Displaying items by tag: Copyright

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 09:40

Swedish Supreme Court Denies Pirate Bay Appeal

news_pirate-bay-logoIt looks like the PirateBay founders have lost their final appeal (insert random nautical pun here). After initially being sentenced to 12 months in prison and fines of $6.8 Million US Dollars (which we will talk about in a minute) Peter Sunde, Fredrik Neij, and Carl Lundstrom have gone through multiple appeals one of which resulted in the reduction of the amount of prison time, but their final Swedish legal step was declined by the Swedish Supreme Court. The move by the high court is puzzling, disappointing and not unexpected.

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Jollyroger-1Unless you have been under a rock for the past few months you know that the big media companies have been pushing the copyright laws quite heavily. A pair of very dangerous laws call the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) were just dropped (for now) on after a very large Internet protest that ended up with many major sites blacking out for the day. We were also involved in that protest as the vague wording of the law was terrifying to say the least.

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90There is an old saying that nothing is coincidental. When something happens at that can affect another outcome it has happened for a reason. A good case in point is the recent “take down” of the site MegaUploads. This site has been accused of copyright infringement (criminal copyright infringement no less) and a few other very serious crimes.  The story has been all over the internet and many are standing up and saying that this one issue is proof that SOPA is not needed and that the current laws are good enough… um are we so sure that this is what this little event truly shows, or is meant to show?

Published in Editorials

animal_farm-pigsOver the course of the next few weeks you will read dozens of articles on the web and in print talking about the top technology and how this or that product shaped the market. However, no matter how impressive the technology was there was one thing that shaped the world of consumer electronics more than anything else. The lawsuit; it is a simple and unfortunate fact that patent and copyright lawsuits had a bigger impact on the consumer electronic market than any 5 products put together.

Published in Editorials
Thursday, 08 December 2011 22:50

Galaxy Tab 10.1 Ban lifted in Australia

14621rotten_appleWe have been saying that the tide is turning against Apple and its legal campaign to stomp out the competition. We have been hearing that Apple’s efforts to ban the Galaxy tab 10.1 in Australia were before the actual case could be heard were starting to decay, but now we have received the final confirmation that the ban on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 has been lifted and Samsung can begin selling the tablets in time for Christmas.

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Friday, 25 November 2011 16:54

Ban on Samsung "not terribly fair"

73It looks like Samsung might be getting some vindication on the Ban imposed on the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia. It appears that at least one Appeals Judge feels that the original ban might not have been fair. According to several articles on the Internet Federal Court Justice Lindsay Foster could be the saving grace for Samsung in their legal battles down under. The original ban was put in place as a temporary measure until a full trial could take place over what Apple calls “blatant copying”. Samsung, on the other hand, feels that the ban was unjust due to the large number of other tablets on the market with the same look and feel as the iPad. To prove their point they have produced video evidence showing off tablets from Motorola, Asus, Acer and others.  They feel that Apple is singling them out (in much the same way that Adobe was attacked by Apple over Flash).

Published in Editorials
Tuesday, 15 November 2011 20:31

American Censorship Day is Tomorrow

censorship-InternetTomorrow is the American Censorship Day. This is a time when many websites (DecryptedTech included) will replace their front pages with a simulated takedown notice. However, the code will also allow you to send an email to your representatives in congress as well as find more information on SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and just how dangerous it really is. We have already told you how serious this act can potentially be and now it seems that the many web businesses are waking up to the potential of this act.

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73In the legal world there are always interesting things going on. This is even more true when you talk about the massive number of law suits that are brought against technology companies on a daily basis. Now, it is not the actual cases that are the truly interesting thing (although some of them are). No it is the rulings and how they shape the laws that are sometimes the most fun.

For example in a recent (and ridiculous) law suit brought against Apple by a woman who wanted $5,000 for every person that had their iPhone bricked by the IO4 update the judge set something of a legal precedent.  The woman (named Bianca Wofford) lost the suit, but she lost is because the judge ruled that Software was not a service or a good (as well as the fact that a free upgrade cannot be held to sale or lease laws). This point is very interesting and will play heavily in future litigation.

If software is not a service or a good what exactly is it? If on the one hand it is excluded from sale or lease laws then there is no possibility of theft as there is no monetary value to it and possess no real-world value. This little precedent might be interesting to watch in future copyright and IP based litigation. Now someone can argue that as software is not a good or service and it cannot be sold or leased (as anything that can, must be held to sale and lease laws) then there is no crime committed in the free and open use of any software available.

Of course I would not run out and start downloading all of the software out there as this legal loophole will quickly be sown up by the companies that are dependent on software-as-a-service revenue. It does illustrate something that is wrong with the legal system and technology in general though and ties in with the SOPA movement in a way that many might miss. What we have is a lack up a clear definition of the items that are in dispute. What IS software, what constitutes theft of un-real property? The laws on this are so vague that you could (under the current system) be guilty of IP theft for having a copyrighted work on display in a picture of you taken by someone else, or for a YouTube video that has music playing in the background on the radio.

Until the laws are defined (and right now it is in the interest of the media and software companies to have it vague) or the judges and lawmakers are educated in the way technology works the legal system will continue to be abused by corporations while the consumers are left holding the bag.  At least in this case a definition will need to be put in place as the current one is not beneficial to any company trying to sell their software.

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Published in Editorials
Tuesday, 18 October 2011 22:52

Australians Going Online to get Their Tab Fix

samsung-galaxy-tab-10_1If you did not see this one coming then you are either deluding yourself or perhaps your just discovered this thing call the Internet. It seems that despite a temporary ban on Sales of the Galaxy Tab 10.1 in Australia sales are still booming. According to the Sydney Morning Herald the only ones that are being forced to comply with the ban are the local resellers. One of these Harvey Norman has let their displeasure known and have asked that both Samsung and Apple do something about it.

The problem is that Harvey Norman is looking to lose out on a possible $30 Million in retail sales because of this ban. This, coincidentally, is why Apple wants the ban in the first place. Oh they have put on a good show about their Intellectual Property being stolen and that the Tab 10.1 is a copycat product and many other items all of which were, unfortunately, bought by the judge presiding over the hearings.

This judge then issued a temporary ban on all sales of the Tab 10.1 in Australia. Technically this should mean online sellers that can ship there as well. However, as we have already mentioned this is not the case. According to several lawyers enforcing a complete ban especially one that is only temporary is near impossible and the amount of resources and money that it would take to track down every person that purchases one through the internet is simply not worth it. This loophole works in Samsung and the consumer’s favor even if it does lock out the local resellers.

While Apple has not made any comment on the situation yet they have made some of their usual threats to smaller online resellers some of which have stopped selling the offending tablet. Other and more larger online outlets have refused to be bullied and are still offering the popular iPad alternative for sale.

Our take on this is that Apple has such a culture of control they feel they have the right to shut out other companies even if they have to fudge the evidence or file knowingly invalid patents (ones either too broad, cover concepts, or the look and feel of something) by putting on some extra legal pressure. It really is time they discovered that consumers want what they want. Sometimes that is Apple and sometimes it is not. However, by trying to block competition and limit consumer choice we think that Apple could soon find the rather fickle market turning on them and finding way to get alternatives even if they are less than legal.

Source The Sydney Morning Herald

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Published in News
Friday, 14 October 2011 22:29

Apple v Samsung Update 10-14-2011

screenshot-page-28Well it is time for another Apple Legal Round up. On Friday October 14th 2011 we find that Apple has managed to get a preliminary injunction on the sales of some of Samsung’s products in Australia. Most notable in this ban is the Galaxy Tab 10.1. This injunction and ban was handed down after Apple rejected a compromise offer to Apple. Apple is using this offer to bolster their claim that the Tab is a copy of their iPad and that it infringes on their Intellectual Property. On the other hand their rejection of this could be seen as an indication that they are not looking to cooperate and just want a competing product off the market. Either way the ban will be in place until after the case in heard in court.

In the Netherlands, Apple has managed to avoid having their own products banned. It seems that Samsung put in a complaint stating that Apple has infringed on their patents involving 3G technologies. However the judge in this case was not buying it. Samsung’s complaint and accusations were thrown out along with Apple’s own counter complaints. It is quite possible that they are getting a little tired of the bickering between these two companies. In this case Samsung has stated they will pursue other avenues to protect their IP.

In the US a judge has refused a preliminary ban on Samsung products stating that Apple has to prove their claims before any ban or injunction will be put into place. This case is a little interesting as it seems that the judge may hold some doubts to the validity of the patents in the first place. At one point US District Judge Lucy Koh held up both tablets and asked the Samsung lawyers present to identify them. It took a few moments before the answer could be supplied.  Apple maintains that their design is what makes all of the difference and that no one should be copying it. The problem with that comment is that all tablets are going to have a similar design. They are rectangular devices with a screen on one side. Only logos and color differentiate most of them in terms of appearance. In any case Apple now has to not only prove that Samsung has violated these patents, but now also has to prove that the patents are valid.

These items are just the latest news in the patent war between Samsung and Apple. As of this writing there are over 20 legal cases in progress around the world. The enmity between these two comes from a bad ending to a partnership that Samsung and Apple enjoyed right up until Apple began designing their own chips for their products. May have felt that Apple used the information and technology provided by Samsung to start this venture only to find themselves not only left out, but being the target of Apple’s legal team attempting to suppress their products.

I doubt that we will ever know what really kicked all of this off but one thing is fairly clear IP or not; Apple wants Samsung’s (and others) phones and Tablets off the market. They know that even a temporary delay in sales can hinder or even kill a product.

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