Grumbleduke writes "The UK's controversial Digital Economy Act survived its second court challenge today. Two ISPs had appealed last year's ruling that the measures included did not breach EU law and, for the most part, the Court of Appeal agreed, ruling in favor of the Government and the 10 unions and industry groups supporting the law in court. The decision was welcomed by the industry groups, but criticized by the UK's Pirate Party, whose leader pointed to the lack of evidence that the law would have any positive effects. A UK copyright specialist noted that the ISPs may still appeal the decision to the UK's Supreme Court, seeking a reference to the Courts of Justice of the European Union, and wondered if the law could now attract the same attention from the Internet as SOPA and ACTA. The law is still some way from being implemented, and the first notifications are not expected to be sent to alleged file-sharers before 2013, and the next steps could also be open to a legal challenge."
Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive
snydeq writes "A U.S. judge has ordered Motorola Mobility and Google to turn over information to Apple on Google's acquisition in 2005 of Android, its development of the Android OS and the proposed acquisition of Motorola. According to Motorola, the information Apple seeks regarding Google's acquisition of Motorola and Android is not relevant to any damages asserted in the case." This comes alongside news that Apple has offered licensing deals to Motorola and Samsung that would resolve some of the patent litigation. Apple is reportedly asking for $5-$15 per device sold.
shoutingloudly writes "Warner Brothers has just announced a new 'Disc-to-Digital' program to convert your DVDs into digital files that you can play on your internet-connected computers. As the helpful Public Knowledge graphics demonstrate, all you have to do is find a participating store, drive there, pay again for your movie, wait while it's ripped for you, drive home, and hope it works. This will surely have tech-savvy movie fans saying, 'Brilliant! I've been looking for an excuse to uninstall this free, 1-step DVD ripper that I can use in the comfort of my own home. This is much better than DMCA reform.'" In exchange for paying a bit more you might get a higher resolution copy (DRM encumbered and stored in "the cloud"). The launch process is absurdly cumbersome, but: "Later on, Internet retailers like Amazon.com will email customers to offer digital copies of DVDs they previously bought. Eventually, consumers will be able to put DVDs into PCs or certain Blu-ray players that will upload a copy, similar to the way people turn music CDs into MP3 files." Will the video distributors ever offer DRM-free files that you own? The music industry doesn't seem to be any worse off than they were when they insisted upon DRM.
An anonymous reader writes "Michael Geist reports that last week State of Maryland prosecutors were able to obtain a warrant ordering Verisign, the company that manages the dot-com domain name registry, to redirect the website to a warning page advising that it has been seized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The message from the case is clear: all dot-com, dot-net, and dot-org domain names are subject to U.S. jurisdiction regardless of where they operate or where they were registered. This grants the U.S. a form of 'super-jurisdiction' over Internet activities, since most other countries are limited to jurisdiction with a real and substantial connection."
ananyo writes "A landmark study involving U.S. miners that links cancer rates to diesel fume exposure has been published after a seventeen-year legal battle with an industry group. A February 27 Slashdot story had reported that lawyers for the mining industry had sent threatening letters to scientific journals advising them against publishing the study. Initiated in 1998, after the first of many legal delays, the study analyzed exposures in detail for more than 12,000 workers while controlling for smoking and other risk factors. In the end, the scientists found that miners faced a threefold risk of lethal lung cancer, and underground workers who were heavily exposed to diesel fumes faced a fivefold risk. The two concluding papers from the study are available in full."
Maddog Batty writes "Dave Gorman, UK comic and Flickr user, recently received a DMCA takedown notice for one of his own pictures which had become rather popular — 160,000 views + lots of comments. The takedown was in error (from a porn company) and Flickr allowed him to repost the image. However, the fallout is that all the original comments are now lost and the many links to the original picture are now broken. Sure, Flickr needed to remove the image, but shouldn't there be a way to reinstate it while keeping all the original comments and links?"
theodp writes "So, how does one search for images that aren't tagged with keywords? Google does offer its sometimes-spotty search by image, but what if you don't have an image handy that looks like what you're searching for? Microsoft, reports GeekWire, offers a solution that's 'a little like playing Pictionary with a search engine — drawing a sketch and seeing if the algorithm can return pictures that match it.' That's the concept behind Microsoft Research's patent-pending 'MindFinder' project, which has already been incorporated into a Windows Phone app called Sketch Match. A patent application made public Thursday notes that touch computing makes sketching easier than ever, making one wonder if we'll be 'giving Bing the finger' with Windows 8!"
angry tapir writes "An Oregon man has been convicted of seven courts of wire fraud for helping thousands of people steal Internet service. Ryan Harris, 26, of Redmond, Oregon, was convicted by a jury in U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts. He faces a prison term of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the seven counts."
inode_buddha writes "Randall Long, a senior attorney who led several antitrust investigations against Google, has been hired by Microsoft. From the article: 'The software giant told the Wall Street Journal yesterday that it hired Randall Long, an official at the FTC's Bureau of Competition. When he joins the software giant at the end of the month, Long will head up Microsoft's regulatory affairs division in Washington. Long was involved in FTC reviews of Google's acquisitions of both DoubleClick and AdMob. According to the Journal's unnamed sources, Long was especially outspoken about Google's AdMob acquisition, saying that the FTC should challenge the deal. His reservations were eventually set aside and the deal was approved in 2010.'"
An anonymous reader writes "An article in the Guardian, penned by Joss Wright and Tom Chatfield, discusses whether we — as in Internet users in general — are, or indeed are not, giving away way too much information about ourselves to large Corporations that profit handsomely from mining the info. The article talks about how contemporary internet companies — perhaps predictably — are run with a 'privacy is dead' motto. It considers what implications having all your private data out on the internet — where it can be seen, searched, shared, retransmitted, perhaps archived forever without your consent — has for the 'future of our society' (by which the authors presumably mean the society of the UK). The (rather long) article ends by mentioning that Gmail scans your email, that Facebook apps frequently send your private data right to the app developer, that iPhones are known to log your geographic location, and that some smartphone apps read your address book and messages, then dial home to transmit this info to the company that developed the app."
An anonymous reader writes "I'm starting a new job soon, and I will be issued a work laptop. For obvious reasons I cannot name any names, but I can state that I do expect my employer to have tracking software on the laptop, and I expect to not be the administrator on the device. That being said, I am not the kind of person who can just 'not browse the internet.' If I ever have to travel with this laptop, I may want to read an ebook or watch a movie or maybe even play a game. I can make an image of the drive, then wipe the machine, and restore it back to its former state if I ever have to return it. I can use portable apps off a usb key and browse in private mode. The machine will be encrypted, but I can also make myself my own little encrypted folder or partition perhaps. Are there any other precautions I could or should take?"
First time accepted submitter InsertCleverUsername writes "The Department of Commerce has announced a $10,000 contest for developers making apps to utilize Commerce and other publicly available data and information to support American businesses. Developers must use at least one Department of Commerce dataset to create an application that assists businesses and/or improves the service delivery of Business.USA.gov to the business community. Developers may choose any platform. A list of developer-friendly data sets can be found on the Business Data and Tools page of Data.gov."
theodp writes "Over at Salon, Annie Keeghan does an Upton Sinclair number on the math textbook industry. In recent years, Keeghan explains, math has become the subject du jour due to government initiatives and efforts to raise the rankings of lagging U.S. students. But with state and local budgets constrained, math textbook publishers competing for fewer available dollars are rushing their products to market before their competitors, resulting in product that in many instances is inherently, tragically flawed. Keeghan writes: 'There may be a reason you can't figure out some of those math problems in your son or daughter's math text and it might have nothing at all to do with you. That math homework you're trying to help your child muddle through might include problems with no possible solution. It could be that key information or steps are missing, that the problem involves a concept your child hasn't yet been introduced to, or that the math problem is structurally unsound for a host of other reasons.' The comments on Keeghan's article are also an eye-opener — here's a sample: 'Sales and marketing budgets are astronomical because the expenses pay off more than investments in product. Sadly, most teachers are not curriculum experts and are swayed by the surface pitches. Teachers make the decisions, but are not the users (students) nor are they spending their own money. As a result, products that make their lives easier and that come with free meals and gifts are the most successful.' So, can open source or competitions build better math textbooks?"
Zordak writes "Patent blogger Dennis Crouch writes on Patently-O of a catch-22 for attorneys. Patent attorneys are required to submit all prior art that they know of to the patent office. Failing to do so is an ethical violation, and can result in a patent being invalidated. But now the Hoboken Publishing Company and the American Institute of Physics are suing a major patent firm for copyright infringement, because they submit articles to the patent office without paying a separate royalty."
PatPending writes with this excerpt from TorrentFreak: "The RetroShare network allows people to create a private and encrypted file-sharing network. Users add friends by exchanging PGP certificates with people they trust. All the communication is encrypted using OpenSSL and files that are downloaded from strangers always go through a trusted friend. In other words, it's a true Darknet and virtually impossible to monitor by outsiders. RetroShare founder DrBob told us that while the software has been around since 2006, all of a sudden there's been a surge in downloads. 'The interest in RetroShare has massively shot up over the last two months,' he said."