What Canonical Can Improve

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu at 9:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Gripes that Glyn Moody and Groklaw are having because of proprietary (ish) tendencies at Canonical, ones that can easily be corrected

Glyn Moody is quite stubborn on matters of language (grammar, euphemisms, poetry, etc.) and knowing that counterfeiting is very different from theft he had to tell them apart and he therefore had to respond to Canonical’s COO Matt Asay (who almost went to work for Microsoft) after he had said that: “I don’t mean to diminish the wrong nature of stealing software. Theft is theft and should be punished.”

Having recently taken to task the BSA and IDC for fake claims, he responded politely (as did we) by arguing that:

It is very hard to steal software: unless you creep into a computer store and steal the boxes (do they still exist?). As you know, what really happens is that somebody makes a copy of software: that is not theft, of course, that is copyright infringement. If I make a copy of a piece of software, the original still exists, but there is now a copy that I have. I have stolen nothing – I’ve actually created something – but I *have* infringed on copyright.

But wait, you will say, when you make that perfect copy you are *effectively* stealing the money that you would have paid for a legal copy. Except that you yourself write: “$1 in “lost” licensed revenue would not magically become $1 in proprietary software sales if piracy were reduced. It’s very likely that users would elect to spend their money elsewhere.” Exactly: couldn’t have put it better myself. You can’t start talking about that money that wasn’t spent as if it were real and concrete: it’s not, it’s notional.

Of course, it is probably true that some fraction of the people with pirated copies *would* have bought genuine ones had they not made the copy: so that is truly lost revenue. But it also probably true that pirated copies act as marketing samplers and encourage other people to buy legitimate copies that they wouldn’t otherwise have bought – to get support, updates etc. (Indeed, in the world of music, there are half a dozen studies that suggest this is the case.) After all, giving away software for free is the basis of many businesses based around open source.

Calling copyright infringement “theft” really plays into the hands of organisations like the BSA that put out these deliberately misleading studies. “Theft” is an emotive word that biases the reader against the people involved. If you call it “copyright infringement”, and note that copyright is a time-limited, state-granted *monopoly* – and I think everyone accepts that monopolies are generally bad things – then copyright infringement simply means infringing on a monopoly. That’s a rather different emotional bundle, I think, and a better one to place in opposition to the BSA’s manipulations.

In his article, Asay makes the point that Free software resolves this issue of counterfeiting altogether, but sadly enough he cites Gartner for support, despite mocking it some years back (and rightly do). The other obvious issue starts when he calls copying of software “piracy”. He will hopefully abstain from doing this in the future.

Since his appointment at Canonical we have been worried about Asay because of his professional history and many things that he wrote (still visible to the public for verification purposes). There are proprietary elements that Asay embraces, such as ‘open’ core, Fog Computing, and the love/admiration for Apple. In relation to the Diaspora contributor agreement, Groklaw has also just complained about Canonical’s contributor agreement (which other developers recently complained about). Pamela Jones wrote: “Canonical’s is also disturbing to me. You assign copyright to Canonical and you retain the right to use it yourself. But look what Canonical can do: Read the FAQ, question and answer 6: “Does clause 6 allow Canonical to potentially lock away my contributions under a proprietary license? — Answer: No — Canonical can’t lock away your contributions under this agreement, because of clause 2. Canonical could use your contributions in a proprietary program, but the contributions would remain distributable by you under other licenses (thanks to clause 2), and thus be available for use elsewhere.” So it’s open core also.”

It is important to ensure this this widely-used GNU/Linux distribution does not become the antithesis of Free software. It’s always a temptation for the horse that’s in the lead.

Tax-Exempt Gates Family Still Lobbies to Tax Its Peers Even More

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Finance, Microsoft at 9:17 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: One more time the press should be reminded that Bill Gates lobbying for heavier taxation on the rich works wonders for him as he does not need to pay tax either way

LAST WEEK we explained that despite tax exemptions that the Gates family enjoys, the press totally fails to understand the position taken by this family when it lobbies for change [1, 2, 3, 4] (which works well for anyone who is exempted from tax). Ballmer and Gates Sr. are in opposite situations/circumstances, so to spread disinformation about one caring about the public and another not caring about it would be totally clueless. But that’s just what a lot of the press in Washington (including many Microsoft boosters) are doing this weekend and last week as well. A lot of spin comes from there.

“Ballmer and Gates Sr. are in opposite situations/circumstances, so to spread disinformation about one caring about the public and another not caring about it would be totally clueless.”Here are the latest articles from Seattle [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9], from AP via Seattle (here too), and other outlets which surely have not done enough homework, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4]. The really interesting story here is that not just the father of Bill Gates wants others to make up for his tax dodge anymore; Bill Jr. is joining him too and they are both de facto tax evaders thanks to the Gates Foundation whose tax avoidance is similar to Microsoft’s (legalised but clearly unfair and unethical).

Why is the media whitewashing Gates for policy laundering? Has so much of the media been paid/'bought' by him that his actions and image are untouchable now? His dad too is involved in this foundation, but the latest news is that both are now actively working to tax their peers while they enjoy their special, lobbied-for rules. As we’ll show later this week, Gates’ wealth continues to grow while the media characterises him as a giver.

It’s truly a travesty and it is Bill Gates’ spit in the face of citizens of Washington, to whom he hardly offers jobs anymore, he just fired them and then hired from abroad to save himself money, passing all the state’s benefits to people whom he brought in a visa by cursing the intelligence of people from Washington.

“My background is finance and accounting. As a socially conscious venture capitalist and philanthropist, I have a very good understanding of wealth management and philanthropy. I started my career in 1967 with the IRS as a specialist in taxation covering many areas of the tax law including the so-called legal loopholes to charitable giving. […] However, the Gates Buffet foundation grant is nothing more than a shell game in which control of assets for both Gates and Buffet remain the same. […] The only difference is that the accumulation of wealth by these two will be much more massive because they will no longer have to pay any taxes.”

The Gates and Buffet Foundation Shell Game

How Microsoft Taking Over Yahoo! (Proxy Fight/Entryism) Harms the Industry, Not Just Yahoo!

Posted in Free/Libre Software, FUD, Google, Microsoft, Search at 8:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Halloween figure

Summary: The public pays the price for Microsoft AstroTurfing, destruction of a competitor with subversive means, and elimination of some free software which anyone could use

SEVERAL days ago we showed that Microsoft was partly accountable for many layoffs at Yahoo!. Those layoffs harmed Free software projects (developers whom Yahoo! paid to improve this software until Microsoft came and funnelled everything in north America to its Windows servers).

Just before the final Yahoo hijack (Microsoft and its team ejected Yang, after shaking down his workforce for a long time) there was a lot of spin, government trickery, and AstroTurting from the likes of LawMedia. Microsoft behaved like a true thug. Nothing short of thuggery was the pursuit for OOXML, as well. That’s just Microsoft’s nature. Like a spoiled brat, when it wants something it allows nothing like laws to stand in its way.

“To Microsoft, the cheap destruction of Yahoo! was beneficial on many fronts.”Microsoft is technically weak and ethically corrupt, which is why Yahoo! hardly exists anymore as a search engine (Microsoft killed it as an option to many). How is that beneficial to anyone? Less choice, worse for the world, due to less competition over price and quality. The Microsoft boosters are currently bragging about Microsoft Bong [sic] being a threat. Microsoft loses billions of dollar there every years, most recently because it bribes users. Some other publications carry this story [1, 2] and the bribes are a subject we’ll deal with in a separate post.

The Microsoft fan press praises the Yahoo!-Microsoft alliance (which old Yahoo! was forced into after its former staff was pressured out/overthrown), but looking outside the financial Web sites we find that “Advertisers May See Rate Hike of Up To 78%”

“The Yahoo-Microsoft Deal Is About To Wreak Havoc In The Search Ad Market” says this one headline and another goes like this: “Ad prices may spike under Yahoo, Microsoft deal, report says”

How is that a good thing? Had it not been for intense AstroTurfing by Microsoft (it was confirmed that they had hired AstroTurfers), Yahoo! would not be happier with Google, still running its traditional stack with a lot of Free software and employed individuals who improve and increase software freedom. To Microsoft, the cheap destruction of Yahoo! was beneficial on many fronts. What a malicious corporation.

Incentivising Favours: “Microsoft Alumni Foundation”, “Microsoft Partner Awards”, and “Microsoft Tech Track 100”

Posted in Finance, Microsoft at 7:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A boy and his Ballmer bear

Summary: New examples and a quick explanation of Microsoft’s rewarding system, which allows the company to have other companies act as its subsidiaries rather than independent players

LAST week we wrote about how Microsoft surrounds itself by companies that serve it (satellites), either by signing one-sided deals or putting some Microsoft people inside them. Examples were mentioned last week including one from Dubai, whose government sellout to Microsoft is an issue we covered in posts about the UAE [1, 2, 3]. The latest business affairs there show who’s in charge and Microsoft seems to have run something called “Microsoft Alumni Foundation”, which it uses to grant awards just like it is grooming companies around the world with a “Microsoft Partner Awards Ceremony”, e.g.: “Microsoft development powerhouse, 3fifteen, was announced the winner of the Services-Orientated Architecture (SOA) and Business Process Management (BPM) Award at the annual Microsoft Partner Awards Ceremony, held at the Sun City Super Bowl on 2 September 2010.” (listen to this recent South African show discussing Microsoft corruption, including acquisitions of open source rivals in the country)

“It’s one of the biggest impediments Microsoft competitors will ever have, even though it is rarely discussed at all.”This is a ranking game Microsoft uses to reward or retaliate against companies; they are racing for favours, just like the OEMs. It’s one of the biggest impediments Microsoft competitors will ever have, even though it is rarely discussed at all.

We also found quite a few new articles (e.g. this one) about “Microsoft Tech Track 100″, which says: “Five Southwest technology companies have forced their way into the Sunday Times Microsoft Tech Track 100.”

Sunday Times? Microsoft? Et tu?

What Everyone Needs to Know About Wikileaks and Microsoft Lobbyists Like Anke Domscheit-Berg, Zuck, and Maybe Florian Müller

Posted in Deception, GNU/Linux, GPL, IBM, Microsoft, RAND, Red Hat at 7:29 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Yeah, the sheep’s clothing looked silly” –FFII about Microsoft Florian

Moorland sheep

Summary: Unmasking of lobbyists of Microsoft (some of whom use fake identities), including some examples of their latest positions and actions

“The German speaker “Daniel Schmitt” revealed his real name was Domscheit-Berg,” told us a source from the FFII. “Here is a Microsoft eGovernment lobbyist Anke Domscheit-Berg, she praises Wikileaks.

“Would be interesting to dig into the Wikileaks-Microsoft connection,” said the source. “Note that Wikileaks published confidential Microsoft documents.”

The Wikileaks connection is further explained by the FFII which calls it “Wikileaks theatre”. That’s because “We only knew Domscheit-Berg as the rare name of a female Microsoft lobbyist.”

In reply, the FFII was told that Wikileaks may have some very indirect and rather distant connections with Microsoft (for example, those who help them with hosting). Former Microsoft staff (weak link) exists through the Pirate Party*.

Later on the same observations were made in public, e.g.

- “Here #Microsoft lobbyist Anke Domscheit-Berg praises #wikileaks http://www.dradio.de/dlf/sendungen/interview_dlf/1235045/”

- “#Microsoft Cryptome files were “leaked” on #wikileaks http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread546635/pg1″ (source)

- “Confidential #EU Open Source Strategy documents were “leaked” via Wikileaks http://bit.ly/aDHpXL” (source)

- “@FreakkaerF Don’t you think there is a conflict of interest? Government relations means lobbying. http://bit.ly/9vQVY3 #wikileaks” (Source)

It was through Wikileaks that “The OSS document “leak” discredited the whole EU process,” concluded the FFII

We wrote about ACT’s role in the leaked item under:

The same lobbyists who derailed this document are still active and they are paid by Microsoft to serve its interests while pretending to do the opposite, e.g. weeks ago in IGF [1, 2, 3]). Here they are even blogging about it and revealing their pro-software patents agenda in Europe.

The opening lines of Purple Rain serve to sum up the challenges faced by innovative SMEs around the world, seeking to protect their investments with IP. At the Internet Governance Forum, no one means to cause them any pain…but they do. There is a widespread campaign by some, primarily in the OSS community (but they are not alone) to devalue and trivialize intellectual property around the world and SMEs have the most to lose. This campaign has many faces including debates surrounding so-called Open Standards, development, accessibility and blatant preferences for open source software.

They are still promoting patents, pretending to represent small companies (on Microsoft’s behalf) and belittling the “OSS community” which exposes their lies as nothing but lobbying from full-time lobbyists. They are clearly lobbying against the GPL (hallmark of Microsoft FUD) based on the following paragraph:

In open standards discussions, the definition of “open” seems to be creeping towards “implementable via the GPL,” a license that was created specifically to be at odds with IP. There are plenty of open source licenses which are compatible with IP and we need to make sure that OSS does not necessarily mean only the GPL. Anyone can choose the GPL as their license, particularly if he or she is trying to build a community around their software project, but there should be no entitlement that the world will always accommodate it. There are positives and negatives to selecting the GPL as your software license and everyone should go in with their eyes open. If SMEs are going to be involved in the standards process and allow their IP to be part of the process, there have to be ways to protect it, such as field of use restrictions, even in a royalty-free implementation of a standard. There might be instances where implementations of standards need to be developed under another GPL-compatible license so that those rights can be preserved. It happens all the time today and the world has not ended.

Microsoft Florian, who goes by the deceiving name “FOSS Patents” (maybe it means that FOSS must be subjected to patents), said another revealing thing, which puts him on the same side as ACT (they both lobby for RAND). Microsoft Florian wrote: “By that I mean political bodies could consider it positive that software patents put a limit (not an end) to commoditization.”

“Still it was a conflict of interest when your site “leaks” confidential documents of the company.”
This is being discussed on the FFII’s mailing lists today (Microsoft Florian has been attacking the FFII, whose goal is to eliminate software patents). Shades of the "ODF Foundation".

“We are not into witchhunting,” wrote the FFII. “Still it was a conflict of interest when your site “leaks” confidential documents of the company.” (there is a lot more of this discussion in our IRC logs)

One must remember that Microsoft Florian’s ‘leak’ is where TurboHercules’ attack on IBM began. He is smacking IBM and he is also smacking Red Hat right now, in order to promote software patents, daemonise Microsoft’s top competitors, and prevent any platform from being the commodity Microsoft does not want it to be (Florian is a Microsoft software proponent [1, 2, 3, 4], pretending to care about FOSS, for some credibility alone).

“Yeah, the sheep’s clothing looked silly,” said the FFII to Microsoft Florian, pointing to his latest attack on Red Hat.
* The Swedish Pirate Party is connected to Microsoft through its head, Rickard Falkvinge, who previously worked as a project leader at Microsoft. His party is now publicly attacked by Microsoft Florian.

Milo Said to be Another Dead Microsoft Product

Posted in Hardware, Microsoft, Rumour at 6:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Professor Milo, Batman: The Animated Series

Summary: Project Milo (KINect) has been killed by Microsoft’s Lionhead Studios, according to unconfirmed reports

Dead products at Microsoft are a couple a month, on average. Microsoft has been cutting down expenses by ending many products and closing down divisions for a few years now, leaving the profitable ones in tact and giving more time to losing products, hoping for some reversal or cross-product leverage (e.g. Zune being used as a tool/means to lift Xbox). The latest dead product from Microsoft is poor Milo, which is said to be canceled although Microsoft cannot confirm this just yet. To quote one report among many:

Kotaku’s reporting that the plug’s been pulled on Lionhead Studios’ ambitious Project Milo for Kinect. The undertaking–also referred to as Milo & Kate–was the jewel of Microsoft’s 2009 E3 presentation, containing the most forward-looking of the motion-gaming ideas during the press conference.

Some sites talk about it as though it’s a fact and some reserve judgment, instead just asking, “‘Milo & Kate’ scrapped by Microsoft?”

Other sites attribute to the source of the claim or call it a “rumor”.

There is this one contradictory report and having had its KINect product trashed, Microsoft too is mocking the competition to hide its own failings. It’s not a winning strategy and it leaves Nintendo in a stronger position.

IRC Proceedings: September 26th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 26/9/2010: More Oracle and Java, Defenders of Software Freedom in the New York Times

Posted in News Roundup at 9:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Krita – The KDE Answer to GIMP

        I was recently browsing through various Linux news sites and bumped into this article, a taste of a comic done in Krita, the KDE painting and image editor application, which is part of the KOffice suite. Now I rarely use image editors, and I’m totally untalented at it, but when I do, I use GIMP for basic cropping, coloring or other simple stuff. Anyway, I remembered I only tried Krita once, in KDE 3, and I was a little dissatisfied with it (can’t remember exactly why), so at the time I decided to stay with GIMP. This is why this article brought Krita again in my attention, so I decided to give it a spin and see how it looks like.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Device update: The latest multifunction innovations

      In the meantime, I’ve still been able to dig up a few exciting announcements and breaking news stories. In last week’s update I referenced a study by Informa Telecoms & Media. While that study reported large growth in the ereader market, it also predicted that by 2014 dedicated ereaders would eventually lose favor to multifunctional portable devices. The material include in this week’s update shows strong support for that conclusion.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • The 5 Most-Used Android Apps on My Phone
        • Google’s Schmidt says requiring stock Android would violate ‘the principle of open source’

          The suggestion has been made countless times that manufacturers who customize their devices’ builds of Android (that is to say, nearly all of them) should have the decency to offer users the option of reverting to a completely clean, stock version of the platform if they so choose. The concept came up at a press lunch featuring Google CEO Eric Schmidt last week, and the dude responded with an interesting explanation for why they don’t require that of their partners: “if we were to put those type of restrictions on an open source product, we’d be violating the principle of open source.”

    • Tablets

      • Dell, Samsung Android iPad rivals demo’d

        First up, we have a segment from Michael Dell’s OracleWorld keynote, which, as we reported yesterday, involved the CEO whipping out the upcoming 7in Streak tablet.

      • HP has a tablet

        HP would not say which operating system runs on the tablet. HP is trying out almost every operating system on the market at the moment other than Mac OS X. It even has Palm’s WebOS to play with. The Times of India seems to think that it is running Android 2.1, but without access to the Android App store. It thinks the tablet will be a bit limited.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Tweet Nest Archives Your Tweets for Easy Reference

    Tweet Nest is a free, open source app that stores all your tweets on your server for easy storage and backup. This is particularly handy for people who tweet frequently, since Twitter archives tweets on its own servers for about two weeks.

  • A Brief History: 35 Years of Open Source Software
  • CSIS Updates Open Source Policy Survey

    e CSIS documents when Red Hat began its own research into open source policies and initiatives, published as the Open Source Index in 2008. At that time the CSIS report had identified about 250 open source policies, so it’s impressive to see a growth of more than 100 policies in the past two years. While some of these policies are smaller in scope, some are fairly major, setting forth national-level policies effecting trans-national IT transformation, such as the establishment of the Asia Open Source Software Center, which was created by joint R&D policies of China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Macau, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand. Or the The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), which called for a study and report on the availability of open source health IT systems (Section 4104(b)).

  • The enterprise market is not walking away from open source
  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 beta 7 dev going slow, RC1 not due until late October

        Firefox 4 Beta 6 was released on September 14. Beta 7, which is currently under development, is slated for release sometime in the second half of September and the first release candidate is expected to be delivered in the second half of October.

        These dates are very tentative. Based on the discussion at the group’s weekly meeting Tuesday, much work needs to be done before the next beta is released. There are currently 51 blockers that need to be fixed before beta 7 ships, and a total number of 758 blockers identified in the code.

  • SaaS

    • Guest Post: How the Cloud is Changing the Way SysAdmins Work

      Cloud computing provides the ability to elastically expand and contract a large number of systems in terms of processing power, network throughput, disk storage, and memory. In order to keep up with this fast paced and on-demand resource availability, system administrators are turning to open source automation tools to reduce the costs of configuration management, mitigate the problems associated with platform and operating system management, and provide an extremely fast time to market for new services.

    • There Can Only Be So Many Winners in the Cloud

      Red Hat is a smart company, and has built a flourishing business around delivering top-notch support for its Linux offerings, including Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), which is due out in a promising new version 6 later this year. But as enterprises become more dependent on the cloud, will they drift toward established huge companies or be willing to trust smaller players like Red Hat?

  • Oracle

    • Oracle Still Shows Few Signs of Open Java Goals

      I agree with the points that Blankenhorn makes, except that Oracle’s attitude correlates with “failing.” Microsoft built a huge pile of money pursuing goals that weren’t open, and boxing out competitors who were open. But Blankenhorn is correct that Oracle’s general business stance raises questions about its attitude toward opportunity creation.

      With regard to Java, there remain few signs that Oracle will walk down any type of truly open path. The company needs to assure the development community that Java won’t become a card the company plays in an attempt to control customers.

    • What Oracle wants

      Technology should be about rapid growth, about carving grand new niches that pour out opportunity in every direction. It should be about tapping a vein that no one company can exploit on its own, that sees perpetual change as the only constant.

      Linux is like that. That’s the secret of open source. There are Linuxes for clouds, Linuxes for desktops, Linuxes for mobile devices. There are Linuxes meant for enterprises, and Linuxes meant for individuals. Each distro seeks to carve out its own niche, and the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

    • Oracle’s invisible elephant
    • How Ellison could fight Google’s Android – without lawyers

      First, the good news. Java on mobile phones has been a palpable success. Installed on eleven billion mobile phones worldwide, Java ME is one of the most widely available software development platforms – ever.

      Its APIs are powerful and a pleasure to program with (as long as you’re targeting a single device, of course). Also, the Sun Microsystems team did a sterling job of integrating NetBeans with connected profiles, making it easy to create MIDP apps – MIDP, or Mobile Information Device Profile, being the most common Java ME profile for phones.


      Frothy-mouthed developers can’t seem to stop writing Android apps. It helps that Android has its own mascot, the grinning green robot that looks like it’s about to start ‘dissing mashed potato and selling you its powdered variety. But more practically, the platform fragmentation that has so beset Java ME doesn’t seem to have affected Android quite so much. That’s because Android controls the entire software stack and Google seems prepared to stand up to the nakedly self-serving phone manufacturers.

    • Larry Ellison’s first Sparc chip and server

      Oracle has announced the Sparc T3 processor and its related Sparc T3 systems at the OpenWorld extravaganza in San Francisco, giving Solaris shops who had run out of headroom on the existing Sparc T2 and T2+ machines a little breathing room – and giving Oracle a chance to chase some entry and midrange Unix server sales against rivals IBM and Hewlett-Packard.

    • Oracle pushes Java for mobiles

      JAVA TOOK THE SPOTLIGHT in San Francisco today as Oracle opened the Java One show, running alongside its main Openworld event.

      Java One 2010 marks the first year that Oracle has run the show since its acquisition of Sun. Thomas Kurian, EVP of Oracle product development, took to the stage on Monday evening to shed light on the firm’s three-year development plan for Java.

    • Oracle to webify mobile Java against Android

      OpenWorld JavaOne Oracle is throwing hardware-accelerated graphics and web integration into mobile Java to catch and contain Google’s rogue Android

      The database giant has laid out plans for Java ME – Oracle’s preferred flavor of Java on mobile – that will let the stack render HTML, CSS, and Javascript by default.

    • Oracle Promises To Maintain Open-Source Status For Java Tools

      In addition to those open-source Java offerings, Oracle is committed to releasing the JavaFX user interface controls as an open-source technology, Kurian said.

  • CMS

    • FCC.gov Announces Open Source Redesign

      At its core, the FCC’s new online platform will leverage the same open source technology powering WhiteHouse.gov, and they’re planning active engagement with the open source community. We’ve found open source technology to be a great way maximize the scalability and accessibility of WhiteHouse.gov, and we’ve even contributed some of the custom code we’ve written back to the public domain.


    • Open – Just like Windows or Mac

      It’s a common ploy to suggest that since the FSF advocates for Free Software, and discourages the use and promotion of Closed and Proprietary software that this somehow means that the FSF is actually ”anti-freedom” or whatever nonsense detractors are trying to spin out of nothing.

      Of course, if the FSF advocated that “any choice you make is equally acceptable”, then they would hardly be advocating Free Software, would they.

  • Government

    • Westminster eForum Speech

      Today I had the pleasure of addressing the Westminster eForum event on Free and open source software in business, in government. I had a five minute slot following the excellent Karsten Gerloff of the Free Software Foundation Europe, then after speeches from Paul Holt, Andrew Katz and Christopher Roberts we had a panel Q&A with questions from the audience. Here are the notes from my speech, transcripts of the whole event will be distributed around Westminster. T

    • Bristol Council mulls mixed FOSS, Microsoft upgrade

      On 30 September Bristol City councillors will be asked to adopt a proposal, steered by UK open source consultancy outfit Sirius Corporation, to “commit resources” for FOSS tech.

      But sadly for the council, and the UK open source community at large, Bristol can’t ditch Microsoft completely yet.

  • Licensing

    • The Defenders of Free Software

      Mr. Hemel serves as a volunteer watchman for free, open-source software like the Linux operating system, which competes with Microsoft’s Windows. The use of free software has exploded, particularly in gadgets as varied as exercise bikes, energy meters and smartphones. Companies like Google, TiVo and Sony often opt to piggyback on the work of others rather than going through the ordeal of building all of the software for their products from scratch.


      Last month, for example, Dell received a public tongue-lashing from the geek kingdom and a cease-and-desist letter courtesy of Mr. Hemel for shipping its new Streak tablet without providing the underlying open-source software code. Dell representatives acknowledged the issue and later put the code on a Web site. “We are committed to fulfilling all of our obligations when using open-source code in our product,” said a Dell spokesman in a company blog.

      Mr. Hemel says companies should make sure they know the ins and outs of everything they sell. “If we all play by the rules, we can make some really good stuff,” he says.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Data

      • How do we get government to share data?

        On Tuesday we wrapped up the Manor Makeover in Manor, Texas, population 6,500. In some ways, this is ground zero for Gov 2.0 at the local level. The City of Manor has done some very innovative things on a shoestring, gaining attention ranging from the blogosphere to national press and all the way up to the White House. In fact, keynote speaker Beth Noveck, Deputy CTO in the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House wrote up a blog post just last night. The makeover is pretty impressive — they even followed my blog post from earlier this year about how to embrace Gov 2.0. (Not that they’ve seen it — it’s probably just obvious if you think hard enough about prioritizing limited resources.)


  • Apple, Google, Others Settle Antitrust Probe Into Their Hiring Practices

    Six major technology companies—Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Intel (NSDQ: INTC), Intuit, Adobe Systems (NSDQ: ADBE), and Pixar—will no longer agree not to poach employees from each other, as part of a settlement they just announced with the U.S. Department of Justice. The government began an investigation a year-and-a-half ago to determine whether the companies, along with a few others, broke antitrust law by colluding on hiring practices.

  • US sues/settles with Apple, Google, Intel…

    On Friday, the US Department of Justice sued and then announced a settlement with Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar, in a move that will stop the six companies from entering into what the DoJ characterized as “anticompetitive employee solicitation agreements.”

  • How to disconnect from your online life

    There is now a generation who do not remember the world before the internet took off, and who live out their lives in a slew of public online arenas. But there is also a growing number of people who feel their life online has spun out of control.

  • Mixed Result for Google Today in European Courts

    Also today, Google had a legal setback in France where the Paris Court of First Instance ruled that a Google official had committed slander based on the results of queries to Google Suggest. The plaintiff — a person previously convicted of corruption of a minor — sued the Google Suggest director personally because the plaintiff’s name was returned in response to queries on search terms such as rape, satan worshipper, and other things. The court ordered the Google official to immediately remove all these references from Google Suggest, upon penalty of 500 euros per instance he fails to do so.

  • French court convicts Google and boss of defamation

    A Paris court has convicted US search engine giant Google and its chief executive Eric Schmidt of defamation over results from its “suggest” function, a French legal affairs website has revealed.

    The new function, which suggests options as you type in a word, brought up the words “rapist” and “satanist” when the plaintiff’s name was typed into the search engine, legalis.net reported.

  • Fired teacher fights to clear name after ‘hit’ allegation

    To this day, Randolph Forde experiences a small panic attack whenever the local news comes on the television.

    The former Georgia high school special education teacher was arrested in October on allegations that he offered money to one student to kill another. The story appeared on the local TV news before making national and international headlines, casting Forde as a man with an bizarre vendetta against a student he suspected of being gay.

  • Online hotel bookings to be probed for price-fixing

    The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) is investigating whether the sale of hotel room bookings on the internet breaches competition law, looking into whether an allegedly long-established pricing mechanism is anti-competitive.

    An online reseller of hotel rooms complained to the OFT about a practice it said was called ‘rate parity’, in which hotels agree a minimum price for rooms. That reseller, Skoosh.com, claimed that the hotels it bought room bookings from were under pressure from other resellers to maintain those minimum prices.

  • WTF, kids swearing earlier now, researcher says

    Children as young as two are now dropping f-bombs, with researchers reporting that more kids are using profanity — and at earlier ages — than has been recorded in at least three decades.

    So finds data presented at this month’s Sociolinguistics Symposium in the U.K., at which swearing scholar Timothy Jay revealed that the rise in vulgarity within adult culture dovetails with similar spikes in the number of youths using offensive language.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • FDA begins considering genetically modified ‘frankenfish’ for US food supply

      Fish or frankenfish? A Massachusetts company wants to market a genetically engineered version of Atlantic salmon, and regulators are weighing the request. If approval is given, it would be the first time the government allowed such modified animals to join the foods that go onto the nation’s dinner tables.

    • Exclusive: Gulf seafood poses long-term health risks, experts say

      “We have not found it,” FDA spokeswoman Meghan Scott claimed. “Every sample that we have tested for PAHs has come back clean. It has the potential to [bioaccumulate]. But we have not found it, even from samples taken from inside of closure areas.”

    • Microsoft warns of in-the-wild attacks on web app flaw

      A Long Island township has imposed restrictions on the placement of new cell towers that are among the toughest in the country, and one phone company says it effectively bans new construction.

      The town of Hempstead is a notable example on a list of municipalities tightening rules on where cell phone companies can place antennas. The moves come as consumers are demanding blanket wireless coverage for their phones and buying laptops and, more recently, tablet computers that also rely on cell towers.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Ozone layer stable, on the way to recovery

      Nearly all life of the planet benefits from this. People benefit especially (millions of cases of skin cancer averted, crops and livestock protected, etc.). This is an unmitigated success for the Earth.

    • Ship blog: The good, the bad and the ugly

      And now for the ugly. Well if we needed any kind of reminder of why we’re here, it came today in the form of news from Norway. We mentioned before that UK government representatives were heading to Bergen to scupper a German call for a moratorium on deepwater drilling. Well today we heard they’d succeeded. But what makes this bitter pill particularly hard to swallow is that in the end the Germans weren’t even calling for a moratorium on deepwater drilling. All they wanted was a commitment to discuss it at the next OSPAR meeting. But even that was too much for our supposed representatives, who made sure – along with Norway and Denmark – to delete any mention of a moratorium from the final conference text.

    • Going Beyond Oil
    • Captain’s blog: Blind Faith

      The well to the south is called “Thunderhorse”. The rig to the southeast is “Blind Faith”. Really. Could I make that up? Who would name an oil rig Blind Faith? Someone with a realistic sense of adventure? Don’t get me wrong; I like the names, even if I do not like what they do.

    • EU may speed up approval of genetically modified food crops

      As America chews over a bid to market “Frankenfish” salmon, Europe wants to drop scientific objections to genetically modified (GM) crops in a move even its backers admit leaves a strange taste.

      With the GM industry and its opponents each sharpening their legal claws, European nations will debate a proposed rule change on Monday that would allow officials to accelerate authorizations for 15 new transgenic crops while letting those who want to keep them off their territories do so.

    • Could the garbage heap help save us from global warming?

      In New Haven, W.Va., the Mountaineer Power Plant is using a complicated chemical process to capture about 1.5 percent of the carbon dioxide it produces. The gas is cooled to a liquid at a pressure of about 95 atmospheres and pumped 2,375 meters down to a sandstone formation, where it is meant to remain indefinitely. The objective is to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide being added to the atmosphere from the coal burning at the plant.

    • Amid Tension, China Blocks Vital Exports to Japan

      Sharply raising the stakes in a dispute over Japan’s detention of a Chinese fishing trawler captain, the Chinese government has blocked exports to Japan of a crucial category of minerals used in products like hybrid cars, wind turbines and guided missiles.

    • Chernobyl plant life endures radioactivity

      One of the researchers speculates that such mechanisms could trace back millions of years, when early life forms were exposed to higher levels of natural radiation.

  • Finance

    • Toxie’s Dead

      Toxic assets — bundles of mortgages that Wall Street sliced up and sold to investors — were at the center of the financial crisis. When the housing market tanked, no one wanted to own them. That’s when we bought one.

    • Blockbuster Reportedly About To File For Bankruptcy

      The rental landscape has already been transformed by number two player Movie Gallery’s decision earlier this year to shut down all of its 2,666 locations after it too filed for bankruptcy.

    • Blockbuster winds itself into Chapter 11

      In the meantime, the firm said its US operations will stay open and continue to serve customers. So sympathetic customers might want to dig out that old overdue Molly Ringwald video that’s been lurking behind the sofa since 1991 and pop it in the drop box.

    • Akin Gump, Creditors Win Philly Papers Auction

      One additional note for bankruptcy buffs: The rules of the auction banned senior creditors from making a so-called credit bid, through which creditors essentially exchange their debt holdings for equity in the new company. The creditors in this auction would have to pay cash to the bankruptcy estate of the newspapers’ parent company. But in a funky (if common) twist in bankruptcy auctions, that cash will go right back to the buyers, since they are secured creditors and thus first in line to be repaid by the estate. It’s not a credit bid, but it’s close.

    • Americans Have No Idea About Wealth Inequality in America
    • Adobe stock cops a big whack

      The stock fell about 19 per cent on the US market yesterday, following announcement of third-quarter revenue of $US990.3 million.

    • Is Seagate poised to go private?

      Seagate has been in discussion with a pair of private equity firms about a move off the stock market and back into private ownership, according to reports.

      The alleged discussions have been reported by normally reliable Reuters, Bloomberg and others.

    • Taxman rejects ‘lie detector’ tech

      The government has denied claims it will extend use of telephone “lie detector” tests to the tax system.

      Proponents of such software – known as voice risk analysis (VRA) – say it is able to calculate the probability someone is lying over the phone by measuring variations in their voice. Scientists charge it is no better at identifying fraud than tossing a coin.

    • The Surprising Religion of Jack Ma

      Ma says three things are at the core of his company and business philosophy, calling them “his religion” on the show. The first is that technology isn’t Alibaba’s core competency, rather it’s the company’s culture. That first bit is the surprising part– Ma goes on and on about how untechnical he is. That’s something I’ve never heard any executive of a tech company say, even if they aren’t technical. Ma says “I know nothing about technology,” adding he can’t write code and the most he can do is send and receive emails. That takes some confidence as a leader to be so bold about what you don’t know.

      The second element of his “religion” is that shareholders come last– the most important groups are customers and then employees. He says matter-of-factly that customers are the ones who pay him and employees are the ones who stick with him but shareholders come and go. (Note: There’s some interesting subtext, whether it was intentional or not. The largest shareholder is Yahoo, who Ma would very much like to go.)

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Liberalism and Economic Freedom

      A big part of the problem is that the political right has become so effective at branding deregulation as their issue that people have come to talk about these things in a very right-wing way. Libertarians see the deregulation of barbering as part of a broader “economic liberty” agenda that also includes privatizing government services, cutting taxes, and so forth. And this means that even when regulations have clearly inegalitarian effects, the left has a knee-jerk tendency to support them on the grounds that anything the other side supports must be bad.

    • Watchdog: ‘Christine O’Donnell is clearly a criminal’

      Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, or CREW, filed a complaint alleging O’Donnell had used $20,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses.

    • Christine O’Donnell Is a ‘Criminal,’ Claims Watchdog Group

      A watchdog group has filed official federal complaints against Tea Party candidate Christine O’Donnell, upset winner of Tuesday’s GOP Senate primary in Delaware, and has labeled her a “criminal” for allegedly using campaign contributions for rent and other personal expenses.

    • Crew Files Ethics Complaint Against Senator David Vitter (R-La)

      Today, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee against Sen. David Vitter (R-LA) over his improper use of taxpayer funds to subsidize the personal expenses of staff member Brent Furer and for lying about Mr. Furer’s legislative portfolio. Mr. Furer is infamous for brutally assaulting his girlfriend in 2008, while handling women’s issues for Sen. Vitter. According to Senate financial records, at taxpayer expense Mr. Furer flew to Louisiana in 2007 to appear in court to face a DWI charge, and again in 2008 to sign his probation agreement in the same matter. Sen. Vitter’s office claimed the senator was unaware of the court proceedings.

    • O’Donnell called evolution ‘a myth’, said she wanted to stop Americans from having sex
    • Netflix apologizes for allowing actors to talk to reporters at Canadian launch

      Problem is, many in the crowd were actors who were paid to be there. And some of those “extras” gave interviews to journalists, who didn’t realize they weren’t real consumers interested in the product.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Electronic Frontier Foundation Cries Foul On Censorship Bill

      That’s a big problem with censorship. The ripple effect from it extends far beyond freedom of speech issues, and can create a black market for freely distributed information, pitting governments against individuals.

    • Global ‘internet treaty’ proposed

      The proposal was presented at the Internet Governance Forum in Lithuania last week, and outlined 12 “principles of internet governance”, including a commitment from countries to sustain the technological foundations that underpin the web’s infrastructure.

    • Publisher agrees to drop US spy secrets from book: Pentagon

      A publisher has agreed to remove US intelligence details from a memoir by a former army officer in Afghanistan after the Pentagon raised last-minute objections, officials said Friday.

      The book, “Operation Dark Heart,” had been printed and prepared for release in August but St. Martin’s Press will now issue a revised version of the spy memoir after negotiations with the Pentagon, US and company officials said.

      In an unusual step, the Defense Department has agreed to reimburse the company for the cost of the first printing, spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told AFP.

      The original manuscript “contained classified information which had not been properly reviewed” by the military and US spy agencies, he said.

      St. Martin’s press will destroy copies from the first printing with Pentagon representatives observing “to ensure it’s done in accordance with our standards,” Lapan said.

      The second, revised edition would be ready by the end of next week, said the author’s lawyer, Mark Zaid.

    • Real-Time NSA Eavesdropping

      Eavesdropping is easy. Getting actual intelligence to the hands of people is hard. It sounds as if the NSA has advanced capabilities to automatically sift through massive amounts of electronic communications and find the few bits worth relaying to intelligence officers.

    • My report was too hot to broadcast: Brisbane war correspondent

      Brisbane war correspondent Michael Ware is set to reveal that an alleged war crime he filmed in Iraq has never been seen or investigated by authorities.

      Mr Ware, who covered the Afghanistan war from 2001 and the Iraq war from 2003 for Time magazine and the US television network CNN from 2006, returned to Brisbane in December suffering post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

      His harrowing near-decade of war coverages were documented last Monday in the first of a two-part ABC Australian Story series, with the second part to be broadcast tomorrow night.

      Mr Ware tells of the alleged incident he says he witnessed and filmed in 2007 when working for US news giant CNN, but claims the network decided the footage was too graphic to go to air.

    • Saudi Arabia denies it will license blogs

      A Saudi official denied on Friday that bloggers and web forums would be forced to register under a new electronic media law, after remarks he made sparked outrage among Saudi internet users.

      Ministry of information domestic media supervisor Abdulrahman al-Hazzaa clarified that the new law will require on-line news sites to be licensed, but would only encourage bloggers and others to register.

    • Police lay charges of libel, obstruction against Calgary website operator

      RCMP have laid five charges against a Calgary man related to the operation of a website highly critical of Calgary police officers.

      In a news conference Friday morning, RCMP announced the charges against John Kelly, 53, of Calgary.

    • Is Quoting Someone Out Of Context Defamation?

      Earlier this year, there was certainly plenty of discussion in the political news business of the Shirley Sherrod incident, where Andrew Breitbart posted a video of Sherrod speaking, which implied she had made certain decisions on the basis of skin color. However, after Sherrod was fired from her job at the USDA, it quickly came out that the video clips of Sherrod speaking were taken totally out of context, and the message of the speech was completely the opposite of what had been implied. This quickly resulted in a scramble as pretty much every publication in the world covering the story wrote articles questioning whether or not she had a legitimate case of libel.

    • Hotel Kicks Couple Out, Accusing Them Of Writing Bad Review

      A recovering cancer patient and his wife were hanging out in their room at the Golden Beach Hotel when the manager stormed in and accused them of writing a negative review of the hotel on TripAdvisor. He kicked them out of the hotel, threatened to call the police, and refused to give them a refund.

    • Patrick Leahy Against Internet Censorship In Other Countries, But All For It At Home

      But a bigger point is just how hypocritical the Senators supporting this bill really are. Reader Dark Helmet already did a nice job highlighting the massive conflicts of interest among many of the Senators supporting this bill — including the fact that lead sponsor Patrick Leahy has among his top campaign contributors the TV/Movie/Music industries, with Time Warner, Walt Disney and Vivendi showing up near the top of the list. But, I’m sure that’s got nothing whatsoever to do with this bill…

    • Sorry, But We Don’t Just Hand Out Information On Our Commenters

      Since this is something that we certainly believe strongly in, we’re not about to just roll over and give out information on commenters, without a clear legal requirement to do so. Our policy is pretty firm that we believe that it’s proper to protect the interests of our community, within legal boundaries (of course). There were some oddities with this subpoena — issued from a Florida court — including the fact that it had apparently initially been issued way back in January and sent to a random law firm in Philadelphia that I’ve never heard of, which has never represented Techdirt/Floor64 and certainly is not authorized to accept subpoenas on our behalf. Thus, we never received it when it was first sent out — but were finally emailed a copy last week.

    • Legal case against TripAdvisor intensifies, comment posters also in spotlight

      The reputation management company behind the planned action, UK-based Kwikchex, says the number of enquiries from hotels that consider some comments made on TripAdvisor about their properties are defamatory is “escalating and, more importantly, so does the severity”.

    • Feds: Privacy Does Not Exist in ‘Public Places’

      The Obama administration has urged a federal appeals court to allow the government, without a court warrant, to affix GPS devices on suspects’ vehicles to track their every move.

      The Justice Department is demanding a federal appeals court rehear a case in which it reversed the conviction and life sentence of a cocaine dealer whose vehicle was tracked via GPS for a month, without a court warrant. The authorities then obtained warrants to search and find drugs in the locations where defendant Antoine Jones had travelled.

    • Obama Comes Out Against Censoring The Internet; Will He Veto Leahy/Hatch Censorship Bill?

      Again, all of this sounds good… but it makes me wonder how the administration feels about the new “Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” from Senators Leahy and Hatch, which set up a system that avoids due process to censor websites in a clear attempt to “undermine fair competition and create market share for preferred businesses.”

    • Google Warning Gmail Users On Spying From China

      The warnings may indicate wholesale spying by the Chinese government a year after the Google Aurora attacks or simply random attacks.

    • ConLibs get shifty on spam and behavioural ads

      Last week, the government published its ideas as to how it would implement the changes to EU Directive 2002/58/EC. In relation to spammers and behavioural advertising it has decided to keep the low privacy standards that were acceptable to the previous New Labour government.

    • Czechs stop Google Street View

      Google will not get permission to continue developing its Street View database of images unless it obeys Czech laws.

    • Google responds to Czech ban

      Google’s Czech tentacle has responded to yesterday’s move by data protection regulators to stop the company collecting any more images for its Street View service in the country.

      The statement does not address data protection president Igor Němec’s main complaint: that Google failed to register as a processor of personal information, as is also required in the UK. We’ve asked Google why it failed to register and will update this story if we get an answer.

    • German gov gives Google Street View privacy deadline

      German officials have given Google until December 7 to set acceptable privacy standards for its Street View service.

      Other tech firms including Apple have also been asked to collaborate on a voluntary privacy charter for geographical services, under threat of legislation.

    • Street View prompts privacy code in Germany
    • T-Mobile admits to censoring text messages

      The admission came in legal case in which the mobile operator is being sued by the short-code text service EZ Text. The text marketing firm, which signed up a California marijuana dispensary found that it fell afoul of T-Mobile’s apparently secret guidelines.

    • T-Mobile sued for allegedly blocking pot-related texting

      In a case with free speech and Net neutrality implications, T-Mobile has been sued by a text message marketing company for allegedly blocking access to the T-Mobile network because of a client that provided information on medical marijuana.

    • T-Mobile Claims Right to Censor Text Messages

      The Bellevue, Washington-based wireless service is being sued by a texting service claiming T-Mobile stopped servicing its “short code” clients after it signed up a California medical marijuana dispensary. In a court filing, T-Mobile said it had the right to pre-approve EZ Texting’s clientele, which it said the New York-based texting service failed to submit for approval.

      EZ Texting offers a short code service, which works like this: A church could send its schedule to a cell phone user who texted “CHURCH” to 313131. Mobile phone users only receive text messages from EZ Texting’s customers upon request. Each of its clients gets their own special word.

    • Users Sue Internet Companies Over Hidden ‘Flash Cookies’

      If you don’t want your personal information and browsing history tracked, be sure to clear that history and delete browser cookies after every session. Or use “in private” search offered by Internet Explorer or similar anonymous search features found in Firefox, Chrome and others.

    • ZoneAlarm slammed for scarewarey marketing

      ZoneAlarm has run into criticism from its customers for using scary pop-up warnings as a marketing tactic designed to persuade users to purchase the paid-for version of its personal firewall.

    • Global Virus Alert! ZoneAlarm’s scare tactics raise hackles
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • DRM-Free Games Site GOG.com Gone

      The announcement on the site’s front page says, in part, “This doesn’t mean the idea behind GOG.com is gone forever. We’re closing down the service and putting this era behind us as new challenges await.”

    • IPv6 uptake still slow despite looming address crunch

      Even though many ISPs have begun offering IPv6 services to customers, uptake and use of the next-generation internet technology remains low, according to a European Commission-funded study published last week.

    • Vodafone shares subscriber info with world+dog

      Vodafone has been caught taking liberties with customers’ email accounts, and it seems at least some of the customers aren’t happy about the practice.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Marketplace’s Misleading Report On Fashion Copyright

      It’s about other designers and some “fast fashion” houses that create similar (but cheaper) designs targeting the lower end of the market. Counterfeiting is really a trademark issue — and is already against the law, but has nothing to do with copyright. Conflating the two is really bad, and confuses the issue totally, falsely giving the impression that fashion copyright is about protecting designers from counterfeit goods sold in alleyways.

    • Anti-Pirates List Dead and Pre-Teen Artists as Petition Signatories

      Yesterday the European Parliament adopted a report that paves the way for the introduction of draconian anti-piracy measures. A final push for accepting the report came from entertainment industry lobbyists who presented petitions signed by hundreds of artists. Among other suspicious circumstances, the signatories of the petitions include a 7-year old singer from Romania and a movie producer who died three years ago.

    • Runkeeper’s Ability To Outrun Nike & Adidas Shows How Big Companies Don’t Always Copy & Win

      What we’re seeing is, once again, plain old imitation by itself doesn’t appear to work very well, but imitation, plus some element of innovation to make it better does wonders. And yet, so many people don’t seem to recognize this and simply assume that the “big guys” will automatically copy and kill any new startup.

    • Copyrights

      • Europe on verge of criminalizing file-sharing

        The European parliament pressed on Wednesday for a crackdown on film and music piracy on the Internet, raising fears among online rights groups that a new law will soon follow.

        The European Union’s legislature adopted a non-binding resolution in a 328-245 vote calling for the creation within European law of the right to pursue people who violate intellectual property rights.

      • Supreme Court Eyeing RIAA ‘Innocent Infringer’ Case

        The U.S. Supreme Court is weighing into the first RIAA file sharing case to reach its docket, requesting that the music labels’ litigation arm respond to a case testing the so-called “innocent infringer” defense to copyright infringement.

      • Leaked Report Admits That Hadopi First Strike Accusations Won’t Be Reviewed For Accuracy

        As the French “three strikes” Hadopi process begins, with tens of thousands of notices being sent out to accused file sharers (their “first strike”), things may be even more ridiculous than previously assumed. Guillaume Champeau fills us in on the details of a leaked report from the French privacy commissioner (Google translation from the original French).

      • Spanish Collecting Society Targets Group Proposing Alternative Royalty System

        A Spanish group lobbying for alternative ways to protect and promote creative production has been asked to cease activity or face a lawsuit for damages, unfair competition and infringement by the Spanish collecting society SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores), according to the group. The collecting society also charged that the lobbying group is undermining its reputation.

        Lobbying group EXGAE has claimed they received a fax in August asking them to effectively disappear “from the face of the earth within the next seven days.” EXGAE “facilitates a legal consultancy service for artists and those affected by the actions of traditional royalties management organisations and other cultural industry groups,” according to its website.

      • Taiwan copyright poster winner turns out to be copycat

        The man, identified only by his surname Wu, apologised and admitted that his winning design was copied from a work by Dutch artist Dennis Sibeijn featuring a paper plane and, ironically, titled “Truth”.

        Wu was ordered to return to the Intellectual Property Office the 50,000 Taiwan dollars (1,600 US) prizemoney he won in the contest last year when he was a university student.

        His deception surfaced after a commuter recognised the work on a billboard carrying Wu’s prize-winning design at a Taipei subway station and reported to the office.

      • My Challenge To Jim Urie Of Universal Music: Instead Of ‘Drowning Out’ Those You Disagree With, Let’s Come Up With Solutions

        Back in June, we wrote about a ridiculous major label astroturfing campaign, spearheaded by Jim Urie, the CEO of Universal Music Group Distribution, involving a faux “grass roots” group called MusicRightsNow, which is just a major label front group, connected to Music United — also a major label front group. Well, he’s back. As a few of you have sent over, Urie appears to be claiming that the letter he sent out back then is responsible for the new pro-censorship Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act. The new letter urges people to click a link to send emails to elected officials supporting the bill. Amusingly (but not surprisingly), the link in the email (which I’m not providing here), does not allow people to edit the letter.


        How incredibly insulting and how incredibly wrong. The people that Urie is lying about here care very much about art and the difference between right and wrong. It’s why we focus on new ways for artists to make money. It’s why we look at what the actual evidence shows, including the fact that artists are making more money today than in the past — in part, by getting out from behind gatekeepers like the major record labels. And this makes us happy, because we do care about art and we do care about the ability of musicians to make a living and to keep doing what they love doing.

      • Judge puts hammer down on Hurt Locker P2P subpoena

        A federal judge in South Dakota this week quashed a US Copyright Group subpoena targeting an ISP in his state. Why? Jurisdiction, and a fax machine.

      • US ISP Disconnects Alleged Pirates for 6 Months

        The United States Internet Service provider Suddenlink has effectively implemented a three-strikes policy for repeated copyright infringers. After three DMCA notices, alleged copyright infringers are disconnected from the Internet for six months, without a refund. According to a company representative, the DMCA requires them to take such drastic measures.

      • Ruling Imagination: Law and Creativity

        My real point — and the point that drives a lot of what I write on this blog — is that we confuse things and act to our cultural detriment when we treat intellectual “property” like we treat real property. And that confusion of course extends to the ways we give dead people continued influence over their intellectual and artistic creations. So it seems serendipitous that in this coming Sunday’s New York Times Magazine Elif Bautman has an article about the ongoing legal battle in the Israeli courts over the fate of Franz Kafka’s personal papers.

      • Music streaming service rejects Canada

        Millions of people in the United States and Europe are using these and other services to stream music to their mobile devices. For monthly fees ranging from free to $15 (U.S.) (usually depending on whether you’re willing to pay to avoid embedded advertisements), users can choose from millions of songs — simply type in the name of a tune and enjoy it anywhere there’s a decent cell signal.

      • Piracy threats lawyer mocks 4chan DDoS attack

        ACS:Law obtains court orders to force ISPs to reveal the identities of customers linked to IP addresses observed sharing copyright files in BitTorrent swarms. It then sends letters demanding payment of several hundred pounds to avoid a civil lawsuit.

        The files are typically video games or pornographic films, with copyrights held by Digiprotect, a specialist German monitoring firm that aims to profit from piracy. ACS:Law does not usually take anyone who refuses to pay to court, however, and is currently under investigation by the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority. A tribunal is expected next year.

      • US broadcasters group accuses Ivi of copyright abuse

        INTERNET TV BROADCASTER Ivi didn’t have to wait long before hearing a response from the US broadcasters’ mouthpiece after filing for a judgment to stop lengthy court battles.

        The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), an “advocacy association” for US broadcasters, issued a statement shortly after we reported that the Internet TV upstart issued a Complaint for Declaratory Judgment of Copyright Noninfringement in US District Court in Seattle, Washington. It is hoping that the judgment will help it avoid lengthy and costly legal battles.

      • Broadcasting group issues statement on ivi Inc.’s TV service

        Since launching the ivi live television service on September 13, several major broadcasters (including NBC Universal, Fox Television Stations and CBS Broadcasting) have issued cease-and-desist letters to the company. As a preemptive move, ivi filed a lawsuit Monday against those broadcasters and others arguing that it had rights to rebroadcast the live feeds from TV stations in New York and Seattle under the Copyright Act.

      • Guest Post: Open Season on Copyright Infringement Claims? All Hail, or Hate, the “Troll”?

        Is it me, or has there been a noticeable uptick in publicity about copyright infringement claims in 2010? There is the prolific new so-called “copyright troll,” Righthaven LLC, which has sued more than 120 parties on behalf of its sole newspaper client, the Las Vegas Journal-Review (including against some high-profile defendants, such as politician Sharron Angle). The Fox network has been defending against claims that it violated a plaintiff’s copyright when it ran footage of Bernard Madoff, and now the Fox network (in an unrelated claim) is suing politician Robin Carnahan for alleged unauthorized use of Fox clip in a political ad. Some blame the poor economy, some blame the lawyers, some blame a heated election season. Maybe it is all of those reasons, or none of those. But at the end of the day, it doesn’t appear that anything has really changed in the substantive copyright law.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA Negotiators Refuse To Set Up More Timely Meeting For Consumer Advocates

          Talk about lip service to transparency while at the same time mocking it. Also, while some supporters of ACTA seem to claim that because the documents were shown once to such public interest groups everything’s perfectly transparent, it seems pretty damn obvious that those working on ACTA have done their best to keep rather important stakeholders very much out of the conversation. Of course, the industries, who are such fans of ACTA, may discover that screwing over consumers and consumer advocates comes back to bite them. You don’t have much of a business without consumers after all.

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Christian Grothoff – “Introduction to GNUnet”

Credit: TinyOgg

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