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Google has to take down take-down requests

05 Apr 2013

share-files-legally-illustrationIt doesn't seem that long ago that the Twittersphere worked itself into a furious lather on the issue of super injunctions. Sneak can understand that: there's nothing more infuriating than not knowing that someone is not supposed to tell you something. Or something like that, it's all far too meta for Sneak's simple brain.

Because Sneak gets easily confused, it was utterly perplexing to see that that movie makers are now sending out take-down requests to get their own take-down requests removed from the web.

The problem has arisen because Google reports any Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) infringement notices it gets – these are typically sent from movie studios asking for pirated material to be removed from Google's results.

The trouble is, as P2P news site TorrentFreak reports, these take-down notices list the sites that hold allegedly infringing material. In effect, the take-down notices are proving to be one of the riches sources of pirated materials on the web. Fox Legal Group alone has been responsible for seeking to get more than 50,000 urls removed from Google's results in a mere two-month period.

Clearly, Sneak can see that the only way to put a definitive end to this is for the movie makers to now issue more take-down notices for the take-down notices for the take-down notices. The lawyers must be laughing all the way to the bank.

Apple cosies up with Harley Davidson for Lightning rights

27 Nov 2012

Apple has made an unlikely ally in its push for next-generation interconnects.

According to filings uncovered by Patently Apple, the company recently inked a deal with the Harley Davidson motorcycle company gain control of the trademark for the term "lightning."

The news site reported that Apple on 24 November finalised an EU deal which gave the company control over the "Lightning" name as a trademark.

The deal is an important legal manoeuvre for Apple, as the company uses "Lightning" as the name for the new interconnect on the iPhone 5. The system is paired up with the "Thunderbolt" interconnect platform on desktops to give Apple its "Thunder" and "Lightning" connection platform for next-generation desktop and notebook systems.

While Harley fans may have lost a trademark, the biker crowd will be pleased to learn that Apple has brought the complete catalog of heavy metal icons AC/DC to the iTunes store.

This is not the first time Apple has had to cut a trademark deal with an unlikely partner. In the 1980s when the company was developing its Macintosh operating system, The Beatles and their Apple Corps recording label took notice. Eventually the two firms settled on a 1991 deal.

The two firms engaged in a back and forth, and it was not until 2010 that Apple was finally able to bring the Beatles to iTunes.

Time is money for Apple's borrowed clock

12 Nov 2012


Swiss Railway Clock

Sneak has never been one for forking out on time pieces – having stumped up £4 for a Casio digital watch in 1987, there seems to be little point in extending the largess any further. But not everyone is so frugal when it comes to time keeping.

Take Apple. The paragon of modern technology design chic paid $21m to license the clock design seen in its latest mobile operating system, iOS 6, according to Tages Anzeiger.

The clock design is indeed a magnificent example of the designer's art. But in this case it belongs to the Swiss Federal Railway, rather than Apple, and can be seen on station platforms up and down the country. Sadly for Apple, the design is jealously guarded by the Swiss train firm and their officials were quick to notice when it started popping up on their iPhones.

As lovely as the design is, however, Sneak can't help but wondering if for Apple, which admittedly has more money than most, $21m represents good value for money. Whatever its design guru, Sir Jony Ives is paid (and it's probably a lot), surely he could have spared a few minutes to come up with an original clock face design, without it costing the firm quite so much? 


Clock app for iPad brings Apple design patent rebuke

21 Sep 2012

Swiss Railway Clock

Sneak knows all too well how seriously Apple takes design patents – and woe betide anyone (mostly Samsung) that dares to round a rectangular corner without the Cupertino-based giant's prior approval.

So it was with huge admiration that Sneak opened the Clock app newly adorning a colleague's iOS 6-updated iPad. Who could not admire the simple, bold designs?

Apple iOS 6 clock app

Classic Apple, Sneak thought, always leading the way, never one to use the designs of others.

However, those at Swiss Federal Railways have taken issues with the design as they believe it too closely mirrors those classic railway station clocks you see around the country.

“We're trying to contact Apple to control the unauthorised use of [our design]", SBB spokesman Reto Kormann told Blick.

Brave bunch - everyone knows how much Apple likes a legal scrap and has plenty of cash to throw at the problem. Then again, if any nation can take Apple on when it comes to finances, it's the Swiss.

Who will win? Time will tell.

Facebook founder wins privacy patent approval

24 Jul 2012


The world of technology patents can be profoundly confusing, where people seem to channel their inventiveness in to coming up with the most ludicrous things to patent rather than, you know, useful inventions.

Sneak has often pondered the need for urgent global patent reform, but usually got distracted by more pressing matters like the latest batch of cookie dough being cooked to buttery perfection.

But we were reminded once again upon seeing the confirmation that the one person that has done their most to erode people's privacy – by turning them into compulsive online 'sharemongers' – has been awarded a patent for privacy protecting technology.

So with gritted teeth, Sneak's congratulations go to Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg.

As it transpires, Zuck has already snaffled a handful of patents, but the significance of this one it that the patent for Dynamically Generation a Privacy Summary, was actually the first one he applied for.

Never mind that the US Patent Office had previously rejected it for being too obvious – the billionaire Zuckerberg has a fitting boondoggle for all his privacy work.

Sneak meanwhile has a similar method of generating privacy summaries for those in thrall to Facebook. It's just a piece of A4 paper enscribed with the words “You don't have any”. Being a fair-minded individual, Sneak should point out that the inspiration for the system, came of course, from Zuckerberg's own proclamations. 

Google's bizarre bidding tactics from failed Nortel auction are revealed

04 Jul 2011

Google may have lost the Nortel auction patent battle with Apple, Microsoft, RIM and a host of other tech firms, but Sneak can't help applauding the way the search firm went about the bidding process, demonstrating its corporate personality as smart, funny and creative.

According to sources who talked to Reuters, all of Google's bids during the auction for some 9,000 odd patents referred to famous mathematical numbers.

The company bid $1,902,160,540 and $2,614,972,128 during the early round, which maths wizzes may recognise as Brun's constant and the Meissel-Mertens constant. Once bidding passed $3bn, Google offered $3,141,592.65, representing the first nine digits of Pi.

The eventual winning bid was $4.5bn at which point Google dropped out, which is strange as it could have bid $6.66bn to really confuse those who argue that the company has lost its way from the 'Don't Be Evil' mantra.

Other companies involved in the bidding were apparently utterly confused by the bids coming from Google, and the source told Reuters that the company was "either supremely confident or bored".

However, Google has a track record of these kinds of shenanigans. When the firm went public in 2004 it looked to raise $2,718,281,828, the value of e multiplied by a billion. Sneak doesn't know what this means, but it sounds jolly smart.

Other details emerged from the source, including the fact that Apple named its consortium Rockstar and went by the name Ranger, which sound like team names made up by the wallies that appear on The Apprentice.

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