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+ - Microsoft caught with hand in cookie jar-> 1

Submitted by
dlane
dlane writes "Representatives of the NZ Open Source Society have successfully opposed a Microsoft software patent application related to XML use in representing productivity data. This was a very broad patent, found subject to prior art: i.e. a very low quality patent that shouldn't have been submitted much less granted. As it was, it took the NZOSS members and their legal team 8 years to get MS to abandon the application.

This isn't the first time they've tried this: another bad application (http://computerworld.co.nz/news.nsf/news/F68C4D35A4AE5DD5CC257038000F4A24) was submitted to NZ's patent office although it had been disallowed in other jurisdictions (including US) due to prior art. NZOSS representatives challenged the application and were able to force MS to change the wording to the point where it was no longer seen as a threat to developers.

Whenever Microsoft claims support for "improved quality patents" realise that what they mean is "other people's patents". Feel free to highlight their hypocrisy."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:What scientists... (Score 1) 726

by holloway (#35135810) Attached to: New Mexico Bill To Protect Anti-Science Education
A lack in knowledge does not point to Irreducible Complexity. A lack of an explanation doesn't point to Irreducible Complexity. It's simply an unknown. Trying to say that an unknown means Irreducible Complexity is all in the imagination.

How does evolution explain a four chambered heart?

A possible explanation is 3 to 4 chamber heart.

Whole organs systems can not be formed by random mutation, and they don't work without the entire system.

Behe's previous failed proposal, the bacterial flagellum, was a type III secretory system before it was a bacterial flagellum. It was a different thing entirely. Whole organs can evolve separately and then join to take on new roles as the above link proposes.

Evolution can explain one step at a time changes, but some changes have to come in sets or they never work. Evolution will never explain that.

Modern evolutionary theory already explains that and -- wait for it -- there are already lab tests by Professor Lenski where sets of changes occurred via evolution. Do remember that Behe disgraced himself in court and this was obvious to everyone.

Software

+ - Software Patents in New Zealand Dead. Again.->

Submitted by Hairy1
Hairy1 (180056) writes "Wellington, New Zealand. Minister of Commerce Simon Power confirms that software will be included as an exception to the Patent Bill currently before Parliament. After the initial announcement made earlier this year that software patents would be excluded from patentability significant pressure was applied by "NZICT", an organisation representing the major multinational IT vendors. After a meeting with NZICT on June 9 the Minister initially appeared to change course, saying that a modification may be made and raising fears that behind the scenes lobbying had derailed the transparent Select Committee process. Those fears are now quiet after the Minister confirmed that the Bill would be adopted by Parliament as recommended by the Select Committee."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Peter Wayner (Score 3, Insightful) 256

by holloway (#32845490) Attached to: Firefox 4 Beta 1 Shines On HTML5

Because the hypertext transfer protocol was designed to transfer hypertext documents. It was not designed to be a remote application protocol.

Irrelevant. If it can be evolved to work well enough for people then it is suitable. The Type-III Secretory Gland evolved into the Bacterium Flagellum without any design, but it happened to work well enough to survive and so it did.

Design helps cause effects but it doesn't prevent useful side-effects.

Comment: Re:"Faith Science Basis?" (Score 1) 714

by holloway (#32426660) Attached to: Australian Schools To Teach Intelligent Design

I see it as all fitting together, really quite neatly, something that the suposed randomness of evolution doesnt really explain

Evolution isn't (just) random, it's also natural selection. It's a myth that Evolution is random. This means that when there's a niche (Eg, a food that no one else is eating) then a creature whose DNA/RNA mutates and is able to use that niche will thrive and have more children than one that doesn't. Evolution is perfectly compatible with everything fitting together.

Comment: Re:Moving to other ISPs (Score 1) 54

by holloway (#31296066) Attached to: New Zealand Legislature Mulls File-Sharing Bill

Doesn't mean much when your choices are the local cable monopoly or the local telco monopoly. It just makes three strikes into six.

Incorrect. As far as I know the proposed law doesn't say that you can't sign up at the same ISP again. Effectively internet termination is more akin to the fine where you'd inconvenienced by the reconnection cost and the time without internet.

Comment: Re:What does NZ produce to make any of this worth (Score 3, Informative) 54

by holloway (#31296062) Attached to: New Zealand Legislature Mulls File-Sharing Bill

What does NZ produce to make any of this worth while?

Well we did most of the graphics for Avatar and all of the graphics for the Lord of the Rings movies. The copyright for those is, as I understand it, partly owned by New Zealanders.

We don't tend to have many successful international music artists though (Crowded House, The Datsuns etc. were a while ago now).

Oh yeah and the Flight of the Conchords doing computer songs.

Could I just make bogus claims that somebody had pirated something of mine and have them banned?

No, you'd have to prove it in the tribunal or in a court.

What are the consiquences of a neighbour downloading something off your wireless AP?

It's unclear what happens to open wireless points under the new law. I suspect that people won't be responsible if they didn't authorise the infringement because there have been defenses like that before (not just the recent Australian iiNet case, but NZ cases too).

What about business connections where a potentialy large group is sharing a single connection?

A good way of thinking about this is to consider the business to be an ISP itself that connects to an ISP. Basically the ISPs pass the buck down the chain until it reaches a customer, so the business would be expected to identify the individual who did it.

This does mean that there may be significant business compliance costs involved in recording who used a public IP address at a particular time. We've asked the government for estimates, and we're working with several groups to get independent estimates for this.

And who exactly was behind this sudden interest in protecting what really is a majority of overseas owned copywrite?

To a large degree it was probably the US and Japan via ACTA.

Comment: Re:Three strikes provision (Score 1) 54

by holloway (#31296046) Attached to: New Zealand Legislature Mulls File-Sharing Bill

And lets not forget the ISPs. They now have a huge task to monitor and store large volumes of data for no benefit to them or their customers.

Just to be clear, under this New Zealand bill ISPs are not asked to monitor traffic. They are expected to record which one of their customers was using a public IP address at a particular time. This is to that they can facilitate the communication between the alleged copyright holder and the alleged infringer.

In other words ISPs are simple middlemen and they take no active role other than to pass messages along. This is how it should be.

Comment: Re:What the law actually is... (Score 5, Informative) 54

by holloway (#31296024) Attached to: New Zealand Legislature Mulls File-Sharing Bill

(sorry, here's a formatted version. I should have used preview!)

The NZ Herald article is really confused about the law and it talks about a protest on Monday but I'm from the Creative Freedom Foundation (quoted in the NZ Herald article linked in the story) and as there is no protest planned.

The original law that this replaced was a Guilt Upon Accusation-style law where unproven allegations of infringement could see people cut off the internet. We at the Creative Freedom Foundation (20,000 New Zealanders including 10,000 artists) protested against it.

This new proposal is nothing like the original. It's a tribunal system where copyright law experts (such as people who helped set up Creative Commons NZ, and technology lawyers who are involved in DNS) will judge infringement. So people are innocent until proven guilty, and there are independent experts involved.

The new extensions to New Zealand's Copyright Tribunal can only award fines, it can't kick people off the internet (that facility has been added to the courts, but court cases about copyright are rare in New Zealand). Personally I think the internet is an essential service that's only going to become more important in the coming years. We don't cut off people's power for copyright infringement, and we don't cut off phone lines or road access so the internet shouldn't be tampered with. It is however much better that it's in the courts and not in the tribunal because, in practice, it will be used rarely.

The new branch of the Copyright Tribunal can award fines and the maximum they can award in the most extreme cases is $15k (US $10k) which is equal to that of New Zealand's Disputes Tribunal. Remember, this is a large scary figure for the infringement but this is the maximum and it's much less than the existing Copyright Act that New Zealand has. In practice it's still unclear how much the fine for infringement of a movie or a song will be.

The new proposal doesn't seem to deal with open wireless access points that are provided as a public service in thousands of places in New Zealand (airports, municipal WiFi, libraries, etc.).

It also isn't clear whether hacked computers are liable. I suspect not because there have been defenses where people who didn't authorise any infringement aren't liable (not just the recent Australian iiNet case, but NZ cases too).

For the politicians involved doing nothing wasn't politically tenable and, so far, we generally support the new law's approach which is basically this new law is like a specialised court for copyright. Court cases can be flawed and certainly evidence can be maliciously faked, but that's the same of any court case.

It does need more work around the areas I've mentioned above though and we'll be lobbying hard for that. If anyone has any suggestions let me know, cheers.

Comment: What the law actually is... (Score 2, Informative) 54

by holloway (#31296018) Attached to: New Zealand Legislature Mulls File-Sharing Bill
The NZ Herald article is really confused about the law and it talks about a protest on Monday but I'm from the Creative Freedom Foundation (quoted in the NZ Herald article linked in the story) and as there is no protest planned. The original law that this replaced was a Guilt Upon Accusation-style law where unproven allegations of infringement could see people cut off the internet. We at the Creative Freedom Foundation (20,000 New Zealanders including 10,000 artists) protested against it. This new proposal is nothing like the original. It's a tribunal system where copyright law experts (such as people who helped set up Creative Commons NZ, and technology lawyers who are involved in DNS) will judge infringement. So people are innocent until proven guilty, and there are independent experts involved. The new extensions to New Zealand's Copyright Tribunal can only award fines, it can't kick people off the internet (that facility has been added to the courts, but court cases about copyright are rare in New Zealand). Personally I think the internet is an essential service that's only going to become more important in the coming years. We don't cut off people's power for copyright infringement, and we don't cut off phone lines or road access so the internet shouldn't be tampered with. It is however much better that it's in the courts and not in the tribunal because, in practice, it will be used rarely. The new branch of the Copyright Tribunal can award fines and the maximum they can award in the most extreme cases is $15k (US $10k) which is equal to that of New Zealand's Disputes Tribunal. Remember, this is a large scary figure for the infringement but this is the maximum and it's much less than the existing Copyright Act that New Zealand has. In practice it's still unclear how much the fine for infringement of a movie or a song will be. The new proposal doesn't seem to deal with open wireless access points that are provided as a public service in thousands of places in New Zealand (airports, municipal WiFi, libraries, etc.). It also isn't clear whether hacked computers are liable. I suspect not because there have been defenses where people who didn't authorise any infringement aren't liable (not just the recent Australian iiNet case, but NZ cases too). For the politicians involved doing nothing wasn't politically tenable and, so far, we generally support the new law's approach which is basically this new law is like a specialised court for copyright. Court cases can be flawed and certainly evidence can be maliciously faked, but that's the same of any court case. It does need more work around the areas I've mentioned above though and we'll be lobbying hard for that.

Comment: Re:Evolution - NOT! (Score 1) 347

by holloway (#30560082) Attached to: 50 Years of Domesticating Foxes For Science
A fuller explanation of the "information" term (which is primarily used by creationists) can be found in this response by Richard Dawkins. His conclusion is as follows

The "information challenge" turns out to be none other than our old friend: "How could something as complex as an eye evolve?" It is just dressed up in fancy mathematical language - perhaps in an attempt to bamboozle. Or perhaps those who ask it have already bamboozled themselves, and don't realise that it is the same old - and thoroughly answered - question.

"Religion is something left over from the infancy of our intelligence, it will fade away as we adopt reason and science as our guidelines." -- Bertrand Russell

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