It appears (according to court documents) that George Hotz, AKA Geohot, PS3 and iPhone hacker extraordinaire, has been hounded out of the country by Sony’s intense legal proceedings. Just a short while after a federal judge granted Sony unfettered access to Hotz’s IP logs and PayPal records (on a question of jurisdiction, I might add), Sony alleges that the kid has fled the country, heading for… → Read More
I guess the USPTO felt they were leaving Google out of the game, what with Apple suing over the phrase “App Store,” Microsoft suing for showing the status of a download, and Paul Allen suing for everything else. So they went ahead and granted Google’s request to patent the Google Doodle.
Yes, that’s right: among other things, they are claiming the method of creating a special logo and then… → Read More
Federal Judge Denny Chin ruled against the proposed settlement between Google and written content creators, saying that the proposed $125 million agreement (in discussion since 2009) is over-broad, and takes too many liberties on the part of orphan works and other potentially disputable items. The agreement would have put millions of books, in and out of print, online, but Chin suggested that the… → Read More
We just heard about a legal action by Microsoft against Barnes & Noble (to be fair, not quite trolling, but bordering on it), and now I’m reading about a new one, directed at pretty much every major manufacturer of mobile hardware. The patents allegedly infringed upon are related to the cameras used in the phones. And yes, it’s sketchy.
The company suing is one “Imperium Holdings,” based in… → Read More
Microsoft has filed suit against Barnes & Noble, creators of the Nook and Nook Color e-readers, as well as the manufacturers of those devices. The companies allegedly infringe on a number of patents filed between 1998 and 2005, generally applying to UI elements associated with browsing and downloading information. Like many patents from that period (for example those cited by Paul Allen in… → Read More
Query: If I donated $10 to Geohot’s legal defense fund, does that make me liable for his actions, and do I have no right to keeping that donation private? It was, after all (if I made it), a perfectly legal transaction between two private citizens. Well, according to Sony and Federal Magistrate Spero (who just a short time ago approved Sony’s request for all IPs visiting the hacker’s site), I’m… → Read More
This is a rather disturbing turn of events. Federal Magistrate Joseph Spero has approved a request by Sony to subpoena the hacker GeoHot’s web host, as well as YouTube, Google, and Twitter, for identifying information on anyone who has accessed, commented, or viewed information relating to the hack. At best this is lazy on Sony’s part and irresponsible on Magistrate Spero’s, and at worst it is a… → Read More
As tech companies fight for ubiquity, it’s no surprise that there should be disputes like this. Using common words for product names is always a risk, as is establishing generic traditions (like Apple’s “i-” prefix) that are difficult to regulate. At stake today is Apple’s trademark on “App Store,” which as I’m sure our readers are aware, was established in 2008 as arguably the first real platform… → Read More
Last year we heard about a class-action lawsuit being filed against Apple for false advertising, that alleged the iPad did not work as Apple said it did. Specifically, Apple said it was “just like reading a book,” and the plaintiffs felt otherwise.
Of course, it’s obvious to you and me, reader, that this lawsuit is baseless. But in a court of law, sometimes things go a little pear-shaped and… → Read More
Well well, I think we can safely file this one under frivolous. Photographer Thomas Hawk visited the World Erotic Art Museum in Miami, with his camera of course, and took a few photos during his stay. A guard asked him whether he was making a book, and Hawk said no. He later put the pictures up on Flickr.
Not long after, the museum informed Mr. Hawk that they were suing him for a minimum of two… → Read More
So chances are (though I don’t buy the semaphore thing) that tomorrow will bring an announcement from Apple that they’ve finally reached an agreement with Apple Records, or EMI, or Apple Corps, or somebody, and will now be offering the Beatles catalogue on iTunes. That’s nice, but why should we care?
Being that the Beatles MP3 holdout is emblematic of the recording industry’s resistance against… → Read More
This is… unexpected. The phrase “it’s on like Donkey Kong,” which I don’t say nearly enough, is never something I actually associated with Nintendo. I don’t recall ever seeing it in any games or on box art, or even in promotional materials. Yet now Nintendo is trying to trademark it. Presumably this has to do with the new Donkey Kong Country Returns for Wii, coming out November 21st. → Read More
You may have seen the settlement yesterday, likely being appealed, in which a woman was ordered to pay $1.5 million for illegally downloading and sharing 24 songs. That’s $62,600 per song, far above the (equally arbitrary, but considerably more realistic) $2250 per song ruled as the absolute maximum in another court, during an earlier trial. Higher figures, particularly those requested by the… → Read More
This is fantastic. As you may know, California is attempting to bring about a nationwide ban on selling violent video games to minors. Their case must be phenomenally weak, because the Justices spend quite a bit of time ribbing the Attorney General over how this incredibly vague and biased proposal could potentially be applied to all manner of things.
Justice Sotomayor: “Would a video game that… → Read More
Apple has been granted nine new patents, and I thought I’d take a look at the claims therein and see whether they match up to the descriptions, and whether they seem (to this humble blogger) like realistic items for which to gain exclusive rights. I’ve included links to all the patents, but the USPTO office is behaving strangely, and often returned an error when I tried to pull up documents. Those… → Read More
Inventor: Paul Allen Filed: August 27, 2010 Abstract: A method for preventing innovation, specifically in the tech sector, by way of a dangerous misconception of what is patentable and a sadly overtaxed intellectual property regulatory system. Summary of the Invention: During a period of change and invention, ideas may occur to a person, and a few possible ways of manifesting those ideas. By… → Read More
Accusations of price fixing like those now being filed in New York are nothing new, but as it turns out, the penalties don’t really stick. LG and Sharp paid hundreds of millions in a settlement back in 2008, Hitachi had its own scandal in 2009, and Sharp is already the defendant in a Dell lawsuit also alleging price fixing. Samsung seems to be the new kid on the block, but I think they can… → Read More
Apple must make a big, juicy target to lawyers trying to cobble together class-action lawsuits. They make promises in plain English that, as is the case with almost all advertising, don’t exactly pan out, but usually allowances can be made. Does Old Spice make you “smell like a man”? If you think a man smells otherwise, can you sue Old Spice for false advertising?
Similarly, when Apple says… → Read More
Today’s adjustment of the DMCA has far-reaching legal implications, which will only be evident after a few weeks, months, or even years as various parties exploit them however they can. I’m going to let the experts play in that sandbox. But one of the new rules seems to have had a specific target in mind: Apple. To wit:
“(2) Computer programs that enable wireless telephone handsets to execute… → Read More
Remember that cool-looking Spyder III Pro Arctic laser from WickedLasers? Remember how LucasFilm thought it looked a little too much like a lightsaber? Remember how they then served WickedLasers a Cease and Desist? And then, remember how WickedLasers put that Cease and Desist up on eBay? You probably don’t remember that last part, because I’m just telling you now. It’s up on… → Read More
When I read this story at Reuters, I thought it sounded a bit familiar. And sure enough, in March of 2009, we wrote pretty much the same thing. I immediately thought: “Could Reuters have messed up? Are they really that bad at this?” As it turns out, no — but they missed a key bit of context. Discovery is suing Amazon again, over essentially the same thing. They missed that part, which … → Read More
Duke Nukem Forever, a title subject to more delays, controversies, and lawsuits than Rockstar’s notorious Grand Theft Baby, may finally see a release. Well, there’s actually no reason to think that will happen, except that now there’s nothing actively preventing its release — except, of course, the fact that the game was never finished. The lawsuits between Take Two and 3D… → Read More
This is another of these growing pains the modern world is having to go through. A court in Germany has decided that the owner/proprietor of a Wi-Fi connection is partially responsible if said connection is used for illegal purposes, with or without the owner’s knowledge. Therefore, leaving a Wi-Fi connection open to all comprises a sort of negligence, criminal negligence in fact, punishable by a… → Read More
When you watch CSI or 24, you see all kinds of technology being employed to catch the bad guy. On a regular police beat, however, much of that technology is used for administration, records, and protection of the cops against allegations of abuse of authority, brutality, and so on. Either way, it’s comforting to know that every interaction I’ll have with a cop if I were to be, say, arrested for… → Read More
Patents, patents, everywhere! It seems you can’t swing a cat these days without infringing on someone’s patent. The latest victim/perp is Microsoft; an Illinois doctor is suing them because of a patent he was granted in 2002 which allegedly covers the Zune’s ability to tag a song directly from the radio and then download that song once an internet connection is established. Obviously it’s for the… → Read More
With a list of allegedly infringed patents as long as my arm, Apple could be considered as filing this lawsuit with nothing but the idea of getting what’s rightfully theirs. I imagine that’s true as far as it goes, but there’s a little more to it and I think this conflict may expose even further the cracks that are appearing in our patent and trademark system. → Read More
Good luck sorting this one out, short-sighted lawmakers. An upcoming piece of major legislation in the UK, called the Digital Economy Bill, would essentially force all public wi-fi points offline by requiring impossibly high levels of copyright protection by libraries and small businesses. The bill, which bears some similarity to the controversial DMCA here in the US, is ostensibly aimed at… → Read More
It’s getting to be a mighty dangerous place out there for DS pirates. Several months ago, Nintendo decided to sue a few of the big DS hacking companies out there, and although that ended up causing a major boost to those companies’ sales, it looks like the big N is starting to crack down on resellers too.
GadgetGear (no affiliation with yours truly) was selling the R4 flash cartridge, which can… → Read More
Yesterday, in response to allegations of DMCA violations, several popular music blogs were wiped off the face of the net. They were hosted by Google via Blogger, and it was only after they were completely erased that the owners received emails to the effect of “We got one too many complaints – you’re deleted. Love, Google.” It’s trending around the net as “Musicblogocide 2010,” but that puts too… → Read More