News Posts matching "Law"

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Vonage Infringing on Verizon copyrights; may be shut down soon

Most people know that Vonage is one of the pioneer Voice over Internet Protocol services, that allows people to use the telephone, running off only the internet. Unfortunately, to make this service happen, Vonage has been using patents owned by Verizon. And Verizon flagged them for this. Verizon wants Vonage to not be able to register any new customers until all patent issues are resolved. And as of the time this case went to court (April 6, 2007), Vonage had no such plans to do so. At this point Vonage has three choices. They can either spend an enormous amount of money re-doing their network so it's all their own, pay Verizon a premium for their technology, or to shut down completely.Source: The Inquirer

Violent video games blamed for Virginia Tech slaughter

We can all agree that the tragic incident that happened at Virginia Tech was horrible. However, now is the time that we have to figure out what caused someone to kill this many peers, and how we can prevent this in the future. Unfortunately, as we've seen in the techPowerUp! Forums, this is something that people do not exactly agree on. Professional lawyers, as well as the highly acclaimed Dr. Phil McGraw, are quick to blame violent video games for the killer's maniacally depressed rampage. Currently, there is no evidence that the killer even had access to a video game console, let alone play violent video games. A much more likely possibility is the way the killer reacted to his anti-depressant medications. Instead of the anti-depressants calming the killer down, like they were supposed to, they made him violent and erratic. And so, this instability could easily have caused him to snap when the killer's girlfriend dumped him.Source: The Inquirer

Toshiba Suing 17 companies for Patent Infringement

Toshiba is attempting to sue 17 companies, mostly Hong Kong and China based, due to alleged infringement regarding some of Toshiba’s DVD patents. The company is demanding monetary damages from companies including Daewoo Electronics America, Dongguan GVG and Star Light Electronics claiming that they are illegally selling DVD products in the USA because they do not have any licensing agreements with Toshiba. "The infringement of Toshiba's patents by these companies has damaged Toshiba's DVD-related business, and also caused damage to the legitimate and licensed DVD product manufacturing and distribution and business as a whole," Tokyo-based Toshiba said in a statement. No comments have been made by the companies mentioned above, but Toshiba has also filed a complaint to the US International Trade Commission demanding that the 17 companies accused stop importing their products to the US.Source:

European Commission slaps Apple and EMI over DRM free music

If you judge by the title of this story alone, you might think that the European Commission (EU) is punishing Apple and EMI for getting ready to offer music sans DRM's (Digital Right Management). The EU's complaint is much simpler than that. Apparently, Apple would only be applying these costs in some parts of the iTunes store. So, a song can cost less in one European country than another. This violates a very important article of the EU, and so Apple may incur a 10% fine if they do not change things soon.

For those of you curious about the shenanigans going on between EMI and Apple: The two companies have proudly announced a strategic partnership, and EMI will be sending Apple all their music without DRMs, which is a bold move. It is risky from a business standpoint, but very welcomed from a customer standpoint. Proof that EMI will be pioneering DRM free music can be found here in their press release.Source: Reg Hardware

No criminal charges will be filed in "hold your wee for a wii" contest disaster

Most of you have probably heard by now the story of Mrs. Jennifer Strange. She participated in a radio contest in an attempt to win a Nintendo Wii for her children. The contest determined a winner based on who could drink the most water. Unfortunately, a few hours after Mrs.Strange participated, she died of water intoxication.

Anyways, there was almost a court case to file criminal charges against the radio station. The would-be prosecution determined that the whole event was one tragic accident, and that there was no way the radio station could have prevented the death of Jennifer Strange. This is because Mrs.Strange did not show any signs of water intoxication at the event. The radio station has fired 10 employees since the tragic incident. A wrongful death lawsuit filed by the Strange family against the radio station remains in court.Source: 1Up

Another Xbox 360 Ad Banned

Microsoft is beginning to get a reputation for having its console ads banned, with the latest advertisement being banned because of the image created over dangerous driving. The ad featured a street car chase but has been withdrawn from the air in the UK after a statement by the Advertising Standards Agency. "We were concerned that the ad gave the impression that reckless street car racing was exciting and fun, and considered that was compounded by the congratulations offered to the other driver at the end of the race by the other young men involved," said the ASA, and although Microsoft argued that the ad gave a note at the end informing watchers that the stunts were performed in a controlled environment, this wasn’t enough for the ASA. This other banned Xbox ads, including the recent “Jump In” advert for the 360 with the invisible guns, and the “Life is Short” advert for the first Xbox which most people should remember with the flight to the coffin.Source: TG Daily

ICANN dismisses .XXX domain name

Some of you have heard of plans for a .XXX domain name. Like .com, .gov, .org, and .net, .xxx would indicate a certain type of material associated with the domain. Namely, pornography. The .xxx domain name would be wonderful for parents who want to ensure their children aren't scarred for life from pornographic material. And so, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers), who manages all the domain names for the internet, had a big debate over what they should do about .xxx. In the end, they decided that making the .xxx domain name would be similar to censoring the internet, which is not what they want to do. Obviously, advocates for this domain will work hard to make ICANN reconsider their decision.Source: Nordic Hardware

New York City's politicians not amused about GTA IV

Its clear as crystal which city Take-Two is imitating in Grand Theft Auto IV - New York. The trailers and screenshots of the upcoming sequel don't leave another choice for the setting. There is the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge and the Cyclone in Coney Island, where else could this game take place then?
This preliminary information made it's way to New York's politicians who were, to put it mildly, not very pleased with the whole situation. I quoted some of their sentences out of an article from the New York Daily News:
"Setting Grand Theft Auto in the safest big city in America would be like setting Halo in Disneyland," said City Councilman Peter Vallone, chairman of the Council's Public Safety Committee. ...
"The mayor does not support any video game where you earn points for injuring or killing police officers," said Jason Post, a spokesman for Mayor Bloomberg. ...
Quite a fuss around a video game if you ask me.Source: New York Daily News

PS3 banned from British prisons

One of the PS3's key features is built in access to wireless internet. Unfortunately, upon review by the British home secretary John Reid, this feature isn't as nice as it sounds. If prisoners were to somehow get a PS3 in their hands, they could use the PS3's wireless powers to send messages to other cell-mates, or worse, to the outside world. And so, to avoid new, high-tech, and extremely-high-cost escape plans, Mr. Reid is banning all PS3's (and PSP's, which share the same capability) from prisons in Britain. It is quite possible other countries could see this as a model, and also lock wireless devices from their prisons.Source: 1Up

UK PS3 Launch Spoilt by Mugging Fears

Despite intentions for a large number of stores to open their doors at midnight in order to begin selling Sony’s new console to die-hard Playstation fans, this has been forced to change after local authorities feared that police won’t be able to cope with the crowds. Because of this, the only shop in London set to open at midnight to sell the PS3 will be Virgin’s Megastore on Oxford Street – not a single HMV store in London will be opening at midnight. Throughout the rest of the UK there are still plans for 50 stores to open their doors at midnight, but this number is gradually shrinking as other areas follow the example set by London. GAME is advising that customers who have pre-ordered a PS3 contact their local branch to check whether it will be open or not. The main problem that police fear is that young gamers may find themselves being mugged of their new £425 console.Source: Reg Hardware

CeBIT stands raided by local authorities due to copyright infringement

In yet another story from CeBIT, it turns out that someone forgot to file their paperwork. Or their copyrights, or their get the idea. At least one booth owner has been ordered to take down their booth, due to infringing on various copyright laws. Local German authorities are working hard to make sure that nobody else joins the list of companies with booths taken down. They take a look at all the products at CeBIT, then go through the tedious process of making sure all the paperwork checks out, and then goes to visit the booth if there are any questions.Source: Macworld

European Union threatens Microsoft with $4 million USD per day fine

A while ago, the European Union said that to avoid gigantic lawsuits for making Windows Vista available, Microsoft would have to post the inner workings of it's operating system for the public. Microsoft claims that they did it, and hosts a 1,500 page document on their website. Unfortunately, the European Union doesn't think that it's enough. And so, they are giving Microsoft two choices. The first choice for Microsoft is to detail their documents a bit more thoroughly. Their second choice is to accept the $4 million USD a day fine.Source: The Inquirer

Australian state bans YouTube from public schools

Australian state Victoria has decided to ban access to YouTube from public schools. The state made this decision in an attempt to slow "cyberbullying". Cyberbullying is the simple act of bullying someone using the internet. The main YouTube clip that triggered this was a very controversial one. The clip was recorded by a group of people a mentally-challenged girl met over the internet. The group harassed her, made her perform sexual activities, peed on her, and then set her hair on fire, all with the intent of recording it on camera for YouTube. Victoria has approximately 1,600 schools withing it's borders.Source: The Inquirer

RIAA launches website to allow music copyright violators to pay without going to court

RIAA launches website for music copyright violators to pay without going to court

People who are caught by the RIAA usually have to pay a substantial amount of money to record companies. And so, the RIAA has decided to make a little website dedicated to helping the average pirate through the process of getting caught. is dedicated to doing three things. The first thing they do is post a list of questions convicted pirates might ask, and proper answers to them. The second thing the RIAA posts on their website is options/details on how to reduce the convict's fine, and even settle out of court. The third thing that the RIAA does is link to a website detailing the advantages of downloading legal music, which also hosts a list of legitimate music downloading services.Source: The Inquirer

Two teenagers assault 60-year-old teacher who confiscated one of their iPod's

It seems like sometimes you simply cannot get between a teenager and their iPod. Frank Burd, A 60 year old teacher in Germantown, Pennsylvania, confiscated one of his 14-year-old student's iPod's. The student, infuriated, came back with one of his 11th-grade friends, and proceeded to break Mr.Burd's neck in two places. Fortunately, Mr.Burd's condition is stable and improving. The two delinquents will be charged as adults in court.

Some details have come to light that detail exactly why Mr. Burd took away the iPod. The ignorant freshman had decided to blast his music at maximum volume, for the sake of disrupting class. After several warnings, Mr.Burd took away the iPod with the intent to give it back to him after class. Upon the ending of class, Mr.Burd was assaulted by the freshman and his 11th-grade friend before he had the chance to give back the iPod. The rest of the story is as posted above...Mr.Burd's neck is broken in two places, the two delinquents will be charged as adults, and Mr.Burd's condition continues to improve.Source: EnGadget

More MP3 Disputes

With Microsoft receiving a hefty $1.5 billion fine the other day, MP3 patents are once again in the spotlight as a company in Texas is now trying to sue… well every company that makes MP3 players really. At the moment, Apple, SanDisk and Samsung are the three major names involved, but this case has the potential to draw more companies in – although it may seem quite ambitious as things stand. The company behind the lawsuits is known as Texas MP3 Technologies Ltd. which holds a patent which it claims covers the production an “MPEG portable sound reproducing system.” The patent was issued in June, and now the company hopes to make money out of the MP3 player industry, which was worth approximately $6.1 billion last year.Source:

Microsoft Fined $1.5 Billion over MP3 Patent

Microsoft has been ordered to pay $1.5 billion to Alcatel-Lucent after losing a patent dispute regarding the MP3 audio technology used by Windows. The enormous fine comes after a verdict by a federal jury in San Diego ruled that the company should compensate for damages based on each Windows PC sold since May 2003. Microsoft claims that it licensed MP3 technology from Fraunhofer in a $16 million deal, and also claims that the patent may not cover overseas Windows sales, arguing they should be excluded from the damages. Alcatel-Lucent previously sued Dell and Gateway during 2003 in similar cases.Source: CNET

FBI Offers $25,000 for Lost Hard Drive

"Get rich, or die trying" - this time, there is no risk involved. The Birmingham Veterans Administration Medical Center, Alabama, in co-operation with the FBI, is looking for a lost hard drive, that went missing some time this week. The reward is set at a hefty $25 000 - the equation information = money literally applies in this case. The HDD was used as a backup disk for patients' information, and apparently, there were at least 500 000 medical records on the device. The reward is also being offered for the identification of anyone responsible for the loss of the Iomega external hard drive.

Anyone with information is asked to call the VA Medical Center at 933-8101, ext. 4401; the FBI at 326-6166; the VA OIG hot line at 1-800-488-8244; or the VA Medical Center Police at 933-8101, ext. 6444.Source: Beta News and The Birmingham News

Cisco and Apple reach iPhone agreement

Ever since Apple introduced its iPhone, lawsuits against the product have going on. Happily for Apple, it has managed to reach an agreement with Cisco Systems. The networking company had held the iPhone name since 2000, and was a bit miffed at the new product - but it seems the two companies can share after all.

Late on Wednesday afternoon, Cisco and Apple officially announced an end to the feud over the trademark. That's right, iPhone-gate is over without a single shot being fired, no loss of life, and (oddly enough) both companies able to use the brand name.

The companies publicly stated a cessation of all litigation over the dispute in a joint statement, and promised to allow each enterprise to market its product worldwide. The financial terms for the agreement were not disclosed, but one can bet that it wasn't cheap for Apple. In what is likely a nod of favor to Cisco for dropping the suit, the statement also talked about a new partnership between the two firms, with Apple working to provide better integration with future Cisco products.Source: Bit-tech

US Senate aims to ban Wikipedia from schools/libraries

Senator Ted Stevens is working to pass senate bill 49. Senate bill 49's goal is to reduce the seduction and rape of children over the internet. It does this by making access to interactive websites illegal on a school/library network (or at least the ones that get federal internet subsidies). The theory behind this is that interactive sites can be used to seduce children into meeting sex offenders over the internet. Unfortunately, useful sites like Amazon, Wikipedia, and TechPowerUp are considered "interactive", meaning that they would be banned if this bill was passed.Source: The Inquirer

Bill banning iPods and cellphones in NYC coming

Two recent deaths in New York City had a very interesting cause. A pedestrian was "listening to his iPod", and hence was not paying attention to important things that happen in the city, such as oncoming traffic. And so, senator Carl Kruger is proposing a ban of iPods and cell phones on the streets of New York. Of course, if the police of New York have a hard time enforcing J-walking laws, how will they enforce this law, if passed?Source: EnGadget

Former treasurer of Michigan fell for Nigeran scam...hard

When 1.2 million tax dollars went missing from Alcona County, Michigan, county officials wasted no time in a full investigation. They quickly found that the treasurer, Thomas Katona, had done some suspicious overseas transactions. Even after the people at the bank warned Katona of the obvious Nigerain fraud, he still sent approximately 185,000 US dollars to overseas accounts in eight payments. It is unknown how much of that is the missing tax money. 56 year old Katona was treasurer for 13 years. He was charged for felony nine times, and has a bail set at 1 million dollars.Source: The Register

Apple files new patent - optical drive at the bottom of a Macbook

So everyone has been looking forward to a small MacBook Pro, but those who has ever seen the size of the 15 inch MacBook Pro mainboard, knows how small it is. Most of the space is taken up by the slot loading optical drive and battery. So what to do? Just place the optical drive on the bottom of the notebook and add a sensor which knows when you are turning the device upside down. This may sound very stupid, but it might not be as crazy as you think. If anyone can pull this off, it is Apple. I am sure all future Mac(sub)Book Pro owners will agree.

Source: Unwired View

ISP pulls the plug on isoHunt

Whilst the Pirate Bay is planning to buy its own country in an attempt to avoid the lawsuits, isoHunt is in a spot of trouble at the moment. Being one of the largest Torrenting sites, isoHunt has often come under the spotlight for its controversial activity, and after a fresh lawsuit from the music industry the site’s ISP has decided to shut down the website without warning. isoHunt expects to be back online tomorrow, either by sorting the issues with its current ISP or by finding a new one. Despite Torrenting generally being seen as illegal, sites such as this have frequently argued that they are committing no crime because they do not host the files and Torrenting does have legal uses, but that doesn’t stop the lawsuits.Source: The Inquirer
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