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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 267 declined, 67 accepted (334 total, 20.06% accepted)

Submission + - Google asks court for OK to press for sanctions against Oracle (reuters.com)

walterbyrd writes: "Google is asking for sanctions against Oracle Corp after one of the software developer's lawyers discussed confidential details about the search giant's relationship with Apple Inc at a court hearing earlier this month.

Oracle's lawyer disclosed sensitive financial information regarding the relationship along with confidential information about Google's finances, which within days became headline news, Google, a unit of Alphabet Inc, said in a letter on Wednesday to U.S. District Judge William Alsup and U.S. Magistrate Judge Donna Ryu.

In its letter Google requested permission to file a motion seeking sanctions, for a finding of contempt, and asked that Oracle's lawyer not have further access to its confidential information or confidential information of a third party.

The disclosure violated a protective order and led to an article by Bloomberg that "opened the floodgates" to more stories, including by Reuters, regarding the closely held information, the letter said.

"The severe potential consequences of public disclosure quickly became reality, particularly given the surprising nature of the disclosure," according to the letter.

Oracle was not immediately available to comment on the letter."

Submission + - Laid-off IT workers muzzled as H-1B debate heats up (computerworld.com)

walterbyrd writes: The utility employees left their jobs with a severance package that included this sentence: "Employee agrees that he/she shall make no statements to anyone, spoken or written, that would tend to disparage or discredit the Company or any of the Company's officers, directors, employees, or agents."

That clause has kept former Eversource employees from speaking out because of fears the utility will sue them if they say anything about their experience. The IT firms that Eversource uses, Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services, are major users of the H-1B visa.

Submission + - DOJ and 4 states want $24 billion in fines from Dish Network for telemarketing (arstechnica.com)

walterbyrd writes: The DOJ as well as Ohio, Illinois, California, and North Carolina say that Dish disregarded federal laws on call etiquette. US lawyers are asking for $900 million in civil penalties, and the four states are asking for $23.5 billion in fines, according to the Denver Post. "Laws against phoning people on do-not-call lists and using recorded messages allow penalties of up to $16,000 per violation,” the Post added.

Submission + - Microsoft says new processors will only work with Windows 10 (theverge.com)

walterbyrd writes: Not sure about Linux, or FreeBSD, but . . .

Soon, when you buy a new PC, it won't support Windows 7 or 8. Microsoft has announced a change to its support policy that lays out its plans for future updates to its older operating systems, and the new rules mean that future PC owners with next-generation Intel, AMD, and Qualcomm processors will need to use Windows 10.

Submission + - Starz Secures Rights to 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' (screencrush.com)

walterbyrd writes: The New York Post also claims that Starz obtained rights to The Force Awakens for a paltry $17.5 million, potentially placing the its window as early as a December 2016 launch. Granted, it’s possible Disney could offer a large sum to buy back the rights, though Starz isn’t likely to give up such a prized acquisition until it absolutely has to.

Submission + - Hit backspace 28 times tp gain access to most Linux systems (thetimesgazette.com)

walterbyrd writes: This revelation comes from a group of security researchers at Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), Spain. They say that the suggested action bypasses the lock screen immediately and initiates the “grub rescue shell’. Consequently, the user is granted access to the system for any nefarious activity they can think of.

Red Hat, Ubuntu and Debian have already released patches.

Submission + - North Carolina to enact ag-agg laws (yourdailyjournal.com)

walterbyrd writes: A misguided state law punishing those who publicly expose animal cruelty and unsafe working conditions is set to take effect on New Year’s Day. Lawmakers overrode Gov. Pat McCrory’s veto of the N.C. Property Protection Act June 3.

Supporters say the law is needed to shield businesses from corporate espionage, intellectual property theft and exploitation. As we’ve said in this space before, that rationale is disingenuous. Victims of such rare offenses already had ample recourse through the courts.

Submission + - Remix Mini review: A $70 Android desktop PC (liliputing.com)

walterbyrd writes: Earlier this year the company [Jide] released a 2-in-1 tablet called the Remix Ultra which shipped with a custom version of Android called Remix OS. The software features a taskbar, a desktop, support for keyboard shortcuts, and support for running many apps either in full-screen mode or in smaller windows. The Remix Ultra tablet comes with a keyboard cover and touchpad, allowing you to use it like a laptop and it kind of worked. But the Remix Ultra is also kind of expensive.

Now Jide is offering something much more affordable: the Jide Remix Mini is basically a small, low-power desktop computer that ships with Remix OS. After running a successful Kickstarter campaign to raise money (and awareness) this fall, Jide is now shipping the Remix Mini to customers.

Submission + - EFF: Final Leaked TPP is all that we feared (eff.org)

walterbyrd writes: Today's release by Wikileaks of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement ...

is the extension of the copyright term to life plus 70 years (QQ.G.6), despite a broad consensus that this makes no economic sense, and simply amounts to a transfer of wealth from users to large, rights-holding corporations. ...

Ban on Circumventing Digital Rights Management (DRM) ...

Criminal Enforcement and Civil Damages

On damages, the text (QQ.H.4) remains as bad as ever: rightsholders can submit "any legitimate measure of value" to a judicial authority for determination of damages, including the suggested retail price of infringing goods. Additionally, judges must have the power to order pre-established damages (at the rightsholder's election), or additional damages, each of which may go beyond compensating the rightsholder for its actual loss, and thereby create a disproportionate chilling effect for users and innovators. ...

One of the scariest parts of the TPP is that not only can you be made liable to fines and criminal penalties, but that any materials and implements used in the creation of infringing copies can also be destroyed (QQ.H.4(12)). The same applies to devices and products used for circumventing DRM or removing rights management information (QQ.H.4(17)). Because multi-use devices such as computers are used for a diverse range of purposes, this is once again a disproportionate penalty. This could lead to a family's home computer becoming seized simply because of its use in sharing files online, or for ripping Blu-Ray movies to a media center. ...

It will still require most countries to adopt a version of the flawed U.S. DMCA notice-and-takedown system

Submission + - East Texas judge throws out 168 patent cases (arstechnica.com)

walterbyrd writes: The ruling comes from a surprising source: US District Judge Rodney Gilstrap, the East Texas judge who has been criticized for making life extra-difficult for patent defendants. Gilstrap, who hears more patent cases than any other US judge, will eliminate about 10 percent of his entire patent docket by wiping out the eDekka cases.

Submission + - Appeals court grants injunction to Apple, bans some features from Samsung phones (arstechnica.com)

walterbyrd writes: The 2-1 ruling from the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit is a rebuke to US District Judge Lucy Koh, who held that Apple should be satisfied with monetary damages, and didn’t deserve an injunction.
The market impact will likely be limited, since the lawsuit was filed in 2012 and covers products that came out that year, like the Galaxy S3. Furthermore, software updates to Samsung software mean that the patents may not be infringed anymore. For instance, Samsung’s Android phones no longer use a “slide to unlock” feature on the bottom of the phone.

In dissent, US Circuit Judge Sharon Prost paints a sharply different picture from the majority. “This is not a close case,” she writes, noting that Apple’s patents cover a spelling correction feature it doesn’t use, and two others cover “minor features” out of “many thousands.”

Submission + - Plants as Intellectual Property: Patently Wrong? (nutritionfacts.org)

walterbyrd writes: Curcumin has shown some promising effects against a wide range of diseases, so well in fact that curcumin appears to possess all the desirable features of a designed-from-scratch, multipurpose drug.

If it’s so safe and effective, why aren’t more studies being done? Part of the delay is attributable to a U.S. patent, granted in 1995 to researchers at the University of Mississippi Medical Center, for curcumin’s wound-healing properties, which prevented its development as a therapeutic. In a landmark case, highlighted in my video, Plants as Intellectual Property: Patently Wrong?, the Indian Council of Scientific and Industrial Research spent years arguing and finally proved that curcumin has been part of the Indian traditional system of medicine for centuries and so should be considered part of the public domain. It’s like patenting broccoli. The patent was finally over-turned in 1997, a triumph for those trying to stop the misappropriation of traditional knowledge by multinational corporations. But if no one profits, who’s going to pay for research?

Submission + - Drones and driverless tractors – is this the future of farming? (theguardian.com) 1

walterbyrd writes: Ian Beecher-Jones, a precision farming consultant, recently told Farmers Weekly magazine that about 60% of Britain’s farmland is now being managed by precision methods, which include sensor systems, cameras, drones, microphones, virtual field maps, analytics and GPS-guided tractors. These technologies – examples of the so-called internet of things – are fuelling what is being called the “new agricultural revolution”.

Submission + - Academia determined to make English language more PC

walterbyrd writes: Washington State students risk a failing grade for saying ‘illegal alien,’ ‘male,’ ‘female’. White students in Professor John Streamas—who previously generated controversy by calling a student a “white shitbag” and declared that WSU should stand for “White Supremacist University”—also demands that students “understand and consider the rage of people who are victims of systematic injustice.” University of Tennessee tells staff and students to stop using 'he' and 'she' — and switch to 'xe', 'zir' and 'xyr' instead. Gay rights official at Knoxville campus wrote new language instructions. Tells students and staff to use unusual, gender-neutral pronouns like 'xe'. Donna Braquet said that the new regime would make campus 'inclusive'.

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