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Free Software legal news


Read about copyright originality in the EU, publication of Library License, European Commissions proposal to reform the old data protection rules, iPad litigations and more.

Quick Navigation: › Copyright › Privacy › Open Standards and antitrust › Patents and designs › Free Operating Systems

The debate about copyright originality threshold is growing within European jurisdictions due to an expected decision of the Court of Justice of the EU (SAS v. World Programming). In January, the `Red Bus' case in the UK, and a decision on newspapers' status in Slovakia have shed light upon what exactly is copyrightable.

Indeed, a case in the UK over infringement of copyright in a photograph showing an iconic London red bus with Big Ben and Westminster as a black and white background, is raising arguments over originality and copyright doctrine about intent that could have important effects on software developers, as Andrew Katz explained.

Another case in Slovakia answered the issue of originality in newspapers articles negatively.

Library License

The Library License projects to give a way for publishers to grant non-commercial lending rights to libraries through a licensing framework. “Explicitly modeled on Creative Commons licenses with a similar eye towards simplicity and granularity,” Library Licenses could be constructed in several different ways. The most simple example is a straightforward grant, where libraries could acquire and then lend ebooks after they had been on the market for a period of time ranging from instantaneous to some number of years. See article by Kenny Whitebloom and the project's website.


Commission proposes a comprehensive reform of the data protection rules

The European Commission has proposed a comprehensive reform of the EU's 1995 data protection rules to strengthen online privacy rights and boost Europe's digital economy. A single law will do away with the current fragmentation and costly administrative burdens, leading to savings for businesses of around €2.3 billion a year. The initiative will help reinforce consumer confidence in online services, providing a much needed boost to growth, jobs and innovation in Europe. See website of European Commission.

Enter do-not-track (DNT) standard.

Neelie Kroes hopes that a standard known as “do not track” (DNT) will have a big role to play for the future of online privacy. Do Not Track is a technology and policy proposal that enables users to opt out of tracking by websites they do not visit, including analytics services, advertising networks, and social platforms. See Neelie Kroes' blog and the website of the project;

Google changes its privacy policy

With the new policy in place, Google is taking a more proactive approach towards getting “more relevant results.” With that blanket policy, users will be treated as a single user across all Google services. See article at The Next Web.

Open Standards and antitrust

iBooks Author EULA restrictions invite antitrust concerns

Apple's end user license agreement for the iBooks Author app has generated extensive controversy among authors and publishers. Namely, the agreement restricts paid distribution of "works" created with the software to the iBookstore only. See article at Ars Technica, article by Ed Bott and second article by Ed Bott.

Patents and designs

Intel to Buy Patents and Next Generation Video Codec Software From RealNetworks

RealNetworks, Inc. announced that it has signed an agreement to sell a significant number of its patents and its next generation video codec software to Intel Corporation for a purchase price of $120 million. Under terms of the sale, RealNetworks retains certain rights to continue to use the patents in current and future products. See RealNetworks' press release.

“To be clear, I’m a firm defender of actual property rights, even to an absolutist point. That’s exactly why I oppose the charade known as "intellectual property.” See article at OUDaily;

iPad litigation

Court of Appeal of the Hague rejected Apple's appeal, finding no infringement of their Community Design covering the iPad. On the other hand, Apple just but won part of the case in Germany where Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court upheld a preliminary injunction against the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 on the basis on basis of unfair competition law See article at Class 99 about Dutch litigation and press release of Dusseldorf court (DE).

Free operating systems

HP to release webOS as Free Software by Fall 2012

HP began executing its plan to deliver an open webOS by committing to a schedule for making the platform’s source code available under a Free Software license. The company aims to complete this milestone in its entirety by September. See HP's press release.