Why Copyright & Patent Laws Go Against How We Create

The Apple versus Samsung lawsuit is totally wrong – Apple did not invent the smart phone on its own

Woody Guthrie on stealing songs

Kirby Ferguson has just posted a 10 minute TED talk debunking the claim by Apple that it created and has the patent on the smart phone.

Ferguson is the filmmaker behind the Everything Is A Remix series of videos.

His TED lecture shows how “the nature of both creativity and innovation revolves around building on the works of others, but that both copyright and patent laws are based on the exact opposite belief — that creativity and innovation springs new from one’s head, and thus deserves some form of property rights.”  Continue reading Why Copyright & Patent Laws Go Against How We Create

The 5 employment laws every manager should know

Federal class actions under Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) are biggest source of  private class actions in employment-related cases

(photo credit Apptivo)By Elizabeth Hall, Business Management Daily – Wage-and-hour labor litigation continues to increase exponentially.

Federal class actions brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) outnumber all other types of private class actions in employment-related cases. Particularly hard hit: employers in California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Texas.  Continue reading The 5 employment laws every manager should know

TechDirt posts 40,000th blog denounces SOPA

Mike Masnick tireless advocate for internet freedom fighting against censorship

Mike Masnick founder of TechDirt

TechDirt is one of a kind – editor Mike Masnick works tirelessly writing stories every day to promote freedom of speech and freedom on the internet.

Mike has written articles denouncing censorship, state control around the world including the US Congress attempt through SOPA to shut down the internet as we know it.  Continue reading TechDirt posts 40,000th blog denounces SOPA

U.S. Government Seizes 82 Websites

A Glimpse at the Draconian Future of Copyright Enforcement?

By EFF Legal Analysis by Corynne McSherry

Over the past few days, the U.S. Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security and nine U.S. Attorneys’ Offices seized 82 domain names of websites they claim were engaged in the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and illegal copyrighted works.

Setting aside the due process concerns inherent in seizing any website without notice or appropriate recourse for the owner, it appears that the “raid” has swept up several sites that are hardly in the business of willful copyright infringement.

For example, the the list of targets included OnSmash.com and RapGodfathers.com. Both sites are dedicated to promoting rap and hiphop, showcasing new artists and helping fans connect and share information about the music they love. According to the owners, they regularly and expeditiously process copyright infringement notices and take down links as appropriate. Indeed, OnSmash says the labels themselves are often the source of the links OnSmash makes available. In other words, they try to play by the rules. Moreover, the sites are not simply collections of links; rather, they provide a wide array of information and forums for speech, all of which was rendered inaccessible by the seizure.  Continue reading U.S. Government Seizes 82 Websites

Canadians with disabilities score human rights win

Donna Jodhan’s inspiring triumph on the eve of the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities

Donna Jadhan wins disability access case against Federal government

From NUPGE – Ottawa – On the eve of Dec. 3, the United Nations’ International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD), Canadians with disabilities have won a major victory in ensuring that government information becomes more accessible for people with sight impairment.

Earlier this week the Federal Court of Canada released a landmark decision concerning the right of Canadians with disabilities to access government websites.

Justice Michael Kelen ruled that the Canadian government must post key website content in a usable format for blind and partially-sighted Canadians.

This victory is the result of the courageous and persistent actions of blind activist Donna Jodhan.

Justice Kelen concluded the government breached Jodhan’s equality rights by its “system-wide failure” to provide the same services to the visually impaired as it does to those who can see.

“She has been denied equal access to, and benefit from, government information and services provided online to the public on the Internet and this constitutes discrimination against her on the basis of her physical disability, namely that she is blind,” wrote Justice Kelen.  Continue reading Canadians with disabilities score human rights win

UPEI Ordered To Rehire Employees

School says costs expected to exceed $1 million

Yogi Fell one of three UPEI employees to get their job back photo – CBC

CBC News – The University of Prince Edward Island has been ordered by the P.E.I. Human Rights Commission to rehire three employees who were forced to retire in 2005.

The commission ruled in February that the university’s mandatory retirement policy was discriminatory.

Last week, the group ordered the university to reinstate Thomy Nilsson, Richard Willis and Yogi Fell, and pay each complainant for loss of income and damages.

The commission also ordered UPEI to cease its policy of mandatory retirement, something the university had continued despite losing its case.
Continue reading UPEI Ordered To Rehire Employees

Buggy software makers liable for damages

License agreements that absolve software developers of responsibility found unenforceable

A recent decision of the UK High Court held that software developers are responsible for software bugs. This goes against most software license agreements that software companies force on customers. Essentially, software companies have been denying all responsibility for damages.

The license agreements are non-negotiable documents often consented to as software is being installed.

It’s been the software industry practice to admit that software is buggy. People know that and hundreds of millions of customers have accepted it for decades.

However, all goods are sold on the basis of “fit for the purpose intended.” The UK High Court ruled that license agreements can’t eliminate the basic rules of commerce.  Continue reading Buggy software makers liable for damages

Supreme Court rules against journalists confidential sources

Police criminal investigation outweighs confidential press privilege in Chrétien affair

Auberge Grand-Mère subject of 10 year old Chretien scandal photo: Monquebec.net

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that the National Post must turn over evidence it received from their journalist’s confidential source in the “Grand Mere Affair.”

The Supreme Court ruled that any privilege is not constitutional and must be balanced by the need to investigate criminal activity.

“…evidence sought to be obtained measured against the public interest in respecting the journalist’s promise of confidentiality…Therefore, no journalist can give a secret source an absolute assurance of confidentiality.” Supreme Court of Canada

The case had 16 interveners including CBC, Bell Globe Media, two provinces and the Federal government, civil liberties and various journalist associations.   Continue reading Supreme Court rules against journalists confidential sources

Green Party organizer wants limits on free speech

Just when we get freedom of speech on the Internet, someone tries to take it away

Wayne Crookes photo: P2Pnet

The Supreme Court of Canada is getting ready to hear the case of Wayne Crookes, a former fund-raiser and organizer for the BC Green Party.

Crookes took offense at alleged derogatory remarks made about him on several websites including Open Politics.ca

That’s the nature of the web, people say the rudest things, some of them nasty and perhaps defamatory. They do it anonymously. In the US, the web site and host can rely on safe-harbor provisions of the CDA (Communications Decency Act). “No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.” Section 230

Canada doesn’t have the same provisions although journalists are protected from defamation lawsuits when they report the facts they know.  Continue reading Green Party organizer wants limits on free speech