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Displaying items by tag: Copyright

Monday, 12 September 2011 19:19

Another Copyright Lawyer Gets Fined

73It is certainly a sign of the apocalypse; common sense and actual intelligent thought is beginning to enter into the court system. A judge in Texas by the name of David Godbey has fined a lawyer for abusing this power. You see what happened was a lawyer by the name of Evan Stone had brought a suit against multiple suspected file sharers for allegedly sharing a German pornographic film. As it fairly typical in these cases the Stone thought he had an easy target. He asked Judge Godbey if he could have early discovery. Early Discovery is designed to allow for the suspect’s ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to be subpoenaed to get address information. Once the Lawyers have this they send out demand letters (they call them settlement letters) which claim the suspects must pay these fines or be brought to court.

Now this tactic is really is not much better than using the court system as a collection agency. In fact in another case a Judge actually made that comparison when he asked for a listing of all of the money a leading attorney had recently made in file sharing suits. However, while the lawyer in that case only committed basic contempt of court Evan Stone did a little more. Despite Judge Godbey’s refusal to allow him early discovery Stone went ahead and did it anyway.  What happened was that Judge Godbey had asked the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Citizen to represent the accused as he was concerned that they had none and did not even know that a case had been brought against them. The problem is that when the EFF looked into it they found things were not as they should have been.

They found out that Verizon had already given out the information to Stone and Stone in turn had had sent out “settlement” letters to an unknown number of people in this case. Judge Godbey then fined Stone $10,000 claiming that he had “grossly abused his subpoena power”. Personally I think that Evan Stone should be disbarred for his behavior. Perhaps if these lawyers had to face the consequences of their abuse of the law they would think twice about it. I also have a feeling that if we look closely enough we will find out that Stone sent out his Subpoenas to the suspect’s ISPs well before he ever asked for permission.  

Source Fudzilla
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17Well, well, well. It looks like a single judge in the US is finally asking the right questions and perhaps coming to the same conclusions that many in the press and the consumer advocate sector have understood for some time. What is the conclusion? Just the simple fact that the MPAA and the RIAA have been using the US Judicial System as nothing more than a collection agency.  The Judge in question is Judge Bernard Zimmerman of the Northern District of California. While looking over a case that was filed there (On The Cheap, LLC vs Does 1-5011) Judge Zimmerman began to feel that this blanket BitTorrent suit might be little more than a nice fishing expedition for some easy money.  

With this in mind the Judge asked the lead Attorney Ira M. Siegal to reveal how much he has made from threats made through the court system. Mr. Seigel failed to respond on time and then refused to respond with the information requested by the Judge (a move that would get most thrown in jail for contempt). Instead Mr. Siegel chose to bash the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a couple of others for good measure.

But more than just the monetary issue at hand Judge Zimmerman also felt that there was a jurisdictional issue. You see Mr. Siegal and the Plaintiff are both based in Southern California, yet chose to file the suit in Northern California. This would seem to be very odd, however Mr. Siegel feels that due to the way BitTorrents work, if you are in a swarm then you are under national jurisdiction. Judge Zimmerman appears to feel differently.
Now the question is what will Judge Zimmerman do? If he dismisses the case based on failure to respond then the cycle will continue. This is very likely what Mr. Siegel would like to have happen. It would remove the scrutiny from him for a while and then allow him to pick up where he left off. If Judge Zimmerman finds him in contempt, fines him and then tosses him in jail along with a nice complaint to the Bar things could be very different. It could set precedence in these cases and in some perhaps even allow for further appeals.  We hope that since Judge Zimmerman was smart enough to recognize the scam in the first place he will see the second one and take the appropriate actions.  Let’s face it most of these suits are nothing more than extortion with the US Court system’s approval and while it is perfectly reasonable to protect Intellectual Property it is not right by any means to abuse the system the way the MPAA and RIAA have done.

Source TorrentFreak
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Saturday, 20 August 2011 14:47

Apple caught using more misleading evidence

screenshot-page-28Ok, I could not let this one pass. After hearing about the first instance of inaccurate evidence presented by Apple in court. I honestly thought that occurrence might have been nothing more that old images or an accident involving someone trying to fit both pictures in the same space. However, now we hear about another case where Apple has done exactly the same thing. This time the case in question is in the Netherlands where Apple is trying to get a permanent ban AND a recall of all Galaxy Smart Phones and tablets.

At this point it seems that Apple is willing to lie, cheat and maybe even steal to get what they want (market dominance). I certainly hope that the courts hold Apple responsible on both counts. It is very clear that Apple feels it is above the law in the US where they have led a charmed life with the Patent office and the US International Trade Commission. Now they are taking this to the EU where they managed to get an ex-parte, non-hearing preliminary ban on the Tab 10.1 with inaccurate images as evidence. Thankfully, as of this writing the ban has been lifted (citing jurisdiction issues) in all countries in the EU except Germany. With mounting proof of falsified (or at least wildly inaccurate) visual evidence being used by Apple we would certainly hope these injunction requests are dropped for good and Apple required to face the consequences of their actions.


Source ITWorld.
Picture credit WebWereld.

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TransformerApple has been having a blast dropping patents for vague concepts and even an entire device type (with their pending Pico Projector patent) regardless of prior art and at times regardless of if the patent is actual technology or not (the look and feel of something). Then they take these patents and wave them in the face of judges that have no real idea of what the patent is (or is not) covering asking for injunctions and outright bans on products from companies that are relatively underfunded in the legal department. If you ask Apple about this they will stand and say that they are protecting their Intellectual Property (which in many cases was “borrowed” from another company that cannot afford a legal fight with Apple like S3). This abuse of the patent and copyright system is detestable, but is an article for another day.

The question I am wondering is, why has Apple not gone after Microsoft? Windows 7 on a tablet has Pinch to Zoom, finger gestures and even the same “look and feel” when you scroll with your finger. Now, I could be wrong, but if Apple is trying to protect their IP you would think they would be going after Microsoft in a big way. I am also pretty sure they would be adding Asus (who has one of the best-selling Windows Based Tablets on the market right now) to their legal wish list as well. So, why do they leave these two obvious copy cats out of the litigation arena?

Well, here are a few reasons that we were able to come up with based on research. Microsoft is safe simply because they have bailed out Apple multiple times in the past and also have several patents and items that Apple needs to survive (Office for Mac is still a huge seller). Whether the Apple faithful and Steve Jobs want to admit it or not Apple owes it very existence to their rival; without Bill Gates and Microsoft we would be talking about Apple in the past tense. Right now Adobe is wishing they had dropped money into that bailout instead of just spending time and money making their products work on Apple’s RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) based systems (the PowerPC days). If they had, they perhaps they would have some leverage in the whole HTML5 Vs. Flash competition. This also applies to Microsoft’s net generation operating system Windows 8. In fact is applies even more as Microsoft is writing it to work on ARM based CPUs. The previews that we have seen also make it very tablet friendly and an obvious threat to Apple’s weakening hold on the tablet market. Yet, we have heard no call to arms from the Apple legal team over this.  

So, what about Asus and their tablets? Asus is also untouchable right now because they also have something that Apple wants; A manufacturing facility. Apple has been looking for alternatives to Foxconn due to the bad press surrounding the company’s many suicides. The world now knows that the iPhone, iPod and many other Apple products are assembled there and with the many deaths over working conditions at these plants the eyes are turning to look at Apple. The question has already been raised by many humanitarian groups “why has Apple done nothing about this?” You would think that a company that claims to be so “Green” and Earth Friendly would be appalled by what is happening over there. However, other than a few press releases (which usually tame the faithful) Apple has done nothing. At least on the surface, we have heard rumors that Apple is courting Pegatron as an alternative manufacturing site for the next generation of iToys. If this is true (and as of now we have no evidence to the contrary) then Apple would not want to get Asus upset. After all Asus owns Pegatron. It is their manufacturing company.

So then next time you hear an Apple press representative standing on the soapbox and loudly declaiming how they are protecting their Intellectual Property from the masses of thieves and copy-cats out there, just remember that they are only throwing this around at the companies they feel they can bully into submission. In the end no one likes a bully, and bullies usually reap what they sow in the long run.

Published in Editorials
Friday, 12 August 2011 22:20

Who copied who?

Electric-Kettle-with-Tea-Pot-WX-8971-Looks like things are heating up between Apple and Samsung. I am not talking about anything like a war between the two companies or anything like that, but in the realm of stupid and asinine complaints. We kick off things with Apple’s complaint that Samsung “Copied” the iPad and iPhone. They base this in the fact that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 looks like the iPad and that some of Samsung’s phones look like the iPhone… (their words not mine). Apple then goes on to say that Samsung copied the look and feel of the iOS (where have I heard that before).

I hate to say this but, if you were to pick up 20 smart phones they would all be very alike. They are all around the same size and shape and the UI’s are also very close. If you dig deeper, the way they operate are also nearly identical; after all how many different ways can you swipe or tap with your finger? No, this one smells of Apple trying to delay a product that has a very good chance of hurting their sales. There is no other reason to ask for the injunction. The funny thing is that there are almost no real patents being bandied about here by Apple. This is because if they throw those out Samsung has a few of its own to drop on Apple some that could even be tied to the A4 SoC in the original iPad…

For Samsung’s part they are making the claim of “Nuh-Uh!” followed by the “you never said that!” defense. As it stands right now they are pushing for a rehearing on the claim that an injunction was not mentioned or requested in the original complaint. They are also claiming that the judge that approved the temporary ban did so without allowing Samsung to present evidence in its defense.  This is very hard to believe as it represents both an unethical and illegal move by the judge in question. It is even harder to believe considering that an injunction and ban is exactly what Apple went for in Australia.

To be honest both companies are acting a little childish and unprofessional. If you ever wanted to see just how arrogant companies can be here it is, and to top it off you get to see just how ignorant the legal system is to how technology and the tech industry as a whole works.

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