Rambus doesn't appear to be doing too well with its legal battle against Nvidia, and while the company hasn't given up entirely, it did ask the International Trade Commission to drop four of its patent infringement claims against the GPU maker. In addition, Rambus also asked for termination of several claims from a fifth patent, all of which date back to a November 2008 complaint.
"We are pleased Rambus has recognized the weakness of these patents and claims," said David Shannon, Nvidia executive vice president and general counsel in a statement. "These withdrawals represent essentially half of the patents and one third of the claims asserted against us, and we look forward to addressing the remainder of the case."
Exactly what will remain in the case remains to be seen, but before the withdrawals, the original complaint included nine alleged patent violations all involving memory controllers as used on Nvidia's graphics cards.
Underscoring just how out of touch the Motion Picture Association of America is with its consumer base, the MPAA has spoken out regarding a buyer's (lack of) rights in making a single backup copy of a DVD. The comment came in response to a question raised bu U.S. District Judge Marilyn Patel, who during the RealDVD case, asked the MPAA if whether or not it believes it's legal for consumers to make backup copies of legally purchased DVDs for personal use.
"Not for the purposes under the DMCA," said Bart Williams, an attorney for the MPAA. "One copy is a violation of the DMCA."
And technically, he's right, at least in terms of circumventing copyright mechanisms to make said copy. But what's startling about the comment is that the MPAA has traditionally hid behind the threat of mass software piracy and the resulting lost sales in supporting the DMCA, but apparently you're no better than pirates for profit if you make a single backup copy of a DVD you already paid for.
"We believe the buyer has that right to play a DVD as many times as they want," Don Scott, one of RealDVD's attorneys, told Patel. "We think he also has the right to make a copy, this fair use copy."
For a minute there, we were worried that the 4,382 (number pulled out of a hat) times we used the term 'netbook' would come back and bite us in the rump. That is, if Psion got its way. Back in December 2008, a UK law firm representing Psion had begun sending out cease & desist letters to various websites demanding that the sites stop using the term, which Psion claims to have owned based on a pair of old notebooks it used to sell.
Then in March 2009, Psion filed a $1.2 billion countersuit against Intel over the alleged trademark, a move which probably earned the company a bit of jingle. Not anywhere near the full $1.2 billion, mind you, but Psion did announce today that it and Intel "have settled the trademark cancellation and infringement litigation brought in the Northen District of California relating to the 'netbook' trademark registration."
Psion said an "amicable agreement" had been reached in which the company has voluntarily agreed to withdraw all of its trademark registrations for the term 'netbook.' Furthermore, the company agreed to waive its rights against third parties for past, current, or future use of the term.
Exactly what that "amicable agreement" amounted to is anyone's guess.
Former IBM mergers and acquisitions chief David Johnson finds himself on the potentially wrong end of a lawsuit seeking to prevent him from accepting employment with Dell. According to IBM, the new job would allegedly run afoul an agreement Johnson signed preventing him from working with rival companies.
"Mr. Johnson has possession of valuable confidential information and cannot undertake a senior strategy position at Dell without violating his obligations to IBM," said Edward Barbini, a spokesman for IBM. "Mr. Johnson repeatedly received significant compensation in exchange for agreeing to noncompete provisions."
For the last nine years, Johnson oversaw mergers and acquisitions and was privy to other strategic deals, according to the lawsuit. However, it remains unclear exactly what position Johnson was offered with Dell.
"Characterizations by others of his role are speculative," said David Frink, a spokesman for Dell. "Without exception, Dell respects the trade secrets and intellectual property of others."
Brian Toder, former defense lawyer for Jammie Thomas, dropped a bombshell earlier this week when he asked to be removed from the case. He did so saying he was owed nearly $130,000 "that will never be recovered, coupled with the likelihood that a similar, additional amount will be incurred if ordered to continue representation of defendant."
Stepping in to take Toder's place is a trio of former Harvard University classmates who feel confident they can take on, and defeat, the RIAA.
"We are going a for a jury verdict of zero," said Kiwi Camara, one the three Texas lawyers who replaced Brian Toder on Wednesday. "We are going to convince a jury that the RIAA should not bring these cases."
Doing so will be anything but easy. With a retrial scheduled to begin in just three weeks on June 15, the trio said they will not seek a delay, and instead plan to attack the RIAA's litigation strategy, Wired reports.
"We think the jury is going to reject this strategy," Camara said. "The RIAA strategy here is not to try any of these cases."
Brian Toder wished Thomas well in her ongoing fight.
On hindsight, Jammie Thomas may one day look back and wish she would have taken whatever deal was being offered during a court-mandated settlement conference just days ago. Certainly that seems to be what her lawyer, Brian Toder, must have wanted her to do, as Toder is now attmempting to withdraw from the case less than a month before a retrial in the RIAA's first copyright infringement suit to go to a jury is scheduled to take place.
According to what Toder told U.S. District Judge Michael Davis of Minnesota, he is owed nearly $130,000 "that will never be recovered, coupled with the likelihood that a similar, additional amount will be incurred if ordered to continue representation of defendant."
The RIAA doesn't appear to be opposed to Toder withdrawing from the case, but at the same time, it doesn't want another delay. Should Toder get his way, a delay would seem inevitable, as "there's no way another lawyer could try this case by June 15," Toder said in a telephone interview with Wired.
If you haven't been following, Jammie Thomas was found guilty of copyright infringement in 2007 and fined $222,000 for allegedly sharing 24 songs via Kazaa. Judge Davis later declared it a mistrial on the basis that he falsely instructed the jury that just by making available copyrighted works on a file sharing program constituted copyright infringement, even if it couldn't be proved that anyone actually downloaded the songs.
Barring another delay, a retrial is scheduled for June 15.
Duke Nukem Forever this, Duke Nukem Forever that. We might as well be beating a dead horse at this point, but at least we’re not suing one. That’s Take-Two territory right there.
Apparently, the publisher wasn’t too happy to hear that Duke Nukem Forever developer 3D Realms decided to close up shop last week. Why? Well, according to Take-Two, 3D Realms breached its agreement to finish DNF when the big bad economic wolf finally blew it down. The agreement was probably made in 2007, though at that time, specific details weren’t made public.
"[3D Realms] continually delayed the completion date for the Duke Nukem Forever," said Take-Two in its complaint. "[3D Realms] repeatedly assured Take-Two and the video-gaming community that it was diligently working toward competing development of the PC Version of the Duke Nukem Forever."
But the rabbit hole runs deeper. A quick dig through pertinent legal documents reveals that Take-Two is also attempting to pry Duke Nukem Forever’s source code from 3D Realms’ cold, mostly dead hands, and will probably go through with it if the publisher has its way in court. As of now, even though 3D Realms went under, it still holds onto its unfinished game.
Meanwhile, 3D Realms co-owner Scott Miller claims that Take-Two never actually paid the developer the $12 million needed to secure publishing rights for DNF – which, if true, renders much of Take-Two’s argument moot.
"No. We didn't get a penny of that money," Miller said. "This, along with so much else, is 100% spin, being eaten up by those who have no clue whatsoever."
Well, so much for the Duke Nukem Forever saga ending not with a bang, but a whimper. Expect more fireworks from Take-Two and 3D Realms in the coming weeks.
You might not be familiar with paragraph 101 of German copyright law, but if the latest happenings turn into a trend, expect to hear more and more about it. Paragraph 101 grants content owners the legal right to seek a court order to force ISPs to divulge personal information based on IP addresses, and so far, at least one record label has allegedly done just that.
According to German news outlet Gulli, a Rapidshare user found his home raided by local law enforcement after it was discovered he had uploaded a copy of Metallica's new album "Death Magnetic" to his account. The illegal upload occurred a day before the album's worldwide release, prompting the band's record label to request the user's IP address from Rapidshare, which it willingly gave up, and then had Deutsche Telekom divulge who was behind the IP.
Given the success and ease with which personally identifiable information was obtained, some are voicing concerns that record labels might next target BitTorrent and other P2P networks armed with paragraph 101.
Google had to go down on its knees, reach out for its checkbook and write a $125 million check to settle its legal disputes with authors and publishers, who had been opposing its Google Book Search service. The settlement has yet to receive court approval and that will not happen until October 7, 2009 – the date for the final hearing. But Google can be rest assured that there is going to be no dearth of hurdles during the intervening period.
Hot on the heels of the Pirate Bay trial, which just recently ended (not without considerable controversy), another trial is just now getting started. This one, however, involves RealNetworks and its RealDVD ripping program, a $30 piece of software that has drawn the ire of the Movie Picture Association of America (MPAA).
At the heart of the issue is RealDVD's ability to make digital copies of DVDs to a user's hard drive while still retaining the DVD-copy protection. The process even adds a further layer of DRM to the files it rips, so as far as RealNetworks is concerned, the program doesn't run afoulof the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
Naturally, the MPAA vehemently disagrees, even going so far as to say the software should be called StealDVD instead of RealDVD. Even more troubling for the MPAA is the RealNetworks' plan to develop DVD-saving software for manufacturers of DVD players. Facet, as it's being called, would allow Toshiba, Sony, and other companies to sell players capable of copying DVDs and save them internally. A prototype capable of storing about 70 movies has already been made, and it's expected that similar devices would sell for around $300 or less.
"The movie industry wants people to buy DVDs an so do we," said Bill Way, VP and general counsel of RealNetworks. "They have a real problem with piracy, and we are not that problem. I don't think our product will make the problem one iota bigger. I think it gives people an opportunity to make digital copies of their movies in a legal way."
Right or wrong, it will now be up to the courts to decide.