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SFLC Argues On Same Side As Microsoft 59

MCRocker writes in with news that, while a few weeks old, didn't get a lot of traction before the holidays. The Software Freedom Law Center is one of the staunchest defenders of FOSS out there. The SFLC is arguing on the same side as Microsoft in a patent case before the Supreme Court. The case, "Microsoft vs. AT&T," turns on whether U.S. patents should apply to software that is copied and distributed overseas. Groklaw has more nitty-gritty details. In the Linux-Watch article, the SFLC's legal director, Daniel Ravicher, is quoted: "I expect many people will be surprised that the Software Freedom Law Center has filed a brief with the Supreme Court in support of Microsoft. In this specific case, Microsoft and SFLC are both supporting the position that U.S. software patents have no right to cover activity outside of the United States, especially in places that have specifically rejected software patents."
The Courts

RIAA Drops Suit Against Santangelo 190

VE3OGG writes "The RIAA, in an expected motion, has recently dismissed the case against Patti Santangelo, one of the most famous targets of the RIAA lawsuits. The mother of five was described by the judge presiding as an 'internet-illiterate parent, who does not know Kazaa from kazoo.' While this is good news, the RIAA is still pursuing its case against two of Mrs. Santangelo's children. To make matters worse, the RIAA has also dismissed the case 'without prejudice', meaning that they could, in theory, take action against her again later on. The RIAA alleges that Santangelo's children downloaded and subsequently distributed more than 1,000 songs. The damages they seek are presently unknown"

10 Best IT Products Of 2006 223

digihome writes "CRN.com chooses the ten best new products of 2006, including the best development tools, server, notebook and storage device. Some of the choices may surprise you ... such as their choice for operating system of the year." From the article: "With Windows Vista, Microsoft has refreshed the user desktop experience. While debate rages over whether the five-year wait was worth it, the truth is Vista is pretty much the only game in town. One may question whether Vista should be bestowed with Product of the Year recognition in the operating system category. But the product unquestionably brings new features and capabilities to solution providers that in turn promise new revenue generation dialogues with end users."

MySpace, U.S. Address Sex Offenders Online 154

TitusC3v5 writes "According to BBC News, MySpace is attempting to block sex offenders by way a custom database that utilizes state sex offender registries. Sentinel Safe will let MySpace search US state and federal databases to seek out and delete MySpace profiles of registered sex offenders." From the article: "The company said the new service will be the first national database that brings together about 46 US state sex offender registers ... It will be available in the next 30 days. MySpace has not released information on its plans for tackling sex offenders using the service in other countries." This is on the heels of proposed legislation that would require sex offenders to keep their email on file. The addresses would presumably be used to restrict former criminals from accessing online community sites, but in an the era of easily obtainable email addresses it's hard to see how this would be effective.

Who Says Money Can't Buy Friends? 345

Courtney5000 writes "It looks like some users of popular networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook have stooped so low as to actually pay real money for friends. These friends aren't even real believe it or not. You can apparently choose from a selection of 'models' to leave you customized comments to look like you have friends and are popular online. This is unbelievable!"

Trusted Or Treacherous Computing? 208

theodp writes "Just because Richard Stallman is paranoid doesn't mean Microsoft's not out to get you. For a hint about the possible end-game of Microsoft's Trusted Computing Initiative, check out the patent application published Thanksgiving Day for Trusted License Removal, in which Microsoft describes how to revoke rights to render based on 'who the user is, where the user is located, what type of computing device or other playback device the user is using, what rendering application is calling the copy protection system, the date, the time, etc.' So much for Microsoft's you-should-have-control assurances."

A Master's In CS or a Master's In Game Programming? 278

Rustcycle asks: "I'm attending the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, which has just announced that they are offering a Master's Degree in their Games and Media Integration (GMI) program. There is a fair amount of overlap between the GMI curriculum and the CS courses, so I'm considering a switch in degrees. If you were hiring MS grads outside the game industry for visualization work, am I worth more to you with the more specialized program or would you be more interested in me if I had more exposure? Within the gaming industry, how much does a specialized degree compel a company to hire a recent grad?"

Google and Yahoo! Working Together On Better Web Indexing 94

Karzz1 writes "In an exclusive video interview with WebProNews, Yahoo and Google announced a collaborative site called sitemaps.org. Yahoo!'s Tim Mayer states in the video, 'This is something we are announcing tonight at around 9 PM tonight (Las Vegas) Google and Yahoo have gotten together to provide webmasters and publishers a unified way to send their content... let our search engines know about new and existing content.'"

Microsoft's Patent Pledge "Worse Than Useless" 140

munchola writes "The Software Freedom Law Center has declared that Microsoft's patent pledge to open source developers is 'worse than useless'. SFLC chief technology officer, Bradley Kuhn, has written to FOSS developers warning them that 'developers are no safer from Microsoft patents now than they were before'. According to Kuhn: 'The patent covenant only applies to software that you develop at home and keep for yourself; the promises don't extend to others when you distribute. You cannot pass the rights to your downstream recipients, even to the maintainers of larger projects on which your contribution is built.'"

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