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04.11.20

Links 11/4/2020: Wine 5.6 and Jitsi Video Conference

Posted in News Roundup at 12:30 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Linux-Tech&More QA: Episode 02: The “why” question!

        In the first episode, we got to know the anonymous operating system, and we gave a brief overview of it (for those who did not watch the first episode, you can watch it through the following link), and as we promised you to provide more episodes, we are happy to show you the second episode, which carries with it some modest surprises. enjoy watching.

      • Command Line Heroes: Open Source Hardware: Makers Unite (season 4 episode 6)

        Hardware hacking didn’t disappear after personal computers became mainstream. But it did change. Hear how a new generation of artists, designers, and activists are banding together to change the world—with open source hardware.

      • 2020-04-10 | Linux Headlines

        openSUSE plans for major changes in its Leap distribution, and the Cloud Native Computing Foundation admits Dragonfly into its incubator.

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Xeon Gold 5220R + Xeon Gold 6226R Linux Performance

        At the end of February Intel launched the Xeon Scalable “Cascade Lake Refresh” processors with a number of more aggressively priced SKUs with different core counts and clock speeds compared to the original Cascade Lake CPUs launched last year. Intel recently sent over the Xeon Gold 5220R and Xeon Gold 6226R processors and we’ve begun our Linux benchmarks of them. In this article is our initial look at their performance using a near-final build of Ubuntu 20.04 and seeing how the performance stacks up in raw performance and performance-per-dollar against the AMD EPYC competition.

    • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

      • Wine Announcement
        The Wine development release 5.6 is now available.
        
        What's new in this release (see below for details):
          - Still more Media Foundation work.
          - Improvements to Active Directory LDAP support.
          - A few more modules converted to PE.
          - Improvements to gdb proxy mode.
          - Various bug fixes.
        
        The source is available from the following locations:
        
        https://dl.winehq.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.6.tar.xz
        
        
        http://mirrors.ibiblio.org/wine/source/5.x/wine-5.6.tar.xz
        
        Binary packages for various distributions will be available from:
        
        https://www.winehq.org/download
        
        You will find documentation on https://www.winehq.org/documentation
        
        You can also get the current source directly from the git
        repository. Check https://www.winehq.org/git for details.
        
        Wine is available thanks to the work of many people. See the file
        AUTHORS in the distribution for the complete list.
        
        
      • Wine 5.6 is out today with Media Foundation additions, more modules converted to PE format

        It’s Friday, and usually every two weeks it means a new Wine development release is bottled up and ready to go. Today we have Wine 5.6 which brings in more of the recent Media Foundation work.

        This ongoing Media Foundation code work is what will help even more games and applications run their video/audio on Linux, when run through Wine. As currently, it’s a bit of a blocker for certain titles.

      • Wine 5.6 Continues Media Foundation Enablement

        Wine 5.6 is out as the latest bi-weekly snapshot of this program for running Windows applications and games under Linux.

        The Wine 5.6 release continues the recent work on the Media Foundation enablement, improvements around Active Directory LDAP support, more modules being converted to PE format, improvements to the GDB proxy mode handling, and various bug fixes.

    • Games

      • Stay at home and go on a text adventure with ‘Wanderlust: Transsiberian’ out now

        Wanderlust: Transsiberian, just like the previous game Wanderlust: Travel Stories from developer Different Tales is a fresh text-based travelling adventure out now. A pretty on-point game to release right now, since travelling during the Coronavirus pandemic is out.

        Acting as a standalone expansion, this hour-long experience follows two people on a trip to the easternmost reaches of Eurasia, onboard the longest railway line in the world.

        “You can travel as you really would or try something different while soaking up the atmosphere of Russia. When faced with another culture and new places, you can choose to stay open or careful; make acquaintances or avoid other people. Every choice changes the perception of the situation, which allows for wholly unique and deeply personal playthroughs.”

      • How-to: upscale old games on Linux with Lutris

        Any tool that makes it easier to play older Windows games on Linux deserves some praise, and none more so than Lutris in my book. But…have you tried running a really old game and found that it is hilariously minuscule on your fancy modern HiDPI monitor? Resolutions which are commonplace today were not even dreamed of back in the 1990′s. Take a game like Space Cadet, the classic pinball game many of us spent an embarrassing amount of time with.

      • Biped | Linux Gaming | Ubuntu 19.04 | Steam Play

        Biped running through Steam Play (Proton 5.0-4) Runs great. Using a PS4 Controller

      • A newly public patent (filed in 2018) from Valve shows a Steam Controller with attachments

        We have no idea if Valve will ever do a proper second revision of the Steam Controller, we’ve seen hints before and now we have more info on what it could have been.

        This new information has appeared in the form of a patent application, one originally made in 2018 but only as of last month did the application seem to go public.

        What it shows isn’t a huge departure from what we already have, the design is mostly the same but there’s a few key differences. The biggest being that you can swap around the left stick for a proper D-pad with an RFID sensor to detect which is attached.

      • Wine-Staging 5.6 Brings Fix For Some Games Having Non-Functioning Mouse Input

        Following yesterday’s release of Wine 5.6 as the latest bi-weekly development snapshot, Alistair Leslie-Hughes has announced Wine-Staging 5.6 as the experimental flavor of Wine with some 850+ extra patches on top.

        Wine-Staging 5.6 doesn’t introduce too much in the way of new code for the past two weeks but there are two notable changes and the rest are updates/re-basing of existing patches.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Touch Bar on Mac

          The screenshot above shows a simple session in LabPlot with a selected worksheet. For this worksheet, we show the undo and redo actions in the touch bar, as well as the zoom actions and the action to show the worksheet in the presenter mode. Of course, all these actions are also available at different positions in the application – in the main menu, in the toolbar or in the context menu or are reachable via shortcuts – but having these common commands in a context sensitive manner right at your finders is very handy sometimes.

          Thanks to the work done at KDAB and their library KDMacTouchBar, the implementation was rather trivial. This library provides a wrapper to Apple’s native interfaces in NSTouchBar and allows to use this hardware in Qt’s manner working with QActions.

    • Distributions

      • New Releases

        • AV Linux 2020.4.10 Released: A Debian-Based OS For Multimedia Content Creator



          The surge of digital media has driven artists and media creators to utilize various software tools. Apart from the traditional instruments, they now require a workstation for audio and video production with a broad set of applications.

          One such operating system is the AV Linux that comes with pre-loaded audio, graphics, and video software. Along similar lines, AV Linux has released a new version v2020.4.10 with several new enhancements and tweaks for multimedia content creators.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Deliver value with distributed teams through the power of open

          It’s uncontested that open source communities have been at the center of innovation for decades, enabling and accelerating innovation through distributed developers’ contributions. What’s also become clear over time is that the outcomes of the open-source development model are anchored in ways of working and unsaid cultural principles and practices that enable these communities to thrive.

          Red Hat, the leader in open-source, has boiled down the underpinnings of open source innovation in five principles that make up what we call open culture: transparency, collaboration, adaptability, community, and inclusivity. These principles — a bedrock to Red Hat’s innovative model for decades — have never been put to the test more than in the current climate when remote work has become the norm, and leaders rely on high-performing remote teams to continue to deliver tangible business outcomes and innovation. Business goals may need to be adapted in the current climate, but initiatives, milestones, and initiatives don’t disappear. Working in an agile manner is critical.

        • JBoss EAP 7.3 brings new packaging capabilities

          In addition to a huge set of new features and improvements, the release of Red Hat JBoss Enterprise Application Platform 7.3 provides innovative packaging capabilities. In this article, I will highlight two of these new capabilities and demonstrate their benefits: splitting images into build versus runtimes, and configuration trimming with Galleon.

        • Migrating a Spring Boot microservices application to Quarkus

          While Spring Boot has long been the de-facto framework for developing container-based applications in Java, the performance benefits of a Kubernetes-native framework are hard to ignore. In this article, I will show you how to quickly migrate a Spring Boot microservices application to Quarkus. Once the migration is complete, we’ll test the application and compare startup times between the original Spring Boot application and the new Quarkus app.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Ubuntu 20.04 Release Date, Latest Updates & Added Features

          Ubuntu 20.04 Release Date: In this article, we will check out all the upcoming updates related to Ubuntu 20.04 LTS code named Focal Fossa.

          At the time of this article, the world is going through the suffering of Corona in one way or another. Let us fight this together and win it. Maintain Social Distancing and save ourselves and as well as others. Let’s be united in terms of heart and be distant in terms of body.Team Tec Robust

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • 5 open source activities while you work from home



        The mythos of the remote home office or the exciting archetype of the digital nomad are as appealing as they are dangerous. It’s great to be able to avoid a commute, to be able to stay comfortable at home while getting lots of work done, and to be master of your own schedule. But along with those liberties, you inherit the responsibility of remembering to be a normal, functioning human being. Believe it or not, the two aren’t mutually exclusive. You can do both, but you have to work at it. Here are some ideas on how.

      • [Stay at Home] Step By Step to Use Jitsi Video Conference

        What you need to know is that Jitsi is Free Software meaning it gives the users complete freedom up to the source code and as consequence there are many Jitsi servers on the internet offered gratis by people aside from the official above. What is the purpose? The purpose is they act as alternatives if the official one does not satisfy your communication especially when your internet is bad. The steps to communicate are the same but only the server addresses are different. You can find more information at…

      • CIOs to shift from ‘buy’ to ‘build’ using Open Source

        These are trying times for the CEO and her/his team. No one has ever witnessed planet lockdown, national boundaries sealed, social distancing by design and still one has to at least maintain business status quo.

        Earlier, technology leaders were bullish on ‘buy’ but now they are relooking ‘build’ using open source technology. Hiring has also changed as they now want fewer engineers but stronger ones who can participate in the build strategy.

      • 5 Best Open source Ticketing system in 2020

        There are only a couple of completely open-source ticketing system (or help desk software) those can be used to provide help or information to customers to solve issues or problems.

        What’s a Ticketing System?

        In layman language, the Ticketing system is a tool designed to help companies to manage and solve their customer problems or give them support. You can also call it a trouble ticket system, support ticket, request management or incident ticket system. There are two different support levels: firstly, the service area, which is responsible for external customers (consumers or companies), and secondly, support teams, the internal clients, i.e. employees, look after. However, both variants follow the same basic concept: They organize and automate problem-solving processes using a tracking system and increase the efficiency of the support.

      • 6 Open-Source AI Frameworks You Should Know About

        With the trend towards predictive analytics, machine learning and other data sciences already underway, marketers need to start paying attention to how they can leverage these techniques to form a more data-driven marketing strategy. With this in mind, we’ve asked AI industry experts why marketing leaders need to start considering AI, and some of the best open-source AI frameworks to keep tabs on.

      • Graphics

        • Unigine Community Edition Offers Engine For Free To Non-Commercial/Academic Projects

          Unigine Corp has announced a new “Community” edition of their visually stunning, cross-platform game/simulation engine that will be available to non-commercial projects and academic entities.

          Unigine 2 Community is available for free for non-commercial/academic users. This is great to see with the engine long being Linux-friendly and among the most visually stunning engines albeit a long overdue move when there is the likes of Unity and Unreal Engine becoming more accessible to the masses and also increasing competition by the open-source Godot engine.

        • Blender open source 3D modeling tool to receive VR support via OpenXR

          The next version of the open source 3D modelling software Blender being released late next month as version 2.83 will include a number of new features, tweaks and enhancements including the addition of VR support via OpenXR. Check out the official announcement video below to learn more about what you can expect from the new additions like VR, OpenVDB Volume object type, Disk Cache in Video Sequencer, and more. To learn more about Blender and to join its community jump over to the official website.

          “Blender.Today LIVE is a show hosted by Pablo Vazquez highlighting the latest news on Blender, the community, and answering all your questions.”

        • Open-source Modeling & Animation Tool ‘Blender’ to Get VR Support via OpenXR

          Blender, a popular free open-source modeling and animation tool, is soon to get VR support via the OpenXR API. Initially users will be able to step into their 3D scenes to see them up close and at scale, with new features expected in the future.

          The next version of Blender, version 2.83 planned for release in late-may, will include a first wave of VR support, the company recently announced. VR support is being added via the OpenXR API, which will allow the software to interface with any headset supporting OpenXR (which has wide support in the VR industry, though is still in the early process rolling out to individual headsets).

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Karl Dubost: Week notes – 2020 w14 – worklog – Human Core Dump

            I worked as normal and until Tuesday evening, April 1st, 2020 and in the early hours of Wednesday, April 3rd, 2020, I had an erratic heart incident that I thought was a stroke, but was probably an epilepsy. Fast forward. The body has been repaired I passed all the details of brain surgery. I will be probably slowly coming back into actions gradually. Thanks to the full webcompat team for the love and support and Mike Taylor for being always so human.

      • SaaS/Back End/Databases

        • Encrypting Distributed Databases With Provable Security

          Provable security is a methodology developed by cryptographers that formally analyzes the security of a system with respect to specific security definitions and against a particular adversary. Since a system is only as secure as the definition under which it’s analyzed, the definition must be a reasonable one that models the real world precisely. Despite their advantages, distributed systems are considerably more complicated to model than non-distributed ones. Just a few of their challenges include new failure modes, the complexity of the distributed state, and the intricacies of interactions between heterogeneous components. All of these need to be correctly captured by the security definitions.

          My research addresses the privacy concerns of large distributed storage systems by showing how to safely integrate end-to-end encryption in them. I work on two of the major elements of these systems: [...]

      • Funding

        • European funding available for interesting development projects

          The NGI POINTER program, funded by the European Commission, is looking for interesting development project to support. It’s objective is “to support promising bottom-up projects that are able to build, on top of state-of-the-art research, scalable protocols and tools to assist in the practical transition or migration to new or updated technologies, whilst keeping European Values at the core.” The application period is open; there must be no end of interesting projects in the free-software space that would fit within this program’s parameters. (Thanks to Thorsten Leemhuis).

      • Programming/Development

        • IBM helping states connect with COBOL skills during COVID-19 global pandemic

          During the COVID-19 global pandemic, some states are processing a record number of unemployment claims. Some also need additional programming skills to make changes to COBOL, a language still being actively used today. Changes are required to address new parameters in unemployment payment eligibility — in a very short timeframe. We’re working closely with these clients to respond to their needs and find solutions to the challenges they face.

        • Git turns 15, and becomes even more important for distributed development

          “Every company is a software company!” is the new platitude as companies seek to transform themselves. But buried in that statement is an equally true, and much more interesting observation: Every company is also increasingly dependent on and driven by Git, the distributed version control system developed by Linux creator Linus Torvalds 15 years ago.

          Git wasn’t the first version control system for software, but it’s had a profound impact on how all organizations build and, increasingly, operate software. To better understand why and how Git has changed the way all organizations build software, I talked with Brendan O’Leary, senior developer evangelist at GitLab.

        • Git Becomes 15: Q&A with GitHub and GitLab

          On April 7, 2005, exactly 15 years ago, Git reached a sufficient maturity state to be self-hosting, meaning Git itself could be used to commit a part of its code. Today, Git has become one of the most widely adopted development tools and has changed the way developers manage their code. InfoQ has taken the chance to talk about Git’s significance with GitHub’s distinguished software engineer Jeff King and GitLab’s senior developer evangelist Brendan O’Leary.

        • Crunch your way through morning meetings
        • Wanted urgently: People who know a half century-old computer language so states can process unemployment claims

          Connecticut has also admitted that it’s struggling to process the large volume of unemployment claims with its “40-year-old system comprised of a COBOL mainframe and four other separate systems.” The state is working to develop a new benefits system with Maine, Rhode Island, Mississippi and Oklahoma. But the system won’t be finished before next year.

        • The Greatest Asset to Open Source is Community

          Given today’s modern society and its growing desire for more transparency – perhaps largely in response to the big data ecosystem – coupled with the hypercompetitive business landscape and its demand for innovation, it’s no surprise that open source technology is not only booming but drawing the attention of consumers, corporations, and governments.

          According to Hightower, we’re seeing the benefits of open source right now in proving the point that it is simply not possible for proprietary vendors with “closed limited resources and ideas can never compete with something that is open to the world – and the world contributing.”

          Free-flowing, collaborative, and creative environments, such as that of the open source community, embolden businesses to push beyond perceived limitations to get ahead of the competition.

        • Python

          • Introduction to Building Custom Apache Airflow Operators

            If you work in data engineering, then the chance are high that you are using or have used Apache Airflow.

            This orchestration tool has become a firm favourite of many organisations. It was chosen by Google when they were looking at an orchestration tool to include in their cloud offering Google Cloud Composer.

            Airflow comes with a ton of operators out of the box and even more community supplied ones. However, chances are that at some point you might think “it would be really great if I could have my own operator to do X”.

            This post is to help give you a starting point for building you own custom Airflow operators in a structured and scalable way via Airflow plugins.

          • Using Python to Check for File Changes in Excel

            Data exchange in healthcare is … harder than it needs to be. Not all partners in the healthcare arena understand and use technology to its fullest benefit.

            Take for example several health plans which want data reported to them for CMS (Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) regulations. They will ask their ‘delegated’ groups to fill out an excel file. As in, they expect you will actually fill out an excel file, either by manually entering the data OR by potentially copying and pasting your data into their excel file.

            They will also, quite frequently, change their mind on what they want AND the order in which they want the data to appear in their excel file. But there’s no change log to tell you what (if anything has changed). All that you will get is an email which states, “Here’s the new template to be used for report XYZ” … even if this ‘new’ report is the same as the last one that was sent.

          • Algo Trading 101: Building Your First Stock Trading Bot in Python

            It can be overwhelming for a new Python developer to get started with algorithmic trading. I would know because I have been there too! When I began my algo trading journey back in 2017, I had the oppurtunity to fly out to NYC and attend QuantCon, a convention run by one of the largest algo trading funds on the planet: Quantopian. I went to a dozen talks by some of the best quants (short for quantitatives, aka the people doing math and writing strategies for algo funds.) This journey taught me a lot but also left me with a lot of questions: How do I write a bot that can trade stocks? What strategies can I use to be profitable? Trading stocks with an algorithm is no walk in the park. So in this article let’s break down the core components of how you build an algo trader.

  • Leftovers

    • Corporations Not Happy Innovators Have ‘Hacked’ The Crappy U.S. Binding Arbitration System

      For years, AT&T worked tirelessly to erode its customers’ legal rights, using mouse print in its terms of service preventing consumers from participating in lawsuits against the company. Instead, customers were forced into binding arbitration, where arbitrators chosen and paid by the companies under fire unsurprisingly rule in favor of the party likely to hire them again a huge percentage of the time. Initially, the lower courts derided this anti-consumer behavior for what it was, critics highlighting that however brutally flawed the class action system can be, binding arbitration, at least the way we let companies design it, in many ways made things worse.

    • Is. This. It?

      One way to intro this piece is to mention the funeral home next door to my building.

    • Ottawa Should Produce Vital Products—Like It Did in the Second World War

      In recent decades, Canada has increasingly bought into an ideology that celebrates the marketplace and denigrates government.

    • The Delicious Language of Hilary Mantel

      Fellow and sister Counterpunchers, perhaps we need to have a few laughs and delight in something beautiful like a well-crafted sentence. I once thought to myself, “My life will be fulfilled if I can write one or two totally beautiful sentences that could skip and dance into people’s hearts and make them smile. One of the world’s greatest prose maestros is the famous novelist Hilary Mantel. Wow! Can she write! Currently I am reading Bring Up the Bodies (2012) and when my wife asks me, “Michael, what century are you living in today? I cheerfully reply, “Today, dear, I am in the 16th century and living in Henry the Eighth’s perilous court. If I’m not careful I will end up in the Tower.”

    • Mountain of Storms
    • “Normal” Insanity and Unpaid Hookers

      As we stumble through the darkness of the worst pandemic in over a hundred years and probably the greatest horror (so far) of our global lives, there are glimmers of light, even opportunities. Yes, Brothers and Sisters, there are diamonds in the dung, so to speak, fecal matter being another substance, besides those pathogen bearing “droplets,” in which the scrappy little “crown” prince of viruses apparently likes to lurk.

    • Novelty toilet roll cakes keep Finnish baker in business

      A quick-thinking Helsinki bakery has saved itself from financial ruin due to the new coronavirus pandemic by creating a cake that looks like a toilet roll.

      The dismayed staff at the Ronttosrouva bakery found all their orders cancelled last month, at the same time as panicked consumers began to hoard toilet roll. This sparked the idea of a toilet roll cake made of oat batter, passion fruit mousse and covered with white fondant.

    • Science

      • Stephanie Seneff: Blaming glyphosate in biofuels and e-cigs for COVID-19

        Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a field day for cranks, quacks, and conspiracy theorists. For instance, the most recent favorite conspiracy theory is that the worldwide rollout of 5G cellular technology was somehow responsible for the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus that’s responsible for the pandemic and/or causing people living near 5G towers to do more poorly. It’s utter nonsense, of course, but celebrities like Woody Harrelson say it’s true; so people believe it. Of course, it’s natural that conspiracy cranks would glom onto COVID-19 and somehow try to find a rationale, however tortured, evidence-free, or even utterly ridiculous, to combine their favorite conspiracy theory with COVID-19. That’s how we get 5G cranks blaming 5G for COVID-19 and antivaxxers blaming the influenza vaccine for the pandemic. I must admit a failure here, though. I did not foresee the sort of thing that I’m about to discuss. I should have, given that I’m an expert on and connoisseur of pseudoscientific conspiracy theories, but I didn’t. What am I talking about? Well, here’s Jennifer Margulis (an antivaxxer whom we’ve met before) invoking Stephanie Seneff (an antivaccine and anti-GMO crank whom we’ve also met before) to blame bad outcomes in COVID-19 patients on—surprise! surprise!—glyphosate. She calls it “connecting the dots.” I call it batshit nutty.

    • Health/Nutrition

      • In Absence of State Action, Organizers Help Homeless People During Pandemic

        Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, collectives sharing free food with the hungry were facing a sharp uptick in state repression.

      • Obama Takes Subtle Jab at Trump, Tells Mayors “Biggest Mistake” is to Misinform

        Former President Barack Obama, during a virtual conference call with U.S. mayors from across the country, seems to have made several subtle jabs toward current President Donald Trump while giving them advice on how to best combat the spread of coronavirus in their jurisdictions.

      • Manufacturers Refuse To Allow Hospitals To Fix Ventilators That Are The Last Hope For Many COVID-19 Patients

        F that the key people involved in dealing with it — including medical staff, scientists, and governments — are still struggling to find the resources to do so effectively. One key issue that has emerged is that there may not be enough ventilators to keep people with the most serious symptoms of COVID-19 alive. The fear is that doctors will have to make on-the-spot decisions about who has priority for the machines that are available — tantamount to deciding who will live, and who will die. The prospect of that terrible burden being placed on medics’ shoulders has led to a global scramble to obtain as many of these machines as possible so that there is a ventilator for everyone who needs one.

      • April Theses with 2020 Vision

        Welcome to the crisis which is not yet a catastrophe, to the pandemic which is not yet a plague, to the real which is not yet a desert.

      • COVID-19 is Manufactured Chaos

        In late December of last year, the Chinese announced an epidemic in Wuhan. The autocratic Chinese government should have made that outbreak known at least three weeks earlier.

      • The Pataphysics of Pandemic

        Pataphysics: the science of imaginary solutions

      • Health minister says Russia will begin focusing on clinical symptoms, not lab tests, to diagnose COVID-19

        In an interview with the state television channel Rossiya-1, Russian Health Minister Mikhail Murashko has signaled that the country is moving away from laboratory testing results in its handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

      • Solidarity in the Age of Coronavirus: What the Arabs Must Do

        While the Coronavirus continues to ravage almost every nation on earth, Arab countries remain unable, or unwilling, to formulate a collective strategy to help the poorest and most vulnerable Arabs survive the deadly virus and its economic fallout.

      • Chomsky and Pollin: To Heal From COVID-19, We Must Imagine a Different World

        The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) caught the world unprepared, and the economic, social and political consequences of the pandemic are expected to be dramatic, in spite of recent pledges by leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) major economies to inject $5 trillion into the global economy in order to spur economic recovery.

      • The Week We Should Not Forget for Our Own Sake

        Much happened this week and we can’t afford to ignore any of it. The events of the last seven days provide significant opportunities for civic action.

      • Pharmacy Workers Coming Down With COVID-19 Can’t Afford to Stop Working

        At his home in the Bronx, where he lies in bed with a fever, Jose Peralta keeps replaying the scene in his head. It was Monday, March 16, the start of an unusually hectic week at a Walgreens in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. Peralta, a senior pharmacy technician, was on his way to take a break when he noticed a familiar customer waiting in line to pick up medication.

      • Sanders and Jayapal Put Forth Bill to Provide No-Cost ‘Health Care for All During Pandemic’

        “We have got to work together to make sure that anyone in America who is sick—regardless of their income or immigration status—can seek the medical treatment they need during this national emergency.”

      • COVID-19 and Standardized Tests

        Mercedes Schneider, Ph.D., is an author, blogger, classroom teacher and researcher. Garn Press just published her fourth book, A Practical Guide to Digital Research: Getting the Facts and Rejecting the Lies. Mercedes blogs at Deutsch29 She and I conducted the e-interview below as the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc far and near in late March.

      • Moscow City Hall says health care system is ‘on the brink’ after pneumonia cases double in a week

        Moscow’s health system is “working on the brink,” Vice Mayor Anastasia Rakova said after the city’s coronavirus-caused pneumonia cases doubled from 2,600 to 5,500 in a week.

      • Why Did Our Permanent Emergency Government Fail to Face the Emergency?

        When history finally conducts an autopsy into this horrendous pandemic, the national security state that failed to protect us cannot emerge unscathed.

      • The American Funhouse

        Within the last few weeks, in conversations I have had with well-educated American friends about the progression and treatment of the Corona virus, I have heard more than one comment about how we needed to take into account the obviously dubious quality of the Italian Health care system when seeking to understand the matter, a sentiment that was echoed by Joe Biden in his March 15th debate with Bernie Sanders.

      • Cuban Medical Science in the Service of Humanity

        By 21 March, Cuba had sent healthcare professionals to 37 countries to collaborate in combating the pandemic. Italy received 53 Cuban medics who had previously worked in West Africa during the deadly Ebola outbreak of 2014. Cuba also stepped into the breach in mid-March when a cruise ship with over 600 mostly British passengers and a handful of Covid-19 cases were left stranded for a week after the US and neighbouring countries denied them permission to dock. Cuba let them in, treated the sick and assisted their transfer on to flights home. Thus, Cuba is taking a leading role in tackling this global pandemic. Just how can a small, Caribbean island, underdeveloped by centuries of colonialism and imperialism, and subject to punitive, extra-territorial sanctions by the United States for 60 years, have so much to offer the world?

      • Cuban Development of Biomedical High Technology

        As the United States and the nations of Europe experience the sad tragedy of an uncontrolled pandemic, they for the most part have not noticed the well-organized and coherent plan of the Cuban government against Covid-19, being carried out with the determined and patriotic support of the people; nor the availability of a Cuban created drug that has been effective in treating the disease, for which, so far, forty-five nations have made requests; nor the presence of Cuban medical missions in eleven countries of the world to fight the pandemic, and still counting.

      • The Kremlin’s virus blocker Vladimir Putin’s spokesman was spotted wearing a pouch of chlorine dioxide on his lapel to ward off disease. After learning more about the product, he ditched it.

        The main active agent in “virus blockers” is chlorine dioxide, which is used in the pulp and paper industry as a bleaching solution and disinfectant. Chlorine dioxide is also a poisonous gas that can irritate the mucous membranes and cause coughing. Last year, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned consumers not to buy or consume any “miracle mineral solution” products containing chlorine dioxide, which are often marketed on social media as a remedy for autism, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and flu. “The solution, when mixed, develops into a dangerous bleach that has caused serious and potentially life-threatening side effects,” says the FDA.

      • The Real Russia. Today. Changing how Russia counts COVID-19 cases

        The spread of coronavirus has stranded more than 100 Russian nationals in Nepal. For the most part, these people are tourists on backpacking trips who hoped to climb to Everest Base Camp. Russia has no immediate plans to bring these citizens home and some are now running low on funds to pay for accommodations and food, without any idea when they might be allowed to leave. Meduza spoke to a handful of the Russians now stuck in Kathmandu.

      • With 1,786 new cases in the past day, Russia’s official coronavirus count hits 11,917 patients

        On the morning of April 10, Russian officials announced that the country has recorded 1,786 new coronavirus infections in the past day, bringing the nation’s total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases to 11,917 patients across 82 different regions. The latest infections were reported in 57 different regions, including Moscow (+1,124), the Moscow region (+182), the Komi Republic (+58), St. Petersburg (+35), Ulyanovsk (+34), and Nizhny Novgorod (+32).

      • COVID-19 Reaches U.S. Slaughterhouses

        Meat giant JBS USA Holdings closed its Souderton, Pennsylvania slaughter operation. Tyson Foods closed its Columbus Junction, Iowa pork slaughterhouse. Pennsylvania-based Empire Kosher Poultry temporarily closed its doors and Sanderson Farms asked employees at its Moultrie, GA slaughter operation to stay home. COVID-19 has hit U.S. slaughterhouses big time.

      • Wet Markets and Wild Longings

        It’s early April ― peak lockdown in the United States ― and Anthony Fauci is chastising China over wet markets. “It just boggles my mind,” Dr. Fauci said, “when we have so many diseases that emanate out of that unusual human-animal interface that we don’t just shut it down.”

      • The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel: Coronavirus and the British Establishment

        I do not wish Boris Johnson to die. I only wish him to suffer.

      • As Small Businesses in US Face Coronavirus Doomsday, Big Insurers Say: We Can’t Save You. We Won’t Save You.

        “We may not have a Main Street left if we don’t take immediate action.”

      • Mike Elk on Frontline Worker Rights, Joe Emersberger on Pandemic Sanctions

        This week on CounterSpin: Elite US media would have you know they celebrate and appreciate frontline workers. But what happens when those workers try and speak for themselves, try to get past the “hero” label and demand conditions that don’t require them to choose, heroically, between going to work and staying safe and healthy? What would it look like to call corporate media’s bluff on their sudden, serious respect for working people who didn’t start being important because there’s a contagious disease going around? We’ll talk about action for workers rights with Mike Elk, senior labor reporter and founder of Payday Report.

      • Rationing Protective Gear Means Checking on Coronavirus Patients Less Often. This Can Be Deadly.

        Every morning, between 7 and 8, at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in Queens, several coronavirus patients are pronounced dead.

        It’s not that more people die at the beginning of the day, according to two medical providers at the hospital. But as a new shift arrives, doctors and nurses find patients who have died in the hours before and went undetected by a thin overnight staff.

      • Coronavirus Tests Are Being Fast-Tracked by the FDA, but It’s Unclear How Accurate They Are.

        Kendra Boroff believes she contracted the coronavirus on her 71st birthday, Feb. 20, when her family went out for a celebratory dinner, perhaps from their waiter, who was coughing into his elbow. Four days later, she developed a fever and a raging sore throat.

        “You feel like you’re suffocating,” recalled Boroff, a real estate agent in Maineville, Ohio. “You cough and breathe with the top fourth or maybe less of your chest, because everything else is in a vise.”

      • He Spent $500,000 to Buy Coronavirus Tests. Health Officials Say They’re Unreliable.

        When thousands of rapid COVID-19 tests were delivered to the South Texas city of Laredo late last month, it looked as if a visiting dignitary had arrived. With lights flashing and sirens blaring, Webb County sheriff’s deputies escorted a red tractor-trailer carrying the tests to a local emergency room, whose owner had purchased them from a Chinese manufacturer.

        Longtime Laredo Congressman Henry Cuellar, who helped facilitate the arrival of the tests, smiled broadly as he carried boxes of them inside the clinic. Believing the tests would detect an active infection, Laredo leaders hustled to set up a drive-through testing site to welcome anxious residents the following morning.

      • Two-thirds of Russian regions weaken measures against COVID-19

        As of April 9, 56 of Russia’s more than 80 regions had decreased the severity of the measures they are taking to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, TASS reported.

      • Quarantined hospital in Ufa, Russia, sees 170 patients and staff test positive for COVID-19

        More than 1,000 patients and medical workers are currently quarantined in Ufa’s Kuvatov Republican Clinical Hospital. On April 10, regional Health minister Maxim Zabelin announced that 170 of them have tested positive for the new coronavirus, while the rest have tested negative. Zabelin emphasized that another round of tests will be conducted to verify those results.

      • Is America a Backward Nation? South Korea has US Equivalent of 1,311 Coronavirus Deaths as We Hit 16,000

        The US is increasingly like a Third World country, with an isolated, coddled class of super-wealthy at the top, a crumbling scientific infrastructure, and a wasteland of plastic strip malls and 2 dollar an hour wait staff.

      • Dr. Fauci says Americans should never shake hands again due to coronavirus

        Americans should avoid shaking hands — “ever” again — in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, according to the top doctor on the White House’s task force battling the deadly bug.

        Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a Tuesday Wall Street Journal podcast that once the country begins to loosen lockdown restrictions, Americans should proceed with caution.

        “When you gradually come back, you don’t jump into it with both feet,” the doctor told podcast host Kate Linebaugh. “You say, what are the things you could still do and still approach normal? One of them is absolute compulsive hand-washing. The other is you don’t ever shake anybody’s hands.”

        Waltraud Grubitzsch/DPA via ZUMA
        “I don’t think we should ever shake hands ever again, to be honest with you,” he added later. “Not only would it be good to prevent coronavirus disease; it probably would decrease instances of influenza dramatically in this country.”

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Jordan calls for Oversight to stop conducting business via Zoom

          “Given the concerns surrounding Zoom’s security, it is clear Zoom is not an appropriate platform for Committee business, which may be particularly sensitive during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please immediately suspend any current or future use of Zoom systems for official committee activities and take immediate steps to evaluate the Committee’s internal cybersecurity preparedness to prevent hackers from accessing sensitive committee information through the Zoom platform,” Jordan wrote.

        • Pseudo-Open Source

          • Openwashing

            • Sandboxie is now an open source tool!

              We are thrilled to give the code to the community. The Sandboxie tool has been built on many years of highly-skilled developer work and is an example of how to integrate with Windows at a very low level.

            • Boffins create open source AI object detector [Ed: Microsoft does mass surveillance in oppressive countries and then engages in openwashing of it (and hires Eric Holder for lobbying)]

              A team of Microsoft and Huazhong University researchers have open-sourced an AI object detector — Fair Multi-Object Tracking (FairMOT).

            • What can Linux and Mozilla teach ICER about how to do drug value assessments?

              The Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) measures the value of new drugs and health technologies, but faces a number of key challenges such as keeping their assessments up to date with new evidence, allowing for different perspectives on treatment value, and incorporating diverse patient preferences. To address these issues, ICER should follow the lead of the tech industry and start building open source models to measure treatment value.

              ICER’s goal is to evaluate “the clinical and economic value of prescription drugs, medical tests, and other healthcare and healthcare delivery innovation”. These value assessments are then turned into value-based price recommendations.

              ICER arrives at these recommendations through a 33-week review process in which a value-based price is recommended and a panel of experts votes on the relative clinical and economic merits of new drugs. ICER’s price recommendations have been used by organisations such as CVS and the Veterans Affairs.

            • Monolithic Power : MPS Created an Open-Source Ventilator to Battle COVID-19

              Monolithic Power Systems, Inc. (MPS) (Nasdaq: MPWR), a leading company in high-performance power solutions, today announced it has assembled an emergency ventilator inspired by the open-source MIT design to aid in the fight against COVID-19. MPS is applying its expertise in power management and motor controls toward a solution that can safely and easily automate a manual resuscitator when a full ICU ventilator may not be available. Watch the video for more info: https://www.monolithicpower.com/en/mps-open-source-ventilator.

          • Privatisation/Privateering

            • Linux Foundation

              • SeL4 developers create open source foundation to enable safer
              • Australian open source project to expand global reach

                The Australian open source seL4 microkernel project is set to expand its global reach after receiving support from the Linux Foundation.

                As the world’s first microkernel to be proven secure mathematically, seL4, developed by Data61, the digital specialist arm of Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIRO), is already being used in defence systems and autonomous vehicles.

                To fund and drive the future development of the microkernel, Data61 has formed the seL4 Foundation under the auspices of the Linux Foundation, which will provide expertise and services to increase community engagement, contributors and adopters.

                “The project is a game changer for safety- or security-critical systems; it forms a dependable base for building a trustworthy software stack,” said June Andronick, leader of trustworthy systems at Data61. “We are taking this step to increase participation from the seL4 community, to aid further adoption and provide a sustainable, long-term trajectory for seL4.”

              • Data61, Linux Foundation launch seL4 open source foundation

                The Linux Foundation is set to host a new global not-for-profit foundation established by the CSIRO’s Data61 to promote and fund the development of its security-focused microkernel, seL4.

                The secure embedded L4 (seL4) microkernel was developed by Data61 to provide a reliable, secure, fast and verified base for building trustworthy operating systems that handle sensitive information. It has been deployed in defence and aerospace settings.

              • Changing of the guard at Cloud Foundry: CTO made executive director, VMware veep becomes chairman of the board

                The previous exec director, Abby Kearns, had been in the role since November 2016. She has accepted an “executive role elsewhere,” according to the announcement.

              • Cloud Foundry Foundation executive director Abby Kearns steps down to pursue a new executive role elsewhere

                The Cloud Foundry Foundation (CFF), the home of the Cloud Foundry open-source developer platform, today announced that its executive director Abby Kearns is stepping down from her role to pursue an executive role elsewhere.

                If you’ve followed the development of the CFF for a while, it won’t come as a surprise that its current CTO, Chip Childers, is stepping into the executive director role. For the last few years, Kearns and Childers shared duties hosting the foundation’s bi-annual conferences and were essentially the public faces of the organization.

              • Fintech Open Source Foundation joins Linux Foundation

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open collaboration, and the Fintech Open Source Foundation (FINOS), a nonprofit whose mission is to accelerate adoption of open source software, standards and best practices in financial services, today announced that FINOS will become a Linux Foundation organization.

              • Urban Computing Foundation to Host the Mapzen Project

                The Urban Computing Foundation (UCF), a forum for developers to collaborate on and build a common set of open source tools connecting cities, autonomous vehicles and smart infrastructure, today announced the popular mapping platform Mapzen will be hosted and governed by UCF.

                Mapzen was originally created in 2013 and became a Linux Foundation project in January 2019. As a UCF project, it will more directly impact and accelerate the widespread adoption of open source urban computing and support the surrounding ecosystem. It joins existing UCF project Kepler.gl, an open source geospatial analysis tool created to build large-scale data sets.

              • Mapzen Project Adopted by Urban Computing Foundation

                Proponents of open source tools for government can be reassured that Mapzen, a mapping platform comprising half a dozen projects under license at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has a new home with developers at the Urban Computing Foundation.

                Launched as a company in 2013, the Mapzen platform has been in a state of flux for the past few years. The company shut down in February 2018 until the Linux Foundation, an open source advocate, took it on a year later. The foundation’s vice president of strategic programs, Mike Dolan, told Government Technology at the time that they were interested in Mapzen in part because much of its user base — more than 70,000 people — kept using the platform even after it was shut down.

              • Linux Foundation, LF Networking, And LF Edge Announce Rescheduled Dates And Full Agenda For Open Networking & Edge Summit North America 2020

                The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization enabling mass innovation through open source, along with co-hosts LF Networking, the umbrella organization fostering collaboration and innovation across the entire open networking stack, and LF Edge, the umbrella organization building an open source framework for the edge, announced today the rescheduled event dates for Open Networking & Edge Summit North America (ONES, formerly Open Networking Summit) and the complete session line-up.

              • /C O R R E C T I O N — The Linux Foundation/

                In the news release, Linux Foundation, LF Networking, and LF Edge Announce Rescheduled Dates and Full Agenda for Open Networking & Edge Summit North America 2020, issued 09-Apr-2020 by The Linux Foundation over PR Newswire, we are advised by the company that the dates for ONES North America 2020 should be September 28-29 rather than September 28-30 as originally issued inadvertently. T

          • Entrapment (Microsoft GitHub)

            • Microsoft-Led KEDA Project Served Into CNCF

              The Cloud Native Computing Foundation (CNCF) adopted the Kubernetes-based event-driven autoscaling (KEDA) platform that was developed by Microsoft and Red Hat as a “Sandbox” project within the open source organization. The move adds another serverless-focused component under CNCF’s purview.

              The KEDA platform, which was unveiled last year, tackles the eventing and autoscaling challenges of running serverless applications in a Kubernetes-orchestrated container environment. This is essentially to use a serverless event to activate and scale a Kubernetes deployment based on need.

        • Security

          • FTC The Latest To Discover ‘Smart’ Locks Are Dumb, Easily Compromised

            Like most internet of broken things products, we’ve noted how “smart” door locks often aren’t all that smart. More than a few times we’ve written about smart lock consumers getting locked out of their own homes without much recourse. Other times we’ve noted how the devices simply aren’t that secure, with one study finding that 12 of 16 smart locks they tested could be relatively easily hacked thanks to flimsy security standards, something that’s the primary feature of many internet of broken things devices.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • Homage to a 21st Century Luddite

              Social distancing has been a boom for electronic communication. Skype, Zoom, WhatsApp have replaced the face-to-face. Amazon has replaced the local bookstore. Scrolling on a Kindle screen has replaced turning pages. Tuning in to teleteaching has replaced sitting in the classroom. COVID-19 has forced us to use modern communication.

            • Moscow will require digital passes for residents to go outside after all

              A source within Moscow’s headquarters for the COVID-19 epidemic told Meduza that the city will soon introduce digital passes for most residents wishing to leave their homes. RBC simultaneously obtained the same information.

            • Why small businesses should buy VPN subscriptions for their employees

              The internet is an essential part of business nowadays for businesses small and large. While large businesses often utilize site to site VPNs as part of their cybersecurity plan, the conventional wisdom has often been that small businesses don’t need to protect the internet use of their employees – this is a dangerous mentality that needs to be changed.

            • The Challenge of Proximity Apps For COVID-19 Contact Tracing

              Around the world, a diverse and growing chorus is calling for the use of smartphone proximity technology to fight COVID-19. In particular, public health experts and others argue that smartphones could provide a solution to an urgent need for rapid, widespread contact tracing—that is, tracking who infected people come in contact with as they move through the world. Proponents of this approach point out that many people already own smartphones, which are frequently used to track users’ movements and interactions in the physical world.

              But it is not a given that smartphone tracking will solve this problem, and the risks it poses to individual privacy and civil liberties are considerable. Location tracking—using GPS and cell site information, for example—is not suited to contact tracing because it will not reliably reveal the close physical interactions that experts say are likely to spread the disease. Instead, developers are rapidly coalescing around applications for proximity tracing, which measures Bluetooth signal strength to determine whether two smartphones were close enough together for their users to transmit the virus. In this approach, if one of the users becomes infected, others whose proximity has been logged by the app could find out, self-quarantine, and seek testing. Just today, Apple and Google announced joint application programming interfaces (APIs) using these principles that will be rolled out in iOS and Android in May. A number of similarly designed applications are now available or will launch soon.

            • Tracking coronavirus: big data and the challenge to privacy | Free to read

              When the World Health Organization launched a 2007 initiative to eliminate malaria on Zanzibar, it turned to an unusual source to track the spread of the disease between the island and mainland Africa: mobile phones sold by Tanzania’s telecoms groups including Vodafone, the UK mobile operator.

              Working together with researchers at Southampton university, Vodafone began compiling sets of location data from mobile phones in the areas where cases of the disease had been recorded.

              Mapping how populations move between locations has proved invaluable in tracking and responding to epidemics. The Zanzibar project has been replicated by academics across the continent to monitor other deadly diseases, including Ebola in west Africa.

              “Diseases don’t respect national borders,” says Andy Tatem, an epidemiologist at Southampton who has worked with Vodafone in Africa. “Understanding how diseases and pathogens flow through populations using mobile phone data is vital.”

            • Apple and Google are building a coronavirus tracking system into iOS and Android

              Apple and Google announced a system for tracking the spread of the new coronavirus, allowing users to share data through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmissions and approved apps from health organizations.

              The new system, which is laid out in a series of documents and white papers, would use short-range Bluetooth communications to establish a voluntary contact-tracing network, keeping extensive data on phones that have been in close proximity with each other. Official apps from public health authorities will get access to this data, and users who download them can report if they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19. The system will also alert people who download them to whether they were in close contact with an infected person.

            • Apple, Google Join Forces To Create Free Tools For Coronavirus Tracking

              Fortunately, the US government hasn’t decided (yet!) to opt everyone into some sort of tracking program to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. This doesn’t mean you can’t opt yourself into tracking to head off possible infections and/or gauge your risk level.

            • Apple, Google Bring Covid-19 Contact-Tracing to 3 Billion People

              The Silicon Valley rivals said on Friday that they are building the technology into their iOS and Android operating systems in two steps. In mid-May, the companies will add the ability for iPhones and Android phones to wirelessly exchange anonymous information via apps run by public health authorities. The companies will also release frameworks for public health apps to manage the functionality.

            • Exclusive: Inside Trump’s Failed Plan to Surveil the Canadian Border

              Stephanie Carvin, a professor of International Relations at Carleton University in Ottawa, expressed outrage at the proposal, telling The Nation, “Americans remember 9/11, but Canadians remember 9/12 because that was the day our border shut down…. The United States is 80 percent of our trade—it’s our oxygen. If it’s cut off, we can’t breathe.…

              “Militarization runs against almost everything institutional in Canadian foreign and domestic policy going back the last 20 years, and I don’t say that lightly.”

              The memo ties Covid-19 to border enforcement, [...]

            • 19 US Lawmakers Seek Information From Zoom Amid Scrutiny of Privacy Practices

              A group of 19 House lawmakers is requesting information from video conferencing platform Zoom amid scrutiny of the company’s privacy practices, as more Americans turn to the platform to facilitate the need to work from home.

              In a letter addressed to Zoom CEO Eric Yuan on April 3, the Democratic lawmakers from the House Committee on Energy and Commerce asked him to “shed light” on the company’s data collection practices, including information on attendee attention tracking, cloud recording, and automatic transcriptions of conferences.

            • Ten Requirements for the Evaluation of Contact Tracing Apps

              There is an increased interest in the security and privacy impacts of software used for slowing down the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic. In this article, we republish the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) recommendations for your information.

            • Cloudflare Axes Google reCAPTCHA Due to Privacy, Price

              Cloudflare is nixing Google’s reCAPTCHA tool and replacing it with what the network services company’s CEO calls “a better CAPTCHA” service, hCaptcha.

              Google’s reCAPTCHA is a type of CAPTCHA (an acronym for “Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart”) that uses prompts to decipher humans from potentially malicious machines or bots. Cloudflare said the main driver for the swap was that Google is now charging for use of its reCAPTCHA tool – but customer privacy and availability were other factors.

            • Confidentiality

              • Performing deception to OS Fingerprint (Part 1: nmap)

                How can you know which operating system is running on a specific remote host? The technique to answer this question corresponds to the fingerprinting of the operating system and is executed by sending a specific set of packages to the remote host and see how it behaves. Each operating system responds differently, which allows it to be identified.

                This will be a set of two diaries covering how nmap and p0f performs OS fingerprinting.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Trump’s Own Military “West Point Mafia”

        “Courage never quits”?: The price of power and West Point’s class of 1986.

      • UN Ceasefire Defines War As a Non-Essential Activity

        If we can give up war during a pandemic, why can’t we just give it up altogether? In which devastated country would you like the U.S. to start fighting and killing again when the pandemic is over? Afghanistan? Yemen? Somalia? Or would you prefer a brand new U.S. war against Iran, Venezuela or Ambazonia?

      • As US Consigns Iranians to Death, Corporate Media Look the Other Way

        The best way to comprehensively remedy the inordinate harm the Iran sanctions do, it seems, would be to lift the sanctions, but few in the corporate media are making this rather obvious point.

      • Trump, Our Grifter in Chief, Is a Global Menace

        Trump’s stunning abnegation of moral authority isn’t limited to his increasingly paranoid and inept coronavirus response. In the realm of international relations, the Trump administration has once again snubbed America’s allies. This time around, the issue is the Open Skies Treaty, a long-standing arrangement between the United States, its European allies, and Russia that allows reconnaissance flights from these countries to fly unimpeded over rival countries. The point is to reduce the likelihood that the United States or Russia will engage in an undetected military buildup that could destabilize an already precarious peace.

        Under cover of the pandemic, and to the horror of allied governments, which urged them to reconsider, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defense Mark Esper have reportedly decided to pull America out of the agreement this autumn. The unconstrained nationalism of the administration continues to flower, making the United States an increasingly destabilizing, irrational actor on the world stage.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Biggest technology acquisitions 2020

        CNN, which is owned by media giant Turner, is in the process of acquiring digital news service Canopy for an undisclosed amount.

      • Jerry Falwell Jr. Apparently Thinks It’s Criminal to Report on Liberty University

        Late last month, the New York Times and ProPublica published stories detailing Jerry Falwell Jr.’s decision to buck coronavirus advisories and restart some operations at Liberty University, even as the pandemic exploded across the U.S. and a number of Liberty students were sick with symptoms that suggested COVID-19. This week, the Trump-loving evangelical leader is attempting to exact his revenge. On Wednesday Falwell announced that campus police have reportedly issued arrest warrants for journalists from both outlets. Alec MacGillis, who wrote the ProPublica story, and Julia Rendleman, a freelance photographer who works for the Times, have both been charged with misdemeanor trespassing.

        The warrants themselves, however, appear to be somewhat flimsy. They have no connection to the Lynchburg, Virginia, police department, where the school is based, though they do cite the city’s general district court. Katie Townsend, the legal director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, said in a statement to Business Insider that the warrants “appear to be intended to harass journalists who were simply, and rightly, doing their jobs—reporting on the impact of Liberty University’s decision to partially reopen during a pandemic—and to intimidate other reporters from doing the same type of reporting”—a sort of mall-cop jurisprudence.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Will COVID-19 Spur a Peoples’ Bailout for the World’s Poorest?

        The question is whether COVID-19 will awaken us to the stark inequalities of our world, or does it simply represent a new cause of impoverishment for the vast swathes of humanity who have long been disregarded by the public’s conscience? 

      • Wall Street’s Banks Could Profit by Millions on Coronavirus Deaths of Employees

        If it sounds ghoulish, it’s because it is ghoulish.

      • Venture Capitalist Stuns CNBC by Saying We Should Let Hedge Funds Fail

        Venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya stunned CNBC anchor Scott Wapner and generated widespread applause on social media by declaring in a television interview Thursday that the U.S. government should let hedge funds and billionaire CEOs “get wiped out” by the coronavirus-induced economic collapse and instead focus its attention on rescuing Main Street.

      • Critics Decry ‘Massive Step in Wrong Direction’ as Big Banks Move to Buy Up Fracking Industry Assets With Coronavirus Bailout Funds

        “Taxpayers shouldn’t be required to backstop oil and gas companies that were already in trouble prior to the pandemic.”

      • New York Officials Caused More Deaths to Maintain the “Illusion of Education”

        New York City has become a global epicenter of the coronavirus, with more deaths from COVID-19 than all but six countries in the world. The city’s high density has undoubtedly played a role in the rapid spread, but so was the disastrous decision by local leaders to keep open a public school system of 1.1 million students and 135,000 workers until March 16, by which time untold numbers of students and educators, as well as their family members, had been infected.

      • Labor Unions and Small Business Advocates Applaud Jayapal’s Paycheck Guarantee Plan to Stave Off Economic Collapse

        “Mass unemployment is a policy choice,” the congresswoman said. “We can and should choose differently.”

      • Democratic Money and the New Corona Virus Economy

        Here in the United States, we don’t like to talk about class. The dominant metaphor projected by the media is the great big competition that we are all participating in as individuals (the meritocracy or free market). Within the competition, there are winners and losers. As independent competitors, most people don’t belong to a class. They are instead working hard not to become “losers” and struggling toward that elusive category of “winner.” Nevertheless, it is helpful to talk about class when discussing the economic system because as a matter of observable fact and applicable law, the economic system treats people very differently depending upon what class they are in. Indeed, at a very fundamental level, we have four separate economic systems in the United States; one for each of the four different economic classes. If the systems could be unified into one, then we could maybe say that we have a real free and fair market. But the blatant unfairness of the oligarchic money supply system makes that impossible. The recent economic response to the Corona Virus epidemic demonstrates this fundamental unfairness in easy to understand, black and white terms.

      • Last Chance to Save the Euro?

        After a faulty start to the coronavirus pandemic, the European Union members appear to be getting their act together, as they all appear to have abandoned ruinous slash-and-burn austerity policies (including budget cuts to health care, education and other social services) in order to cope with the onset of a global depression. At least that’s the consensus view, now that both the European Central Bank (ECB) and the European Commission (EC) have temporarily given up the fiscal rulebook and given eurozone members full rein to deploy all available government spending measures to address the pandemic and ultimately help the region’s economy to recover.

      • Locking Down Craft: Handmade, Hung Out to Dry in India

        “Come and see us,” she says. “We are all following orders. Sitting here, far from each other, wearing masks. I am grateful for these rations, but it will only feed my family for a few days. After that, I don’t know what we will do.”

      • ‘Unforgettable’ Footage of Endless Line of Cars at Food Banks a Stark Illustration of Coronavirus Crisis in US

        “It is outrageous that in the richest country in the history of the world, people are going hungry,” said Bernie Sanders, who called for more urgent relief from Congress.

      • ‘This Is a Bad Idea… Really Bad’: Bloomberg Data Strategy Firm Makes Bid to Run Biden Campaign

        “This would be a mistake of colossal proportions.”

      • Medical Staffing Companies Owned by Rich Investors Cut Doctor Pay and Now Want Bailout Money

        Medical staffing companies — some of which are owned by some of the country’s richest investors and have been cutting pay for doctors on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic — are seeking government bailout money.

        Private equity firms have increasingly bought up doctors’ practices that contract with hospitals to staff emergency rooms and other departments. These staffing companies say the coronavirus pandemic is, counterintuitively, bad for business because most everyone who isn’t critically ill with COVID-19 is avoiding the ER. The companies have responded with pay cuts, reduced hours and furloughs for doctors.

      • Disaster Capitalism and COVID-19: Flattening the Curve in Italy

        Once upon a time there was a monkey who was very fond of cherries. One day he saw a delicious-looking cherry, and came down from his tree to get it. But the fruit turned out to be in a clear glass bottle. After some experimentation, the monkey found that he could get hold of the cherry by putting his hand into the bottle by way of the neck. As soon as he had done so, he closed his hand over the cherry; but then he found that he could not withdraw his fist holding the cherry, because it was larger than the internal dimension of the neck. Now all this was deliberate, because the cherry in the bottle was a trap laid by a monkey-hunter who knew how monkeys think. The hunter, hearing the monkey’s whimperings, came along and the monkey tried to run away. But, because his hand was, as he thought, stuck in the bottle, he could not move fast enough to escape. But, as he thought, he still had hold of the cherry. The hunter picked him up. A moment later he tapped the monkey sharply on the elbow, making him suddenly relax his hold on the fruit. The monkey was free, but he was captured. The hunter had used the cherry and the bottle, but he still had them.

      • The White House Pushed FEMA To Give its Biggest Coronavirus Contract to a Company That Never Had to Bid

        Last month, as a deadly new virus swept over the globe, one Canadian defense contractor predicted on an earnings call that it would lead to a big business opportunity in the U.S. Thanks to the White House, that bet paid off just a few weeks later in a $96 million no-bid deal.

        In an unusual move, even in times of disaster, the White House stepped into the federal purchasing process, ordering the Federal Emergency Management Agency to award a contract to AirBoss of America. The Trump administration has rushed through hundreds of deals to address the pandemic without the usual oversight, more than $760 million reported as of this week, but the AirBoss transaction is the single largest no-bid purchase, a ProPublica analysis of federal purchasing data found.

      • Progressive Caucus Demands Pelosi Unveil Bold Coronavirus Package That Includes $2,000 Monthly Cash Payments, Vote-by-Mail

        “Our actions now can lay the foundation for a just and resilient recovery, but only if we recognize the scale of this unprecedented crisis and fashion a response that meets that scale.”

      • “Who Cares? Let ‘Em Get Wiped Out”: Stunning CNBC Anchor, Venture Capitalist Says Let Hedge Funds Fail and Save Main Street

        “A hedge fund that serves a bunch of billionaire family offices? Who cares? They don’t get to summer in the Hamptons? Who cares!”

      • Capitalism, the State Religion

        With Old Testament locusts and plagues re-emerging for the late capitalist era, one could be forgiven for imagining that an avenging God has been awakened. As the virus winds its way into the nooks and crannies of modernity, innocents are being sacrificed at the altar of ‘the economy’ while the lunatic circus in the New York – D.C. corridor prattles on about stock prices and miracle cures amidst the carnage. The ratio of Dow points to body count measures the distance from the outer ring to a precise location in hell.

      • Protecting taxpayers in a time of crisis

        At the state level, Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken aggressive action on the health care front but also has signed into law (or issued executive orders) designed to lessen the economic damage. While some of these policies are understandable under the circumstances, the interests of taxpayers and property owners do not seem to be getting the same level of concern as other interests.

        For example, the state has yet to announce any relief to property taxpayers in regard to the upcoming April 10th final deadline for their 2019-2020 property tax bills. Income taxpayers (state and federal) have been provided relief and renters and small businesses have also been provided protection against eviction. Homeowners are not insensitive to the needs of other segments of society, including the homeless who also have been given some emergency support because of the coronavirus. But homeowners, who are already under assault from a myriad of additional taxes, fees, charges and assessments on their property, appear to have been forgotten by our political leadership. (Adding insult to injury, Los Angeles County is also charging a 2.25% service fee for property tax payments made online while at the same time closing its doors and not allowing taxpayers to pay their property taxes in person.)

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • ‘More People Will Die’: Federal Judge Rejects Request to Release Inmates as Chicago Jail Emerges as Coronavirus Hotspot

        “Leaving people incarcerated in Cook County Jail during this public health crisis is effectively leaving them to die.”

      • Republicans Admit They Lose When Elections are Fair and Free

        Veteran journalist talks with Ratf**ked author David Daley, whose reporting and advocacy on gerrymandering and voting rights have fired up a generation of activists fighting for free and fair elections.

      • Chomsky on Trump’s Disastrous COVID-19 Response, Sanders and What Gives Him Hope

        How did the United States — the richest country in the world — become the worldwide epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, with one person dying of COVID-19 every 47 seconds? We spend the hour with Noam Chomsky, the world-renowned political dissident, linguist and author, discussing this unprecedented moment in history, and its political implications, as Senator Bernie Sanders announces he is suspending his campaign for the presidency. Chomsky also describes how frontline medical workers and progressive organizing are giving him hope.

      • When Harry Met Stalin

        Gorbals library, the first public lending library in Glasgow, started life in 1901. The etymology is uncertain; some claim the name Gorbals has its roots in Latin, others Gaelic, and there are several translations reaching back to medieval times, but the one I favour is ‘a garden of the town’. This former leper colony was never a garden, of course, not the kind associated with magnolias and camellias; historically, the Gorbals held occupancy in the popular imagination as a dark, terrifying place, home to thieves and cutthroats, and perhaps it was, but it was also a vibrant immigrant city within a city. It was home to those forced from their native land by the Famine and the Highland Clearances and to the dispossessed born into servitude and debt peonage, it was home to persecuted populations subjected to violent expulsions by barbaric regimes and rapacious landowners, both foreign and domestic, and it was home, even the adopted home, to some remarkable individuals who stood as ‘accusers of capitalism dripping with blood from head to foot’ – people who were imprisoned and brutalised over campaigns for social change and a life worth living.

      • Biden? Seriously?

        Donald Trump is a paradoxical creature. On the one hand, he resembles nothing so much as a dumbass teenage boy, and, on the other, a barfly, long in the tooth and good for nothing but mouthing off.

      • Orange King COVID

        Listen to Paul Street on this week’s edition of CounterPunch Radio.

      • Fire Everyone in the Government, Mr. Trump

        Fire everyone in the government, Mr. Trump.

      • Sanders’ Departure

        With the departure of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders from the Democratic nominating contest, the hapless U.S. voters are facing a most unfortunate choice. They can A) vote for an elderly, uninspiring, middle-of-the-road white male Zionist; B) re-elect the most unstable, erratic and dangerous president every to occupy the White House, or C) select a third-party candidate that has no possible chance of winning.

      • Another Sanders Betrayal

        As people come to grips with the announcement today that Bernie Sanders has suspended, i.e. dropped out of, his campaign, a myriad of collective feelings will have to run their inevitable course.

      • The SWP and Social Distancing: a Study in Abnormal Political Psychology

        In this photograph, dated March 15, 2020, you will see a group of mostly senior citizens defying the call for social distancing. Who could they be? Rightwing Christian evangelists? Libertarians standing up for liberty?

      • Progressives Have To Choose Whether or Not to Support Joe Biden

        Bernie Sanders is out of the race and with him goes the last chance for progressivism to take over the Democratic Party for a generation.

      • The Election Travesty in Wisconsin Is A Wake-up Call for the Nation

        It shows we need a doubling and tripling of our efforts to assure free and fair elections, with online registration, mail-in voting options, and safe in-person voting procedures across the country.

      • Trump Dismisses Calls for Nationwide Covid-19 Testing Before Reopening Economy: “Do You Need It? No.”

        “Totally wrong and is setting us up for a second wave of cases. If we hit a peak soon and open up too soon, the next peak will be worse.”

      • Thank You, Bernie Sanders. Screw You, New York Times.

        In the Times’ world, it’s apparently ok to bemoan a society and an economy that privileges the rich over the poor, but it’s unacceptable to run for the presidency on a promise to reverse those priorities. 

      • Thank you, Bernie. Screw You, New York Times.
      • Trump’s Push to Reopen Economy on May 1 Puts His Reelection Above Public Health

        President Trump is reportedly planning to issue a call to reopen the United States economy, even as a number of prominent health experts — including some on his own coronavirus task force team — are expressing alarm that a premature return to normalcy could create serious setbacks in the nation’s attempts to contain the virus.

      • Biden’s First Concessions to the Left Are Pathetic

        Joe Biden will need to win over the vast majority of Sanders supporters if he wants to defeat Trump. But his campaign’s first effort proves he’d rather risk losing than embrace even a fraction of the Sanders program.

      • Trump pushes false claims about mail-in vote fraud. Here are the facts.

        There’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the United States, according to numerous investigations and studies. The president’s own voter fraud investigatory committee disbanded without producing evidence of any systemic issues.

        But as the president repeatedly argues against expanding an already widely-used voting method, let’s take a look at some of his recent claims — that ballots are frequently falsified, that voting absentee is very different than voting by mail, that only Democratic-led states employ such a system — and the facts.

      • Experts: Internet voting isn’t ready for COVID-19 crisis

        The $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill (CARES Act) signed into law last week included $400 million of grants the Election Assistance Commission can give to states to help them “prevent, prepare for and respond to Coronavirus.” Earlier versions of the bill stipulated that the grants were conditional on states spending it on election security, but these provisions were later stripped out. States retain the autonomy to make the preparations they each deem necessary, as officials face the daunting task of upholding the most essential function of democracy in the midst of a health pandemic that constrains the movement and assembly of people in public spaces.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • ‘Free Speech’ Supporter Jerry Falwell Jr. Thinks It’s Criminal To Report On His Dumb And Dangerous Response To The Pandemic

        Jerry Falwell Jr., the nepotistic hire to be President of the religious extremist Liberty University, has long pretended to be an avid free speech supporter, especially on the campus for his University, where he has declared:

      • A Zionist Attack on Free Speech

        Anti-Semitism has been weaponized. That is, the Zionists, within and without Israel, are using the charge of anti-Semitism as a weapon to silence those who are critical of the Israeli state. In wielding this weapon, Zionist organizations and the media outlets they control or influence have released a flood of slander and libel. The charge of anti-Semitism is leveled at anyone who opposes Israel’s inherently racist policies and is supportive of Palestinian human rights. And, where the Zionists have sufficient political influence, as is the case in so much of the United States, they are making every effort to encourage laws that make criticism of Israel illegal because, they claim, it is ipso facto anti-Semitic. In this way, the weaponization of anti-Semitism maliciously defames individuals, corrupts legal systems and also threatens any reasonable notion of free speech.

        [...]

        The fact is that, in the U.S., libel is so difficult to demonstrate in both federal and most state courts that such suits are only rarely attempted. It is clear that in this case protecting an idealized principle of free speech has taken precedent over protecting the reputations and pubic standing of individuals.

        As it has turned out, this situation has given American Zionists a wide field to use the weaponized charge of anti-Semitism with near impunity. A good example of this has been the smear campaign waged against the Democratic Party’s presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, who is himself Jewish. Called an anti-Semite over and again, Sanders has relied on the American progressive community to defend him. There is no indication that either Sanders or his legal advisors have considered suing his defamers for libel.

      • Fear and Loathing In Coronaville Volume 3: Forced Social Media Distancing

        It has recently become abundantly clear that Facebook hates my fucking guts. I’ve suspected as much for a while now but this week it became pretty much undeniable. After posting my praise for the latest victories of the fabulous Houthi rebels, those faceless censors at America’s biggest social media juggernaut regretfully informed me that I had violated their pristine standards by supporting “dangerous individuals and organizations”, and since this was my third offense, they’re blocking me from posting on all their platforms for thirty days. They tossed another 7 days of forced isolation from instant messaging on the fire when I attempted to finish a comment on a friend’s post that I was in the middle of when they spanked me. Apparently, I’ve been a bad bad girl. Pappa Zuckerburg needs to send me to bed without supper thirty times in a row, all at the height of social distancing season with my clinical depression already in full bloom. I can’t even message my epileptic bestie back in plague-ravaged England to make sure she’s not ice cold on the kitchen floor of her girlfriends flat. And for what exactly? What the fuck even is a dangerous individual or organization?

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • Julian Assange Has Been Detained At Belmarsh Prison For One Year

        It has been one year since the United States government, with the support of the governments of Ecuador, Sweden, and the United Kingdom, dramatically escalated their political prosecution against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. On April 11, 2019, Assange was expelled from the Ecuador embassy in the U.K. British police arrested him and charged him with violating bail conditions when he sought asylum in 2012, but the arrest was also connected to an indictment and extradition request filed by the U.S. government.Video showed police carrying the body of a long-haired and bearded Assange, who was in clear distress. He begged the UK to resist President Donald Trump’s administration as officers loaded him into a van. Assange was taken to Her Majesty’s Belmarsh Prison, where he served a 50-week sentence for the bail charge imposed against him. He remains in jail, despite his deteriorating health, the way it inhibits his ability to work with his legal team on his extradition case, and the reality that the global coronavirus pandemic threatens the lives of every incarcerated or jailed person. Vaughan Smith, a friend who allowed Assange to live with him under house arrest in 2010, wrote on April 9 that Assange is “confined alone in a cell 23 and a half hours every day. He gets half an hour of exercise and that is in a yard crowded with other prisoners. With over 150 Belmarsh prison staff off work self-isolating, the prison is barely functioning.”

      • Freedom from Fear: John Pilger Discusses Coronavirus Propaganda, Imperialism, and Human Rights

        John Pilger is the world-renowned journalist and filmmaker. The author of several books and maker of over 60 documentaries (the latest being The Coming War on China and The Dirty War on the NHS), Pilger has won dozens of prestigious awards and has been honoured by several universities. I asked him about the coronavirus in the context of propaganda, imperialism, and human rights.

        People are being told to self-isolate because of coronavirus, but Julian Assange has been isolated by successive British governments for years. Can you tell us what’s going on with his case and how he was doing, last time you saw him?

        On 25th March, a London court refused Julian Assange bail even though he was convicted of nothing and charged with nothing in Britain. The Trump administration wants to extradite him on a concocted indictment of “espionage” — so ludicrous in law it should have been thrown out on the first day of the extradition hearing in February. It wasn’t thrown out because the magistrate, Vanessa Baraitser (she is described as a judge but is actually a magistrate) has made it clear she is acting on behalf of the British and US governments. Her bias has shocked those of us who have sat in courtrooms all over the world. At the bail hearing, she added cruelty to her repertoire. Julian was not allowed to attend, not even by video link; instead he sat alone in a cell. His barrister, Edward Fitzgerald QC, described how he was at risk of contracting coronavirus. He has a chronic lung condition and is in a prison with people who are likely to be carriers of the disease. The UK Prison Governors Association has warned “there will be deaths” unless the vulnerable are released. The Prison Officers Association agrees; the UN High Commissioner on Human Rights, the WHO, the Prison Advisory Service — all have said the virus is set to spread like wildfire through Britain’s congested, unsanitary prisons. Even Boris Johnson’s Justice Secretary, Robert Buckland, says, “The virus could take over the prisons … and put more lives at risk.” At the time of writing, nine prisoners have died from COVID-19 in British prisons, including one at Belmarsh: these are the numbers the authorities admit to; there are very likely more. Some vulnerable prisoners are to be released, but not Julian: not in the land of Magna Carta. How shaming.

      • Australian parliamentarians ask U.K. to release Julian Assange from prison amid coronavirus outbreak

        British officials were pressed Thursday to release WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange from a London prison where fellow inmates have recently contracted the novel coronavirus.

        A pair of politicians from Mr. Assange’s native Australia raised grave concerns about keeping him jailed during the coronavirus pandemic and proposed placing him in home detention.

        Rather than remaining at Belmarsh Prison, he should be freed and fitted with an ankle monitor, the co-chairs of the Australian Bring Julian Assange Home Parliamentary Group said.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • From the banya to death threats How a Pentecostal church became the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in Bryansk, Russia

        As of April 9, 97 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in Russia’s Bryansk region, according to the local government task force for the epidemic. That regional case count has nearly doubled in the last 24 hours, with 40 new cases recorded on April 8. All of the area’s patients are undergoing treatment in an isolated facility at Bryansk Regional Hospital No. 1. The COVID-19 task force reported that all 97 are in satisfactory condition and are receiving the care they need.

      • Postcard From Eastern Oregon: When Planting Food is Illegal

        Finisia Medrano, far right, with some of her wildtending friends in eastern Oregon, Summer 2019 [Photo by Gabe Crawford]

      • Walter Benjamin, the Jewish Question and Theses on the Philosophy of History

        Reading Hannah Arendt’s Introduction to Benjamin’s “Illuminations”

      • Women of Their Revolution

        After an uprising by the female staff, the February 6, 1970 issue of the New York underground newspaper Rat was completely written by women. The lead article was titled “Goodbye to All That” and harshly attacked individuals, groups and movements in the burgeoning counterculture and New Left. Some of its fiercest criticism was leveled at the women of the Weather Underground Organization WUO). The author of the article, Robin Morgan, equated the women of the WUO with Charlie Manson’s “slaves” and dismissed their identification with what she termed Weather’s macho violence. Other radical feminist groups echoed Morgan’s criticism, although some, like Boston’s Bread and Roses Collective, expressed support for certain elements of the WUO’s politics.

      • Absent in published interview: Moscow mayor’s reported comments about how Russia’s ‘budgets are cracking’

        Last last week, multiple news agencies reported on an interview with Sergey Sobyanin recorded by the state TV network Pervyi Kanal, where the Moscow mayor argued against cash stimulus handouts to the public during Russia’s coronavirus lockdown. Memorably, according to reports by the news agencies TASS and RIA Novosti, Sobyanin said, “The budgets are cracking — they won’t even be able to cover the healthcare system and so on.” When the interview finally aired and was published on YouTube and Pervyi Kanal’s website, however, this controversial remark was not included. The news outlet Open Russia was the first to notice this.

      • The Last Humans…Or Why ‘Revolutionaries’ Should Drop their Millenarianism and Support Survival International

        There are two types of ‘human being’ on the planet, but only one type can truly call itself human.

      • As the Virus Unleashes Violence, Women in War-torn Countries Organize

        We need a global plan to address the predictable rise in gender-based violence that COVID-19 is triggering.

      • Moscow announces a permit system to regulate movement within the city under lockdown

        Beginning Monday, April 13, Russia’s capital will gradually begin introducing a permit system to control movement throughout the city, according to an announcement by Mayor Sergey Sobyanin on Friday evening, April 10. “In the first stage, we will introduce [permits] for people commuting to work. In the second stage, it will apply to travel for other purposes. In the third stage, if necessary, it will be for movement within a city district,” Sobyanin explained in a recorded address. Andrey Vorobyov, the governor of the Moscow region, later announced similar measures.

      • ‘Let Us Go Forward Together’: In Campaign Farewell Video, Sanders Calls on Movement to Carry on Struggle for Vision That Lifts Up All People

        “Please stay in this fight with me.”

      • Strawberry Hampton Argues Reincarceration Was Retaliation For Reporting Sexual Abuse

        In July 2019, Strawberry Hampton made headlines upon being paroled after suing the Illinois Department of Corrections for sexual assault. But only four months later, she found herself in a cell similar to the one she fought to escape.

        Hampton claims her reincarceration at a so-called “men’s” county jail was part of a larger state-run retaliation campaign to silence and erase her from the spotlight she reclaimed after reporting repeated abuse, harassment, and re-traumatization from behind bars.

      • Coronavirus Hits Greek Refugee Camps; Thousands at Risk

        The World Health Organization recommends several courses of action to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, including regularly washing your hands, staying at home if you feel unwell, and practicing physical distancing by staying away from large groups of people. These measures have proven difficult to adhere to for many people living in the West. For the 110,000 people stuck in Greece’s refugee camps, including 40,000 on the Aegean islands close to Turkey, they are almost impossible to follow.

      • Symbols of Hate on the Road (and at Press Briefings)

        Driving in this State of Jefferson certainly can be an interesting experience. The other day I was on Interstate 5 when a pickup truck zoomed past me. He was in a hurry to get ahead of me so that he could slam on the brakes to slow down for the Cottonwood exit. As he slowed, I got a good look at the little individual additions to the pickup truck, which gives a glimpse into the beliefs and life of the driver.

      • Coronavirus – Time for an Amnesty for Illegal Immigrants

        My second podcast discusses some of the less considered effects of the coronavirus lockdown, and the need for an alternative to predatory capitalism in the aftermath. Again, just me chatting to you.

      • Sharing Our Common Culture in Uncommon Times

        We are in an unprecedented time. People are being told to stay home as much as possible. Some of us are lucky enough to have jobs that can be done remotely, schools are closed and kids are home, and healthcare, grocery, or other essential workers are looking for respite where they can safely find it. All of which means that, for now, for many of us, the Internet is not only our town square, but also our school, art gallery, museum, and library.

        Users around the U.S.—from individual creators to libraries to educators to community organizers—are rising to the challenge this presents by going online to share information, music, books, and art. High-profile examples include LeVar Burton telling stories to children and adults alike and the cast of Hamilton reuniting via a YouTube show. Musicians of all levels of fame are performing through a wide range of services and apps. Teachers are taking on the tremendous task of educating online, rapidly finding, developing and sharing resources so that their students don’t have to lose their place while they shelter in place. In response to the temporary closure of libraries around the US and abroad, the Internet Archive has created a National Emergency Library (NEL) that gives members of the public digital access to 1.5 million books, without charge. Universities, private companies, and nonprofits are pledging to make their intellectual property available free of charge as needed to fight the COVID pandemic and minimize its impacts.

      • The Coronavirus Pandemic, Like Other Global Catastrophes, Reveals the Limitations of Nationalism

        We live with a profound paradox.  Our lives are powerfully affected by worldwide economic, communications, transportation, food supply, and entertainment systems.  Yet we continue an outdated faith in the nation-state, with all the divisiveness, competition, and helplessness that faith produces when dealing with planetary problems.

      • No laughing matter Russian police have started prosecuting Internet users for spreading fake information about the coronavirus pandemic, even when it’s satire

        On April 7, Russia’s Investigative Committee opened a criminal case “on the basis of the dissemination of false information about coronavirus.” They opened the case under Article 207.1 of the Russian Criminal Code, which President Vladimir Putin signed into law on April 1, making the distribution of knowingly misleading or false information about coronavirus (or any situation posing a threat to public safety) a crime. The maximum punishment according to the law is three years in prison. In cases where a person dies as a result of false information, offenders face up to five years behind bars. 

      • Memoir: A Liberation Theology Stations of the Cross in Northeast Brazil

        Padre Andreas, a Jesuit priest from Spain, came on a radical mission to the impoverished hillside shantytown of Alto do Cruzeiro in the municipio of Timbauba, a sugarcane market town in Pernambuco Brazil. At the time, 1989, I was living on “the Alto” (the hill) with the rural workers, sugarcane cutters, and fishermen and women while writing my book Death Without Weeping: the Violence of Everyday Life in Brazil. As a dedicated liberation theologist Padre Andreas declined an invitation by the local elderly Monseigneur to sleep in the local rectory, which itself I can assure you was not so great. Instead, he spent each night in a different hovel of the Alto listening to the stories of the residents of the stigmatized community.

      • Howard League and Prison Reform Trust urge ministers to move further and faster to protect prisoners, staff and public from coronavirus

        The two leading prison reform groups in the country have today (Wednesday 8 April) written to the government again, urging ministers to move further and faster to reduce the prison population and avoid “an intolerable human cost in terms of the lives of both staff and prisoners”.

        It is the second time this month that the Howard League for Penal Reform and the Prison Reform Trust have written to the Secretary of State for Justice, Robert Buckland, about the outbreak of coronavirus in prisons in England and Wales.

    • Monopolies

      • Opening Up Information In A Pandemic, Rather Than Locking It Down: The Open COVID Pledge Is Important

        People who are actually engaged in real innovation know that the real breakthroughs and advancements don’t come from solitary geniuses having a eureka moment, but from the open sharing of information to bring in a variety of perspectives and to build upon the work of others. And yet, for years, some have drilled the myth of the lone inventor into people’s minds, along with the idea that we need to lock up ideas and knowledge to give those inventors “incentive.” Yet, if the true advancements come from people sharing and building on each other’s ideas, this is the exact wrong approach. Now in the midst of a massive global pandemic we’re seeing the ridiculous outcome of people trying to abuse or expand exclusivities — which most actual innovators know will hinder, rather than help.

      • Peru warned of potential ICSID claims over covid-19 measures

        Peruvian officials have warned that a proposed emergency measure suspending the collection of toll fees on the country’s road network in response to the outbreak of covid-19 could result in multiple ICSID claims.

      • Guest Post: Out of the Blue: The Federal Circuit Devises a New Rule for Color Marks

        The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has held that color marks on product packaging can be inherently distinctive. On April 8, 2020, the court issued its opinion in In re: Forney Industries, Inc. It stated that “a distinct color-based product packaging mark can indicate the source of the goods to a consumer, and, therefore, can be inherently distinctive.”

        Leaving aside the circularity of that statement—if it’s distinct it can be distinctive?—this holding lowers the bar for the acquisition of exclusive rights over colors. For the first time, color marks are instantly protectable (when used in commerce as a mark) and need not wait until they achieve secondary meaning, so long as they are used on packaging.

        Because this ruling comes from the Federal Circuit it controls the how the Trademark Office deals with applications for color marks. Companies that want to acquire exclusive rights in colors now have a blueprint for how get a registration quickly: apply for a product packaging mark. So companies like Christian Louboutin should make those shoeboxes red!

        The opinion was authored by Judge O’Malley joined by Dyk and Chen. The court reversed the TTAB, which had affirmed the trademark examining attorney’s refusal to register Forney’s mark.

        [...]

        Unfortunately, the Federal Circuit is not clear that that its new rule is limited to multi-color marks. It simply states: “we hold that color marks can be inherently distinctive when used on product packaging, depending upon the character of the color design;” and “a distinct color-based product packaging mark can indicate the source of the goods to a consumer, and, therefore, can be inherently distinctive.” Requiring a color mark to be “distinct” is not filling any gaps left open by Qualitex, which specifically sated that the green-gold color was distinct for dry cleaning press pads. If the court had in mind a particular kind of color mark, it missed a golden opportunity to say so.

        The rationale for both Qualitex and Wal-Mart was that, unlike product packaging, neither color nor product design prompt consumers to “equate the feature with the source.” Is there reason to believe that either multiple colors function more like product packaging than a single color, or that color on a product conveys something different than color on a package? If so, what do we make of the fact that Forney has been using its multi-color mark on packaging for more almost 30 years and yet chose to litigate in two different courts of appeal rather than simply demonstrating its secondary meaning?

      • PDOs/PGIs from France and Italy are amending their production specifications to cope with the lockdown

        Under EU law, temporary amendments to product specification are allowed by Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 and Regulation (EU) No 664/2014. Unlike regular modifications, they are not subject to any formal approval by the Commission due to their urgency. Such amendments need only be communicated by Member States to the Commission, together with the reasons for them, not later than two weeks following approval. France and Italy have now begun to adopt temporary amendments for affected PDOs/PGIs.

        The French PDO “Oignon de Roscoff” (Roscoff onion) has pushed forward the final date for the planting of seeds such that, in order to comply with the PDO specifications, the deadline for the planting period has been extended from 10 April to 20 April.

        Labor shortages have led to temporary amendments for the French PDO “Fourme de Montbrison”, a cow’s-milk cheese from Southern France. Previously, the storage of milk at the farm could not exceed 48 hours after the earliest milking. Beginning on 25 March 2020 and extending to two weeks after the lifting of the lockdown, the storage of milk on the farm for this cheese can be up to 60 hours.

      • Patents

        • Valeant Pharmaceuticals Int’l v. Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          The Federal Circuit held that the District Court’s disregard for the prior art on this basis was error, and found that Mylan had asserted a prima facie case of obviousness precluding summary judgment, citing In re Peterson, 315 F.3d 1325, 1329 (Fed. Cir. 2003) (citing In re Geisler, 116 F.3d 1465, 1469 (Fed. Cir. 1997)); In re Woodruff, 919 F.2d 1575, 1578 (CCPA 1990); and In re Malagari, 499 F.2d 1297, 1303 (CCPA 1974), in support of its decision to reverse. The opinion states that such a prima facie case exists when there is, as here, an overlap in ranges of a property or characteristic of a claimed composition.

          The Court recognized the underlying question of “whether prior art ranges for solutions of structurally and functionally similar compounds that overlap with a claimed range can establish a prima facie case of obviousness,” holding that “they can, and in this case, do.”

          [...]

          The Federal Circuit reversed the District Court on this argument as well, citing the eternal aphorism from KSR Int’l Co. v. Teleflex Inc., 550 U.S. 398, 421 (2007) that “[w]hen there is a design need or market pressure to solve a problem and there are a finite number of identified, predictable solutions, a person of ordinary skill has good reason to pursue the known options within his or her technical grasp.” For Judge Lourie and the panel, the “bounded range of pH 3 to [pH]4″ fell within the scope of the Supreme Court’s teachings as a “finite number” of pH values for the skilled artisan to try. While it may be a matter of math that there are an infinite number of numerical values between the numbers 3 and 4, as a practical matter the panel found that there was “no indication that pH is measured to any significant figure beyond two digits.” The panel also found there is no requirement in the law that a variable (to support an obvious-to-try determination) must be the first variable that the skilled artisan would consider. “Absolute predictability that the proposed pH range would yield the exact stability parameters in the claim is not required,” according to the opinion, and thus the District Court erred in granting summary judgment in the face of this argument as well.

          The case was sent back to the District Court for further action under the principles set forth in the opinion.

        • Attorney Fees Following Settlement

          Butterfield is a former employee of Keith Mfg. After leaving the company, Butterfield filed a patent application that eventually resulted in US9126520. The patent covers a mechanism for unloading trailers — which also happens to be the focus of Keith’s business. The lawsuit alleges various causes of actions, including trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract, invalidity, inventorship correction, etct.

          Butterfield issued a covenant-not-to-sue Keith on the patent; and the parties then settled the case. The lawsuit officially ended with the filing a stipulation of dismissal with prejudice pursuant to Rule 41(a)(1)(A)(ii) (voluntary dismissal without court order based upon agreement of the parties).

          The stipulated dismissal did not mention costs or attorney fees, and Butterfield subsequently moved for attorney fees under the Patent Laws (section 285) as well as FRCP 54(d) and Oregon state statute.

        • BASF Corp. v. SNF Holding Co. (Fed. Cir. 2020)

          In what may be simple happenstance, the Federal Circuit issued opinions on the same day reversing a District Court grant of summary judgment in opinions written by Judge Lourie, here in BASF Corp. v. SNF Holding Co.

          The case arose over BASF’s allegations of infringement by SNF of U.S. Patent No. 5,633,329. The technology relates to an improved method for preparing high-molecular-weight polymers produced by polymerization of “water-soluble, monoethylenically unsaturated monomers.” The art recognized a problem in making such polymers in that they are “sticky” and attach to the walls of the reaction vessel. Prior art solutions, acknowledged to be unsatisfactory, included mechanical “scraping,” inter alia, with a piston (which damaged the reactor walls), injecting a separating liquid (which contaminate the reactor), or injecting an inert gas (which is ineffective because it tended to blow through gaps between the polymer and the reactor wall).

          [...]

          In response to BASF filing a complaint against SNF, Defendant petitioned for inter partes review, which petition was granted but resulted in a Final Written Decision that the challenged claims were not unpatentable. Trial ensued and the District Court granted summary judgment that asserted claims 1 and 3-7 were invalid as being anticipated and claim 2 invalid for obviousness. The prior art applied by the District Court to these claims was a polymer synthesis process termed the Sanwet® Process that was earlier developed buy Sanyo Chemical Industries in Japan. Sanyo entered into an agreement with Celanese to produce polymers using the Sanwet® Process prior to the critical date under the terms of a confidentiality agreement (i.e., the process could not be publicly disclosed until a time after the critical date).

        • Mannheim Regional Court stays Nokia v. Daimler case over likely invalid patent — and two Munich trials have been vacated due to corona

          After losing a case against ViewSonic earlier this decade and its first case against Daimler two months ago, Nokia has just suffered another de facto defeat as it felt forced to stipulate to a stay of case 2 O 36/19 over EP2145404 on a “method and apparatus for providing control channels for broadcast and paging services,” which was originally scheduled to go to trial on March 17.

          Presiding Judge Dr. Holger Kircher stayed the case–with Nokia’s consent–pending the Federal Patent Court’s adjudication of nullity actions (complaints seeking the invalidation of the patent) by Daimler and an intervening supplier, TomTom. Those proceedings before the Federal Patent Court typically take years, and the vast majority of patents in this area are either declared invalid in their entirety or they end up being narrowed. A narrowing of the claim scope has the potential to render a declared-essential patent clearly non-essential.

          It’s constructive of a patentee to stipulate to a stay after the court has indicated a strong inclination to order a forcible stay in the alternative. It simply conserves court resources as a stipulated stay doesn’t require a written rationale. Still, it’s a concession that a patent was weak in the first place.

          Originally, it looked like the period between December 2019 and May 2020 was going to be an extremely busy one for the Nokia v. Daimler patent assertion campaign. But the combination of Daimler defending itself (with help from its intervenors) very well and that force majeure that starts with a “c” has so far prevented Nokia from getting leverage.

          [...]

          Nokia’s greed–they want Daimler and other car makers to pay a multiple of the per-unit royalty they get from smartphone makers–has given rise to this dispute, which now threatens to devalue Nokia’s SEP portfolio, with severe implications on Nokia’s current and future licensing negotiations.

        • Software Patents

          • They’re Alive: Federal Reserve Banks are “Persons” under the AIA

            Over the past couple of decades, some banks have been making efforts to appear more personal & humane. All that has come to fruition with the Federal Circuit’s decision in Bozeman Financial LLC v. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, et al. In its opinion the court explained that yes, the Federal Reserve is a person too — at least with regards to the right to file an inter partes review (IPR) or post grant review (PGR) petition.

            The AIA permits “a person who is not the owner of a patent” to petition for IPR/PGR requesting cancellation of a patent. In 2019, the Supreme Court took-up a case where the US Postal Service (USPS) had filed for review of a patent owned by Return Mail, Inc. Return Mail, Inc. v. U.S. Postal Serv., 139 S. Ct. 1853 (2018). In its decision, the Supreme Court held that the USPS is not a person under the statute. The court stuck to its “longstanding interpretive presumption” that Congress’s use of the term “person” does not “include the sovereign.”

            In the present case, the twelve Federal Reserve Banks jointly petitioned the USPTO to challenge Bozeman’s U.S. Patent Nos. 6,754,640 and 8,768,840. The PTAB complied and cancelled all of the claims — finding them ineligible under Section 101.

      • Trademarks


        • [Guest Post] Red Stripes for Ex-President

          On May 13, 2017, Mr. Poroshenko’s company decided to file an application for trademark protection for a red stripe while he was in office.

          [...]

          Indeed, brands seeking registration for stripes is nothing new. Adidas has tried dozens of time and in different jurisdictions to protect its famous logo. There has been a great deal of litigation involving this big company in connection with its three black stripes. To be fair, comparison of judicial reasoning with Adidas and Roshen is nothing new, as Mr. Illarion Tomarov – prominent Ukrainian IP lawyer – did in his blog here a comparison of the texts of the relevant decisions. Considering both his post and the two cases will reveal how the Adidas case of 19 June 2019 and case of our “Chocolate King” differ in terms of reasoning.

          We currently have two decisions from Urkpatent and one from the local court in Poroshenko’s case on one side and a decision of the General Court in Adidas’ case on the other. The biggest difference Mr. Tomarov identified is the approach toward evaluation of evidence – and I must admit that he is quite right. While 62% of the text of the Adidas case decision consists of evaluation of the evidence, such evaluation in Roshen’s case (both the institutional decisions and local court’s decision) consist of far less than 50% of the text. In fact, the local court used 12% of the text of the decision to address the admissibility of an expert’s opinion.

          This limited analysis by the court can fairly be attributed to the evidence on the record – there was hardly anything to analyze. The case itself solidly base upon two primary pieces of evidence: that expert’s opinion and a single survey. Apart from this expert opinion, which gives little support to applicant’s argument of distinctiveness anyway, the approach in reviewing survey evidence is quite different from that of the General Court. Adidas offered a broad variety of surveys starting from 1983 until 2011. The General Court found that only 18 of these were relevant, but even these were insufficient for court to rule in favor of Adidas.

      • Copyrights

        • “A girl has no name”: Does the decision in MCSN v COSON and 2 Others have any impact on copyright collective administration in Nigeria?

          Last month, the Nigerian Federal High Court delivered its judgment in the case of Musical Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd/Gte (MCSN) v Copyright Society of Nigeria Ltd/Gte (COSON) and 2 Others (FHC/L/CS/274/2010), directing the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and the Attorney-General of the Federation (AG) to take necessary steps to cancel/rescind the change of name of the 1st Defendant, COSON. The court also granted an injunction, restraining COSON from continuing to use its name, COSON. The crux of the case was that the Plaintiff, MCSN had applied to CAC to reserve the name, “Copyright Society of Nigeria” for incorporation and the CAC reserved the name solely for MCSN for 60 days. While the reservation was still valid, CAC approved an application from Performing and Mechanical Rights Society Ltd/Gte (PMRS) to change its name from PMRS to COSON, a name similar to the reserved “Copyright Society of Nigeria”.

          The Court took the view that by approving PMRS’s change of name to COSON while MCSN’s reservation was still valid, the 2nd and 3rd Defendants (i.e. CAC and AG) acted illegally and improperly. The reasoning of the court was that given the provisions of section 32 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2004 (CAMA) and the petition written by MCSN to the 2nd and 3rd Defendants challenging PMRS’s impending change of name, the CAC ought not to have approved PMRS’s change of name to COSON. Section 32 of CAMA provides that once a name is reserved, the CAC shall not permit the registration of any copy under the reserved name or a name, which in the opinion of the CAC bears too close a resemblance to the reserved name.

          [...]

          In May 2018, the NCC suspended COSON’s licence to operate as a CMO citing as its reason COSON’s refusal to comply with directives issued by the NCC. Subsequently, COSON’s licence to operate lapsed after the statutory 2-year period stipulated as the length of a CMO operating licence. COSON is yet to apply for renewal of the expired licence and therefore lacks the requisite approval to operate as CMO. Ironically, COSON has relied on two decisions of the Supreme Court in favour of MCSN in MCSN v Compact Disc and Adeokin v MCSN to argue that it can continue to operate as a CMO in so far as it is an owner, assignee and exclusive licence of rights validly given to it by copyright owners.

        • Meet Your Meme Lords

          For the past 20 years, a small team of archivists at the Library of Congress has been collecting the web, quietly and dutifully in its way. The initiative was born out of a desire to collect and preserve open-access materials from the web, especially U.S. government content around elections, which makes this the team’s busy season.

          But the project has turned into a sweeping catalog of [Internet] culture, defunct blogs, digital chat rooms, web comics, tweets and most other aspects of online life.

          “Suddenly, these new technologies and social media platforms come in, and these new types of ways people were communicating or sharing data online,” said Abbie Grotke, who leads the archiving team and has worked for the program since 2002, two years after its founding. “And we had to keep up with it all. There’s always something new the web is throwing at us.”

        • Happy Birthday, Statute of Anne

          Early in my legal career I had the opportunity to attend a conference in London organized to celebrate the launch of the Copyright History project. The goal of this project was to translate, annotate, analyze, and even just simply make available the original primary source documents that underpin our modern notions of copyright. It is an important enterprise because all too often we forget just how these historical documents actually do underpin it. History is often like playing a giant game of “telephone,” where meaning changes over time, and in the case of many of these documents our understanding of what they were telling us has also changed over time — and often become distorted. Having access to these original primary source documents means that we can recalibrate our understanding of what these policies actually were intended to do in order to ensure that our modern notions of copyright echo them properly.

        • Pirate Bay No Longer Uses Cloudflare, Visitors Sent to ‘Black Hole’

          The Pirate Bay is no longer using the services of Cloudflare. The whois record for the main ThePirateBay.org domain was updated a few hours ago and now points to the nameservers of EasyDNS, the registrar. At the same time, all traffic to the domain is being null routed, with the DNS pointing to 127.0.0.1.

        • Pirate Set-Top Box Seller Has Jail Sentence Overturned Due to Prosecution Error

          A man who was sentenced to three months in jail for selling piracy-configured set-top boxes will not be imprisoned following a successful appeal. The original prosecution, carried out privately on behalf of companies including the Premier League, relied on an earlier decision that was later overruled, resulting in a sentence that was “manifestly excessive.”

        • Court Dumps Almost All Of A New York Sax Player’s Lawsuit Against Fortnite Over Use Of His ‘Likeness’

          Last year, a New York saxophonist decided Fortnite was going to make him rich. He wasn’t going to livestream his gameplay or join the development team. Instead he, like far too many others, decided a Fortnite “emote” had ripped off something of his: his “likeness.”

Migration to New Environment Completed

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Patents, Site News at 11:18 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Keep calm and carry on

Stay /home ... Save disk space

Summary: Back on the saddle with the new work environment, we’ll probably become more productive again and we shall focus on patents, seeing that the attacks on GNU/Linux are largely the same as last year’s (leaders being canceled, organisations infiltrated and GNU/Linux subjected to E.E.E. tactics with a “love” slant)

THE LAPTOP bought back in 2009 (and used to write all the EPO articles) died over a week ago, sending us into a temporary state of chaos (hence delays) although no data was lost. The death was foreseen, backups made, and preparation done although it died somewhat prematurely (we expected it to reach its eleventh anniversary in September).

I’m almost fully settled with the new environment, I’m back to KDE, and spring has officially arrived (it feels like it, too). This weekend is a public holiday, though not many people feel that way (it has felt like a bizarre holiday for nearly a month now). My wife and I still have our jobs as we’ve worked remotely for over a decade and with the new environment in place I’m starting to become more productive again. I’m almost fully up to date w.r.t. news about the European Patent Office (EPO) and the time spared by not leaving the house can instead be used to produce more articles.

“I’m almost fully settled with the new environment, I’m back to KDE, and spring has officially arrived (it feels like it, too).”Our foremost focus remains software patents and 35 U.S.C. § 101. We strive to eliminate software patents worldwide, no matter what buzzwords Benoît Battistelli came up with and António Campinos constantly promotes.

When time permits we also prepare articles about GNU/Linux. One thing we won’t cover anymore, not even in Daily Links, is WSL. It’s not GNU/Linux news, it’s just Microsoft Windows news. It’s about selling Vista 10, which is technically malware. So-called ‘Linux’ news sites that write about WSL as if it’s positive news for GNU/Linux say a lot about themselves, not about WSL.

I am currently experimenting with not reading E-mail for several days at a time, i.e. the same way I treat notifications in social control media. It helps reduce mental clutter and potential distraction. So if readers send mail they might have to wait longer than a day for a reply. For quick response use the main IRC channel, where there are 60-70 of us 24/7. Logs from all our IRC channels are shared every morning to assure full transparency with enhanced anonymity where it is necessary. Some discussions are held there and decisions occasionally made. Next month we turn 13.5. As long as we manage to keep our job (remote nighttime job) it’s safe to say that the site is here to stay and to grow. The writing, the associated research and so on occupy up to 100 hours a week. It’s not motivated by profit but by justice alone. Once a week we leave the house to get some food (pandemic times rules are lax enough for that here) and as long as we’re fed we’re staying motivated and relatively focused.

“Logs from all our IRC channels are shared every morning to assure full transparency with enhanced anonymity where it is necessary.”It is worth noting that the Linux Foundation, with its spokesperson from Microsoft, makes it rather obvious that it is not about Linux anymore. Last week it issued two press releases about non-Linux operating systems that it now supports and promotes. Perhaps more curiously, one of the highest ranked persons in the Foundation (Abby Kearns) left abruptly. She’s pursuing other — albeit unspecified and undisclosed — endeavours. A bunch of former PR people from the Foundation now work as outside contractors for the Foundation, which clearly lost its way. It deserves to lose Linus Torvalds. It’s time for him to leave and work on Linux from elsewhere — as he did after he had left OSDL.

At this late stage of entryism, with four or more Microsoft executives in the management team and the board of the Foundation, we’ve decided that any further comment would be almost spurious; people out there generally understand already that the Foundation is not what it claims to be or even what its name/title implies. It’s outsourcing almost all the code to Microsoft (proprietary software designed to imprison GNU/Linux, subsidised at a loss). This is the way to kill Free software with a smile.

“We need to slaughter Novell before they get stronger….If you’re going to kill someone, there isn’t much reason to get all worked up about it and angry. You just pull the trigger. Any discussions beforehand are a waste of time. We need to smile at Novell while we pull the trigger.”

Jim Allchin, Microsoft’s Platform Group Vice President

The Fall of the UPC: Series Index

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 9:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Index box

Summary: A one-page index of the 20-part series which ended this morning

EPO ‘Mafia’: Break the Law and Send Mafia-Like Entities to Bully People Who Point Out the Lawbreaking

Posted in Europe, Patents at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Like an authoritarian regime at best or underworld at worst

EPO and EU

Summary: The immunity of the EPO has been (mis)used to construct a Mafia-like entity with complete impunity (even the Italian Mafia doesn’t enjoy such levels of impunity); nowadays the EPO not only breaks the law, robs people, drives people to suicide/chronic illness and lies to everyone as it also bullies its critics (even those who are in no way associated with the EPO!)

THE buzzwords utilised by António Campinos were mentioned last month in his first ‘proper’ interview with IAM, which was full of software patents advocacy. The EPO nowadays pretends that everything “digital” or anything with a “computer” or with “software” is patentable. In that regard, Campinos is even worse than his predecessor. Many people will be misled and mistaken because of “Brand Campinos”, wrongly assuming that he’s always somehow better in every way. Remember that two years on the job already Campinos still blocks access to Techrights. Does that sound democratic to anyone? More like China.

Campinos still exploits his dead father to pretend he’s alright. But the EPC is being violated by the EPO every day. Campinos breaks the law every day. This is very much true under Campinos — no less than it was true under Battistelli. It’s just that the media hardly talks about it anymore. A few days ago the EPO tweeted (most of the official EPO communications nowadays come from Twitter and Microsoft, two American companies). “Do you regularly use our EPC and PCT-EPO Guidelines? If so, don’t miss this opportunity to tell us what you think of them. There are only 6 days left to submit your feedback.”

There were many tweets like that recently, including another from around the same time, which said: “Are the EPC and PCT-EPO Guidelines relevant for your work? Contribute to their revision by submitting your feedback on them here: https://bit.ly/2TBX3aI”

As one can expect, submissions will mostly come from law firms. The general public is mostly kept in the dark and discarded/demoted by the EPO (there’s no option there for those who aren’t applicants or law firms).

“Sometimes patent searching can become very complicated,” the EPO tweeted, “while some technical fields throw up difficulties for patent searchers by their very nature. How do our examiners rise to such challenges?”

If in doubt, they grand, just like examiners of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), even post-Alice/35 U.S.C. § 101. So the lower the hiring standards, the more wrongly-granted patents will be counted. The EPO is in that sense incentivised not to hire people smart enough to demonstrate ineligibility (for rejection). The staff representatives have already complained that examiners are being assigned to deal with patent applications outside their field of expertise.

So how can the EPO maintain this illusion of compliance with the EPC? Too many European Patents (EPs) are Invalid Patents (IPs) these days and it’s going to become a major blunder somewhere down the line.

As we explained in the previous post, the EPO now mimics the Chinese model, which is basically a ‘mad house’ of patent grants. The goal is only to grant more and more patents, not to improve their quality.

A few years ago we leaked some internal communications that showed the EPO was very well aware this. Here’s one example. The EPO’s response to such leaks was sheer aggression, i.e. the usual. The management of the EPO sent several law firms from London to go after me and threaten me. Why? For exposing internal communications, highlighting EPO abuses and corruption.

A couple of days ago Benjamin Henrion shared a similar story when he said: “The Coronabonds closed doors meetings remembers me the software patent directive in Council: the in-video speeches were a show and staged in advance, everything was decided in a diner the sunday before. Diplomats like secrecy [...] I even had a ‘fight’ with the chief of the Luxemburgish patent office, who accused us of leaking the minutes of some closed Council meeting, which showed that Council wanted to rubberstamp the directive super quickly if the Parliament approved it.”

I’ll never forget how the EPO attempted to silence me (apparently it did similar things to IP Kat, culminating in complete ban of the whole site). That was back when media actually blasted the EPO for its abuses, about 4 years ago in 2015-2016.

Back then the media also played along with EPO lies. Some of the media still believed and relayed many of the lies. Notice Benoît Battistelli quoted this old article from Rosie Spinks at The ‘Guardian’. The article contains serious lies, such as “UK will vote on its European future just as the EU finalises a new patent system…”

The UPC was already pretty much dead just months after she had published it. This is how she introduced it: “The unitary patent is set to be granted by the EPO and will be valid in 26 countries, with a centralised court of enforcement known as the Unified Patent Court (UPC). It was conceived as a way to cut down on the cost, administration and red-tape of filing and enforcing a patent across many European jurisdictions. Under the unitary system, those seeking patent protection in multiple markets can file a single application to the EPO, and if granted, see it have immediate effect across all relevant states and pay a single renewal fee.”

Citing thugs from Fieldfisher — that Mafia of the EPO (it sent its employee with the surname “Capone” to repeatedly threaten me) — Rosie Spinks at The ‘Guardian’ proceeded to spread lies about what the UPC/A means to SMEs. The ‘Guardian’ wrote: “David Knight, a partner in law firm Fieldfisher’s intellectual property and technology team, added that if the Brexit were to occur, British SMEs who needed patent protection across Europe could still file for the unitary patent — as can any foreign company — it just wouldn’t include patent protection at home as part of the package.”

This is the same firm that the EPO paid to threaten me. Rosie Spinks at The ‘Guardian’ was back then mentioning “SMEs” like a couple dozen times, quoting EPO and law firms but not actual SMEs. We can only guess that printing lies is business as usual for this ‘news’ paper…

This was only a few months after the legal threats from Fieldfisher’s Mr. Capone. Later on they’ll tell us how gentle and respectful the Office is. They’ll tell us they mourn dead Italians (Coronavirus victims) while sending Mafia like Capone (literally Capone!) after their critics. Some friendly patent office, eh? No better than the extortion artists known as patent trolls.

The European Patent Office Admits That It’s Faking Its ‘Results’ by Granting Loads of Illegal Software Patents

Posted in Europe, Law, Patents at 8:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Clear and obvious violation of the EPC, but today’s Office treats the EPC like Donald Trump treats every law he has run over

We saw growth in patents. Patents on software

Summary: The EPO is making it easy for all to see that much of its supposed 'growth' actually comes from patents that it should never have granted in the first place because they’re illegal

THE DANCE or the “waltz” around the term “software patents” isn’t a new thing. The EPO has done that for well over a decade, preceding the Mafioso and and his ‘son’. “CII” used to be the most common dance around the most meaningful and fundamental term, but people caught up with the true meaning of it; so the game of words moved on a bit, with “CII” being more like the old and familiar ‘dinosaur’. When one says “CII” inside and outside the EPO people generally know that it’s a synonym (“software patents” with words like “invention” inserted for extra excitement). Who would deny a patent on an actual “invention”? After all, algorithms are inventions in the same sense cookie recipes are inventions. Or mathematical formulae.

Anyway, we’ve already written several hundreds of articles on the topic of why software patents are undesirable, harmful and unwanted by almost every single person who develops software (coder/programmer/tester or more modern buzzwords like “DevOps”). We’re more or less certain that senior EPO examiners are familiar with the arguments and they generally know that it tends to be a battle between attorneys and actual (practicing) engineers. One group wants to work in peace and another group wants to destroy in war. Too blunt? Well, it’s true. Ask those attorneys what computer program/s they wrote. I asked some before; someone called Gene Quinn (Watchtroll’s founder) even lied to me about it, then he ran away and blocked me in Twitter (to escape any further questions, which embarrassed him and destroyed his credibility/integrity). It turned out he didn’t even know what a computer program is and how it works (he insisted a markup object/Web page was a program!).

“It brags about granting illegal patents.”Anyway, today’s European Patent Office (EPO) illegally grants patents on all sorts of things and then brags about it. It brags about granting illegal patents. The people who manage the EPO aren’t coders and they don’t really understand what they grant patents on. All they care about it a bunch of graphs and plots moving upwards. What about quality? They call speed “quality”; the faster they grant, the better the… quality?!

Just before the weekend the EPO boasted: “With a #patent application increase of 10%, #computertechnology was the second fastest growing technology field at the EPO in 2019. https://bit.ly/DigitalisationIndex … #EPOPatentIndex”

Oh, here we go again with “DigitalisationIndex” and “computertechnology” (so broad and vague a category). Then they did “DataRetrieval”; More buzzwords for illegal software patents that aren’t allowed in Europe — patents that the EPO is granting and mostly to American firms (US and Canada), by its very own admission: “In #DataRetrieval, applicants from the US led in terms of share (48%), while EPO member states (23% share) continue to steadily innovate in this field. Further details: https://bit.ly/DigitalisationIndex … #EPOPatentIndex”

So they’re granting loads of software patents, giving these monopolies to American companies. What’s in it for Europe? Nothing.

The EPO also tweeted: “Applications in image data processing and generation have also spiked. From 2018 to 2019, the field received 11% more #patent applications. https://bit.ly/DigitalisationIndex … #EPOPatentIndex”

This is my area of research. More illegal software patents are being granted, soon to be categorised as “image data processing and generation” (that’s maths!). These patents are being illegally granted by corrupt EPO management, looking to fake ‘growth’. It’ll certainly pave the way for frivolous litigation and extortion in Europe. All this to the detriment of everyone but patent trolls and law firms…

The EPO then tweeted: “Our European Patent Academy’s #elearning centre offers a broad range of online training courses on #patents and IP topics. http://bit.ly/EPO_eLearning”

This page starts with “Videogaming and IP: how to play the game” — another class of software patents (on games).

Are the EPO’s best spinners ill? Are they replaced by cheaper PR staff that’s openly bragging about software patents several times per day?

The EPO also bragged: “Between 2018 and 2019, the EPO posted a 29% overall increase in patent applications in #MachineLearning and #PatternRecognition. https://bit.ly/DigitalisationIndex … #EPOPatentIndex”

How much more obvious can it get? Those are software patents! No question about it. There’s not even a “device”…

In other words, the corrupt EPO management decided to break the law (yet again) and allow such patents against all treaties and laws. This while shielded — with diplomatic immunity of course! — so the people responsible for this crime will never be held accountable.

They’re setting up an avalanche here. The US saw the same thing. Here’s a brand-new example of “CII” falling on its sword again at the Federal Circuit in the US. It’s a “computer-implemented method for notifying users having patents of subsequent publications that reference the patents.”

Here’s what happened, as reported a couple of days ago:

The Federal Circuit has an internal practice of only issuing R.36 affirmances-without-opinion in cases where the court holds oral arguments. Most of the oral arguments have been cancelled for the court’s April sitting. The result then is that either (1) the court is going to write a lot more opinions or (2) the court will shift its practice to now start issuing no-opinion judgments even without oral arguments.

Today’s short decision in In re Thomas (Fed. Cir. 2020) (per curiam) suggests to me that the court will be writing the opinions. Douglass Thomas is a patent attorney and his claimed invention is a “computer-implemented method for notifying users having patents of subsequent publications that reference the patents.” The examiner rejected the claimed invention as ineligible and that decision was upheld by the PTAB (along with finding the claims anticipate/obvious).

So even US courts are nowadays rejecting the sorts of patents the EPO is granting.

The EPO tweeted: “Curious about #blockchain & #patents? We’ll be talking about the patent landscape in this field at this free-of-charge webinar: https://bit.ly/2V56AJV”

Here they go with “blockchain” again…

The cited page (warning: epo.org link and requires JavaScript to view) says: “In this webinar we will present the emergence of Blockchain related technologies in terms of patenting activity. Blockchain has captured the attention of the public and research has intensified in this field over the last few years, making it a highly interesting topic of study for patent analysis in order to obtain insight into the developments of this emerging technology.”

They also grant patents on blockchains whilst openly admitting that those are software patents.

Over in China, the ‘role model’ of today’s EPO, the patent office is formally allowing software patents or patents on mere maths. This helps fake ‘innovation’ in circles that measure that based on number of patents alone. Days ago the patent maximalists published this article entitled “China’s new patent examination guidelines a boon for AI and blockchain” and Karry Lai said “IP counsel from IBM, Megvii and others welcome CNIPA’s open approach but see room for more clarity…”

When IBM asks for “clarity” it basically asks for broader patent scope. IBM continues to blackmail loads of companies using its thousands if not tens of thousands of software patents.

Someone has just pointed out, citing an article in German, that “[C]hina has most patents in 2019″ and I responded by simply stating that it says nothing about the quality of patents. China flooded WIPO with junk and WIPO likes it (fake ‘growth’). “I can make my own patent office,” I added, and “grant a million patents a day ;-)”

The upcoming avalanche of fake patents will be costly not to law firms but to productive companies gullible enough to pursue such patents, based on a misunderstanding or misinterpretation of law.

In the US, for example, the number of new patent lawsuits that involve software patents declined a great deal. It’s not even easy to find such lawsuits anymore. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) inter partes reviews (IPRs) often thwart such patents before they even reach the courts.

Suffice to say, patent maximalists and sites in their pockets have no problem with any of that; they profit from this sort of patent inflation. Here’s a new ‘ad for an upcoming “Webinar on Proofreading Your Patent…”‘

Maybe if you focus on typos rather than substance your patent isn’t about invention but shallow formality for unjust monopoly.

Over at IP Kat we’re noticed Anastasiia Kyrylenko doing ‘ads’ for CEIPI, which is run by a criminal, Battistelli, along with EUIPO, WIPO, and the villainous 4IP Council. That says a lot about what interests today’s IP Kat is interested in pushing. “CEIPI has announced that its “New Trade Mark Law in France” conference is now going online,” she wrote. Remote working must be good for Battistelli, their chief. Now he can drink his expensive wine boxes all day long, being drunk on the ‘job’ whilst ordering additional crates at tens of thousands euros apiece, using the money he stole from the EPO.

What They Told Us About the UPC…

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UPC

Summary: A look back at those very honest blogs, law firms and patent offices

The Fall of the UPC – Part XX: Summary and Conclusions

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 2:50 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Truth shall make you free

Summary: The end of the UPC is the beginning of deep thinking about the future of the patent system and the rogue role played by lobbyists disguised as “media”; law firms too will likely suffer for years if not decades to come (if they participated in all the lying)

THE LAST part, our longest part, dealt with responses of law firms to the collapse of the very thing they spent many years — and perhaps billions of euros — promoting.

“One thing we hoped to show in this series is that UPC coverage was generally appalling; media is exceptionally dishonest and corrupted by litigation bucks (or euros) and more than 90% of UPC coverage in recent years was pure lies or mostly lies.”A lot of lawyers are still in denial. European Patent Office (EPO) President António Campinos lied about it and Benoît Battistelli is probably in hiding somewhere in France, fearing that a novel patent virus will get to him next.

One thing we hoped to show in this series is that UPC coverage was generally appalling; media is exceptionally dishonest and corrupted by litigation bucks (or euros) and more than 90% of UPC coverage in recent years was pure lies or mostly lies. As we pointed out before, EPO megaphones like Leaders League (printing loads of press releases for the EPO) are still pushing the classic lie that the UPC can go forth by merely holding another vote. To quote:

On March 20th, the German Federal Constitutional Court said the Act of the Approval of the UPC Agreement was void. Although it was passed by the Second Chamber of the Bundestag, it required a two-thirds majority in the main chamber and albeit those present voted unanimously in favor, there were only 35 members present.

So one might be led to think that the ‘fix’ is as simple as redoing that vote; not so. This is the kind of Big Lie which they hope will ‘stick’. We hope that our 20-part series helped put in context the facts, the lies, and the complexity which the UPC/A finds irreconcilable at this stage. Alex and his “prep” folks will likely lose their job soon (if they haven’t already). Don’t feel sorry for them; they deserve it. Their endless lies continue to pollute the Web.

“Alex and his “prep” folks will likely lose their job soon (if they haven’t already).”Is the UPC dead? Yes, absolutely.

Will Team UPC attempt something else? It’s probable, but it’s too early to tell.

If something else is attempted, it can take half a decade or much longer. UPC has been advocated for at least 13 years and after 7 years on the table it fell on deaf ears. It’s nothing but a big fat scandal — a pile of papers that almost no politician (who voted to approve) even bothered reading and comprehending.

UPC is now dead. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

There are lessons to be learned about law firms, the media, the supposed ‘representatives’ (politicians) and any future ‘coup’ attempts by the litigation ‘industry’ — always looking to manufacture more patent feuds to make ‘business’ for itself.

It’s now time to focus on impending constitutional complaints regarding the EPO’s attacks on judges and it’s also worth fighting for the rights of EPO staff, whose morale must be low amid further attacks on salaries, pensions and so on. The EPO isn’t just merciless; it’s literally breaking the law and violating its own rules. Who would tolerate this other than media in the pockets of the litigation ‘industry’ — media eager to see everything on this planet patented for maximum litigation prospects? They’re like the war industry, with papers (paperwork is billable) instead of bombs.

The Fall of the UPC – Part XIX: How Law Firms Responded to the Collapse of the UPC (Lying Was All Too Common)

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 2:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

UPC dead. This is Fine. We'll lie to our clients more.

Summary: Our detailed ‘literature survey’ after the fall of the UPC reveals a lot of law firms in denial and/or eager to lie to their clients (to save face in the short run)

WE are almost done with this 20-part series. Today (or tonight) we assess the responses from various law firms — at least all those whose responses we were able to find (and have not already covered in prior parts).

Today’s European Patent Office (EPO) works not for science or for scientists. Ask EPO examiners about it; they’ll say the same. António Campinos and his nontechnical predecessor wouldn’t know science if it hit them right in the face; they work for law firms. To put in perspective just how appalling that is (considering the original purpose of patent systems), imagine a canteen that serves food to match the colour of the plates rather than serve/cater/facilitate the nutritional requirements and other preferences of diners. Why would diners tolerate such a canteen? Well, in the case of the EPO it is a monopoly in Europe, so ‘diners’ (like applicants) would have no other choice.

“…in the case of the EPO it is a monopoly in Europe, so ‘diners’ (like applicants) would have no other choice.”With that in mind, let’s look and discuss how law firms — not actual scientists, engineers and so on — responded to the decision of the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) after it had killed the Unified Patent Court (UPC) for good.

We already took note — about a month ago — of this response from AJ Park’s Sam Pearson and Christine Egan. AJ Park was mentioned here many times in the past because of its shameless lobbying for software patents in New Zealand, Australia and elsewhere. From half the planet away these people obviously rooted for the UPC, knowing it would be a Trojan horse or a ramp for software patents in Europe (and elsewhere). They were so disappointed even before the FCC’s decision and so was HGF Limited, which published “UK Will No Longer Seek To Participate In Unitary Patent And UPC” (there’s nothing to actually participate in as the UPC does not even exist). Here’s what they said:

The UK Government has confirmed the UK will no longer seek to be part of the proposed unitary patent (UP) or Unified Patent Court (UPC) systems. Given the UPC’s alignment with the CJEU, this is not entirely surprising for the UK in a post-Brexit world.

Although it will be unwelcome news for many, the certainty of this new stance may mean the UP and UPC can again pick up momentum, subject to the ongoing legal challenge in Germany and re-working of the agreements without the UK’s participation.

Days later we knew that this “legal challenge in Germany” was successful, thwarting the UPC for good. So statements like “seek[ing] to be part” are moot; you cannot “be part” of things that don’t exist. This is the kind of lie UPC proponents have told for over 2 years; we kept correcting them, but it never stopped the lie from coming back again and again. For over 2 years!

“Their ‘pet project’ is dead and France is the only country with key ratification in place (Britain informally walked back on its own and Germany is unable to ratify).”Over at Lexology, REGIMBEAU’s Sylvain Thivillier and Henri Bourgeois wrote that the “Unified Patent Court the German federal consitutional [sic] court has finally issued its decision regarding the ratification process in Germany” and like several others their headline conspicuously omits the actual outcome. We don’t think that’s a coincidence. It’s likely deliberate and it’s most probably a face-saving spin tactic. These people will have more to worry about than record-breaking death tolls in France (highest in Europe right now and thus far). Their ‘pet project’ is dead and France is the only country with key ratification in place (Britain informally walked back on its own and Germany is unable to ratify).

At Mondaq, the ‘base’ of litigation zealots, Graham Burnett-Hall (Marks & Clerk) perpetuated old myths about UP/C, who/what it’s for, and who came up with it. Death of something like the UPC is fantastic news to everyone except the UPC boosters, who are less than 1% of the population, but this is what Burnett-Hall wrote for Marks & Clerk, a key player in UPC lobbying:

The German Constitutional Court issued its long-awaiting decision regarding the compatibility of the German law passed to allow Germany to participate in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the associated unitary patent, holding that the German law had not been passed with the necessary majority and was therefore void. New German legislation will need to be passed in order for the UPC project to proceed. This, coupled with the changes that will be needed to deal with Brexit, is likely to take years. It is therefore a major set-back for those businesses and IP professionals who were hoping that the UPC and unitary patent would usher in a new era of IP harmonisation across Europe.

The Unified Patent Court Agreement was concluded in February 2013, after years of negotiations. The basic idea was that holders of European Patents would, once the relevant patent application proceeded to grant, be able to elect for the granted patent to have unitary effect in the territories of all the participating countries. The validity and infringement of these unitary patents would be decided in a single court proceeding in the new Unified Patent Court, which would have “local divisions” in any country that wanted one and a “Central Division”, which would hear revocation actions and certain other proceedings. The UPC would also have jurisdiction to hear infringement and validity proceedings regarding non-unitary European patents (that is, European patents that on grant are validated in individual countries in the usual way), save to the extent that patent owners opted out these patents during an initial transitional period.

Notice the optimism, e.g. “likely to take years.” They insinuate that this is somehow inevitable or just a matter of time.

“New German legislation will need to be passed in order for the UPC project to proceed,” they say, as if all they need to do now is create a little legislative patch. Never mind if the FCC did not deal (or has not yet dealt) with various core issues in the complaint and additional complaints can be filed with additional legal grounds.

“…additional complaints can be filed; we’ve named additional possible grounds.”The UPC is dead, as is the credibility of Marks & Clerk; how many times did they lie in the press about the UPC? We’ve lost count. They kept appearing in English, Scottish and international media with their misleading puff pieces, which turned out to be embarrassingly wrong.

Moving on, here’s FRKelly’s David Brophy, a big booster of UPC. In Lexology and FRKelly’s own site he wrote: “The German Federal Constitutional Court (which is the country’s “supreme court” for all matters constitutional) has ruled that the 2017 ratification of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) agreement in Germany’s parliament was unconstitutional.”

True. So will you retract all the nonsense you told clients over the years?

No?

Too soon?

Also in Lexology we’ve found promoted this FB Rice article which spoke of “the prospects of the UPC being implemented [as] very low.”

“It’s not inevitable.”Oh, finally a shimmer of sincerity. Let’s read further: “Following a constitutional challenge, Germany’s participation in the UPC has now been rejected. The German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) has decided that the act of approval to the UPC agreement is void because it was not approved by two thirds of the members of parliament (Bundestag). This will require new acts of approval by the parliaments of the member states. Therefore it is likely that there will be substantial delay. In addition, It is likely that other substantive issues not yet decided by the FCC will be raised. Consequently, the prospects of the UPC being implemented is very low.”

They say “it is likely that there will be substantial delay.”

Why delay?

It’s not inevitable. In fact, all the momentum has been lost and they admit that “other substantive issues not yet decided by the FCC will be raised.”

And additional complaints can be filed; we’ve named additional possible grounds.

Looking eastwards, considering some German lawyers/attorneys, Mayer Brown’s Benjamin Beck and Ulrich Worm promoted in Lexology their article entitled “German Federal Constitutional Court Decides that German Ratification of UPC Agreement is Void” (accurate enough).

Dr. Worm on the litigation ‘industry’ losing its marbles:

In an order published today, the German Federal Constitutional Court decided that the Act of Approval to the Agreement on a Unified Patent Court (“UPC Agreement”) is void. In its reasoning, the Court held that the ratification of the UPC Agreement violated democratic principles as the Act of Approval was not passed by two thirds of the members of the German Parliament (Bundestag). Thus, the Bundestag did not effectively pass the Act of Approval.

The UPC Agreement is part of a regulatory package on patents which ultimately aims at introducing a European patent with unitary effect at EU level. If the UPC Agreement were ever to become effective, it would provide for the establishment of a Unified Patent Court as a court common to all participating Member States for disputes concerning European patents and European patents with unitary effect.

This is reasonably accurate. We won’t blast Mayer Brown, not for this one anyway…

About a month ago Slaughter and May’s Catherine Cotter published through Lexology “No Unified Patent Court or Unitary Patent system for UK – will the entire project now be abandoned?”

She knew even then. Her original piece was followed by another Lexology promotion of her piece with a headline that said, “final nail in the UPC coffin?”

How courageous of her to be this blunt. Slaughter and May’s Catherine Cotter admitted even back then that the UPC was likely dead, but she looked for something positive to say (for them there’s no valid spin). So here we go:

In previous posts here and here we have looked at the so-called demise of the Unified Patent Court (UPC) and the Unitary Patent (UP) from the UK perspective, especially in the post-Brexit intellectual property landscape.

Now it is Germany’s turn to take the spotlight.

[...]

First, the Court did not agree with everything in Stjerna’s complaint. Some parts of the complaint were ruled inadmissible, namely Stjerna’s complaints about the democratic deficiency inherent in the regulatory structure of the UPC, the lack of independence of the UPC judges and the irreconcilability of the UPC Agreement with EU law. This could be taken as the Court believing that the UPC itself is not inherently unconstitutional.

Second, although the decision is a technical one, in practice it may not be so easy for the German government to obtain the required two-thirds majority, especially with both the COVID-19 pandemic taking over the legislative agenda and the UK’s now apparent intention to no longer participate in the UPC project.

Yes, other people took note of that second point. The pandemic only further damages Team UPC’s ’cause’ and the timing of this decision was therefore ‘perfect’…

Catherine Cotter later wrote (also promoted in Lexology) the following:

We recently reported that the UK is no longer intending to participate in the EU’s Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent (UP) system, due to the irreconcilable differences between the UK and EU as to the role of the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) and EU law. Although the UK government has not made an official announcement, it was reported in the Law Society Gazette in an article entitled ‘Downing St deals death blow to UK role in euro patent court’ that a spokesperson for the PM had said: ‘The UK will not be seeking involvement’ in the UPC and the associated UP’.

On 10 March 2020, the House of Lords European Justice Sub-Committee met to examine the impact that the UK’s non participation in the UPC and UP would have on UK businesses, UK inventors and the UK Courts. Julia Florence, Past President of Charted Institute of Patent Attorneys (CIPA) and Daniel Alexander QC, highly regarded IP barrister and Chairman of Intellectual Property Bar Association, gave evidence to the Committee. The recording of the meeting is here.

Quite a 'debate', eh? The wolves gathered to discuss rights of sheep. OK, whatever…

Moving on a bit, Erik Heilmann and Irene Corn (Dennemeyer Group) wrote this 4 days after the FCC’s decision (or so it seems based on the timestamp). Bad timing. Prepared before the final nail on the UPC coffin? Published anyway? This is what they said in “All Eyes On Germany As The UK Says ‘No’ To The Unitary Patent System”:

In contrast to last year’s promises, yet unsurprisingly, it has been revealed that the UK Government will not participate in the Unified Patent Court (UPC). As recently confirmed by a spokesperson of the UK government, “participating in a court that applies EU law and bound by the CJEU (Court of Justice of the European Union) is inconsistent with our aims of becoming an independent self-governing nation.”

The decision sparked dismay among IP lawyers in the UK, especially since London was supposed to be the location of one of the three main courts for litigating unitary patents. Given that membership of the UPC is a prerequisite to join the Unitary Patent system, the consequence is that the UK will not be able to join the system altogether. This raises the question of whether the new harmonized patent system will eventually be attractive to patent holders without the United Kingdom as a member.

Why was this published days after the decision was already known?

Dennemeyer & Associates SA’s (Dennemeyer Group) Irene Corn also
said that the “complaint brought by Dr. Stjerna in 2017 is founded and therefore, the implementing legislation in Germany is to be deemed as void.”

This was spread to a broader audience in Lexology and Mondaq [1, 2] and it’s neither entirely wrong nor dishonest. To quote:

Just a couple of weeks ago, it was revealed that the UK government would not seek membership of the Unitary Patent Court (UPC). With the appealing UK market gone, the German Constitutional Court (“Bundesverfassungsgericht”) delivered today another blow to the hopes of those still wishing for an early start of the Unitary Patent system. The Court decided that one of the grounds of the constitutional complaint brought by Dr. Stjerna in 2017 is founded and therefore, the implementing legislation in Germany is to be deemed as void.

Correct.

Contrariwise, Dr. Thomas Hirse from CMS Germany is not being candid. This was not a “surprise decision” and moreover it was the correct decision (unless one drinks Kool-Aid from Team UPC). He promoted in Lexology this article of his, which said:

In a surprise decision, the BVerfG has admitted the complaint and declared the German ratification act null and void.

It’s not a surprise. We expected this.

AWA’s Johan Hansson and Niklas Mattsson wrote: “German Court finds Unified Patent Court legislation unconstitutional” (Lexology title)

“Today’s decision could mean that the court agreement and associated Unitary Patent regime will never become operational,” they admitted in their site. Here’s more:

Today, the court tasked with upholding Germany’s constitution, the Bundesverfassungsgericht, has issued its long-awaited decision on a complaint against ratifying the Unified Patent Court Agreement (UPCA).

The Court’s decision upholds the complaint, finding that the German legislative act that ratifies the UPCA does indeed contravene the German constitution. The German Federal President is now prohibited from assenting to the UPCA ratification. According to today’s decision, ratification of the UPCA by Germany should have been passed by a two-thirds majority by the German parliament.

Today’s decision could mean that the court agreement and associated Unitary Patent regime will never become operational. Parties interested in establishing a central European patent jurisdiction will have to think of other ways to reach their goal. It remains to be seen whether the German legislators will make an attempt to pass the law with the majority required by the constitutional court.

That last sentence (“It remains to be seen whether the German legislators will make an attempt to pass the law with the majority required by the constitutional court”) may be missing the point that the complaint has not yet been dealt with on substance. This means that even if another vote was coordinated and if people actually passed the darn thing, it would still face a number of big constitutional barriers. So it’s a non-starter really…

One basis/theme in this existing complaint (more can be filed with additional grounds) is only reinforced by Britain’s position amid Brexit. Time isn’t on Team UPC’s side!

“One basis/theme in this existing complaint (more can be filed with additional grounds) is only reinforced by Britain’s position amid Brexit. Time isn’t on Team UPC’s side!”Herbert Smith Freehills LLP very well knows that the UPC sailed out and and away a long time ago. The route to nowhere…

But the article they’ve promoted says this (“No plain sailing for the UPC”):

The Bundesverfassungsgericht (German Federal Constitutional Court) has this morning announced that it has found (by a majority decision) that the Act of the Bundestag which sought to approve and implement the Unified Patent Court in Germany is void. The Court indicated that the Act would amend the German constitution in substantive terms, but had not been approved in the Bundestag with the two-thirds majority necessary for such amendments.

In its press release, the Court stated that “in order to safeguard their right to influence the process of European integration by democratic means, this, in principle, also entails the right of citizens that sovereign powers be conferred only in the ways provided for by the Basic Law. An act of approval to an international treaty that has been adopted in violation thereof cannot provide democratic legitimation for the exercise of public authority by the EU or any other international institution supplementary to or otherwise closely tied to the EU.”

It’s the end.

Another piece was titled “The End Of The UPC As We Know It?”

Rachel Fetches (HGF Ltd) should know. It’s the end of the UPC altogether. They might try other things, which can take another decade and go nowhere (again). And no, “UPC prep committee” is no credible source; they lied for years. Liars as an occupation. Here’s what she wrote:

The German Federal Constitutional Court has issued a decision* (in German) which ruled the German UPCA Ratification Law to be unconstitutional and void. However, the court dismissed the second set of arguments (violation of fundamental democratic rights and the principle of separation of powers) as inadmissible.

So while a significant blow to progress of the UPC, it is possible that the UPC bill could be presented once more to the Bundestag, where the present Government might be able to get the required two-thirds majority. Of course, this will take a while to be tabled in view of the present global COVID-19 crisis and also raises the possibility of whether the same complaint could be brought again but focussed on more substantive aspects like transfer of sovereign rights, issues with the EPO, judges, to name but a few. Furthermore, given that the UK has indicated it will no longer seek to participate in unitary patent and UPC, the agreement in its current form would need significant amendment before it could again be taken through the German constitutional process.

It probably won’t happen.

Here comes Bird & Bird LLP’s longtime UPC liar Wouter Pors, who is once again lying about what happened at FCC and why UPC died. Lexology promoted these lies which can be found in the firm’s site. It started with nonsense and then said: “According to the Court this is crucial, because the UPCA forms a material change to the German Constitution, which requires a majority of two thirds of the members of parliament.”

“Remember that they haven’t yet looked at the substance. If they do, it won’t get any better for Team UPC.”Constitutional changes cannot be made; and you cannot just adjust the Constitution to ‘fit’ the un-Constitutional UPC. Anyway, the article is so full of errors (or lies), but that’s just consistent with whatever comes out of Pors’ mouth….

His former colleague, the complainant, cannot stand him. It’s not hard to see why.

Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner LLP’s Sanam Habib, Nicholas Fox and Maeve O’Flynn begrudgingly accept that the UPC is dead but downplay the severity of the situation. Finnegan stood to gain a lot from the UPC and it routinely lobbied for it. They promote their article in several sites [1, 2] and said: [original here]

Earlier this year, the United Kingdom (UK) decided to not participate in the Unified Patent Court (UPC) system. As of this morning, it appears Germany may follow in UK’s footsteps.

In June 2017, the German constitutional court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) asked the German legislator to not put the implementing legislation for the UPC and Unitary Patent into force. The complaint, which was brought forward by a German attorney, highlighted that the manner in which German Parliament had approved UPC violated the German constitution.

After almost three years, the German constitutional court at last made a decision. An official press release was published by the Bundesverfassungsgericht this morning, holding that the Act of Approval to the Agreement on the UPC is void. A majority of the judges of the Court were of the view that the German basic law required that the act establishing the Court needed to be passed by a two-thirds majority in the German parliament as it would grant a supra-national court jurisdiction over matters which would otherwise be dealt with in the German courts. The decision was clearly finely balanced with some members of the court issuing dissenting opinions.

This is the old spin which we responded to in early parts of our series. They make it sound like a sport, where there’s a “Score” rather than “Outcome” — where they say “We nearly won” rather than “The outcome had us defeated…”

Anyway, what else can be expected from Finnegan? Maybe they’ll tell their clients that the UPC is “almost there” because of the FCC “issuing dissenting opinions…”

Remember that they haven’t yet looked at the substance. If they do, it won’t get any better for Team UPC. Some aspects of the complaints are even stronger now due to Brexit, newer EPO abuses and so on.

Thomas Mayer, Jonathan Konietz and Gordon Harris (Gowling WLG) chose to say “delays” instead of “kills” (“GERMAN CONSTITUTIONAL COURT DELAYS UPC”).

Are they lawyers or liars?

They intentionally mislead clients, who will lose money because of these lies, wrongly assuming that the UPC is coming soon; or that it’s not doomed but merely “delayed”. They pushes these lies into Mondaq and Lexology. Imagine seeing this headline, then thinking, “oh, so we just need to wait a little while longer…”

“In Germany today,” they stated, “the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht) has held that the statute by which the German Parliament (Bundestag) sought to ratify the UPC Agreement (the ‘Act of Approval’) is void. This means that Germany’s ratification of the UPC Agreement, will be delayed, probably considerably, as will the introduction of the new UPC and unitary patent system itself.”

Delayed? What makes them think it’ll happen at all? This is really bad ‘lawyering’. To put it bluntly, they’re lying. They probably even know they’re lying. Or maybe they had Coronavirus spreading in the office, rotting all the brains.

Last but not least we have LGV Avvocati’s Tankred Thiem, who published this paper [PDF] that said: “Citizens with a right to vote have also a right to control formal correctness of laws transferring powers to supranational entities.”

There’s a summary in Lexology. [via]

“To put it bluntly, they’re lying.”It includes the text: “UPC in stormy weather: after UK’s UPC-exit, Germany’s law authorizing UPCA ratification, passed without a qualified majority, was held null and void.”

The term “stormy weather” is again somewhat of an understatement, but it probably won’t qualify as a lie. Compared to some of the worst responses we’ve covered — some of which optimistic enough to imply (or tell the target audience) that the UPC is inevitably coming very soon — this isn’t too bad.

In our next and final part we’ll conclude with some words and take stock of the lessons learned.

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