Paulo Coehlo, the highly-acclaimed Brazilian novelist behind The Alchemist, has more than 10 million “likes” on his Facebook page and almost 7 million followers on Twitter. A few hours ago, all those social media fans saw Mr. Coehlo share a manifesto on Facebook and Twitter. He also made it the background of his Twitter profile.
Since Mr. Coehlo included his name in big, red font at the bottom of the post, his followers could be forgiven for assuming he had written it. However, the manifesto is actually the copyrighted work of Holstee, a New York City-based lifestyle goods company that describes itself as “pursuing our dream for a sustainable & united planet.”
The FTC reportedly won’t announce its decision regarding its antitrust investigation until 2013, rather than this week as was originally planned. Hey, might as well not ruin anyone’s holiday over this. [Bloomberg]
If you read this, you’ll never rent a computer for anything ever again. [Ars Technica]
Prominent techies like Fred Wilson are backing Bloomberg’s demand for a gun safety plan. [A VC]
The U.K. now has a special crime unit focused wholly on copyright violators, which means this classic IT Crowd episode is actually coming true. [The Verge]
IBM is pretty sure computers will have “touch, taste, sight, sound and smell” within five years. In related news, IBM is about to learn you can’t teach good taste. [Washington Post]
When Lawyers Send Letters
Earlier this month, Judge William Alsup issued a demand for both parties in the Google v. Oracle patent dispute: Provide a list of any bloggers, journalists, or other commentators on the payroll. Paid Content reports that the two companies have now filed their responses. Google insists it has not paid anyone for positive coverage, while Oracle admitted to hiring patents blogger Florian Mueller as a “consultant on competition-related matters.”
The case itself is mostly done, with Google emerging largely victorious. At this point, the two parties are arguing over whether Oracle has to pay Google’s court costs.
Google issued this double-pinky swear:
They See Me Trollin'
Plenty of people have been sued for illegal downloading. But an increasing number of defendants are basically giving plaintiffs the finger, in the form of countersuits. Today TorrentFreak offers up yet another example, that of a put-upon Colorado man who’s filed a lengthy countersuit demanding millions in damages and also a public apology in a local newspaper.
Presumably he also faxed the company a handwritten note saying, “And that’s what’s up.”
When Copyright's Wrong
In the two years since U.S. customs and immigration officials came knocking on his dorm room door, Richard O’Dwyer has become something of a representative figure in the fight between Hollywood heavyweights and the Internet.
But a new ally has stepped foward to support the “unlikely poster boy for a culture war.” Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has decided to intervene on Mr. O’Dwyer’s behalf, launching a campaign on Change.org this weekend to stop the U.S. from extraditing him on copyright allegations.
The sun was still setting when The Observer rounded the corner under The High Line for IAC’s Internet Week closing party, co-hosted by Aereo, a provocative new startup that will allow users to view broadcast content on their computers, smartphones and tablets. Off the drab West Side Highway, the Frank Gehry-designed building shimmered like a landing dock for a space ship–as if the top could twist off and whir its way into the atmosphere. Will Arnett and Wilmer Valderrama walked the red carpet. Dolled-up in pale pink, Allison Williams (the Miranda to Lena Dunham’s Carrie) took Barry Diller’s elbow as she navigated the crowd.
As the origin myth has it, Mr. Diller’s transformation from a Hollywood mogul to Internet soothsayer for this new digital era started with an Apple PowerBook. “No question that his relationship with his little screen, which is irritating to everybody in the room, has altered his life,” his closest confidante and now wife Diane von Furstenberg told The New Yorker some years back.
It was the early ’90s—right around the time Rupert Murdoch refused to make Mr. Diller a principal at Fox, the fabled fourth network Mr. Diller pioneered when competitors insisted that three would do just fine.
After a partial ruling on the question of copyright infringement, the Oracle v. Google saga continues. But as of yet, there’s no answer to the question everyone’s asking: Are APIs copyrightable? And if they are, what does that mean for the tech industry?
Background: Oracle claims that, when Google built the Android platform, the company infringed on Java-related copyrights and patents (acquired by Oracle when it bought Sun). This first phase of the case deals specifically with the copyright allegations and, as Wired points out, Judge William Alsup has instructed the jury to assume for the purposes of the trial that APIs can be copyrighted. Mr. Alsup will ultimately have to make that call himself.
When Copyright's Wrong
Earlier this week, New York Magistrate Judge Gary Brown issued a landmark ruling in one of the many mass-BitTorrent lawsuits for copyright infringement, calling the lawsuit a “waste of judicial resources” for insufficient evidence to identify copyright infringers, reports TorrentFreak.
The copyright holders were launching their claims with just an IP address. The copyright holders use that IP address ask the courts for a subpoena, which they then use to ask Internet service providers to hand over personal details about alleged offenders.
It’s going to take more than the Megaupload takedown to satisfy the copyright Rottweilers at the MPAA. Now they’re determined to convince the legal world that not just hosting, but embedding protected content is a form of direct infringement, says Ars Technica.
At issue: An internet pornography company, Flava Works, discovered Read More
He Said He Said
Yesterday a Williamsburg-based startup called Classic Specs posted what looked like a rather damning open letter accusing one of its competitors of attempting to tamper with investors. “We’ve been having a number of great meetings with advisors and potential investors lately,” Classic Specs cofounder Andrew Lipovsky wrote. “That’s why we were surprised to hear that someone was telling them, ‘hey..make sure you know the full story behind Classic Specs (wink).’”
Who would want to spread rumors about Classic Specs, which sells its stylish glasses at Brooklyn Flea and donates a portion of its proceeds to charity? “Our sales keep growing because we have a great product that people love (and that we hand deliver if you’re nearby) and because we have a very attractive dog as a mascot,” Mr. Lipovsky wrote in the stirring letter, which embedded a picture of said pooch.
Mr. Lipovsky suspects that the rumormonger is Warby Parker: the eyeglasses e-vendor, investor darling and customer sensation, that also happens to be based in New York. Why? Because the much-larger Warby had tried to shut Classic down before, he alleged.
The story seemed to have it all: copycats, unfair competition, and underdogs, and it shot up to the top of Hacker News yesterday afternoon, garnering at last count 169 points and 71 comments. “Hipster fight,” wrote one commenter. “This whole thing makes me so glad I got LASIK a few years ago,” said another.
But what, exactly, is the beef?