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.
Red Hat, the self proclaimed world's leading open source technology solutions provider, has a bone to pick with not just patent trolls, but shady software patents in general. As such, Red Hat has filed a petition with the Supreme Court seeking to ban software patents.
"Red Hat continues its commitment to the free and open source software community by taking a strong position against bad software patents," Red Hat VP Rob Tiller said. "Our patent system is supposed to foster innovation but, for open source and software in general, it does the opposite."
Tiller went on to complain that software patents end up slowing and discouraging software innovation, arguing that "patent trolls" have exploited the current legal system by constructing lawsuits that further confuse the hundreds of thousands of patents that "cover abstract technology in vague and difficult-to-interpret terms."
Red Hat says oral arguments are scheduled for November 9, giving you plenty of time to read the full brief here (PDF).
Talk about tough luck for Uniloc, who sued Microsoft for patent infringement and was awarded an unprecedented $388 million verdict by a jury in April. But Microsoft won't have to pay Uniloc a dime, as Judge William Smith of the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island overturned the ruling this week, clearing Microsoft of any wrong doing.
"We are pleased that the court has vacated the jury verdict and entered judgment in favor of Microsoft," spokesman Kevin Kutz said Tuesday.
First filed six years ago, Irvine, California-based Unloc USA and Singapore-based parent company accused Microsoft of using its patented technology for software activation. Specifically, the companies laid claimed to the use of a software activation key to keep users from installing licensed software on multiple PCs
European Commission's consumer protection unit has chalked out a new plan under which MP3 and mobile phone makers will be required to throttle device volume in a bid to save millions from the risk of deafness. However, millions of MP3 and mobile phone users will have to bear that risk for another two years - the amount of time EU has earmarked for manufacturers to come up with new devices.
New devices will ship with their sound levels capped at 80 decibels. But the consumer will be free to tinker with the factory settings. "If consumers chose to over-ride the default settings they can, but there will be clear warnings so they know the risks they are taking," said Meglena Kuneva, the head of European Commission’s consumer protection unit.
After more than four years of litigation, it looks like AMD and Intel are likely to reach a settlement before the civil case between the chip makers comes to court in 2010.
The original filing dates back to June 2005, during which time AMD sued Intel in a Delaware district court alleging all kinds of anti-competitive business practices and other tomfoolery. If found guilty, Intel could potentially be fined around $9 billion, TGDaily reports. To put that into perspective, building two fabs would only cost half as much.
Intel could also be fined much less, and the longer this drags on, the more resources both sides have to throw at lawyers rather than concentrating on building chips. For this reason, TGDaily reports sources close to both companies say the case will never make it to trial as the two sides are likely to settle. The amount and terms of the potential settlement aren't known, and probably never will be, but either way, you can score this as a win for AMD.
Perhaps Myles Weathers' biggest mistake was not calling it quits after stealing 2,000 Netflix DVDs instead of 3,012. Or maybe he should have been more careful about removing the DVDs from Netflix mailers in front of surveillance cameras. Then again, the whole idea is dumb to begin with, and we imagine the 49-year-old former postal worker is kicking himself pretty hard right about now.
Weathers, who worked at a mail processing and distribution center in Springfield, Massachusetts, was picked up by authorities last year after Neflix officials fielded a hunch that perhaps thousands of missing DVDs meant something shady was going on. Surveillance footage confirmed the suspicion when it showed Weathers stuffing the stolen DVDs into his backpack, but not before he managed to lift over 3,000 discs valued at more than $30,000.
Weathers pleaded guilty yesterday to federal theft charges and is scheduled to be sentenced December 23, 2009. His felony plea carries a maximum of 5 years in prison, but will likely receive 1 year, The Smoking Gun reports.
"Without prejudicing the ultimate determination of this case by the merits panel, the court determines based upon the motion papers submitted that Microsoft has met its burden to obtain a stay of the injunction," the court said.
After Judge Davis had granted the injunction to i41, Microsoft evinced fear that it could lead to "irreparable harm.” It most dreaded the fact that the injunction could keep the “centerpiece of its product line out of the market for months.” Dell and HP had also backed Microsoft in their respective amicus curiae (friend-of-the-court brief) filings.
The patent application describes the now-patented Google homepage, in a rather long-winded manner, as being a "graphical user interface for a display screen of a communications terminal.” Although the verbose account of the minimalist Google homepage may lend an air of significance to the patent, this design patent is actually limited in scope just like other design patents. Furthermore, experts believe it is difficult to enforce design patents in court.
The Google homepage has remained largely unchanged – only links to some other Google services have been moved - in the five years intervening the patent filing and approval. The design patent will expire on Sept 1, 2023.
The Swedish courts are doing everything it can to decimate The Pirate Bay -- at least in its current form -- from the Internet, and that includes ordering the torrent tracking site's ISP to disconnect TPB from the Internet. The penalty for failing to comply would have been 500,000 kroner, or $70,600, so the ISP did what was ordered saying it had no choice but to uphold the law.
Game, set, match for the Swedish courts then, right? Not so fast. Rather than jump ship and throw in the towel, The Pirate Bay just jumped servers instead. And true to TPB's form, it had a defiant message for Swedish authorites.
"Even though large parts of the Internets and many old and famous trackers have fallen or may fall into the grip of the lfpi and all the odious apparatus of MPAA rule, we shall not flag or fail. We shall go on to the end," TPB said in a statement.
In related news, Global Gaming Factor will vote this Thursday whether or not to proceed with plans to purchase the controversial site and proceed to turn it legit.
Good news today for Terry Childs, a former network administrator accused of hijacking San Francisco's computer network he designed and maintained. A judge has dropped three tampering charges against Childs, leaving just the sole charge of denying city authorities access to the network.
Childs, who has been in custody since July 2008, was working at San Francisco's Department of Telecommunication Information Services for five years before allegedly being disciplined for poor performance. Superiors also accused him of electronically spying on his supervisors and their attempt to fire him. Among the allegations, Childs is said to have refused to surrender secret codes that would allow access to the system, but ultimately coughed them up to San Francisco Mayer Gavin Newsom in a secret meeting after spending a week in jail.
According to Child's attorney, his client was only trying to protect the network from incompetent city officials who were trying to force him out of a job and that there was no malice involved. Childs is currently being held on $5 million bail.