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A pair of golden scales, in balanceI must confess that, while I was still keen on the progress of the lawsuit between Amaretto Ranch Breedables and Ozimals (et al), very limited access to court documents and the relatively slow progress of the case had sent my attention largely elsewhere.

On the fifth of November, however, this little beauty turns up. Judge Charles R. Breyer is granting (in part) and rejecting (in part) a motion for summary judgement. And wow, this document itself is probably the best thing you’ll read about this case.

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Apr 14 2012

If you produce software – any kind of software – the issue of patents has probably come up. The fact is that it is impossible to produce a piece of software that actually does anything practical without infringing on at least one patent – and for complex systems, probably hundreds of them.

Let’s say you wanted to write a quick program to index music collections. Congratulations, you’ve just run afoul of… umm, let’s see… I count at least four patents for that, at a glance. What about indexing images? Well, depending on how you do it there are at least 30 patents that apply to that.

Think of something obvious you can do with software. There’s a patent for that. Probably a lot of them. You probably owe someone money.

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Haven’t you ever wondered why States of the United States of America seem to keep sponsoring, voting for, and even occasionally passing laws and bills that they know will never go into effect on constitutional grounds?

I’m referring to various violent video-game laws, Arizona’s HB2625 which allows employers to pry into contraception usage of female employees and fire them if they don’t like the answers, and so on. Often these laws are just rewrites of previous laws which also failed to pass.

And there’s a reason why they happen anyway.

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Feb 1 2012

Something just happened. Something important.

On Tuesday, the Dutch Supreme Court ruled that when two boys forced a third (by violence) to give them two of his Runescape items, that it was theft.

Now, you might think that that is a landmark ruling for digital goods as lawful property. It isn’t. Well, it is, but it isn’t in the way that you might think. It’s far more interesting than that.

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