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The Courts

Landmark Ruling Gives Australian ISPs Safe Harbor 252

omnibit writes "Today, the Federal Court of Australia handed down its ruling in favor of the country's third largest ISP, iiNet. The case was backed by some of the largest media companies, including 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros. They accused iiNet of approving piracy by ignoring thousands of infringement notices. Justice Cowdroy said that the 'mere provision of access to internet is not the means to infringement' and 'copyright infringement occurred as result of use of BitTorrent, not the Internet... iiNet has no control over BitTorrent system and [is] not responsible for BitTorrent system.' Many Internet providers had been concerned that an adverse ruling would have forced themselves to police Internet traffic and comply with the demands of copyright owners without any legislative or judicial oversight."
The Internet

Domain Tasting "Officially Dead" Thanks To Cancellation Policy 102

Ars Technica is reporting that domain tasting has been all but eradicated now that the full penalty for excessive cancellations has taken effect. "In 2008, ICANN decided to act. It allowed domain registrars to withdraw as many as 10 percent of their total registrations; they would face penalties for anything above that. Initially, ICANN adopted a budget that included a charge of $0.20 for each withdrawal above the limit, which was in effect from June 2008 to July of this year. Later, it adopted an official policy that raised the penalty to $6.75, the cost of a .org registration; that took effect in July 2009. The results have been dramatic. Even under the low-cost budget provisions, domain withdrawals during the grace period dropped to 16 percent of what they had been prior to its adoption. Once the heavy penalties took hold, the withdrawal rate dropped to under half a percent."
Education

Texas Board of Education Supports Evolution 344

somanyrobots writes with this excerpt from the Dallas News: "In a major defeat for social conservatives, a sharply divided State Board of Education voted Thursday to abandon a longtime state requirement that high school science teachers cover what some critics consider to be 'weaknesses' in the theory of evolution. Under the science curriculum standards recommended by a panel of science educators and tentatively adopted by the board, biology teachers and biology textbooks would no longer have to cover the 'strengths and weaknesses' of Charles Darwin's theory that man evolved from lower forms of life. Texas is particularly influential to textbook publishers because of the size of its market, so this could have a ripple effect on textbooks used in other states as well."
The Courts

Judge Tells RIAA To Stop 'Bankrupting' Litigants 332

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "The Boston judge who has consolidated all of the RIAA's Massachusetts cases into a single case over which she has been presiding for the past 5 years delivered something of a rebuke to the RIAA's lawyers, we have learned. At a conference this past June, the transcript of which (PDF) has just been released, Judge Nancy Gertner said to them that they 'have an ethical obligation to fully understand that they are fighting people without lawyers ... to understand that the formalities of this are basically bankrupting people, and it's terribly critical that you stop it ...' She also acknowledged that 'there is a huge imbalance in these cases. The record companies are represented by large law firms with substantial resources,' while it is futile for self-represented defendants to resist. The judge did not seem to acknowledge any responsibility on her part, however, for having created the 'imbalance,' and also stated that the law is 'overwhelmingly on the side of the record companies,' even though she seems to recognize that for the past 5 years she has been hearing only one side of the legal story."

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