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French Senate passes anti-Amazon amendment

France's Senate has passed an amendment to the “Lang Law”, a 1981 statute fixing the price of books, to prohibit online booksellers offering discounting and shipping books for free. La Cinquième République and Amazon have been fighting over this issue since 2008. Last year, things flared up again when an amendment to the Lang …
Simon Sharwood, 27 Jun 2014

MPAA, meet the Streisand effect: Picture ass. slaps Reddit with takedown

The Motion Picture Ass. of America has shot itself in the foot by issuing a copyright takedown notice against a corner of Reddit – and promptly turned a virtually unused subredit into a popular forum. The discussion board, /r/FullLengthFilms, is a place for Redditors to post links to films available for streaming or download, …
Iain Thomson, 27 Jun 2014
The line for the Apple iPhone - not the cable car.

App maker defends selling S.F. parking spots as a FREE SPEECH issue

The head of embattled app-maker MonkeyParking says the city of San Francisco is violating the US Constitution by ordering the company to shut down its parking application. Paolo Dobrowolny, CEO and cofounder of the company, said that the cease and desist order delivered by City Attorney Dennis Herrera misunderstands how the App …
Shaun Nichols, 26 Jun 2014

Aereo has to pay TV show creators? Yes. This isn't rocket science

Analysis As widely expected, the US Supreme Court has ruled that TV show creators should be paid by video streaming biz Aereo for the distribution of their work. The TV rebroadcaster, backed by media mogul Barry Diller, was found to have exploited a loophole in American law's definition of "performance" by six of nine justices in an …
Andrew Orlowski, 26 Jun 2014
Parrot BeBop

Drone's drug airdrop mission ends in failure for Irish prisoners

An audacious quadcopter mission to deliver drugs to inmates at Dublin's Wheatfield Prison ended in failure earlier this week when the drone hit wires designed to prevent helicopter landings. According to the Irish Independent, the drone crashed in the prison's yard at around 11am on Tuesday bearing its narcotic payload. The …
Lester Haines, 26 Jun 2014
Supreme Court Building

US Supremes just blew Aereo out of the water

The US Supreme Court has ruled against TV-streaming biz Aereo in its copyright case with US broadcasters. The 6-3 opinion (PDF) upholds a lower court ruling that found the company in violation of US copyright law. Aereo essentially has data centers in ten US cities, each fitted with miniature antennas and hardware that pick up …
Shaun Nichols, 25 Jun 2014

US Supreme Court: Duh, obviously cops need a warrant to search mobes

In a landmark decision, the US Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that police need a warrant if they want to search the mobile phones of the folks they arrest. Chief Justice John Roberts, who penned the ruling, said the huge amount of data stored on phones means police cannot routinely inspect mobes as they would the contents …
Micro SIM Card

Mobile SIM chip-makers 'will be fined by EU' for price-fixing, say sources

EU antitrust regulators are set to fine Samsung, Philips, Infineon Technologies and other tech firms for fixing the prices of chips used in mobile SIM cards, familiar folks whispered to Reuters. The European Commission kicked off a probe of the chips used in telly smart cards, passports, mobiles and ATM cards all the way back in …
eyeofSauron

Warrantless snooping on American man was LEGAL in terrorism case, rules US judge

A US judge has ruled that warrantless electronic surveillance is legal when he upheld the terrorism conviction of an Oregon man. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who was convicted of attempting to blow up a van he thought was full of explosives at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony in Portland, tried to get the ruling overturned because …

Queensland man arrested on charges including Bitcoin theft

Back in March, a man from the Queensland town of Kingaroy identified by News Limited as Shane Duffy was charged for breaching the systems of Riot Networks.Those attacks included copying files and briefly hijacking the company's Twitter account, and in April, a Maryborough magistrate confirmed bail conditions that forbade him …

Bitcoin is MONEY, says Canada

Canada's government has enacted what's believed to be the first legislation worldwide to define the status of crypto-currencies: they're money and have to be accounted and reported as such. The laws, under the gripping title An Act to Implement Certain Provisions of the Budget Tabled in Parliament on February 11, 2014 and Other …

EXPOSED: Massive mobile malware network used by cops globally

A probe by Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto and computer security firm Kaspersky Lab has uncovered a massive network of mobile malware for all phone types that is sold by an Italian firm to police forces around the world. The malware, dubbed Remote Control System (RCS), was produced by a company called Hacking Team. It …
Iain Thomson, 24 Jun 2014
Suitcase bulging with cash

Samsung loses again: Judge awards Apple, Nokia $2m in leak-investigation fees

A US district court has awarded Apple and Nokia over $2m to reimburse them for legal fees incurred during their investigation of leaks of "attorneys' eyes only" information by Samsung's legal firm, Quinn Emanuel, during the long-running patent infringement dust-up among the companies. US magistrate judge Paul Grewal is evidently …
Rik Myslewski, 24 Jun 2014
Old Bailey Lady Justice

Coulson GUILTY of conspiring to hack phones between 2000 and 2006

Andy Coulson, the ex-News of the World editor and erstwhile spin doctor to Prime Minister David Cameron, has been found guilty at the Old Bailey in London of conspiring to hack phones. Former News International boss Rebekah Brooks was cleared on all counts of hacking into voicemails, bribery and perverting the course of justice …
Team Register, 24 Jun 2014
European Union Flag

EU copyright chief: We could SMASH these infinite copyright contracts... just wait

Europe's competition authority could open up an examination of unfair copyright contracts, according to the region's copyright chief. Speaking at a Westminster Forum seminar, Maria Martin-Prat, EC Head of the Copyright Unit for the Internal Market Directorate General (DG MARKT), said the Commission should look at whether …
Andrew Orlowski, 24 Jun 2014

Zombie patents raid TI's wallet for $US3 million

Yet another patent troll non-practicing entity (NPE) has accumulated important wins in US courts, with US Ethernet Innovations (USEI) scoring a $US3 million win against Texas Instruments in a Texas US District Court. The company, which acquired patents from 3Com, had filed its suit against Texas Instruments in 2011, complaining …

US spanks phone-jamming vendor with $34.9 MEEELLION fine

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has issued a $34.9 million fine against a Chinese firm it says is selling illegal phone-jamming equipment to US consumers. The FCC said that it is seeking the penalties against Shenzen-based C.T.S. Technology, and has issued a cease-and-desist order halting sales in the US and …
Shaun Nichols, 20 Jun 2014

US Supremes UPHOLD troll-busting Alice v CLS Bank decision

The US Supreme Court has once again unanimously decided against a dubious patent-infringement claim, and won the praise of patent-reform advocates. The court on Thursday upheld a Federal Circuit Court decision to strike down infringement claims by Alice Corp. in its case against CLS Bank. The ruling denies claims on patents …
Shaun Nichols, 19 Jun 2014
Google Chocolate Factory

Canada to Google: You can't have your borderless cake and eat it too

Google-watchers young and old will savour the latest twist in the corporation's attempts to avoid laws it doesn't like. It's a landmark judgment in Canada that's unusual in several ways - not least for the argument that Google advanced. The case – Equustek Solutions Inc. v. Jack, presided over by Justice Lauri-Ann Fenlon – was …
Andrew Orlowski, 19 Jun 2014
troll

Luxembourg patent troll suing world+dog

Another patent troll has appeared on the horizon: Enterprise Systems Technologies, armed with a handful of patents originally assigned to Siemens, has taken out the sueball machine-gun and fired off shots at Apple, Samsung, Qualcomm, Amazon, and Audience. The Luxembourg-headquartered company has filed the lawsuits in Delaware. …
blackmail

Nokia paid off extortionist in 2007: Finnish TV

A Finnish broadcaster has revealed that Nokia paid a ransom to keep the app-signing keys of its Symbian operating system secret, in an extortion case dating back to 2007. According to MTV News, the former mobe giant, whose Symbian phones were market leaders back in the day, paid out “millions of Euros” in the extortion. As El …

FBI arrests claims NullCrew hacker in Tennessee takedown

The FBI has arrested a Tennessee man on computer crime charges, claiming he is a key player in the NullCrew hacking squad that attacked businesses and educational institutions from 2012 onwards. Court filings claim Timothy Justin French, 20, is known online as "Orbit", and took part in hacking attacks against two US universities …
Iain Thomson, 17 Jun 2014
Supreme Court Building

Are Facebook rants about harming your wife protected free speech? US Supremes to decide

The US Supreme Court is to decide whether violent threats or images posted on Facebook and other social networks constitute free speech or a criminal act, in the case of a man who made comments about his estranged wife. Anthony Elonis wrote about killing his wife publicly on Facebook and also posted other comments and images …

Apple settles ebook price-fixing damages lawsuit with US states

Apple has settled out of court with the 33 US states and territories that had been seeking up to $840m in damages for its ebook price-fixing shenanigans. The fruity firm, which was found guilty of engaging in the price-fixing conspiracy with five major book publishers in a separate trial, has always maintained its innocence and …
Google_skull

Slippery Google greases up, aims to squirm out of EU privacy grasp

Special Report Google is wriggling desperately to escape new European privacy rules that could force it to take some responsibility for what information it republishes in response to a given search – in particular a search of someone's name. The European Parliament voted in favour of data protection reforms in March, which the EU's press …
Andrew Orlowski, 17 Jun 2014
management regulation1

Facebook didn't infringe Dutch inventor's patents: Jury

Facebook has beaten off a dead Dutch inventor in a lawsuit targeting The Social Network'sTM Timeline, Newsfeed, Groups and Photo Sharing features. At issue in the lawsuit were two patents by Dutch computer scientist Joannes Van Der Meer, who died in 2004, which the licensing litigant Rembrandt Social Media said Facebook had …
management regulation1

Top Canadian court: Cops need warrant to get names from ISPs

Canadian ISPs can no longer simply hand over customer information without a warrant after the country’s Supreme Court ruled that internet users were entitled to a "reasonable" expectation of privacy. The decision means that internet service providers can no longer disclose the names, addresses and phone numbers of their …

Ohio man cuffed AGAIN for shagging inflatable pool raft

The Ohio plastic lover arrested back in 2011 for engaging in "sexual activity" with a pink inflatable swimming pool raft has been cuffed again for the same offence. Edwin Tobergta, 35, was taken into custody on Wednesday after witnesses claimed to have clocked him naked and "performing simulated sex acts with a pink raft" on the …
Lester Haines, 16 Jun 2014

US allows commercial use of sharper satellite snaps

US-based satellite-images-for-sale outfit DigitalGlobe has had a win: its national government will allow it to sell higher-resolution images. As we noted in March, the US Senate has been considering whether local satellite operators should be allowed to sell more detailed images. The reason for the deliberations was that while …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jun 2014

Apple, Cisco line up to protect offshore data

Apple and Cisco have aligned with Microsoft to support its fight against a US warrant that would give American law enforcement authorities access to data stored in offshore cloud servers. The two have filed a joint amicus brief in the case, adding their names to a list that includes Verizon, AT&T and the EFF. In late April, a …
man_inks_deal_channel signs contract services

Microsoft promises no snooping in new fine print for web services

Microsoft has updated its Services Agreement, the legalese almost nobody bothers to read before clicking “I Agree” when signing up for online services. The changes are notable because Microsoft has been critical of Google's fine print in the “Scroogled” campaign pointing out that rival ad-slinging-based-on-search-results outfit …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jun 2014

Windows 8 leaker gets three months, booted back to Russia

Alex Kibkalo, the former Microsoft worker who pleaded guilty in April to leaking company secrets, is likely headed back to his native Russia in a week or so, having been sentenced to serve a brief stint in prison. According to court documents, Kibkalo was formally sentenced on Tuesday to a three-month prison term, per his plea …
Neil McAllister, 11 Jun 2014

We're ALL Winston Smith now - and our common enemy is the Big Brother State

Worstall on Weds The latest thing we've all got to worry about in this brave new world of ours is that the young, not having read Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, are simply too eager to give up their information and privacy to the tech giants. Those richer in years have been forewarned by the novel and are thus less likely to get sucked into this …
Tim Worstall, 11 Jun 2014
management regulation2

One EURO PATENT COURT ruling for all from 'early 2015'

New EU rules have been created which allow the judgments of new unified patent courts (UPCs) to have legal effect from early 2015. A new EU regulation has been published in the trading bloc's official journal and changes existing laws on the jurisdiction of courts and recognition of their rulings. The changes mean that the …
OUT-LAW.COM, 10 Jun 2014
Image via Chicago Sun Times

Facial recognition tech convicts man in Chicago robbery case

A Chicago man has received a 22-year prison sentence after becoming the first person to be convicted with evidence from the city's facial recognition technology. Pierre Martin was sentenced Monday for a pair of armed robberies carried out on the Chicago Transit Authority train system. The incidents occurred in January and …
Shaun Nichols, 10 Jun 2014

EU privacy A-Team tells Google: Get a grip and obey OUR laws

The EU's advisory panel on privacy and data protection has warned Google to comply with Europe's laws in an unusually strongly worded statement. The Article 29 Working Party vowed to investigate if Google refused to abide by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling – Google Spain v Gonzalez et al – that decreed Google was not …
Kim Dotcom at the NZ parliamentary hearing

Kim Dotcom: You give me proof of govt corruption in my case, I give you MEELLIONS

Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom is offering a $5m bounty to anyone who can prove corruption by the Feds or Hollywood studios to help him defend against the online piracy case against him. Dotcom tweeted that his case was “unfair” and he was offering the cash to anyone who wanted to blow the whistle on the authorities. My case is …

Euro judges: Copyright has NOT changed, you WON'T get sued for browsing the web

The highest European Court today confirmed that the internet can carry on working just like it has for 20 years. In doing so, it was batting away a strange request for "clarification" on copyright from the UK's Supreme Court. For the internet to function, it was established very early on that certain devices - such as routers, …
Targeted Spam

Fed-up bloke takes email spammers to court – and WINS PILE of CASH

It's 9am. You open your email client and wade through the usual pile of spam that's dropped in overnight. It's boring and tiresome. But what if you could earn yourself a few hundred quid and kill the spam off as well? In a landmark court hearing last week, Sky News producer Roddy Mansfield won unspecified damages from retail …
management regulation1

US escalates Stingray mobe-snooping secrecy battle as judge unseals evidence

The FBI's long battle to keep details of its controversial Stingray mobile phone-snooping kit under wraps has escalated, with US Marshals raiding Florida police to prevent their records being released, while a Florida judge was busily unsealing court evidence covering the IMSI-catchers. The American Civil Liberties Union had …

'Inaccurate' media misleads public on European Court's Google ruling

“Inaccurate reporting” of Google’s fight against privacy rights in Europe last month risks misleading the public, says the Information Commissioner's Office – which safeguards those rights in the UK. When a Spanish citizen demanded the removal of links in search results to news articles mentioning an old debt, Google claimed it …

Crikey! Three can buy O2, EU regulator says

The European Commission has approved Telefonica’s sale of O2 in Ireland to mobile network operator Three, in a deal originally proposed in June. This makes the network the second largest in the country behind Vodafone, but, as ever in these deals, the Hutchison Whampoa-owned Three - which paid €850m for the network - claims …
Simon Rockman, 2 Jun 2014