With a federal judge ruling against LimeWire in a copyright infringement suit last month, it is almost down for the count. It is on the verge of being shut down as a result of that decision. The fatal blow also means that it will most likely be deprived of the ironic sense of relief that comes with being knocked out from a bout dominated entirely by the opponent. But wait! It has another bout lined up on its way to the grave. A group of music publishers sued LimeWire on Wednesday.
The fresh copyright infringement lawsuit was filed by the National Music Publishers' Association (NMPA) in US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The NMPA is composed of eight music companies, including EMI Music Publishing, Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Universal Music Publishing Group and Warner/Chappell.
The NMPA wants to be compensated at a rate of $150,000 per infringed song. NMPA's chief executive David Israelite told the New York Times, “we’re looking for more than cessation of infringement, we’re looking for damages for all of the infringement done over the years.” According to court documents, the plaintiffs in the first suit fear that damages may run into "hundreds of millions of dollars, or even billions."
But Apple can be expected to pull out all the stops to retain its comfortable lead over its younger rival. Earlier this month, it dragged Taiwanese phone maker HTC to court, alleging that its Android phones infringe nearly 20 of its patents. It wants a ban on the import of all such HTC handsets that infringe the iPhone-related patents.
Although HTC is yet to officially respond in court, the phone maker from the Far East has finally broken its silence over the lawsuit. It should not surprise anyone that HTC disagrees with Apple's claims and remains unfazed. It has vowed to “fully defend” itself.
“HTC strongly advocates intellectual property protection and will continue to respect other innovators and their technologies as we have always done, but we will continue to embrace competition through our own innovation as a healthy way for consumers to get the best mobile experience possible,” said Peter Chou, chief executive officer, HTC Corporation.
The press release appears to be a reminder of HTC's ability to innovate to anyone who doubts it. It quite proudly points out “HTC’s technology firsts” that include the first Windows PDA (1998), first 3G CDMA EVDO smartphone (October 2005), first Google Android smartphone and first 4G WIMAX smartphone (November 2008).
Facebook dragged social aggregator Power.com to court about six months ago. Though the news was soon followed by whispers of an out-of-court settlement being near, there has been none. Power.com has now decided to take the fight to the opposition by countersuing it.
Power.com allows users to manage their accounts on some of the major social networks on the internet – it removed Facebook after it got sued - through its website. Users don’t even need to register to use the website; instead, they can log in using the id/password combination they use to access any one of their accounts on MySpace, Hi5, Orkut, LinkedIn or Twitter.
Facebook had accused Power.com of using its data without securing prior consent. The former was mainly rankled by the fact that Power.com was storing user credentials.
Power.com has accused Facebook of obstructing users from transferring their data in the fashion they see fit. The social aggregator has requested the court to order Facebook to cease such unlawful, anticompetitive practices and to award monetary damages to the plaintiffs (defendants in the original suit filed by Facebook). Why don’t you be the judge, jury and executioner in the comments section? Give us your take on Data Portability.
Microsoft recently slapped TomTom with a patent infringement suit. The Redmond-based tech behemoth has claimed that TomTom’s devices are in direct violation of eight of its patents.
Some fear Microsoft’s suit against TomTom may be a straw in the wind, as three of the claims are related to the use of the Linux kernel. Microsoft’s lawyer Horacio Gutierrez tried to dispel such misgivings. He told Cnet that the claims pertaining to the implementation of “file management techniques used in the Linux kernel” are only specific to TomTom.
He insisted that Microsoft is not going to mount a massive legal assault against the open-source community. Jim Zemlin, the Linux Foundation’s executive director, also feels that it is unfair to jump to conclusions about the scope of this lawsuit. Gutierrez and Zemlin certainly don’t think that Microsoft’s suit against TomTom is an indicant of trouble for the open-source community. What do you think?
A few weeks back we looked at a change within the RIAA that would see it slowly shift away from pursing copyright infringement in the courts on a case by case basis. We are starting to see some evidence to back this up with the sacking of MediaSentry, but an existing lawsuit that is already underway is looking to set an interesting new precedent. Last Week, U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner of Massachusetts granted permission to webcast the copyright infringement trial of Boston University student Joel Tennenbaum. It is believed this will be the first time a U.S. federal court has allowed a live video stream of an active trial.
The RIAA claims that unlike a written transcript, "The broadcast will be readily subject to editing and manipulation by any reasonably tech-savvy individual. Even without improper modification, statements may be taken out of context, spliced together with other statements and broadcast (sic) rebroadcast as if it were an accurate transcript. Such an outcome can only do damage to Petitioner's case."
The RIAA also isn’t thrilled with the fact that the video will be distributed by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society. This is somewhat understandable when you consider that the center is headed up by Charles Nesson who is also defending Joel Tennenbaum during his trial. "Accordingly, in the name of 'public interest,' the district court has directed the general public to a website replete with propaganda regarding the Defendant's position in connection with this case, and that is specifically designed to promote Defendant's interests in this case," the RIAA wrote.
I doubt I’m going to find many RIAA fan’s here, but do they have a point?
The Recording Industry Association of America has ended its controversial relationship with MediaSentry. RIAA had entrusted MediaSentry with the task of compiling evidence against internet users that inundated the internet by uploading loads of music.
Buoyed by evidence collected by MediaSentry, RIAA has taken around 35,000 internet users to court with accusations of copyright infringement and piracy. The methods that MediaSentry employed infuriated civil-rights activists galore, but the company remained brazen in its defense.
RIAA’s current decision follows its promise to cut down on lawsuits. However, RIAA is ready with a replacement and has reached an agreement with DtecNet Software APS to fill the void created by MediaSentry, which will now be killing time by assessing the popularity of entertainment websites.
According to papers filed in a U.S District Court in Arizona, the patent pertains to "methods and systems for accessing one or more computer files via a graphical icon, wherein the graphical icon includes an image of a selected portion or portions of one or more computer files." The patent was awarded to the company as recently as March, 2008.
If it is able to make its case successfully, a windfall awaits Cygnus as it has two of the leading operating systems, three of the major web browsers and the insanely popular iPhone in its crosshairs.
The battle between Adobe's Flash format and Microsoft's competing Silverlight software to deliver rich internet applications (RIAs, not to be confused with the RIAA, an entirely different beast in every sense of the word) to your browser may come down to which technology search engines are better able to index. Adobe recently announced a new initiative with Google and Yahoo towards making the Flash file format (SWF) more easily visible to each site's respective spiders, leaving Microsoft noticeably missing from the group pow-wow.
But one company is taking notice of Microsoft. Find out who it is and what they want after the jump.
The ghosts from Apple’s past have returned to haunt the company. A couple of years ago, an internal inquest was launched into the alleged backdating of stock options grants at Apple made between 1997 and 2001. The investigation uncovered several irregularities - and forgeries - that eventually prompted the Securities and Exchange Commission to step in.
Although SEC filed charges against then Apple CFO Fred D. Anderson and general counsel Nancy R. Heinen, the company’s top brass including Steve Jobs were given the clean chit and lauded for their cooperation in the investigation.
However, disgruntled Apple stockholders Martin Vogel and Kenneth Mahoney believe there is more to the stock-option-backdating story than what met SEC’ keen eye. They have initiated a class-action suit against Apple CEO Steve Jobs, already beleaguered Anderson and Heinen, and four others from the Board of Directors.
The plaintiffs alleged that Apple’s blue-eyed boy Steve Jobs was the beneficiary of one such backdated stock option and profited to the tune of $20 million, and that Apple’s account department didn’t deem it necessary to record this spending in their books.
Also up for legal debate will be the catastrophic decline in Apple stocks – that wiped $7 billion in share value within two weeks – after Apple’s announcement of the internal investigation and whether shareholders deserve to be redressed for it.