Ripping CDs in iTunes now illegal in UK, prosecution unlikely
A recent ruling by the United Kingdom's High Court has technically made the copying of CDs illegal in the country. A law that allowed the legal copying of copyrighted content for personal use, put into place only last year, has been overturned in the last few months after pressure from music industry groups, with the country's Intellectual Property Office (IPO) advising this technically makes software functions for ripping CDs to MP3, such as within iTunes, illegal once more.
Draft law in France would force Google, Facebook to act on hosted terror content
French lawmakers want to hold tech companies accountable for online hate speech. A proposed law, which will apparently be presented next month, will make Google, Facebook, and any company that offers online services to the public "accomplices" to hate-speech crimes, in an attempt to coerce them to monitor their services more closely, and force the removal of terror-related content.
Orwellian law demands passwords if school officials request them
A law that came into effect on January 1 in Illinois is riling up parents of students in the state. Public Act 098-0801, ostensibly passed to cut down on school-age bullying, mandates that school authorities may demand a student -- or a parent -- surrender social media account information, including passwords, if school officials believe that there has been a violation of school rules or procedures. The law applies even to accounts or postings not on school grounds, and made at any time or place. Furthermore, failure to comply will trigger a criminal charge for the student, the parents, or both.
Regulatory symbols on devices can be removed, shown in software instead
The backs of smartphones will become slightly better looking, after a bill concerning the labeling of electronic devices has been signed into law by President Obama. The E-Label Act, created by Sen. Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), will allow manufacturers to leave off a large amount of the logos and other regulatory iconography from the device itself.
Items collected can only be limited to school, pupil safety, parents must be notified
While California Governor Jerry Brown's signing of a bill banning single-use plastic bags across the state made its way to headlines this week, another bill signed the day prior made headway on how social media, schools and information collection interact. Brown signed Assembly Bill 1442 on September 29, limiting the amount of information schools can collect on student activity on social media.
Bill imposes fines on parties, businesses trying to enforce non-disparagement clauses
Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill into law that would make it illegal for businesses that provide services or sell goods to impose a contract on consumers that would waive their right to make statements against it. Assembly Bill 2365 adds a section into the California Civil Code that makes it unlawful for a business to take action against a customer who decided to voice their displeasure, imposing penalties for each attempt to do so.
Comments opened after organizations in Tennessee, North Carolina petitioned agency
After receiving petitions from the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga, Tennessee and the City of Wilson in North Carolina, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is opening comments on the subject of preempting state laws. Based on Chairman Tom Wheeler's previous comments on municipal broadband, the FCC would get involved in the battle if it meant better serving consumers.
Bill headed to oval office, with Obama willing to sign
In an unexpected move -- and avoiding a potential fight -- the House of Representatives has passed bill S517, aiming to make cellphone unlocking legal. The amended bill, passed by the Senate last week, was passed with no changes. A controversial clause of the bill previously passed by the House, prohibiting bulk unlocking by companies, was removed from the final passed version.
Currencies like Bitcoin, Dogecoin now legal to put into circulation in the state
Last week, California Governor Jerry Brown signed bill AB 129, regarding the definition of "lawful money," into law. The bill effectively ends a ban on alternative currencies in the state, meaning online currencies such as Bitcoin, Dogecoin and other cryptocurrencies can now be used in commerce transactions. The bill modifies California Corporations Code 107, which previously banned currencies that were "anything but the lawful money of the United States."
Debate considers law that would regulate games like drugs and alcohol
South Korea is struggling with how it should deal with the population's booming interest in playing video games. From eSports involving games like League of Legends or Starcraft, to the surge of internet cafés and "PC bangs," games are rooted in the culture of the country. However, a string of gaming incidents and growing concern has caused the government to consider passing a law that would regulate videos games in a similar fashion to drugs and alcohol.
Modernization of UK copyright law may occur in June
The United Kingdom is preparing to legalize the ripping of DVDs and CDs for private use, it has revealed. As part of a larger movement to modernize its copyright laws, the government is also changing the way copyright laws cover quotations, caricature and parody usage, with the new rules likely to come into force June 1st of this year.
Mobile phones search by law enforcement after jailing questioned by court
Law enforcement officials cannot search a prisoner's mobile phone once they have been jailed, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals has ruled. The 7-1 decision from the judges means that mobile devices seized at the time of arrest cannot be searched after the owner has gone to jail, as they still have some expectation of privacy under the Fourth Amendment.
Bill under consideration spells out bad faith allegations
Oregon isn't the only state that has been moving forward with legislation to curb patent trolls, recently. The Kentucky Senate has moved forward in a bill to put restrictions on patent trolls acting in bad faith in their allegations according to FOSS Patents.
French taxi driver anger forces change in transport law
Start-ups offering app-based driver services in France will have to wait for 15 minutes before picking up a customer from January onwards, according to a new bill by the French government. The bill, which affects Uber, LeCab, SnapCar, and other similar services, is an attempt by the government to appease taxi drivers in the country, those who stand to lose heavily from the start-ups.
Cecelia Abadie pulled over for speeding, additional charge of display use
In what is possibly the first ticket issued at least in part for the usage of Google Glass while driving, San Francisco resident Cecilia Abadie was cited both for speeding, with an additional charge applied by the citing officer because she was using Google Glass while driving, and in doing so, violating a law prohibiting display use by the driver.
Court ruled legal protection in parliament does not extend online
A South Korean politician has lost his seat in parliament, due to methods used in exposing corruption within electronics giant Samsung. Roh Hoe-Chan, member of the Progressive Justice Party, had broken communication laws by publishing transcripts of conversations gained through wiretapping.
Apple, Dell sued in Texas
Apple, along with Acer, Dell and Hewlett-Packard, are faced with a new patent violation suit in the "plaintiff-friendly" Eastern District of Texas, a new report says. The suit is being brought by Saxon Innovations (site under construction), an intellectual property licensing company. Saxon claims that the defendants violated its "Wireless Communications Privacy Method and System" patent, number 5,592,555; patent 5,502,689, relating to a "clock generation capable of shutdown mode;" and patents 5,530,597 and 5,235,635, connected to "processor interrupt masks" and "keypad activity based activation."
Pro-IP passed by House
The House of Representatives on Friday approved the controversial Pro-IP Act, a bill which is designed to protect intellectual property by imposing more rigid punishment in the case of copyright infringement. Ars Technica writes that the bill passed with a vote of 410 to 10, but has yet to be voted on by the Senate. Among the details of the bill, one segment states that law enforcement agents would be able to seize property from those charched with copyright infringement.