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Submission + - Tridgell recommends reading software patents ( 1

H4x0r Jim Duggan writes: In a recent talk, Andrew Tridgell rejected the common fears about triple damages "If you’ve got one lot of damages for patent infringement, what would happen to the project? It’s dead. If it gets three lots of damages for patent infringement, what happens to the project? It’s still dead." Tridge then explains the right way to read a patent and build a legal defense: "That first type of defence is really the one you want, it’s called: non-infringement. And that is: 'we don’t do that. The patent says X, we don’t do X, therefore go away, sue someone else, it’s not relevant for us'. That’s the defence you want. [...] Next one, prior art: [...] Basically the argument is: somebody else did that before. It’s a very, very tricky argument to get right. Extremely tricky, and it is the most common argument bandied about in the free software community. And if you see it in the primary defence against a patent, you should cringe because it is an extremely unsafe way of doing things." — there are even some tips in the talk specifically for Slashdotters.

Submission + - P2P Link sites and P2P declared legal in Spain (

unity100 writes: Spanish music group SGAE (Sociedad General de Autores y Editores) lost big time, and maybe set a Europe-wide precedent in regard to noncommercial p2p link sites, and noncommercial p2p filesharing in Spain. Despite many prior rulings declaring filesharing sites legal if they didnt directly profit from copyright infringements, music groups in spain were still shutting down individual sites in advance of court hearings to assess their legality. After looking at the finances of the website operated by Jesus Guerra and concluding that he didnt profit from copyright infringement, Judge also delivered a staggering blow to copyright groups, saying “P2P networks are mere conduits for the transmission of data between Internet users, and on this basis they do not infringe rights protected by Intellectual Property laws ...” Now two routes open for SGAE is appealing the decision, or trying to get law changed.

Comment info from (Score 1, Troll) 204

Here's what I have already on them: is a publicly editable wiki, help welcome.

Comment A critic, but not direct opponent of swpats (Score 3, Informative) 628

Tim's critical of software patents, but his position is that there's just an implimentation problem - with good tweaking it could work. Kinda disappointing that he's not pushing for abolition. Surprising too given his experience in web dev and XML. Related info: is a publicly-editable wiki - help in expanding this info would be very welcome and useful.

Comment Good job wikileaks beat them to it! (Score 4, Insightful) 555

Sorry to criticise people who are clearly on our side. The Wikileaks folk are great, and the job they were doing was great, and it will be great again when they start back up...

...but it was not a good idea for them to take all the leaked documents offline without notice in order to show their value so that people will donate. It was last year, probably December, and everything's still offline :-(

For one example, they published the only (at the time) big ACTA leak. (There's since been a bigger one, hosted elsewhere) Everyone was pointing to them, and they took their copy offline. To my amazement, no one had a back up, so us anti-ACTA campaigners simply lost the only leaked draft.

At the implementation level, it was a bad idea to simply cause all pages to give error 404. A page of "We need donations, we'll be back up when we get them" would have been better.

Lesson: take backups of important docs, even ones published by groups of good people.

Comment Re:Context (Score 0, Troll) 452

> To say the ruling class owns the politicians is a circular statement.

You're assuming the politicians aren't puppets.

Look at ACTA. There's nothing in there for the citizenry.

And what do our representatives think is worth debatin? A: Whether instruments of infringement should be destroyed "promptly" (US/EU/Mex), or "without delay" (Canada), or whether a time shouldn't be specified (Aus). Wow, thanks guys.

Comment Context (Score 1, Troll) 452

This sort of thing will not be considered in Europe or North America, and us residents of those places will pat ourselves on the back for our love of liberty...

The difference between Venezuela and our countries is that in our countries, the ruling class own both the media and politicians. In Venezuela, they just own the media.

Chavez has some bad policies, and we're right to criticise those policies, but the context is important for forming an accurate opinion rather than a knee-jerk chauvinist one.

Comment FS is the best situation life's offering (Score 0, Troll) 135

There's no proposal that can solve everything. Of the proposals that exist today, free software is just far and away the best situation life's offering.

It's not about *you* being free to read and change the source or distribute modified versions, it's about *all users* being able to do this. "freedom 3" makes this clear:

"The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this."

It's about allowing people to help each other, building an empowered community. If the situation is serious enough, anyone can take a look, or find/pay someone else to take a look. And even if the situation doesn't seem serious, there's still the possibility that someone will be taking a look at the code anyway. And once one person does this, then all users can benefit from that person's exercise of their freedoms.

The possibility of these things happening is usually enough to dissuade software publishers from putting nastyware into free software in the first place.

So, you're theory just predicts a problem that's possible but which is non-existant or practically non-existant in reality.

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