Amazon’s 1-Click Patent Upheld

I am surprised that Daring Fireball is the only one covering this story out of my wide ranging set of sources. According to the article linked, Amazon made some amendments a year into the four year re-examination process that have resulted in the patent being upheld. Those amendments arguably narrowed the patent’s scope though pinning it on a “shopping cart model”. This still seems overly broad. What e-commerce site doesn’t use a shopping cart?

There are two silver linings. The Bilski case currently before the Supreme Court could lead to an invalidation depending on the outcome. The patent expires in 2017 having been filed deep within the bubble in the nineties.

Following Up for the Week Ending 2/7/2010

Amazon Makes DRM-Free E-Books Easier

Several sources, including ReadWriteWeb, pushed out the news that Amazon was allowing some publishers and authors to opt out of DRM on the Kindle. Most are also sharing an update where the retail giant is claiming this was always possible, they are simply making the option easier.

Whichever version of the story is true, the proof will be in how many more DRM-free titles become available in the wake of the change. Cory also posted some critical questions on Boing Boing that remain unanswered. Depending on the answers, Amazon still may be pushing a locked-in system, just relying on contract enforcement rather than the DMCA.

Amazon Announces Application SDK for Kindle

Great, yet another app store, this time from Amazon, for the Kindle. Given the retail giant’s past, in particular with this device, the policies and controls are likely to be stifling. Couple that with the device’s technical limitations, and I’d suggest this may become a largely still born effort.

It also cuts against the grain of the Kindle as a single use device. One of the aspects of general purposes computers that hugely erodes their appeal for reading longer texts is the temptation to switch away to some other distraction. Amazon will no doubt make as much if not more money off of applications as book titles but it still feels like a dilution of one of the Kindle’s main attractions.

Following Up for the Week of 10/4/2009

Judicial Tech Illiteracy, Amazon and the Public Domain, and More

  • Radio Berkman podcast episode on anonymity and limits on free speech
    As I do not already listen to enough podcasts on legal matters. But I am grateful to TLF’s Adam Thierer for bringing this to my attention, especially this particular episode on an excellent subject that is very relevant to recent stories about anonymous speech circulating through the blogosphere. I will warn you that while there is an Ogg version of the podcast, the file I checked had a panning issue; sound only on the right channel.
  • New language on the JVM from Google
    The name, short for “No Operation”, sounds like a joke, but the piece I found via Hacker News appears to be legitimate. I understand the reasoning behind the laundry list of features but wonder, as I usually do, if their efforts would have been better served helping Scala or Groovy rather than creating a whole new language.
  • Amazon delaying public domain submissions for the Kindle
    Although the piece doesn’t say explicitly, I suspect that the Orwell incident is a large part of their reasoning. What they have said is suspicious, as the letter including in this article makes clear. At least they are not singling anyone out.
  • Tech illiteracy’s impact on judges’ rulings
    At Techdirt, Mike Masnick shares a good example of a case where illiteracy yielded an outcome one hundred and eighty degrees from how things would have gone if the judge were more clueful. It echoes the question I consider a while ago.
  • Big Content whines to FCC to perserve its internet filtering plans
    I really am not at all surprised by Nate Anderson’s coverage at Ars of another FCC workshop on their broadband plan in which the entertainment industry took over with flimsy rhetoric, easily debunked, intending to shore up their desire to deputize ISPs to police for infringing content.
  • An overreaching patent from Google on reading lists
    RWW supposes this may be a key patent underlying the Bundles feature in Reader. Further, they detail a response from Winer which seems to have the right of it, that at least judging from the abstract on the patent, there is a load of applicable prior art.
  • Ruling further limits interpretation of the CFAA
    According to Jacqui Cheung at Ars, in this instance the ruling on appeal was for a case around ex-employees accessing former employer’s data. It reins in another of the problematic, broadening claims brought to bear under the already overly vague and dangerous Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.