Something tells us Apple isn't real happy about this.
Last year, a U.K. judge did more than just side with Samsung in a case brought against it by Apple. Judge Robin Jacob also ordered Apple to post a statement on on the front page of its website, as well as in newspapers and magazines, saying that Samsung had not copied Apple's design patent. It basically boiled down to a public apology, and eventually Apple was ordered to pay Samsung's lawyer's fees on an indemnity basis. Apple would go on to win a huge damages award in the U.S., but what of the U.K. judge? He now works for Samsung.
Software patents, to put it mildly, are a bit of a mess. Its difficult for us to say that innovation which happens in bits, rather than hardware shouldn’t be protected, but naturally a line must be drawn if progress is to be made. On Friday US federal Judge Richard Posner rendered a verdict that not only left the executives over at Motorola sleeping a bit easier, but could actually be an important precedent for patent litigation going forward.
Journalists are now allowed to fire off live text-based communications, such as mobile email, social media (including Twitter), and Internet enabled laptops in and from courts throughout England and Wales without asking for permission, a U.K. judge ruled. Prior to the ruling, reporters would have to issue a request, but that rule has now been removed.
You put your money into the bank trusting that your banking institution's computer security safeguards will keep it from falling into the wrong hands. But when hackers do manage to break in and steal money from your account, should the bank be held responsible? Not according to a Maine judge who ruled in a case involving a business that sued its bank after losing $345,000 via unauthorized Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfers.
Be careful of what you post online, those comments could come back and bite you in the backside, even if you post anonymously. Marion County's Superior Court Judge S.K. Reid set what could become a precedent by being the first Indiana judge to rule on whether or not media outlets are forced to disclose names and/or other personal information of anonymous posters on their websites. The ruling won't please privacy advocates.
On the bright side for convicted file sharer Joel Tenebaum, the 26-year-old Boston University student no longer is being ordered to pay $675,000 in damages to four record labels. The bad news? He still owes a lot of cheddar.
A Boston judge reduced the award to $67,500 for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs online. U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner said the original amount was "out of proportion with the government's legitimate interests in compensating the plaintiffs and deterring unlawful file-sharing."
Tenebaum, while pleased as punch at having his fine reduced to 10 percent of the original amount, contends that $67,500 is "equally unpayable."
"We feel vindicated that Judge Gertner agreed that $675,000 was an unconstitutional award," Debbie Resenbaum of joelfightsback.com says. "But it is only a step along the way toward recognizing the abusiveness of the RIAA's litigation campaign."
Tenenbaum, who admitted to downloading the songs through Kazaa, had the chance to settle for $4,000 before this went to trial. He now owes $2,250 per song.
Sticklers for journalistic propriety have always frowned upon checkbook journalism, which is far more rampant now thanks to the internet. Thankfully for checkbook journalists though, their critics can do little more than protest. But buying a story is one thing, and flouting the law in doing so a totally different affair.
Last week, when Gizmodo proudly flaunted what it claimed to be a misplaced prototype of the next iPhone, it prompted many to question the legality of the way in which the phone was acquired – the blog’s editors avowedly paid $5000 for the misplaced phone. Under state law, a finder of goods who can determine the owner of lost property is under legal obligation to return it to its original owner, and the failure to do so makes him guilty of theft.
It has now emerged that cops investigating the matter raided Gizmodo editor Jason Chen's house on Friday and confiscated four computers and two servers. According to Jason Chen, cops bust into his house in his absence and were busy scouring the place for evidence when he and his wife arrived from dinner at around 9:45PM. The cops were carrying a search warrant issued by the Superior Court of the County of San Mateo, California.
Gawker Media COO Gaby Darbyshire believes that the search warrant against Gizmodo's editor contravened section 1524(g) of the California Penal Code, which states that “a publisher, editor, reporter, or other person connected with or employed upon a newspaper, magazine, or other periodical publication” can not be forced to make any disclosures with regards to the source of any information obtained by them in their official capacity.
Upholding the law and agreeing with the law in principal are two different things, and sometimes they conflict. Just ask District Court Judge Nancy Gertner, who approved a $675,000 fine against a Boston student for illegal file sharing, but made clear that she was concerned about the fairness of current copyright laws, TGDaily reports.
The judge took issue with the "astronomical" penalties available to music companies, and though she ultimately ruled in their favor, she offered up some legal advice that may be applicable to the next file sharer who lands in court.
"The Court was prepared to consider a more expansive fair use argument than other courts have credited - perhaps one supported by facts specific to this individual and this unique period of rapid technological change," Gertner said in her ruling. But she went on to say that the defense took it too far by attempting to apply fair use to pretty much any circumstance.
Joel Tenenbaum, a Boston University student, was found guilty earlier this year of illegally sharing 800 copyrighted songs and ordered to pay $22,500 for each. The law actually allows for up to $150,000 per track.
Perhaps looking to restore order in the court -- and a little common courtesy -- a federal judge in Georgia has banned using Twitter while in the courtroom, CBSNews.com reports.
According to U.S. District Judge Clay Land, Rule 53 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure should be interpreted to ban Twitter. This is what it says:
"Except as otherwise provided by a statute or these rules, the court must not permit the taking of photographs in the courtroom during judicial proceedings or the broadcasting of judicial proceedings from the courtroom."
The ban came after a reporter for the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer asked permission to tweet the deets from a corruption trial, which was scheduled to start on Monday.
A New York judge has set a November deadline for the submission of a new settlement between Google and a group of authors and publishers, the latter of which suedGoogle over its attempt to obtain digital rights to millions of books.
The original settlement between the parties was met with major scrutiny from authors, libraries, and privacy advocates who all claimed that the deal was unfair, prompting the U.S. Department of Justice to step in. A hearing on whether to approve proposed settlement was to take place on Wednesday, but was postponed when the two sides asked for more time to hash out a new deal.
Judge Deny Chin has ordered the parties to submit their revised settlement by November 9, with an approval hearing to take place sometime after. This marks the second time the settlement has been delayed since the original agreement was signed last October.