Blog Ipsa Loquitur

Wikileaks employee leaks Wikileaks NDA; universe implodes upon itself. From the New Statesman blog:

“This blog has previously described the bizarre legal world of WikiLeaks where, for example, the organisation claims some form of commercial ownership over the information that has been leaked to it.

“Today, the New Statesman can reveal the extent of this legal eccentricity as we publish a copy of the draconian and extraordinary legal gag that WikiLeaks imposes on its own staff.

“Clause 5 of this ‘Confidentiality Agreement’ (PDF) imposes a penalty of ‘£12,000,000 – twelve million pounds sterling’ on anyone who breaches this legal gag.

“This ludicrous – and undoubtedly unenforceable – amount is even based on ‘a typical open market valuation’ for the leaked information that WikiLeaks possesses.

“This phraseology is consistent with WikliLeaks’s perception of itself as a commercial organisation in the business of owning and selling leaked information. Indeed, there is no other sensible way of interpreting this penalty clause.”

The confidentiality agreement is itself under a separate confidentiality provision; even talking about it is a breach. Stay classy, Wikileaks.

Filed on under The News

I read a humorous article last week regarding the Florida senate outlawing sex with animals. The late night comedy show punchlines were “can you believe sex with animals has been legal in Florida this whole time?”

This week, Southern Fried Science points out that the act outlaws sex with all animals, including humans. The specific statutory language reads:

A person may not knowingly engage in any sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal.

Most people who’ve taken middle school biology will understand that humans are a kind of animal. The act itself fails to define animal, but SFS helpfully includes a chart confirming that human beings are, in fact, animals. For my part, I will now present Betty White rapping about humanity’s place in the animal kingdom on the fantastic show Community.

Filed on under The News

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