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EFF's Cell Phone Guide For US Protesters

ciaran_o_riordan You just ignored everything they try to solve (82 comments)

That doesn't address the desire to send text messages during protests without being eavesdropped .

Or the issue of documenting the event and not having your phone taken off you, thus losing all those pics/vids/etc.

about 4 months ago
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Telegram Not Dead STOP Alive, Evolving In Japan STOP

ciaran_o_riordan Why getting paid anonymously is better (144 comments)

All bank notes have a unique identifying number, so receiving banknotes without them being linked to you means you can be more sure that you're free to do whatever you like with that money (join a gay dating site, pay for health tests, donate to activist groups, etc.) without someone having a record linking you to your purchases.

It also cuts out the banks, who can be controlled by corrupt governments (i.e. all of them, to varying degrees) who can get your accounts frozen, even when doing so is illegal. Just ask Julian Assange. Sometimes private businesses (e.g. PayPal) can do this too.

about 4 months ago
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Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

ciaran_o_riordan Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (113 comments)

> you are frustrated by the negative tone, the airing of "dirty laundry," etc.

On the contrary. I'm disappointed that the blogger ignored the dirtier laundry and instead focussed on the attention grabbing stuff like monkey selfies.

He indeed proposes solutions, but he doesn't mention that similar things have been in discussion for years and there are known problems with these proposals.

That's what I call disingenuous. The author seems informed about Wikipedia, so he should know that his missing the target and spreading out of date ideas.

about 4 months ago
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Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

ciaran_o_riordan Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (113 comments)

(Thanks for the friendly reply, quite disarming, sorry I was a bit abrasive.)

The monkey-selfie story is a red flag for me because it's a honeypot for zero-effort journalists. The headlines come already half-written. It does have to get solved, but there are loads of other issues that are at least as important but are getting no attention from journalists because they'd take more work.

The proposed (and rejected) use of patented video formats is a much bigger story but it has no buzzwords and what picture are they going to show under the headline? Or, I'd be delighted to see an article ridiculing the quality of the articles about football/soccer players, which are written event-by-event by fans of that player and rarely given a top-down coherency review or any critical review at all. But that would also take time to research.

The blog entry's coverage of transparency/anonymity is also poor. Only one side is presented, and it's presented like it were an issue that WF has not yet tried to address. The truth is that it's been discussed to death and the blog entry's suggestions are mostly impossible. Some people need to be anonymous, and WF couldn't check everyone's identity even if there was consensus for it.

It's clear the author of that blog entry knows Wikipedia, so it's hard to imagine that he's unaware of the state of he anonymity debate, or that there are strong arguments for anonymity. So that's another red flag for disingenuous writing.

The suggestions regarding biographies of living persons too. The debate is much more advanced than what is presented in the blog entry, and it seems strange that the blog author doesn't know this.

(I haven't read reviews of Wikimania2014. I didn't even know it took place. The Wikimania conferences are a non-event for 99% of Wikipedia editors. That might explain lack of coverage in non-UK press.)

about 5 months ago
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Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

ciaran_o_riordan Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (113 comments)

I'm interested in those problems. I'm just not interested in being informed by a ranter who's selective coverage indicates that he has an agenda other than simply providing an overview of the issues in question. That sort of person might disingenuously provide out of date info, or leave out key facts.

He makes out like Wikipedia is screwing the world, and that contradicts my observations that Wikipedia is massively making the world a better place to live in. If someone tells me the sky is usually green, that person better impress me quickly before I stop listening.

> you've failed to admit that you're a hardcore Wikipedian yourself

Oh no! You've uncovered my secret which I mention on my homepage, which I often mention on slashdot, and which was surely obvious from the context. I've added it to my Slashdot bio too now. (I have 14,000+ edits spanning ten+ years)

about 5 months ago
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Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

ciaran_o_riordan Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (113 comments)

> the author also talks about very positive aspects of the event

Don't be distracted. He threw in a few kind words about the "sense of enjoyment" and he finishes by saying he didn't hate the conference. Surely that's not enough to make you think the author is objective?

On everything of substance the blog entry was moan, moan, moan.

I'm very interested in discussing Wikipedia's problems.* But I've no time for disingenuous rants like this one.

(* such as declining numbers of active editors, and the increasing rate at which edits are reverted by small groups of editors who think they "own" the consensus of the article, and the declining use of Talk pages, and the lack of control over bots.)

about 5 months ago
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Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

ciaran_o_riordan Re:Quit whaling on Jimmy (113 comments)

> Andreas Kolbe) is legit.

Well, this article he wrote is nonsense. I know nothing else about the guy.

He just takes every controversy and paints it as an unsolvable failure of the iron-fisted Wikimedia Foundation.

I hope he edits Wikipedia better than he writes blog entries.

about 5 months ago
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Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

ciaran_o_riordan Read the article, it's nonsense (113 comments)

The linked article is just tabloid journalism.

I wrote a comment about how the media experts were focussing on the wrong problems and how they clearly -surprisingly- knew very little about Wikipedia and its problems - BUT then I read the source article and found it's just an attack piece, cherry picking the least interesting parts of the conference and painting every controversy as being the fault of an iron-fist dictat from the Wikimedia Foundation.

What I learned: wikipediocracy is a nonsense website.

about 5 months ago
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Study Finds That Astronauts Are Severely Sleep Deprived

ciaran_o_riordan Did they try reading a book? (106 comments)

That helps me sometimes.

Oh, and no coffee late in the evening.

about 5 months ago
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Duolingo is a Free, Crowdsourced Language Learning App (Video)

ciaran_o_riordan How I'm learning German (75 comments)

FWIW, I'm also learning German. It's the fifth language I'm learning as an adult and it's definitely the toughest. I've never found any good software or edu-websites, I just use the old methods. I watch a lot of German telly:

* http://mediathek.daserste.de/s...
* http://www.zdf.de/Sendungen-vo...

Series are the easiest because you can get to know the characters and then they're kinda predictable so you can't get completely lost. The News is easy enough because there's lots of pictures and you'll know the context of most stories, but it doesn't teach you conversational German. Comedy can be the toughest. On Das Erste, there's a crime drama most Friday and Sunday nights called Tatort which is good because there's also a version for blind people ("hÃrfassung" - o-umlaut between h and r, if that doesn't display right), which has everything of the normal version plus one extra voice describing the visuals, so you hear a lot more words.

I also read German translations of books I've already read. And when I'm cooking I leave on WDR5 talk radio in the background, all to help develop a feel for how the language sounds when used correctly:

* http://www.listenlive.eu/germa...

And I do tandems with a native German:

* http://conversationexchange.co...

Oh, and of course I'm working my way through a book with grammar and exercises.

Yeh, German's a tough nut to crack alright. Unlike Spanish, you have to do a lot of grammar before you can really start building sentences (the declensions are what frustrate me most) but I think it's a language where your effort won't show at first, but then there's the breakthrough later.

about 6 months ago
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The Supreme Court Doesn't Understand Software

ciaran_o_riordan A big problem, but also the only missing piece (263 comments)

With regard to this, one helpful thing in the ruling is that the Court says that old and ubiquitous technologies don't count when judging if an abstract concept has been transformed into a patentable application of said abstract concept.

(Patent lawyers are up in arms about this, complaining that the Court has "mixed up article 101 (subject matter) with articles 102 (prior art) and 103 (obviousness)". To get more patents, they want to reduce the "abstract ideas" exception to a theoretical concept that only happens inside people's brains any patent application can pass.)

So Timothy's right (as usual), but still, at least we have the Justices acknowledging that algorithms shouldn't be patentable, and that "on a computer" doesn't make a non-patentable concept patentable. All we have to do is bridge that last gap and show them that all software is math:

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Softw...

For Alice v. CLS, more analyses listed at the end of this page:

http://en.swpat.org/wiki/Alice...

about 6 months ago
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US Supreme Court Invalidates Patent For Being Software Patent

ciaran_o_riordan I wrote the headline, and it's correct (220 comments)

I know the headline is correct because Gene Quinn is hopping mad. Quinn makes a living by obtaining software patents and always says he can draft around any limits imposed by the courts, but here's what he's saying today:

"an intellectually bankrupt opinion ... will render many hundreds of thousands of software patents completely useless ... On first read I donâ(TM)t see how any software patent claims written as method or systems claims can survive challenge."

http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2014...

I didn't want to trust my own reading, but I knew it was a big victory when I read Quinn's reaction.

about 6 months ago
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US Supreme Court Invalidates Patent For Being Software Patent

ciaran_o_riordan You've got ESP (220 comments)

Sorry, all you've got is me.

If anyone can help, I've been building this wiki for five years now without a break:

http://en.swpat.org/

(And I'm working on campaigns against software patents since 2003.)

about 6 months ago
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Wikipedia Forcing Editors To Disclose If They're Paid

ciaran_o_riordan Great. Protects me against my employer (135 comments)

Fantastic news.

I mention my Wikipedia activities in the "Other interests" section of my CV but I'm always worried that employers will misinterpret it as an offer to polish their image. With this rule change, if an employer does ask me to "Hey, since you know how this wiki thing works, can you correct some stuff?" I can say that I could but I'd have to declare it as being paid work.

That'll make them less interested, so I'm less likely to get put in that situation to begin with.

(Some other comments rubbished the idea because it won't get 100% compliance but they're missing the point. Improvement is improvement.)

about 6 months ago
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Ask Slashdot: Are You Apocalypse-Useful?

ciaran_o_riordan Designing models for 3D printers (737 comments)

Today's mass-scale manufacturing will collapse, and needs will change, so my bet is that it will be very useful to be the guy who can design models to be fed to 3D printers.

This is going to become a useful skill anyway in the next few decades, so it's not a bad investment for a hobby today.

Will lawyers be useful? (I know many slashdotters will laugh and say we'll be better off without them, but the new forms of society will need new rules and a new justice system - and programmers would do this as badly as lawyers would program.)

about 8 months ago
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Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage

ciaran_o_riordan Re:The blurb doesn't give enough for a discussion (144 comments)

Last I checked (a few years ago), the pretty much universally accepted theory of muscle growth is that muscle fibres suffer micro-tears during exercise, and these heal back slightly stronger than before. Bodybuilders inflict more micro-tears on their muscle fibres than other exercisers and then try to maximise nutrition, rest, and hormones afterwards to maximise the healing.

The observations might be valid in some sense (e.g. not incorrect) but it looks to me like an insignificant finding that's been dressed up to get press attention. I mean, I don't think anyone was under the impression that all-nighters were somehow good for you, or even neutral. A good question would be how much damage they do, and more importantly, what nutrition or what should be done before or after an all-nighter to reduce the negative effects.

This researcher's next shocking discovery will be that crossing the road carries a risk of death.

about 9 months ago
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Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage

ciaran_o_riordan Re:The blurb doesn't give enough for a discussion (144 comments)

I said muscles. You're talking about tendons. And your example is a corner case - most people who exercise never get tennis elbow. Even among those whose sport of choice is tennis!

about 9 months ago
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Research Suggests Pulling All-Nighters Can Cause Permanent Damage

ciaran_o_riordan The blurb doesn't give enough for a discussion (144 comments)

> anything that takes a small toll, may become measurable
> in aggregate after a given number of occurrences.

I think that's overly vague. Us animals have very resilient bodies. Our muscles get damaged during exercise but years of hard exercise doesn't wear our muscles away.

The article itself (or at least the blurb) is sensationalist in its use of "brain damage".

If I never did any all nighters, ok, maybe I would have avoided some "measurable" but insignificantly small amount of damage, but I would have failed some important exams and missed some project deadlines.

Similarly, I won't be giving up drink just because some study says it's not good for the brain.

about 9 months ago
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Open Source Initiative, Free Software Foundation Unite Against Software Patents

ciaran_o_riordan Re:both a misconception and irrelevant (105 comments)

> Narrowing what the Federal Circuit thinks is patentable, yes. Narrowing what the Supreme Court thinks is patentable, no.

The Supreme Court rarely narrows what it thinks. They look for ways to judge each case in a way that (they can claim) is consistent with prior rulings.

The Supreme Court had never ruled on the subject matter of Mayo or Myriad before. Until they rule on something, the patents are "valid" if the PTO grants them and if the courts uphold them. In those two cases, the Supreme Court's ruling means the PTO has to stop granting a certain category of patents, and the lower courts have to stop upholding them against product developers. That means patentable subject matter got narrowed.

about 10 months ago
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Open Source Initiative, Free Software Foundation Unite Against Software Patents

ciaran_o_riordan Re:both a misconception and irrelevant (105 comments)

> we can see pretty well which way they're leaning, based on Bilski and other cases.

If you check, you'll find that the last three subject matter cases taken by the Supreme Court have resulted in *narrowing* what is patentable.

The Mayo and Myriad cases narrowed subject matter very explicitly, and while I originally read Bilski was neutral, it did actually cause the CAFC to start rejecting certain types of previously-accepted patents, and Bilski is also the reason we're seeing this case today.

about 10 months ago

Submissions

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US Supreme Court invalidates patent for being software patent

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  about 6 months ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "The US Supreme Court has just invalidated a patent for being a software patent! To no fanfare, the Court has spent the past months reviewing a case, Alice v. CLS Bank, which posed the question of "Whether claims to computer-implemented inventions ... are directed to patent-eligible subject matter". Their ruling was just published, and what we can say already is that the court was unanimous in finding this particular software patent invalid, saying: "the method claims, which merely require generic computer implementation, fail to transform that abstract idea into a patent-eligible invention", and go on to conclude that because "petitioner’s system and media claims add nothing of substance to the underlying abstract idea, we hold that they too are patent ineligible". The 'End Software Patents' wiki has a page for commenting the key extracts and listing third-party analyses. Analysis will appear there as the day(s) goes on. Careful reading is needed to get an idea of what is clearly invalidated (file formats?), and what areas are left for future rulings. If you can help, well, it's a wiki. Software Freedom Law Center's website will also be worth checking in the near future."
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MPAA joins W3C; bigger anti-DRM push needed

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  about a year ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "The W3C has announced a new member: the MPAA. Oh. Which makes this a good time to see whatever happened to last Summer's campaign against DRM in HTML5. It's still there. W3C took a lot of criticism, but the plan hasn't changed. DRM ("Encrypted Media Extensions") was still there in the October 2013, and in the January 2014 drafts. Tim Berners-Lee is still defending DRM. For the technical details, there are many good pages. What's at stake? It'd be like Flash or Silverlight websites, but instead of being really hard to make free software viewers/browsers, it'll be almost impossible, not to mention possibly illegal in the many countries which prohibit "bypassing technical protection mechanisms". And our work to get governments to use open standards will end up used against us when free software can't tick all the boxes in a public tender that specifies a "W3C HTML5 based" DRM system. More pressure is needed. One very small act is to sign the no DRM in HTML5 petition. A good debate is: "What's more effective than a petition?" But please sign the petition first, then debate it. It's also worth considering giving to the annual appeal of FSF, the main organisation campaigning against this."
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Patent suit leads to 500,000 annoyed software users

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  about a year ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "A rare glimpse at the human harm of a software patent lawsuit: company receives 500,000 calls complaining about video quality after a video call system was forced to change to avoid a patent. That's a lot of people having a bad day. We don't usually hear these details because the court documents get ordered sealed and the lawyers only say what the companys' communication strategists allow. However, for VirnetX v. Apple, Jeff Lease decided to go the hearings, take notes, and give them to a journalist. While most coverage is focussing on the fines involved, doubling or halving Apple's fine would have a much smaller impact on your day than the removal of a feature from some software you like. Instead of letting the software patents debate be reduced to calls for sympathy for big companies getting fined, what other evidence is out there, like this story, for harm caused directly to software users?"
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New Zealand draft patent law rewritten after Microsoft meeting

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 2 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan writes "After two private meetings with Microsoft and IBM, New Zealand's proposed new patent legislation has been changed by "replacing an exclusion in clause 15(3A) (which relates to computer programs) with new clause 10A. Rather than excluding a computer program from being a patentable invention, new clause 10A clarifies that a computer program is not an invention for the purposes of the Bill". The difference is that the new 10A clause contains the "as such" loophole, the wording that is used by the European Patent Office to grant software patents. This is the same Patents Bill launched in 2009."
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New Zealand patent legislation rewritten after Microsoft meeting

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 2 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan writes "After two private meetings with Microsoft and IBM, New Zealand's proposed new patent legislation has been changed by "replacing an exclusion in clause 15(3A) (which relates to computer programs) with new clause 10A. Rather than excluding a computer program from being a patentable invention, new clause 10A clarifies that a computer program is not an invention for the purposes of the
Bill". This is the same Patents Bill launched in 2009."

Link to Original Source
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GPL in German court over routers

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan writes "Tomorrow, a German court will hear the case of AVM, a distributor of Linux-based routers, which seeks to block Cybits from distributing software that modifies the routers' software to add content filtering functionality. FSFE explains: "AVM justified its position using three arguments. First, they stated that their whole product software must be regarded as an entity under AVM copyright, and that this entity must not be modified. The position Mr Welte took was that the whole product software would in that case be a derivative work according to the GPL, and thus the whole product software should be licensed under the GNU GPL. AVM then switched to a second argument: that the software embedded on its DSL terminals consisted of several parts. According to Mr Welte, AVM could then not prohibit anyone from modifying or distributing the GPL licensed software parts. The final argument by AVM was that the software on their DSL terminals is a composition of several different programs, which, due to the creative process, would be a protected compilation and thus under the copyright of AVM and not affected by the copyleft of the GPL.""
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FSF on how to chose a license

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan writes "FSF have put together their license recommendations, beyond just their own licenses, for software, documentation, and other works: 'People often ask us what license we recommend they use for their project. We've written about this publicly before, but the information has been scattered around between different essays, FAQ entries, and license commentaries. This article collects all that information into a single source, to make it easier for people to follow and refer back to. The recommendations below are focused on licensing a work that you create — whether that's a modification of an existing work, or a new original work.'"
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What uprisings teach about social networking

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "A transcript is online (audio: mirrors) of a recent talk where Eben Moglen explains how Egypt and Tunisia highlight the need for decentralized, user-controlled social networking.

we are watching political movements of enormous value, capable of transforming the lives of hundreds of millions of people, resting on a fragile basis, like, for example, the courage of Mr. Zuckerberg, or the willingness of Google to resist the state [...] they're depending for their political survival in their movements for freedom on technology we know is built to sell them out. [...] if we don’t help them, they’ll get hurt.

"

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White House consults public on innovation

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "Ever wanted to tell Obama's policy advisers what you think of software patents? For this week only, the White Houses' policy advisors are taking input on the topic of innovation and the "digital highway". You can draft your responses on End Software Patents' wiki page, and you'll find info and arguments there too that might be useful. Getting a foothold for pushing software patent abolition in the USA is difficult, so let's make the most of this. A good submission has already been posted on Techdirt."
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Canada's highest court to rule on business methods

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 4 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "After last month's unfortunate ruling by Canada's Federal Court that Amazon's 1-click shopping idea could be patented, the Commissioner of Patents and the Attorney General of Canada have filed notice to Amazon.com inc (respondent) that an "appeal will be heard by the [Federal Court of Appeal] at a time and place fixed by the Judicial Administrator", probably Ottawa. This case, called Canada's Bilski, has been in the works since Amazon filed their patent application all the way back in 1998. Just like Bilski, the object of this case is what subject matter is and isn't patentable — a question which will create crucial case law, making participation in this case important. Anyone looking for more background, particularly those interested in helping to prepare an amicus brief for this case, is welcome at ESP's wiki page."
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Proposed Final ACTA Text Published

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 4 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "The US Trade Representative has published a text which, subject only to a last legal review, is proposed to be the final text of ACTA. The differences between this text and last month's, from the Tokyo round, are mostly cosmetic but there's an important positive change giving signatories the option of excluding patents from section 2. As for software patents, most harm has been avoided. If signatories make use of the section 2 exclusion option, there might be no harm at all. Lobbying for this will be important. Meanwhile, the many problems regarding Digital Restrictions Management, and the extra powers given to businesses to obtain personal and identifying information about accused copyright infringers "in the Digital Environment" are still there (mostly section 5). Earlier texts were much worse. The improvements in recent months are surely due to public outcry, leaving us indebted to the anonymous friends who scanned and leaked the various secret versions and the activists who made text versions and spread them across the Internet. There's a chance we can still influence the text in this legal review phase, but the bigger task ahead will be working on the national implementations. It's not yet clear what procedure the US will require for its own ratification."
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USPTO decides to lower obviousness standards

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 4 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "Anyone who feels that patent quality is just far too high nowadays will be glad to hear that the USPTO has decided to ditch four of their seven tests for obviousness. Whereas the 2007 guidelines said that an idea is considered obvious if it consisted of "[predictable] variations [...] based on design incentives or other market forces" or if there was "Use of a known technique [prior art] to improve similar devices (methods, or products) in the same way", the new guidelines do away with those tests. The classic "teaching-suggestion-motivation" test is still there, with two others. For software developers, silly patents are not the main problem, but they certainly aggravate the matter. As described in one patent lawyer's summary, this change will "give applicants greater opportunities to obtain allowance of claims.""
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Canada to grant Amazon's 1-click patent

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 4 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "More than twelve years after filing its application, Amazon is going to get it's one-click shopping patent in Canada. The application was shot down in court last year because of Canada's "tradition" of excluding business methods from patentability. However, on appeal, a higher court has ruled that this tradition doesn't exist and the patent's subject matter is valid. The patent office still has to re-examine the application, but given that it's been already approved as novel and non-obvious, and it has now been ruled to be patentable subject matter, the approval is just a formality. A bad decision for software and web developers in Canada."
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Gemalto joins phone patent fray

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 4 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "Confirming that "doing X on a phone" is the new "doing X on a computer", the mess of phone patent litigation just continues to expand. The lasted suit is from Gemalto, who have just announced filing a suit against Google, HTC, Samsung, and Motorola. Having all these legal fees filtering down to users is bad enough, but the real casualty here is phone user who adds some functionality. When all the litigation settles down, we'll be left with a dozen bruised companies who've paid dearly to stay in the game, and they won't be too keen on letting newcomers get in without paying the same. That's how megacorp patent suits affect individuals."
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USPTO considers Bilski and software patents

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 3 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "A month after the Supreme court rejected Bilski, the USPTO published updated Interim Guidance (pdf) and called for comment. Bilski wasn't as wide-reaching a ruling as most parties thought it would be, so a certain amount of textual digging is needed to find the aspects that can help us reduce software patenting at the USPTO and in future court cases. The End Software Patents campaign sent some such comments. FSF also published a call for participation and got cc'd on over 450 responses. When these comments are published on uspto.gov, and when the USPTO publishes its revised guidelines, we'll have a conservative idea of what effects Bilski will have."
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Big endorsements for free software

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 4 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "A new section of fsf.org has attracted big endorsements for free software: Who's using free software? The first high profile testimonies are from CERN, NYSE, US Dept. of Defense, European Commission, and Wikipedia. The theme is to prove that "the answer to the question, 'can my educational institution, my business, my government or the non-profit I support use free software?' It's a resounding yes!""
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Supreme's throw out Bilski patent

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 4 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "The US Supreme Court has finally decided the Bilski case! We've known that Bilski's patent would get thrown out; that was clear from the open mockery from the judges during last November's hearing. The big question is, since rejecting a particular patent requries providing a general test and explaining why this patent fails that test, how broad will their test be? Will it try to kill the plague of software patents? and is their test designed well enough to stand up to the army of patent lawyers who'll be making a science (and a career) of minimising and circumventing it? The judges have created a new test, so this will take some reading before any degree of victory can be declared. The important part is pages 5-16 of the PDF, which is the majority opinion. The End Software Patents campaign is already analysing the decision, and collecting other analyses. Some background is available at Late-comers guide: What is Bilski anyway?."
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New Zealand u-turns, will grant software patents

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 4 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "Due to lobbying by a group called NZICT, New Zealand's parliament is now set to let go of its proposal to ban software patents. Patent attorney Steven Lundberg announced the details in a blog entry. This was quickly deleted, but not before it got stored in Google cache. Here we can read that "Hon Simon Power has asked MED [Ministry of Economic Development] to work with the Parliamentary Counsel’s Office to redraft the section along the lines of the European Patent Convention." Which is exactly the opposite of March's announcement that "computer software should be excluded from patent protection as software patents can stifle innovation and competition, and can be granted for trivial or existing techniques" The background to this case gives every reason to be hopeful, if computer users in New Zealand get active again."
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Venture capitalists lobby against software patents

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 4 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "No matter which side the US Supreme Court's Bilski decision pleases, it will be just the beginning of the software patent debate in the USA — the other side will start a legislative battle. The lobbying has already begun with venture capitalist Brad Feld arguing against software patents, mailing a copy of Patent Absurdity to 200 patent policy setters. As Feld puts it, "Specifically, I'm hoping the film will bring you to an understanding of why patents on software are a massive tax on and retardant of innovation in the US." The patent lawyers and big patent holders often tell us that patents are needed to secure investment, so it's interesting to see now that venture capitalists are refuting that. And Brad Feld's not the only vocal one, there's a growing list."
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EPO rejects own software patents review

ciaran_o_riordan ciaran_o_riordan writes  |  more than 4 years ago

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) writes "For the past 19 months, the European Patent Office's highest board has been reviewing the legal validity of the software patents they grant. Many groups submitted amicus briefs in April 2009. The decision was announced today: we can't review that. The EPO's board ruled each of the four questions "inadmissible". They said they can only review the consistency of their granting, and they didn't find any significant inconsistencies. Their entire conclusion is "The referral of 22 October 2008 of points of law to the Enlarged Board of Appeal by the President of the EPO is inadmissible". Null and void, or spun another way, no change will result from this. Or, spun to another level, the EPO's astonishing press release: "EBoA confirms EPO approach to computer programs" — no mention of "inadmissible"."
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