two candidates who couldn’t be more in love — with “The Troops.”

      The troops were spoken of as if they were a they, maybe that group huddled outside smoking or something. Both Trump and Clinton made it clear they are ready to do anything to support the troops. Good, we owe the troops a lot for having to take the big hits for some dumb foreign policy decisions.

      But it is only Hillary who cites her “experience,” so let’s take a look at that. Specifically, during the years she was secretary of state, how did her organization implement veterans preferences in hiring new Foreign Service Officers (FSOs; America’s diplomats)?

    • ‘Commander-in-Chief’ Forum Panned as Colossal Failure of Journalism

      Putting aside the shortcomings of both major candidates, for many critical observers the biggest loser during Wednesday night’s presidential “Commander-in-Chief” forum on NBC News was the platform itself.

      Moderated by NBC’s host of The Today Show Matt Lauer, the town hall-style event was staged inside the belly of the U.S.S. Intrepid, a retired World War II aircraft carrier that now serves as a military museum in New York City, and was promoted by the news outlet as a chance to extract specific positions from both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump on veterans affairs and foreign policy.

      But instead of informing viewers on these key subject matters or holding the candidates to account for past actions or statements, a widespread reaction among progressive viewers and critical journalists from across the political spectrum was that Lauer failed to ask the necessary tough questions or followups, with many suggesting the forum was a lesson in how not to inform voters or put a check on those seeking high office.

    • Trump, Clinton stumble in debate dry run

      Clinton wobbled on style. Trump stumbled on substance.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ACLU Seeks To Unseal Docket In FBI’s Tor-Exploiting Takedown Of Freedom Hosting

      The ACLU would like to take a closer look at the government’s activities regarding its seizure of Freedom Hosting back in 2013. To date, the docket remains sealed — as is the case in far too many DOJ prosecutions. In this case, the FBI basically took over Freedom Hosting to serve up its Network Investigative Tool to unmask anonymous Tor users.

      The difference between this and its more recent NIT deployment in the Playpen child porn case is that many of those exposed by the malware weren’t suspected of any wrongdoing. While letting the exploit run its course, the FBI also helped itself to TorMail’s email database, later acquiring a warrant to access the contents of the seized communications.

    • The FBI’s latest mission: Be cool enough to recruit hackers
    • The FBI Wants To Hire Young Tech Savants, Has No Idea How To Attract Them

      The FBI is suffering from an image problem. Its boss has spent a great deal of time arguing against protecting phone owners from thieves and malicious hackers. Its anti-terrorism program seems to be focused on pushing vulnerable people into doing things they’d never do on their own. And it has, along with the NSA, seen whatever street cred it might have had stripped away by leaked documents, litigation, and the realization that all Americans and their rights are subject to the agency’s chants of “national security.”

      In order for an agency to keep up with the hacking Joneses, it needs periodic injections of new blood. The problem is, the only decently-skilled hackers the FBI can apparently press into service are those it’s arrested. It’s having a difficult time attracting new hires that honestly want to use their skills in the ways the FBI would like to deploy them.

      So, the FBI is trying to alter its stance on hiring, as well as the public’s perception of the agency. And, of course, it’s failing to do so because it’s allowing Jim “Nerd Harder” Comey to act as spokesperson for the FBI’s youth movement. After being informed by his daughter that the FBI = “The Man,” Comey is using this dad anecdote to lead into a series of dad jokes that seem better suited for attracting people like him, rather than the people his agency actually needs.

    • EU General Data Protection Regulation – Part II

      Moreover, since such consent must be freely given by the data subject, special attention must be paid to those situations in which the data subject is in effect left with no choice but to give consent. Consent will be deemed not to have been properly given where, for example, there is a clear imbalance of power between the data subject and the controller seeking consent, or where the processing of personal data is not necessary for the performance of the contract, even if it is included in the contract.

    • Teamed with Box, Google Dumps Docs Storage Lock-in Scheme

      For a long time now, Google has been gaining traction with Google Docs, which remains one of the key ways that many people work in the cloud. However, Google–a company known for its dedication to open standards–has dragged its feet on preventing various kinds of lock-in for Docs users. In particular, to use Google Docs and keep documents stored in the cloud, you’ve traditionally been required to keep them under Google’s umbrella, storing documents on Google’s platform.

    • U.S. congressman: Americans ‘will be shocked’ by government use of phone-spying tech

      The Stingray, a controversial cellphone tracking device used by the U.S. government and law enforcement, will be the subject of a forthcoming investigation from the House Oversight Committee, according to Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah).

      “You will be shocked at what the federal government is doing to collect your personal information,” Chaffetz said on Wednesday morning. “And they can’t keep it secure, that’s the point.”

    • National Privacy Commission to issue findings on Comelec breach

      Last March 2016, the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) fell victim to what is now known as one of the biggest government-related breaches in history. This hack on the COMELEC database leaked the personal information of approximately 55 million registered Filipino voters. The incident soon caused widespread concern and public outrage, prompting FMA to call the attention of the then-newly established National Privacy Commission (NPC). Shortly after FMA’s call, the NPC started an independent investigation on the breach, which is now the subject of the young Commission’s first case. Over the past few months, the NPC conducted several investigatory hearings on the case, at least two of which were attended by FMA.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • The Real News
    • The Significance of Theresa May’s Disgraceful Quote

      Firstly, if either Nicola Sturgeon or Jeremy Corbyn had done this they would be under simply colossal pressure from the mainstream media. Tarring by association has been the backbone of the mainstream media campaigns against both Corbyn and the SNP, and pages after page and headline after headline have been concocted around the slightest association of Corbyn, Sturgeon or Salmond with people a great deal less vile than Collins, over just single intemperate social media entries.

      Will anybody attempt to deny it is true that if Corbyn or Sturgeon quoted a twitter account as offensive as this one it would be massive front page headlines?

      Secondly, it is important because May’s tactic at Prime Minister’s Questions is to ignore the question asked, but reply with a pre-arranged jibe about Jeremy Corbyn. That is precisely what happened here. The “joke” quoting Lewis Collins by name was written by one of May’s political advisers – paid by the taxpayer – and then read out by her. May claimed that “Lewis’s” comment had been selected from replies to a Corbyn social media tweet canvassing public opinion. It seems to me massively improbable that this is true. Tory advisers are not sifting through tens of thousands of public social media replies to Jeremy Corbyn, and then happening to hit on this Tory commenter.

      The truth is rather that Collins’ gross Tory laddism appeals to Tory professionals, and that May’s adviser who wrote the question is almost certainly a follower or fan of Lewis Collins’ output. And that seems to me to tell us something very significant indeed about this Tory government.

    • Washington Escalates Punishent Of Truth-Tellers

      Former British Ambassador Craig Murray, a truth-teller, has been banned from entering the United States of America.

      Washington is so afraid of truth that the most honorable man in Great Britain cannot be allowed into the USA.

    • Anti-Racist Dutch MP Refuses to Shake Netanyahu’s Hand

      A Dutch politician from an anti-racist party declined to shake hands with Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, before a meeting at the Dutch parliament in The Hague on Wednesday.

      Tunahan Kuzu, a member of Parliament who was born in Turkey and co-founded the new multi-ethnic party, Denk, or Think, in 2014 to represent immigrants to the Netherlands, explained later that he intended the gesture as a sign that many in the Netherlands object to the abuse of Palestinian civilians living under Israeli military rule in the occupied territories.

    • Monitoring the Vote With Electionland

      There is no more essential act in a democracy than voting. But making sure that the balloting is open to all and efficiently administered has been, at best, a low priority for many state legislatures, a victim of misplaced priorities and, at times, political gamesmanship.

      Historically, newsrooms have focused on covering the outcome of Election Day, relegating voting snafus to be followed up later, if at all. Today we’re announcing Electionland, a project to cover voting access and other problems in real time. The issue is particularly urgent this election year, as states have passed laws that could affect citizens’ access to the ballot box.

    • Lauri Love extradition ruling: Friday 16 September

      Lauri is the subject of extradition requests from three separate US court districts for his alleged participation in #OpLastResort, the series of online protests that followed the death of Aaron Swartz. Swartz tragically took his own life in January 2013 while facing prosecution under America’s draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and extraordinary pressure to agree to a plea deal.

      Over the course of a three-day hearing earlier this summer, Judge Tempia heard evidence on the inadequacy of US prison conditions, coercive plea bargaining, disproportionate sentencing and the discriminatory treatment meted out to hackers in the US justice system.

      Changes in the law were made in 2013, in the wake of the Gary McKinnon case to address public concerns about extradition and the severity of conditions for vulnerable British citizens in the United States penal system. It is now up to Judge Tempia to decide whether Lauri should benefit from those protections.

    • Dungavel immigration detention centre to close

      The centre, near Strathaven, is set to close towards the end of 2017.

      The Home Office said it would look to build a new short-term holding facility near Glasgow Airport.

      Dungavel opened in 2001 and can hold up to 249 detainees. It is the only such centre in Scotland and has been the subject of numerous protests, which branded the site “racist and inhumane”.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • AT&T’s Already Happily Tap Dancing Around Its DirecTV Merger Obligations

      If you’ve followed the telecom sector for any amount of time, you’ve probably noticed that the merger conditions affixed to its rotating crop of mega-mergers are usually hot garbage. Frequently the ankle-height goals are proposed by the companies themselves, and are usually something the companies planned on doing anyway. Telecom companies also know full well that regulators historically can’t be bothered to check their math on such promises, letting them essentially trot out a rotating crop of feel good, but totally hollow “obligations” before they get to work laying off redundant employees and raising rates.

      It’s a win-win relationship of dysfunction, where giant companies get to grow ever larger, and regulators score cheap political points for “toughness” thanks to a media that can’t be bothered to actually read the fine print of such deals, lest readership get bored.

      When Comcast was pushing for its 2011 acquisition of NBC Universal it crafted a new wrinkle in this old story. It proposed offering $10, 5 Mbps broadband to low-income homes if regulators signed off on the deal. And while regulators were happy to promote this as yeoman’s work in bridging the digital divide, it didn’t take long before low-income families began protesting in the streets, pointing out the plan was hard to find, hard to qualify for, and difficult to sign up for. Still, Comcast’s “Internet Essentials” plan has been a PR bonanza, with the cable giant holding an endless barrage of PR junkets advertising its selfless altruism.

    • After Massive Cable Industry Lobbying And Disinformation Effort, The FCC Is Forced To Weaken Its Cable Box Reform Plan

      Back in February, the FCC approved a new plan to bring some much-needed competition to the old cable box, resulting in better, cheaper, and more open hardware. But fearing a loss of control (and $21 billion in annual cable box rental fees) the cable industry launched an unprecedented lobbying campaign featuring an endless barrage of editorials attacking the plan for encouraging piracy and even being racist. The cable industry even managed to get the Copyright Office to fight on its behalf, spreading false claims that the plan would “harm copyright” despite having really nothing to do with the subject.


      But like so much said about the FCC’s plan over the last seven months, that’s simply not true. The FCC would primarily act to ensure the cable industry didn’t just supplement one bad idea (the locked down cable box) with another (apps saddled with onerous restrictions and fees), which is a pretty far cry from an entirely new copyright apparatus being forged in the belly of the FCC. And again, contrary to the Copyright Office’s claim, this debate has absolutely nothing to do with copyright, and everything to do with control.

    • Cruz slams internet transition plan on Senate floor
    • Video: Ted Cruz spreads internet FUD all over the Senate floor

      Senator Ted Cruz just gave a speech in the Senate proposing adding an appropriations rider to the upcoming continuing resolution in an effort to halt the IANA transition.

      He repeated many of the same false claims he has already made regarding the transition.

      Cruz claims ICANN is an international body akin to the United Nations. He claims that the transition empowers China, Russia and Iran to censor the internet.

      “Imagine searching the internet…and seeing a disclaimer that the information you’re looking for is censored,” he said. “It [the content] is not consistent with the standards of this new international body. It does not meet their approval.”

      Um, ICANN isn’t a new international body. And it doesn’t control content.

      Amusingly, he later points out that some internet giants have agreed to censorship requests by certain countries. Cruz suggests that the powers that be are determined to censor the internet. Yet this also shows what we already know: governments and other entities can already apply censorship to some degree inside their own borders. But no one country controls the internet.

    • GOP Lawmakers Launch Effort to Block Internet Handoff
    • Obama’s Radical Proposal Could Result in Censorship Online [Ed: nope.]
    • Can the GOP stop Obama’s internet giveaway? [Ed: Anti-Obama sites bash Obama even when he does the right thing regarding the Internet]
  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Fujifilm’s second Arrow declaration survives AbbVie’s strike out application as Humira biosimilar battle rages on

      AbbVie also argued that in this event, the Arrow declaration against AbbVie UK should be struck out as the Bermuda entity was the applicant for European Patent Application No 1 737 491 and, thus only it had committed the acts in the EPO that Fujifilm (and now the judge) relied upon as evidencing a “real prospect” in relation to the Arrow declaration. AbbVie UK had no interest in the subject matter of the application. Fujifilm also argued that it was probable that the Bermuda entity would grant an exclusive licence to the UK entity at some point in the future in order to later seek lost profits. Further, the UK entity, even if it is not granted an exclusive licensee, would have a significant financial interest in the inventions in the patent family because it will be the one who exploits the inventions in the UK. An Arrow declaration binding on the UK entity thus served a purpose so as to “forestall the possibility of AbbVie making threats to its customers or making statements that its product infringed”.

    • WIPO Enforcement Committee To Discuss National Experiences In 2017 [Ed: WIPO will discuss anything other than its truly serious violations of human rights]

      The enforcement of intellectual property rights – how they are enforced and by whom – is left to countries’ discretion. Members of the World Intellectual Property Organization committee on enforcement shared experiences this week on how they raise awareness about IP, their IP enforcement policies and regimes, and capacity-building in relation to WIPO training activities. And at the end of the session, delegates decided to pursue those topics of discussion again in 2017.

    • Nintendo DMCAs Fan-Game ‘No Mario’s Sky’, Devs Rename It ‘DMCA Sky’

      In the world of video games, it’s always useful to remember one thing: Nintendo hates you. More specifically, Nintendo hates its fans that go about expressing their fandom in ways that Nintendo does not specifically approve of. And Nintendo doesn’t approve of much it seems, whether its fan-remakes of games made 25 years previously, fan videos of fan-created Mario Bros. levels, or fan-made movies featuring Nintendo game characters. Nintendo is not on board when it comes to its customers’ desire to be creative and express their love for the games the company makes or the characters within them.

      That stance continues to present, with Nintendo shutting down all kinds of fan-made creations. Those creators typically walk away from their projects in defeat. But when Nintendo decided to send a DMCA complaint to the creators of No Mario’s Sky, those creators didn’t just walk away. The game itself came out of a coding competition.

    • Copyrights

      • US Copyright Office Charged With Industry Bias [Ed: In an Empire of Corporations, where Corporations fund politicians to do their bidding, almost every Federal office is a pawn of Corporations]

        “The Copyright Office is one of the starkest examples of a captured agency operating within the government today,” Meredith Rose, policy advocate at Public Knowledge said in the announcement of the report release. “With limited accountability a pattern of favoritism toward industry and rightsholder groups, it is unsurprising that they have staked out tenuous positions and advocate for expansive copyright monopolies. It is clear from its positions–both implicit and stated–that the Copyright Office often acts more as an advocate for profit-maximizing entertainment industries, rather than as an impartial organ of government.”

        The 50-page report from Public Knowledge is here.

      • Hyperlinks Can Infringe Copyright If Commercial, European High Court Says

        The CJEU press release on the decision is available here [pdf]. The decision itself is available here.

        “The posting of a hyperlink on a website to works protected by copyright and published without the author’s consent on another website does not constitute a ‘communication to the public’ when the person who posts that link does not seek financial gain and acts without knowledge that those works have been published illegally,” the CJEU release summarises. “In contrast, if those hyperlinks are provided for profit, knowledge of the illegality of the publication on the other website must be presumed.”

        The case involved a company called GS Media in 2011 linking to copyrighted Playboy photographs of a woman named Britt Dekker that had been posted to an Australian website without permission. After the Australian site took the photos down, GS Media linked to another site that posted them until that one also took them down. Then visitors to the GS Media site posted links to other sites where the photos could be found. GS Media was sued for copyright infringement by the editor of Playboy.

      • Terrible Ruling: EU Decides That Mere Links Can Be Direct Infringement [Ed: So merely throwing a link – maybe in error – in one’s Twitter or other social [control] media account can give you massive fine or even jail]

        Last year, we talked about an important copyright case in the EU regarding whether or not linking to infringing material was, in itself, infringing. The case involved a blogger in the Netherlands, Geen Stijl News (“GS Media”) linking to some pre-publication Playboy photos. There had been an earlier case, the Svensson case where the European Court of Justice got things right with regards to whether or not hyperlinks could be infringing, but there were some questions left open in that ruling. The court in the Svensson case found that linking to authorized content wasn’t infringing. But what about unauthorized content?

        And now we have the ruling and it’s not very good. Some are trying to spin it as a good ruling, because it basically says that if the link is not for profit, then it’s not infringing, but the worrisome part is that if the link is considered “for profit” then it can be direct infringement. Basically, the court tries to split the baby here. It notes concerns that many people had about how posting a mere link to content could be infringement, in that many times those posting the link will have no idea if the original content is authorized. But rather than actually deal with that specific issue, it just basically said “well, if it’s a for profit effort, then they can afford to figure out if the content is authorized.”

      • Hyperlinks and communication to the public: early thoughts on the GS Media decision

        As reported in this morning’s (super-)breaking news post, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has finally issued its decision in GS Media, C-160/15.

        The Court held that Article 3(1) of the InfoSoc Directive “must be interpreted as meaning that, in order to establish whether the fact of posting, on a website, hyperlinks to protected works, which are freely available on another website without the consent of the copyright holder, constitutes a ‘communication to the public’ within the meaning of that provision, it is to be determined whether those links are provided without the pursuit of financial gain by a person who did not know or could not reasonably have known the illegal nature of the publication of those works on that other website or whether, on the contrary, those links are provided for such a purpose, a situation in which that knowledge must be presumed.”

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