September, 2010

Apple: No more fart apps, please

App Stores Given the specific changes Apple announced to its app developer agreement this morning we can fairly assume the FTC had something to do with it, if not everything to do with it.

Gone from the agreement is the language Apple inserted back in April prohibiting the use of cross-compilers to configure apps for the iPad and iPhone that were created using non-Apple approved tools. Apple had inserted the language after Adobe came out with its cross-compiler allowing apps created with Flash to be ported to the iPad despite the lack of support for the Adobe format in Apple’s iOS.

Also dropped was language that seemed to have been written specifically to prohibit (or at least strongly discourage) apps from using Google’s AdMob to serve ads in competition to Apple’s own iAd service. Read More »

Cops in Europe take down the Jolly Roger

Piracy With ACTA negotiators closing in on a final deal, authorities in Europe showed off some big-time cross-border enforcement chops yesterday. Police in 14 countries raided the offices and data centers of several top-sites in the so-called Warez Scene, including the Swedish headquarters of PRQ, believed to host The Pirate Bay (as well as the controversial whistle-blower site WikiLeaks). Armed with warrants, the police sought records related to specific IP addresses and in some cases seized equipment.

“In pretty much all of the cases the police just walked into the datacenters, proceeded with warrants, more or less unplugged the boxes and left with them,” one source told TorrentFreak. “They knew very well exactly what they were looking for and this was a highly coordinated attack.” Read More »

ISPs still in the copyright cross-hairs

ACTA Copyright owners have not had a lot of luck lately in their efforts to force ISPs and online service providers to take a more active and enforceable role in policing their networks for copyright infringing material.

In the U.S., courts have repeatedly rebuffed legal efforts to narrow the scope of DMCA’s Section 512 safe harbors, most recently by rejecting Viacom’s infringement claims against YouTube. Meanwhile, efforts by U.S. trade negotiators to launder new rules on ISP liability through international agreements have met resistance from foreign governments.  The latest version of the double-secret Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (now leaked and posted online), discards earlier language pushed by the U.S. requiring parties to impose various flavors of secondary liability on ISPs and online service providers, or requiring the parties to implement French-style three-strikes regimes. Read More »

Apple introduces a Roku box

Apple TV Now we know why Roku slashed prices on its $99 set-top box to $69 on Monday: Apple was about to introduce more or less the same box, with more or less the same functionality, at more or less the same price.

And now Apple has. With a patented “one more thing” turn, Steve Jobs on Wednesday introduced a $99 revamped Apple TV (not iTV) set-top box. Like the Roku box, the new Apple set-top has no on-board storage (allowing Apple to shrink the footprint to something close to Roku), relying instead on streaming to get content to the TV. Also like Roku, it has WiFi, Ethernet and HDMI connectors. Read More »