Summary: The latest news regarding copyright and a perpetual war on the act of passing zeroes and ones around
COPYRIGHT infringement is illegal and that is not the question at stake. What’s at stake is our ability to share data with our peers, family, and friends. If data sharing can be suppressed, then we are left dependent on a so-called “content industry” which sells us temporary access to its so-called “content”. We become so-called “consumers” who distrust our friends and only ever go to multinational corporations for our so-called “entertainment”. A few days ago we mentioned how copyright infringement gets used to shut down medium after medium to suppress dissemination of data, be it family videos or whatever else. It seems like people nowadays choose surveillance platforms like Facebook to share such stuff (with the NSA and also perhaps with some other people who registered with the same surveillance platform).
“Sometimes a flaw needs to be treated like a given, then worked around, like an alternative business model.”The argument here is not over copyright law or copyright infringement. It’s about how far the copyright monopoly/cartel should be allowed to go and subvert our laws using the magical “copyright infringement” wand. The monopoly/cartel is already disrupting search engines , indoctrinating our children at our expense (taxpayers fund schools) , and sending people to prison for many years  for merely managing a service that can be used legally or illegally (depending on its users). Fortunately, however, the monopoly/cartel is losing this war. It’s a game of whack-a-mole. When I discovered that DropBox was flirting with the NSA I deleted the account (although the NSA can probably access data retroactively, even after account deletion) and moved to Mega. I never upload anything which constitutes copyright infringement, but this is a matter of principles. Enough is enough.
Next month there is going to be an event here in Manchester, organised by the Pirate Party UK. In the UK, more than in most other nations, the monopoly/cartel has been very conveniently rewriting the law to reduce online sharing, kill Web anonymity, and generally keep a digital dossier on everyone. Clearly, however, when it comes to copyright infringement the monopoly/cartel has hardly been successful. The Internet’s userbase being eavesdropped on would not suffice; people can also copy files using storage devices (some laws try to tax these under the presumption of copyright infringement), so activity associated with sharing just evolves and goes underground. DRM is the plague infecting those who try the monopoly’s “official” channels, so in a sense it has the effect of driving many people away from these channels. Some companies might feel very angry about copyright infringement. They might feel like great injustice is happening, but that in its own right is no assurance that a remedy or a solution will ever be made available. Sometimes a flaw needs to be treated like a given, then worked around, like an alternative business model. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
During the past week the MPAA has been reiterating its complaints that Google doesn’t do enough to slow down Internet piracy. However, speaking with TorrentFreak the admin of one of the world’s largest torrent sites claims that the world’s largest search engine has made numerous tweaks to its algorithms over the past 18 months that have had quite an impact on search traffic.
Listen up children: Cheating on your homework or cribbing notes from another student is bad, but not as bad as sharing a music track with a friend, or otherwise depriving the content-industry of its well-earned profits.
From previously being exceptionally lenient on those publishing links to copyrighted files without permission, Spain is now well on its way to cracking down on the problem. Amendments to the country’s penal code approved yesterday means that admins of sites offering links to copyrighted works without the owners’ permission could face jail sentences of up to six years. For individual file-sharers and those operating P2P software, the outlook is much better.
Just eight months after its launch Kim Dotcom’s Mega has established itself as one of the dominant players in the secure file-storage business. The site has now earned a spot among the top 1,000 most-visited websites on the Internet, overtaking its direct competitor RapidShare. Kim Dotcom says that Mega is already 50% of Megaupload in terms of the number of files stored, and that’s just the beginning.
But it will all be worth it if you can get down to Manchester, take a look at what is happening, and let us know what you want to do next. There is lots to do and we need people to help us do it, the more people we have the faster we can achieve our aims. Our Party is doing more, more effectively, it is managing to have an impact in local elections and we punch above our weight on the national stage, whether it’s in the press, or in meetings with OFCOM, that isn’t going to stop. The leaks from Edward Snowden over the last months show that so many of the things we do and work on are vital.
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Not just Russia…
Summary: How any effective protest (in its newer, online gown) is being banned and severely punished for in the West, with jail sentences far longer than Pussy Riot’s members have to endure
FREE SPEECH is dying and new forms of protest, which evolve to deal with an increasingly digital world, are being treated like crime worse than even rape and murder in some cases. Journalism that is favourable to protesters (or whistleblowers) is also being criminalised.
The control grid in the United States is expanding  with more and more biological footprints of more and more people. The NSA is basically taking digital footprints of just about anyone in the world who uses a phone, the Internet, a bank account, etc. Scary stuff.
Barrett Brown helped show that Anonymous, an amorphous group which thrives in anonymity while it protests online, is not just criminalised but even those who help explain what it does are being criminalised . This is US law that’s being used against Barrett Brown, not something from a nation like North Korea.
Make no mistake. The US government can also harass, prosecute, and almost abduct anyone it doesn’t like right now . Russia even warns about it openly . Just look what’s being done to Julian Assange, which the US government is trying to sort of kidnap via Sweden (that ‘nuisance’ called International Law is the only thing allowing Ecuador to defend Assange from the US government’s allies in the UK). What this comes to show is that Sweden — like the UK — is like a branch of the US now. It helps the US spy on Russia (Snowden’s leaks show this clearly) and Obama has just gone to Stockholm to disrupt the city for a bit [5,6].
Don’t believe for a second that we in the West are so much morally superior. It’s the façade we are encourage to blindly accept if we habitually watch state and corporate media in our language. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
A year from now, employees of two federal agencies will be searching for potential terrorists from a new 360,000-square-foot building on the FBI’s Clarksburg campus.
Last year, I traveled to Canada to write a long profile of “homeless hacker” Christopher Doyon, who goes by the name “Commander X” and who is on the run from the US government. (Doyon brought down a California county’s website for 30 minutes, with the help of Anonymous, as part of his protest over an “anti-sleeping” law targeting homeless people; he is under indictment in the Northern District of California and is the only known Anon who has jumped bail to live “in exile.”) Doyon’s life has been by turns bizarre and dramatic, but last week the online drama surrounding Anonymous proved too much even for him—and he quit.
“So I quit. I am closing down the PLF. I have replaced all those sites three times this summer. I can take no more. I am done. Trolls win.”
Countries often issue travel advisories warning citizens of danger abroad: war, for instance, or a terrorist threat or an outbreak of disease. The Russian Foreign Ministry posted advice of a somewhat different nature on Monday, cautioning people wanted by the United States not to visit nations that have an extradition treaty with it.
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Markos Moulitsas Zúniga, censorship officer at Daily Kos
Summary: Not only governments but also those who pretend to be against governments’ abuse of power are engaged in censorship
The Web is becoming hostile to free speech and not only governments  are to blame. Some feeble-minded people call posters whom they don’t agree with trolls and then delete their words while insisting that they support free speech [2,3]. Freedom and censorship cannot co-exist. The latter example, Daily Kos, deleted many accounts of someone who hangs out in our IRC channels because he vigorously opposed war crimes and wanted Bush arrested. Even in a ‘leftist’ site like Daily Kos this is apparently not allowed. Comments oughtn’t be there to worship or decorate one’s own message (article’s author), they should be there to present a diversity of views, including disagreement. Anything else would be a farce in disguise, like Linux ‘Advocates’ (if Dietrich does not agree, the comment gets deleted). Below are two new examples of this trend getting worse and worse, with restrictions increased and regulations tightening.
Techrights never deleted any comments and it never will. Free speech is all about defending the speech of those whose views you may find objectionable and even untrue. Liberalism is allowing others whom we don’t agree with voice their opinions (which we are then free to ridicule, not suppress). Those who don’t want to deal with opposing views are not — irrespective of what they say — anti-censorship, they are hypocrites at best. █
Related/contextual items from the news:
A website with the aim of addressing flaws in Finland’s secretive child porn filter has ending up on the same list. The Finnish Supreme Court has ruled that censoring the website is justified as it lists domain names of sites that are currently blocked. While the site itself doesn’t host or link to illegal content, the court argues that society’s obligation ‘to protect the children’ trumps freedom of speech in this case.
The days of anonymous commenting on The Huffington Post are numbered. Founder Arianna Huffington said in a question-and-answer session with reporters in Boston Wednesday that the online news site plans to require users to comment on stories under their real names, beginning next month.
Also, before we get into the rules, I saw Bob Johnson’s diary about the problems with the new instant posting. When we first added the waiting period, the idea was to weed out ideological trolls. When we eliminated that waiting period, our fear was that we’d be swamped with conservatives or third-party trolls. Instead, we’ve been hit hard with commercial spam. Who knew commercial spammers were being weeded out with a one-day waiting period?
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Summary: Important observations about the nature of computer-implemented ‘inventions’, or software patents
Thanks to a recent decision against the patent troll called Uniloc we now know that “Even An East Texas Court Has Told Uniloc That It Can’t Patent Math”. The significance of this lies in the fact that software patents are characterised correctly for a change, even in the most patents-friendly places. There is a new “Math on Trial” book. It is not about patents but it’s about cases in the courtroom that are built solely on mathematics, or specifically mathematical errors. Let us hope that more literature and even courts will reinforce the position that mathematics have no place in the courtroom and software patents essentially correspond to monopoly on higher-level mathematics. Unless the judges are prepared to handle a whiteboard/blackboard, pick up a marker/chalk, and then analyse legal case in terms of equations and such, mathematics have no place on trial. Richard Stallman made the suggestion that software patents should be made unenforceable in the courts. █
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Accepting the status quo, like sheep led to slaughter
Summary: Red Hat is too soft on the issue of software patents, based on its comments to the USPTO; Linux/Android continue to suffer from software patents in court cases which may last years
Red Hat has hardly been a flag bearer in the fight against software patents. It is not as bad as IBM, but it is not always helpful, either. Red Hat itself is filing to receive software patents of its own, making a distinction between what it calls “bad” software patents and “good” software patents. It tends to focus on trolls and in its Web site OpenSource.com (Red Hat-run) it has almost a monopoly on views regarding software patents.
Nevertheless, in the wake of USPTO opening up to feedback Red Hat is making its policy known:
The USPTO has been asking the public to respond to a series of questions with suggestions on improving patents. It is aware that the technical community isn’t happy with the way patents are being issued, particularly software patents. You are familiar with some of the USPTO’s questions, because we at Groklaw responded to two of them, topic 1 on how to improve software patents, regarding functional language, and topic 2, suggestions for future topics for discussion.
Red Hat’s suggestions play along the lines of software patents as a given, which is problematic. Groklaw‘s ‘cref 66895 suggestions], on the other hand, were very good and they are essential for a meaningful discussion of the real issues. Elsewhere in Groklaw there is a discussion about a legal case involving the best-selling Linux devices, the ones from Samsung. Here are the latest two updates on that:
1. Joint Case Management Statement Filed in Apple v. Samsung
The judge in the first Apple v. Samsung patent case in California, the Hon. Lucy Koh, asked the parties to file a joint case management statement, just in case she decides to go forward with an immediate second jury on the issue of damages on the 14 products where the first jury got the math wrong. And they have now done so [PDF]. There will be a hearing on all this on April 29. Of course, they disagree. Because they don’t agree on how to go forward, they each set out their positions, once again. The short version is that Apple wants to hurry up and have the trial immediately and Samsung wants to hear from the appeals court before the new damages trial goes forward, so as to ensure the same mistakes aren’t repeated.
2. Judge Koh’s Order in Apple v Samsung: No Stay on Damages Retrial, Unless…
Judge Lucy Koh has reached a decision [PDF] on going forward on the retrial on damages in Apple v. Samsung. Trial is set now for November 12th, on damages only, same Daubert rulings, motions in limine, discovery disputes, and evidentiary objections ruled on the same as the first trial, meaning if she made mistakes in the first trial, they’ll be repeated in the retrial. “The parties may not relitigate these issues,” she writes. So it’s all for the appeal court to figure out. She isn’t interested in reviewing all that. So if the appeals court orders a third trial, that’s the way it will have to be. She wants to keep the damages retrial short and sweet and limited to just one issue, and then send it on its way to appeal, so no new theories and no new fact discovery. There is a schedule for expert discovery. The jury will be 8 people, with the parties’ given three peremptory challenges each. Apple asked for the very same jury instructions, but she says they will get together on October 17th to discuss “how to
present infringement and validity findings” to the new jury. Other than that, she is silent on that point.
Trial expected at the end of this year, eh? Justice is taking too long, so it’s SCO all over again in that respect. What needs to occur some time in the next year or two is elimination of software parents in the United States (or radical cut-down). Red Hat just doesn’t go far enough to achieve that. We need other fronts in the fight against software patents; Google ain’t it, either. █
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Novell’s site (front page) looks like this today:
Summary: Even though Novell was sold, the brand continues to have some output under certain circumstances
Novell, the company that we first targeted in this Web site (way back in 2006), is still pursuing justice in the WordPerfect case. This is perhaps Novell’s last legacy. Pamela Jones has this update on the case:
Novell has now filed its reply brief [PDF] with the US Court of Appeals for the 10th District. Here’s Microsoft’s brief and Novell’s opening brief in its appeal in the WordPerfect antitrust case against Microsoft.
Novell’s arguments are clear and powerful. “A reasonable jury could find that Microsoft’s conduct was anticompetitive because it harmed Novell, was not competition on the merits, and was reasonably capable of contributing significantly to maintaining Microsoft’s monopoly power in the operating systems market,” Novell writes. Nowhere, it says, does Microsoft defend Microsoft’s conduct as competition on the merits. And Microsoft’s brief neglected to mention to the appeals court, or respond to, the District Court’s conclusion that a jury could have found Microsoft’s justifications for its conduct “to be pretextual.” Worse, Microsoft is asking the appeals court to confer immunity on it “for deception of competitors regardless of the effect on competition.”
By withdrawing its support for namespace extension APIs, Microsoft destroyed Novell’s economic viability, and it did it on purpose to harm a competitor. The Bill Gates email [PDF] proves it, they believe. The whole point of documenting APIs and releasing betas is to induce reliance, so Microsoft can’t credibly argue that it didn’t know this change on its part would impact Novell negatively.
And again, as in Novell’s opening brief (p. 38, footnote 5), Novell references Microsoft using a “deceptive script” which it says is mentioned in the email thread in which a Microsoft employee reported to his company that WordPerfect appeared to be “OK” with the change. Novell says was used to justify the change and persuade companies like Novell that Microsoft had to make the change. (Cf. this Groklaw article and this email thread [PDF] for context.) I’m sure we’ll hear more about this at oral argument. So if you attend the event, and I know some of you are trying to make arrangements to attend, please watch for this in particular.
And then Novell says Microsoft ignored a great deal of the evidence that favors Novell, and so did the District Court, but the applicable standard for summary judgment under Rule 50 is that the court was required to view the evidence in the light most favorable to Novell, which it failed to do. Microsoft also ignored evidence that its conduct harmed competition in the operating systems market, including evidence from binding Findings of Fact from the US v. Microsoft case, and the testimony and statements of Microsoft executives (cf. Groklaw). And finally, Microsoft disregarded applicable substantive law, Novell argues.
Novell was sold to Attachmate, but the Novell brand lives on. There is this new post about a Novell-branded product which Novell boasts about at
Adding to the existing Novell File Management Suite, Novell File Reporter 2.0 integrates with both eDirectory and Active Directory to simultaneously report on Novell and Microsoft network folder and file data and corresponding file rights.
This product was even announced in Novell’s Web domain. Not too long ago Novell tried telling us that it was not dead. For most purposes, however, it is just a brand owned by Attachmate and it’s the name of the claimant in the case against Microsoft. Novell’s board has been sued for selling the company. █
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Summary: An overview of recent news about Android cases and a reminder of the anti-Korea bias in north American press
Android is developed by an American (US) company, but the lion’s share of Android devices come from east Asia. By creating factories in the US, Apple and Samsung compete over the perception of being “more American” (made or assembled in USA). The corporate press, channels like CNN for example, does an Apple for dummies type of routine when it covers anti-Android lawsuits. It does not focus on trial misconduct [1, 2] for example. Forbes describes Apple as a victim:
Apple is perhaps the most talked about company in the world, online. Now, thanks to Apple’s litigation strategy, Samsung is the second most talked about. Here is a small thread of evidence.
The US is, as one might expect, hostile towards Korean companies if their rivals are largely US-based brands. Pamela Jones is the exception and she writes:
Judge Lucy Koh, the presiding judge in the Apple v. Samsung litigations, warned [PDF] the parties that she would ignore any arguments in their attachments to their post-trial motions that were new and therefore a backdoor way of bypassing the page limits she set for them, writing that “Any argument that is not explicitly articulated within the briefing page limits will be disregarded. Any supporting documentation shall be for corroboration purposes solely and shall not be used as a vehicle for circumventing the Court’s page limits.”
It would not be racist to say that Koh’s ethnicity may make her less likely to be Korea-hostile (as many US judges are). Recall what Europe too does to the Korean giant along with the ITC. Here is the ITC in action. The private US press — that which billionaires literally own — covered it a lot to make Apple, a common advertiser and ally, look good. Smaller news sites mention Apple setbacks; contrariwise, bad news for Samsung is what they fancy covering at CBS. To quote: “Samsung has dropped its bid to have Apple products that relate to its ongoing court cases against the company withdrawn from sale in Europe.”
And what about Apple? Remember who started it all and repeatedly sought bans. Watch this pro-Apple site whining about Apple not getting a trademark on “launchpad” (like Canonical):
On December 13, 2012, the US Patent & Trademark Office published a notice sent to Apple that basically denies them the rights to “Launchpad.” This is Apple’s second attempt at convincing the government agency of approving this trademark.
Canonical has had Launchpad for years. This just shows an ugly side of Apple, that’s all. The company also sought patents on shapes — a territory which in an article by Dennis Crouch he describes as follows: “laws of design patents; design patent application preparation and prosecution; design patent enforcement; tests of design patent validity; and design patent remedies.”
These patents are vague enough to augment copyright and they are very controversial, too. Remember the rounded rectangle monopoly of Apple? Apple’s cases are just very weak.
Recently we wrote about Apple and MPEG-LA. Watch this new article and remember that Apple and Microsoft are patent allies.
Motorola and Microsoft Debate the Scope of Google’s MPEG-LA License (Seattle) ~pj
The last time we looked in on the Microsoft v. Motorola litigation in Seattle, the judge, the Honorable James L. Robart, had just ruled that Motorola would have no right to injunctive relief in the US and Germany for its H.264 and 802.11 standard essential patent portfolios, at least not in the current set of facts, although he allowed that facts could change in the future.
The judge has asked [PDF] the parties to give him more information about Google’s license agreement with the MPEG-LA patent pool, and he set a hearing for oral argument for January 28 at 1:30 PM in Seattle on that issue and on a Microsoft motion for summary judgment on invalidity. If any of you can attend, that’d be wonderful.
We now can have a much clearer picture of the parties’ positions, now that we have both parties’ post-trial briefs on the subject of Google’s license agreement with MPEG-LA regarding H.264/AVC patent pool.
The crux of the debate is how to interpret one clause in the agreement, Section 8.3. Does it require Google to grant Microsoft a license to Motorola’s H.264-essential patents? Microsoft says it does, and Google says it does not. Google says it chose a license whereby it would have to list all affiliates it wished to be covered by the agreement, and to date it has not listed Motorola. It didn’t close on the Motorola deal until after it entered the license agreement with MPEG-LA anyway. And Motorola never on its own put any of its relevant patents into the MPEG-LA patent pool. So either way, Microsoft has no rights to a license via the MPEG-LA patent pool, Google argues, only by negotiated agreement under normal RAND terms, obviously at a higher rate.
The MPEG cartel has been used by the duopoly against free platforms, but Apple got hit recently, as covered here:
A federal jury in Delaware has found Apple’s iPhone infringes on three patents held by MobileMedia Ideas, a patent-holding company formed by Sony, Nokia and MPEG LA.
Here is more:
Apple Inc. (AAPL) lost an infringement case brought by patent-licensing firm MobileMedia Ideas LLC when a federal jury decided the maker of the iPhone misappropriated protected technology for the handheld devices.
Jurors in Wilmington, Delaware, deliberated about four hours after a weeklong trial before also concluding today that the three patents aren’t invalid.
Those trolls are connected to the MPEG cartel, unlike this entity:
Apple Inc. (AAPL) and LG Electronics Inc. (066570) didn’t infringe an Alcatel-Lucent SA (ALU) unit’s patents for electronic devices including phones and computers, a jury said.
The verdict today came after a trial that began Nov. 27 in federal court in San Diego over a 2010 lawsuit by the Paris- based company’s Multimedia Patent Trust accusing Apple and LG Electronics of copying video-compression technology that allows data to be sent more efficiently over communications media, including the Internet and satellites, or stored on DVDs and Blu-Ray disks.
This comes from Bloomberg. Plutocrats’ press likes to cover pro-Apple stories. █
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Summary: Now that Android- and Linux-powered devices easily outsell Apple’s we find clear nervousness at Apple
Android and iOS have both just been hit by a European patent troll, which is an unusual thing; we have never heard of Arendi before (hard to find a Web site for it also), but here it is in the news:
Arendi S.A.R.L, a Luxembourg-based technology company, unleashed a torrent of patent infringement suits against a who’s-who of technology companies including Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. and in Delaware federal court Thursday over three patents covering computer programs.
Apple fan sites are not happy, but Apple is in no position of deserving sympathy. Groklaw says that Apple is preparing to strike Android again, in a matter of days:
I think Apple may be feeling a little nervous about Samsung winning a new trial in Apple v Samsung. As the December 6th hearing on both parties’ motions for summary judgment draws near, there has been a flurry of Apple activity.
First, they have finally voluntarily told [PDF] the court — voluntarily as in after Samsung filed a motion to compel Apple to respond, but before the judge ruled — that they didn’t know about the jury foreman’s litigation with Seagate until after the trial. They did know about the bankruptcy but they didn’t delve into it. This, of course, is helpful to Samsung, in that Apple’s argument that Samsung shoulda-coulda known earlier about the litigation and failed to pursue it now bites the dust. Or it should. But the truth is, no matter what they said, it helps Samsung, but this is the least harmful to Apple. Presumably it’s also true.
The Microsoft booster says that Cook got himself a press platform already:
A rare interview with Apple’s chief executive will air the same day the company heads back to court with rival Samsung.
Trial by media? “The hearing is Dec. 6th,” writes Pamela Jones, “but I doubt there will be a ruling that day. More likely would be that the judge takes it under advisement and issues a written decision thereafter. But it’s an interesting decision to do the interview. I wonder if it means Apple is finally waking up to the news that a lot of folks genuinely hate the patent war it is waging.”
One thing is for sure; Apple created a lot of hostility towards patents. It also helped many realise that the problem is not just Microsoft and that swapping Microsoft with Apple is misguided; for innovation and for the betterment of society we must journey towards software freedom. █
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