- EU / UK - No consensus on key definition for software patents +/-
(out-law.com) While software that makes a 'technical contribution' may be patentable, it seems that nobody can agree on what that means. Of 200 definitions put to the UK Patent Office, not one of them eliminated ambiguity and closely matched the status quo. This is according to a report from the Patent Office on a series of workshops held earlier this year to find an agreed definition of 'technical contribution,' a controversial term in thE beleaguered draft European Directive on the patentability of computer-implemented inventions.
- EU to fund global research on open source +/-
(CNET News.com) The European Union is putting 660,00 euros toward research into open-source software and standards across the world. The two-year FLOSSWorld project is Europe's first initiative to support international research and policy development on 'free/libre/open source software.' Previous FLOSS projects, starting as early as 2001, have concentrated on the use of open source in Europe alone. The FLOSSWorld coordinator is the Maastricht Economic Research Institute on Innovation and Technology at the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. The grant will be shared by countries including Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, India, Malaysia and South Africa.
- NL - Dutch academics declare research free-for-all +/-
(The Register) Scientists from all major Dutch universities officially launched a website where all their research material can be accessed for free. Interested parties can get hold of a total of 47,000 digital documents from 16 institutions. No other nation in the world offers such easy access to its complete academic research output in digital form, the researchers claim. Obviously, commercial publishers are not amused. The 2m Digital Academic Repositories (DARE) programme harvests all digital available material from local repositories, making it fully searchable.
- UK - Microsoft rubbishes school open source report +/-
(ZDNet UK) An eagerly-awaited report into the use of open source software in the UK education sector contains evidence that schools could significantly cut their IT spending by moving to non-proprietary software. The report concluded that the cost of a primary school computer running open source software was half that of one running proprietary software, while in secondary schools an open source PC was 20 percent cheaper. But Microsoft lost little time in attacking the study, which was commissioned and published by the British Educational Communications and Technology Association (Becta).
- US - Copyright questions over Google library plan +/-
(out-law.com) A group of academic publishers, the Association of American University Presses, have voiced copyright concerns about Google's new Print for Libraries plan, which hopes to digitally scan certain library collections so that books can be matched to internet search queries. To date, Google has relied on the doctrine of 'fair use' to justify its right to scan the published works; but the AAUP queries whether the doctrine could possibly apply to a programme of this magnitude.
- US - TV download sites hit by lawsuits +/-
(BBC) The movie industry has turned its legal campaign against net piracy to TV file-sharing sites. Six BitTorrent sites hosting links to others with illegal copies of TV shows have been targeted in lawsuits by the Motion Picture Association of America. It is a shift in focus for the MPAA. Since it started legal action against file-sharers in December, its targets have been film indexing sites.