State prosecutors who investigated the late Aaron Swartz had planned to let him off with a stern warning, but federal prosecutor Carmen Ortiz took over and chose to make an example of the Internet activist, according to a report in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.
Middlesex County's district attorney had planned no jail time, "with Swartz duly admonished and then returned to civil society to continue his pioneering electronic work in a less legally questionable manner," the report (alternate link) said. "Tragedy intervened when Ortiz's office took over the case to send 'a message.'"
The report … Read more
CBS amended its lawsuit against Dish Network today, claiming the satellite TV provider misled the network about planned ad-skipping technology during contract negotiations in 2011.
The lawsuit is part of a legal battle between Dish and the major television networks that erupted last year over "AutoHop," which allows customers to skip commercials at the touch of a button. The networks, including CBS, which is the parent company of CNET News, contend that the technology threatens to undermine an industry that depends on advertising revenue to help cover the cost of their shows.
In its amended lawsuit, CBS accused … Read more
China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will be establishing a digital dispute-resolution center to deal with disagreements over intellectual property and online copyright issues.
According to the Sina Tech news site yesterday, the plans had been unveiled at an annual meeting by the Internet Society of China and the Mediation Center Internet Legal Professionals held in Beijing last week.
The dispute-resolution center will be an arm of MIIT responsible for IP disputes, and will provide third-party mediation services and dispute-resolution services to technology companies involved in disputes.
If everything goes according to plan, the center is likely to … Read more
Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, is taking issue with a description of how a discussion with one of his aides led the late Aaron Swartz to campaign against Hollywood-backed copyright bills.
At an event in San Francisco last weekend, Peter Eckersley, Swartz's former roommate and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's technology projects director, told an audience that the late activist created the advocacy group Demand Progress after a fruitless meeting with one of Leahy's aides.
SAN FRANCISCO -- A fruitless Capitol Hill meeting to discuss digital copyright legislation prompted the late activist Aaron Swartz to launch the Demand Progress advocacy group, his former roommate said at a gathering here last weekend.
Swartz was so frustrated with congressional willingness to break the Internet on Hollywood's behalf that he created a group to channel online outrage into political activism, said Peter Eckersley, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's technology projects director.
It was one year ago today that an unprecedented outcry against the Stop Online Piracy Act proved to Washington officialdom that sufficiently irritated Internet users are a potent political force. After Wikipedia, Google, Craigslist and other major sites asked their users to contact their representatives, the deluge of traffic knocked some Senate Web sites offline, and votes on both bills were indefinitely postponed.
The massive public outcry that, by some counts, involved more than 10 million Internet users concerned about the proposals' impact on free expression has turned the protests into a cautionary tale on Capitol Hill. Aides now worry … Read more
A Manhattan judge has decided that news organizations can't publish photos they find on Twitter without permission, because the photos are protected by copyright, Reuters reported.
The judge determined that the AFP news agency and The Washington Post infringed on the copyrights of photographer Daniel Morel when they published photos he took and posted on Twitter after the Haiti earthquake in January 2010.
AFP had argued that because the images were on Twitter, they were publicly available, but District Judge Alison Nathan pointed to Twitter's terms of service, which do not give news organizations the ability to publish … Read more
Entrapment is one of MegaUpload's claims in its legal battle against the U.S. government. The feds are now saying this claim is "baseless."
"Megaupload's allegations are baseless, as even a cursory review of Megaupload's pleading and the search warrant materials at issue disproves the allegation that the government misled the court as part of a conspiracy to entrap Megaupload," the government wrote in a Friday filing (PDF).
MegaUpload, which was founded by Kim DotCom, is the highest-profile service to be accused of criminal copyright violations by the U.S. government -- and … Read more
In a tribute to Aaron Swartz, the Internet activist who committed suicide Friday, researchers have begun posting PDFs to Twitter to honor his campaign for open access.
Swartz, 26, had faced the possibility of $4 million in fines and more than 50 years in prison for allegedly stealing 4 million documents from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Jstor, an archive of scientific journals and academic papers. The authorities claimed that he broke into a restricted-access computer wiring closet at MIT and accessed that network without authorization.