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Your eyes can relax: Looking at stuff online is no longer patented
November 17, 2014 | 12:28 pm

patent_troll_thumb.jpgWell, that may be overstating the ... ahem ... case a little, but not by much. One of the most notorious instances of patent trolling, the claim by a company called Ultramercial that it has a valid patent for advertising on the internet, has finally been knocked (or gaveled) on the head by the U.S. Supreme Court, overcoming sustained resistance from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the top patent court, which took the case to the Supreme Court twice, only to be twice directed to take it back As the Electronic Frontier Foundation, itself involved in the case...

Latest Randall Rader developments suggest how broke the U.S. patent system is
November 17, 2014 | 10:26 am

The class action lawsuit filed against Amazon and other publishers misses the mark in a multitude of ways, writes TeleRead contributing writer Juli Monroe.Skeptics of the state of the U.S. patent and IP regime who regard the whole farrago as a happy hunting ground for trolls will feel even more vindicated by the latest developments following the resignation and subsequent retirement of Randall Rader, formerly chief justice of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, the highest court in the patent law system. The Court of Appeals has just ordered a public reprimand for Edward Reines, a patent lawyer with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, and recipient of some laudatory emails from Rader that led to the latter's resignation. "It is hereby ordered,...

UK prisoners no longer quite so screwed by government political games
November 10, 2014 | 4:25 pm

GraylingThe UK government's decision to crack down on reading material for prisoners has been showcased as one of the most conspicuous, damaging, and brutal exercises in political grandstanding through books in (admittedly, more and more congested) recent memory. Fortunately, as a result of across-the-board campaigns ranging from authors to prison governors, some of the relevant restrictions have been relaxed - although others remain very much in place. The Howard League for Penal Reform, the UK's most prominent and respected activist organization on this topic, shared a news release on the subject, explaining how: The Howard League Books For Prisoners campaign won an important...

Ellora’s Cave sues Dear Author over ‘defamatory’ blog post
September 26, 2014 | 9:59 pm

Ellora's Cave Well, that was unexpected. The saga of Ellora’s Cave has been chronicled over the last few months, and especially over the last few weeks, on various e-book blogs I read. For example, from The Passive Voice: Ellora’s Cave The mysterious case of the missing royalty checks from Ellora’s Cave More Ellora’s Cave troubles… Cat Grant Gives Away Her Unreverted Ellora’s Cave Titles And those are just from the last week or so. Authors...

Authors United to ask Department of Justice for Amazon antitrust inquiry
September 25, 2014 | 6:08 pm

So, Authors United’s latest publicity stunt is to declare they’re asking the Department of Justice to investigate Amazon for anti-trust issues in the wake of the continuing contract dispute with Hachette. (Publishers Weekly talks about it here, linking to a paywalled Financial Times article that you can read free by googling “Authors to call for Amazon antitrust inquiry” then clicking the FT article and answering a question.) They’re still in the process of drafting the letter; Douglas Preston says it was leaked “very prematurely.” The letter will ask the justice department’s antitrust division to “examine Amazon’s...

Looking back at Michael Bromwich’s report on Apple antitrust compliance
September 20, 2014 | 5:19 pm

It’s been a while since I’ve had much to say about the Apple antitrust suit. I’ve been a bit busy to write much for TeleRead in general, what with my new day job and things. Nate on The Digital Reader has some good coverage of the main points of interest: Apple Agrees to Pay $450 Million in eBook Antitrust Lawsuit Judge Okays Apple’s $450 Million eBook Antitrust Settlement Amazon Sends Out Email Concerning Apple’s Antitrust Settlement There’s also a new, related case in which three defunct e-book stores...

PACER to restore ten years of deleted records; is still obnoxiously expensive
September 20, 2014 | 9:37 am

pacerLogoI thought I’d mentioned this at the time it happened, but I apparently didn’t. Last month, the court records database PACER deleted ten years’ worth of electronic federal court documents in the course of a hardware update. This sparked an immediate backlash from lawmakers. Now Ars Technica reports that the US government Administrative Office of the Courts will return most of those files to the database by the end of October. It’s nice that they’re doing the right thing, but the shortcomings of the PACER system are aggravating. The system charges ten cents per downloaded page, including for lists...

Podcaster Adam Carolla settles patent troll case
August 20, 2014 | 4:25 pm

patent trollAn interesting little tidbit from the world of intellectual property litigation today: podcaster and actor Adam Carolla has settled a patent troll lawsuit which was getting a lot of attention. I know a little this because the Beloved is a devoted listener of Carolla's prolifically produced podcast, and I it's often on in the background while I cook dinner. I don't care for Carolla much as a personality, but I have half paid attention to his complaining about the patent troll and his exhortation that we contribute to his legal defines fund to beat them down! It turns out that it...

How newspapers are circumventing the the EU’s ‘Right to be Forgotten’ law
July 18, 2014 | 12:25 pm

right to be forgotten lawTechdirt has an interesting piece about how the EU's 'Right to be Forgotten' law---a law which requires search engine owners to remove articles at the request of people mentioned in them. The law is intended to help people ensure that potentially embarrassing things about them do not stay online forever, but it has been criticized as being potentially censoring, and for lacking an appeals process so that legitimate news reporting can stay online. Some news sources are finding ways around this, and Techdirt's story reports on a newspaper who is getting around the requests by simply reporting on them. This creates...

Canada’s anti-spam laws take effect this week
July 3, 2014 | 12:25 pm

canada's anti-spam lawsSome of our Canadian readers may have noticed a sudden glut of emails from websites, mailing lists and so forth which include an opt-in link. Surprise! It's not a phishing scam! These emails are legitimate communiques from any organization you might deal with who is based in Canada. The reason these emails have been going out is that Canada's new anti-spam laws are scheduled to take effect this week. Michael Geist has a great write-up on his newly redesigned website which explains what's going on: "The biggest substantive change in the law  comes from the requirement for express consent. Express consent requires...

Aereo loses, cell phone privacy wins at Supreme Court today
June 25, 2014 | 11:22 am

A pair of important Supreme Court decisions came down today—one disappointing and one critically important to anyone who uses mobile devices. The disappointing one is a 6-3 decision killing Aereo. The service that used dedicated individual miniature antennas to stream broadcast TV service to people’s computers over the Internet has been ruled to appear too much like a cable company, even as it scrupulously followed the letter of existing case law (while nonetheless skirting its spirit). Aereo could try to license content from the networks going forward, but would have to pass the costs on to consumers—and as Gizmodo...

Patent absurdity: Trying to protect its rule set lands small role-playing game publisher in hot water
June 20, 2014 | 4:54 am

patent_trollLadies and gentlemen, I give you the tabletop role-playing game community’s current tempestuous teapot. Recently, a small role-playing game publisher held an IRC interview about the new multi-genre tabletop role-playing game it had just published. The game and the company both seem to share the name Universal Horizons. Inspired by the publisher/writers’ disgust at the change from D&D 3rd edition to 4th edition, this game includes multiple campaign worlds, or “genres”—an urban fantasy world, a science-fiction fighting-off-bug-like-aliens world, and so on. These “genres” use the same character statistics but may have different skill bonuses from genre to genre. ...