Australian bargain site Cudo, apparently co-run by Microsoft and Channel Nine, offers for an e-reader for sale, complete with a CD of 4,000 written works, the purported titles of which are here. If that title listing is correct on that CD, then tons of those books are under copyright, including what looks like hundreds of titles from SFWA members. Who I am pretty sure didn’t sign off on having their works burned onto a CD to be stuffed into an e-reader.
It's notable that that list of titles includes a substantial number of duplicates as well as inconsistent and poor formatting. Similar to, say, the index on a pirate torrent of ebooks.
Which is what turns up when you google any section of that list.
A company literally seem to have downloaded a torrent of ebooks, burned it onto CDs and tried to sell it alongside a cheap e-reader.
Judge Roger Hunt’s judgment confirms that an online forum is not liable for its users’ posts, even if it was not protected by the safe harbors of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s notice and takedown provisions. The decision also clarifies that a common practice on the Internet – excerpting a few sentences and linking to interesting articles elsewhere – is a fair use, not an infringement of copyright.
This morning, word got out in Belgian media that SABAM is spending time and resources to contact local libraries across the nation, warning them that they will start charging fees because the libraries engage volunteers to read books to kids.
Myhrvold is right that patent infringement is rampant among software firms. But in demanding that this infringement stop, Myhrvold isn't just declaring war on what he regards as Silicon Valley's patent-hostile culture. He's declaring war on the laws of mathematics. The legal research required for all software-producing firms to stop infringing patents would cost more than the entire revenue of the software industry. Even if firms were willing to pay the bill, there simply aren't enough patent lawyers to do the work. Firms infringe software patents because they don't have any other choice.
The Links Dump item about software patents this morning includes a lament that there are so many silly little software patents, organized so badly, that finding one you might be infringing would take forever. This may or may not be a convincing argument against them, but for a physics geek like me, my first reaction was "You just need a quantum computer running Grover's algorithm for searching an unsorted database." And I suppose there's a background element for a satirical SF novel in that-- quantum computers ultimately being developed not by banks or the NSA, but by lawyers looking to speed the process of document discovery.
That site is written in marketing jargon with some legalise mixed in, but it boils down to this; - Companies post a patent or similar with a stated reward budget and goal (invalidation or research). - People submit prior art (older patents or other published materials) relevant to the patent to show it is invalid or simply to establish the state of the art in that field. - The best submissions are picked and rewarded financially. In a convoluted, delayed manner, but with solid rewards (things like $100 to ten of the best, then a few thousand to the overall winner). - Researchers are encouraged by achievement style points that buy into a profit sharing model at the end of each year.
OK, so if 1 ever comes about 2 is near entirely invalidated, but it's a nice start.
In the US a great many laws make reference to outside documents. For example, the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards might make reference to a standard created by the Society of Automotive Engineers. That standard is required to comply with the law.
The Society of Automotive Engineers sell that standard for $65. There is no other way to get hold of it. And that's true for dozens of other documents that are effectively part of the law. These documents are claimed to be in copyright, so can't be passed on without paying the companies that own them.
The Court of Appeals held in Veeck v. Southern Building Code Congress that any document that is part of the law, including these outside standards, must be public domain. Despite this the trade is ongoing.
Now Public.Resource.Org have bought 73 of these standards (total value $7,414.26) and are reproducing them. First in hard copy, later online.
“Without the availability of patent protection,” the statement went on, “future health care will suffer as companies may opt out of new research and development.”
Yeah, because companies are going to start moving to researching drugs that don't have dosage recommendations if you don't give them extra protection. Is there anything too stupid for some lawyers to say on his client's behalf in public?
So, what exactly is Facebook changing? If you view the current Statement of Rights and Responsibilities, you'll find this sentence:
"You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Wall and 32665), or any confusingly similar marks, without our written permission."
If you're wondering, 32665 is the number allowing Facebook users to update their pages through text message. The newly revised user agreement reads as follows (emphasis ours):
"You will not use our copyrights or trademarks (including Facebook, the Facebook and F Logos, FB, Face, Poke, Book and Wall), or any confusingly similar marks, except as expressly permitted by our Brand Usage Guidelines or with our prior written permission."
Without reading the article, because I have to get to sleep soon and I don't want to read something that might keep me awake, I have to assume that the way they've trademarked Book is as used in faceBOOK. So you can't make a site called Anusbook, sort of thing.
Howard Gantman, a spokesman for the Motion Picture Association of America, said he did not believe its member studios were aware of Mr. Strachman’s operation. His sole comment dripped with the difficulty of going after a 92-year-old widower supporting the troops.
“We are grateful that the entertainment we produce can bring some enjoyment to them while they are away from home,” Mr. Gantman said.
There's a phrase that appears in a lot of legal academic literature on this kind of topic. "Code is law."
Perhaps legally they can't prevent you from selling the software, but if the software code prevents subsequent users from using the software is that illegal? or something within the prerogative of the manufacturer?
This sort of thing is why I'm not going to buy any games on-demand anymore. Sometimes when I buy a game and finish playing it, I'll send it to my sister. She does the same thing for me on occasion. Even if it's not for resell, I'm not happy iwth the idea that games I download can't be shared with friends the way an actual disk can. Or if I go over to a friend's house to play a game that the friend doesn't have, I can't just bring it with me. I made the mistake of buying Mass Effect on-demand and I won't do it again. The good news on that front is, at least for now, I can save the game to my thumb drive to carry it about. Hopefully that means if my Xbox craps out and I need to buy a new one, I can move the game over without any problems.