• Record Industry: Limewire Could Owe $75 Trillion – Judge: "Absurd"

    So we’re all pretty desensitized by now to the mind-blowing stupidity on display by the record industry in its foolhardy attempts at assigning damages in piracy cases — was anyone surprised when they told one woman, who had shared 24 songs, that she owed nearly two million dollars? Yes, ridiculous. But this — this is beyond ridiculous. This is… sublime. The record… Read More

  • Geohot Has Left The Country

    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… Read More

  • Google Joins The Patent Madness With "Methods For Enticing Users To Access A Web Site"

    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… Read More

  • Judge Rejects Google Books Settlement: Make It Opt-In

    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… Read More

  • More Patent Trolling, This Time Against Every Major Mobile Manufacturer

    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… Read More

  • Microsoft Alleges Patent Infringement On Barnes & Noble E-Reader Devices

    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… Read More

  • Sony To Subpoena Two Years Of PS3 Hacker's PayPal Records

    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… Read More

  • Judge Allows Sony's Request For Identifying Information For Anyone Who Visited Hacker's Sites

    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… Read More

  • Is "App Store" As Generic As Microsoft's "Windows"?

    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… Read More

  • iPad Overheating Suit Against Apple Gets Dismissed

    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… Read More

  • PS3 Hacking Case Judge: Why Is This In My Courtroom

    Just a little update on the Sony/George Hotz lawsuit. You know, the one where Sony tries to put the cat back in the bag. Well it turns out that their reason for filing suit in California is that YouTube, Twitter, and Paypal are all based on California. Wait, what? Read More

  • Museum Files $2 Million Suit Against Guy For Taking Pictures There

    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… Read More

  • Why We Care About Apple And The Beatles

    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… Read More

  • Nintendo Is Attempting To Trademark "It's On Like Donkey Kong"

    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… Read More

  • How Reasonable: German Court Fines Convicted File-Sharer €30

    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… Read More

  • Supreme Court Makes A Mockery Of California's Violent Game Ban

    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… Read More

  • A Closer Look At Apple's Latest Patents

    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… Read More

  • A Method For Encumbering Progress By Patenting Other People's Ideas

    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. Read More

  • New York Alleges LCD Price-Fixing By LG, Hitachi, Samsung, and Sharp

    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… Read More

  • Class Action Lawsuit Against Apple Alleges That iPads Get Too Hot When Used In The Sun

    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… Read More

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