Tyler and Cameron Winklevoss will have to figure out a way to budget $20 million in cash and a stake in Facebook worth about $140 million and make it last the rest of their lives, because that's all they're entitled to, an appeals court ruled. The $20 million settlement and partial ownership in Facebook was the agreement the Winklevoss twins and Mark Zuckerberg came to back in 2008, but as Facebook ballooned in value, they wanted more, claiming that Zuckerberg wasn't completely forthcoming with information when they signed the settlement.
Julian Assange will have to spend at least another 24 hours behind bars as he awaits an appeal against the decision to grant him bail, Yahoo News reports.
The Wikileaks founder voluntarily turned himself in to Swedish authorities last week over a sex-crimes warrant that Assange says is nothing more than a smear campaign. He spent a week in jail before a judge ordered him released on $316,000 bail, a notion that was challenged by Swedish prosecutors.
"Somebody has it in for Julian Assange and we can only conjecture why," Mark Stephens, an attorney for Assange, said today.
Despite conspiracy theories that a larger force is at play here, Swedish prosecutors maintain that "this is not a case about WikiLeaks, rather a case about alleged serious offenses against two women."
WikiLeaks has come under intense scrutiny recently following the publication of thousands of classified U.S. documents and sensitive diplomatic cables sent between U.S. embassies.
The AP is reporting today that Viacom has officially filed for appeal in the YouTube copyright infringement case. You may remember that as the long running case that finally came to an end a few months back. The verdict affirmed YouTube's protection under "safe harbor" provisions. This means YouTube cannot be held liable for copyrighted content that is uploaded by users, provided they make a good faith effort to remove it. Viacom is seeking over $1 billion in damages.
Viacom has retained well-known attorney Theodore Olson to continue the legal battle. Olson has called the last ruling "a very bad decision". Speaking about bad decisions, the original case seemed to turn against Viacom when it was revealed that Viacom employees were instructed to surreptitiously upload copyrighted content to YouTube in the early days. Some of those Viacom clips are alleged to be included in the lawsuit.
Viacom seems determined to spare no expense in its quest to fundamentally break the internet. Do you think they will succeed?
Microsoft is starting to remind us of Rocky Balboa, except that the battles are taking place in court and we've stopped expecting a last minute comeback. The latest punch to Redmond's gut comes from the U.S. Court of appeals for the Federal Circuit, which rejected Microsoft's request for a rehearing in the patent dispute with Canadian software developer i4i.
"This has been a long and arduous process, but this decision is a powerful reinforcement of the message that smaller enterprises and inventors who own intellectual property can and will be protected," said i4i chairman Owen Louden.
I4i first sued Microsoft back in 2007 alleging that an XML editor built into Word runs afoul of its patent. The Canadian company ultimately won the case along with a $290 million award, while Microsoft continues to lose appeal after appeal.
So is Microsoft finally ready to throw in the towel? Not hardly.
Microsoft isn't yet finished fighting what it considers the good fight and has filed a second appeal in its patent case against i4i. According to Microsoft, the original judgment could set a dangerous precedent for future patent cases, TGDaily reports.
The dispute stems from August of last year, in which Microsoft was found guilty of violating an XML patent held by Toronto-based i4i. Microsoft was then banned from selling or importing into the U.S. any Word products capable of opening .xml, .docx, or .docm files containing custom XML. Microsoft would appeal, but lost its case in December.
In this second appeal, Microsoft contends that "the December 22 decision creates [significant conflicts] with established precedents governing trial procedure and the determination of damages, and we are concerned that the decision weakens judges' authority to apply appropriate safeguards in future patent trials."
i4i wasn't caught off guard by the latest appeal, saying "this next step of seeking a rehearing was anticipated."
Go ahead an crank up the volume on your iPod touch, just don't go crying to the courts if you rupture an eardrum in the process. That's because a San Francisco federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld a 2008 district court ruling saying Apple iPod earphones can't be held responsible for hearing loss.
"The plaintiffs do not allege the iPods failed to do anything they were designed to do nor do they allege that they, or any others, have suffered or are substantially certain to suffer inevitable hearing loss or other injury from iPod use. At most, the plaintiffs plead a potential risk of hearing loss not to themselves, but to other unidentified iPod users," Senior Judge David Thompson wrote.
The plaintiffs, Joseph Birdsong and Bruce Waggoner, had sought monetary damages, and also asked the court to require that Apple provide better earphones, test iPod users for hearing loss, and offer disclosures.
The litigation gods don't seem to be favoring Microsoft at the moment. A U.S court of appeals dashed all its hopes of a turnaround in its legal battle with Canadian firm i4i when it upheld a previous ruling against the Redmond-based company on Tuesday. In August, a U.S District Judge had ruled that certain versions of Microsoft Word encroach upon i4i's patents and consequently slapped the software giant with a $290 million fine, besides placing an injunction on the sale of all infringing versions of Word in the U.S.
The appeals court had stayed the injunction in September until the matter was in consideration. But now that it has affirmed the previous ruling against Microsoft, there is very little the company can do apart from purging Word 2007 and Office 2007 of the features that violate i4i's patents. According to a Reuters report, the company is already taking the necessary corrective measures.
However, the company is also exploring other legal options, including a rehearing by a full panel of judges or a Supreme Court review, according to its spokesperson Kevin Kutz. A spokesperson for i4i said it is “pleased with the court's decision to uphold the injunction, an important step in protecting the property rights of small inventors.” This small inventor with a vindictive name certainly has every reason to be pleased.
Down but not out, RealNetworks said it will file an appeal and ask that a court ruling to ban sales of its DVD-copying software, RealDVD, be lifted.
The original ruling dates back to August when a federal district judge issued a preliminary injunction to halt sales of the software after film studios successfully argued that RealDVD violated copyright law. The injunction drew major interest from consumers looking for some clarification in the murky Fair Use waters.
RealNetwork's appeal only addresses the injunction, not the case itself, which, barring a resolution, is moving towards a jury trial.
"What they're going to argue is that somehow the legal basis for the injunction is wanting," said Denise Howell, an appellate and technology lawyer. "They will say that there has been an error of law somewhere along the way but they're going to try and undo the injunction. Real is facing an uphill battle."
While it might not be a major setback for the Recording Industry Association of America, a federal judged has denied the RIAA's appeal for a mistrial against Jammie Thomas, the only person ever to go to trial after being charged with copyright infringement by the RIAA.
Jammie Thomas initially made headlines earlier this year when a jury found her guilty of violating copyright laws and was ordered to pay a staggering $220,000 to six of the top music labels. Thomas was accused of sharing more than 1,700 songs, but despite the moral ambiguity, public opinion tended to view the verdict as obscenely high.
Just weeks after the verdict was handed down, U.S. District Judge Michael Davis overturned the ruling on the basis that he had misguided the jury by indicating that the act of making a copyrighted song available was enough to constitute infringement. While a new trial has been scheduled for March, the RIAA appealed the judge's decision and asked that it be declared a mistrial.
It will be interesting to see what long-term implications this current setback has on the RIAA. Just weeks ago, the RIAA announced it would try a new tactic in thwarting copyright infringement. Rather than continuing to sue individuals like Jammie Thomas, the RIAA said it would start working with ISPs to send out warnings to those suspected of illegally sharing music. After three warnings, the ISPs would cut off internet service.
Meanwhile, a retrial is still scheduled for March, and it would be hard to imagine the losing side not appealing the verdict. That means we're still a long ways off from knowing the true implications of the Jammie Thomas saga.