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Games

Valve Takes Optimistic View of Piracy 509

GameDaily recently spoke with Jason Holtman, director of business development and legal affairs for Valve, about online sales and piracy. Holtman took a surprising stance on the latter, effectively taking responsibility for at least a portion of pirated games. Quoting: "'There's a big business feeling that there's piracy,' he says. But the truth is: 'Pirates are underserved customers. When you think about it that way, you think, "Oh my gosh, I can do some interesting things and make some interesting money off of it." We take all of our games day-and-date to Russia,' Holtman says of Valve. 'The reason people pirated things in Russia,' he explains, 'is because Russians are reading magazines and watching television — they say "Man, I want to play that game so bad," but the publishers respond "you can play that game in six months...maybe." We found that our piracy rates dropped off significantly,' Holtman says." Attitudes like this seem to be prevalent at Valve; last month we talked about founder Gabe Newell's comments that "most DRM strategies are just dumb."
Patents

EU Patent Staff Go On Strike 116

h4rm0ny writes "Last Friday, staff at the European Patent Office went on strike. They protested outside for several hours and issued a statement claiming that 'the organisation is decentralising and focusing on granting as many patents as possible to gain financially from fees generated.' They also declared this as being disastrous for innovation and that their campaign was not for better wages, but for better quality patents. Meanwhile, an article on it discusses the US's own approach to dealing with the increasing flood of patent applications: a community patent project to help identify prior art. It might sound like a grass-roots scheme, and maybe it is, but those roots include such patent behemoths as IBM. So it looks like on both sides of the Atlantic, some signs of sanity might be emerging in the patent world from those people right in the thick of it." Note, this was a half-day strike, not ongoing.
Microsoft

Microsoft Blesses LGPL, Joins Apache Foundation 425

Penguinisto writes "According to a somewhat jaw-dropping story in The Register, it appears that Microsoft has performed a trifecta of geek-scaring feats: They have joined the Apache Software Foundation as a Platinum member(at $100K USD a year), submitted LGPL-licensed patches for ADOdb, and have pledged to expand their Open Specifications Promise by adding to the list more than 100 protocols for interoperability between its Windows Server and the Windows client. While I sincerely doubt they'll release Vista under a GPL license anytime soon, this is certainly an unexpected series of moves on their part, and could possibly lead to more OSS (as opposed to 'Shared Source') interactivity between what is arguably Linux' greatest adversary and the Open Source community." (We mentioned the announced support for the Apache Foundation earlier today, as well.)
Biotech

President Bush Signs Genetic Nondiscrimination Act 527

artemis67 writes "This past week, President Bush signed the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA), which would prevent health insurers and employers from discriminating against individuals on the basis of their genetic information. GINA is the first and only federal legislation that will provide protections against discrimination based on an individual's genetic information in health insurance coverage and employment settings.'"

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