Copycats

Paulo Coelho, Author of The Alchemist, Briefly Ripped Off an NYC Startup

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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.”  Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: The FTC Isn’t Telling Us Its Decision on Google and Antitrust Just Yet

(Photo: fanpop.com)

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

Google Swears It’s Hired Zero Shills, While Oracle Continues Hollering Foul Play [UPDATED]

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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: Read More

They See Me Trollin'

Accused of Illegally Downloading Porn, Man Demands Public Apology

The Google Image results for "porn" are too vile, so here is a "lady flower." (Photo: flickr.com/danseprofane)

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.” Read More

When Copyright's Wrong

Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales Tells the US To Stop Extraditing 24-Year-Old Geek

(Photo: Twitter/richardasaurus)

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. Read More

Cordcutting

Over the Aereo: Killer Diller Just Might Help Viewers Cut the Cord At Last

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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. Read More

Patently Absurd

A Kinda-Sorta Verdict in Oracle v. Google

Google CEO Larry Page (Google+)

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. Read More

When Copyright's Wrong

Blow for BitTorrent Lawsuits: New York Judge Rules an IP Address Is Not a Person

Screen shot 2012-05-03 at 8.16.38 AM

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.  Read More