Someone other than Mark Zuckerberg and Zynga figured out a way to make some serious cash using Facebook, just not legally. According to U.S. prosecutors, the popular social networking site, along with Twitter and a several other online portals, were all used in a "pump and dump" stock fraud scheme.
Officials uncovered the fraud during a two-year probe of suspected trafficking by longshoremen and others of 1.3 tons of cocaine said to be worth around $34 million. The Manhattan U.S. Attorney's office said 11 out of 22 people charged used more than 15 websites to "defraud the investing public into purchasing stocks that were being manipulated by participants in the conspiracy."
According to court documents, the social scandal illegally accrued more than $3 million, with shareholder losses estimated at over $7 million. Each suspect faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Barring any last minute changes, Apple is up against a $625.5 million judgment against Mirror Worlds, which sued the Cupertino company in 2008 for alleged patent infringement, Bloomberg reports.
The original lawsuit accuses Apple's iPod device, iPhone, and Mac OS X of infringing on a number of Mirror Worlds' patents for a way documents are displayed on a computer screen. According to Bloomberg, the trial honed in specifically on the Spotlight, Time Machine, and Cover Flow features in Apple's OSes, which eventually led to the second biggest jury verdict so far this year, and the fourth biggest patent verdict in U.S. history.
In response to the $625.5 million judgment, Apple has issued an emergency motion that accuses Mirror Worlds of "triple dipping" if it wins $208.5 million for each of the three patents in dispute.
Oracle is accusing memory chip maker Micron of conspiring to fix prices, alleging it overcharged Sun Microsystems for memory parts, Bloomberg reports.
In its complaint, Oracle said Micron and other DRAM makers "conspired to control production capacity, raise prices or slow their decline, allocate customers, and otherwise unlawfully overcharge their DRAM customers." The antitrust complaint was filed earlier this week in federal court in San Jose, California, and also names Hynix, Samsung, Eplida, and Infineon as co-conspirators.
Oracle's basing its complaint in part on a 2002 U.S. Justice Department investigation of memory chip price fixing, which ultimately resulted in four companies and 16 people being fined a total of around $731 million, Oracle claims.
The European Union is notorious for its heavy handed fines to mega corporations who run afoul of the law, so it's easy to see why Apple opted to reverse two policies that recently drew the regulatory agency's eye.
Apple came under scrutiny earlier this year over its iPhone warranty policy within the EU, along with mandates over what development tools and programs could be used to code Apple-compatible apps. But with Apple making amends to its iPhone warranty, the EU is giving the Cupertino company a pass.
"Following today's announcement, Apple is no longer enforcing the 'country of purchase' rule within the EU/EEA and has appointed independent Authorized Service Providers to offer cross-border iPhone warranty services in those Member States where Apple does not directly take charge of repairs," the EU said in a statement. "Earlier on this month, Apple also announced having removed restrictions previously introduced on the development tools used to create iPhone apps, restoring the use of third-party layers and so giving developers more flexibility."
Apple's policy reversals likely saved the company from hefty fines. In 2008, the EU nailed Microsoft with a then-record setting fine of $1.35 billion "for defying sanctions imposed for antitrust violations," and then set another record when the agency smacked Intel for $1.45 billion in 2009 on similar charges.
"Apple's response to our preliminary investigations shows that the Commission can use the competition rules to achieve swift results on the market with clear benefits for consumers, without the need to open formal proceedings," the EU added.
A 27-year-old Venezuelan convicted of pillaging and subsequently reselling more than 10 million VoIP minutes has been sentenced to 10 years in prison. Edwin Pena's VoIP bootlegging operation depended on good old brute force attacks for its success, of which he and his accomplices had plenty, managing to force their way through more than 15 networks belonging to various telecom and VoIP companies.
Pena used compromised networks to reroute VoIP calls he sold to businesses at heavily discounted prices. His unsuspecting clients took his operation for a legitimate business. Before he became the first man to be indicted by U.S. authorities for VoIP hacking, he had robbed his victims of more than $1.4 million.
Microsoft made a compelling case to the U.S. District Court of Eastern Virginia, which has granted a motion essentially handing over to Microsoft permanent ownership of 276 Web domains used as command and control centers by the Waledac spam botnet.
District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema issued the temporary restraining order to take all 276 domains offline, an unusual move since the owner of the domains weren't in court to plead their case. This procedure is known as "ex parte," and normally a judge wouldn't give away property without the rightful owners present. As far as the judge is concerned, however, the registrants had every chance to step foward after being provided notices online and in print publications.
"It's open season on botnets," Microsoft senior attorney Richard Boscovich Sr. said in a statement. "The hunting licenses have been handed out, and we're coming back for more."
Microsoft said that during one recent seven-day period, it counted 58,000 PCs attempting 14.6 million connections to the 276 Waledac domains. At its peak in 2009, Waledac was responsible for some 1.5 billion spam messages per day.
As power users, we sometimes find ourselves taking certain things for granted, like the basics of overclocking and how to avoid falling prey to common malware schemes. It's good to go over the fundamentals every once in awhile, both as a refresher, and as a helping hand to those just getting into the game. That said, do we really need to remind people that posting on Facebook what you learned during jury duty is just plain boneheaded?
Sadly, the answer is yes. Hadley Jons, a 20-year-old out of Warren, Michigan, inexplicably went and posted on her Faceball wall that it was "gonna be fun to tell the defendant they're guilty" during a day off from the trial and before the case was over.
"You don't know how disturbing this is," Circuit Judge Diane Druzinski reportedly told Jons the next day shortly before replacing her.
Druzinski went on to say that she'd like to see Jons "get some jail time, nothing major, a few hours or overnight. This is a jury system. People need to know how important it is."
Craig Smallwood, a 51-year-old man from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, will have his day in court. U.S. District Judge Alan Kay made sure of it when he dismissed half of Smallwood's eight charges against NCSoft related to alleged videogame addiction, leaving four charges still to be resolved.
According to Hawaii's Star Advisor rag, Smallwood claims he has a tough time bathing and even waking up in the morning because of "phenomena of psychological dependence and addiction" to the game "Lineage II." Smallwood further alleges that the game caused "extreme and serious emotional distress and depression."
None of us here have a degree in medicine, but it seems like Smallwood could have avoided these claimed ailments by spending a little less time plugged into Lineage II's network. Naturally, the plaintiff disagrees.
"NCSoft is a discretionary and discriminatory in its applications of the rules," Smallwood said in his original October complaint. "Often they will allow certain players to break rules ... while they enforce these rules on others."
The Judge threw out claims of misrepresentation/deceit, unfair and deceptive trade practices, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and punitive damages. The charges that remain include defamation, negligence, gross negligence, and negligent infliction of emotional distress.
Ever thought of starting up your own World of Warcraft server? Given the billions of dollars Blizzard has raked in over the years we don’t blame you, but a recent court ruling suggests it probably isn’t worth the effort. A federal judge has awarded Blizzard over $88 million in damages inflicted by private gaming server “Scapegaming” which has been found guilty of violating the companies EULA along with aspects of the DMCA. Scapegaming allowed users running a modified version of the client to join their third party server, and the owner recorded over $3 million dollars in revenue by selling virtual items.
According to Blizzard “By agreeing to the EULA, you promise not to "host, provide or develop matchmaking services for the Game or intercept, emulate or redirect the communication protocols used by Blizzard in any way, for any purpose, including without limitation unauthorized play over the internet, network play, or as part of content aggregation networks." Essentially this is a lawyers way of saying Blizzard is the one and only provider you are entitled to use.
Given how drastically the penalty outweighs the company’s revenue I doubt Activision/Blizzard will actually get paid, but clearly that’s not the point. The main victory here is the ruling which helps the company establish a precedent that should help deter others from trying this in the future. Since it takes Blizzard almost 10 years to develop and release a new game, I guess it’s important to defend the cash cow that keeps the lights on.
The insurgent network administrator assumed absolute control over the city's network for a 12-day period in 2008. Although he locked out the city from its own network during this period, Childs was kind enough to let the network run unhindered. But that gesture of generosity wasn't enough to prevent his arrest in June, 2008 guilty. He was finally convicted on one felony count of network tempering on April 27, 2010.
Childs is effectively half way through his sentence, having already served more than two years in custody.