The heads of America's four largest television networks have joined forces to oppose a plan that would stream high-speed internet access over unused TV airwaves. And in doing so, they're taking aim at one of the great oddities of the modern tech industry: a partnership between Google and Microsoft.
Science Fiction author Ursula K. Le Guin has given the anti-copyright fanatics at the Boing Boing weblog a quick refresher in authors' rights. The blog posted a short piece by Le Guin, erroneously slapping a Creative Commons license on it. "This is incorrect," wrote her representative. "Ms. Le Guin has not placed this work under such a license and retains these rights. Ms. Le Guin has not given blanket permission for everyone to copy or create derivatives (which can include film, TV adaptations, etc.)," Andrew Burt told SF author Jerry Pournelle. Robo-bloggers who act as repeaters of Boing Boing material - vital nodes in the Hive Mind, we like to think of them - added to the confusion. "Numerous copies of her piece have been discovered on the web and attributed to boingboing, illustrating that many people are being mislead by this incorrect application of a Creative Commons license." "Given Doctorow's intense interest in issues of copyright," added Burt, "it is easy to imagine that he has let his wishes run ahead of reality, and so committed some serious ethical and legal errors, which he might wish to begin to redress by taking the Le Guin piece off his site and putting an apology in its place." Boing Boing has since truncated the excerpt, but declined to apologize or remove it. There's more details on Pournelle's letters page here. It's another example of the confusion generated by Creative Commons licenses - the autistic person's answer to a problem that doesn't really bother anyone. If even the most dedicated, foaming-at-the-mouth Commons evangelists can't use it properly - what hope do us mortals have? The license-abuser, Cory Doctorow, was recently a professor at the University of Southern California - where he was lecturing students about copyright. In its first incarnation as a print 'zine back in the late 1980s, bOING bOING was one of the most highly regarded chroniclers of cyber culture. It was revived in blog form as a self-promotional vehicle seven years ago. This is how it looked before the Trotskyist-style takeover. And this is what it looks like now. Quite a difference. ® (Thanks to ACS for the link, and Barry for the heads-up.)
Oracle is to release updates on Tuesday that patches 51 security vulnerabilities across hundreds of products. The update will fix 27 bugs in the Oracle database, the company's flagship product. Five of them can be exploited over a network without the need for a username and password. None of the fixes are applicable to client-only installations of the program.
It becomes increasingly hard to work out where the control point in handset design is. Once we all thought it was the hardware, then it was the operating system, and just as we start to think that it’s the service layers above the operating system, then it’s all in the network, an finally Apple comes along and tells us it’s the hardware all over again.
The Software Freedom Law Center will soon reveal the culmination of a year and half of steady revision and editing: a legal primer for free software projects, designed to make complex issues understandable to the layman. The primer, which will be disgorged on the Law Center’s web site on Monday, walks through issues such as the GNU public license (GPL) and how to use it correctly, copyright assignment and enforcement, and so on.
The Dutch Consumers Association has called for a boycott of Windows Vista, after the software giant refused to offer free copies of Windows XP to users who are having problems with Vista. A spokesman for the Consumentenbond says that the product has many teething problems, and "is just not ready". The association claims it received over 5000 complaints about Vista. Many printers and other hardware failed to work, the association says, computers crash frequently and peripherals are very slow.