BBC and Apple – latest

BBC and Apple – latest

Today the BBC Trust is considering our complaint about undue product prominence.

It all started on 2 March 2012 when we approached the BBC expressing concern about undue product prominence amounting to advertising.

On 20 August we sought a status update and received the following by return:

Please accept my apologies for not keeping you updated regarding your appeal.

I am afraid that, due to a large amount of Committee business to be considered in September, your appeal will now be considered by the ESC at their October meeting.

Except of course, it wasn’t.

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Strange world of patents

Apparently two wrongs do make a right

The London School of Economics has just published some interesting research on patent litigation: Trolls at the High Court? (pdf)

In the abstract we can read:

Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs), often referred to as ‘patent trolls’[…] account for less than 6% of all patent cases. We suggest two reasons why the PHC does not provide a welcome venue for PAE litigation. Firstly, the majority of patent cases which reach a judgment in the UK result in a ruling invalidating the patent. Secondly, the costs regime in the legal system of England and Wales requires that the losing party pay the costs of the other side.

In summary they usually lose and its expensive

Hurrah for the UK legal system and yah-boo to patent trolls you might think? No, there’s another viewpoint.

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MIT agrees with us

Open Data: MIT (Press) agrees with us

Next week, so we have been told, Cabinet Office will publish a government definition of what it considers to be an open standard and policy regarding its use in government IT.

Over a year ago Cabinet Office its consultation on open data.

In our response we argued:

Having considered the underpinning process, apparently relevant related government policies and other potentially relevant but seemingly unaddressed material in our response we expressed concern that the consultation is fundamentally flawed from the outset.

We considered the definition of open data to be deficient as it depended upon a non-existent no government definition of an open standard.

We’re in good company

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Unitary Patent System

Unitary Patent System

proposals by European Commission

Along with other organisations, such as FSFE that consider the latest proposals by the European Commission for a unitary patent system represent a poorly thought out blight on innovation, we have written to MEPs on the Legal Committee asking them to support suitable amendments when they meet to discuss the matter on 17.18 September 2012.

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Do you still need to understand why software should be open source?

So, apparently, Sibelius is being put into deep freeze. That’s this one, the composing software not this one, the composer, who’s been beyond the deep freeze for a few years now.

Apparently composers really like it and there’s a deep sense of regret. As seems to be the fashion there are calls for a petition and a plan to pester the board of the parent software company. I remember it running on the Archimedes computer as a complete system with midi this and midi that costing several thousands of pounds but now it’s for sale it runs on general purpose PCs for the relatively modest price of £99.95. However, it’s closed source and don’t lose the registration key.

Good luck to those hoping to change the decision but as the proverb has it “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me”

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BBC and Apple – an update

BBC and Apple – an update

Justice delayed…

On 2 March 2012 we approached the BBC expressing concern about undue product prominence amounting to advertising.

On 7 March we were advised that:

This was not an advertisement for the product, as the BBC doesn’t carry advertising.

On 8 March we pursued our complaint. In our original article we promised to update on our progress

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Real Engineers would only use open source software

Real Engineers would only use Open Source Software

Monday 3 September 2012, 7.30pm, IET Teddington

IET Teddington local group has kindly invited Gerry Gavigan to present at a local meeting in their usual venue The Adelaide.

Economists talk the talk but if Engineers don’t walk the walk they’re just tinkering.

Problem solving is about optimal allocation of constrained resources. If all resources were unlimited and free to obtain, everyone could have everything and choices would not have to be made. Real engineers solve the problem of maximising the number of choices available for most people.

This talk will explain why the software used in any solution must be open source.

Free to attend, registration will be accessible from here.

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Private Action in Competition Law Consultation Response

Department for Innovation, Business and Skills Consultation on Private Actions In Competition Law : Our Response

Overall we find the consultation raises important issues for SMEs and consumers and is particularly relevant for providing effective measures to resist market concentration.

As well as looking for an opportunity to enable specific redress we believe that effective mechanisms for private action:

  • provide an institutional response to the actions and behaviours, intentional or otherwise, of large undertakings in direct or parallel markets affecting F/OSS services.
  • will lead automatically to better working and more effective markets.

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ECJ Microsoft judgment: grist for royalty free open standards

A helpful summary draws out the key issues from the final round of the European competition law case against Microsoft that has been rumbling on since forever but which finally seems to have ground to a halt with the penalty broadly unchanged.

There is, of course one saga that has been running longer than this, and it’s the development of a definition of an open standard by the UK government for online services. This began in 2002 (pdf) if not earlier and is still ongoing.

The European Court of Justice has delivered a remarkably helpful contribution to the open standards consultation in this judgment.

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