MS patent looks just like Unix command

I'm shocked, shocked I say, to discover that M$ would try to pull such a stunt.

Microsoft has won a patent that covers functionality closely resembling security features that have been at the heart of Unix for more than two decades and recently been folded into the Linux and Mac operating systems.

(link) [The Register]

19:40 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Secret Copyright Treaty Leaks. It's Bad. Very Bad.

Bad? This is worse than "bad" - this takes "bad" to a whole new lower level.

The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to "national security" concerns, has leaked.

(link) [BoingBoing]

20:09 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Apple Seeks Patent On Operating System Advertising

The future is here, brought to you by ...

If anybody actually implements this, it will insure that Linux on the desktop gains unstoppable traction.

On April 18, 2008, Apple Computer applied for a patent relating to an 'invention' that allows for showing advertisements within an operating system.

(link) [Slashdot]

17:14 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Microsoft's Silverlight swallows off-line DRM pill

Does this mean it'll play for sure?

The next version of Microsoft's Silverlight will cozy up to media giants with out-of-browser digital rights management (DRM).

(link) [The Register]

21:18 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

The Copyright Black Hole

This is the best description yet of the morass we made for ourselves with "intellectual property" law.

James Boyle, professor at Duke Law School, has a piece in the Financial Times in which he argues that a 'copyright black hole is swallowing our culture.' He explains some of the issues surrounding Google Books, and makes the point that these issues wouldn't exist if we had a sane copyright law. Relatedly, in recent statements to the still-skeptical European Commission, Google has defended their book database by saying that it helps to make the internet democratic. Others have noted that the database could negatively affect some researchers for whom a book's subject matter isn't always why they read it.

(link) [Slashdot]

14:43 /Copywrongs | 1 comment | permanent link

Company Awarded Patent for Podcasting


VoloMedia announced today that it has been awarded what it called the 'patent for podcasting.' According to the press announcement, patent number 7,568,213, titled "Method for Providing Episodic Media," covers: "...the fundamental mechanisms of podcasting, including providing consumer subscription to a show, automatically downloading media to a computer, prioritizing downloads, providing users with status indication, deleting episodes, and synchronizing episodes to a portable media device."

(link) [Slashdot]

20:02 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

We Were Smarter About Copyright Law 100 Years Ago

We were smarter about a lot of things in 1909 ...

James Boyle has a blog post comparing the recording industry's arguments in 1909 to those of 2009, with some lovely Google book links to the originals. Favorite quote: "Many and numerous classes of public benefactors continue ceaselessly to pour forth their flood of useful ideas, adding to the common stock of knowledge. No one regards it as immoral or unethical to use these ideas and their authors do not suffer themselves to be paraded by sordid interests before legislative committees uttering bombastic speeches about their rights and representing themselves as the objects of 'theft' and 'piracy.'" Industry flaks were more impressive 100 years ago. In that debate the recording industry was the upstart, battling the entrenched power of the publishers of musical scores. Also check out the cameo appearance by John Philip Sousa, comparing sound recordings to slavery. Ironically, among the subjects mentioned as clearly not the subject of property rights were business methods and seed varieties." Boyle concludes: " looks back at these transcripts and compares them to today's hearings with vacuous rantings from celebrities and the bloviation of bad economics and worse legal theory from one industry representative after another it is hard not to feel a sense of nostalgia. In 1900, it appears, we were better at understanding that copyright was a law that regulated technology, a law with constitutional restraints, that property rights were not absolute and that the public would not automatically be served by extending rights out to infinity."

(link) [Slashdot]

07:43 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Amazon Pulls Purchased E-Book Copies of 1984 and Animal Farm

Amazon must have been acquired by the Ministry of Truth ...

In a story just dripping with irony, Amazon Kindle owners awoke this morning to discover that 1984 and Animal Farm had mysteriously disappeared from their e-book readers. These were books that they had bought and paid for, and thought they owned. Apparently the publisher changed its mind about offering an electronic edition, and apparently Amazon, whose business lives and dies by publisher happiness, caved. It electronically deleted all books by George Orwell from people's Kindles and credited their accounts for the price. Amazon customer service may or may not have responded to queries by stating, "We've always been at war with Eastasia."

(link) [Slashdot]

21:09 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Judge Invalidates Software Patent, Citing Bilski

Given this decision, and with the Supremes set to review Bilski, patent law is going to really interesting this year, indeed.

US District Court Judge Andrew Gilford (Central District of California) granted a summary judgment motion in DealerTrack v. Huber et al., finding DealerTrack's patent (US 7,181,427) for an automated credit application processing system invalid due to the recent In re Bilski court decision that requires a patent to either involve 'transformation' or 'a specific machine.' According to Judge Gilford's ruling, DealerTrack 'appears to concede that the claims of the '427 Patent do not meet the "transformation" prong of the Bilski test.' He then applied the 'specific machine' test and noted that, post-Bilski the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences has ruled several times that 'claims reciting the use of general purpose processors or computers do not satisfy the [Bilski] test.' Judge Gilford analyzes the claims of the '427 patent, notes that they state that the 'machine' involved could be a 'dumb terminal' and a 'personal computer,' and then concludes: 'None of the claims of the '427 Patent require the use of a "particular machine," and the patent is thus invalid under Bilski.' DealerTrack apparently plans to appeal the ruling. Interesting times ahead.

(link) [Slashdot]

06:34 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Song wars

Hope you like talk radio, 'cause if this goes into effect, that's all we'll have in the US.

US musicians battle to get radio royalties

(link) [BBC News | News Front Page | World Edition]

06:10 /Copywrongs | 1 comment | permanent link

Judge Thinks Linking To Copyrighted Material Should Be Illegal

All material is implicitly copyrighted: if this rule were put into effect, it would essentially destroy the Internet as we know it, by banning all hyperlinks without the linked sites prior permission.

Such a measure would actually create and perpetuate the monopolies Posner says he wants to avoid.

This is beyond moronic. From what little of I know of Judge Posner, he'd always seemed like a judge who kind of "gets it". Now, I'm not so sure he could find his ass with both hands in a brightly lit room.

An article at TechCrunch discusses a blog post from Richard Posner, a US Court of Appeals judge, about the struggling newspaper industry. Posner explains why he thinks the newspapers will continue to struggle, and then comes to a rather unusual conclusion: "Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder's consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion."

(link) [Slashdot]

21:54 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Copyfraud: Poisoning the public domain

Sigh. What else can one say ...???

The public domain is the greatest resource in human history: eventually all knowledge will become part of it. Its riches serve all mankind, but it faces a new threat. Vast libraries of public domain works are being plundered by claims of "copyright". It's called copyfraud - and we'll discover how large corporations like Google, Yahoo, and Amazon have structured their businesses to assist it and profit from it.

(link) [The Register]

15:32 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Supreme Court To Review Bilski

Big news indeed, with a potentially huge impact. If reversed this would probably invalidate the vast majority of software patents.

Big news on the patent front: the Supreme Court decided today to review the validity "business method" patents. In particular, the Supremes will look over the "In re: Bilsky" case, which we have discussed before. By agreeing to weigh in on the case, the high court is venturing into controversial terrain. Critics of business-method patents say it was never the intent of the law to protect such things, which in their view are often far closer to abstract concepts or mathematical algorithms rather than physical inventions. Proponents say they are key to promoting innovation in today's knowledge- and service-based economy. ... The court's decision to review the Bilski case caught many observers by surprise. The Bilski patent claims are widely viewed as vulnerable to challenge on a number of grounds, and the sense among some experts was it would make a poor test case. ... The Supreme Court won't hear arguments in Bilski until its next term, which begins in October. A ruling is likely during the first half of 2010.

(link) [Slashdot]

19:31 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

Microsoft Patents Crippling Operating Systems

Does this mean they have a patent on Windows? That's a crippled OS if there ever was one...


On Tuesday, Microsoft was granted US Patent No. 7,536,726 (it was filed in 2005) for intentionally crippling the functionality of an operating system...

(link) [Slashdot]

20:07 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link

How can you patent a human gene?

How, indeed? We'd better figure out how to stop this madness before it eats our civilization.

Here's a little-known fact: Under current law, it's possible to hold a patent on a piece of human DNA, otherwise known as a gene.

(link) []

21:12 /Copywrongs | 0 comments | permanent link