EU Votes for S/W Patents

GrepLaw has summarized today’s EU vote: EU Says Yes to Software Patentability. Although the FFI’s WWW site indicates that it’s not quite so dire as the basic discussions sound: EU Parliament Votes for Real Limits on Patentability

In its plenary vote on the 24th of September, the European Parliament approved the proposed directive on “patentability of computer-implemented inventions” with amendments that clearly restate the non-patentability of programming and business logic, and uphold freedom of publication and interoperation.

CloudShield – a bad idea

CloudShield gets raked over the coals by David Isenberg: Cloudshield — Scary at Layers Two through Eight.

Cory Doctorow’s comments are a hoot: CloudShield “improves” Internet by trapping it in telco amber

CloudShield is a company whose explicit mission is to break the end-to-end nature of the Internet by creating high-capaciity packet-filters that can allow the phone company to decide which of your bits are important and which ones are unimportant. So, for example, if you were a physicist who invented a new protocol called http and a new service that runs on top of it called the WWW, you wouldn’t be able to deploy it until you’d gotten all the CloudSheild filters to recognize your new system. Boy, that sounds like a real improvement to the Internet as we know it.

NYTimes on the Library Hotel/Dewey Lawsuit

Followup to my earlier post: Where Did Dewey File Those Law Books? [pdf]

Dewey copyrighted his system early on and set up a company, Forest Press, to sell it, although he often donated his system to needy libraries.

He never intended to get rich with his system, said Dr. Wayne Wiegand, a professor of library and information studies at Florida State University and the author of a Dewey biography. Dewey’s goal, instead, was to educate the masses.

Dr. Wiegand said many smaller libraries, including prison libraries, use the system today without paying.

In 1988, the Online Computer Library Center, a group created to help libraries share resources and costs, bought Forest Press and the Dewey Decimal System trademark. Periodically, the group, based in Dublin, Ohio, issues updates to the system and sells them to libraries at $375 for a full printed update. More than 200,000 libraries in 135 countries are licensed to use the system.

Some comments from Infinging Actions, speculating on why the hotel hasn’t just settled: Why Not Call it the “Hotel Dewey”?

More on the RIAA lawsuit withdrawal

I guess it was a Boston Globe exclusive. Here’s what else is now available:

  • CNet News: RIAA’s case of mistaken identity?

    The trade association confirmed Wednesday that it had withdrawn its suit against a Boston-area senior citizen named Sarah Ward, who claimed that she could not possibly have been involved in the file-swapping incident attributed to her. Among other objections, Ward is a Macintosh computer user, and there is no Apple version of the Kazaa file-trading software she is supposed to have used, according to attorneys who have spoken to the woman.

    An RIAA spokeswoman said the group did not believe it had made a mistake in identifying the ISP account used by Ward, but that it was dismissing the case for now.

  • And Slashdot: RIAA Sues the Wrong Person Of the many comments, this one brings up something that has been left in the background lately:

    Scary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 11223 (201561) on Wednesday September 24, @11:11AM (#7044170)

    Note that Orrin Hatch wanted to give these people rights to blow up people’s computers. And how do you think the RIAA got her name from an IP in the first place? My guess is through a DMCA subpoena. This is Not Nice(TM).

It’ll be interesting to see what Donna’s got brewing.

Maybe it’s something in the water

It looks like Ed Felten is losing his patience, too. (I know that my postings here have been more charged than I usually try to be). See how Ed expresses his rising concern: Story Time

Somehow, people who would see the fallacy clearly in the cancer story, seem to miss the same fallacy when the topic is copyright infringement. Technical problems cannot be solved by negotiation or by government decree; and trying to do so will only hold back the progress that might one day lead to a solution.

Why do so many people miss this point? That’s a topic for a later posting.

Universal’s CD Pricing

From the Washington Post: Sticker Price Scrapped for Universal CDs. What sort of contractual arrangement do you suppose the last paragraph of this quote is talking about?

Less than a month after Universal Music Group said it would try to lure music buyers back to stores by placing $12.98 stickers on most of its compact discs, the company acknowledged yesterday that it would not specify a price, bowing to pressure from major retailers such as Best Buy.

Instead, Universal Music — the largest of the music industry’s five big companies and home to acts such as Nelly and U2 — will put stickers on CDs saying they are priced lower without stating a price, though Universal Music believes that retailers will price them near $13.

[…] Most retailers opposed the $12.98 sticker for a number of reasons. One was that if retailers put a higher sticker price on a CD that already has a $12.98 MSRP on it, the retailer could suffer from customer enmity. Other less-obvious objections were raised, said Universal sources, such as retailers saying they might be able to price such CDs for less than $12.98.

Universal’s top three retail customers are Best Buy, Wal-Mart and Target.

The big five music firms — Universal, Warner Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, BMG Entertainment and EMI — say they do not discuss pricing with retailers before such plans are implemented, to avoid the appearance of collusion. Last October, the five companies paid $143 million to settle a class-action lawsuit alleging CD price fixing in the 1990s, though the companies did not admit guilt.

Although some objected to receiving CDs with $12.98 stickers on them, almost all of Universal’s top 30 retailers agreed to the company’s shelf-space demands by the Sept. 19 deadline, company sources said.

Some LawMeme postings