Week in Review for 4/12/2009

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  • Google clarifies its Chrome EULA again
    They didn’t actually change the EULA in response to an anonymous post on Slashdot, just pointed out the filtering clauses are consistent with their other ToS. I am not happy with the download it and compile it yourself response–if Google is committed to it being free software, not just open source, they should re-license Chromium under GPL not just BSD to ensure end user freedoms.
  • Community funded journalism
    RWW’s Sarah Perez provides a good explanation on the community funding project, Spot.us. Not only do I like this because it explores one of the models others are trying to markets affected by free digital copies but also that it may re-align the focus of the resulting journalism in the community’s public interest.
  • Debian gets FreeBSD kernel support
    I remember some of the interest in the Hurd kernel by the Debian folks so their adoption of FreeBSD as an option is not very surprising. Still, it may be a good way for Linux developers to experiment with a micro-kernel without having to fight so much to get their usual tools running.
  • Victory in public domain, copyright case
    This is the case that contested the URAA, a trade normalization effort that would have re-copyrighted works in the public domain. The case was just handed back down to the district court which granted the summary judgment requested that ruled the URAA violated the First Amendment.
  • AP launches campaign against “misappropriation”
    Ars’ Sanchez points out that the AP is not talking about copyright infringement, with which they already deal aggressively, but another legal concept which gives them a limited monopoly on news regardless of whether they are cited verbatim or not. How well will this notion of “hot news” stand up if tested in the lightning fast world of blogs and aggregators, though, compared to the traditional news channels where it was developed?
  • Canadian privacy commissioner launches DPI info site
    As Nat Anderson at Ars points out, this new resource shows a willingness by some on government to try to develop a deeper understanding of technical issues in order to better shape policy.
  • Patent reform act, S. 515, introduced
    This draft headed to the Senate floor has only some incremental reforms around damages and procedure. The amendment for post grant review was defeated amidst some apparent acrimony amongst the committee members. Perhaps a House version would provide another chances for more considered reform before this bill gets closer to law.
  • Google adds Java to App Engine platform
    The Register has the details, most notably that Google has worked to wrap their App Engine platform with existing Java specs and standards. Sounds like it may be a viable alternative to self hosting or the beta program for JBoss on Amazon’s services.
  • Berman still working to advance rights holders interests
    Addressing IP through trade relations is hardly a new tactice. Nate Anderson at Ars has the gory details of Berman’s latest take on this tactic, including some very suspect numbers to back up his latest claims.
  • Adobe working with Stanza on eBook catalog standard
    I am tickled to see stories like this one at RWW. The standard for open catalogs is at a very early stage but the fact that it is open and being worked on by a very aggressive early adopter like Stanza is promising.
  • Article on embracing piracy
    According to TechDirt, MIT’s Technology Review has some good coverage of companies endorsing working with rather than against pirates. Not noteworthy for the ideas but rather than an outlet closer to the mainstream is espousing them. I have found Tech Review to be a bit more progressive, though, so find this a bit less surprising than Masnick does.
  • P2P privacy research
    Schneier points out some interesting research around how P2P swarms form and trends in their connections, membership over time. The takeaway is that the identified ad hoc organization may make file sharers easier to identify. The researchers include a tentative defense in their work as a consequence.
  • Smaller CPUs with donut shaped lasers
    According to John Timmer at Ars, the research here represents a few possible ways past the physical limitations formerly understand based on the wavelength of light used on etching features on chips.
  • France’s 3-strikes rule rejected
    Public Knowledge’s Mehan Jayasuriya ties together a couple of recent discussions, most of which try to cite the French’s efforts as a model to be followed to allow industry to self police for infringement. This makes the defeat of the “graduated response” proposal this week by the French parliament all the more sweet to those of us fighting for more balanced consideration in copyright laws and enforcement.
  • EFF discusses how YouTube is worse than DMCA
    The risk von Lohmann describes is the very automated nature of the systems Google is using, that there is even less recourse for counter-complaint or fair use assertion than under the very fair use unfriendly DMCA.
  • Dave Arneson passes away
    Arneson is best known as the co-creator of the ur-RPG, D&D. This Tor post has the detailed story of Arneson’s work leading into his collaboration with Gygax on that seminal first edition of the game.
  • Copyright and the first amendment
    Masnick points to some writing by legal scholar, Christina Bohannan, suggesting that copyright infringement should include a standard of harm, similar to defamation, as a pre-requisite for abridging any freedom of speech concerns.
  • Copyright scholar says DoJ is getting copyright suits wrong
    The core of Professor Samuelson’s paper on the subject seems to be around standards and calculations for statutory damages. It ties in with issues raised by the recent Tenenbaum case and others.
  • COBOL turns 50
    This Guardian piece doesn’t say much about the languages history but does give a good sense of its current use. It really makes a point I learned early on in my career, that there is no such thing as legacy code, as in code that is too old and will be shelved at some point. If the code still works, businesses will find ways to continue to maintain it.
  • How some are profiting from Twittter
    Magpie is not new, I remember hearing about it some months back. According to RWW’s Kirkpatrick what seems to be new is the high profile sponsors buying into the services. The service also apparently has become much more blatant since its original launch.
  • Tagging DRM-free titles on Amazon
    Cory raises some other, excellent questions in response to a fellow writers suggestion of making DRM-free titles easier to find and identify. Why hasn’t any cracked the Kindle or its format to answer these questions?
  • Machinima and copyright law conference April 24th and 25th
    I’ve had a few folks ask me about modding and copyright. That is one of the topics covered at this Stanford conference. Hopefully they will post audio and/or video from some or all of the talks for those of us who cannot make it to this event.
  • Jeremy Allison on AGPL, cloud computing
    This is an excellent encapsulation of the reasons for creating the AGPL license and an nice endorsement from a leading light of the free software community. It also cuts past the cloud hype a bit and tries to get at the question of what software freedom means when software isn’t distributed in the same ways it has been for the past few decades, an issue Bradley Kuhn has also been discussing quite a bit recently.

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