Friday, October 01, 2004

I hear from the EFF that the Swarthmore students, who were threatened by Diebold for publishing the company's embarrassing internal memos, have prevailed against the electronic voting machine vendor in their lawsuit alleging abuse of copyright. Wendy Seltzer is quoted in the Wired article:

"We weren't out to get Diebold," Seltzer said. "We were out to crack down on the misuse of copyright threats. It's a matter of showing Diebold and companies that there is a cost to making false threats and to show ISPs that they have a remedy if they feel they are being unfairly threatened. It's not free to threaten infringement when there's no good faith claim for infringement."
Open source programmers have been found to be in breach of the DMCA for producing the bnetd server created, in the words of the decision, to address the difficulties that users sometimes experienced with [Blizzard Entertainment and Vivendi Universal Games Inc.'s] service. In addition, some or all of the defendents developed bnetd, in part, because they believed that Blizzard game players should not be forced to view advertisements displayed via the service and that it was morally wrong for Blizzard to require people who want to play Blizzard's games over the Internet ot agree to the TOU or other restrictions imposed by Blizzard. The bnetd project is a volunteer effort and the bnetd project has always offered the bnetd program for free to anyone who wants a copy of it."

As well as breaching the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA, the programmers were held to have violated Blizzard's end user license agreement (EULA).
Karen S. Evans, White House Administrator on IT and E-Gov has issued a memo outlining guidelines on personal use policies on file sharing software on government computers.
There are reports on Slashdot that Sony are abandoning copy protected CDs in Japan and reverting to standard Red Book discs for future releases.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Creative Commons Canada has launched.
From the FT:

"Five hundred scientists, academics, legal experts and consumer advocates, including two Nobel laureates, called yesterday for a change of course at the World Intellectual Property Organisation to put development concerns ahead of stronger intellectual property rights."

You may recall my mention last week of the Geneva Declaration on the Future of WIPO. Well the WIPO General Assembly debate on the matter has been happening today. I hope there has been some progress.

John Sulston, winner of the 2002 Nobel Prize for medicine for his work on the genome project, is one of the signatories of the declaration.

There are quite a few reports in the mainstream media saying that part of the USA PATRIOT act has been struck down as unconstitutional.

Orin Kerr, who has actually read the opinion, suggests the reports are misinformed. It was a provision of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act 1986 which was actually held to be unconstitutional. Orin is not too impressed:

"Mainstream Media Ruled Unconstitutional:
No, not really. But is it too much to ask that when the mainstream media reports on court decisions that they properly identify the law that is struck down and the Administration that is rebuked? Apparently it is, at least if the Thursday morning papers are any guide."
BAA (British Airports Authority) have been accused of dirty tricks in a domain name dispute to be heard by WIPO UDRP panelists.
Paul Lashmar at The Guardian is predicting a dystopian surveillance society by 2020
From the NYT

"Even Near Home, a New Front Is Opening in the Terror Battle" Extract:

Many question the government's strategy of trying to combat terrorism by prosecuting Web site operators. "I think it is an impossible task," said Thomas Hegghammer of the Norwegian Defense Research Establishment, an agency that monitors the use of the Internet by Al Qaeda. "You can maybe catch some people. But you will never ever be able to stem the flow of radical Islamic propaganda."

He pointed out that it is difficult to distinguish between a real terrorist and a make-believe one online. "You would end up prosecuting a lot of angry young people who do this because it is exciting, not because they want to actually participate in terrorist attacks," he said. "I don't think it helps you fight Al Qaeda."