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The Courts

Australian Extradited For Breaking US Law At Home 777

An anonymous reader sends us a link to a report in The Age about an Australian resident, who had never set foot in the US and broke US intellectual-property laws in Australia, being extradited to the US to face trial. Hew Raymond Griffiths pleaded guilty in Virginia to overseeing all aspects of the operation of the group Drink Or Die, which cracked copy-protected software and media products and distributed them for free. He faces up to 10 years in a US jail and half a million dollars in fines.
The Courts

Bloggers Immune From Suits Against Commenters 142

An anonymous reader writes "Suppose a commenter posts a libelous comment here at Slashdot. Can Slashdot and its owners be sued for defamation? A federal appeals court just held that no, they cannot. The court noted that a federal law was designed to ensure that 'within broad limits, message board operators would not be held responsible for the postings made by others on that board,' adding that, were the law otherwise, it would have an 'obvious chilling effect' on blogger speech."

State Trooper Fights For His Source Code 440

BarneyRabble writes to tell us that a Wisconsin State Trooper is fighting to maintain control of the source code for a program he wrote that helps officers write traffic tickets electronically. Praised by the state just 18 months ago, Trooper David Meredith is now suing the head of patrol claiming that the state is trying to illegally seize the source that he had developed on his own time. From the article: "Meredith, of Oconto Falls, defied an order from his bosses to relinquish the source code - the heart of the program - in October and instead deposited it with Dane County Circuit Judge David T. Flanagan, pending a ruling on who should control it. The case centers on how the software was developed. Department of Transportation attorney Mike Kernats said the State Patrol - a division of DOT - provided Meredith with a computer to write the software and gave him time off patrol duties so he could do the work. But Meredith said in court filings that he spent hundreds of hours off duty working on it, developing it almost entirely on his own time. He noted that he never signed a software licensing agreement."
Open Source

Copyright Protection Problems For OSS Project 390

An anonymous reader writes "There's a federal case in the Northern District of California where copyright for open source is being challenged. The free software project JMRI discovered that a commercial company was using some of their files in a product, in violation of the license. They added a copyright claim to an ongoing legal action about cybersquatting, software patent abuse, etc. The patent case was covered on Slashdot back in June but the copyright part is new. The other side came back with an argument that copyright law didn't apply, simply because they software was 'being given away for free.'"

New York Bar May Crack Down on Blogging Lawyers 151

An anonymous reader writes "While you might not guess it from watching late night TV, advertisements by lawyers are regulated by a web of regulations intended to protect potential clients from deceptive claims in such ads. Generally, these rules require lawyers to submit their ads to a review board, often with a filing fee paid with each new advertisement. The New York bar has proposed new rules which would define blogging as advertising. Should these rules be enacted, any New York lawyer who blogs on any legal topic in New York would be required to submit any new blog post to the New York Bar for review. For New York lawyers who write frequently updated blogs, this could force them to make multiple (and potentially expensive) reports to the New York Bar every single day."

I have a theory that it's impossible to prove anything, but I can't prove it.