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The Courts

Parents Not Liable For Their Son's Illegal Music Sharing, Says German Court 207

An anonymous reader sends this quote from an IDG News report: "A German couple are not liable for the filesharing activities of their 13-year old son because they told him unauthorized downloading and sharing of copyrighted material was illegal, and they were not aware the boy violated this prohibition, the German Federal Court of Justice ruled on Thursday. ... The ruling of the Federal Court of Justice reversed a ruling of the higher regional court of Cologne, which found the parents were liable for the illegal filesharing because they failed to fulfill their parental supervision. That court said the parents could have installed a firewall on their son's computer as well as a security program that would have made it possible to only allow the child to install software with the consent of his parents. Besides that, the parents could have checked their son's PC once a month, and then the parents would have spotted the Bearshare icon on the computers' desktop, according to the Cologne court. 'The Federal Court overturned the decision of the Appeal Court and dismissed it,' the court said."

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)."

EU Court Rules APIs, Programming Languages Not Copyrightable 215

itwbennett writes "The European Court of Justice ruled on Wednesday that the functionality of a computer program and the programming language it is written in cannot be protected by copyright. In its ruling on a case brought by SAS Institute against World Programming Limited (WPL), the court said that 'the purchaser of a license for a program is entitled, as a rule, to observe, study or test its functioning so as to determine the ideas and principles which underlie that program.'"

White House Opposes Key SOPA Provisions 175

twdorris writes "Is this an example of our 3-part government actually working as intended? It seems the executive branch doesn't agree with the legislative on a key piece of SOPA. From the article: '"While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global internet," the White House said in a blog post.'"

HTC Unlocks Bootloader For All of Its Devices 133

An anonymous reader writes "HTCDEV announced today: 'HTC is committed to listening to users and delivering customer satisfaction. We plan on releasing the updates that will allow you to unlock your bootloader in the coming months.' However, they do note this: 'It is our responsibility to caution you that not all claims resulting or caused by or from the unlocking of the bootloader may be covered under warranty,' and this: 'We strongly suggest that you do not unlock the bootloader unless you are confident that you understand the risks involved.' This looks like a new year gift to some."

Swiss Gov't: Downloading Movies and Music Will Stay Legal 463

wasimkadak writes "One in three people in Switzerland download unauthorized music, movies and games from the Internet, and — since last year — the government has been wondering what to do about it. This week their response was published, and it was crystal clear. Not only will downloading for personal use stay completely legal, but the copyright holders won't suffer because of it, since people eventually spend the money saved on entertainment products."

For Academic Publishing, Princeton Goes Open Access By Default 101

First time accepted submitter crazyvas writes "Princeton University will prevent researchers from giving the copyright of scholarly articles to journal publishers (except if a waiver is requested). The new rule is part of an Open Access policy aimed at broadening the reach of their scholarly work and encouraging publishers to adjust standard contracts that commonly require exclusive copyright as a condition of publication. Universities pay millions of dollars a year for academic journal subscriptions. People without subscriptions are often prevented from reading taxpayer funded research. This is a bold first step in changing the face of how research (especially when taxpayer funded) works in the country, and a step towards weakening the current culture of charging increasingly exorbitant prices to view academic research publications."

Brazil Considering Legalizing File Sharing 233

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like Brazil may be the country to watch if you're interested in much more consumer-friendly copyright laws (assuming US diplomatic pressure doesn't interfere). As that country goes through a copyright reform process, among the proposals is one that would create fines not just for infringing, but also for hindering fair use and the public domain. Also, there is a big push underway, with widespread support — even from some artists groups — to legalize file sharing in exchange for a small levy (~$1.74/month) on your broadband connection. Of course, one reason why Brazil may be doing it this way is because of the massive success the Brazilian musical genre technobrega has had by embracing file sharing as a way to promote new works, and making money (often lots of it) through other avenues, like live shows."

Google Reportedly Ditching Windows 1003

Reader awyeah notes a Financial Times report that Google is ditching the use of Windows internally. Some blogs have picked up the FT piece but so far there isn't any other independent reporting of the claim, which is based on comments from anonymous Googlers. One indication of possibly hasty reporting is the note that Google "employs more than 10,000 workers internationally," whereas it's easy enough to find official word that the total exceeds 20,000. "The directive to move to other operating systems began in earnest in January, after Google's Chinese operations were hacked, and could effectively end the use of Windows at Google. ... 'We're not doing any more Windows. It is a security effort,' said one Google employee. ... New hires are now given the option of using Apple's Mac computers or PCs running the Linux operating system. 'Linux is open source and we feel good about it,' said one employee. 'Microsoft we don't feel so good about.' ... Employees wanting to stay on Windows required clearance from 'quite senior levels,' one employee said. 'Getting a new Windows machine now requires CIO approval,' said another employee."

In AU, Court Rules Downloaded Software Is Not "Goods" 81

bennyboy64 writes "A court decision ruling that the supply of software through a digital download mechanism is not a supply of 'goods' has been upheld in the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Australia, setting a precedent that software downloaded via the Internet is not protected by the Sale of Goods Act, reports ZDNet. It's a court decision that lawyer Patrick Gunning said attorneys had been waiting to have clarified for some time. What this meant was that 'people who purchase software will have more legal rights if they buy over the counter rather than downloading,' Gunning said."

Scribd Switches To HTML5 177

drfreak writes "This story from OSNews describes Scribd, a site for uploading and reading documents, switching from Flash to HTML5. The major reason for the decision was that HTML5 supports all the major points of the site's previous functionality, so they saw no point in using Flash any more. The big improvement in the rollout is that documents are now first-class citizens of HTML and no longer need to sit in a Flash 'window.'"

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