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!
After an 8-year investigation, the European Union nailed Intel with a record-setting $1.45 billion fine this past May, finding the chip maker guilty of anticompetitive practices. As was expected, Intel has filed an appeal with Europe's second highest court, the Luxembourg-based Court of First Instance.
The $1.45 billion fine ranks as the highest ever imposed by the EU to a company, which represents 4.15 percent of Intel's 2008 turnover. Even worse (for Intel), some analysts say the Commission's finding could lead to its U.S. counterparts also taking legal action against the chip maker.
We've been outspoken as anyone when it comes to draconian DRM measures, but we never thought we'd see the day when the RIAA declares DRM is dead. And now that it has, we're a little bit worried - could this be a sign of the apocalypse?
Consider that just two years ago, RIAA chairman and CEO Mitch Bainwol said "DRM serves all sorts of pro-consumer purposes." Consumers, of course, held a decidedly different opinion and the growing demand for DRM-free music has led to numerous music services and labels offering music without digital restrictions. Nevertheless, the RIAA predicted a comeback for DRM last year, but is now singing a different tune.
"DRM is dead, isn't it?," said Jonathan Lamy, chief spokesperson for the RIAA, when asked about the RIAA's view on DRM for an upcoming SCMagazine article.
Lamy's comment was in reference to the DRM-less iTunes store and other online services offering unrestricted music. And while the rest of us have known this for awhile, this is the first time that the RIAA has said on record that DRM is dead. Let's hope it stays that way.
Another DRAM patent lawsuit has been filed, and not by Rambus. Instead, a Canadian company alleges IBM has breached a number of DRAM-related patents, which include 6,608,703, 7,038,937, 6,680,654, 6,69,448, and 7,486,580.
Each patent relates to elements of DRAM technology, and according to Mosaid, the company which filed the lawsuit, IBM breached every single one by making and selling DRAM mircroprocessor and ASIC products which allegedly use the inventions.
To date, Mosaid's portfolio contains more than 850 patents and a long list of licensees for its DRAM and embedded memory patents. Some of these licensees include Fujitsu, NEC, Toshiba, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Oki, Panasonic, Winbond, Sony, Samsung, Hynix, TSMC, Infineon, ProMOS, Powerchip, and Micron.
Mosaid said it filed the lawsuit when talks with IBM broke down.
Looking to avoid any further fines from the European Union, which has been anything but bashful in levying big money fines against big money corporations, Microsoft is in talks to settle two additional probes that could potentially add to the $2.34 billion it has already had to fork over from previous cases.
The most pressing matter is a case over Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser, in which Microsoft has previously stated it would ship a version of Windows 7 for distribution in Europe with IE8 stripped out. This came in response to the commission saying it was considering forcing Microsoft to offer consumers a choice of browsers when configuring a new PC. Microsoft canceled a June hearing in the browser case, saying not enough EU and national competition authorities would be able to attend.
"It's in their interest to settle before the EU has to impose sanctions," said Matt Rosoff, an analyst at Kirkland, Washington-based Directions on Microsoft. "That way at least Microsoft has some control over the actions they're going to take if they can agree in private."
But the browser issue isn't the only thing the EU is concerned with. The EU is also looking into complaints that Microsoft doesn't provide formatting and other information for rival products to work with Microsoft Office software, such as Word and Excel, Bloomberg reports.