After years of legal arguments over IP, tech giants Apple and Google have agreed to drop all current patent disputes between them. The BBC reports that in a joint statement, the companies said they would work together in "some areas…
British Telecom (BT) have filed suit against Google, claiming that the search giant has infringed upon six of the company's patents. It's a potentially sticky situation for Google, as the patents involved concern products right across Google's portfolio, including Google…
Ever defiant, the Pirate Bay has resolutely stated in a blog post on its website that it won’t be paying any fines. The post, titled “TPB FTW”, explains how the administrators of the site will be appealing Friday’s court decision, which will take another two to three years:
“You, our beloved users, know that this little speedbump on the information super highway is nothing more than just, a little bump. Todays verdict has already been appealed by us and will be taken to the next level of court (and that will take another 2 or 3 years!)”
The site also pleads with its users not to send them any donations. They provide a list of things to do if you want to support the site:
* Seed those torrents a little bit more than you usually do!
* Buy a t-shirt and show the world where your sympathy is.
* If you live in Europe, vote in the election for the EU parliament in June.
* Continue to build the internets! Start more bittorrent sites, blog more, start your own lobby group, create, remix, mash up and continue to grow more heads on this amazing hydra that we know as the internets!
* Do not be afraid of using the network. Invite your friends to this and other file sharing systems. Calm people down if they’re upset. We need to stay united.
Meanwhile, protests erupted in several Swedish cities over the court’s decision. 1,000 people turned up in Stockholm insisting that the ruling be overturned. The leader of the protest, Malin Littorin-Ferm, said:
“We young people have a whole platform on the Internet, where we have all our social contacts — it is there that we live. The state is trying to control the Internet and, by extension, our private lives,”
The generation that live ‘on the internet’ are going to become more and more important, because for them, the rules of everything – just starting with attitudes to copyright – are completely different.
Worlds.com CEO Thom Kidrin seems like a rather opportunistic chap. He has a patent on a “scalable virtual world client-server chat system” and a “system and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space” that he claims any massively-multiplayer game is infringing.
His first target has been NCSoft, a Koreak publisher that’s responsible for the fantastic-but-aging City of Heroes, and the no-subscription-fee Guild Wars. If that litigation is successful, then Thom says he “absolutely” intends to follow up with lawsuits against Activision-Blizzard and Linden Lab, who run World of Warcraft and Second Life respectively.
Thom says he doesn’t want anyone to go out of business, he just wants to be paid for his intellectual property. It’s going to be difficult for him to prove this one, though, given that these patents were filed in 1996 and 2000, and that most virtual worlds can trace their roots back much further than that, to MUDs, MUCKs, MOOs and MUSHes that date from the 80s.
We’ll keep an eye on this story and report back any developments, because victory in court for Kidrin could see the fledgling virtual worlds industry being cut down in its infancy.
Quick recap for the slow: Psystar is a company that makes “Hackintoshes”, PCs that can (and do) run OS X. For the entirety of its life, the company has been plagued with legal problems from Apple, and it filed a number of lawsuits in response, including one that alleges antitrust issues and an illegal monopoly on the sales of Mac hardware.
Last month, a judge threw out all these claims, and Psystar was given 20 days to come up with something better. Today, they’ve tried to do just that, filing the rather strange claim that Apple failed to register the copyrights on OS X properly.
It’s official – the RIAA is giving up on its strategy of suing thousands of individuals for file-sharing. The campaign, which began in 2003, has hit 35,000 people. At no point have the record labels ever won a contested court case, instead gaining masses of default judgements against defendants who never turned up.
It’s failed to stop file-sharing, too. Album sales have gone nowhere but down, even when taking into account digital sales increases. Not to mention the PR disaster it’s caused for the labels – who’ve sued pensioners, 13-year-old girls, and penniless single mothers.
Which? has filed a complaint with the Solicitors Regulatory Authority claiming that “excessive bullying” has taken place. It follows Atari pulling out of the lawsuit campaign due to bad press. Davenport-Lyons’ tactic is to send out angry, agressive letters, demanding quick payment or a lawsuit is threatened. With any luck, the involvement of a group like Which?’s will hopefully end the campaign.
Poor Gill and Ken Murdoch. They’re aged 54 and 66 respectively, and they’ve never played a computer game in their lives. Imagine their shock when they opened a letter from law firm Davenport-Lyons that accused them of downloading an Atari game called Race 07, at 3am on November 26, 2007.
The letter demanded immediate compensation of £500 plus £25 costs, with the threat that that figure could rise into the thousands if legal action began against the couple. Over to Ken:
“A Swiss investigator had identified us as the downloader of this software at 2.59am on November 26, 2007. At 10am that day, I was at a government conference. The thought of me being up at 3am was ludicrous – and there are no kids in our house. The whole thing’s been a nightmare. We have never even played computer games.”
A lawsuit in San Diego, filed last week, is accusing Apple and AT&T of overselling iPhones. It’s being alleged that the companies promised fast 3G speeds, knowing that the thousands of customers would slow down the network to a crawl. The lawsuit also accuses the two companies of misleading customers over the speed of EDGE on the first iPhone…
In a not-entirely-unexpected development of the story of the grim fate of Scrabulous, Facebook have blocked the Scrabble-clone application in every country except India. Mattel, who own the rights to Scrabble outside of North America, formally demanded the block due to copyright concerns…