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11.16.19

USPTO Rewards Microsoft for Corruption at ISO by Teaching People Proprietary OOXML and Promoting Its Use

Posted in America, Microsoft, Open XML, OpenDocument, Patents at 10:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

USPTO locked in

USPTO locked in

Summary: The world’s most important patent office promotes Microsoft lock-in, revealing not only corporate bias but also highlighting ways in which Microsoft crimes continue to pay off

THE U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) seems to be working for famous criminals like Bill Gates et al while ‘dissing’ actual judges (e.g. looking for tricks to overcome 35 U.S.C. § 101 caselaw). It’s starting to remind us of what happens in Europe, where Microsoft bribed a lot of people to rig ISO in Switzerland.

“So the USPTO isn’t just looking to penalise people who aren’t Microsoft customers; now it’s actively advertising OOXML instead of something FOSS-friendly such as OpenDocument Format (ODF) or even PDF.”As we noted here before, the USPTO now considers penalising people for not using Microsoft products/formats. It’s almost as if the Office works for Microsoft to reward it for corruption and it’s no laughing matter. Dennis Crouch has quoted the USPTO: “Join us for a seminar on filing DOCX, which is structured text. The DOCX Information Sessions will start Wednesday, November 13 from 2-3 p.m. ET. We will discuss DOCX as an efficient way to file a patent application electronically. You’ll learn what the DOCX format is, how you can use it to file nonprovisional utility applications, and the benefits it provides to you and your patent applications.”

Donald Zuhn has also just mentioned that: “In a Patent Alert e-mail distributed today, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office announced that it will be offering several seminars on how to use DOCX for EFS-Web filings and on PAIR. The DOCX Information Sessions will focus on the advantages of filing patent applications using structured text (DOCX).”

So the USPTO isn’t just looking to penalise people who aren’t Microsoft customers; now it’s actively advertising OOXML instead of something FOSS-friendly such as OpenDocument Format (ODF) or even PDF. This is an ongoing problem which we will likely revisit if (or when) the USPTO makes these penalties official.

No, Startpage is Not Dutch Anymore

Posted in Deception, Search at 9:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

They’re not honest, either

Double Dutch
Reference: Double Dutch

Summary: Startpage is still clinging onto perceptions rather than truths; it means that Startpage isn’t just betraying privacy but it’s also dishonest and untrustworthy

IT IS no secret that Startpage is an American surveillance company now. The only question is, what proportion of the company does the US own? Some believe that all of it. Startpage has not said anything to dispute this, but over at Twitter the other day it wrote more of that misleading nonsense (lots of that lately).

Tweeted by Startpage: “Canals, Van Gogh, bicycles, tulips 🌷 🌷 🌷… Startpage! Did you know that http://Startpage.com’s HQ is in the Netherlands, meaning that all of our worldwide users are protected by stringent Dutch 🇳🇱 and European Union 🇪🇺 privacy laws.”

“Interesting to see Startpage sending out Twitter images and claims to paint itself as thoroughly Dutch,” one reader told us. “Is Startpage still Dutch if a U.S. Holding company owns all or part of it? How much could the U.S. holding company own before it loses its “Dutchness”?”

We’ve decided to set up a Wiki page to document all these recent revelations. They show just to what degree search engines that promise us “privacy” actually harm it.

Understanding Thierry Breton: Chirac’s Entrepreneurial “Joker”

Posted in Europe at 12:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Overview

Understanding Thierry Breton

Further parts pending review and research


Thierry Breton as Entrepreneurial Joker
Breton fêted as “Chirac’s joker” following his appointment as Minister for the Economy.

Summary: Minister in charge of the public treasury was not a career politician but an “entrepreneur” with a proven track-record as a financial wizard and “cost-killer”

A new chapter in Thierry Breton’s high-flying career opened in February 2005 when he was persuaded by Jacques Chirac to head the Ministry of the Economy and Finance after the serving Minister Hervé Gaymard was forced to resign.

Gaymard’s resignation followed revelations by the satirical and investigative newspaper “Le Canard enchaîné” on 16 February 2005 that the government was funding an exclusive apartment for the Gaymard family (his wife and his 8 children) located in a exclusive neighbourhood in Paris near the Champs-Élysées.

The apartment reportedly had an area of 600 m² and cost the state a monthly rental of € 14,000. On top of this, the state was also funding € 3,300 a month for maintenance and three parking spaces, € 42,000 to renovate the apartment and the parking area, and € 16,000 in real estate fees.

“Gaymard was particularly exposed because he had proclaimed that the French should become “detoxified” of public spending. One of the main planks of his programme was the reduction of public expenditure.”Although Gaymard’s use of state funds was not illegal, the exposure of the lavish perks which he enjoyed at the expense of the tax-payers and his attempts to conceal the facts in interviews caused serious political fall-out for Chirac’s government at a time when it was preaching austerity to the French public and calling for the acceptance of ever-increasing economic sacrifices in the face of an economic crisis symbolised by an unemployment rate which reached 10% in January 2005, the highest level in over five years.

Gaymard was particularly exposed because he had proclaimed that the French should become “detoxified” of public spending. One of the main planks of his programme was the reduction of public expenditure. In addition to this, his responsibilities included the regulation of the housing market which meant that he should have been aware of the difficulties facing families seeking affordable accommodation.

Herve Gaymard
Hervé Gaymard departs as Thierry Breton moves in to take his position.

In response to the political crisis triggered by the revelations about Gaymard’s extravagance, President Jacques Chirac persuaded Breton to take his place on the team of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.

Raffarin himself resigned shortly afterwards on 30 May 2005 after the rejection of the proposed European Constitution by the French electorate in a referendum.

Raffarin’s successor Dominique de Villepin retained Breton as Minister for the Economy.

Dominique de Villepin
Breton in discussion with Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin.

Breton’s arrival at the head of Bercy (as the Ministry of Economy and Finance is colloquially known in France), was hailed as an exciting new departure because the new Minister in charge of the public treasury was not a career politician but an “entrepreneur” with a proven track-record as a financial wizard and “cost-killer”.

“In response to the political crisis triggered by the revelations about Gaymard’s extravagance, President Jacques Chirac persuaded Breton to take his place on the team of Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin.”He was fêted in the business press as “Chirac’s joker”, a veteran champion of the business world who had reportedly abandoned a lucrative career as CEO of France Télécom in order to put his skills to use in the political arena for the public good.

In the next part we will take a look at Breton’s ministerial track record at Bercy.

Links 16/11/2019: New Debian Release, Wine staging 4.20

Posted in News Roundup at 12:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Kernel Space

      • AMD OverDrive Overclocking To Finally Work For Radeon Navi GPUs With Linux 5.5 Kernel

        While most Linux gamers don’t appear to be into GPU overclocking, one of the limitations of the Radeon RX 5000 “Navi” series support with the AMD open-source driver to date has been no overclocking support. With the upcoming Linux 5.5 kernel that is set to change.

        With the Linux 5.5 kernel there is slated to be the “OverDrive” overclocking support in place for Navi graphics processors with the AMDGPU kernel driver.

      • EXT4 On Linux 5.5 To Support Encryption On Smaller Block Sizes

        For the past four years going back to Linux 5.5 has been EXT4 native file-system encryption making use of the kernel’s FSCRYPT framework that is shared between several file-systems. That support has continued to improve with time and with Linux 5.5 another limitation will be dropped.

        One of the lingering limitations of the EXT4 encryption code is that it hasn’t worked where the file-system block size is different from the system’s page size. But beginning with Linux 5.5, a different block size compared to the kernel’s page size will be supported while still allowing encryption to be enabled. Namely this will help those preferring non-default block sizes for better efficiency on different storage devices or other reasons.

      • Lenovo X1 Extreme 2nd Generation To Have Better Touchpad Input On Linux 5.4

        The Synaptics RMI(4) mode is the modern protocol used by the hardware for touch input handling and should yield a better input experience for users with less quirks.

        With the enabling of RMI mode for this laptop just requiring its LEN0402 ID to be added to a list, it was safe for the current Linux 5.4 cycle (and for back-porting to stable series) rather than needing to wait for Linux 5.5.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Don’t blaze it too hard for the release of Wine 4.20

        Wine, that wonderful software that enables you to run Windows-only software and games on Linux has a new release out with Wine 4.20. Nice.

      • Wine-Staging 4.20 Adds Undocumented D3D9 Internal Function For The Sims 2

        Wine 4.20 came out last night while out today is Wine-Staging 4.20 as this experimental blend of Wine with more than eight-hundred extra patches on top.

        Wine-Staging 4.20 comes in slightly smaller than its predecessor due to upstreaming a number of patches around Winebus, Wineboot, DSDMO, Wine.inf, and other bits, but Wine-Staging is still carrying a weight of more than 830 patches compared to upstream.

        Wine-Staging 4.20 has updated some of its NTDLL patches and the Winebuild Fake DLLs work while adding just one new patch.

      • Wine staging 4.20 release
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        Summary since last release
        * Rebased to current wine 4.20 (832 patches are applied to wine vanilla)
        
        Upstreamed (Either directly from staging or fixed with a similar patch).
        * dsdmo: Added dll
        * winebus.inf: Add new INF file and copy it to the INF  directory.
        * winebus.sys: Implement AddDevice().
        * wineboot: Create a root-enumerated device object for winebus.
        * winebus.sys: Initialize and teardown the HID backends while the bus 
        FDO is still extant.
        * ntoskrnl.exe: IoInvalidateDeviceRelations() receives the parent PDO.
        * wine.inf: Remove registration for the winebus service.
        * ole32: Implement returning a name in IEnumSTATPROPSTG.
        
        Added:
        * [46735] The Sims 2 demo needs Direct3DShaderValidatorCreate9() 
        implementation
        
        Updated:
        * winebuild-Fake_Dlls
        * ntdll-NtContinue
        * ntdll-MemoryWorkingSetExInformation
        
        Where can you help
        * Run Steam/Battle.net/GOG/UPlay/Epic
        * Test your favorite game.
        * Test your favorite applications.
        * Improve staging patches and get them accepted upstream.
        
        As always, if you find a bug, please report it via
        
        https://bugs.winehq.org
        
        Best Regards
          Alistair.
        
    • Games

      • Rick And Morty Virtual Rick-ality | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Steam Play

        Rick And Morty Virtual Rick-ality running through Steam play.

      • Will Google’s Stadia Game Streaming Platform Be A Dud?

        On November 19, Google is expected to finally launch the company’s long awaited game streaming platform, Google Stadia. Stadia is being heralded as the vanguard of a new push to eliminate your local game console, and shift all of the computing and processing power to the cloud. The shift to game streaming is likely inevitable, the only problem is that Stadia may be a little ahead of its time. And, like so many Google projects (like Google Fiber), game developers are apparently worried that Google may waffle on its commitment to the project…

      • Google Stadia’s Upcoming Launch Looking Increasingly Incomplete

        Google Stadia is set to debut on November 19. That launch already had several caveats, however, including the fact that not everyone who pre-ordered the Founder’s Edition bundle will receive their hardware in time for the platform’s debut. Now the company has said that many of Stadia’s multiplayer-centric features won’t be ready in time for the game streaming platform’s launch either.

        The additional information about Stadia’s launch arrived during an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session with Stadia product director Andrey Doronichev and Beri Lee, who “look[s] after the Publisher experience on Stadia,” on Reddit. Doronichev and Lee revealed that many of Stadia’s features aren’t ready in time for launch and said that several won’t make their debut until some time in 2020.

      • Stadia looks to be very limited at launch and not just the amount of games

        The official launch of Stadia is only days away, so Google recently hosted a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) and we have some more details to share about it.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KPublicTransport Backend Selection

          At Akademy earlier this year I presented the current state of KPublicTransport, and mentioned a remaining privacy-relevant issue in there for giving its users full control about which backend service to query. This has now been addressed, with a way to list and chose backends globally or per request.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Molly de Blanc: GNOME Patent Troll Defense Fund reaches nearly 4,000 donors!

          A lot has happened since our announcement that Rothschild Imaging Ltd was alleging that GNOME is violating one of their patents. We wanted to provide you with a brief update of what has been happening over the past few weeks.

          Legal cases can be expensive, and the cost of a patent case can easily reach over a million dollars. As a small non-profit, we decided to reach out to our community and ask for financial support towards our efforts to keep patent trolls out of open source. More than 3,800 of you have stepped up and contributed to the GNOME Patent Troll Legal Defense Fund. We’d like to sincerely thank everyone who has donated. If you need any additional documentation for an employer match, please contact us.

    • Distributions

      • Top 15 Best Security-Centric Linux Distributions of 2019

        Being anonymous on the Internet is not particularly the same as surging the web safely, however, they both involve keeping oneself and one’s data private and away from the prying eyes of entities that may otherwise take advantage of system vulnerabilities in order to harm targeted parties.

        There is also the risk of surveillance from the NSA and several other top-level organizations and this is why it is good that developers have taken it upon themselves to build privacy-dedicated distros that host an aggregate of tools that enable users to achieve both online autonomy and privacy.

        In as much as these privacy-centric Linux distros are targetted at a niche in the Linux community, many of them are robust enough to be used for general-purpose computing and many more can be tweaked to support requirements for virtually any specific user base.

        A common factor across almost all privacy-centric Linux distros is their relationship with Tor given that many of them come with Tor’s solid anonymity network service built-in and this, in turn, gives users an environment for them to live in safely without any data logs whatsoever, unlike most VPN providers that will still log your real IP address while still being able to see whatever data you may be transmitting at the point of exit of VPN servers.

      • Debian Family

        • Updated Debian 10: 10.2 released

          The Debian project is pleased to announce the second update of its stable distribution Debian 10 (codename buster). This point release mainly adds corrections for security issues, along with a few adjustments for serious problems. Security advisories have already been published separately and are referenced where available.

          Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 10 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old buster media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror.

          Those who frequently install updates from security.debian.org won’t have to update many packages, and most such updates are included in the point release.

          New installation images will be available soon at the regular locations.

        • Debian 10.2 Released With The Latest Security Fixes

          Debian 10.2 is out this morning as the latest point release to the “Buster” series.

          As is usually the case with Debian point releases, Debian 10.2 has been christened to bundle up all of the latest security fixes affecting the massive Debian package set.

        • Debian GNU/Linux 10.2 “Buster” Released with More Than 100 Bug & Security Fixes

          The Debian Project announced today the availability of the second point release to its latest Debian GNU/Linux 10 “Buster” operating system series, Debian 10.2.
          Coming a little over two months after the first point release, Debian GNU/Linux 10.2 “Buster” is here as a new installation medium for those who want to deploy the operating system on new computers or reinstall and don’t want to download hundreds of updates from the repositories after installation.

          Debian GNU/Linux 10.2 “Buster” contains a total of 115 changes, consisting of 66 miscellaneous bug fixes and 49 security updates for various core packages and applications included in the main archives. These have already been released to those who have the operating system installed and up to date.

          “Please note that the point release does not constitute a new version of Debian 10 but only updates some of the packages included. There is no need to throw away old buster media. After installation, packages can be upgraded to the current versions using an up-to-date Debian mirror,” said the Debian Project.

        • Debian Linux 10.2 released and here is how to upgrade it

          he Debian GNU/Linux project has released an updated version of its stable Linux distribution Debian 10 (“buster”). You must upgrade to get corrections for security problem as this version made a few adjustments for the severe issue found in Debian version 10.1. Debian is a Unix-like (Linux distro) operating system and a distribution of Free Software. It is mainly maintained and updated through the work of many users who volunteer their time and effort. The Debian Project was first announced in 1993 by Ian Murdock.

        • Debian Project Drafts General Resolution on Init-System Diversity

          Debian “is heading toward a new general resolution to decide at what level init systems other than systemd should be supported,” reports LWN.net.

          “I’m absolutely convinced we’ve reached a point where in order to respect the people trying to get work done, we need to figure out where we are as a project,” writes Debian project leader Sam Hartman. “We can either decide that this is work we want to facilitate, or work that we as a project decide is not important.”

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 4 critical growth opportunities for open source

        I recently served on a panel about growth opportunities in open source at the Open Source India conference in Bengaluru. As you might expect, my fellow panelists and I approached the topic from widely varying perspectives, and I came away with the feeling that we may have confused many in the audience rather than enlightening them. With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to consolidate the panel’s ideas about open source growth opportunities, drawing upon many of the points put forth in the session as well as my own thoughts.

      • Web Browsers

        • Like a BAT outta hell, Brave browser hits 1.0 with crypto-coin rewards for your fave websites

          The privacy-focused Brave web browser has reached version 1.0, available now for Windows, macOS, Linux, iOS and Android.

          Brave, an open-source browser based on the Google Chromium project, is notable for two things. First, it blocks ads, trackers and cross-site cookies by default. This feature is called Shields. An icon in the toolbar tells you how many items are blocked, with numbers in the 30s and 40s common.

          If the site is either well-behaved and you want to allow ads to be displayed, or so badly behaved that it does not work with Shields on (and you are desperate to see the content), you can disable Shields for a site by clicking the icon.

          The second feature is more radical, and aims to provide an alternative way of funding web publishers via the BAT (Basic Attention Token) cryptocurrency. Users can opt-in to Brave Rewards, which means they see ads in the browser (by default 2 per hour), published by Brave rather than by the sites you visit, for which they earn BATs. You can spend BATs by donating to websites that you like (currently around 300,000 are registered), via an auto-contribute feature, or use them as you wish. BAT is built on the Ethereum platform, and a token currently trades for around $0.25.

      • Linux Foundation

        • The ONNX format becomes the newest Linux Foundation project

          The Linux Foundation today announced that ONNX, the open format that makes machine learning models more portable, is now a graduate-level project inside of the organization’s AI Foundation. ONNX was originally developed and open-sourced by Microsoft and Facebook in 2017 and has since become somewhat of a standard, with companies ranging from AWS to AMD, ARM, Baudi, HPE, IBM, Nvidia and Qualcomm supporting it. In total, more than 30 companies now contribute to the ONNX code base.

      • Programming/Development

        • The 30 Best Python Libraries and Packages for Beginners

          Python Libraries and Packages are a set of useful modules and functions that minimize the use of code in our day to day life. There are over 137,000 python libraries and 198,826 python packages ready to ease developers’ regular programming experience. These libraries and packages are intended for a variety of modern-day solutions.

          [...]

          OpenCV, a.k.a Open Source Computer Vision is a python package for image processing. It monitors overall functions that are focused on instant computer vision. Although OpenCV has no proper documentation, according to many developers, it is one of the hardest libraries to learn. However, it does provide many inbuilt functions through which you learn Computer vision easily.

        • How to Extract Data from PDF to Excel

          To be honest, if you’ve only got a handful of PDF documents to extract data from, manual copy & paste is a fast way. Just open every single document, select the text you want to extract, copy & paste to the Excel file.

          Sometimes when you need to copy a table, you may need to paste it to Word document first and then copy and paste from Word to Excel to have a structured table.

          Obviously, this method is tedious when you have tons of files. It would be much better to let dedicated tools to automate the whole job.

  • Leftovers

    • Love and Death in the Age of Revolution

      It’s unlikely that many TV viewers will remember that veteran Welsh actor, Vincent Regan, played Colonel Edward (“Ned”) Despard in the show Poldark, which is based on the novels of Winston Graham, and that traces the life and times of a British soldier during the time of the American Revolution. Ned Despard is a minor character in the TV series that ran on the BBC for five seasons, and, while it won some applause, a reviewer in the Guardian noted that in the final episode, “There were times when as a viewer you just didn’t know whether you were coming or going.” Historian Peter Linebaugh, a contributor to CounterPunch, has made Despard into a kind of major minor figure in his tome Red Round Globe Hot Burning (University of California Press; $34.95). The book is subtitled “A Tale at the Crossroads of Commons & Closure, of Love & Terror, of Race & Class, and of Kate & Ned Despard.”

    • The Joshua Tree is Us

      For hundreds of years, the Joshua tree has been a source of inspiration for not only Americans but people all around the world. Its branches reaching to the sky reminded early settlers of the biblical story of Joshua raising his arms in prayer. My prayer, today, is that it’s not too late to save this American treasure so that future generations may likewise be inspired by its majestic beauty.

    • Soap Operas as Teaching Tools

      A friend of mine, a physician who works the longest hours of anybody I know, makes only one exception from her demanding schedule in New York. Once a week, she returns home early to watch a new episode of her favorite Brazilian soap opera.

      [...]

      By identifying themselves with the protagonists’ dreams and problems the viewer establishes an immediate connection with them. “I think people like stories that continue so they can relate to these people. They become like a family, and the viewer becomes emotionally involved. Viewers respond in two ways: One, that the stories are similar to what happened to them in real life, or two, thank goodness that isn’t me,” said H. Wesley Kenney when he was a producer of the TV series General Hospital.

      In Colorado, state officials have developed a telenovela called “Crossroads: Without Health, There Is Nothing,” specifically aimed at conveying health messages to the population. One of the producers’ aims was to increase the number of health-insured kids in the state since almost half of the 150,000 uninsured children (many of them Spanish-speaking) were eligible either for Medicaid or the Child Health Plan Plus program. Following the airing of the telenovelas, there was a substantial increase in the number of children applying for insurance. That same program was used by the Baltimore Child Health Plan to educate Spanish speakers on how to navigate the health care system.

      “We’re trying to get people to get related with this character and then feel, it’s such a shame that we lost her just because she didn’t know in time what to do and how to take care of herself, because she could have saved her life” said Julieta Ortiz, who plays one of the main characters in that telenovela.

    • Noel Ignatiev and the Great Divide

      One of the finer scholars of his generation, a mighty class warrior, and an unapologetic emblem of his ideological tendency has joined the pantheon of great revolutionaries. Noel Ignatiev, whose classic monograph How the Irish Became White and an anthology co-edited with John Garvey, Race Traitor, belong on every shelf in Trumpland, passed away on November 9, 2019.

    • Science

      • Correlation Found Between Left-Handedness and Genetic Markers Associated with Neurological Disease

        Left-handedness is a uniquely human trait, with 90% human populations globally being right-handed since the Paleolithic (extending from 3.3 million years ago to the end of the Pleistocene). A feature of motor control, the prevailing theory is that handedness is a consequence of language being “lateralized to the left hemisphere”; “lefties” are known to have more bilateral or language activation in the right hemisphere. It is also known that left-handedness is associated with several neurological disorders, including schizophrenia. But up to now no good neuroanatomical localization of the trait were known. Also unknown was the genetic basis (if any) for left-handedness (although it is known to “run in families”).

    • Health/Nutrition

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availabilitiy)

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Environment

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Three Common Privacy Misconceptions That Companies Love
      • ‘This Should Probably Be Illegal’: Rights Advocates Target Lawmakers and Lobbyists With Facial Recognition Technology in US Capitol

        “It’s terrifyingly easy for anyone—a government agent, a corporation, or just a creepy stalker—to conduct biometric monitoring and violate basic rights at a massive scale. We did this to make a point.”

      • Federal Court Rules That Border Officers Can’t Arbitrarily Search Our Electronic Devices
      • Federal Court Says ICE, CBP’s Suspicionless Searches Of Electronic Devices Is Unconstitutional

        There’s a bit more Constitution in the “Constitution-free zone.” A federal court in Massachusetts has ruled [PDF] border agents can no longer perform suspicionless device searches. This ruling aligns itself with the decision handed down by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this year. If the government wants to dig into travelers’ phones and laptops without a warrant, it needs to show it believes contraband will be located on the seized device.

      • Maryam Namazie and Afsana Lachaux, Joint Winners of 2019 Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize

        Maryam Namazie and Afsana Lachaux were joint winners of the 2019 Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize for their campaigning work in support of women under Sharia laws. The award recognised the links with Sharia and religious laws and violence against women.

      • Sharia law in Britain shows women are traumatised and humiliated in a system weighted against them

        As part of the One Law for All campaign, we will be holding a protest outside the Court of Appeal to let the government and the public know that minority women will not tolerate being trapped in marital captivity and treated as subjects of their so called religious communities rather than as citizens with equal rights.

      • Supreme Court refers Sabarimala temple issue to larger bench, no stay on women’s entry

        The Supreme Court said restrictions on women in religious places weren’t limited to Sabarimala alone, and that they were prevalent in other religions too.

        Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi read the verdict on behalf of himself and Justices AM Khanwilkar and Indu Malhotra; he said the larger bench would decide all such religious issues relating to Sabarimala, the entry of women in mosques and the practice of female genital mutilation in the Dawood Bohra community.

      • Sabarimala verdict: A timeline of temple entry issue ahead of Supreme Court verdict today

        The Sabrimala verdict will be delivered by a constitution bench comprising Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices Rohinton Fali Nariman, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Indu Malhotra at 10:30 am today.

        Here is a brief timeline of the Sabarimala Temple Case: [...]

      • Indian Court to Set Law on Women’s Entry in Temples, Mosques

        The court deferred a decision on petitions seeking a review of its 2018 ruling to lift a ban on women of menstruating age entering the temple’s grounds.

        Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said seven judges will take up issues relating to women entering any house of worship.

        Gogoi said the question of whether women of all ages should be allowed into Sabarimala is part of a larger debate that includes issues like allowing Muslim and Parsi women to enter religious practices and female genital mutilation in the Dawoodi Bohra community.

      • Significant case on women’s rights following break up of marriage at the Court of Appeal

        As part of the One Law for All campaign, we will be holding a protest outside the Court of Appeal to let the government and the public know that minority women will not tolerate being trapped in marital captivity and treated as subjects of their so called religious communities rather than as citizens with equal rights.

      • A woman’s stalker compromised her car’s app, giving him the ability to track and immobilize it

        Stalkerware is now a factor in the majority of spousal abuse cases; since stalkerware compromises mobile devices, and since these devices can be used to control a wide range of other devices (vehicles, thermostats, medical implants, door locks, etc), an abuser can leverage their stalkerware infections to turn their victims’ lives into digital Kafka novels.

      • ‘Annoying’ a cop could be illegal soon in this upstate county

        Under a proposal that was approved by the Monroe County Legislature, someone who annoys, alarms or threatens a police officer or other first responder could be arrested and sentenced to a year in jail or forced to pay a $5,000 fine.

        The legislature approved the bill by a 17-10 vote on Tuesday. The county executive will now hold a public hearing and decide whether to pass it into law.

        The bill sparked outrage among groups such as the New York Civil Liberties Union.

      • The Case for Internet Access as a Human Right

        The new study, published this week in the Journal of Applied Philosophy, comes courtesy of Dr. Merten Reglitz, a lecturer in global ethics at the University of Birmingham. In it, Reglitz makes the case that [Internet] access is an essential part of keeping those in power accountable.

        “Internet access is not merely a luxury for those who can afford it,” Reglitz said. “It is instead highly conducive to a multitude of crucial human interests and rights. Internet access is a uniquely effective way for lobbying and holding accountable global players like global governance institutions and multinational corporations.”

      • Google Is Basically Daring the Government to Block Its Fitbit Deal

        Google’s plan to buy Fitbit took chutzpah from the start. The company was already being investigated by Congress, state attorneys general, and federal antitrust regulators, a reflection of growing alarm over a conglomerate whose dominant market share is built on unrivaled access to personal data. Now it was announcing a $2.2 billion acquisition of a firm with troves of the most intimate details of its users’ physical health, from their heart rate to their exercise routines to how many hours they sleep at night. Fitbit was apparently worried enough about the threat of the deal being blocked that it negotiated a $250 million breakup fee in case of “a failure to obtain Antitrust Approvals.”

      • Facebook is receiving a record number of government data demands

        The social network Facebook received a record number of government requests for user data during the first half of 2019, according to its latest Transparency Report.

        The report indicates that government data demands surged 16 per cent to 128,617 during the first six months of 2019, compared to the second half of 2018.

      • Mark Zuckerberg says TikTok is a threat to democracy, but didn’t say he spent 6 months trying to buy its predecessor

        Facebook once tried to buy Musical.ly, the Chinese lip-syncing app that was eventually acquired by the Chinese tech giant ByteDance and merged with its app Douyin to form the viral video app TikTok, according to reports from BuzzFeed and Bloomberg.

        Three sources familiar with the talks told BuzzFeed’s Ryan Mac that Facebook spent the second half of 2016 trying to buy the Shanghai-headquartered Musical.ly in an attempt to break into the Chinese market. These sources said the talks were “serious” but never came to fruition, with Facebook unable to close the deal.

      • Tencent Music Earnings Surge 31% In the Latest Quarter

        Tencent Music Entertainment Group has released its third-quarter financials for 2019, with revenue surging a staggering 31% and beating the expectations of Wall Street analysts.

      • Love of cash hinders India’s move to digital economy

        One of the key objectives of the note ban was to discourage the use of cash, but India continues to see a surge in currency in circulation even as economic growth has slowed to a six-year low.

        Central bank data shows that since the controversial demonetization gambit, currency in circulation has grown, rising 17 per cent to 21.1 trillion rupees (USD 295.7 billion) as of the end of March 2019.

      • Warrantless searches of devices at ports illegal, court rules

        Tuesday’s ruling in U.S. District Court came in a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of 11 travelers whose smartphones and laptops were searched without individualized suspicion at U.S. ports of entry.

        ACLU attorney Esha Bhandari said the ruling strengthens the Fourth Amendment protections of international travelers who enter the United States every year.

        The ACLU describes the searches as “fishing expeditions.” They say border officers must now demonstrate individualized suspicion of contraband before they can search a traveler’s electronic device.

      • Popular UK health websites share sensitive user data with Google, Facebook, dozens more

        Not good. An important new investigation from the Financial Times reveals symptoms, drug names, and terms like ‘abortion’ are shared with hundreds of third parties.

        The scariest ones in this list aren’t just Google, Amazon, Facebook, Oracle, Scorecard, or OpenX, but the ones you’ve never heard of, who receive even less scrutiny over data privacy and security practices.

      • European privacy regulators raise ‘concerns’ about Privacy Shield
    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Peak Hubris

        “Hubris” is defined as rash and foolish pride, a dangerous overconfidence, manifested with arrogance.  The Deep State vaunts our “exceptionalism”, and since Reagan’s “City on a HIll” trope Americans have been assured by all succeeding Presidents that ours is the “indispensible nation”. The word describes the way America sells itself to the world, and has for generations.

      • Trump Administration Forgoes Petition to Supreme Court in Jane Doe Case
      • “What About the Children?” Youth Rights Before Parental Police States

        “What about the children?!” Some haggard disembodied voice wails from my flickering TV set, jerking me awake from the Ambien-grade slumber that any more than 15 minutes of C-Span inevitably delivers. It’s happened a thousand times before. The voice almost always belongs to some sobbing middle-aged white woman, overdressed like June Cleaver for some senate hearing on the dangers of one victimless crime or another, online prostitution or E-cigarettes or satanic Portuguese techno, always something new, always something to be terrified of. Part of me feels for the woman, I really do. She’s usually lost a child to something or other. She’s clearly in pain. But another disgraceful part of me wants to tell her to shut the fuck up and take some goddamn responsibility for your own life. Because, beneath the theatrics, 9 times out of 10, this pearl-clutching stock character is really saying “I couldn’t find the time to parent my dead child, so now the police state has to pick up the slack!” And the Wall Street whores of Washington take their cue and start passing more pointless legislation.

      • Adidas explains why it put the Russian flag upside down on its new uniforms for the national soccer team
      • Watch the CIA Get Away With Torture

        In the aftermath of 9/11, Americans might generously attribute their embrace of the “dark side,” as former Vice President Dick Cheney described torture, to a collective nervous breakdown. It’s a chapter in our recent history detailed in Jane Mayer’s bestseller, “The Dark Side,” and more broadly in the entertaining and fallacious movie, “Zero Dark Thirty,” but it remains a national shame yet to be confronted by holding those responsible accountable. The end credits of Scott Z. Burns’ expository epic, “The Report,” in theaters Friday, inform us that many associated with the enhanced interrogation techniques (EIT) program remain on staff at the CIA or were even promoted, such as current Director Gina Haspel.

      • We Investigated the Crisis in California’s Jails. Now, the Governor Calls for More Oversight.

        Faced with a surge of homicides in some of California’s largest jails, inmates held in inhumane suicide-watch conditions and elected sheriffs who rebuff state inspectors, Gov. Gavin Newsom is crafting plans that would give the state more power to oversee local sheriffs and the lockups they run.

        The measure will be part of a broader criminal justice reform package he plans to introduce next year, he told The Fresno Bee editorial board last week. Also on the table: adding “step-down facilities” to bolster rehabilitation and reentry options for people being released from custody and, ultimately, shuttering one of the state’s 35 prisons.

      • Algeria: Escalating Repression of Protesters

        Algerian authorities have arrested scores of pro-democracy movement activists since September 2019. Many remain detained on vague charges such as “harming national unity” and “undermining the morale of the army.” The authorities should immediately and unconditionally release the peaceful activists and respect the rights to free speech and assembly of all Algerians. 

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Congress Says The FCC Is Trying To Run Out The Clock On Wireless Location Data Scandals

        US wireless carriers have spent much of the last year under fire for hoovering up your location data, then selling that data to any nitwit with a nickel. More recently they’ve been busted even selling access to E-911 location data, which is increasingly even more accurate in tracking users than traditional GPS. We’ve noted repeatedly that lax ethical standards result in this data often being abused by dubious third parties, or used illegally by law enforcement or those pretending to be law enforcement.

    • Monopolies

      • USMCA deal close, but not ‘imminent,’ Democrats say

        Democrats say a deal to update the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is close, but not “imminent,” as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

      • Now a Senator Is Investigating the Sexist Apple Card Debacle

        Responding to several allegations that husbands tend to received higher credit limits than their wives, Goldman Sachs representatives have repeatedly stated to Gizmodo and other outlets that the company is blind to gender, race, marital status, and familial relationships. They surmise that the wives in question had perhaps been banking as secondary cardholders under their husbands’ accounts, ergot, they would not have accrued as long of a debt payment history. But you can certainly take it up with customer service.

      • Google to offer personal banking accounts next year

        Google is preparing to launch a personal checking account service in the United States as early as next year, following moves by some big tech rivals to increasingly expand into consumer finance.

        The consumer checking accounts will be offered through the Google Pay app, initially in partnership with Citigroup and a small credit union at Stanford University.

      • Porn Site Says PayPal Ban Will Hurt More Than 100,000 Performers

        PayPal Inc. is blocking transactions at Pornhub, a move the adult-video site says will halt payments to “over a hundred thousand performers who rely on them for their livelihoods.”

        PayPal took steps to stop the Pornhub transactions after a review of the situation, the online-payment giant said. “We have discovered that Pornhub has made certain business payments through PayPal without seeking our permission,” it said, without elaborating on the nature of the transactions.

      • PayPal abruptly cuts off Pornhub’s payroll, leaving performers with few payment options

        It seems like a reach to expect the hundred thousand performers to switch over to a single type of cryptocurrency for their paychecks, though, and direct deposit may also be dicey for some: a number of banks refuse to serve sex workers, according to this list compiled by Survivors Against SESTA. Pornhub explained last year that PayPal was a key alternative to banks: “PayPal specifically is a method of payment that many people, who may not have the luxury of a bank account, rely on to get paid,” the company wrote.

        PayPal’s decision to drop Pornhub appears to have been sudden, as some have expressed dissatisfaction on having to scramble to find a way to receive payments (though Pornhub seems to be helping out): [...]

      • Delhi HC Gives Expansive Interpretation to Section 79 of IT Act: Issues Global Blocking Order Against Intermediaries

        On October 23, a single judge of the Delhi High Court – Justice Prathiba M Singh – issued an interim injunction directing Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and other unnamed intermediaries to take down on a global basis, defamatory content uploaded on their platforms against Baba Ramdev (‘Judgment’). The Judgment is significant as it went beyond the conventional mode of ‘geo-blocking’, whereby the take-down of URLs is limited to specific geographic locations.

      • La Sierra University: Abolish Intellectual Property Law

        Kinsella on Liberty Podcast, Episode 276. This is my speech delivered for the Troesh Talk, part of the Business Colloquium course, at the Tom and Vi Zapara School of Business at La Sierra University Nov. 12, 2019. I was invited by Associate Dean Gary Chartier, who runs the Colloquium. The audience consisted mainly of business and grad students.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • Magic Leap rattles money tin, assigns patents to a megabank, sues another ex-staffer… But fear not, all’s fine

          Augmented reality hype-merchant Magic Leap has had to whip out its begging cap, sorry, sorry, its once-in-a-lifetime investment chest again for venture capitalists to top up with with millions of dollars.

          Having burned through $2.6bn – that’s billion – on its way to producing an AR headset that has so many limitations it seemingly has zero chance of becoming a consumer device, the upstart has announced it is now part way through series E funding.

          That’s just a Silicon Valley way of saying it’s on a fifth formal round of begging to banks and venture capitalists to help it keep going before the biz finally starts making money. In reality, it is the manufacturer’s eighth funding round, with the most recent being a cash influx of $280m in April this year. That money appears to be running out, or just simply not enough, just six months later.

          And while things were already looking perilous for the company that continues to promise the Earth yet has persistently underwhelmed, failed to hit deadlines and often flat-out spewed BS, there is some troubling news that has just emerged.

        • Munich appeals court schedules ruling on Nokia’s anti-antisuit injunctions against Continental for December 12

          Just a quick follow-up to yesterday’s report on the appellate hearing in Munich on Nokia’s anti-antisuit injunctions against Continental:

          The Munich I Higher Regional Court’s press office told me today that a ruling has been scheduled for December 12.

          I still predict the same outcome: reversal. The court’s position on the irreconcilability of an antisuit–including anti-antisuit–injunction with German law didn’t appear to change at any moment during the hearing that lasted well over two hours. What I attribute the delay to is simply that this appeals court–at least when it comes to patent cases–tends to write very comprehensive opinions. Those judges won’t necessarily address each and every argument they don’t have to reach. But unlike their U.S. counterparts, they do cover a lot of ground beyond the shortest path to a particular outcome when fundamental questions are at stake. Earlier this year, an injunction Qualcomm had won and enforced against Apple in Germany was tossed on three independent grounds, any single one of which would have been self-sufficient.

          The practical effect of this target date is that Continental can’t make a third attempt at a U.S. antisuit injunction for another four weeks. Meanwhile, on December 10, the first Nokia v. Daimler trial will be held in Mannheim (there have been first hearings in three Munich cases, but the second hearings there are the actual trials and the soonest one of them will take place in February). In all those years I’ve seen only one bench ruling in Mannheim, so realistically, there won’t be any German patent injunction in place against Daimler before sometime in January. Meanwhile, a renewed motion for an antisuit injunction in the U.S. could be resolved if a motion to shorten time succeeded–which it might if a Mannheim injunction loomed large after the December 10 trial, especially since the issues have been briefed before, even if not by Sharp and Conversant.

        • Munich appeals court likely to reverse Nokia’s anti-antisuit injunction against Continental: Judge Koh may have to rule on third antisuit motion soon

          Before we go to today’s Munich appellate hearing, let me just say that this week’s Component-Level SEP Licensing conference in Brussels exceeded expectations, which applies to the quality of the presentations of those who strongly advocate component-level licensing obligations under antitrust and contract law as well as of those who are skeptical of, or even adamantly opposed to, at least one of those legal bases–everyone I invited was terrific. I’ll publish the slides no later than this coming weekend. Now, the latest from Nokia v. Continental.

        • UK – ANAN KASEI & RHODIA OPERATIONS V. NEO CHEMICALS AND OXIDES

          Anan Kasei Co. Ltd & Rhodia Operations S.A.S. v Neo Chemicals and Oxides Limited & Neo Performance Materials Inc, Court of Appeal, London, 9 October 2019, [2019] EWCA Civ 1646

          In this judgment, the Court of Appeal has dismissed an appeal by Neo Chemicals and Oxides (Europe) Limited (previously Molycorp Chemicals and Oxides (Europe) Limited) and Neo Performance Materials Inc (together “Neo”) relating to the sufficiency of European Patent (UK) No. 1 435 338 (the “Patent”) owned by Anan Kasei Co. Ltd (now Solvay Special Chem Japan, Ltd) and exclusively licensed to Rhodia Operations S.A.S. (together “Rhodia”).

          In doing so, the Court of Appeal has provided further guidance on the law of sufficiency, in particular insufficiency due to ambiguity (or uncertainty), and excessive claim breadth. In the same judgment, the Court of Appeal allowed two procedural appeals by Rhodia regarding the joining of Neo’s parent company to the proceedings.

        • Logo Placement Relevant for Infringement in Design Patent Cases

          Note here that my gloves are the cheap liners, the lawsuit focuses more on the expensive gloves and clothing that have the heat-reflective material on the inner liner. My gloves also show a different pattern than the original accused HeatWave product.

          In the case, Columbia asserted both a design patent (US.D657093) and a utility patent (US.8453270) and the case resulted in a partial victory for Columbia — Jury award of $3 million in damages for design patent infringement but a determined that the asserted utility patent were invalid.

        • Guest Post: The real puzzle in Campbell Soup v. Gamon Plus

          However these claims are interpreted (a matter of much dispute in this case), they are each clearly directed to what we might call a “multi-article” design. Each design defines parts of the shapes of separate articles—a dispenser and a can.

          The problem is that the design patent “primary reference” requirement was created in the context of—and implicitly assumes—a single-article design. The lesson in Durling and Rosen was that you can’t create a Franken-article to serve as a primary reference. If the patent (or application) claims a design for a table, you can’t splice parts of different tables together to form a single, hypothetical table. You have to find a table that actually exists (or a sufficient description thereof) in the prior art.

          But what happens when the design extends over separate articles? Gamon Plus (and Judge Newman, in dissent) seem to argue that there must be a single reference that explicitly discloses both articles being used together in the same way. That can’t possibly be right—especially on the facts of this case.

        • 6 things readers should know about Liconsa v. Boehringer Ingelheim

          Our friends from the EPLAW Patent Blog recently published an interesting blog commenting on the judgment of 29 March 2019 from the Court of Appeal of Barcelona (Section 15) where, among other aspects, the requirements for requesting the limitation of a European patent before the Spanish Patents and Trademarks Office (“SPTO”) were discussed. As explained in such blog, the Court came to the conclusion that the limited patent published by the SPTO was not enforceable because the judicial authorization foreseen in article 105.4 of the new Patents Act had not been obtained. For the readers’ benefit, it will be helpful to remember that, according to that article 105 “4. If judicial proceedings on the validity of the patent are pending and without prejudice to the provisions of article 120, the request for limitation, addressed to the Spanish Patent and Trademark Office, must be authorized by the Judge or Court that handles the proceedings.”

          To avoid confusion and possible misunderstandings among the public, a few clarifications are in order:

          The first clarification is that although that blog might convey the impression that the Court of Appeal of Barcelona (Section 15) had the last say on this debate, in reality that judgment is not final. This is because BOEHRINGER INGELHEIM (“BI”) filed an appeal, which is pending before the Supreme Court.

          [...]

          Finally, the debate explained in these blogs is a “one-off” that will not arise again in future cases. This is because the facts of the case were unique in the sense that the parties were trapped in the transition between the old and the new Patents Acts and the debate arose because of the different transitional regimes established for different provisions of the new Patents Act.

      • Trademarks

        • In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different: Chanel in trade mark dispute over GABRIELLE mark – again

          In December 2017, Chanel Limited applied to register the trade mark CHANEL’S GABRIELLE in respect of goods in classes 9, 14 and 18. Gabrielle is the first name of CoCo Chanel, its founder.

          The application was partially opposed by Catherine Sidonio, based on the UK trademark registration for the mark GABRIELLE for various goods, including those in class 25. She claimed that the respective goods were similar and that the marks were similar, so much so that CHANEL’S GABRIELLE gave the impression of a collaboration between the parties.

          This is not the first time the parties have come across one another and Chanel referred to a previous decision (BL-O-646-17), in which the same parties had played “inverted roles”. In that decision, it was held that there was no likelihood of confusion between the marks GABRIELLE and GABRIELLE CHANEL for identical goods in class 25.

          Sidonio produced a variety of evidence, including copies of “Coco Chanel” posters that related to three films produced in 2008-2009, web prints showing clothing items branded with “GABRIELLE BY MOLLY BRACKEN”, and a web print stating the French brand origin of MOLLY BRACKEN, which was launched in 2008.

          [...]

          The opposition failed in respect of sunglasses, sunglasses frames and lenses (in class 9) and jewellery; charms; decorative pins; brooches; medallions (in class 14). The opposition succeeded in relation to cufflinks and tie pins (in class 14) and handbags; vanity cases (not fitted), briefcases articles of luggage, wallets, purses (not of precious metal or coated therewith), leather shoulder belts; bags; sporrans; credit card holder; card holders; and key holders (in class 18).

        • Needless Trademark Spat In Canada At Least Has Exactly As Polite Ending As You’d Expect

          It probably shouldn’t be all that surprising that there is a decent volume of trademark disputes that occur over restaurant menu items. Somewhat like the craft beer industry, the restaurant industry has for a long, long time looked toward creative output for menu items as a way to stand out. Because there are only so many ways you can name food or a dish, occasionally this creative naming practice causes trademark issues.

        • High Court TM Profit Award Standard May Be Coming
        • The bad faith conundrum in the EU continues – KOTON, SKY, ANN TAYLOR, NEYMAR, CAFÉ DEL MAR

          Bad faith is on the rise – whether in reality or as a useful weapon against trade marks is another question. Recently, both the General Court (GC) and the Court of Justice (CJEU) have had several opportunities to consider whether trade marks had been filed in bad faith. The tendency seems to become stricter and to focus more on balancing the interests of the trade mark owner and the competition in the market.

        • Ferrero succeeds in enforcing its rights in the Tic Tac container before Italian court

          It was just a few months ago that the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) (BMB v Ferrero, C‑693/17 P) sided with well-known foodstuffs manufacturer Ferrero by upholding the invalidity of a registered Community design right for comfit boxes and containers pursuant to Article 25(1)(e) of Regulation No 6/2002. This was due to a conflict with Ferrero’s international trade mark (below) representing the container of its Tic Tac comfits.

          [...]

          Among other things, in 1973 Ferrero obtained two Italian 3D trade mark registrations for said container. In 1974, it obtained the corresponding international trade mark registration for one of these trade marks (which it had relied upon in the design case mentioned in the opening).

        • BEAST MODE vs. BEAST MODE SOCCER

          The mark was registered early-on for “coaching services.” However, Copeland-Smith also wanted a registration covering t-shirts and soccer balls. (The amended application disclaimed rights to SOCCER except as part of BEAST MODE SOCCER.)

          The problem for Copeland-Smith is that other folks have their own registered Beast-Mode marks. This include’s former NFL’r Marshawn Lynch’s BEAST MODE apparel line. [beastmodeonline.com].

          [...]

          Factor 6 – number and nature of similar marks — Copeland argues that Lynch’s mark is weak because “Beast Mode” is a well known American slang referring to using “high effort or energy in exercise or sport.” (Citing the UrbanDictionary). (I’ll note that several UrbanDictionary definitions refer directly to Lynch. E.g., “beastmoed: to go crazy like marshawn lynch does.”) (I’ll also note the following definition “Patent: To take an existing commodity and claim ownership over its production rights.”)

          On appeal, the Federal Circuit again agreed with the TTAB’s factual conclusion that Factor 6 favored denial-of-registration. The court noted that Copeland-Smith produced a “large quantity of evidence”, but that the evidence lacked “quality.”

      • Copyrights

        • Rome court rules that iconic photograph of judges Falcone and Borsellino is not a photographic artwork

          However, according to the Rome Court of First Instance (decision 14758/2019), the photograph above is not sufficiently original to be considered a photographic artwork protected under Article 2 of the Italian Copyright Act (Law No 633/1941).

          The decision was issued in the context of proceedings brought by Gentile against RAI – Radiotelevisione Italiana, the Italian national public broadcasting company, over the unauthorised use of the image.

          The Rome court pointed out at the very outset that, historically, photographs were not protected by copyright under Italian law. This choice, which dates back to 1941, “was determined, on the one hand, by the importance of the role of pictures to the cultural industries, so that limiting as much as possible any monopoly on them would be preferable; on the other hand, by the difficulty of finding a creative quid in photographic works which would allow to distinguish the technical nature of the process from to the photographer’s personal contribution in reaching the final result”.

          The choice of Italian legislature, however, was at odds with the Berne Convention, and the law was eventually amended.

        • Academic Publishers As Parasites

          This is just a quick post to draw attention to From symbiont to parasite: the evolution of for-profit science publishing by UCSF’s Peter Walter and Dyche Mullins in Molecular Biology of the Cell. It is a comprehensive overview of the way the oligopoly publishers obtained and maintain their rent-extraction from the academic community: [...]

        • Should Doxxing Be Illegal?

          There has been a debate over the past few years about the legality of “doxxing,” which would loosely be defined as identifying individuals and/or their personal information which they’d prefer to remain secret. This is coming up in a variety of contexts, including effort to unveil the whistleblower who first called attention to President Trump’s questionable call with Ukraine’s President. However, we also noted in passing, last week, that the new privacy bill from Reps. Zoe Lofgren and Anna Eshoo contained an anti-doxxing clause…

        • Taylor Swift provoked fans to go after her rivals and now they’re being doxxed

          Taylor Swift wants the rights to her own music — and she may have just crossed an ethical line to get it. On Thursday afternoon, Swift asked her gigantic army of fans to get in touch with music industry talent manager Scooter Braun and former label boss Scott Borchetta to “let them know how you feel” about their attempts to keep her from performing her old hits on TV or using them in an upcoming Netflix documentary.

          That request, of course, would require Taylor’s fans to know how to get in touch. So fans promptly began doxxing the pair, publishing what appear to be Braun and Borchetta’s private contact information — including phone numbers and a physical home address — on Twitter.

        • Taylor Swift Says Scooter Braun, Scott Borchetta Are Blocking Her From Playing Old Hits at AMAs

          Swift says in her posts that the Big Machine team told her she would be allowed the use of her old songs only if she agreed not to re-record them in the future — a non-starter for her, she says — and if she affirmed she would not speak negatively going forward.

          Embedded in her plea to fans to make their feelings known to Braun and Borchetta is what might be referred to as burying the lead: Swift says Netflix has been working on a documentary about her for several years. “This isn’t the way I had planned on telling you this news,” she writes.

          Normally, performing older material live when the master recordings are held by someone else shouldn’t require permission, except Swift claims that Borchetta and Braun are contending that a performance of them on the AMAs constitutes “re-recording them before I’m allowed to next year.”

        • Who will win the media wars?

          This binge is the culmination of 20 years of creative destruction (see Briefing). New technologies and ideas have shaken up music, gaming and now television. Today many people associate economic change with deteriorating living standards: job losses, being ripped-off, or living under virtual monopolies in search and social networks. But this business blockbuster is a reminder that dynamic markets can benefit consumers with lower prices and better quality. Government has so far had little to do with the boom, but when it inevitably peaks the state will have a part to play, by ensuring that the market stays open and vibrant.

        • Troll Lawyer Shows Up In Court To Explain His ‘Dead Grandfather’ Excuse, Gets His ‘Fitness To Practice’ Questioned By The Judge

          Just a few days ago, copyright troll lawyer Richard Liebowitz was being threatened with jail time for refusing to provide a judge with some evidence his grandfather had died. If that doesn’t seem like something most judges would demand, you’re right. It takes a special kind of lawyer to drive a federal court judge to start demanding proof of death from an attorney.

        • Universal Music Claims Copyright Over Newly Public Domain ‘Yes! We Have No Bananas’

          As you’re probably aware, on January 1st of this year, we actually had a public domain day in the US for the first time in over two decades. Prior to that Congress (with the help of Hollywood lobbyists) had worked to continually extend copyright law whenever new works were due to go into the public domain. These extensions still seem to violate the spirit of the copyright clause in the Constitution, given that it is granting Congress permission to create such monopolies only so much as those monopoly rights “promote the progress.” Any reasonable interpretation of that clause means that copyright law should be allowed in cases where it creates the incentive to create. But it’s difficult to see how extending copyright law decades after the work has been created does anything to incentivize that work in the first place.

IRC Proceedings: Friday, November 15, 2019

Posted in IRC Logs at 10:42 am by Needs Sunlight

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Microsoft Doesn’t Love Linux, It Just Buys Linux

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 5:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

And the repositories/hosts that contain pertinent projects and enable censorship of/spying on developers (business intelligence)

Learns that proprietary GitHub is now 'champ' of FOSS. And that awkwardly enough Microsoft, which promotes proprietary Windows, 'loves Linux'.

Summary: Microsoft’s takeover or abduction of its opposition’s voice isn’t an act of love but an act of occupation, a hostile colonisation that enables digital pillage and plunder

As we noted the other day, media led by Microsoft boosters and apologists started pushing a narrative: GitHub (i.e. Microsoft) will ‘save’ FOSS. But keep all of its own source code secret. See the hypocrisy? GitHub is proprietary, Microsoft is all proprietary, but somehow they’ll ‘champion’ preservation of FOSS? GitHub will ‘save’ FOSS like a meat-eating society will save cows and chicken and that society speaks for vegans like Microsoft speaks for FOSS. We’re supposed to think GitHub/Microsoft is our champion. But it keeps all of its own source code secret. That’s just classic proprietary software/Microsoft propaganda and sadly we’ve not seen it challenged except in some comments/forums. The media keeps repeating the lie and even some GNU/Linux shows/podcasts appear know nothing about GitHub having nothing to do with GNU/Linux and even FOSS. Was the Microsoft propaganda campaign that effective? For two days in a row “Linux Headlines” focused on GitHub [1, 2] instead of “Linux”. The parent company, Linux Academy, works for/with Microsoft, so perhaps they’re not really allowed to criticise Microsoft (they almost never do). Microsoft’s GitHub was all along an ambush. Microsoft had planned to buy it since 2014 and groomed it (e.g. in the media) to hijack lots of projects before control is passed over to Bill Gates and his friends. When media approached me for comments on the acquistion it sounded genuinely interested, but it never bothered publishing my views. Why? Did the publisher/editor spike that? Is criticism of Microsoft no longer permitted?

“We’re supposed to think that the alternative to Microsoft is just more Microsoft.”Microsoft is interjecting itself into the mouths of alternatives to Microsoft to ensure people can never leave the monopoly and its spying. We’re supposed to think that the alternative to Microsoft is just more Microsoft. And look at Linux.com. Swapnil Bhartiya has just reminded us, yet again (see intermediary and direct links), that Linux.com is a Microsoft propaganda site shilling for proprietary software like GitHub (much like the Linux Foundation does). So saddening. But predictable. Here’s the citation [1, 2]; readers sent us this one and more while others worked on the Delete Github page.

This is becoming a borderline crisis; Microsoft is trying to silence all of its opposition. A week or two after Stallman explained his visit to Microsoft he got ‘canceled’, just like all staff of Linux.com who actually did journalism, unlike the “corporate writer” (PR and marketing) who became editor.

Does Linux.com’s editor know the difference between FOSS companies and Microsoft proxies whose sole purpose is to attack FOSS? Nope, like the Linux Foundation (which takes money from them!) he promotes these again [1, 2].

“Does GNU/Linux still have a high-profile voice that’s not in Microsoft’s pocket?”As we’ve said before, Linux.com does more harm to Linux than it does good. Microsoft must like it that way; that makes it more ‘in cohesion’ with the ‘Linux’ Foundation, which nowadays helps Microsoft more than it helps Linux. Check out this TechCrunch article Linux.com linked to some hours ago. This article, seemingly about the Linux Foundation, becomes all marketing for Microsoft; Frederic Lardinois is like a PR mole for them, working alongside other people from Microsoft, so this is hardly surprising. Earlier this month we saw Microsoft staff acting as spokespeople for the Linux Foundation.

Does GNU/Linux still have a high-profile voice that’s not in Microsoft’s pocket? Remember that the vice chair at the Linux Foundation is a former Microsoft manager.

Koch’s Reply to EPO Through ILO and Techrights’ Interpretation of Koch v EPO Documents Help Show That ILO-AT is Played by EPO Management

Posted in Courtroom, Europe, Patents at 4:17 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Played” an understatement for controlled?

You should re-run the case. When we're about to lose the case.

Summary: Sending cases back and forth, without the complainant being involved, means that justice is in eternal ‘limbo’ and thus the abusive management of the European Patent Office (EPO) — first Team Battistelli and now Team Campinos — can get away with anything the bullies do (no judgment of substance being delivered)

THE gross injustice at the EPO is absolutely astounding. What’s even more astounding is the fact that politicians tolerate this. Astonishing! The EU? It blocks EPO staff that talks about it. “Shut up, little man, you’re interfering with the system!!”

This will, at least for the time being, be the last post regarding Koch v EPO [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7]). It’s a case which concerns a dismissed staff representative who suffers from a disability (likely due to the EPO’s working conditions) and the case isn’t being properly handled by ILO-AT. It’s almost like there’s nobody to talk to — no safeguards in other words. Somebody ought to inform the Dutch courts (even the highest one) because if all these courts refuse to intervene — even ECHR (the European Court of Human Rights) — China’s Communist Party will be having a day field. The EPO’s management already clarified, even on Dutch TV, that even if the highest court ruled against it, the orders would be ignored, i.e. disobeyed. Just like China ignoring the ICC regarding the island of Scarborough (among others).

“The EPO’s management already clarified, even on Dutch TV, that even if the highest court ruled against it, the orders would be ignored, i.e. disobeyed.”Are EPO employees being employed outside the rule of law? Is EPO like a sweatshop in China (except the higher pay)? What can management be allowed to get away with? That question concerns/impacts not only thousands of EPO workers but workers in dozens of international organisations (not only those ILO-AT is responsible for).

We’re still trying to digest what we saw in legal documents of Koch. Some of those are public and others we’ve requested so as to better study the case.

The 129th session of ILO-AT is now over. SUEPO has not said anything in its public site. No updates there (for 3 days now)…

“SUEPO has not said anything in its public site.”It is understandable that SUEPO will not want to comment on this case for a number of reasons, but we’re not bound by the same rules EPO staff (and staff unions) are subjected to, so let’s explain again what we have here.

As far as the referrals of cases to the EPO for “re-running” the internal appeals are concerned, these issues refer to the functioning of the EPO’s juridical system in rather general terms, not just to Koch’s individual case/s. In cases AT 5-4532 and AT 5-4384 we see an example of that; these concern very serious issues (AT 5-4532: refusal of an employment medical examination in case of occupational disease;AT 5-4384: irregular dismissal — see these tweets with the parties' latest replies in re AT 5-4532). The complainant could potentially be hit very hard by any flaws of this system.

Unusual in re AT 5-4532 is also the realisation that the EPO attempts to have the fees of its (probably extremely expensive!) lawyers in Geneva (chosen and commissioned by the EPO, of course) to be paid — at least partly — by the complainant, alleging that case AT 5-4532 would be an “abusive and unnecessary” procedure (the EPO in its surrejoinder, para. 62) while the complainant receives just a small early retirement pension under protest. Such course of action reveals the EPO management’s completely unfounded, but extreme hate against the complainant, a former staff representative with disabilities.

“Unusual in re AT 5-4532 is also the realisation that the EPO attempts to have the fees of its (probably extremely expensive!) lawyers in Geneva (chosen and commissioned by the EPO, of course) to be paid — at least partly — by the complainant…”The issue of “re-running” of internal appeals (IAs) by the EPO is particularly noteworthy. The EPO might attempt this in many dozens is not hundreds of cases, impacting a lot of aggrieved (abused) EPO employees. It is particularly serious because the EPO does this (i) after a final decision on them, contrary to the Tribunal’s standard Jurisprudence: Judgment number 2906, under 8., Judgments number 994, under 14., or Judgement number 1006, under 2. and (ii) after their lawful referral to the Tribunal and (iii) without awaiting any decision by the Tribunal on them. The EPO withdraws final decisions and “re-runs” IAs of its own volition/initiative.

Worse yet is the fact that no fresh view on the cases and no fairer or more impartial Opinion by the Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) can be expected from the “re-running”: The reason for this is that — to paraphrase what we we wrote earlier — the IAC’s unbalanced composition reproved by the Tribunal in Judgment number 3785, under 7., i.e. participation of volunteers being nominated by the President or selected by lots(!) instead of being nominated to the IAC by the Central Staff Committee (as the former rules on the IAC’s composition required) was just “legalised” by the EPO in the meantime, by just a change of the respective rules for the IAC’s composition during the Battistelli era.

“…such issues of lawlessness under the EPO’s Service Regulations are now being exploited to also neutralise ILO-AT and ILO-AT apparently allows this to happen!”These issues are likely to concern hundreds of cases of EPO staff against their employer, such cases being lawfully pending before the Tribunal. In the unlikely event that the Tribunal deemed this way of acting by the EPO lawful, the EPO would largely benefit from its own turpitude while staff would remain deprived of access to the Tribunal as the only judicial instance under the Service Regulations for an indefinite (in some cases probably meaning an infinite) period of time. In other words, cases could be referred to the Tribunal and back to the EPO like in a ping-pong game, as the EPO was (probably intentionally) introducing “flaws” in the IAs procedure which it subsequently alleged to mend in a “re-run” IAs procedure, with different flaws in different rounds of repetition of the IA. This way a treatment of a case in substance by the Tribunal could be prevented by the EPO. Put another way, a treatment of a case in substance by the Tribunal could be prevented by the EPO, at least a treatment “within a reasonable time”, contrary to the complainants’ fundamental rights under Article 6 ECHR.

“Re-running” of internal appeals on (the defendant’s initiative only) would be an incredible precedent; such issues of lawlessness under the EPO’s Service Regulations are now being exploited to also neutralise ILO-AT and ILO-AT apparently allows this to happen!

EPO Running ILO’s Tribunal (ILO-AT) ‘in a Loop’ to Perpetually Delay and Drain the EPO’s Complainants (Aggrieved Staff) Out of Money

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 12:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ILO won’t deliver justice, but it invites you to the long (and very expensive) ride

Loop

Summary: ILO’s Administrative Tribunal — a court for aggrieved EPO staff and other international organisations’ staff (usually known as ILO-AT for short) — is a major farce; when “time is money” and lawyers charge as much as 400 euros an hour the EPO’s management can exploit/misuse its cash reserves to also game justice and buy legal outcomes

AS we've just explained, Koch v EPO [1, 2, 3, 4, 5] is an important case/appeal as it shows how useless ILO-AT has become. ILO is aware of the problem (it spoke about it several times), but it has not tackled the problem. Instead, it’s meeting with EPO management while snubbing staff representatives/unions. This helps show whose side ILO is taking, as one might expect from an international organisation created for and by the rich and the powerful, not the besieged and the powerless.

Several months ago we took time to study the above case. The next post will deal with the latest (the 129th session of the Tribunal has just concluded). If anything, this only reaffirmed our negative view of ILO and ILO-AT.

“This helps show whose side ILO is taking, as one might expect from an international organisation created for and by the rich and the powerful, not the besieged and the powerless.”From the EPO’s reply in Koch’s case (AT 5-4384) we know that the Tribunal (ILO-AT) issued Judgment number 4131, and that it thereby seems to “row back” from its former standard Jurisprudence which used to be considered rather competent and decent, at least during the good old times of Justice Mary Gaudron.

While it has been the Tribunal’s standard Jurisprudence that organisations may not withdraw final decisions (withdrawal would contravene the principle of good faith, for instance), see Judgment number 2906, under 8., Judgments number 994, under 14., or Judgments number 1006, under 2., as the Tribunal seemed to allow the EPO withdrawal of final decisions and “re-running” of internal appeals (IAs) on its own initiative; see Judgment number 4131, under 5. — yet that specific case was irreceivable for a different reason (the appeal concerned an intermediate step and therefore failed), i.e. cons. 5 of Judgment 4131 was irrelevant to the decision in that case.

Yet, it would be the end of Rule of Law if the Tribunal went further in the direction set out in Judgment 4131, under 5., and allowed the EPO to withdraw final decisions and to “re-run” appeals on its own initiative, without the complainant(s) being involved, also in other cases; see the arguments in para. 22 and subsections of this reply [PDF] — many of them are general, some more specific to Koch’s case. The clear risk is that cases will go back and forth between the EPO and the Tribunal without ever being treated in substance by the Tribunal.

“The clear risk is that cases will go back and forth between the EPO and the Tribunal without ever being treated in substance by the Tribunal.”Even worse: In the meantime the EPO “legalised” the unbalanced composition of the Internal Appeals Committee (IAC) which had been reproved by the Tribunal in Judgment no. 3785, under 7., i.e. participation of volunteers being nominated by the President or selected by lots(!) instead of being nominated to the IAC by the Central Staff Committee (as it used to be). And now, disturbingly, the Tribunal mentioned the IAC (of 2018 and thus composed according to the EPO’s new rules from the Battistelli era) as “properly constituted” in Judgment 4131, under 3. — which, of course, the EPO’s lawyers already used against Koch, to prevent the treatment of the case in substance, though the case is already delayed for 6 years since Ms. Bergot’s adverse decision of September 2013 against Koch.

On the “good” side: the remark under cons. 3 of Judgment 4131 was not relevant to that particular case, as it failed for a different reason. Yet, if this route is continued, it would also mean that the Tribunal would no longer respect the principle of non-retroactivity embraced by it in the past — see under 22.2.8 of the reply — and that it would help the EPO benefit from its own turpitude, not just once, but multiply, as the repetition of the IAs would be purely formal (the composition of the IAC not having changed, just having been “legalised” by the EPO). Such “re-running” would generate more delay, more work and higher costs for complainants and potentially prevent treatment of certain cases in substance (like Koch’s cases, which she is unable to treat in parallel, in two instances, see para. 22.1.7 and 5.1 of the reply).

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