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Piracy

FBI, DoJ Add 35 Positions For Intellectual Property Battle 140

coondoggie writes "The FBI and Department of Justice said they were going to go hard after intellectual property crimes this year and so far they seem to be keeping their word, as today the agencies appointed 15 new Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) positions and 20 FBI Special Agents dedicated to fighting domestic and international IP crimes. The 15 new AUSAs will work closely with the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section to aggressively pursue high tech crime, including computer crime and intellectual property offenses. The new positions will be located in California, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Washington. The 20 FBI Special Agents will be deployed to specifically boost four geographic areas with intellectual property squads, and increase investigative capacity in other locations around the country where intellectual property crimes are of particular concern. The four squads will be located in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and the District of Columbia."
The Courts

French Assembly Adopts 3-Strikes Bill 343

An anonymous reader writes "After lots of turmoil, including a surprise rejection and a European amendment against it, Sarkozy's 3 strikes law has just been passed by the French Assembly [in French]: 'The first warning mails ... should be sent in the coming fall. In case of second offenders, the first disconnections should start beginning 2010.'"
The Courts

Supreme Court Sides With Rambus Over FTC 143

afabbro writes "The US Supreme Court rejected the FTC's bid to impose anti-trust penalties on Rambus. Without comment, they let stand an appeals court decision favoring Rambus. The FTC had found that Rambus undermined competition by getting secretly patented technology included in industry standards, but the Supremes evidently didn't agree."
Government

Senator Diane Feinstein Trying to Kill Net Neutrality 873

An anonymous reader writes "According to the Register, Senator Diane Feinstein is attempting to put language into the stimulus bill that would kill net neutrality. The amendment that her provision was attached to was withdrawn, but lobbyists tell Public Knowledge that Feinstein hopes to put it back into the bill during the closed-door conference committee that reconciles the House and Senate versions." Bad Senator! No Cookie!
Privacy

UK Email Retention Plan Technically Flawed 115

deltaromeo points out a BBC report calling the UK's law requiring ISPs to retain users' emails for at least a year an "attack on rights." The article also points out financial and technical flaws with the plan (which we first discussed in October). TechCrunch goes a step further, detailing how it conflicts with other governmental goals. Quoting: "...with one hand the government seeks to lock down the British Internet with an iron fist, while at the same time telling us it is boosting innovation and business online. It is quite clearly blind to the fact that one affects the other. Are we also expected to think that the consumers using online services are not going to be put off from engaging in the boom of 'sharing' that Web 2.0 created? How would you feel if every Twitter you sent, every video uploaded, was to be stored and held against you in perpetuity? That may not happen, but the mere suggestion that your email is no longer private would serve to kill the UK population's relish for new media stone dead, and with it large swathes of the developing online economy."
Government

Court Allows Arkansas To Hide Wikipedia Edits 145

rheotaxis writes "A circuit judge in Arkansas will not order the state to reveal where its computers were used to edit Wikipedia articles about former governor Mike Huckabee while he was running for President. Two Associated Press journalists used WikiScanner to track the edits to IP addresses used by the state. Writer Jon Gambrell and News Editor Kelly P. Kissel filed a suit in October 2007 asking the state to reveal which state offices used the IP addresses, because state rules don't allow using computer resources for political purposes. The director of the Arkansas Department of Information Systems, Claire Bailey, claimed in court that releasing this information would allow hackers to target these state offices."
The Courts

Oregon Judge Says RIAA Made 'Honest Mistake,' Allows Subpoena 175

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In Arista v. Does 1-17, the RIAA's case targeting students at the University of Oregon, the Oregon Attorney General's motion to quash the RIAA's subpoena — pending for about a year — has reached a perplexing conclusion. The Court agreed with the University that the subpoena, as worded, imposed an undue burden on the University by requiring it to produce 'sufficient information to identify alleged infringers,' which would have required the University to 'conduct an investigation,' but then allowed the RIAA to subpoena the identities of 'persons associated by dorm room occupancy or username with the 17 IP addresses listed' even though those people may be completely innocent. In his 8-page decision (PDF), the Judge also 'presumed' the RIAA lawyers' misrepresentations were an 'honest mistake,' made no reference at all to the fact, pointed out by the Attorney General, that the RIAA investigators (Safenet, formerly MediaSentry) were not licensed, rejected all of the AG's privacy arguments under both state and federal law, and rejected the AG's request for discovery into the RIAA's investigative tactics."
Government

US Senate Passes PRO-IP Act 212

I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property writes "The Senate has passed the PRO-IP Act. While they stripped out the provision to have the DoJ act as copyright cops, it still contains increased penalties for infringement, civil forfeiture provisions, and creates an 'IP czar' to coordinate enforcement. Even though the civil forfeiture provisions are ostensibly intended for use against commercial piracy outfits, history indicates that they will probably get used against individuals at some point. Worse, because they left out the only part of the bill that Bush threatened to veto, it is expected to pass. It is going back to the House where they're expected to pass it on Saturday, after which the President will probably sign it. So, if you want to contact your representative, hurry." An anonymous reader notes that DefectiveByDesign.Org is mobilizing to fight this legislation. The Senate vote was unanimous. We've been following the progress of this bill for quite some time.
Government

Sarah Palin's Stance On Technology Issues 1115

Revolution Radio writes "BetaNews has a short description of what we might expect from Governor Palin regarding technology issues. She demonstrated her familiarity with the internet by initiating an online education program for state workers, using the web for government transparency, and a supporting the general concept of 'long-distance distribution of services' (similar to net neutrality?)." We've previously discussed Senator Joe Biden's tech voting record and compared the technology platforms of Obama and McCain. In addition to the above story about Palin, Betanews also has analyses of Obama, McCain, and Biden regarding tech policy.
Government

Don't Share That Law! It's Copyrighted 481

Nathan Halverson writes "California claims copyright to its laws, and warns people not to share them. And that's not sitting right with Internet gadfly, and open-access hero, Carl Malamud. He has spent the last couple months scanning tens of thousands of pages containing city, county and state laws — think building codes, banking laws, etc. Malamud wants California to sue him, which is almost a given if the state wants to continue claiming copyright. He thinks a federal court will rule in his favor: It is illegal to copyright the law since people are required to know it. Malamud helped force the SEC to put corporate filings online in 1994, and did the same with the patent office. He got the Smithsonian to loosen its claim of copyright, CSPAN to stop forbidding people from sharing its videos, and most recently Oregon to quit claiming copyright on state laws." Malamud's talk at Google ("All the Government's Information") is also well worth watching.
United States

McCain Picks Gov. Palin As Running Mate 1813

Many readers have written to tell us about McCain's choice of Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin as his VP choice. "Palin, 44, a self-described 'hockey mom,' is a conservative first-term governor of Alaska with strong anti-abortion views, a record of reform and fiscal conservatism and an outsider's perspective on Washington. [...] If elected, Palin would be the first woman US vice president, adding another historic element to a presidential race that has been filled with firsts. Obama, 47, is the first black nominee of a major US political party. The choice of a vice president rarely has a major impact on the presidential race. Palin will meet Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a debate in October."
The Courts

Congress Tries To Strip Power From Anti-Wiretap Judge 332

palegray.net writes "Congress is attempting to strip US District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker of his power following his ruling against the government regarding immunity for telecoms in the NSA wiretapping case. Walker was appointed to the bench by President Bush, and has attempted to enforce existing prohibitions against warrantless wiretapping. From the Wired article: 'Walker, the chief judge of the Northern District of California, affirmed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is the exclusive legal method for conducting surveillance inside the United States against suspected spies and [terrorists]. The Bush Administration argues that Congress's vote to authorize military force against Al Qaeda and the president's inherent war time powers were exceptions to the exclusivity provision.' The article makes the observation that Congress seems to be having difficulties bringing itself to enforce the laws that it has previously passed regarding wiretapping, and seems more interesting in silencing opposing viewpoints." Update: 07/06 16:15 GMT by SS: As several readers have noted, the vote would only limit Judge Walker with respect to this particular case. His other responsibilities would be unaffected.

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