Blog Ipsa Loquitur

Nilay Patel on Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung:

“The immediate takeaway is exactly as Florian Mueller tweeted: Apple isn’t afraid to sue anyone when it comes to protecting its IP. You might also surmise that Apple demanded Samsung stop infringing its IP or pay a royalty and Samsung refused; a filed complaint is generally just evidence that more cordial negotiations failed.

But that’s the easy reaction to the simple fact of Apple suing Samsung. The real dirt is in the complaint itself, which was filed on the 15th and made public today. It’s actually quite interesting, both because of the claims themselves and their structure — this lawsuit is as much about TouchWiz and Samsung’s penchant for lifting design elements as it is about the core of Android. We’ve got a copy, which you can download right here — grab it and follow along after the break.”

Do read the article, if not the complaint. Patel is an IP attorney, and he breaks down the lawsuit in great detail, but he explains everything in a way that non-lawyers will understand as well. I’ve never seen the interface of the Samsung phones before; this lawsuit seems destined for settlement.

Filed on under The News

Every minute, ten thousand DVDs are downloaded from the internet. Piracy costs the RIAA billions of dollars each week. Every year, illegal copies of Adobe Photoshop produce twenty or thirty funny memes; but at a cost of literally frillions of dollars.

What to do, then? How do the trodden-upon global entertainment conglomerates fight back against stoned college students?

Well, that whole “sue kids for lulz” bit didn’t pan out. More recently, they’ve tried to lobby for so-called ‘three strikes’ laws, which require ISPs to ban customers who are caught downloading things illegally three times. The US has been unwilling to pass such laws, but has pressured other countries to give it a shot.

Some countries have passed ‘three strikes’ laws, including New Zealand; the Kiwis passed theirs as part of their emergency post-earthquake legislation, which was a bit strange. I mean, you guys have real problems, and then you decide to pass measures cracking down on internet pirates (that failed the previous year)? That’s pretty tasteless.

While I’ve seen enough disaster movies to know that basic human niceties fall apart in the aftermath of an earthquake, (as if they existed in politics to begin with! yuk yuk) no disaster, manmade or otherwise, can stop the inevitable, inexorable march of irony.

Melissa Lee is a member of the New Zealand parliament, who happened to vote for the three strikes law, and posted this to Twitter hours before delivering a speech in support of the three strikes law:

Even assuming MP Lee’s friend Jay ripped the songs from the K-Pop CDs himself (he probably didn’t), compiling them into a mix CD and distributing it to other folks is copyright infringement. A New Zealand newspaper, the National Business Review, has a lovely breakdown of why MP Lee is probably a dirty dirty pirate. She’s lucky she got her ill-gotten goods now, otherwise she’d apparently be up for a NZ$15,000 fine.

Of course, “lucky” is a relative term: I bet she wishes she didn’t have friends like Jay!

Filed on under The News

I’ve been reading about the calls for a taxpayer receipt for a few months now, and I think it’s a great idea. I didn’t expect it to happen for a couple of years, but here it is.

Filed on under The News

A study in Israel suggests that it’s easier to get parole if the judge hearing your parole request is just coming back from a break.

The authors examined more than 1,000 parole decisions made by eight judges in Israel over a 10-month period. In each parole request, a prisoner appeared in front of a judge, and the judge could either accept or deny the request. The judges heard between 14 and 35 of these cases per day, separated into three distinct sessions.


Overall, judges were much more likely to accept prisoners’ requests for parole at the beginning of the day than the at end. Moreover, a prisoner’s chances of receiving parole more than doubled if his case was heard at the beginning of one of the three sessions, rather than later on in the session. More specifically, it was the number of rulings that a judge made, rather than the time elapsed in a session, that significantly affected later decisions. Every single judge in the sample followed this pattern.

For more tips on getting parole, check Wired Science.

Filed on under Irreverently Irrelevant

Ars has the story of the impending lawsuit over Time Warner’s iPad app:

Time Warner Cable is taking the dispute over its live-TV-streaming iPad app to court. The company has filed a request for declaratory judgment, asking the judge to rule that the cable giant has the rights to stream content to any of its subscribers’ devices, whether it’s a TV set or an iPad. Viacom, in turn, also filed its own lawsuit against Time Warner, arguing that the two companies never agreed to such rights.

“[W]e are very confident in our rights to distribute our programmers’ feeds over our cable distribution infrastructure to any digital device within our customer’s home. And some of our programming partners have taken the position that our interpretation is wrong,” Time Warner’s director of digital communications Jeff Simmermon wrote on the company blog.

“To be completely clear: this is not a hostile lawsuit… We’re at an impasse with a handful of network owners, and we need an impartial third party to referee the situation and confirm that our interpretation is correct.”

I don’t think I fully understand how licenses for showing content on an iPad are different from licenses for showing it on a computer or on a TV. I get that networks are squeezing every last penny out of their investments, but this is kind of silly. Instead of stomping on innovation every time it rears its head, why not let Time Warner run their iPad trial ballon for a year? Then Viacom just counts those iPad eyeballs (iBalls?) when negotiating rates next year, and presto! Extra money.

I fail to see what Viacom or anyone else stands to gain by trying to shut this down. Do they not understand you get to make money off of that-thar internet thing? You won’t, if you continually pretend people aren’t watching your content on their internet machines; not if when a company more legitimate than puts your content on the hottest consumer device in the world, you cry ‘foul’ instead of trying to get a cut; not if your first reaction to “our potential viewer base just shot up by millions” is to trot out the lawyers.

Seriously, Viacom. Is it that you don’t have a digital strategy, or is it that you don’t think this whole “digital” thing is worth strategizing for? Either way, you need nerds. I’m more affordable than whoever’s giving you crap advice.

Filed on under The News