As a law student doing my thesis on open-source licensing (PDF), it was nearly impossible to find any substantive legal papers on the topic. In fact, the only one I can remember is Ira Heffan's excellent "Copyleft: Licensing Collaborative Works in the Digital Age" from Stanford Law Review in 1997.This week, in a sign of just how far open source has come in the past decade, the International Free and Open Source Software Law Review (IFOSSLR) was launched, aiming to "bring the highest standards to bear in analysis and comment on all aspects of Free … Read more
Like moths to a porch light (or trial lawyers to ambulances), many lawyers are finding the uncertain legal and regulatory terrain of cloud computing fertile ground for new legal analysis--and new legal business.
The effect of cloud computing on our legislative and regulatory world has long been a sub-interest of sorts for me. I have long been fascinated by the ways in which a truly dynamic, multiparty compute environment will challenge laws that assume that electronic assets behave the same as their paper or celluloid brethren--static, not easily duplicated and stored on the owner's premises.
The gap between the … Read more
Social-networking sites and other Web services can't be held liable in a sexual assault on a minor that stemmed from a meeting online, according to a ruling in a California appeals court that consolidated a number of complaints against MySpace on behalf of teenage girls and their parents.
Reuters reported late on Wednesday that the Second District Court of Appeals in Los Angeles cited the Communications Decency Act in coming to the conclusion. Claiming negligence and product liability, the plaintiffs had alleged that MySpace had failed to put in place age verification software or to keep profiles on a &… Read more
The world weaves odd, strangely patterned webs.
Last September, a 14-year-old boy told police in Groningen, Holland, that he had been knocked off his bike and robbed of some money and his cell phone.
What evidence did he have of his alleged assailants? Very little.
Six months later, the Associated Press reports, he was pootling around on Google Street View when he saw an image of himself--and of two males behind him, who, he seemed to remember, were just in the place where he was allegedly robbed.
So he called the police again.
Paul Heidanus, a spokesman for the Groningen … Read more
Miami-Dade police believe that a dog-loving class clown who joined the "Catch the Cat Killer!" Facebook group may be the alleged cat killer himself, according to a report in the Miami Herald.
The Miami-Dade cat killer had been terrorizing neighborhoods, especially the towns of Palmetto Bay and Cutler Bay, since May 10, when the first two carcasses were found, mutilated in a such a way as to cause maximum horror for whoever discovered them.
The man police arrested on suspicion of the crimes, 18-year-old Tyler Hayes Weinman, is known as a "dog-loving class clown and a swim … Read more
Moore's Law may lapse by 2014, according to iSuppli. The high cost of chip manufacturing--not just the impossibly smaller geometries--may be the biggest threat.
Moore's Law, named after Intel co-founder Gordon Moore, states that the number of transistors that can be placed on an integrated circuit doubles roughly every two years. For more than four decades, chip geometries have gotten smaller and smaller, allowing Moore's Law to remain on track.
By 2014, however, the high cost of semiconductor manufacturing equipment will threaten Moore's Law, "altering the fundamental economics of the industry," according to a … Read more
Johnathon Hock, 20, was indicted Monday and charged with two counts of sexual assault and one charge of voyeurism.
According to an earlier report by the Associated Press, the charges stem from an incident on February 26, when Hock allegedly sexually assaulted a woman whom he had been dating for two weeks.
Phoenix police said in their probable cause statement, reported on June 3 by KPHO TV, that Hock "set up a computer with a Webcam and sexually assaulted a woman he knew as she was passed out from drinking alcohol."
Analyzing the reports is a sobering and … Read more
The world of open-source development could be divided, if the European Commission succeeds in passing a law extending consumer protection rules to software, according to experts.
The Commission proposes that software companies be held liable in the European Union for the security and efficacy of their products.
David Mitchell, senior vice president of IT Research at Ovum, thinks that this may lead to a situation boosting current open-source vendors' business models but making it more difficult for independent developers to thrive.
The proposal is likely to make vendors force customers into support and maintenance agreements upon each purchase, in order … Read more
France's controversial attempt to crack down on Internet piracy was dealt a setback Wednesday when that country's highest legal authority struck down a provision that would have denied Internet access to those who repeatedly download copyrighted material illegally.
The French Constitutional Council rejected a key provision that would have given a newly created government agency the authority to cut off Internet access to those deemed to be copyright scofflaws after two warnings. The council said "free access to public communication services on line" was a human right that only a judge should have the power to … Read more
Paul McGuinness, manager of the iconic band U2, sees stronger copyright laws in France, the Pirate Bay on trial, U.S.-based Internet service providers doing more to protect music, and still he isn't satisfied.
In January 2008, McGuinness delivered a speech that would become a call to arms on both sides of the free-content debate. During his address to attendees of the Midem music conference, the largest recording industry trade show, McGuinness lashed out at the "hippy values" of technologists, accused ISPs of profiting "on the back" of music creators, called the Digital Millennium … Read more