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File-Sharing For Personal Use Declared Legal In Portugal 179

New submitter M0j0_j0j0 writes "After receiving 2000 complaints regarding 'illegal file sharing' from ACAPOR regarding P2P networks, the Portuguese prosecutor refused to take the case into court on the premise that file sharing is not illegal in the territory if files are for personal and not commercial use. The court also stated that the complaints had, as sole evidence, the IP address of users, and that it is a wrong statement to assume an IP address is directly related to one individual. TorrentFreak has a piece in English with more details (original source in Portuguese)."

Cybersecurity Bill Fails Today In US Senate 72

wiredmikey writes "A development following the recently posted story Senate Cybersecurity Bill Stalled By Ridiculous Amendments — The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 failed to advance in the US Senate on Thursday. The measure was blocked amid opposition from an unusual coalition of civil libertarians — who feared it could allow too much government snooping — and conservatives who said it would create a new bureaucracy. The bill needed 60 votes in the 100-member Senate to advance under rules in the chamber, but got only 52. The failure came despite pleas from Obama and top US defense officials. The US Chamber of Commerce argued that the bill 'could actually impede US cybersecurity by shifting businesses' resources away from implementing robust and effective security measures and toward meeting government mandates.'"

FCC Rules That Verizon Cannot Charge For 4G Tethering 218

schleprock63 writes "The FCC ruled today that Verizon cannot charge extra for users for 4G Wi-Fi tethering. The FCC used the original agreement in the auction of the C block spectrum which said 'licensees offering service on C Block spectrum "shall not deny, limit, or restrict the ability of their customers to use the devices and applications of their choice on the licensee's C Block network, subject to narrow exceptions."' So Verizon cannot charge for tethering on 4G service, this raises the question of whether they can continue to charge for tethering on 3G or 1x?"

Justice Dept. Files Antitrust Complaint Against AT&T and T-Mobile Merger 301

Hitting the front page for the first time, AngryDeuce writes with a piece of exciting news hot off the news wire. From the article: "The Justice Department is blocking AT&T's $39 billion deal to buy T-Mobile USA, saying the acquisition of the No. 4 wireless carrier in the country by No. 2 AT&T would reduce competition and raise prices. The deal has faced tough opposition from consumer groups and No. 3 carrier Sprint since it was announced in March." The DOJ has released a full statement on their decision to file the antitrust suit, and AT&T has drafted a response. So much for AT&T's paltry promise of bringing 5000 unskilled call center jobs back to the U.S. if the merger were approved. Competition may yet live!
The Courts

US Supreme Court: Video Games Qualify For First Amendment 458

Wrath0fb0b writes "The United States Supreme Court threw out a California law prohibiting the sale of violent video games to minors. Notable in the opinion is a historical review of the condemnation of "unworthy" material that would tend to corrupt children, starting with penny-novels and up through comic books and music lyrics. The opinion is also notable for the odd lineup of Justices that defies normal ideological lines, with one conservative and one liberal jurist dissenting on entirely different grounds. In the process, they continue the broad rule that the First Amendment does not vary with the technological means used: 'Video games qualify for First Amendment protection. Like protected books, plays, and movies, they communicate ideas through familiar literary devices and features distinctive to the medium. And the basic principles of freedom of speech... do not vary with a new and different communication medium.'"

Russian President: Time To Reform Copyright 293

An anonymous reader writes "While most of the rest of the world keeps ratcheting up copyright laws by increasing enforcement and terms, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev appears to be going in the other direction. He's now proposing that Russia build Creative Commons-style open and free licenses directly into Russian copyright law. This comes just a few days after he also chided other G8 leaders for their antiquated views on copyright."
Oracle To Be Given Back To the Community 219

An anonymous reader writes "Oracle has stated they will give back the productivity suite to the community. Edward Screven, Oracle's Chief Corporate Architect, said the company intends upon 'working immediately with community members to further the continued success of Open Office.' Because there was a 'breadth of interest in free personal productivity applications,' the company believes the project would be 'best managed by an organization focused on serving that broad constituency on a non-commercial basis.'"

Dutch Court Rules WiFi Hacking Not a Criminal Offense 234

loekessers writes "Breaking in to an encrypted router and using the WiFi connection is not an criminal offense, a Dutch court ruled. (Original article in Dutch; English translation.) WiFi hackers can not be prosecuted for breaching router security. The judge reasoned that the student didn't gain access to the computer connected to the router, but only used the router's internet connection. Under Dutch law, breaking into a computer is forbidden. A computer in The Netherlands is defined as a machine that is used for three things: the storage, processing and transmission of data. A router can therefore not be described as a computer because it is only used to transfer or process data and not for storing bits and bytes. Hacking a device that is no computer by law is not illegal, and can not be prosecuted, the court concluded. "
United Kingdom

UK Home Office Set To Scrap National ID Cards 334

mjwx writes "In what would seem to be a sudden outbreak of common sense for the UK, the Home Office has put forward a plan to scrap the national ID card system put into place by the previous government. From the BBC: 'The Home Office is to reveal later how it will abolish the national identity card programme for UK citizens. The bill, a Queen's Speech pledge, includes scrapping the National Identity Register and the next generation of biometric passports.' The national ID card system, meant to tackle fraud and illegal immigration, has drawn widespread criticism for infringing on privacy and civil rights. However, the main driver for the change in this policy seems to be the 800-million-pound cost. Also in the article, indications of a larger bill aimed at reforms to the DNA database, tighter regulation of CCTV, and a review of libel laws."

Estimating Game Piracy More Accurately 459

An anonymous reader tips a post up at the Wolfire blog that attempts to pin down a reasonable figure for the amount of sales a game company loses due to piracy. We've commonly heard claims of piracy rates as high as 80-90%, but that clearly doesn't translate directly into lost sales. The article explains a better metric: going on a per-pirate basis rather than a per-download basis. Quoting: "iPhone game developers have also found that around 80% of their users are running pirated copies of their game (using jailbroken phones). This immediately struck me as odd — I suspected that most iPhone users had never even heard of 'jailbreaking.' I did a bit more research and found that my intuition was correct — only 5% of iPhones in the US are jailbroken. World-wide, the jailbreak statistics are highest in poor countries — but, unsurprisingly, iPhones are also much less common there. The highest estimate I've seen is that 10% of worldwide iPhones are jailbroken. Given that there are so few jailbroken phones, how can we explain that 80% of game copies are pirated? The answer is simple — the average pirate downloads a lot more games than the average customer buys. This means that even though games see that 80% of their copies are pirated, only 10% of their potential customers are pirates, which means they are losing at most 10% of their sales."

Federal Appeals Court Says Sex Offender's Computer Ban Unfair 478

crimeandpunishment writes "A federal appeals court says a 30-year computer restriction for a convicted sex offender was too stiff a punishment. The man, who was caught in an Internet sex sting, had been ordered not to own or even use a computer." The D.C. Circuit Court's opinion in the case against Mark Wayne Russell is available as a PDF; slightly longer coverage from the Courthouse News Service.

P2P and P2P Links Ruled Legal In Spain 265

Nieriko writes After three years of arduous litigation, Jesus Guerra Calderon, owner of both a small bar and the P2P link webpage '' has beaten the SGAE (something like the Spanish version of the RIAA). The historic ruling states not only the legality of link webpages, but also the legality of P2P file-sharing networks. Quoting the judge: 'P2P Networks as mere data transmision networks between individual internet users, do not breach any rights protected by the Intellectual Property Law.' Downloading a file (from a P2P network) for private use is perfectly legal as long as there is no lucrative or collective use of the downloaded copy."

Quark! Quark! Beware the quantum duck!