Joseph Kohl, a 75-year-old Floridian, proved to be more than a match for a much younger thief. With his life’s very first laptop at stake, Kohl decided to give chase to the 29-year-old thief. Kohl was joined by an off-duty cop - who fortuitously happened to be at the scene - in the pursuit.
Kohl was waiting for his wife outside a Best Buy store after having bought a laptop and a printer, but Samuel Dallas Jarvis showed up instead. Jarvis then proceeded to grab Kohl’s laptop and set out on a run. But, apparently, his pickup was not anything to write home about as he could not really bolt out of the blocks as he would have liked; his elderly victim had to merely run about 8 feet to nab the crook.
When the off-duty cop showed up, it was game, set, match, and laptop to Jarvis. “I have no idea what computers are about, but I didn’t want him taking my first one,” Kohl said after the incident.
The Kiwi government seems to have been somewhat precipitate in formalizing a controversial “three strikes” rule meant to discourage copyright usurpation. The anti-P2P law, which was originally scheduled to come into force on February 28, has been pushed back to March in the face of some stiff resistance from a group called the Creative Freedom Foundation and country’s ISPs.
An internet blackout organized by the group has forced the government to reconsider the controversial legislation. The Kiwi government plans to bring it into effect on March 27. However, the government wants the ISPs and copyright holders to see eye to eye on the issue before enforcing the law.
The ISPs are opposing the legislation, which makes repeat copyright infringers liable for disconnection, because they want tainted users to be able to defend themselves (using counter-notices).
Four Google employees have been slapped with criminal charges of defamation and privacy violation in Italy. Their legal woes began when an Italian organization complained against a video on Google Video – uploaded a couple of years ago – that shows four imbeciles tormenting a disabled person.
Although Google removed the video as soon as the complaint was made, Italian prosecutors decided to persist with personal criminal charges – an unprecedented move - against the four Google executives. Their trial will begin on Tuesday in Milan, Italy. These Google execs may even be consigned to an Italian prison for up to three years, if the charges against them are upheld.
It has vowed to “vigorously defend” its employees. "Seeking to hold neutral platforms liable for content posted on them is a direct attack on a free, open Internet" a spokeswoman for Google argued.
The report has torrent websites and their users in its crosshairs. It seeks to ban all torrent websites like The Pirate Bay – specifically mentioned in the report, as they “allow downloading of protected works or services without the necessary authorization are illegal.” However, the presumption that the illegality of such torrent portals follows from their illegal use is not entirely incontrovertible.
Ortega not only proposes to saddle ISPs with more responsibility, he wants them to be able to be more powerful than before. He suggests that ISPs be allowed to disconnect transgressors.
A few weeks back we looked at a change within the RIAA that would see it slowly shift away from pursing copyright infringement in the courts on a case by case basis. We are starting to see some evidence to back this up with the sacking of MediaSentry, but an existing lawsuit that is already underway is looking to set an interesting new precedent. Last Week, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner of Massachusetts granted permission to webcast the copyright infringement trial of Boston University student Joel Tennenbaum. It is believed this will be the first time a U.S. federal court has allowed a live video stream of an active trial.
The RIAA claims that unlike a written transcript, "The broadcast will be readily subject to editing and manipulation by any reasonably tech-savvy individual. Even without improper modification, statements may be taken out of context, spliced together with other statements and broadcast (sic) rebroadcast as if it were an accurate transcript. Such an outcome can only do damage to Petitioner's case."
The RIAA also isn’t thrilled with the fact that the video will be distributed by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. This is somewhat understandable when you consider that the center is headed up by Charles Nesson who is also defending Joel Tennenbaum during his trial. "Accordingly, in the name of 'public interest,' the district court has directed the general public to a website replete with propaganda regarding the Defendant's position in connection with this case, and that is specifically designed to promote Defendant's interests in this case," the RIAA wrote.
I doubt I’m going to find many RIAA fan’s here, but do they have a point?
Facebook has dragged Brazilian start-up Power.com to court. The Brazilian company has been on collision course with Facebook ever since its launch, for it is a social-network aggregator that allows internet users to access all major social network websites, including Facebook and MySpace, through its website. Power.com raised Facebook’s ire by proceeding with the launch of its service without seeking its blessings.
The two parties tried to settle their differences across the negotiation table, but all in vain. Facebook stipulated that the Meebo for social networks utilize Facebook connect. It eventually decided to file suit against the Brazilian start-up. Although the Brazilian website’s CEO Steve Vachani maintains the case against his company is weak, the website is no longer offering access to Facebook through its website. Ironically, Facebook has been under fire for showing feeds from Google Reader, Hulu, Last.fm, Pandora, StumbleUpon, and YouTube.
The Recording Industry Association of America has ended its controversial relationship with MediaSentry. RIAA had entrusted MediaSentry with the task of compiling evidence against internet users that inundated the internet by uploading loads of music.
Buoyed by evidence collected by MediaSentry, RIAA has taken around 35,000 internet users to court with accusations of copyright infringement and piracy. The methods that MediaSentry employed infuriated civil-rights activists galore, but the company remained brazen in its defense.
RIAA’s current decision follows its promise to cut down on lawsuits. However, RIAA is ready with a replacement and has reached an agreement with DtecNet Software APS to fill the void created by MediaSentry, which will now be killing time by assessing the popularity of entertainment websites.
According to papers filed in a U.S District Court in Arizona, the patent pertains to "methods and systems for accessing one or more computer files via a graphical icon, wherein the graphical icon includes an image of a selected portion or portions of one or more computer files." The patent was awarded to the company as recently as March, 2008.
If it is able to make its case successfully, a windfall awaits Cygnus as it has two of the leading operating systems, three of the major web browsers and the insanely popular iPhone in its crosshairs.
Samsung Electronics has been ordered to pay 50 million yuan ($7.3 million) to Holley Communications over an alleged patent infringement claim, ending an 18-month lawsuit. Filed in April of last year, Holly Communications sued Samsung claiming the handset maker had violated a patent technology allowing mobile phones to operate on both CDMA and GSM networks.
"Samsung has sold more than 700,000 cellphones that contain Holley's patented technologies. The patents are still on sale. The compensation is only part of the sales," Xinhua news agency quoted Ge Chen, Holley's executive director as saying.
According to Xinhua, Holley Communications will seek even more compensation than what has already been awarded. Meanwhile, a spokesman for Samsung said no official decision has yet been handed out, but should that happen, the company may appeal.
About a month ago we took a look at a disturbing new trend that was emerging in Australia involving the movie industry’s new approach to copyright enforcement. It now appears as though this heavy handed approach has indeed crossed the ocean and the RIAA is preparing to switch gears. Over the past 6 years the music industry has initiated lawsuits against over 35,000 people. Seniors, minors, or the deceased, nobody was safe from the wrath of the recording industry. This public relations nightmare was bound to end sooner or later, but their new approach could see tens of thousands of internet users booted off the web.
The Wall Street Journal has uncovered agreements made between several unnamed ISP’s and the RIAA which will make it possible for them to force internet service providers to disconnect user’s who refuse to cease and desist music sharing after being issued a written warning. Warnings will likely start with an emailed notice of violation which can then lead to restricted bandwidth, or in worst case scenarios as we mentioned before, the disconnection of internet service. Under the newly proposed system, the RIAA would forward a notice to the ISP of an offending IP address, and would leave it up to the provider to contact the individual customer. The positive change here would be that your privacy would not be compromised, and the RIAA would not require disclosure of the customer’s name.
The RIAA believes this new approach will “reach more people” and that it cannot afford to ignore piracy. The group cites NPD figures which show that the growth of illegally downloaded content has stalled in the wake of the uncertainty surrounding the lawsuits. Their new approach would be much more covert, and would likely attract less media attention.
So would you rather be sued or booted off the net? I think I’ll pay the 99 cents a track thank you very much.