As another reminder that crime doesn't pay, 23-year-old Nicholas Woodhams, also known as the "iPod Mechanic," faces 13 months in prison after pleading guilty to mail fraud and money laundering charges. Woodhams was also ordered to pay $648,568 in restitution to Apple and $8,066.85 to the U.S. Postal Service, Arstechnica reports.
According to the lawsuit, Woodhams ran a scam of exploiting Apple's advance replacement system for the iPod shuffle and reselling them through his own website. He also allegedly exploited Apple's iPod Warranty Service Program to get Apple to repair out-of-warranty iPods.
Woodhams' scam proved rather lucrative, but it's all going back. In addition to the above jail time and fines, Woodhams must forfeit about $750,000 worth of criminally acquired assets, including his house in Michigan, an Audi S4, an Ariel Atom 2, a Honda motocyle, and over $500,000 in cash. Ouch.
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.
Last month, Twitter co-founder Isaac "Biz" Stone jotted down in a blog post his intention of trademarking the term "Tweet," which at the time probably seemed like a slam dunk request. Instead, the request is turning out to be no easy layup as the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has preliminarily denied the patent app.
Whether or not the decision is fair, we'll leave that up to you decide, but here's the deal Three other companies -- TweetMarks, Cotweet, and Tweetphoto -- already have pending applications for trademarks that contain "tweet" in their names. This was enough to make the Patent Office gunshy in granting Twitter's request, at least for now, even though Stone expressed in his blog his company's willingness to let developers use the term.
"We have applied to trademark Tweet because it is clearly attached to Twitter from a brand perspective but we have no intention of 'going after' the wonderful applications and services that use the word in their name when associated with Twitter," Stone wrote on the same day the patent application was filed. "In fact, we encourage the use of the word Tweet. however, if we come across a confusing or damaging project, the recourse to act responsibly to protect both users and our brand is important."
Should Twitter be granted the trademark? Hit the jump and sound off!
Got a beef with a 17-year-old girl? If so, one way not to settle it is to post a fake "Casual Encounters" Craigslist ad posing as the person you're peeved with. That's the lesson a Missouri woman is learning the hard way, who now faces felony cyber bullying charges for said ad.
A little history is in order here. After MySpace harassment led to a 13-year-old to commit suicide in the "MySpace Mom" case, Missouri changed its anti-harassment law to include cyber bullying, becoming the first state to enact such legislation. Violations are normally a misdemeanor, but Missouri's legislation allows for charges to be upgraded to a felony if the victim is under 18 and the suspect is over 20, a move intended to prevent adults from bullying minors.
In this case, 40-year-old Elizabeth Thrasher got into an argument with her ex-husband's current girlfriend on MySpace. The girlfriend's 17-year-old daughter got involved in the spat, and Thrasher ultimately ended up creating a fake personal ad on Craigslist and included the girl's photo, email address, and cell phone number.
If convicted, Thrasher could face up to four years in state prison and a $5,000 fine.
Jammie Thomas is running out of options. Found guilty in 2007 of copyright infringement and ordered to pay $220,000 for willfully making available 24 songs via peer-to-peer, she now owes a whopping $1.92 million following a retrial earlier this year. Surely the Department of Justice would step in and find the nearly $2 million fine unconstitutional, right?
Wrong. According to ArsTechnica, the huge of amount of damages (Thomas ended up owing $80,000 per song) were not intended just to apply to big corporations, but also to "deter the millions of users of new media from infringing copyrights." The only time the DOJ would have a problem with a fine is if it become "so severe and oppressive as to be wholly disproportional to the offense and obviously unreasonable," something for which a $1.92 million fine for sharing 24 songs doesn't qualify.
"We are pleased the Administration has filed a brief supporting our position," an RIAA spokesperson told ArsTechnica. "Its views are consistent with the views of every previous Administration that has weighed in on this issue."
A Texas Judge on Tuesday ordered Microsoft to stop "selling or importing to the United States any Microsoft Word products that have the capability of opening .XML, .DOCX, or .DOCM files (XML files) containing custom XML." The injunction is the result of a complaint filed by Toronto-based i4i alleging Microsoft of violating its 1998 patent (No. 5,787,449) on a method for reading XML.
"We are disappointed by the court's ruling," Microsoft spokesman Kevin Kutz said in a statement. "We believe the evidence clearly demonstrated that we do not infringe and that the i4i patent is invalid. We will appeal the verdict."
The Judge also ordered Microsoft pay i4i $240 million in damages plus court costs and interest. All tallied, the fine is estimated to be more than $290 million.
As it currently stands, the ruling, which applies to Word 2003 and Word 2007, takes effect in 60 days.
Jailbreak your game console and no one is likely to take notice. But make a home business out of jailbreaking consoles for others and you may draw the attention of Homeland Security.
At least that's the case for Matthew Crippen, a 27-year-old Cal State Fullerton liberal arts student who was arrested by Homeland Security authorities on Monday. Crippen was picked up for allegedly violating the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).
"Defendant Matthew Crippen willfully and for purposes of commercial advantage and private financial gain, circumvented a technological measure that effectively controlled access to a copyrighted work, more particularly, used software to modify a Xbox machine's Optical Disc Drive so it would circumvent the anti-piracy measures contained on the original unmodified Optical Disc Drive," U.S. attorney Thomas P. O'Brien wrote in the indictment (PDF).
In a telephone interview with Wired.com's Threat Level, Crippen maintains the purpose of his jailbreaking business was to allow patrons to make "legally made backups," not for piracy.
The indictment charges Crippen with two counts, and if convicted, he could face up to 10 years in prison.
New Jersey resident Daniel Goncalves is making history as the first person ever to be arrested and charged for domain name theft in the United States.
Goncalve, a 25-year-old law firm computer technician, stands accused of hacking into Albert Angel's AOL email account and using that information to retrieve the login details for P2P.com from Angel's Godaddy.com domain account. Probably not the best target to go after, Angel is an attorney and former Justice Department prosecutor with a background in internet payment processing.
According to reports, Goncalve also falsified Paypal.com transaction records in an attempt to cover his trail and make it appear as though he purchased the domain for $1,500 from the Angels, much lower than the $160,000 Albert Angel, his wife Lesli Angel, and domain name investor Marc Ostrosfsky paid for the domain in 2005.
There's a whole lot more to this story, which involves an Ebay sale to Mark Madsen, an NBA basketball player with the LA Clippers (and a terrible dancer). You can read all the gory details here.
Hell hath no fury like an open-source developer scorned. In the red corner, we have Portable Apps and its developer, John Haller. In the blue corner, we have LiberKey and project manager Christophe Peuch. Both programs are suites of applications that can sit on your USB key for portable use. Both offer a number of open-source or freeware apps that assist you in your everyday PC tasks without costing you a single penny. At one point, it was argued that both shared an identical design, layout, and operation. But that's just one of the many charges being heaved across the battleground--its accuracy, along with the others, is subject to dispute.
I wrote a while back about the confusing issues surrounding open-source and freeware licensing. They haven't changed. The controversy over LiberKey is a perfect example of the confusion--enough so, that Maximum PC itself removed a mention of the suite from one of our freeware roundups after allegations of wrongdoing on the developer's part. But is this piece of software as guilty of the violations as the Internet chatter would have you believe? Or has LiberKey done its fair share to eliminate the liabilities caused by its inclusion of open-source and freeware apps into a large package manager?
Why should you care? That's the easiest answer of them all. Supporting applications that stick to the legal guidelines of trademark, permissions, and licensing ensures you're downloading stable, safe, and secure packages that foster the spirit of open source software. If you support software that flaunts the rules, you disrespect the work of those who contribute their works to the greater community. And I wouldn't want to lose these developers--nor their awesome (usually) free applications.
Click the jump to find out the full details on LiberKey!