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Submission + - Supreme Court Orders Do-Over on Key Software Patents (

Fluffeh writes: "It seems that the US Supreme Court has an itch it just can't scratch. A patent granted to the Ultramercial company covers the concept of allowing users to watch a pre-roll advertisement as an alternative to paying for premium content and the company is demanding fees from the likes of Hulu and YouTube. Another company called WildTangent is however is challenging Ultramercial's "invention" as merely an abstract idea not eligible for patent protection. Add to this a recent ruling by the Supreme Court restricting patents — albeit on medical diagnostic techniques and you get into a bit of a pickle. The Supreme Court is now sending the Ultramercial case back to the lower courts for another round, which doesn't mean that the court disagrees with the original ruling, but rather that it thinks it is a patent case that is relevant to the situation and they want to re-examine it under this new light."

Submission + - Magician suing for copyright over magic trick ( 1

Fluffeh writes: "Teller, the silent half of the well-known magic duo Penn and Teller, has sued a rival magician for copying one of his most famous illusions. The case promises to test the boundaries of copyright law as it applies to magic tricks. A Dutch magician with the stage name Gerard Bakardy (real name: Gerard Dogge) saw Teller perform the trick in Las Vegas and developed his own version — then started selling a kit — including a fake rose, instructions, and a DVD — for about $3,000. Teller had Bakardy's video removed with a DMCA takedown notice, then called Bakardy to demand that the magician stop using his routine. Teller offered to buy Bakardy out, but they were unable to agree on a price. So Teller sued Bakardy last week in a Nevada federal court."

Submission + - Heartland Security Breach Class Action Results: Victims $1925, Lawyers $600,000 (

Fluffeh writes: "Back in 2007, Heartland had a security breach that resulted in a 130 million credit card details being lifted. A class action suit followed and many thought it would send a direct message to business to ensure proper security measures protecting their clients and customers. With the Heartland case now over and settlements paid out and divided up, the final breakdown is as follows: Class members $1925 (11 cases out of 290 filed were "valid"). Lawyers for the plaintiff class action $606,192. Non-Profits around $1,000,000 (The Court ruled a minimum of $1 million dollars in payouts). Heartland also paid its own lawyers around $2 million.

Eric Goldman (Law Professor) has additional commentary on his Law Blog: "The opinion indicates Heartland spent $1.5M to advertise the settlement. Thus, it appears they spent over $130,000 to generate each legitimate claim. Surprisingly, the court blithely treats the $1.5M expenditure as a cost of doing business, but I can't wrap my head around it. What an obscene waste of money! Add in the $270k spent on claims administration, and it appears that the parties spent $160k per legitimate claimant. The court isn't bothered by the $270k expenses either, even though that cost about $1k per tendered claim (remember, there were 290 total claims).""


Submission + - Bogus Takedown Notice lands $150k settlement in Australian Court (

Fluffeh writes: "Richard Bell, an Australian Film Maker, on a fellowship in New York, produced and directed approximately 18 hours of raw footage for a film with the help of an assistant called Tanya Steele and paid her for these services. Ms Steele, through her American lawyers, sent letters to Mr Bell and his agent claiming that she owned the copyright in the footage and demanding that the trailer be removed from the Internet. She also caused the Vimeo website to remove the trailer. In response, Bell went to the (Australian) courts, which declared him the owner of the copyright in the film, and deemed Steele's threats "unjustifiable". Bell then asked for damages. These were granted in the latest judgment because Bell had lost the opportunity to sell some of his works, which typically cost tens of thousands of dollars, as a result of Steels' threats. The Australian judge awarded over $150,000 in damages plus another $23,000 costs against her."

Submission + - Round Two: Facebook Vs Yahoo (

Fluffeh writes: "When Facebook barely had more patents than Zuckerberg had fingers, Yahoo decided to throw a lawsuit timed nicely to coincide with the Facebook IPO. However, with some cash in pockets, Facebook bought a portfolio of patents — and is now throwing a hefty lawsuit back in the direction of Yahoo.

"Facebook admits that messaging and privacy are offered as options on certain websites. Facebook denies that “[w]ithout Yahoo!’s achievements, websites such as Facebook would not enjoy repeat visitors or substantial advertising revenue.” Facebook further denies that the functions identified in this paragraph of the Complaint involved any innovation by Yahoo!."

Techdirt has a listing of the patents in the counter-suit as well as further reading."


Submission + - Australia exploring greater Copyright Exceptions (

Fluffeh writes: "The Australian Attorney-General (Queen's Representative who can sack the Australian Federal Government) has been making moves to ensure that Australian Law keeps pace with emerging digital technologies (Warning, PDF Link) and that Copyright Law is fair for both Copyright Holders and for Consumers. That means that the Australian Law Reform Commission will review the last ammendment in 2006 to the Australian Copyright Act of 1968 looking into detail at including the fair use '10 per cent rule', fair dealing of creator and user rights, private copying when format-shifting or time-shifting and whether legitimate non-commercial use of copyright works online, such as social networking, should be permitted. “In our fast changing, technologically driven world, it important to ensure our copyright laws are keeping pace with change and able to respond to future challenges.” Further reading is also available on TechDirt who seem very pleased with this progressive move forward."

ASHes to ASHes, DOS to DOS.