Archive for March, 2011

Time Warner Ordered to Hand Over IDs in Illegal Downloading Suit

March 31, 2011

From the Blog of Legal Times:

A Washington federal judge has ordered Time Warner to identify several hundred subscribers accused of illegally downloading movies, over the cable giant’s protests that the request is unfairly expensive and time-consuming.

U.S. District Court Judge Beryl Howell, in an opinion (PDF)issued yesterday, struck down Time Warner’s motion to quash the subpoenas for subscriber information in two of the three cases pending before the court, meaning Time Warner will have to come up with the identities of about 250 subscribers.

Now that this has been granted, it will be interesting to see if Time Warner contacts their subscribers and notifies them to give them the opportunity to file objections, before their information is handed over. As they are not currently parties to the case as this time, this creates additional complications for anyone wishing to try and protect their identity.


Some Federal Courts Ban Smartphones Because They Could Be Bombs – News – ABA Journal

March 30, 2011

As always, it is important to check the local rules of a court before going there for the first time.

Some federal courthouses ban smartphones because of fears that could be used as weapons by terrorists.A memo issued last week by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts outlines the dangers, Wired’s Threat Level blog reports. “These common devices present security issues because some can be and have been converted for use as weapons, including explosives,” the report says.The report explains other dangers: Smartphones can be used to secretly record or transmit videos of court proceedings, and they can be used by jurors to research case details on the Internet.Courthouses vary in their policies, according to Threat Level. In San Francisco, for example, Wi-Fi connections allow access to the Internet in courtrooms, and live blogging and tweeting is common there.

via Some Federal Courts Ban Smartphones Because They Could Be Bombs – News – ABA Journal.

Pen-based Apps? HTC’s Scribe Technology Will Open to Third-Party Development

March 27, 2011

From Phandroid

Even if the HTC Flyer comes off as a bit last-generation compared to the current rank of tablet heavyweights, it does offer one feature that few others have: a stylus used not for basic interaction and navigation, but rather for taking notes, doodling, and procuring and annotating screen grabs.

HTC plans to open up their Scribe technology to third party developers, enabling them to see uses they have for the pressure sensitive stylus that comes packaged with the Flyer.

I have been advocating for this type kind of tablet/stylus for use with eBooks, particularly textbooks and for use to mark up exhibits or depositions for use at trial.  I hope it catches on and we see its use expand. The beauty is that you do not need the stylus to use the tablet, it is not required for navigation or apps at all. It only comes into play when you want to take advantage of its ability to act as a pen for highlighting or writing.  It is that choice that may make the Flyer stand out.

I also think it is unfortunately that manufacturers are continuing to focus on gaming and movie watching  as opposed to more business functionality.  I think that is holding back the tablet market.

eBook Sales increase 115% in January over last year’s numbers

March 20, 2011

E-books and downloadable audio books continue to grow in popularity according to the January 2011 sales report of the Association of American Publishers.

Figures for the first month of the new year show that E-book net sales increased by 115.8% vs January 2010 (from $32.4 Million to $69.9M).  E-book sales have increased annually and significantly in all nine years of tracking the category.

Among the other highlights of the January 2011 report:

  • Total books sales on all platforms, in all categories, hit $805.7 Million for January. This was a slight drop from January 2010’s $821.5M sales (-1.9%).
  • Adult Hardcover category fell from $55.4M to $49.1M (-11.3%), Adult Paperback dropped from $104.2M to $83.6 (-19.7%) and Adult Mass Market declined from $56.4M to $39.0 (-30.9%)
  • In the Children’s/Young Adult category, Hardcover sales were $31.2M in January 2011 vs $31.8M in January 2010 (-1.9%) while Paperbacks were $25.4M, down 17.7% from $30.9M in January 2010.
  • Sales in the Higher Education category were $382.0M for January 2011, a slight drop (-1.4%) from $387.6M the previous year. K-12 sales hit $82.6M for the month vs $97.0M for the previous year (-14.9%).
  • In Professional and Scholarly Books, sales grew 1.3%, from $51.2M to $51.8M. Sales of University Press Hardcovers were $3.9M in January 2011 vs $4.5M the previous year (-14.0%) while University Press Paperbacks were $6.2M vs $6.7M (-7.8%).

All figures cited represent domestic net sales for U.S. book publishers.

So outside of the education markets, which have been lagging behind the rest of the industry in moving to eBooks, readers are continuing to move away from paper to electronic books.  This shows the continuing need for students and educators alike to request that textbooks be made available electronic and to continue to encourage the tablet manufacturers along with Apple and Google to focus on this space.

Sony gains access to Geohot’s Paypal records in “hacking” case.

March 18, 2011

David Kravets from Wired reports:

A federal magistrate said Sony may subpoena the PayPal account of PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz, as the gamemaker ratchets up its civil lawsuit against the man who released the first full-fledged PS3 jailbreak in the console’s four-year history.

Tuesday’s order came two weeks after Magistrate Joseph Spero in San Francisco granted Sony the right to acquire the internet IP addresses of anybody who had visited Hotz’s website from January of 2009 onward. Sony has also won subpoenas for data from YouTube and Google, as well as Twitter account data linked to Hotz, who goes by the handle GeoHot.

Respected for his iPhone hacks and now the PlayStation 3 jailbreak, the 21-year-old New Jersey man is accused of breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other laws after his website published an encryption key and software tools that allow PlayStation owners to gain complete control of their consoles from the firmware on up. Hotz has complied with a court order and removed the hack.

The latest development allows the Japanese console maker to acquire “documents sufficientto identify the source of funds (.pdf) in California that went into any PayPal account associated with for the period of January 1, 2009, to February 1, 2011,” Spero ruled.

The information sought is part of a jurisdictional argument over whether Sony must sue Hotz in his home state of New Jersey rather than in San Francisco, where Sony would prefer.


It will be interesting to see if PayPal simply complies or whether it seeks a protective order from the court. Additionally the bigger question may be, whether those people who made payment to Hotz have standing to object before their information is released?

9th Circuit: Savvy Online Software Shoppers Not Misled by Rival’s Use of Trademarked Keywords – News – ABA Journal

March 10, 2011

It is nice to see some credit to  people’s ability to read and understand what they are reading, at least when it is offered to them in plain english.  I am finding ad word linking to be an interesting area to follow, I am sure there will be more decisions to ponder in the near future.


A federal appeals court has found that consumers were not likely to be misled by an online software advertiser that purchased a trademarked keyword of its competitor. In its ruling yesterday, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals vacated an injunction that had barred Network Automation from buying the keyword, “ActiveBatch,” the trademarked name of a rival company’s software, according to stories by the Online Media Daily, Courthouse News Service and Network Automation’s website was listed as a sponsored link when people searched online for “ActiveBatch.

via 9th Circuit: Savvy Online Software Shoppers Not Misled by Rival’s Use of Trademarked Keywords – News – ABA Journal.

Lawyers Suing Over Suspect’s Shooting Death Seek Facebook Information for 57 Officers

March 5, 2011

Continuing to follow the news of social media and its discovery potential in a legal dispute bring us to the post linked below:

An Albuquerque, N.M., policeman who listed his job description as “human waste disposal” on Facebook has caught the attention of lawyers who filed a wrongful death suit against the city for a police shooting in January 2010. The lawyers are asking the city to provide Facebook usernames and passwords of 57 police officers who were at the scene after a police detective shot and killed Iraq war veteran Kenneth Ellis, according to the Albuquerque Journal (sub. req.) and Lawyer Joe Kennedy alleged in an interview with KOAT that officers called to the shooting scene were eating pizza and applauding the fatal shooting of a man they wrongly believed to be a gangbanger. Co-counsel Frances Crockett told the Albuquerque Journal that the officers were likely more candid on Facebook than they would be in a deposition or internal investigation. The officer who listed his job…

via Lawyers Suing Over Suspect’s Shooting Death Seek Facebook Information for 57 Officers – News – ABA Journal.


Judge Says No Anonymity For Anyone Who Visited GeoHot’s PS3 Hacking Website Or Watched YouTube Video

March 5, 2011

An article on Wired covers the opinion from a federal magistrate granting Sony the right to get the IP address of people who viewed or commented on Geohot’s YouTube video of a hack being used on Sony’s Playstation 3.   This is another new area of law and it will be interesting to see how it evolves.   I doubt there are very many people who would realize they could be subject to legal action just by watching a video on YouTube.  The next question will be, do those individuals have the right to challenge to these subpoenas before their data is released to Sony?

A federal magistrate is granting Sony the right to acquire the internet IP addresses of anybody who has visited PlayStation 3 hacker George Hotz’s website from January of 2009 to the present.

Thursday’s decision by Magistrate Joseph Spero to allow Sony to subpoena Hotz’s web provider (.pdf) raises a host of web-privacy concerns.

Respected for his iPhone hacks and now the PlayStation 3 jailbreak, Hotz is accused of breaching the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and other laws after he published an encryption key and software tools on his website that allow Playstation owners to gain complete control of their consoles from the firmware on up.

Sony also won subpoenas (.pdf) for data from YouTube and Google, as part of its lawsuit against the 21-year-old New Jersey hacker, as well as Twitter account data linked to Hotz, who goes by the handle GeoHot.


Online Commenters Who Targeted CEO Must Be Identified, Judge Rules

March 3, 2011

More on the potential implication of commenting publicly on internet postings:


An Indianapolis judge has ruled the state’s shield law does not bar the release of identifying information about online commenters in a defamation lawsuit. The ruling by Judge S.K. Reid of Marion Superior Court requires the Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis Business Journal to release information about anonymous posters, the Indianapolis Star reports. The judge was set to decide this week whether a third outlet, WRTV, must release the information. The defamation suit filed by Jeffrey Miller, former chief executive of Junior Achievement of Central Indiana, targets online statements that allege, among other things, that he “most likely” committed a criminal act and is “the most greedy man I’ve ever known,” the Indianapolis Star reports in a separate story. The Star quotes David Hudson, an ABA Journal freelance writer and a scholar with the First Amendment Center in Nashville. He said the public should…

via Online Commenters Who Targeted CEO Must Be Identified,

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