Dec 062010

The Entertainment Software Association inserts a pirated video game into the console of an Xbox modder. The recording industry is marketing music on a peer-to-peer network it also happens to be suing. Tandberg patents open source code. There are just too many candidates for this week’s Worst Misuse of Copyright award.

Xbox Modding Trial Dismissed

Cd Criminal thu@mProsecutors in Matthew Crippen’s Xbox modding case have now dismissed the indictment. Quoting Wired: “Witness No. 1, Tony Rosario, was an undercover agent with the Entertainment Software Association. He told jurors Wednesday that he paid Crippen $60 in 2008 to modify an Xbox, and secretly videotaped the operation. Rosario had responded to Crippen’s advertisement on the internet and met Crippen at his Anaheim house. All of that had been laid out in pretrial motions. But during his testimony, Rosario also said Crippen inserted a pirated video game into the console to verify that the hack worked. That was a new detail that helped the government meet an obligation imposed by the judge that very morning, when Gutierrez ruled that the government had to prove Crippen knew he was breaking the law by modding Xboxes. But nowhere in Rosario’s reports or sworn declarations was it mentioned that Crippen put a pirated game into the console. … [Prosecutor Allen Chiu] conceded he never forwarded that information to the defense.”

Tandberg Attempts To Patent Open Source Code

“As if the current situation with software patents wasn’t bad enough, it appears a new phenomenon is emerging: companies are watching the commit logs of open source projects for ideas to patent. In this case, Tandberg filed a patent that was step-by-step identical to an algorithm developed by the x264 project — a mere two months after the original commit. The particular algorithm is a useful performance optimization in a wide variety of video encoders, including Theora.”

EMI Using Rapidshare To Market Music

“While Rapidshare defends itself around the world from lawsuits by media companies for copyright infringement, new evidence was revealed that UK-based major label EMI is putting music on Rapidshare and directing people to download it in the hopes that it spreads ‘virally.’ This came to light in the ongoing copyright battle EMI v. MP3tunes over personal cloud media storage and the music search engine. EMI accuses MP3tunes of enabling piracy by linking to Rapidshare, but since EMI is using Rapidshare, this would seem to weaken their argument considerably. You can read the legal brief online.”

Even Google is feeling the heat, and adjusting its search results accordingly.

Google Streamlining its Approach to Digital Copyright

As the battle over intellectual property and online piracy heats up, web titan Google is announcing some significant changes to the way it deals with copyright infringement on its ubiquitous search engine.

On the other side of the fence:

Torrent Users Fight Back

“Torrent users being blamed for illegally downloading Farcry are fighting back. In a 96 page lawsuit, the lawyers at Dunlap, Grubb, and Weaver are being accused of: ‘extortion, fraudulent omissions, mail fraud, wire fraud, computer fraud and abuse, racketeering, fraud upon the court, abuse of process, fraud on the Copyright Office, copyright misuse, unjust enrichment, and consumer protection violations.’”

Microsoft Invests In Open Source Software Company

“In what may be its first investment in an open source software company, Microsoft has quietly invested in TurboHercules, which maintains the Hercules open source IBM mainframe emulator. Perhaps the potential for purloining customers from the juicy mainframe market outstrips any misgivings Microsoft may have about open source. You might remember TurboHercules: In March, it filed an antitrust complaint with the EU over IBM’s tying of its mainframe OSes with its hardware.” A story from earlier this year gives more information on the related conflict between Hercules and IBM over patents.

If Microsoft gets cozy with open source, who knows what the future holds?