Thursday, February 15, 2007

Russian Head Teacher piracy case thrown out

A Russian court has thrown out the criminal case against a headteacher accused of using pirated Microsoft software in his school. I'm pleased to see the court was smarter than the prosecuters.

Update: The Register has a few more details.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Eli Lilly Loses Effort to Censor Zyprexa Documents Off the Internet

From the EFF: Eli Lilly Loses Effort to Censor Zyprexa Documents Off the Internet

IIPA Section 301 hit list

Michael Geist has some commentary of the essential reading variety for IP geeks on the International Intellectual Property Alliance's latest "section 301" report. This report has, for many years now, served as the basis for the US Trade Representative's report targeting countries which allegedly undermine US intellectual property rights and the latter can and has led to US trade sanctions against some of the nations highlighted.

Michael says:

"Canada figures prominently on this list and indeed this year it is
expected that the U.S. will escalate the pressure by placing us on
the Priority Watch List...The IIPA submission on Canada includes a litany of
complaints, including the failure to implement the WIPO Internet
Treaties, the need for ISPs to play a greater role in dealing with
copyright infringement, the need for a camcorder law, and the need
for greater enforcement activity. The IIPA report is particularly
critical of Bill C-60, arguing that Canada should "jettison" the
approach in favour of something, well, like the U.S. has
implemented. In fact, it incorrectly argues that full compliance
with the WIPO Internet treaties requires legislation that matches the
DMCA (full TPM protection, ban on devices that can be used to
circumvent, limited exceptions). It also wants the scope of the
private copying limited and clear liability for P2P services
established. "

The IIPA hitlist includes 60 countries including places like Japan, Italy, Brazil, Sweden and Spain.

Update: CPTech's Manon Ress has some interesting thoughts on the IIPA's recommendations.

Russian Head Teacher piracy case

Findlaw has a few more details on the case of the Russian head teacher facing jail for installing computers in his school containing allegedly pirated Microsoft software.


The case appears to have more to do with the lopsided approach taken by prosecutors - eager to please the leadership in Moscow - in response to international pressure on Russia to clamp down on piracy.

"You know the president is always asked these questions at summits - evidently because of this, work has been stepped up," Alexander Troyanov, the district prosecutor pursuing the case, told The Associated Press.

But Putin himself has questioned the rationale behind the case. When it was raised by a reporter at his annual, nationally televised news conference this month, the president dismissed it with a colorful term that translates as "utter nonsense." As in fighting drugs, the manufacturers and producers should be targeted rather than the end user, he said.

Troyanov argued that the law makes no distinction - meaning Ponosov is fair game."

Microsoft have apparently offered to put in a good word for him if he apologises to them and and acknowledge his guilt. That's big of them. The good guys insdie Microsoft - and there are many - must be tearing their hair out over this one.

CCTV in school toilets

From ARCH:

"Here’s the deputy head of Astley Sports College in Dukinfield on the school’s decision to install £20K’s worth of CCTV cameras - including in the toilets:

“They’ve definitely proved their worth because pupils know they’re being watched 24 hours a day.”"

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Novartis open source diabetes research

Having recently pointed out some unwelcome legal activity from Novartis in the form of a challenge to India's patent laws, yesterday there was some better news reported about the pharmaceutical giant's research.

"Some of the world's biggest drug companies are finding that their genetic research is worth more to them if they give it away.

Novartis (nyse: NVS - news - people ), the Basel, Switzerland, drug giant, has helped uncover which of the 20,000 genes identified by the Human Genome Project are likely to be associated with diabetes. But rather than hoard this information, as drug firms have traditionally done, it is making it available for free on the World Wide Web.

"It will take the entire world to interpret these data," says Novartis research head Mark Fishman. "We figure we will benefit more by having a lot of companies look at these data than by holding it secret."

Researchers at Novartis partnered with Switzerland's Lund University and the Cambridge, Mass.-based Broad Institute, a joint venture between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard that is funded by billionaire Eli Broad. This international team compared the genomes of 1,500 people who had diabetes with 1,500 who were disease-free. All the patients were from Sweden. To do this quickly, the scientists used gene chips from biotech Affymetrix (nasdaq: AFFX - news - people ) that allowed them to track 500,000 places in the genetic code where past experience has shown that there are likely to be differences.

The result: a library of genetic differences that are likely to increase a patient's risk of diabetes. Researchers don't know what most of these errant genes do, or exactly why diabetics are more likely to have these genes. That is exactly the puzzle a world's worth of scientists are needed to unravel. But Fishman says 12 genetic differences turned up by the work are promising enough to pursue further."