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Patents

Notorious Patent Troll Sues Federal Trade Commission 102

Fnord666 writes with news that the notorious scanner patent troll MPHJ Technology caught the eye of the FTC, and decided to file a preemptive lawsuit (PDF) against the Federal government. From the article: As the debate over so-called "patent trolls" has flared up in Congress, MPHJ became the go-to example for politicians and attorneys general trying to show that patent abuse has spun out of control. ... The FTC was going to sue under Section 5 of the FTC Act, which bars deceptive trade practices. MPHJ says that the FTC is greatly overstepping its bounds. The patent-licensing behavior doesn't even amount to 'commerce' by the standards of the FTC Act, because the letters are not 'the offer of a good or sale for service,' argues MPHJ. Furthermore, MPHJ has a First Amendment right to notify companies that it believes its patents are being infringed."
Electronic Frontier Foundation

EFF Sues NSA, Justice Department, FBI 333

New submitter Jawnn writes "The Washington Post reports that the EFF has filed suit against the NSA in Federal Court in San Francisco, on behalf of multiple groups (court filing). Those groups include, 'Rights activists, church leaders and drug and gun rights advocates.' EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said, 'The First Amendment protects the freedom to associate and express political views as a group, but the NSA's mass, untargeted collection of Americans' phone records violates that right by giving the government a dramatically detailed picture into our associational ties. Who we call, how often we call them, and how long we speak shows the government what groups we belong to or associate with, which political issues concern us, and our religious affiliation. Exposing this information – especially in a massive, untargeted way over a long period of time – violates the Constitution and the basic First Amendment tests that have been in place for over 50 years.' Apparently, not everyone out there is believing the 'If you have nothing to hide' excuses being offered up from various government quarters."
The Courts

Copyright Trolls Sue Bloggers, Defense Lawyers 219

davecb writes "Prenda Law has commenced three defamation, libel and conspiracy suits against: defense lawyers, defendants and all the blogger and commentators at 'Die Troll Die' and 'Fight Copyright Trolls'. The suits, in different state courts, each attempt to identify anyone who has criticized Prenda, fine them $200,000 each for stating their opinions, and prohibit them from ever criticizing Prenda again."
Security

Blizzard Sued Over Battle.net Authentication 217

An anonymous reader writes "A man has initiated a class-action suit against Blizzard over a product used to shore up Battle.net security. Benjamin Bell alleges that Blizzard's sale of Authenticators — devices that enable basic two-tier authentication — represents deceptive and unfair additional costs to their basic games. (Blizzard sells the key fob versions for $6.50, and provides a free mobile app as an alternative. Neither are mandatory.) The complaint accuses Blizzard of making $26 million in Authenticator sales. In response, Blizzard made a statement refuting some of the complaint's claims and voicing their intention to 'vigorously defend' themselves."
The Courts

Zynga Sues EA For 'Anti-competitive' Practices 116

An anonymous reader writes "In early August, Electronic Arts sued Zynga for allegedly copying EA's Sims Social game. Zynga has now launched a counterattack, suing EA for 'anticompetitive and unlawful business practices, including legal threats and demands for no-hire agreements.' The company also accuses EA of copying a Zynga game called YoVille. Zynga has also demanded a jury trial to settle EA's claims."
Government

Wikileaks and Anonymous Join Forces Against US Intelligence Community 268

pigrabbitbear writes "The most recent bombshell of confidential documents dropped by infamous watchdog organization Wikileaks is already looking to have an enormous impact on our understanding of government security practices. Specifically, intimate details on the long-suspected fact that the U.S. has been paying a whole lot of money to have private corporations spy on citizens, activists and other groups and individuals on their ever-expanding, McCarthy-style naughty list. But perhaps more importantly, the docs demonstrate something very interesting about the nature of U.S. government intelligence: They haven't really got much of it."
Software

Ask Slashdot: Re-Entering the Job Market As a Software Engineer? 435

First time accepted submitter martypantsROK writes "It's been over 15 years since my main job was a software engineer. Since then I have held positions as a Sales Engineer, then spent a few years actually doing sales as a sales rep (and found I hated it) and then got into teaching. I am still a teacher but I want to really get back into writing code for a living. In the past couple of years I've done a great deal of Javascript, PHP, Ajax, and Java, including some Android apps. So here's the question: How likely would I be to actually get a job writing code? Is continual experience in the field a must, or can a job candidate demonstrate enough current relevance and experience (minus an actual job) with a multi-year hiatus from software development jobs? I'll add, if you haven't already done the math, that I'm over 50 years old."
Role Playing (Games)

Guild Wars 2 Devs Aiming For the Top 150

As various MMOs have been released over the past several years, their developers have been wary about the inevitable measuring against World of Warcraft, often saying that "second-best" is more than good enough for them. Not so for ArenaNet as they work on Guild Wars 2; they're aiming right for the top. And according to a detailed preview now up at Eurogamer, their effort is paying off : "Two huge and risky decisions have been made in its design: junking the 'holy trinity' of character class roles (protective 'tank', damage-dealer and healer) and doing away with the quest-style architecture for game content. Yet, in moment-to-moment play, Guild Wars 2 looks and feels instantly and reassuringly like a fantasy MMORPG – just a noticeably fresh one. It's a question of flow. Combat is still hotkey-based, but faster and smoother and more streamlined, involving more movement and positioning. The levelling curve is now an almost flat line, replacing the epic ascent with a steady journey where content, not advancement, is king."
The Courts

Pay Or Else, News Site Threatens 549

WED Fan writes "The North Country Gazette, a news blog, says users who read beyond a single page of an article must pay up or they will be tracked down. They don't have a pay wall. If you go beyond page 1, you owe them. From the article: 'A subscription is required at North Country Gazette. We allow only one free read per visitor. We are currently gathering IPs and computer info on persistent intruders who refuse to buy subscription and are engaging in a theft of services. We have engaged an attorney who will be doing a bulk subpoena demand on each ISP involved, particularly Verizon Droids, Frontier and Road Runner, and will then pursue individual legal actions.'"
Internet Explorer

Microsoft Aims To Close Performance Gap With Internet Explorer 9 477

Barence writes "Microsoft has unveiled the first details of Internet Explorer 9, promising that it will close the performance gap on rival browsers. The major newcomer is a revamped rendering engine that will tap the power of the PC's graphics card to accelerate text and graphics performance. 'We're changing IE to use the DirectX family of Windows APIs to enable many advances for web developers,' explains Internet Explorer's general manager, Dean Hachamovitch. As well as improving performance, Microsoft claims the hardware acceleration will enhance the appearance and readability of fonts on the web, with sub-pixel positioning that eradicates the jagged edges on large typefaces."
Education

UK University Making Universal Game Emulator 217

Techradar reports that researchers at the University of Portsmouth in England are working on a project to create a game emulator that will "recognise and play all types of videogames and computer files from the 1970s through to the present day." One of the major goals of the project is to preserve software from early in the computer age. David Anderson of the Humanities Computing Group said, "Early hardware, like games consoles and computers, are already found in museums. But if you can't show visitors what they did, by playing the software on them, it would be much the same as putting musical instruments on display but throwing away all the music. ... Games particularly tend not to be archived because they are seen as disposable, pulp cultural artefacts, but they represent a really important part of our recent cultural history. Games are one of the biggest media formats on the planet and we must preserve them for future generations."
The Internet

Canada Considering A Three Strikes And You're Off The Internet Policy? 470

Techdirt is reporting that Canada may be considering a "three strikes" policy which could see users internet access privileges revoked for file sharing violations. "Given how secretive the industry and the government have been about new copyright laws, perhaps this isn't too surprising. We do know that the industry was pushing for greater ISP liability as part of copyright law changes a few months back, so it wouldn't be surprising if ISPs were negotiating a "three strikes" type rule to avoid the liability issues. Of course, they probably want to keep it secret, as publicity (and resulting anger) about these types of laws in Europe has at least some politicians moving away from them. However, as the entertainment industry does keep succeeding in getting these types of laws to move forward, how long will it be before similar laws are proposed in the US, with "everyone else is doing it" as part of the reasoning?"

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