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The Courts

RIAA's Throwing In the Towel Covered a Sucker Punch 411

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The RIAA threw in the towel, all right, but was only doing it in preparation for throwing a sucker punch. After dropping its 'making available' case, Warner v. Cassin, before Judge Robinson could decide whether to dismiss or not, it was only trying to do an 'end run' (if I may mix my sports metaphors) around the judge's deciding the motion and freezing discovery. The RIAA immediately, and secretly, filed a new case against the family, calling this one 'Warner v. Does 1-4.' In their papers the lawyers 'forgot' to mention that the new case was related. As a result, Does 1-4 was assigned to another judge, who knew nothing about the old case. The RIAA lawyers also may have forgotten that they couldn't bring any more cases over this same claim, since they'd already dismissed it twice before. Not to worry, NYCL wrote letters to both judges, reminding them of what the RIAA lawyers had forgotten."
The Courts

Jack Thompson Served With Order to Show Cause 299

cli_rules! writes "DailyTech has reported that Jack Thompson has been ordered to explain himself. 'Therefore, it is ordered that you shall show cause on or before March 5, 2008, why this Court should not find that you have abused the legal system process and impose upon you a sanction for abusing the legal system, including, but not limited to directing the Clerk of this Court to reject for filing any future pleadings, petitions, motions, letters, documents, or other filings submitted to this Court by you unless signed by a member of The Florida Bar other than yourself.'"

US Bot Herder Admits Infecting 250K Machines 206

AceCaseOR writes "In Los Angeles criminal court, security consultant John Schiefer, 26, has admitted infecting the systems of his clients with viruses to form a botnet containing a maximum of 250,000 systems. Schiefer used his zombies to steal users' PayPal usernames and passwords to make unauthorized purchases, as well as to install adware on their computers without their consent. Schiefer agreed to plead guilty to four felony charges of accessing protected computers to commit fraud, disclosing illegally intercepted electronic communications, wire fraud, and bank fraud. He will be sentenced Dec. 3 and faces up to 60 years in prison and a fine of $1.75 million."

Nigerian Government Nixes Microsoft's Mandriva Block 327

An anonymous reader writes "After trying to bribe a local supplier with a $400,000 marketing contract, Microsoft has still apparently lost out in trying to woo Nigeria's government to use Windows over Linux. Microsoft threw the money at the supplier after it chose Mandriva Linux for 17,000 laptops for school children across Nigeria. The supplier took the bait and agreed to wipe Mandriva off the machines, but now Nigeria's government has stepped in to stop the dirty deal."
The Internet

Comcast Confirmed as Discriminating Against FileSharing Traffic 532

An anonymous reader writes "Comcast has been singled out as discriminating against filesharing traffic in quantitative tests conducted by the Associated Press. MSNBC's coverage of the discovery is quite even-handed. The site notes that while illegal content trading is a common use of the technology, Bittorrent is emerging as an effective medium for transferring 'weighty' legal content as well. 'Comcast's technology kicks in, though not consistently, when one BitTorrent user attempts to share a complete file with another user. Each PC gets a message invisible to the user that looks like it comes from the other computer, telling it to stop communicating. But neither message originated from the other computer -- it comes from Comcast.'" This is confirmation of anecdotal evidence presented by Comcast users back in August.
The Courts

Racketeering Trial of MS and Best Buy Can Proceed 179

mcgrew (sm62704) writes with news that the Supreme Court has rejected an appeal by Microsoft and a unit of Best Buy to dismiss a lawsuit alleging violation of racketeering laws. This means the class-action complaint can go to trial. The case was filed in civil court and the companies, with the US Chamber of Commerce behind them, wanted the Supreme Court to put the brakes on the expanding use of RICO laws in civil filings. The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act was designed to fight organized crime, but in recent years more than 100 times as many civil as federal RICO cases have been filed.

Canadian Copyright Official Dumped Over MPAA Conflict 215

An anonymous reader writes "The Canadian government's top copyright policy maker has been moved aside after revelations that she was in a personal relationship with Hollywood's top Canadian lobbyist. The development is raising questions about how the MPAA got an anti-camcording bill passed in only three weeks and what it means for the introduction of a Canadian DMCA."
It's funny.  Laugh.

Police Busted When Tracking Device Found On Car 367

uh oh notes a story from Down Under where a police investigation came to a screeching halt as a man being investigated by the police found tracking devices in two of his cars, ripped them out, and listed them on an auction site. "Ralph Williams, of Cromwell, said he found the devices last week in his daughter's car, which he uses, and in his flatmate's car after the cars were seized by police and taken away for investigation."

AMD NDA Scandal 187

crazyeyes writes "Just two weeks ago, a Thai journalist walked out of the hush-hush AMD event in Singapore over a controversial NDA that required him to 'send any stories to the vendor before his newspaper can publish it.' AMD categorically denied it happened, but today, we not only have proof that it happened, we also have the sordid details of the entire affair. Here's a quote from the editorial: 'First off, the non-disclosure agreement covered everything confidential said or written over the next two years on the product, and had a duration of five years, during which anything published or used in marketing would have to receive written approval from AMD before it could be used. Worse, at the end of the five years, all copies of the information made would have to be returned to the chipmaker.'"

Belgium May Prosecute the Church of Scientology 755

sheean.nl writes "A Belgian prosecutor recommended after a 10-year investigation that the government prosecute the church of Scientology. The church is accused of being a criminal organization involved in extortion, fraud, unfair trading, violation of privacy laws, and unlawfully practicing medicine. Both the Belgian and the European branches of the church should be brought to court, according to the authorities. The investigation was started in 1997 after former Scientologists complained about intimidation and extortion by the church. Other European countries such as Germany have problems with Scientology, but in the US it is officially recognized as a religion. Scientology has 10 million members including high-profile followers such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta." Scientology has long used heavy-handed legal and other tactics to suppress opposition on the Net.

Researchers Crack Every Certified CA Voting Machine 154

ewhac writes "The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that computer security researchers throughout the University of California system managed to crack the security on every voting machine they tested that has been approved for use in the state. The researchers are unwilling to say how vulnerable the machines are, as the tests were conducted in an environment highly advantageous to the testers. They had complete access to the devices' source code and unlimited time to try and crack the machines. No malicious code was found in any of the machines, but Matt Bishop, who led the team from UC Davis, was surprised by the weakness of the security measures employed. The tests were ordered by Secretary of State Debra Bowen, who has until Friday of next week to decide whether to decertify any of the machines for use in the upcoming Presidential primary election."

Security Researcher Chases Virus Maker Off the Net 188

An anonymous reader writes "There is a great writeup over on CNET covering the pursuit of a virus writer who created a fake Grand Theft Auto game, crippling PCs by causing them to endlessly reboot. Despite the police apparently not being very interested, a security researcher pursued his man anyway, culminating in a teary eyed 'I'm leaving the internet' post from the virus writer himself. Awesome stuff, and one in the eye for the bad guys (for once)."

CEO Questionably Used Pseudonym to Post Online 187

jpallas writes "The Wall Street Journal reports that court filings by the FTC about Whole Foods' plan to acquire Wild Oats reveal an unusual detail: The CEO of Whole Foods regularly posted to a Yahoo! stock bulletin board under a pseudonym. His alter ego was feisty, to say the least, and regularly disparaged the company that he later decided to acquire. A former SEC chairman called the behavior 'bizarre and ill-advised, even if it isn't illegal.' This certainly raises questions about online rights to free speech and anonymity, especially when the line between free speech and regulated speech depends on who is speaking as much as what they are saying."
The Courts

Courts Reject Tech Corporation Bans on Class Action Suits 102

Frosty Piss writes "Class action waivers included in cell phone companies' contracts with customers are invalid in Washington State because they violate the state's Consumer Protection Act, the state Supreme Court ruled Thursday. Five plaintiffs accused Cingular of overcharging customers between $1 and $40 per month in roaming and hidden charges. Cingular had an arbitration clause that required individual arbitration and prohibited class action litigation or class action arbitration. From the article: 'In another class action-related ruling issued Thursday, the high court unanimously ruled in favor of a couple that filed a class action suit against America Online, Inc., claiming the Internet provider created and charged them for secondary membership accounts that they didn't want.'"
The Courts

MediaDefender Denies Entrapment Accusations 104

Ortega-Starfire writes "We've previously discussed the subject of MediaDefender setting up a site to catch movie pirates. Ars Technica covers the response from MediaDefender, which basically states the entire thing was a mistake and was only an internal site they forgot to password protect, and that they were not using this with the MPAA. The article asks: 'If this is true, why did MediaDefender immediately remove all contact information from the whois registry for the domain? Saaf said that after everything hit the fan, the company decided to take everything on the site down because it was afraid of a hacker attack or "people sending us spam." Yes, spam. The MPAA's Elizabeth Kaltman also chimed in to say that they had no involvement with MiiVi: "The MediaDefender story is false. We have no relationship with that company at all," she told Ars.'"

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"The way of the world is to praise dead saints and prosecute live ones." -- Nathaniel Howe