Apple loses copyright battle against security start-up Corellium

Found on Washington Post on Wednesday, 30 December 2020
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In a ruling that has wide-reaching implications for iPhone security research and copyright law, a federal judge in Florida threw out Apple’s claims that Corellium had violated copyright law with its software, which helps security researchers find bugs and security holes on Apple’s products.

The judge in the case ruled that Corellium’s creation of virtual iPhones was not a copyright violation, in part because it was designed to help improve the security for all iPhone users. Corellium wasn’t creating a competing product for consumers. Rather, it was a research tool for a comparatively small number of customers.

Security research isn't something you should try to block with copyright/DMCA claims unless you want to make yourself look like an idiot.

France fines Google, Amazon €135m total for slipping ad cookies into people's computers

Found on The Register on Friday, 25 December 2020
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Google and Amazon have been slapped with €100m and €35m fines respectively after France’s data privacy watchdog declared both companies had placed advertising cookies on people’s computers without their consent.

NIL also said they failed to provide clear explanations disclosing what the cookies were being used for and how users could opt-out, beyond generic messages, specifically Amazon’s “By using this website, you accept our use of cookies allowing us to offer and improve our services,” and Google’s “Privacy reminder from Google” with two buttons labeled “Remind me later” and “Access now”.

Now that's a good start. Let's hope other countries follow to tackle all the profiling and data collection.

German secure email provider Tutanota forced to monitor an account

Found on Techcrunch on Thursday, 24 December 2020
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German e2e encrypted email provider Tutanota has been ordered by a regional court to develop a function that allows it to monitor an individual account.

The Cologne court order is for a surveillance function to be implemented on a single Tutanota account that had been used for an extortion attempt. The Tutanota spokeswoman said the monitoring function will only apply to future emails this account receives — it will not affect emails previously received.

She added that the account in question appears to no longer be in use.

All that is going to help how?

YouTube Class Action: Same IP Address Used to Upload ‘Pirate’ Movies & File DMCA Notices

Found on Torrentfreak on Wednesday, 23 December 2020
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YouTube says it has found a "smoking gun" to prove that a class-action lawsuit filed by Grammy award-winning musician Maria Schneider and Pirate Monitor Ltd was filed in bad faith. According to the Google-owned platform, the same IP address used to upload 'pirate' movies to the platform also sent DMCA notices targeting the same batch of content.

Looks like it's time for another lawsuit, coming from YouTube this time.

576 German Artists Want EU Copyright Directive Made Worse, With No Exceptions

Found on Texhdirt on Thursday, 17 December 2020
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Just as supporters insisted that upload filters would not be obligatory -- and then afterwards changed their story, admitting they were the only way to implement the new law -- so people who insisted that memes and parodies would still be allowed are now demanding that they should be banned. Copyright companies were the first to make that shift, and now a group of 576 German artists have sent a letter to the German government and politicians complaining about the proposed implementation of the Copyright Directive in their country.

The 576 artists who wish to deny an Internet user the right to draw on copyright material for memes, parodies, mashups etc. forget that they too draw constantly on the works of others as they create -- sometimes explicitly, sometimes more subtly. To cast themselves as some kind of creative priesthood that should be granted special privileges not available to everyone else is not just unfair, but insulting and short-sighted.

It will be a rude awakening when they realize that the Internet is a global network and people outside the EU won't give a damn about their signature list.

Premiere security firm FireEye says it was breached by nation-state hackers

Found on Ars Technica on Thursday, 10 December 2020
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FireEye, a $3.5 billion company that helps customers respond to some of the world’s most sophisticated cyberattacks, has itself been hacked, most likely by a well-endowed nation-state that made off with “red-team” attack tools used to pierce network defenses.

The hack also raises the specter that a group that was already capable of penetrating a company with FireEye’s security prowess and resources is now in possession of proprietary attack tools, a theft that could make the hackers an even greater threat to organizations all over the world.

It has to hurt them really bad to get defaced like that.

Byju’s-owned Indian startup WhiteHat Jr sues critics

Found on Techcrunch on Friday, 04 December 2020
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Bajaj, founder of coding platform WhiteHat Jr, has filed a defamation case against Pradeep Poonia, an engineer who has publicly criticized the firm for its marketing tactics, the quality of the courses on the platform, and aggressive takedowns of such feedback. On Monday, WhiteHat Jr, filed a similar case against Aniruddha Malpani, an investor who has shared unflattering feedback about the startup.

But the lawsuit, riddled with spelling and grammatical errors, appears to be also indicative of just how little criticism WhiteHat Jr, owned by India’s second most valuable startup Byju’s, is willing to accept.

According to internal posts of a Slack channel of WhiteHat Jr shared by Poonia, the startup has aggressively used copyright protection to take down numerous unflattering feedback about the startup in recent months.

That sure is one way to deal with critics. Not the smartest though.

GitHub revamps copyright takedown policy after restoring YouTube-dl

Found on Engadget on Thursday, 03 December 2020
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Citing a letter from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (the EFF), GitHub says it ultimately found that the RIAA’s complaint didn’t have any merit.

“Importantly, YouTube-dl does not decrypt video streams that are encrypted with commercial DRM technologies, such as Widevine, that are used by subscription videos sites, such as Netflix,” the organization points out when it comes to the RIAA’s primary claim.

"Lies, damned lies, and the entertainment industry"

Disney (Disney!) Accused Of Trying To Lawyer Its Way Out Of Paying Royalties To Alan Dean Foster

Found on Techdirt on Sunday, 22 November 2020
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Whether accurate or not, Disney is synonymous with maximizing copyright law, which the company and its lobbyists always justify with bullshit claims of how they do it "for the artist."

Except that it appears that Disney is not paying artists. While the details are a bit fuzzy, yesterday the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) and famed author Alan Dean Foster announced that Disney was no longer paying him royalties for the various Star Wars books he wrote (including the novelization of the very first film back in 1976), along with his novelizations of the Aliens movies.

Copyright law are fine as long as they bring in money for Disney.

Apple suffers setback in epic Epic Games games fight

Found on The Register on Saturday, 14 November 2020
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"There's no statute or common law principle that requires a developer to pay 30 per cent commission [to Apple].“ Judge Gonzalez Rogers seemingly agreed, adding the comparison between Epic and a hacker doesn’t work, given Apple was acting as an intermediary to funds owned to Epic.

"Although Epic portrays itself as a modern corporate Robin Hood, in reality it is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that simply wants to pay nothing for the tremendous value it derives from the App Store," Apple said at the time.

Well, and Apple is a multi-billion dollar enterprise that simply does not want to give developers and users a choice.