No matter the outcome, there are those who will be unhappy with Google’s plans to digitize the universe of books and make them available online. Google, which is being sued over the venture, filed a revised agreement with the Federal Court in New York hearing the case. The revision contains what John Timmer of Ars Technica calls “significant concessions,” including limiting the scope of the project.
But the Open Book Alliance (OBA), isn’t buying into it. OBA co-chair Peter Brantley, in a statement, said “By performing surgical nip and tuck, Google, the AAP, and the AG are attempting to distract people from their continued efforts to establish a monopoly over digital content access and distribution; usurp Congress's role in setting copyright policy; lock writers into their unsought registry, stripping them of their individual contract rights; put library budgets and patron privacy at risk; and establish a dangerous precedent by abusing the class action process.”
Brantley calls the revised agreement “a sleight of hand.” It “remains a set-piece designed to serve the private commercial interests of Google and its partners.” Further, Brantley maintains it does nothing to “address the fundamental flaws illuminated by the Department of Justice and other critics that impact public interest.”
There are a lot of winners in the $1.25 billion settlement between Intel and AMD. The most obvious one is AMD, who can use the money to pay off debt and put this longstanding legal dispute behind them. As part of the settlement, AMD also benefits from a new five-year cross licensing agreement.
In some respects, Intel can also be considered a winner, in that the chip maker could have ended up paying much more than $1.25 billion had this lawsuit gone the distance. And like AMD, Intel can put this episode behind them. And with both Intel and AMD no longer distracted by a costly court case, the two chip makers can put their full attention towards R&D.
"It's really good for the industry in general," said Roger Kay, an analyst with Endpoint Technologies Associates. "Both companies had devoted a lot of top management to the fight. It's pretty distracting. You really want top executives concentrating on the business at hand."
OEMs like HP and Dell also come out ahead by being able to choose whichever processors and platforms they want, rather than which ones they're being told to use. And that's good for consumers, too.
It's not often that a bitter legal dispute ends up having so many winners, but that's certainly the case here.
Verizon sure isn’t letting up with their new anti-AT&T ad campaign. Likewise, AT&T isn’t letting up with their legal threats. AT&T’s latest strategy swung into action on Wednesday night when they asked the federal court in Atlanta to order the ads pulled from the airwaves.
The ads (which we’ve discussedbefore) compare AT&T 3G coverage with that of Verizon. AT&T claims that the maps used in the ads are misleading because they do not show AT&T’s 2.5G EDGE network, instead displaying empty spaces. In a statement AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel said, “If customers think they can't make calls in the vast majority of the country ... that could do us irreparable harm."
The newest ad is holiday themed, borrowing from the story of the “Island of Misfit Toys”. Poor iPhone is a misfit because it is cursed with an inferior network… how sad. Big Red hopes the holiday season will be a good one for their new line of smartphones. Is that wishful thinking?
A well known Bavarian actor by the name of Walter Sedlmayr was murdered in 1990. Two of his associated were tried and convicted of the crime. These men were recently paroled, and one of them is none too pleased that anyone can read all about him on the internet. He has retained a lawyer and has sued Wikipedia in Germany, and is also making noise about suing the English language version.
This all comes back to German law, which holds that private citizens should have their names and likenesses protected. The ex-convict is making the argument that while he may have been a public figure during the trial, he isn’t anymore. He wants the Sedlmayr page censored to remove all mention of him.
The EFF is strongly opposed to the possibility of censoring Wikipedia at the behest of a convicted murderer (or anyone for that matter). They point out that is it impossible for all publications to abide by the censorship laws of any legal system. The U.S. First Amendment protects this sort of speech, but how far will the German lawyers try to take this?
Despite AT&T’s lawsuit against Verizon, more commercials go live bashing AT&T’s coverage. They aired three new commercials this weekend featuring the allegedly dismal 3G coverage of AT&T’s service. The new Verizon commercials are holiday focused, featuring Santa’s elves and the iPhone that got sent to the Island of Misfit Toys.
AT&T is suing Verizon in the state of New York for misrepresenting its 3G network in the “There’s a map for that” commercials that debuted a month ago. Their claims are basically that the colors of the maps (red or blue with a light gray background) confuse the customer into believing there is NO service outside the blue spots on AT&T’s map.
Verizon has since altered the ads with fine print and some verbiage changes, but the colors of the maps remain. Fine print withstanding, I can’t imagine AT&T (or its lawyers) will be happy about these ads. Perhaps they should hire Justin Long to do “I’m an iPhone” commercials.
It looks like you can expect Skype to continue functioning as normal. A settlement has finally been reached with the parties, including eBay and Skype founders, Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. The legal battle started when eBay agreed to sell a 65% stake in Skype to Silver Lake Partners on September 1st. The founders sued, claiming that eBay was engaging in copyright infringement. As it turns out, eBay never actually owned the core technology behind Skype, called Global Index.
According to the settlement, Zennström and Friis, will join the investor group that is purchasing Skype. They will contribute software from their new venture, Joltid. In return, they will receive a 14% stake in Skype. When the sale is completed, eBay will be paid a cool $1.9 billion. Though, this is much less than the original purchase price for Skype. Though, the online auction house will also retain 30% of Skype.
Getting all the technology under one roof again should settle the issue of Skype’s intellectual property once and for all. Do you use Skype on a regular basis? Were you worried about its future?
Verizon thought they were so clever. Big Red’s recent “There’s a map for that” adverts seem to have ruffled some feathers over at AT&T. Now AT&T has filed a federal lawsuit against Verizon for false advertising. The issue comes down to the maps shown in the commercial.
The ad compares 3G coverage areas for the two wireless providers side by side. The red Verizon map, of course, looks much more filled in. AT&T’s map looks sparse by comparison. What many less savvy consumers might not follow is that this is only showing AT&T’s 3G, not EDGE. While Verizon’s entire network is 3G, AT&T still has significant areas covered only by slower EDGE service. AT&T claims that the ad leads people to believe that AT&T does not have coverage at all in the un-highlighted areas.
Indeed, the original version of the ad said that AT&T users outside the highlighted area were “out of touch”. Verizon removed that line and noted that non-3G voice and data were available, but AT&T still wasn’t happy. It’s not really an enviable position for AT&T to be in. They have to argue that Verizon should be making it clear that the AT&T network is available in more places – it’s just very, very slow. Everyone settle in, this might be entertaining.
The Nook is off to a rough start. Spring Design has sued Barnes & Noble over what it alleges are the misappropriation of trade secrets and the violation of a non-disclosure agreement. Spring Design is claiming that pirated design features from its dual-screen Alex eReader, incorporating them in to Barnes & Noble’s Nook eReader.
The point of contention for Spring Design is something it calls the Duet Navigator. This design feature consists of a gray-scale upper screen for reading text, and a lower color screen for navigation. Interestingly, the Nook possesses the same basic design feature. Spring Design says it started filing patents on the Alex back in 2006. (The patent on the Duet Navigator is still pending.) Barnes & Noble apparently co-opted the ideas while working with Spring Design earlier this year.
Darren Murph, over at Engadget, made the early call on this: “Judging by the hastily prepared web site coincidentally appearing on the eve of the B&N device launch, and the domain’s registrar, Albert Teng, who has numerous patent applications (not patents granted) covering ‘electronic devices having complementary dual-displays,’ we’d say this announcement is quite possibly a desperate attempt to lay claim on intellectual property rights instead of a real product with real manufacturers and real content partners.”
Nokia has lost significant mobile domination due to new smartphone players, namely Apple. Well, Nokia isn’t sitting idly by; it is suing Apple for the infringement of 10 patents “fundamental for devices using GSM, UMTS and/or local area network standards” according to Nokia. The patents all pertain to wireless data, speech coding, security, and encryption inherent in all iPhone models.
Without a doubt, this will be a long drawn out battle. Both companies have enormous legal teams and huge amounts of cash. It is also extremely unlikely to affect either bottom-line. According to Avian Securities analyst Matthew Thornton, “we have a hard time seeing a material risk to either company.”
The frivolous lawsuits are getting a touch out of hand. At the same time, if you stand on the shoulders of technological giants, the least you can do is offer them a cold lemonade. What other choice do these companies have?
AT&T has a bone to pick with several big-name LCD makers, and it will do it in court. The telco has sued a number of display manufacturers over allegedly fixing the price of more than 300 million mobile LCD screens.
Those on the receiving end of the lawsuit include Samsung, LG Display, Optronics, Sharp, and Chungwa. According to the lawsuit, the display makers "formed an international cartel illegally to restrict competition in the United States in the market for LCD panels."
AT&T called the whole situation a "conspiracy," accusing the defendants of agreeing to eliminate competition and fix LCD panel prices that they knew would be incorporated in LCD products and sold in the U.S.
This isn't the first price fixing scandal to hit the LCD industry, nor is it the first time LG, Chunghwa, and Sharp have been tied to price fixing allegations. All three agreed to plead guilty to similar charges in November 2008 and to pay $585 million in criminal fines.