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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. ...

Apple settles e-book anti-trust damages with states, class-action plaintiffs
June 17, 2014 | 5:49 am

Well, there’s a thing. Reuters reports that Apple has agreed to settle the e-book anti-trust lawsuit filed by 33 state attorneys general and class-action lawyers for consumers from other states. Details of the settlement have not been released; it still needs approval from the court. Judge Cote has ordered the complainants and Apple to submit a filing to seek approval of the settlement within 30 days. As I understand it, this renders the $840 million damages phase of the trial effectively moot. Apple is still going to fight the guilty verdict in the Department of Justice case, and the...

Appeals court rules HathiTrust book scanning is fair use
June 10, 2014 | 3:43 pm

Ars Technica reports that the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled on the HathiTrust case, the legal sibling to the Google Books lawsuit. HathiTrust is the organization of university libraries that provided books to Google for scanning purposes in return for receiving copies for themselves. A Federal judge ruled HathiTrust to be fair use in October, 2012, and now the appeals court has upheld that ruling (PDF). The court found that, in scanning the books but not making their full text available (save to handicapped users, who have a special exemption under copyright law), the libraries were...

European newspaper publishers argue web browsing is copyright infringement
June 5, 2014 | 3:46 pm

One of the points often made by supporters of the Google Books fair use ruling is that if copying material to build a search index is not legal, then so is the entire underpinning of the web, which relies on being able to make digital copies and index them. Lest you believe nobody would try to make that claim, Ars Technica reports on a European Union Court of Justice ruling which saw an organization of newspapers try to claim that browsing the web amounted to copyright infringement due to the digital copies of material made on people’s computers while...

House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: Public Knowledge, John Villasenor, The Software Alliance (BSA)
June 4, 2014 | 7:31 am

Previously in this series: House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: John Wiley & Sons, ReDigi House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: Graphic Artists Guild, Owners’ Rights Initiative House first sale doctrine hearing written testimony: Matthew B. Glotzer, New York Public Library Here’s the last batch (so far) of documents from the first sale House subcommittee hearing. If any additional material becomes available, I’ll pick that up down the line. Public Knowledge The first document for this entry comes from Sherwin Siy,...

Apple damages trial delayed to August 25
June 3, 2014 | 8:45 pm

In the wake of Apple’s recent failure to obtain a stay on the damages trial, Andrew Albanese reports at Publishers Weekly, the trial has been postponed again, to August 25. There may not actually be a trial as such after all, however; it’s possible Cote might issue a summary judgment deciding the case without recourse to a jury, or a partial judgment setting a damages floor for the jury to consider. Both parties have asked Judge Cote to consider issuing her ruling before the August 1 deadline for submission of their Joint Pretrial Order, which would discuss what is to...

Department of Justice asks settling publishers, ‘Done any more colluding lately?’
June 3, 2014 | 7:45 pm

The Wall Street Journal reports hearing from “people familiar with the situation” that the first three publishers to settle—Hachette, Simon & Schuster, and News Corp’s own HarperCollins—have received letters of inquiry from the Department of Justice, seeking information about “any recent pricing discussions they may have had with others in the industry.” The rest of the article is basically background reminding folks of the price-fixing lawsuit the publishers settled, and the trouble Amazon is having with Hachette. There’s really not a lot on which to speculate. It does seem clear, though, that given that the publishers are approaching the...

Wall Street Journal misses boat again with anti-Amazon hit piece
June 3, 2014 | 4:40 pm

newscorp_thumb[1]The Wall Street Journal has posted another scathing anti-Amazon editorial. It might be paywalled; if so you can bypass it by googling the headline. But I’m willing to bet you can guess pretty much exactly what it says without even reading it. Let’s review: the Wall Street Journal is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp, which also owns Big Five nee Six publisher HarperCollins. HarperCollins was originally going to stay out of the agency pricing cabal until Steve Jobs reached out to Murdoch’s son James only two days before the iPad was going to launch, asking him to pressure...