Free Software Business¶
It seems like not a week can pass without companies throwing (software) patents at each other. This week the mobile phone business is (again) a real patent battlefield with basically everyone suing basically everyone and their dog. What's even more worrying is that one explanation why this is happening is to force a higher price tag on the Free Sofware-based mobile OS that is Android/Linux. Now if this isn't balant abuse of patent law, I don't know what is! Check the last two links in the list below for a graphical overview of the whole mobile OS patent massacre.
- the Inquirer: Google's showdown with Oracle over Android will go to trial before November
- the Register: Apple sues Samsung over Galaxy look-and-feel
- Ars Technica: Bad TouchWiz? Apple sues Samsung for patent violations
- the Register: Samsung threatens Apple in response to patent lawsuit
- the Inquirer: Apple sues Samsung while US ITC sides with HTC and Nokia
- Business Insider: Here's The Real Reason Apple Is Suing Samsung
- the Guardian: Microsoft sues Motorola over Android – and all the other mobile lawsuits, visually
- Technologizer: Who’s Suing Who? A Cheat Sheet to the Mobile Patent Mess
This is big: the US Department of Justice and the German Federal Competition Office have allowed CPTN Holdings (consortium consisting of Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and EMC) to acquire Novell's highly seeked after patent portfolio only under terms that would protect Free Software from these patents. The most important bit is that the decision was made expressively to protect Free Software development and innovation and to protect those CPTN (members) may only acquire patent licenses to those patents, while the cca. 882 patents in question themselves will have to be released under the GPLv2 license and the OIN license. I'm proud to say FSFE helped achieve this (together with FSF, OSI and others) :]
- FSFE: Free Software crucial to competition, regulators in Novell patent deal say
- 7th Space: USDOJ: CPTN Holdings LLC and Novell Inc. Change Deal in Order to Address Department of Justice's Open Source Concerns
- the Inquirer: Microsoft must change its Novell patents bid
- ComputerWorld UK: Why Time is Patently on Open Source's Side
- ComputerWorld UK: Open Source Critical To Competition Say Regulators
- [US] Department of Justice: CPTN Holdings LLC and Novell Inc. Change Deal in Order to Address Department of Justice's Open Source Concerns
- Deutches Bundeskartellamt: Bundeskartellamt gibt Gemeinschaftsunternehmen CPTN für den Kauf von Novell-Patenten frei [in German]
Incidentially, media reports how OIN is growing fast and mentions its latest aditions.
- Groklaw: Open Invention Network Takes on Mass – Facebook and HP Join
- ComputerWorld: Linux patent protection network gets boost from Facebook, HP
Incidentially incidentially, Microsoft due to its i4i patent battle, is fighting for lower burden of proof to invalidate patents. This was certainly a lively and fun week from the (software) patent perspective.
- Ars Technica: Microsoft urges SCOTUS to make patents easier to kill
- the Inquirer: Microsoft wants to balance patent laws at US Supreme Court
Copyright and Other Legal Act Reforms¶
This week was particularly bad for supporters of the so called "three strikes" copyright laws, as they took beating from several parts of the EU. The biggest of all perhaps by the European Court of Justice's Advocat General – if the ECJ were to follow his opinion (which is more often the case then not), it might become legally impossible to have any filtering and/or three-strikes system in the EU.
Government and Free Software Policies¶
Other interesting links¶
An interesting legally relevant aspect of Free Software – how much can the courts and the parties involved trust computer generated evidence, if they can't see its source code?
EU's report on net neutrality and policies that may emerge from it have been heavily criticised.
- La Quadrature du Net: Net Neutrality: The European Commission Gives Up on Users and Innovators
- the Inquirer: EU net neutrality policies are criticised as favouring companies
- GigaOM: Europe Takes One Small Step Toward Net Neutrality
- Ars Technica: Europe Pledges to Name and Shame Non-neutral ISPs
Apple's iPhone is keeping a full log of their users' location. It seems a similar issue is present in Google's Android, but a bit smaller, since it's only a cache of the last "few" locations and generally anonymised. The last two links are there for Android/Linux users to make their systems more secure.
- Ars Technica: How Apple tracks your location without consent, and why it matters
- Ars Technica: Android phones keep location cache, too, but it's harder to access
On a smilar note:
Glyn Moody (yet again) puts some insane copyright (ab)use in historical context.
In this edition of EDRi-gram we see, amongst others, articles about net neutrality in the EU, a full review of the SWIFT agreement, top 10 misleading statements of the EC on data retention.
hook out → this time on time again :]