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Copyrights on APIs (Java) Update

Filed under
Development
Legal
  • No do-overs! Appeals court won’t hear $8.8bn Oracle v Google rehash

    Over eight years of feuding between Oracle and Google over the use of Java code in Android may be nearing its end following a Tuesday court ruling.

    The US Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has declined [PDF] to re-hear the case in which it found Google to be in violation of Oracle’s copyright on Android API code. The Chocolate Factory faces a demand from Oracle for $8.8bn in damages.

    Tuesday’s ruling means that the only remaining hope for Google to avoid a massive payout to Oracle is a hearing and decision from the US Supreme Court, something Google said it will pursue after today's verdict.

    "We are disappointed that the Federal Circuit overturned the jury finding that Java is open and free for everyone," Google told The Register.

  • Federal Circuit denies Oracle v Google en banc rehearing

    Google has already said it will appeal to the Supreme Court in the latest development in the dispute over unauthorised use of 37 packages of Oracle’s Java application programming interface

Open-source licensing war: Commons Clause

Filed under
OSS
Legal

Most people wouldn't know an open-source license from their driver's license. For those who work with open-source software, it's a different story. Open-source license fights can be vicious, cost serious coin, and determine the fate of multi-million dollar companies. So, when Redis Labs added a new license clause, Commons Clause, on top of Redis, an open-source, BSD licensed, in-memory data structure store, all hell broke loose.

Why? First, you need to understand that while you may never have heard of Redis, it's a big deal. It enables real-time applications such as advertising, gaming financial services, and IoT to work at speed. That's because it can deliver sub-millisecond response times to millions of requests per second.

But Redis Labs has been unsuccessful in monetizing Redis, or at least not as successful as they'd like. Their executives were discovering, like the far more well-known Docker, that having a great open-source technology did not mean you'd be making millions. Redis' solution was to embrace Commons Clause.

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GPL Violations Cost Creality a US Distributor

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OSS
Legal

One of the core tenets of free and open source software licenses is that you’re being provided source code for a project with the hope that you’ll “pay it forward” if and when you utilize that code. In fact some licenses, such as the GNU Public License (GPL), require that you keep the source code for subsequent spin-offs or forks open. These are known as viral licenses, and the hope is that they will help spread the use of open source as derivative works can’t turn around and refuse to release their source code.

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Deutsche Bahn Intercity software under EUPL

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OSS
Legal

This software, distributed under the EUPL, is the open European Train Control System (OpenETCS), the signalling and control component of the European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS). It is kind of positive train control, replacing the many incompatible safety systems previously used by European railways. It is becoming a standard that was also adopted outside Europe and is an option for worldwide application. It is managed by the European Union Agency for Railways (ERA) and it is a legal requirement that all new, upgraded or renewed tracks and rolling stock in the European railway system should adopt it, possibly keeping legacy systems for backward compatibility

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The Commons Clause – Helpful New Tool or the End of the Open Source as We Know it?

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Legal

Almost nothing inspires a spirited discussion among the open source faithful as much as introducing a new open source license, or a major change in an existing license’s terms. In the case of version 3 of the GPL, the update process took years and involved dozens of lawyers in addition to community members. So, it’s no surprise that the pot is already boiling over something called the “Commons Clause.” How energetically? Well, one blog entry posted yesterday was titled The Commons Clause Will Destroy Open Source. The spark that turned up the heat was the announcement the same day by RedisLabs that it was adopting the license language.

The clause itself is short (you can find it here, together with an explanatory FAQ). It was drafted by Heather Meeker, an attorney with long open source involvement, in conjunction with “a group of developers behind many of the world’s most popular open source projects.”

It’s also simple in concept: basically, it gives a developer the right to make sure no one can make money out of her code – whether by selling, hosting, or supporting it – unless the Commons Clause code is a minor part of a larger software product. In one way, that’s in the spirit of a copyleft license (i.e., a prohibition on commercial interests taking advantage of a programmer’s willingness to make her code available for free), but it also violates the “Four Freedoms” of Free and Open Source software as well as the Open Source Definition by placing restrictions on reuse, among other issues.

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Stop Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh to protect free software!

Filed under
GNU
Legal

United States Supreme Court judges serve from the time they are appointed until they choose to retire -- it's a lifetime appointment. One judge recently stepped down, and Brett Kavanaugh was nominated to fill the empty seat. He comes with a firm stance against net neutrality.

Last year he wrote:

Supreme Court precedent establishes that Internet service providers have a First Amendment right to exercise editorial discretion over whether and how to carry Internet content.

Here, Kavanaugh argues that controlling the way you use the Internet is a First Amendment right that ISPs -- companies, not people -- hold. The First Amendment, which guarantees Americans the right to free speech, freedom of the press, and freedom to congregate, is one of the most dearly-held amendments of the United States Constitution. With this statement, he says that net neutrality protections -- policies that prevent companies from "editorializing" what you see on the Web -- is a violation of the Constitution. He believes net neutrality is unconstitutional. We know he's wrong.

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Also: LibreJS 7.15 released

EA Kills "Open Source" Version Of SimCity 2000

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OSS
Legal
  • Electronic Arts shuts down the open source SimCity 2000 fan remake

    Electronic Arts has taken down the open source fan remake of SimCity 2000, OpenSC2K. According to the DMCA notice, OpenSC2K uses assets from SimCity 2000 and since these assets are under copyrights, they should not be used in free remakes or projects.

  • EA Takes Down ‘Open Source’ SimCity 2000 Remake

    Electronic Arts has asked GitHub to remove a fan-created remake of the classic SimCity 2000 release. While the original game is a quarter-century old, the publisher points out that the assets are not free to use, adding that a copy of the game can still be purchased legally.

  • EA Kills "Open Source" Version Of SimCity 2000

    Earlier this year, a game called OpenSC2K was released on GitHub, claiming to be a free, open source version of Maxis’ classic. Turns out it wasn’t as open source as it could have been, though, because EA have had the game removed from the platform.

    As TorrentFreak report, the art assets used in OpenSC2K were lifted straight from the 1993 original, so EA have filed a DMCA request against the project that led to its removal (remember that SimCity 2000 is still commercially available on Origin).

LibreOffice With Microsoft DRM and a Tax

Filed under
LibO
Microsoft
Legal

Licensing With GPL: Greater Certainty

Filed under
GNU
Red Hat
Legal
  • A Movement Builds as a Diverse Group of 14 Additional Leaders Seek Greater Predictability in Open Source Licensing

    Today’s announcement demonstrates the expanded breadth and depth of support for the GPL Cooperation Commitment. Companies adopting the commitment now span geographic regions, include eight Fortune 100 companies, and represent a wide range of industries from enterprise software and hardware to consumer electronics, chip manufacturing to cloud computing, and social networking to automotive. The companies making the commitment represent more than 39 percent of corporate contributions to the Linux kernel, including six of the top 10 corporate contributors.1

  • ARM: Arm joins industry leaders in commitment to fair enforcement of open source licenses

    Today, Red Hat announced that several leading technology companies, including Arm, are joining a diverse coalition of organizations that have come together to promote greater predictability in open source license enforcement. Alongside Amazon, Canonical, Linaro, Toyota, VMware and many others we have committed to ensure fair opportunity for our licensees to correct errors in compliance with their GPL and LGPL licensed software before taking action to terminate the licenses.

  • Debian "stretch" 9.5 Update Now Available, Red Hat Announces New Adopters of the GPL Cooperation Commitment, Linux Audio Conference 2018 Videos Now Available, Latte Dock v0.8 Released and More

    Red Hat announced that 14 additional companies have adopted the GPL Cooperation Commitment, which means that "more than 39 percent of corporate contributions to the Linux kernel, including six of the top 10 contributors" are now represented. According to the Red Hat press release, these commitments "reflect the belief that responsible compliance in open source licensing is important and that license enforcement in the open source ecosystem operates by different norms." Companies joining the growing movement include Amazon, Arm, Canonical, GitLab, Intel Corporation, Liferay, Linaro, MariaDB, NEC, Pivotal, Royal Philips, SAS, Toyota and VMware.

Codecs and Patents

Filed under
Moz/FF
OSS
Legal
  • An Invisible Tax on the Web: Video Codecs

    Here’s a surprising fact: It costs money to watch video online, even on free sites like YouTube. That’s because about 4 in 5 videos on the web today rely on a patented technology called the H.264 video codec.

    A codec is a piece of software that lets engineers shrink large media files and transmit them quickly over the internet. In browsers, codecs decode video files so we can play them on our phones, tablets, computers, and TVs. As web users, we take this performance for granted. But the truth is, companies pay millions of dollars in licensing fees to bring us free video.

    It took years for companies to put this complex, global set of legal and business agreements in place, so H.264 web video works everywhere. Now, as the industry shifts to using more efficient video codecs, those businesses are picking and choosing which next-generation technologies they will support. The fragmentation in the market is raising concerns about whether our favorite web past-time, watching videos, will continue to be accessible and affordable to all.

  • AV1, Opportunity or Threat for POWER and ARM Servers?

    While I haven’t seen an official announcement, Phoronix reported that the AV1 git repository was tagged 1.0, so the launch announcement is imminent. If you haven’t heard about it already, AOMedia Video 1 (AV1) is an open, royalty-free video coding format by the Alliance for Open Media.

  • VP9 & AV1 Have More Room To Improve For POWER & ARM Architectures

    Luc Trudeau, a video compression wizard and co-author of the AV1 royalty-free video format, has written a piece about the optimization state for video formats like VP9 and AV1 on POWER and ARM CPU architectures.

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