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FCC Publishes "White Spaces" Rules 63

Stellian writes "The Federal Communications Commission adopted a Second Report and Order that establishes rules to allow new, sophisticated wireless devices to operate in broadcast television spectrum on a secondary basis at locations where that spectrum is open. It's the first time we have access to clear specifications for these devices, dubbed TVBDs — 'TV band devices' by the FCC. The published guidelines allow manufactures to create protocols and build compatible devices, which could be available in 18 Months, according to Larry Page. The full PDF text of this Second R&O is published on the FCC site."

Ted Stevens Loses Senate Re-Election Bid 337

JakartaDean writes "Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, famed Internet regulator, has lost his Senate seat. The AP is reporting that 'Stevens was declared the loser in Alaska on Tuesday night after a two-week-long process of counting nearly 90,000 absentee and early votes from across Alaska. With this victory, Democrat Mark Begich (the mayor of Anchorage) has defeated one of the giants in the US Senate by a 3,724-vote margin, a stunning end to a 40-year Senate career marred by Stevens' conviction on corruption charges a week before the election.' It's probably too early to tell what this means for Internet regulation, but at least there's a > 0 chance that the next committee chair will understand something about the Net."

Federal Circuit Appeals Court Limits Business-Method Patents 73

Zordak writes "The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has just issued its much-anticipated opinion in In Re Bilski [PDF]. This was a re-visit of the State Street issue of what constitutes patentable subject matter (including whether software and business methods are patentable). In summary, the court has affirmed and strengthened the 'machine-or-transformation' test, upholding the patent office's rejection of claims on a method for hedging risk in the field of commodities trading. Although the court refused to exclude software patents categorically, it is likely that the reasoning of this decision will be used to reject many software patents (note that some of the dissenting judges would have completely overturned State Street and tossed out all software and business method patents). Although not as sweeping as some had hoped for, it is certain that this decision, along with the Supreme Court's KSR decision last year, will lay a difficult mine field for those who want to patent software and business methods."

Paper Ballots Will Return In MD and VA 420

cheezitmike writes "According to a story in the Washington Post, 'Maryland and Virginia are going old school after Tuesday's election. Maryland will scrap its $65 million electronic system and go back to paper ballots in time for the 2010 midterm elections. In Virginia, localities are moving to paper after the General Assembly voted last year to phase out electronic voting machines as they wear out. "The battle for the hearts and minds of voters on whether electronic systems are good or bad has been lost," Brace said. The academics and computer scientists who said they were unreliable "have won that battle."'"

Viacom Puts the Daily Show Archive Online 153

tburton writes "Viacom has put the entire eight year run of the Daily Show with John Stewart online. The content is available from the official Daily Show site, and features clip rating, tags, and numerous community features. The whole thing is supported by relatively unobtrusive contextual ads. 'Viacom's decision to post its entire archive--while fighting YouTube in the courts--sets the scene for a battle between the established media players and their high profile entertainment brands against the user generated content sites, most notable YouTube. Also watching closely the Viacom experiment will be the telco IPTV industry which has seen the market place change rapidly as the quality of online video continues to improve, with at least one platform/site, Vimeo, already offering 1280X720 HD quality direct from the browser.'"

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