It’s a fact of life: Pirates be pirating. As a defence against having their intellectual properties swiped, cracked and traded online like so many baseball cards, a lot of companies have turned to Digital Right Management; a move that seldom does more than temporarily slow pirates and enrage paying customers. Fortunately, there’s a growing number of non-DRM related options out there for developers and software vendors to explore that’ll stymy piracy while respect the rights of their paying users. Read on for more!
The Dutch Supreme Court denied an appeal by a 19-year-old who was convicted of stealing a 13-year-old boy's virtual goods in the online game Runescape and ordered to serve 144 hours of community service. It probably didn't help that the suspect roughed up the 13-year-old and threatened him with a knife until he logged into Runescape and handed over an amulet and a mask, but this case was just as much about the value of virtual goods as it was the violence that took place offline.
Some interesting revelations are coming out of the court battle between Hewlett-Packard and Oracle. At issue is Oracle's decision to stop supporting Intel's Itanium platform based on claims the processors are nearing end-of-life (EOL) status, the timing of which is suspect. Oracle made the decision to ditch Itanium after hiring former HP CEO Mark Hurd, which itself prompted a legal battle and subsequent settlement. Not long after, Oracle said it was ditching Itanium, HP cried foul, and a big legal mess ensued. Some of it was resolved last night.
Let's face it, MegaUpload was just as much of a popular pirate hangout as The Pirate Bay (TPB), which isn't to say there weren't some upstanding netizens using the service for legitimate purposes, but we all know what really on went over there. Does that mean non-infringing users should suffer for the wrongs of the bunch who ruined MegaUpload for the few? Maybe (better research into where you store your files could have prevented potentially losing them when the feds beat down the virtual door), maybe not (they weren't doing anything illegal, after all), but regardless. there's at least one organization that has their back: the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).
Ever since MegaUpload was hit with arrests and seizures last week, everyone has been wondering how the US government managed to get access to internal communications between the company’s founders. Most of the incriminating conversations cited in the indictment are Skype IMs that would have long been purged from Skype’s servers. According to Cnet, it has been confirmed that the FBI obtained a warrant to obtain the data, and that might have included using government-issued spyware.
After seizing MegaUpload and freezing its assets last week, U.S. District Attorney Neil MacBride wrote in a letter to the site's lawyers saying "hosting companies may begin deleting the contents of the servers beginning as early as February 2, 2012." That's bad news for people who were using the site for legitimate backup purposes, but a last minute stay of execution for all those digital bits is still possible.
The European Commission today announced it has opened a formal investigation into Samsung's use of patents and whether the handset maker is running afoul of EU antitrust rules. Samsung's business practices are being examined "as a matter of priority," the Commission said, though it did not say when it expects to complete its investigation.
The debate over the seizure of MegaUpload may intensify this week as the site's hosting companies, Carpathia Hosting Inc. and Cogent Communications Group Inc., get ready to purge its data, according to an AP report. Federal prosecutors said in a letter that the data purge could take place as soon as Thursday. With MegaUpload's money frozen by the government, customers who were using the service for legitimate purposes could be screwed.
Before smartphone patents took over the spotlight, everyone’s favorite patent troll was Rambus. The technology licensing firm has been using the so-called Barth patents for years to sue tech companies and extract licensing fees as a settlement. After invalidating two of the three Barth patents earlier this year, the U.S. Patent Office has now invalidated the third as well.
All the fire and brimstone rhetoric following the MegaUpload shutdown makes it seem like there was no legitimate use for the site. Despite that image, thousands of users were using MegaUpload to store and share their own files, which have now been lost. In response, Pirate Parties in several countries are putting together a list of affected users in preparation for a lawsuit against the FBI.