RealNetworks has temporarily suspended the sale of its RealDVD software in accordance with Judge Marilyn Hall Patel’s request. The DVD copying tool is the bone of contention between the Motion Pictures Association of America (MPAA) and RealNetworks. The two are currently locked in a legal battle.
The case will come up for hearing in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on Tuesday. Judge Marilyn Hall Patel will be hearing the matter. Although most MPC readers are in favor of DVD copying, they have very little sympathy for RealDVD due to its encryption features and $30 price tag.
Less than two months ago, a class action lawsuit was filed in a Califorina court against AMD/ATI and Nvidia alleging that the two had "conspired to fix, raise, maintain, and stabilize prices of graphics processing chips and cards." Giving the allegation widespread media attention, news and review site TomsHardware managed to obtain a handful of legal documents for the filing, including a few interesting email exchanges among ATI's and Nvidia's top brass.
According to reports, Nvidia has now offered a settlement agreement to the tune of $1.7 million. As outlined, the agreement would have Nvidia and AMD/ATI splitting the total fund, with each company paying $850,000. Not yet a done deal, there aren't any reports of AMD/ATI confirming the settlement agreement, and as detailed in the 8-K form that was filed on September 24, the agreement would still be "subject to court approval."
If it does go through, the money will go to the certified class who brought about the suit, which can include anyone who purchased a graphics card direct from Nvidia or ATI in the U.S. between December 4, 2002 and November 7, 2007.
It looks as though 8M-series notebook owners aren't the only ones feeling slighted by Nvidia, who in the past several month has taken a PR hit due to an "abnormal failure rate" in what the company still claims is a limited batch of notebook GPUs. Media reports have questioned exactly how limited the problem remains, and there's even speculation that the faulty parts may apply to both the newer 9M-series of GPUs and desktop parts as well.
Now Nvidia must fight a new battle, this one in court. The graphics company has been hit with a securities fraud class action lawsuit, which covers all investors who purchased or otherwise acquired common stock of Nvidia between November 8, 2007, and July 2, 2008.
The complaint alleges Nvidia violated the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, accusing the company of making a series of misrepresentations and omissions that actively concealed and failed to disclose the unusually high failure rates of its mobile GPUs, along with the impact the supposed defects would have on Nvidia's financial condition. Nvidia in July announced it would take a one-time hit of $150 to $200 million to cover warranty and repair costs associated with the failures, and the company's stock tumbled downwards in after-hours trading following the announcement.
It’s not unusual for tech companies to find themselves in legal hot water with governments, or their competitors. But this time AMD & Nvidia will face off in courts against we the consumers. AMD & Nvidia have been cited in a class action lawsuit filed in a California court alleging both companies of conspiring to commit price fixing. The plaintiffs identified as Jordan Walker and Michael Bensingor have named themselves, and anyone else who has ever been a customer of either company as the injured parties. According to the filing; "The Named Plaintiffs allege that, in violation of the federal antitrust laws, Nvidia and ATI conspired to fix, raise, maintain and stabilize prices of graphics processing chips and cards. The Named Plaintiffs also contend that Defendants unlawfully colluded to coordinate new product introductions." Further developments have been uncovered by Tom’s Hardware which was able to obtain legal documents as well as detailed email exchanges between the two GPU giants. Careful review of the emails doesn’t show any silver bullet, at least not to a layman. But in what is arguable a duopoly enviornment, it doesn’t take much to prove anti competitive behavior to the courts. The lawsuit seeks triple damages, legal fees, and any other incurred costs.
AMD & Nvidia customers who don’t wish to be represented in the lawsuit can opt out. Hit the jump to find out how.
In a seemingly never ending battle with the FCC, Comcast is back on the offensive. The cable giant is looking to overturn the ruling reached on August 1st which found them in violation of the FCC’s network neutrality principles. Comcast was mandated to immediately cease any packet shaping initiatives and to publically disclose the full extent of its traffic blocking policies. Experts close to the case have chimed in on the issue and it would appear as though news of the appeal wasn’t all that surprising. Comcast has become famous in legal circles for appealing any decision it doesn’t agree with, and this case is no exception. Comcast firmly believes that packet shaping of peer-to-peer traffic is a legitimate and reasonable means of managing network traffic and intends to defend that contention to the bitter end. Despite the impending appeal, Comcast has agreed to abide by the FCC mandates until a new verdict is reached. Comcast’s packet shaping activities have been in the spotlight since late 2007 when the Associated Press revealed proof that Comcast was blocking P2P traffic during peak hours. The FCC case was seen as a test run help to determine if it could enforce its network neutrality principles. I’m sure most Maximum PC readers are rooting for the FCC, but since so little precedent in a case like this; the outcome of an appeal could still go either way.
Following up from a previous post, Google is asking Viacom to respect users’ privacy and let them to anonymize the logs before handling them over to Viacom under the court order. “We are disappointed the court granted Viacom’s overreaching demand for viewing history,” Google said.
Efluxmedia.com says that Viacom had said in a New York Times interview, “The information that is produced by Google is going to be limited to outside advisors who can use it solely for the purpose of enforcing our rights against YouTube.”
So the data is going to go to third parties. Somehow, that doesn’t make me feel any better about user privacy. We can hope that there will be a legal challenge mounted in the next few days against releasing user data unfiltered to Viacom.
A dispute between security appliance maker Barracuda Networks and Trend Micro started earlier this year when Trend Micro claimed that ClamAV infringes on its patents covering the use of server-based antivirus software on FTP and SMTP gateways. Barracuda has now filed a countersuit against Trend Micro to try and protect the open source ClamAV antivirus program from Trend Micro’s nasty allegations of infringement. Barracuda which is a supporter of open source software was unwilling to simply negotiate a cheap licensing agreement for patent indemnity. This of course also benefits other ClamAV users which include small business, non-profits, and even some governments.
Ars Technica quotes Barracuda CEO Dean Drako as saying, "The reality is that Trend Micro is asking Barracuda Networks to pay for the use of the free and open source ClamAV software.” He goes on to say, “We have asserted all along that Trend Micro's actions are unjust and could have serious implications against the open source community and other free and open source projects."
While Barracuda’s motives aren’t all together altruistic since they use ClamAV in their products, it’s none the less vital for everyone. ClamAV is not a fully featured AntiVirus program, nor is it the best, but it plays an important role. Trend Micro sounds like it is patent fishing for cash, and I am unimpressed. They might run the risk of a consumer backlash if it attempts to go after ClamAV directly. You can learn more about Barracuda’s efforts here.
Ars Technica reports on a case coming up in Connecticut, in which a fired CEO is taking his former employer to court for accessing his personal Yahoo account. The CEO’s former employee's access to his Yahoo account netted them over 10,000 e-mails which included privileged communications between him and his attorneys regarding his plans to sue regarding his firing. Given the recent ruling from the 9th Circuit Court that indicated personal messages sent via work equipment were off limits to search unless the employer had a policy of regularly accessing the equipment. It might seem a slam dunk for the fired CEO.
The New York Times seems to think otherwise saying that because he accessed it from a computer that wasn’t his own, and he left it open in plain sight to transmit company documents (a violation of terms of his employment contract) the company may have been justified in investigating further.
The turn out of this case may have an effect on the previous ruling, and might want to give you pause about accessing your personal email from work!