If you've watched or read any of the major American news outlets today, you might have heard a solid 15 second mention about a little piece of legislation known as the America Invents Act. You probably heard that it brings the most sweeping changes to American patent law in the last half-century, and that it should ease the burden of patent filing for both inventors and the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office).
I never know how to feel about torrent (in this case, management) applications. On the one hand, torrenting is a brilliant and efficient way to share information in a collective and low-cost (read: free) fashion. On the other, it's the single largest gateway to piracy in existence. And it could kill you.
But it's clear torrenting applications are very much legal. So why has Google removed a popular torrent management application, Transdroid, from the Android Market?
Companies like YouTube and Grooveshark are at the center of the ongoing controversies around online distribution of copyrighted materials. This controversy reared its ugly head earlier this month when the Grooveshark app was removed from the Android Market. While this disappointed many of the users who stream all their favourite tunes without having to posses an actual digital copy, Google was justified in kicking these pseudo-pirates out of the Market, right?
Among all the awesome (or really bad, depending on your mood) April Fool's jokes today, Google's web form for submitting Android Market copyright infringements towers above all, especially considering it's not a joke, at all. We really doubt that it's intentional because this behavior was present before April 1st arrived to California, and it is mind boggling that something like this would fall through the cracks and get past Google's Quality Assurance.
Amazon's upcoming Android Market competitor, the Amazon Appstore, is in hot water for its namesake. On Monday, Apple filed a lawsuit in a California federal court claiming Amazon had infringed on its trademark of the phrase "App Store." Apple applied for a trademark to this name way back in 2008, but it wasn't approved until January of 2010. Since then, Microsoft has filed a dispute with the trademark office alleging that the grant was improper.
The Android market is filled with apps of questionable legality. But oftentimes, overpriced, branded theme and clock apps like those you'll find here are considered relatively harmless - who's stupid enough to buy them, anyway? Still, apps in this category are in clear violation of registered trademarks - and that doesn't sit well with their holders.
Google even has a page for developers and copyright holders to submit DMCA takedown requests for apps on the Market.
You would think that large hardware manufacturers, such as HTC and Motorola, would dedicate at least a few hours to trademark searches before naming their products and investing millions of dollars into promotional efforts for said products. That would be a fair assumption, right? It seems like the answer sometimes is: not exactly.
Last week at MWC, HTC unveiled 6 new devices, one of which was bearing the name ChaCha (that's one of the Facebook phones).
Twitter's laying down the bird-law this morning, and the owners of Twidroyd, UberMedia, don't have much in the way of good news to tweet about right now (I am so sorry for that entire sentence).
Twitter has suspended access to its social network from Twidroyd, UberTwitter, and UberCurrent - three apps owned by UberMedia. Why? Gizmodo claims it's for the following reasons:
UberMedia "violated Twitter policies and trademarks in a variety of ways." Like "a privacy issue with private Direct Messages longer than 140 characters, trademark infringement, and changing the content of users' Tweets in order to make money."
I don't use Twidroyd, so I have no idea what any of this is all about aside from the trademark infringement issue.
Update: In response to the ZDNet article, it seems like Mueller may well have been incorrect about the "additional instances" of possible infringement he claims to have found. Exhibit J (linked as "6 pages of code") from Oracle's amended complaint is not addressed in the ZDNet article. We make no claims as to the validity of Oracle or Mueller's assertion; we are merely commenting on the situation.
Many people are confused about what it is Mueller is saying about copyrighted code, and it's an understandably complex topic, one I don't claim to fully comprehend.
If you’ve cruised the blogosphere today, you’ve probably noticed a number of articles talking about the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and the Library of Congress having decided to add a few exemptions to the sweeping piece of legislation’s authority. Why is this a big deal? And is it a big deal at all?
On the latter, in some ways yes, and I’ll explain why only some later. For the former, it signifies a change in attitude over what constitutes infringement of digital copyright for two major pieces of technology, one of which we’re interested in here at Android Police (take a guess at what sort of technology that is).