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11.08.17

Links 8/11/2017: Atom 1.22, Bodhi 3, Arch Linux Officially Ends 32-Bit Support

Posted in News Roundup at 5:54 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Tech Corner: Open Source breaking business-as-usual

    Back in 1983, Richard Stallman already begun his GNU project and two years later he started the Free Software Foundation. In 1989 he then wrote the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL). After Torvalds published version 0.99 using the GNU GPL, GNU components were integrated with Linux and it became a fully functional and free operating system. Torvalds later admitted, “Making Linux GPL’d was definitely the best thing I ever did.”

    Many of today’s most promising new enterprise technologies such as Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (Google’s Tensorflow), Containers (Docker Swarm and Kubernetes), Big Data (Apache Spark, Akka and Apache Kafka) are based on free, open-source technology. Open-source software licenses give developers and users freedoms they would not otherwise have. Its source code is freely available to anyone. Therefore, it can be modified and distributed without requiring attribution, payment or anything owed to the original creator.

    Commenting on open source’s wide acceptance within today’s computer industry, Dr. Ronald D. Eaglin Chair of Daytona State’s School of Engineering Technology, says, “It’s all open source now. I build all my classes on open source software.”

  • Uber Made Its Homegrown AI Language Open Source, but Not Entirely out of Altruism

    Uber’s artificial-intelligence lab is less than a year old, but researchers there have already built their own programming language for AI applications—and now they’re releasing it for anyone to use. Quite a generous move for a company known more for its hard-nosed business tactics than for handing out in-house innovations to potential competitors.

  • Kubernetes by the numbers: 10 compelling stats

    How quickly has Kubernetes’ popularity soared? By most accounts, very quickly. Earlier this year, Cloud Native Computing Foundation executive director Dan Kohn penned a blog post that dug into that claim. People regularly tout Kubernetes as one of the highest velocity projects ever in open source history: Does the data back it up?

    As Kohn found, there may not be a single definitive metric, but they all point in the same conclusion: “You can pick your preferred statistic, such as that Kubernetes is in the top 0.00006% of the projects on GitHub,” Kohn wrote. “I prefer to just think of it as one of the fastest moving projects in the history of open source.”

  • HyperLedger – The Linux Foundation’s Blockchain Framework for Business

    Blockchain development is a novelty in the tech world, but has been around long enough to see platforms such as Ethereum give birth to a myriad of decentralized applications. These dApps aim to solve some of the world’s problems, challenges, or to create new marketplaces.

    Hyperledger is a blockchain project started by the Linux Foundation in January of 2016 as an enterprise-level development framework. This open-source collaboration has attracted the support of many leaders across various industries that want to utilize blockchain technology to facilitate interconnectivity between businesses.

  • The Open-Source Model And Wall Street
  • Open Source Machine Learning: Open Source Dominates Preferred ML and AI Tools and Frameworks

    Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies are being developed and adopted at a rapid pace. This area has become a hot topic in 2017. Interestingly, many of the more prominent tools are Open Source. The technologies are being used with a wide variety of applications, like search, data mining, spam detection, character recognition, autonomous vehicles, online recommendations

    Many of those Open Source tools offer a Python interface to allow developers to jump in quickly. For example, there are core libraries like NumPy, SciPy and SciKit. Keras is a Deep Learning library and TensorFlow is Google’s Open Source Machine Learning tool.

  • Global Application Modernization Services Market 2017-2022 – Open-Source Technology Paving the Way for Untapped Possibilities
  • Service providers use NFV open source to innovate the network

    With NFV open source, service providers can push network innovation and reduce network costs. But service providers will need to adjust to a new open source culture.

  • Open Source Initiative Announces DigitalOcean Corporate Sponsorship

    The Open Source Initiative® (OSI), dedicated to increasing the awareness and adoption of open source software, is delighted to welcome DigitalOcean as a Premium Sponsor. DigitalOcean, a cloud services platform designed for developers, will provide both financial support and hosting for several OSI community-driven services.

    A Forbes’ Cloud 100 company, DigitalOcean’s active engagement and investment in open source software highlights how today’s most innovative and successful companies have recognized the value of, and opportunities within, open communities of collaboration. The company regularly sponsors open source related MeetUps and Hackathons—including their popular “Hacktoberfest”, develops tutorials on open source technologies and techniques, maintains and contributes to a number of open source projects, and of course offers hosting to open source projects and foundations.

  • Events

    • Highlights from the fifth annual SeaGL conference

      The fifth annual Seattle GNU/Linux Conference (better known as SeaGL), held Oct. 6–7 at Seattle Central College, was again a great event. Seattle even rolled out the welcome committee for us with penguins on the train and geek-oriented tagging posted around town.

    • R / Finance 2018 Call for Papers

      The tenth (!!) annual annual R/Finance conference will take in Chicago on the UIC campus on June 1 and 2, 2018. Please see the call for papers below (or at the website) and consider submitting a paper.

      We are once again very excited about our conference, thrilled about who we hope may agree to be our anniversary keynotes, and hope that many R / Finance users will not only join us in Chicago in June — and also submit an exciting proposal.

      So read on below, and see you in Chicago in June!

  • SaaS/Back End

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GNU Pioneer Stallman to Speak to CWDS Lunch

      Richard Stallman founded the free software movement 34 years ago and announced the GNU Project, the thrust of which wasn’t software’s cost but its ability to be shared, changed and shared again. One offshoot of the project was GNU/Linux, software created and inspired by the movement’s open-source principles.

      CWDS is hosting Stallman because it, too, is trying to foster innovation in state IT while freely sharing the products of its best efforts with the city, county and other state agencies it supports through tech.

    • GCC 8 & LLVM Clang 6.0 Compiler Performance On AMD EPYC – November 2017

      Given the continuously evolving state of open-source code compilers, especially for the newer AMD Zen “znver1″ architecture, here is the latest installment of our compiler benchmarks. Tested for this article from and AMD EPYC 7601 processor were GCC 7.2, GCC 8.0.0, LLVM Clang 5.0, and LLVM Clang 6.0 SVN.

    • Cannonlake Onboarding Posted For GCC Compiler

      An Intel developer is looking to merge the -march=cannonlake support for the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC).

  • Licensing/Legal

    • FSFE makes copyrights computer readable

      The Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is proud to release its next version of our REUSE practices designed to make computers understand software copyrights and licenses.

      The REUSE practices help software developers make simple additions to license headers which make it easier for a computer to determine what license applies to the various parts of a programs source code. By following the REUSE practices, software developers can ensure their intent to license software under a particular license is understood and more readily adhered to.

      Together with the updated practices, which mostly clarify and make explicit some points, the FSFE is also releasing a set of developer tools and examples which show the REUSE practices in action. Three example repositories, together with an example walkthrough of the process used to make the cURL project REUSE compliant, are complemented with a simple tool to validate whether a program is REUSE compliant.

    • Apple Will No Longer Be Developing CUPS Under The GPL

      One decade after Apple bought out CUPS as the de facto printing system for Unix-like operating systems, they are changing the code license.

      The CUPS Common UNIX Printing System up to now had been developed under the GPLv2 license while now Apple will be switching it to the Apache 2.0 software license.

    • Software Freedom Law Center and Conservancy

      There’s been quite a bit of interest recently about the petition by Software Freedom Law Center to cancel the Software Freedom Conservancy’s trademark. A number of people have asked my views on it, so I thought I’d write up a quick blog on my experience with SFLC and Conservancy both during my time as Debian Project Leader, and since.

      It’s clear to me that for some time, there’s been quite a bit of animosity between SFLC and Conservancy, which for me started to become apparent around the time of the large debate over ZFS on Linux. I talked about this in my DebConf 16 talk, which fortunately was recorded (ZFS bit from 8:05 to 17:30).

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

  • Programming/Development

    • Exploring AMD’s Ambitious ROCm Initiative

      The ROCm developers wanted a platform that supports a number of different programming languages and is flexible enough to interface with different GPU-based hardware environments (Figure 1). As you will learn later in this article, ROCm provides direct support for OpenCL, Python, and several common C++ variants. One of the most innovative features of the platform is the Heterogeneous-Compute Interface for Portability (HIP) tool, which offers a vendor-neutral dialect of C++ that is ready to compile for either the AMD or CUDA/NVIDIA GPU environment.

    • RQuantLib 0.4.4: Several smaller updates

Leftovers

  • Twitter officially doubles character count, says most 280 testers didn’t use it

    If you logged into Twitter on Tuesday to rant about the news of the day, from various elections across the United States to the launch of the Xbox One X, you may have noticed some more breathing room in your rants. That’s because the social networking service’s character limit has now officially doubled for all of its Roman-alphabet users.

    A weeks-long test began in late September, allowing select, random users to post 280 characters per tweet instead of the default 140-character limit. (Both classes of users could still save on characters by way of shortened URLs and attached images.) In extending that change to almost all users, Twitter Product Manager Aliza Rosen published a statement that claims, among other things, that the test didn’t result in an endless wave of fully packed 280-character posts.

  • Science

    • Software Archaeology

      Just over 21 years ago I took a summer job between university courses. Looking back at it now I find it surprising that I was doing contract work. These days I tend to think that I’m not really cut out for that kind of thing but, when you’re young, you tend to think you can do anything. Maybe it’s just a case of having enough confidence, even if that can get you into trouble sometimes.

      The software itself was called Zig Zag – Ancient Greeks and was written for the Acorn RISC OS platform that, in 1996, was still widely used in schools. Acorn had dominated the education market since the introduction of the BBC Micro in the early 1980s but the perception of the PC, particularly in its Windows incarnation, as an “industry standard” continuously undermined Acorn’s position with decision-makers in education. Although Acorn released the RiscPC in 1994 with better-than-ever PC compatibility, it wasn’t enough to halt the decline of the platform and, despite a boost from the launch of a StrongARM CPU upgrade in 1996, the original lifespan of the platform ended in 1998.

      The history of the platform isn’t really very relevant, except that Acorn’s relentless focus on the education market, while potentially lucrative for the company, made RISC OS software seem a bit uncool to aspiring students and graduates. Perhaps that might explain why I didn’t seem to face much competition when I applied for a summer job writing an educational game.

      [...]

      I’ve put the source code for the Sprite Viewer application up in a Mercurial repository. Maybe I’ll create a binary package for it at some point. Maybe someone else will find it useful, or perhaps it will bring back fond memories of 1990s educational computing.

  • Hardware

  • Security

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Sub-editor found dead in Kozhikode

      A sub-editor was found dead at a lodge at Velliparamba here on Sunday night. The deceased was identified as Nithin Das (26), sub editor with Media One news channel.

      Nithin, who hailed from Thoppumpadi in Ernakulam district, was living in a rented room near his office at Velliparamba. He was found hanging at around 8.30 pm on Sunday. The police suspect it to be a case of suicide.
      The incident came to light when his colleagues checked his room as Nithin did not turn up for evening shift and did not respond to the calls and messages of his friends.

    • The Dangerous Business of Journalism

      As information warfare becomes a hotter topic, journalists have become bigger targets for repression and even assassination, a troubling trend that is spreading across the globe, reports veteran war correspondent Don North.

  • Finance

    • ‘Japan is not against CPEC’

      Japan is not against the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and may also help in the project, said Japanese Ambassador Takashi Kurai on Tuesday at a public talk titled ‘Japan-Pakistan Relationship: 65 Years and Beyond’.

    • Björkcoin: what’s behind Björk’s cryptocurrency album project

      The weekend’s big splash in musical blockchains was the news that indie pop star Björk is selling her forthcoming album, Utopia, for bitcoins. And there’s something called Audiocoins. Let’s see what doing the obvious basic tyre-kicking reveals …

    • Trump and the NAFTA Effect

      President Trump has blamed NAFTA for eliminating manufacturing jobs for U.S. workers but it also caused economic dislocation in Mexico, driving some desperate Mexicans northward to the U.S…

    • IBM’s plan to regulate pot with blockchains isn’t as crazy as it sounds

      Canada is legalizing marijuana and leaving it up to provincial governments to regulate its sale and distribution. The government of British Columbia asked for comments on the best way to manage the province’s marijuana market. In a regulatory filing, IBM argued that the province should use a blockchain to manage its legal marijuana market.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Democrats’ chances of taking the House suddenly look a lot better

      The blue wave that crashed Virginia’s suburbs on Tuesday could also — if it extends into the 2018 midterm elections — carry Democrats into control of the House.

      Ralph Northam’s victory in the Virginia governor’s race highlighted a night of Democratic wins in mayoral and legislative races fueled by higher turnout than most non-presidential elections and much stronger performance by the party’s candidates in suburban areas.

    • GOP – Impeach Trump Or Die

      Otherwise, Ds will gain in a big way in 2018 and may well gain control of the whole government. The only thing Trump can do to stop this wave would be to restart war with North Korea. The GOP needs to impeach Trump ASAP, before that can happen. How about next Tuesday? That should give every member of the GOP ample time to reflect. Oh, and about Pence? Let him know he’s supposed to carry out the will of Congress, not impose despotic rule.

    • DOJ Finally Drops Case Against Protester Who Laughed During Jeff Sessions’ Confirmation Hearing

      A small bit of good news from our lol-worthy Justice Department: federal prosecutors have decided they’re no longer interested in jailing someone for laughing at the Attorney General. That isn’t the entirety of the story (or the dropped charges, for that matter), so here’s a little background.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Manager’s Amendment for SESTA Slightly Improves a Still-Terrible Bill

      SESTA amends Section 230 in three ways:

      1) It would enable sex trafficking victims to bring civil lawsuits against online services for publishing sex trafficking promotions from third parties.

      2) It would enable state attorneys’ general to bring enforcement actions against online services for publishing sex trafficking promotions from third parties.

      3) It would expand the scope of the federal sex trafficking crime, exposing online services to greater risk of prosecution for publishing sex trafficking promotions from third parties.

      Other SESTA provisions include a policy statement that courts should interpret Section 230 to enable vigorous enforcement of anti-sex trafficking laws and a retroactivity provision extending post-SESTA rules to pre-SESTA activity.

    • Why Does SESTA Allow State Attorneys General To File Civil Claims?

      So we’ve already talked a lot about the problems of the “knowledge” standard in the amended version of SESTA, in that it’s way too broad, and leaves smaller sites completely adrift in figuring out if they’re on the right side of the law. But there were other changes in the amended version of SESTA as well — some good, and some bad. Law professor Eric Goldman has an excellent post detailing the changes, but I want to focus on one really perplexing one.

    • Dialogue on censorship must continue: Theo Stojanov

      Theo Stojanov is a doctoral candidate in Film and Moving Image Studies at Concordia University, where his work focuses on the sociology of cultural production. His research involves a critical examination of the socio-technical aspects of the creative industries and their production practices, policies, and people. He worked closely with Paul Grant of New York University in setting up the debate on film censorship in Myanmar and rest of south-east Asia. Mizzima’s Subir Bhaumik caught up with Mr Stojanov on the side-lines of the Memory 2017 film festival.

    • Four things Trump will not tweet about when in China

      President Trump is due to visit China tomorrow as part of his Asia tour. On Oct 25, he congratulated President Xi on his “extraordinary elevation” after China’s 19th Party Congress consecrated Xi Jinping as the most powerful leader since Mao.

    • ‘He’ll tweet whatever he wants’: Trump tour hits China

      Donald Trump has thumbed his nose at China’s draconian censorship regime as he touched down in Beijing on the latest leg of a 12-day east Asian tour undertaken against a backdrop of rumbling tensions on the Korean peninsula.

    • Journalists can bypass censorship with social media and ‘soft’ journalism

      Vietnamese and Singaporean journalists do not enjoy the same freedoms as their Western colleagues, but that does not mean that they cannot practice critical journalism: By reporting on stories that the general public express concern about on social media as well as ‘soft’ human-interest stories, journalists can indirectly address problems in society and put pressure on the authorities, new research from the University of Copenhagen shows.

      Freedom of speech and press freedom are cornerstones of open societies in which journalists and citizens are allowed to scrutinise those in power. In the West, these freedoms are the norm, and this often prompts Western politicians and journalists to demand that journalists who are subjected to censorship be granted the same rights as their Western colleagues. And the sooner the better.

    • SLAPP Alert: Professor Sues Another For Defamation Over Competing Academic Papers

      One of the important elements of the First Amendment, and its protections of opinion, is that it opens up all kinds of debates — from the political to the scientific. Indeed, the very nature of scientific research in academia is one of constant debate between researchers with different viewpoints. This has gone on for centuries. And, yet, it appears that at least one scientist has apparently decided that the standard nature of scientific debate is now defamatory. He’s almost certainly wrong, but the details of this case are disturbing. Stanford professor Mark Jacobson apparently was less than happy to see criticism from another scientist, Christopher Clack. Rather than just respond with another paper, Jacobson has sued Clack and the National Academy of Sciences for defamation in the Superior Court in Washington DC (more on that in a moment).

      The complaint is worth reading as it lays out the path to this dispute in a pretty straightforward way. Jacobson and some other authors published an article in PNAS, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in late 2015. Early in 2016, Clack communicated with Jacobson via phone and email to better understand some of the assumptions in the original paper. Clack (and others) then published a “rebuttal” article (also in PNAS) to Jacobson’s original article. Jacobson, from the complaint, appears to be upset that Clack never requested “a time series of model output from the Jacobson Article” or any information other than what was discussed via phone and email in early 2016.

    • Facebook’s fake news experiment backfires

      It meant feeds from the BBC, the Economist, the New York Times and the Guardian all began with a comment mentioning the word fake.

    • The End of the Affair

      I did not realise how this has been weighing me down, until the threat has been lifted today. I have never claimed to be entirely without fault, and I would ask you to refrain from any comment here which detracts from the amicable spirit of the joint statement. It is a time for celebration not recrimination, and please confine any rudeness to remarks about me.

    • Keep Twitter Accountable Without Censorship

      In an effort to “take a more aggressive stance,” Twitter announced on Nov. 3 that it will enact new and revised rules later this month to address graphic content, unwanted sexual advances, violent organizations, spam and “hateful” symbols and imagery on the social network.

    • Katy Perry, Academic Publishers, and Self-censorship in China

      On Monday, CDT Chinese reposted a letter circulating on Weibo which purportedly shows singer Katy Perry’s pledge to behave harmoniously during a prospective Chinese tour. “Fruit Sister” has performed in China in the past, but occasionally stumbled on moral or political sensitivities there. The letter includes promises to “observe the laws and regulations in China, comply with the management of the regulators,” and not to “add or change any content without authorization,” “do or say anything religious or political,” or “participate in any activities that jeopardize China’s unity and integrity.”

    • Bitcoin and Weak Frequency Signals: Bypassing Network Censorship With Radio

      This past weekend at the Scaling Bitcoin 2017 conference at Stanford University, two individuals discussed a new method of providing the Bitcoin network with more censorship resistance by utilizing weak signal radio communications. Stanford University’s Elaine Ou, and the computer scientist, Nick Szabo, introduced a project they are testing which secures consensus proofs with weak signal radio propagation.

    • Twitter offers incoherent explanation for anti-LGBTQ censorship
    • Twitter Inadvertently Censors Gay, Bisexual Hashtags
  • Privacy/Surveillance

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Private Prison Giant CoreCivic’s Wants to Corner the Mass Incarceration ‘Market’ in the States

      The private prison company has a strategy for embedding itself more deeply into state criminal justice systems.

      CoreCivic, Inc., the private prison company, will release its quarterly earnings report tomorrow, Nov. 8, to investors, which will mark an extraordinary one-year turnaround for an industry that depends on keeping people trapped in the criminal justice system.

      Just over a year ago, the company — then named Corrections Corporation of America, or CCA — was in dire straits. The Justice Department had announced a plan to phase out its private prison contracts, and as its stocks cratered, CCA rebranded itself with the airily vague “CoreCivic” moniker. However, under President Trump, CCA/CoreCivic’s fortunes have reversed. Its stock has climbed in response to the Trump administration soliciting new private prison contracts and adopting policies that promise to throw many more people behind bars.

      But CCA/CoreCivic is not betting entirely on federal contracts from its friends in the Trump administration. Two announcements last week highlight the company’s strategy for embedding itself more deeply into state criminal justice systems.

    • Harvey Weinstein’s Army of Spies

      The film executive hired private investigators, including ex-Mossad agents, to track actresses and journalists.

    • Harvey Weinstein hired a team of ex-Mossad spies to discredit actresses and journalists
    • Doctor with no computer skills vows to battle medical board in court

      Dr. Anna Konopka, the 84-year-old New Hampshire physician who recently lost her medical license in part due to a lack of computer skills, has an uphill battle ahead of her.

      In two lengthy phone interviews with Ars on Tuesday, Konopka said if she is reinstated by the state’s medical board—at this point, a big if—she would be willing to learn how to use the Internet to comply with the state’s new law for an online opioid monitoring program.

    • After admitting to new crime, ex-Secret Service agent sentenced to 2 years

      Former United States Secret Service agent Shaun Bridges was sentenced to an additional two years of prison on Tuesday.

      US District Judge Richard Seeborg said that Bridges’ totality of crimes and continued dishonesty to the government was a “betrayal of trust” and was “among the worst of crimes.”

      In August 2017, Bridges pleaded guilty to new counts of money laundering and related forfeiture. In May 2015, Bridges was separately sentenced to 71 months in prison after he stole money from online dealers while investigating Silk Road, a now-defunct Tor-hidden underground website.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Sorry, Comcast: Voters say “yes” to city-run broadband in Colorado

      Fort Collins voters said “yes” to a ballot question that gives the city council permission “to establish a telecommunications utility to provide broadband services,” The Coloradoan wrote. “Unofficial, partial returns as of 12:42 a.m. showed the measure passing with 57.15 percent of the vote.”

      The vote doesn’t require the city to build a broadband network, but it gives the city council the permission it needs to move forward on the plan if it chooses to do so.

    • Telecom companies’ fight now spills over to the broadband space
    • Trai plans to remove 50% limit on telecom spectrum holdings

      Government rules bar any company from holding more than 25% spectrum allocated in a service area or circle, and above 50% in a spectrum band. Carriers in India use airwaves in the 800 MHz, 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, 2100 MHz, 2300 MHz and 2500 MHz bands.

      [...]

      Airtel had, however, asked that the upper limit of 25% of total spectrum held in a service area or circle, be relaxed to 33%. RCom has asked for removal of this limit while Vodafone has sought a relaxation. If the 25% limit is maintained, Vodafone-Idea will breach the cap in the four circles of Gujarat, Haryana, Maharashtra and Kerala, an expert said.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Beware the special requirements of software protection in Brazil

      Maintenance of secrecy is solely the responsibility of the applicant. Previously, such secrecy needed to be updated every 10 years. Currently, when the registration is made on a confidential basis, it remains valid for the total 50- year term, without the need for renewal.Against this backdrop, the BPTO issued on September 1, 2017, Normative Instruction Nº 074, which came into force on September 12, 2017. The Instruction establishes new procedures regarding the registration of software and use of the electronic form called e-RPC.

      Concerning the changes in the registration system, the following can be highlighted: a completely electronic process, implementation of a hash digital summary as a safer way to protect the software, electronic signature of documents and changes in the Official Taxes Schedule for software services.The cryptographic function hash is an algorithm normally used to guarantee the fully integrity of an electronic document. Therefore, a technical expert can prove there was no modification in the document, since it was turned from source code into hash. Previously, the applicant had to send the entire source code of the software; now, the BPTO requires only a hash digital summary of its most relevant and important parts in order to identify the computer program.

    • Next Step: Pushing for Global Increases and Uniformity in Trade Secret Protections [Ed: US "campaign to raise the levels of intellectual property protections" is a misleading protectionist's fantasy]
    • Trademarks

      • Moosehead Still At It: Sues Hop ‘N Moose Brewing For Trademark Infringement

        Despite all of the coverage we provide on alcohol-related trademark disputes, Moosehead Breweries has still managed to separate itself from the pack with its aggressive trademark enforcement behavior. You should recall that this is the brewery that sued a root beer company called Moose Whiz and a brewery making a beer called Müs Knuckle under the theory that because it somehow got a trademark on the term “moose” it therefore means that any beverage company using that word is infringing its trademark. That’s not correct on multiple fronts, including the question of whether any customers are actually or potentially being confused by the so-called infringing uses. Add to that the somewhat strange circumstance of Canada’s CIPO approving a heritage word like “moose” in the Canadian market.

    • Copyrights

      • Disney forced to backpedal after banning LA Times from Thor screening

        When the Los Angeles Times wrote a two-part exposé about the tax breaks Disneyland gets from the city of Anaheim, California, Disney retaliated by banning Times reporters from screenings of Disney movies like Thor: Ragnarok. But after an outcry by the nation’s film critics, Disney is backing down.

        “We’ve had productive discussions with the newly installed leadership at The Los Angeles Times regarding our specific concerns, and as a result, we’ve agreed to restore access to advance screenings for their film critics,” Disney said in a statement—conveniently not mentioning that its films were facing a widespread boycott from film critics.

      • Disney Bans LA Times Writers From Advance Screenings In Response To Negative Articles

        Once again, Disney has decided to sacrifice goodwill for brand perception. Not content to limit itself to sending C&Ds to kids’ birthday party performers, Disney’s latest act of self-savagery has resulted in backlash from several top journalistic entities.

        Back in September, the LA Times dug into Disney’s supremely cosy relationship with Anaheim’s government — one that has produced years of subsidies, incentives, and tax shelters for the entertainment giant. Disney wasn’t happy with the report, so it responded the way any rational company would: it issued a statement stating the articles were full of errors and claimed the LA Times “showed a complete disregard for basic journalistic standards.” (Despite these claims, Disney has yet to ask for corrections to the LA Times’ investigative articles.)

      • MPAA unhappy with Australia over proposed copyright changes

        It also frowned on the availability of blank media boxes. “In addition, blank media boxes, which permit the installation of third-party, post-purchase applications, are especially problematic for the authorities’ enforcement efforts. MPAA urges the (New Zealand) Government to enact legislation to deal with this increasingly threatening form of piracy,” the organisation advised.

      • MPAA Warns Australia Not to ‘Mess’ With Fair Use and Geo-Blocking

        The MPAA has submitted its 2018 list of foreign trade barriers to the U.S. Government. The document reveals that Hollywood is concerned that Australia is considering implementing fair use exceptions, allowing circumvention of geo-blocking, and expanding safe harbor provisions for online services. In addition, the MPAA notes that stiffer penalties are required to deter piracy.

Benoît Battistelli Brews New Scandals in Saint-Germain-en-Laye and in Haar

Posted in Europe, Patents at 2:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Throwing parties for self-serving political purposes again

Party

Summary: The media has begun speaking about Battistelli’s super-expensive (and wasteful) bash in Saint-Germain-en-Laye (news which we broke over a month ago) and anger is expressed by people who are invited to Haar to celebrate exile

THE EPO moves fast from one scandal to another. Sometimes even too fast. This is today’s fifth article about the EPO.

Earlier today someone left the message which can be seen in the following comment:

It seems that next year’s “inventors of the year” event will also take place in Saint-Germain-en-Laye in June just at the end of Mr Battistelli’s term of office. If true, it would be scandalous! But nobody in the Administrative Counci seems to be sensitive to this.

Apart from the fact that the EPO should remain neutral and refrain from rewarding any patent applicant/proprietor, just imagine the volume ot business (and money) involved in the organisation of such an event (hotels, transportation, catering, conference rooms etc.). This just in Mr Battistelli’s home village (!!!!!!). A gorgeous farewell party for him paving his way to a political career at the expenses of the users of the EP system.

I’ve responded regarding Battistelli’s “gift [that] he gave them at the EPO’s expense (estimated at about 3-5 million euros based on past years)”; it’s a great boost to his political career. They’d owe him plenty.

What would the delegates say? Would they accept this French cronyism again?

People are already noticing the truth in spite of the media blackout in Germany. Here is an article for which we posted an automated translation. We did not want to depend on any automated translations (only Battistelli, who can’t speak German, would trust such things if that suits his UPC agenda), but SUEPO now has a proper full English (and French) translation. It alludes to this SUEPO publication in German and is translated as follows: (this focuses a lot on nepotism and corruption like the above regarding Saint-Germain-en-Laye)

European Patent Office: Union seeks reckoning with the executive in 95 theses

01.11.2017

18:30 Stefan Krempl

Staff union SUEPO has had no hesitation in borrowing from Martin Luther when it came to a manifesto about the social unrest at the European Patent Office. The accusations against the management range from being deaf to the staff through to favouritism.

As a suitable tribute to Reformation Day, on Tuesday the international union at the European Patent Office SUEPO borrowed freely from Martin Luther in “nailing up” 95 theses at the Office’s headquarters in Munich. In the six-page paper, which is available at heise online, the staff representatives set out serious accusations against the management, and in particular against the President Benoît Battistelli still in office. According to the organization, he has been “deaf and blind to the concerns” of the workforce, and has persecuted their representatives by disciplinary action. Such a course of confrontation is “doomed to failure”.

At the core of the criticism is the assessment system largely imposed by Battistelli, which is said to be primarily aimed at productivity and “demands higher figures every year” . Such an approach creates false incentives and “leads to excessive pressure at work”, which in turn causes superficiality and errors, and is accordingly actually detrimental to greater efficiency. Patent which are issued with mistakes unfairly impede competition and are rich feeding grounds for trolls. This causes the European economy to suffer as a whole, and small and medium-sized companies in particular.

From servant to chief executive

The core task of the European Patent Office (EPO), in line with the European Patent Convention (EPC), is the “factual and formal examination” of applications, as the union emphasises. This must not be neglected simply in order to boost productivity and the income of the EPO and its contracting states. This is said to be aggravated by favouritism: The closest confidants of the President have rapidly risen from servants of the administration to chief executives. They are accused of having amassed “substantial salary increases” and professional liberties by tampering with the career system. Battistelli himself keeps his salary and the supplements and costs reimbursements paid to him a closely guarded secret.

Half of the directors in the “factual examination” sector, and “all of the managers in patent administration” have been relieved of their functions, the accusations continue. The President is even cutting back on public holidays, by cancelling a day off in 2017 to mark Reformation Day, as well as All Hallows and Corpus Christi Day in 2018. The fact that Battistelli is promoting a “package to denigrate his officers” under the label of “Social Democracy” is said to demonstrate indifference and a lack of respect towards the staff.

SUEPO keen to see Battistelli go – rapidly

The authors of the manifesto complain that the EPO does not see itself as bound either to national or European labour law or data protection directives, nor even to international agreements such as human rights conventions. In the eyes of the management, it enjoys almost absolute immunity from jurisdiction and the rule of law imposed by national authorities. That is why SUEPO is pressing for Battistelli to go before the official end of his term of office next June, and for wide-sweeping reforms to be introduced. The Frenchman personally has long regarded himself as being falsely discredited by a “Mafia-like” campaign on the part of the union and regularly rejects the accusations. (Stefan Krempl) / (axk)

Battistelli is already moving from one scandal to another. He is now trying to ‘grease up’ the delegates (yet again). A source told us that Battistelli is throwing a party for the Administrative Council (AC) in Haar. If someone could please leak to us the invitation to the chairs of the AC, we would certainly publish that.

Our understanding is that Yesterday the PR of the Boards of Appeal sent an invitation to the chairs and we can assume it was sent to all of them. On the 13th of December they plan to celebrate the inauguration of the Haar building by taking the AC out there at lunchtime. “Chairs are refusing to attend,” a source has told us.

Kluwer Patent Blog Down for Over a Day, Key Article Archived, UPC Deception Carries On

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 1:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Concern about loss of information regarding the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the latest misinformation as seen today in EPOPIC

EARLIER today we wrote about Kluwer Patent Blog being down, out of date etc. and could only guess what had happened.

“It started yesterday in the late afternoon,” a reader told us, so “the delay may indicate that this is something more serious.”

“I’ll be making cache copies in case they never recover,” I wrote back. “If they do recover, fine.”

It has been over a day now. We last checked 2 hours ago.

“The EPO too has played a role in UPC deception today.”“On 2 November,” told us another reader, “the Kluwer Patent Blog published an article entitled “German complaint threatens future Unitary Patent system”.

“The article can be accessed via Google’s webcache.”

A PDF copy salvaged from the Google webcache is saved here just in case. This PDF is of one article among many which seemed to have been lost. If the site got cracked, then this problem may recur. There are no easy fixes. There could also be data leaks associated with such an incident. When we last checked the site it said

Website Under Maintenance

Our Website is currently undergoing scheduled maintenance. Please check back soon.

It’s worth reminding ourselves that Kluwer Patent Blog also played a big role in UPC advocacy and routinely published for Bristows, whose blog is largely neglected and read by few people. Today they wrote about a small economy (barely any European Patents) and nothing final, just a minor step which helps distract from Germany and the UK.

The EPO too has played a role in UPC deception today. Here are tweets it posted some hours ago, creating a dependence on something which may never materialise.

  • “Now at #EPOPIC: The things patent searchers need to be aware of when it comes to the #unitarypatent #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/FFtBHyrD4t” [link]
  • “Did you know these basic facts about the #UnitaryPatent? #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/sZlTHbtEwY” [link]
  • “This scheme clarifies the #unitarypatent process compared to the traditional European #patent procedure. #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/NCGFWyFtUY” [link]
  • “Two days left to register for the EPO Day conference. Let’s discuss the latest developments on the #unitarypatent:” [link]
  • “A Register for the Unitary Patent to be included within the European Patent Register. #EPOPIC #unitarypatent” [link]
  • “Searching for #unitarypatents & UP Proprietor / UP Representative to be added to the advanced search interface of the European Patent Register” [link]
  • “The European Patent Register will have a new structure (UP chapter displayed) but the same look & feel” [link]
  • “A “C0” marker will show whether a #unitarypatent has been registered.” [link]

There is additionally this tweet about Questel, whose presence presents an issue for reasons we mentioned this morning.

Regarding the Google contract, readers and/or insiders may wish to see these tweets about “Ian Wetherbee of @Google [who] looks at the role of machine translation in the patent system, from searching patents to understanding their contents #EPOPIC pic.twitter.com/ZgSTo49iG7″

“Anyone who has ever seen automated translations of technical patents would likely laugh out loud. It just doesn’t work.”They provide a poorer service by replacing people with machines and pretend that computer translations can usher in the UPC for over a dozen countries that aren’t “official” or haven’t “official” languages.

The EPO says that “Ian Wetherbee explains how Neural Machine Translation was greatly enhanced by @Google’s Attention Mechanism #EPOPIC [] Fascinating insights from Ian Wetherbee at @Google into the process of Neural Machine Translation that’s now behind #PatentTranslate for all supported languages to/from EN #EPOPIC”

Anyone who has ever seen automated translations of technical patents would likely laugh out loud. It just doesn’t work. Trying to build a whole legal system on top of word salads would make Europe seem laughable to local (EU) businesses. Countries abroad would likely just rely on French or English. Who is this system really for? Not Europe!

Expect an Avalanche of Bad Patents (Including Software Patents) From the EPO to Become Invalid, Shaving Off a Lot of Imaginary Value

Posted in Europe, Patents at 6:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Avalanche training

Summary: The crisis of patent quality in Europe is causing uncertainty and invalidation in bulk — a problem which would likely exacerbate in years to come

ONE THING that the EPO and USPTO have in common is that both have a large number of granted patents deemed invalid. These should never have been granted. It was a massive error.

Clarke Modet & Co’s Yolanda Echeverría notes that many EPs (European Patents from the EPO) are now null and void. Yesterday Echeverría wrote: “The amendment of the Regulation on the European Patent Convention (Rules 27 and 28) enters into force, in which plants and animals exclusively obtained by essentially biological processes (such as crossing and selection) are excluded from patentability.”

We previously wrote about controversial EPO patents (EPs) on cancer treatments [1, 2] and yesterday a company published this press release:

HAMLET Pharma AB is pleased to announce that we have received a notification from the European Patent Office (EPO) regarding a patent application with claims to the use of HAMLET or HAMLET-like complexes to treat or prevent gastrointestinal cancer.

The patent application is in order for grant and thus fulfills the criteria to be accepted by the EPO examiners.

The patent application, EP13762204.9, includes claims where complexes including HAMLET are used for the treatment of colon cancer.

If the treatment of colon cancer becomes a monopoly, is this something for the public to rejoice? We can’t help but wonder if these patents too will one day be rendered invalid.

We have just written about EPOPIC, but we did not take note of these tweets [1, 2, 3] in which the EPO is dropping buzzwords for software patents. “What do you think,” one says. “How is the patent searcher profession changing as a result of #industry40 & #artificialintelligence? Tell us!”

These are just surrogate names if not synonyms for some patents on software (CII), for reasons we covered here before.

As it turns out, some legal firms in the UK already openly state that it’s easier to get software patents from the EPO than it is from the USPTO.

Yesterday, Alastair Lowe from Haseltine Lake LLP wrote that “for computer-related inventions [CII], it might be wise to consider protection in the UK via the EPO rather than via the UKIPO.”

Here’s the whole relevant part:

In view of this, for computer-related inventions, it might be wise to consider protection in the UK via the EPO rather than via the UKIPO.

So can we expect to see a softening in policy by the UKIPO?

Looking further back, from 2010 to 2013, at least 88% of UKIPO hearings related to excluded matter were unsuccessful. The rate in 2014 was 73%, though there were a lower than usual number of applications in that year. Overall, though, the success rate has been very low for a number of years.

Looking at 2017 in more detail, even though two recent cases have been found in favour of the applicant, this is still in the context of 27 hearings related to excluded subject-matter being refused in 2017 so far – a rejection rate of over 93%. Therefore, whilst two successful cases this year is encouraging, being twice the number of successes from the previous two years, it is unlikely that this marks a change in the likely outcome for such cases. Therefore, the EPO remains the most promising route for obtaining protection for computer-related inventions.

The EPO is building up a bubble of patents which, according to European law, are not allowed. How long before these patents too are bust (bubble implodes). As somebody told me yesterday: “I’m suddenly brought to wonder if bigcorps see software patents as a form of private fiat currency — difficult to forge because of all the work required to create them, but legally recognized as a form of property (regardless of any intrinsic value). This would have implications.”

Considering the fact that software patents are banned in Europe we expect some major avalanche some time in the coming years. It has already happened in the US (and this avalanche is rapidly accelerating since 2014).

Jacques Michel’s EUROPATIS and Questel at EPOPIC Event, Which EPO Uses for Lobbying Purposes

Posted in Europe, Patents at 5:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Europatis

Summary: EPOPIC, where Raimund Lutz has just gone, has some familiar faces in it

“Meet Questel at the Patent Information Conference 2017 in Sofia, Bulgaria,” Questel said yesterday and the EPO retweeted this. Remember Questel's connections to Jacques Michel, a former French Vice-President at the EPO.

“Has the EPO become just a secret wallet for few French people?”The EPO then retweeted “Laurent MICHEL” (named in the above document)‏ as saying “EUROPATIS presentation at 13.35 by Laurent MICHEL. Visit us on booth 36…”

EUROPATIS, which we wrote a lot about two years ago [1, 2, 3], is also connected to Jacques Michel (family business).

How could the EPO not foresee scrutiny of this? Has the EPO become just a secret wallet for few French people? There’s plenty to be found there which raises serious questions.

“There’s plenty to be found there which raises serious questions.”Based on this tweet, the architect of Battistelli’s abuses (some blame him for facilitating these) was there also. Raimund Lutz is mentioned as follows: “Lachezar Borisov, Deputy Minister for the Economy & Raimund Lutz, EPO VP Legal & International Affairs welcome #EPOPIC attendees in Sofia”

Here’s more: “Raimund Lutz, Vice-President, Legal and International Affairs, EPO : “We are the world’s number one provider of legal status data”…”

But cannot obey the law.

“Let’s see how he votes in the next meeting of the Administrative Council (just before Christmas).”Here’s yet more: “EPOPIC has become such an important event because patent information plays a central role in innovation, said Raimund Lutz VP EPO”

What was he even doing there? Here’s a clue; it may be an opportunity for the EPO to lobby some delegates for votes. To quote: “Petko Nikolov, President of the Bulgarian Patent Office: “It’s an honour to help organize & host the 27th edition of the #EPOPIC”

So he was there also. Let’s see how he votes in the next meeting of the Administrative Council (just before Christmas).

Kluwer Patent Blog is Down/Sabotaged, But UPC and EPO Spin Carries on in Other Sites

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 4:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Kluwer blog issues

Summary: An outline of some of the very latest deception surrounding the EPO and Team Battistelli’s failed UPC coup

“Kluwer blog problems,” a reader reported to us, were encountered this morning. We were able to reproduce (screenshots above). “I don’t know if you have noticed,” this reader said, but “Kluwer blog seems to be in trouble. It has been set back to February 2017 at the moment (when entering via http://kluwerpatentblog.com/), http://patentblog.kluweriplaw.com does not work at all and leads to an error message (“Error establishing a database connection”).”

“Looks like they got cracked/disk corrupted/DB corrupted. Wonder how recent a backup they have,” I responded. If accessed at the moment it says “Down for maintenance.”

As longtime readers of ours know, we have been very critical of Kluwer because of its constant UPC propaganda (culminating last year with truly misleading headlines). As Juve put it this week (Christina Schulze’s article), UPC is in serious trouble this year. Here is a purely automated translation of the introduction (perhaps SUEPO will publish a translation of the whole some time soon):

UPC complaint: Karlsruhe expands soundings, proceedings are delayed

A decision on the constitutional complaint against the Unified Patent Court (UPC) is delayed again. The reason is that in October the Federal Constitutional Court asked three other organizations to comment. This extends the deadline for the 22 previously requested by the Karlsruhe judges for comments organizations from late October to late in the year.

We repeatedly wrote about Bristows uttering their lies in Kluwer Patent Blog (now mostly published anonymously) and deleting comments they don’t like about the UPC. They got caught. Yesterday Team UPC (Bristows) continued to conveniently ignore the simple fact that UPC is NOT compatible with Brexit and issued yet another one of those blog posts, with talking points they have been attempting to interject into British media. A member of staff of theirs has additionally just published this SEP promotion courtesy of Christopher Weber (Kather Augenstein), another UPC booster. Who are they kidding? We wrote about the subject of SEP many times before, well before we talked about EPO scandals. It’s not exactly surprising that the same people who lobby for the UPC also promote patent aggression and trolls. If we are harsh on these people, it’s because they deserve it. They represent a threat to Europe.

The Unitary Patent has essentially died (even some patent ‘industry’ insiders openly state so), but the EPO, as usual, feels free to lie about it if/as long as it helps Team Battistelli (Mr. Battistelli and his cronies).

Yesterday it wrote: “The Register for the #unitarypatent protection will have the same structure & functionality of the European Patent Register.”

The word “will” insinuates inevitability. There’s no such thing.

It is worth noting that it certainly looks like the Battistelli-friendly PR ‘squad’ is now trawling comments in The Register, trying to tell the author incorrect things about Battistelli, who is sinking into serious scandals that can entail accountability.

As for IP Kat? It’s as dead as can be as far as EPO criticism is concerned. People no longer know if their comments will be accepted, so fewer people bother (and perhaps some don’t get their comments published at all). Names of people can no longer be mentioned, but the following new comment got through. It said: “The current top 3 most visited articles all concern the EPO” (the very topic that IP Kat suppresses discussions about)

Here is the full comment:

Perhaps it is also worth considering who this blog is actually directed at rather than who reads it? The current top 3 most visited articles all concern the EPO and will attract many readers among EPO staff – particularly given the oppressive regime there which acts against free discussion. The Ipkat is a public and anonymous forum, in fact a proxy meeting place for some. But of course the Ipkat is more than just an EPO discussion board. So, for that reason I’m sure a little balance is required, particularly in terms of monitoring content.

Good luck Merpel. You can please some of the people….

It certainly seems like using bribes, threats and maybe even AstroTurfing the EPO now engages in information warfare; that extends to UPC, too.

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