Nov 072010
 

Six-year-olds can be sued, lawyers pirate each other, Apple’s App Store won’t accept GPL’d software, and yet another jury awarded the RIAA huge damages against filesharer Jammie Thomas. But at least the US government no longer thinks genes should be patented.

http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/10/30/1435222/New-York-Judge-Rules-6-Year-Old-Can-Be-Sued

“A girl can be sued over accusations she ran over an elderly woman with her training bicycle when she was 4 years old, a New York Supreme Court justice has ruled. The ruling by King’s County Supreme Court Justice Paul Wooten stems from an incident in April 2009 when Juliet Breitman and Jacob Kohn, both aged four, struck an 87-year-old pedestrian, Claire Menagh, with their training bikes. Menagh underwent surgery for a fractured hip and died three months later. In a ruling made public late Thursday, the judge dismissed arguments by Breitman’s lawyer that the case should be dismissed because of her young age. He ruled that she is old enough to be sued and the case can proceed.”

Meanwhile, the App Store restrictions irk makers of popular video player VLC:

http://apple.slashdot.org/story/10/10/31/1351243/VLC-Developer-Takes-a-Stand-Against-DRM-Enforcement

“The GPL gives Apple permission to distribute this software through the App Store. All they would have to do is follow the license’s conditions to help keep the software free. Instead, Apple has decided that they prefer to impose Digital Restrictions Management (DRM) and proprietary legal terms on all programs in the App Store, and they’d rather kick out GPLed software than change their own rules.”

And those anti-piracy lawyers turn out to be pirating each other. http://entertainment.slashdot.org/story/10/10/03/2135202/Anti-Piracy-Lawyers-Caught-Pirating-Each-Other

“We would like to think that the lawyers that are prosecuting alleged copyright infringers are practicing what they preach, but it looks like one of the most high profile firms involved in such cases are just as guilty of stealing others’ work as those who are downloading illegal media.” The Obama administration makes a 180 on patenting genes.

http://science.slashdot.org/story/10/10/30/1140235/US-Says-Genes-Should-Not-Be-Patentable

Geoffrey.landis writes “A friend-of-the-court brief filed by the US Department of Justice says that genes should not be patentable. ‘We acknowledge that this conclusion is contrary to the longstanding practice of the Patent and Trademark Office, as well as the practice of the National Institutes of Health and other government agencies that have in the past sought and obtained patents for isolated genomic DNA,’ they wrote (PDF). The argument that genes in themselves (as opposed to, say, tests made from genetic information, or drugs that act on proteins made by genes) should be patentable is that ‘genes isolated from the body are chemicals that are different from those found in the body’ and therefore are eligible for patents. This argument is, of course, completely silly, and apparently the US government may now actually realize that.”