Apple Pays $25m to Patent Troll

Apple has paid a “patent troll” $24.9 million to settle a lawsuit alleging infringement over its Siri personal assistant. The payment will be split between the Marathon Patent Group – a business whose stock in trade is exploiting patent licences to file lawsuits against infringing companies – and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI), from where a professor and student claim they invented the voice recognition and response system that Apple has implemented in Siri.

US Patent No. 7,177,798 describes a “method for processing natural language input,” using a database containing “case information, keywords, information models, and database values.” The lawsuit [PDF] alleged that Siri “processes natural language” in exactly the manner outlined in the patent.

Drs. Cheng Hsu and Veera Boonjing – the former a Professor of Decision Sciences and Engineering at RPI, and latter being a doctoral student at the time the patent was filed in 2000 – assigned their patent to the university, as is the common practice for inventions developed within academic facilities. Professional patent troll Marathon Patent Group – was made aware of the filing via its subsidiary Dynamic Advances and used it to file a lawsuit on behalf of RPI, taking half of any award in return.

“Apple encourages consumers to use Siri as claimed in the ’798 Patent and, in fact, has entire webpages devoted to teaching consumers the benefits of using Siri to process natural language inputs, how to use Siri to process natural language inputs, and encouraging them to buy Apple products so they can use Siri to process natural language inputs,” according to the filed lawsuit.

The plaintiffs were successful, settling the case with Apple for $24.9 million, though reports suggest that RPI was eager to hold out for more money.

“Dynamic Advances believes RPI has unreasonably withheld its consent to the reasonable royalty rate set forth in the settlement agreement between Dynamic Advances and Apple, and that issue may have to be resolved in arbitration,” the company stated.

For Dynamic Advances, though, Apple is but its first victim – the company “believes that other voice recognition products infringe the ‘798 patent.” Is a suit against Microsoft’s Cortana set to follow?

Kanye West Being Sued Over Promises of Tidal Exclusive Album

Kanye West is not a new face when it comes to news and digital issues, with his latest album, the life of Pablo, pirated over half a million times while it was still an exclusive at Tidal. The problem for many was that Kanye had offered the album as an exclusive for Tidal, the online streaming service that he has invested in. The so-called exclusive has now led to Kayne West being sued over promises that it would be a Tidal exclusive album, promises that didn’t last very long.

Justin Baker-Rhett is a fan of musician Kanye West, but he is now at the center of a lawsuit targeted towards both Kanye West and S.Carter Enterprises (SCE), the company that owns the Tidal music streaming service.

The lawsuit alleges that the rapper mislead his fans into buying and supporting the streaming service by falsely promising that his album, the Life of Pablo, would only ever be available on Tidal. A month and a half later the album appeared on both Apple Music and Spotify, leading many to believe that his claims about the album being an exclusive were nothing more than false advertising to boost Tidal’s falling sales figures.

Tidal promises greater control and royalties to those that use it to share their music so it’s hard to see West’s tweet as nothing more than an attempt to get people to buy in and listen to it on the platform before realising that he might not get the following on Tidal, whose subscription numbers are reported to have jumped from 1 million to 3 million following the announcement.

Ark: Survival Evolved Lawsuit Has Been Settled

Who doesn’t love building a base? Well, when it comes to building a base having some help from your tribe sure comes in handy, even more so when they bring a T-rex to help keep you safe while you finish your little hut. Ark: Survival Evolved allows players to enjoy this amongst so much more, but the future of the game was brought into question when its origins were questioned in a lawsuit, don’t worry through because the lawsuit has now been settled.

The final word was said on the 13th of April 2016 according to the documents both parties involved filed, saying that they had finalised a “written settlement agreement”. The parties involved are Wildcard, the creators behind Ark: Survival Evolved and Trendy, the creators of the popular co-op game, Dungeon Defenders.

Earlier in the week Susan Stieglitz, wife to Jeremy Stieglitz, the man at the core of the lawsuit, posted the following hinting at the sum that Trendy were after.

https://twitter.com/SusanCStieglitz/status/719987095796711424

In a Reddit post there appears to be an image capturing a conversation in which Susan Claire Stieglitz states that “we ended up settling for 40”. With no confirmation and the details not being publicly released, there isn’t any hard evidence to talk about the outcome of the lawsuit expect speculation and the fact that it has in fact ended. With Ark: Survival Evolved still marked as early access on Steam, losing out on any income (especially something as large as 40 million), the game is sure to feel the impact and people will want to know if they have had to pay this money rather than towards developing an outstandingly exciting game.

Uber CEO Faces Lawsuit Price Fixing Allegations

Uber is a popular app that allows people to act almost like taxi’s for others, with one person pressing a button to request a ride and minutes later a driver arriving to provide the transport at a cost. With the concept of pricing, a key part of the system, Uber’s CEO Travis Kalanick may want to be careful as he faces a lawsuit of price fixing allegations relating to the app.

Uber is no stranger to legal troubles, with people in Jakarta staging violent protests over the app and one driver even claiming that a demon convinced him through the app to commit murder, the app has seen its fair time in the spotlight for legal issues. During the recent Metro shutdown in New York Uber decided that it wouldn’t raise prices to more than 3.9 times their normal rate, a kind gesture that could certainly see people put off using the service. A US District court judge in New York has stated that Kalanick must face

A US District court judge, Jed Rakoff, in New York has stated that Kalanick must face the lawsuit that states he conspired with drivers to set the fares the app provides using an algorithm, including its well-known progress of increasing rates during peak hours through its “surge pricing” model.

In his comments, Rakoff states that the plaintiffs had “plausibly alleged a conspiracy” which ultimately drove out rivals for the app. It will be interesting to see how a company as well known as Uber faces charges over something some would call a “feature” within their software while others would claim it takes money from those desperate in times of need, such as those escaping from attacks or when other transport systems are shut down.

Oracle Asks For $9.3 Billion in Copyright Trial Against Google

Google is known for many things, from the search engine that started it all to the chrome web browser that so many uses these days. One of the things Google is known for is the Android mobile operating system, something that could Oracle want a piece of in a copyright trial against Google.

The copyright claim refers to several infringements that Google made as part of 37 java API’s that were used in the creation of the Android operating system. In total, the damages Oracle are seeking come to $9.3 billion, an absolutely staggering figure that seems to dwarf even what Google made in the last quarter ($4.9 billion).

Previously the largest copyright verdict stood at $1.3 billion in a case that Oracle won against SAP in 2010. The value of $9.3 billion was figured out by using “a weighted average analysis of what Google pays to others for the contribution of their non-Android mobile platforms in connection with generating search advertising revenue”.

When it comes to code and copyright the law is a little indecisive. Some say that code can be copyrighted and protected under law, some say it can’t be. This case should set an interesting precedent, with it being the largest intellectual property verdict in history.

Who Created Ark: Survival Evolved? Find Out In Court!

Ark: Survival Evolved has gathered quite a bit of a following, with players taking to the island in hopes of finding answers while building new technology and training dinosaurs. From riding on a pterodactyl to building a base on a brontosaurus, players are eagerly awaiting the next set of features but they may have to wait as the court answers the question, who created Ark: Survival Evolved?

The question is being raised by Trendy Entertainment, the creators of popular co-operative game Dungeon Defenders. In a lawsuit filed against Wildcard, the studio credit with Ark: Survival evolved, Trendy alleges that game designer Jeremy Stieglitz had in fact been secretly working on Ark since he resigned from his position at Trendy in 2015.

The lawsuit states that Trendy violated his contract which stated he could not compete with his former company and was told: “not to solicit Trendy employees”. If this wasn’t enough on April 27th the Eighth Judicial Circuit of Florida will hear arguments regarding Trendy’s most recent motion and will ask for an injunction until the case is over.

If an injunction sounds bad then you are hearing it right. The injunction would, in fact, stop development on Ark: Survival Evolved and even force Wildcard to remove the game from Steam and stop them from distributing it until the case was closed. Wildcard has yet to file briefs in defence but has requested the case be dismissed on the grounds that the claims are “irrelevant, immaterial, impertinent, and scandalous.”

If you like the game, grab it soon because it may come down to the modders to keep the game alive while the court case is ongoing.

Klingon is Covered by Copyright Claims Paramount

Star Trek is a series loved and followed by millions, with everyone and their parents having grown up with the adventures of the starship Enterprise. Sadly a short film made by fans to cover a gap in the universe could be stopped as it would appear that Klingon is covered by copyright.

Klingons are one of, if not the most, well-known races in the star Trek universe. Being a warrior race by nature, it was always referenced (and was a key part of James T Kirks character) that the Federation and the Klingons had gone to war. A fan film created by Alec Peters looked to explore this war but seems like it may never see the light of day due to a copyright claim made by Paramount and CBS, the holders of Star Treks intellectual property.

After being told it wasn’t detailed enough the claim has now been updated to cite several instances where the fan film presses on Star Trek’s copyright. This includes the gold command shirts and even the pointed Vulcan ears, but the claim also goes on to state that the entire Klingon language is covered under copyright.

Is it possible to copyright an entire language (fictional or real world)? Should the fan made the film, which has been funded by a Kickstarter project none the less, be stopped by the copyright claim or should they come to a deal to create the film with the full support of the company?

You can read the full document listing every single copyright infringement in the film here.

Sony Hands Out Free Game Codes To Compensate For 2011 Hack

A few years ago Sony had a rather bad hack, which affected around 70 million of their customers. In the wake of the hack, Sony offered to renew its efforts to increase security alongside some gifts to appease players who suffered during the 23-day outage. As of March 2nd, you may find that the promised free game codes have finally arrived.

Depending on the services you were signed up to when the hack happened (PlayStation Network, Qriocity and Sony Online Entertainment), you can claim a variety of rewards. As part of Sony’s initial scheme people were offered to grab a game, but don’t worry if you didn’t manage to grab one all the time back then, you can grab two now.

The games available vary based on which of the available platforms you wish to collect your reward for, with the Playstation 3, Vita and PSP all being offered free rewards as a sorry. If you want to grab a game you can now get inFamous, LittleBigPlanet and even the God Of War HD Collection for free but they will be limited to the aforementioned consoles.

With the lawsuit spawning this reward scheme valued at $2.75 million, Sony must be happy that they can get away with a few free games or even a little account credit or PSN time almost five years since the hack began the security awareness that so many companies are still suffering from.

Popcorn Time Returns Despite MPAA Shutdown

The most popular fork of Popcorn Time, which was subject to a shutdown by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), has announced its return, using the new Project Butter streaming platform. The use of Project Butter to revive Popcorn Time is ironic, since the app was developed as a ‘legal’ alternative, free of copyrighted content.

The rejuvenated Popcorn Time fork was the one associated with PopcornTime.io, which was closed in October 2015 following a lawsuit filed against the Canadian developers by the MPAA. The fall of the PopcornTime.io fork triggered a cascade which caused a number of other forks and contributors to fall away.

Last week, though, those with the Popcorn Time software still installed received a notification. Just two words: “Hail Hydra”. Soon after, Popcorn Time appeared to be working again. Now, the team behind the resurrection have officially confirmed its return in a blog post. The team responsible, who understandably wish to remain anonymous, is thought be different to the original Canadian developers who were targeted by the MPAA, but were associated with Popcorn Time in some capacity, though using the Project Butter software built by the Canadian team:

“After the “MPAA incident”, we’re a little diminished, and we’ve chosen a new direction: we’re shifting from an active development of Popcorn Time to a more or less resilience-driven development. We will keep an eye on the bug tracker (Github) and fix the most urgent ones, but you have to understand, once more, that we are a community offering an application for those without access to a real Streaming platform and a real catalog, for free, without ads

The last four months have been chaotic. We’ve seem [sic] some forks keeping up the good work and others who just wanted to attract users into a trap of adwares & malwares. We would like to take a moment to thank the Reddit Community for taking things over while we were in standby.”

 

Xbox 360 Lawsuit Judge Owned Stock in Microsoft

A class action lawsuit launched by Xbox 360 owners who suffered ruined discs due to a fault within the console is moving to the US Supreme Court, which prompted the presiding Chief Justice John Roberts to sell between $250,000 and $500,000 in Microsoft stock, rather than excuse himself from the case over a conflict of interest, the Associated Press reports.

Since it is a violation of Federal law for a judge to preside over a case involving a company he or she own shares in – and, so, is given the option to sell their shares or excuse themselves from the case – the matter has encouraged debate over whether judges should be allowed to own shares in major companies to start with, or be allowed to sell their shares in order to remain a case.

“We’re not talking about grandpa’s stock in the family business where a justice might have some sentimental reason for holding onto the shares. These are major corporations who regularly come before the court,” Arthur Hellman, a specialist in judicial ethics at the University of Pittsburgh, told the AP.

Last October, Chief Justice Roberts presided over an appeal against Texas Instruments, which was being asked to contribute funds to clean up hazardous waste it was accused of being responsible for. Roberts, who denied the appeal, was involved despite owning between $100,001 and $250,000 shares in Texas Instruments. Kathy Arberg, a court spokesperson, admitted that Roberts’ involvement was a mistake.

Owner Sues For His Shot Down Drone

Last year there was a rather large issue in the US when Mr William Merideth fired his shotgun at a drone flying overhead. After the resulting crash, he was charged with a crime and the drone (or what was left) returned to its owner. In his court date, Meredith claimed that the drone was flying overhead while his daughters were outside and he acted in defence, a verdict that the judge seemed to share as he ruled the drone invaded his privacy. Now the law turns the other way, with David Boggs, the drone owner, filing a federal lawsuit.

The lawsuit is focused in two areas, the $1,500 in damages that the drone was estimated to cost and a ruling on if his flight back in July 2015 did actually constitute trespassing. In a civil complaint, Bogg’s lawyer references a section of the U.S. code stating that “The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States.”

With the laws regarding drones becoming contested and argued on a daily basis, it could be an interesting case to keep track of. The U.S. code mentioned above goes on to state that “The airspace, therefore, is not subject to private ownership nor can the flight of an aircraft within the navigable airspace of the United States constitute a trespass.”, raising the question that with the older laws, does a drone constitute an aircraft?

Ryan Calo spoke to Ars Technica regarding the matter and mentioned the legal concept of “ad coelum et ad inferos”, translated as “to the heavens and to hell” meaning that a land owner controls everything above and below the earth. This concept is normally applied to items underground such as minerals, oil or gas so is rarely used in regards to the skies, an area that the Federal aviation authority would argue with in its recent claims that it is responsible for everything that flies.

Hobbyist Wants FAA’s Drone Registration Legislation Cancelled

After the recent surge of drones, governments are playing catch up to both companies, such as Amazon who are looking at drones for delivering your orders, and those who would use them recreationally. Sadly though when people are given new technology, it doesn’t mean that people won’t get hurt or cause trouble. The Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has started to combat this by announcing a law that comes into effect this year requiring users to register their drones, but one lawyer is suing the FAA with the hopes that this could annul their registration law.

Under the petition for review, John Taylor asks that the new registration system is cancelled. The new system would see drone users forced to register online, mark their drones with unique ID numbers and possibly face fines if they are not registered by the time of their first flight. The petition was filed on the 24th of December 2015, only four days after the registration system went live. Taylor argues that this new system actually breaches part of the FAA’s own rules, citing section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. This section states that the agency may not create new rules or regulations for model aircraft if “the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use”.

With some details from the registration set to become publically available, the court could soon face a difficult choice as defining what is recreational use could see some previous issues resurface, these include when drones are used at sporting or public events.

Text Spamming Lands Yahoo in Class Action Lawsuit

In an unexpected declaration from a Chicago federal judge on Monday, web giant Yahoo have found themselves faced with a class action lawsuit against them on the grounds of the sending of a large volume of unsolicited text messages to users of the Sprint Corp telephone company. Yahoo was found to have been sending ‘welcome’ messages to the users whenever another user sent them a ‘ping’ on Yahoo messenger.

Yahoo is yet to comment on the lawsuit but has unsurprisingly chosen to fight the legal claims against them. Their argument is based on the idea that the penalties and costs associated with such cases would be disproportionate to the harm caused. These costs? If the messaging was chosen to be wilful, violates the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, resulting in damages of up to $1500 per case. With as many as 500,000 users affected by the messaging, the costs would start to add up, not to mention the legal costs of each claim. U.S. District Judge Manish Shah did not believe that Yahoo’s objections to the lawsuits were reasonable and informed the affected users that they could sue as a group due to the similarity of their claims. Should the case against Yahoo be successful, the costs could easily have them writing a bill for millions of dollars.

Nothing is more annoying than unsolicited spam, even more so on your personal telephone. Hopefully, this case should deter other companies from sending unwanted messages to users in future should it be successful.

Warner Bros and Intel Sue Creators of 4K Copy Protection Stripper

Warner Bros. and Intel subsidiary Digital Content Protection have filed a lawsuit against LegendSky, the creator of the HDFury series of devices that can be used to bypass HDCP 2.2 copy protection on 4K video content.

4K video content flooded torrent sites at the end of November last year, indicating that the copy protection on these materials – in this case, primarily ripped from Netflix and Amazon Prime Video – had been cracked. The lawsuit filed by Warner Bros. and Digital Content Protection indicates that HDFury gear could have been responsible for obtaining this 4K content. The two plaintiffs accuse LegendSky of being in breach of DMCA’s anti-circumvention provisions and enabling copyright infringement.

“The HDFury Devices harm copyright owners like Warner Bros. because they enable Digital Content to be displayed without the protections of HDCP, thereby enabling users to access copyrighted works, make and/or distribute copies of copyrighted works […] all without the permission of the copyright owner,” Warner Bros.’ complaint, courtesy of TorrentFreak, reads. “The HDFury Devices harm DCP because, among other things, they undermine the effectiveness of HDCP, lower the value of HDCP, and thereby jeopardize DCP’s ability to license HDCP to Digital Device manufacturers and Digital Content owners.”

Warner Bros. recently announced its new line of Ultra-HD Blu-Ray releases.

The Big Bang Theory Producers Are Being Sued

We sadly live in a world where everyone can sue everyone for almost anything. This happens a lot and sometimes the lawsuits have more claim than other times. The latest one is one that is hard to place and I think it will end up as a tough call in the courtroom. Warner Bros, CBS, Fox, Chock Lorre, and Turner Broadcasting are among the targets in a new lawsuit against The Big Bang Theory and more specific, the Soft Kittie usage.

The original author of the nursery rhyme isn’t around anymore, but the authors children Ellen and Margaret are suing pretty much anyone involved with the show over the use of the nursery rhyme. The plaintiffs seek damages and profits as well as their attorney fees covered as part of the lawsuit where they say that they never been asked for permission and no royalties have been paid for the use of the by-now famous Soft Kitty rhyme.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday in the Southern District of New York, claiming that the lyrical rights clearly belonged to author and copyright owner Edith Newlin, and that the accused “never contacted or made any attempt to contact Edith Newlin or her successors to seek permission to use the Soft Kitty Lyrics, and Plaintiffs never granted any permission … to do so.”

So far everything seems pretty straight forward, the accused are guilty. But it is rarely that straightforward and especially not when we’re dealing with laws and rights.

Warner Bros bought the rights to use the song from Willis Music back in 2007, which pretty much clears them. Originally the lyrics ran in a Willis compilation called Songs for the Nursery School back in 1937, but that was only on a loan basis and Willis did not obtain any rights besides for that usage. So they technically didn’t have the rights to sell at all. The song, or rhyme, has been used in at least eight episodes of the show, with only slight tweaks, the lawsuit states.

If it was just about a few royalties, then I’m sure that Warner Bros could end the whole thing very quickly, but there’s more trouble. The Soft Kitty song has become somewhat legend and that has been exploited in promotions, advertising, and fan articles. That part makes the whole deal a lot more tricky. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, if we get a verdict at all or if they two parties find an outside agreement.

Judge Rules NVIDIA Violated Three Samsung Patents – Sales Ban Threatened

NVIDIA must be regretting filing the lawsuit accusing of Samsung of building GPUs without permission – surreptitiously claiming that NVIDIA invented the GPU – that it subsequently lost back in October. Samsung filed a countersuit against NVIDIA, alleging that the latter was infringing on a number of its patents. Judge David Shaw of the United States International Trade Commission (ITC) has now ruled that NVIDIA is indeed in violation of three of Samsung’s patents.

While the decision is not yet final, the judge considers NVIDIA to be in violation of Samsung’s US6147385US6173349, and US7804734 patents, for an SRAM module, a shared strobe buffer, and data strobe buffer, respectively.

Samsung argued during the case that its patents allowed chip manufacturers to put “what used to fill an entire circuit board with dozens of discrete components all onto a single chip the size of your thumbnail.”

If the ruling enforced, it could result in a sales ban of any infringing  NVIDIA chip. However, patent US6173349 expires during 2016, so any ban against technology that violates that patent would only be in effect for a matter of months.

Following the decision, NVIDIA’s stock dropped by 27 cents to $32.66 during after-hours trading.

“We are disappointed,” said  NVIDIA spokesperson Hector Marinez, in a statement to Bloomberg. “We look forward to seeking review by the full ITC which will decide this case several months from now.”

Samsung has yet to comment on the matter.

Image courtesy of Wikimedia.

Russian Gamer to Sue Bethesda For Fallout 4 Addiction

Video games like any entertainment medium can be addictive especially if the individual in question has an obsessive personality. Usually, consumers applaud developers for creating expansive experiences and enjoy the value proposition this brings. However, a 28-year-old man from Krasnoyarsk is suing Bethesda for $7000 because he didn’t realize Fallout 4 would “become so addictive”.

According to Russia Today, the player in question regularly skipped work, stopped speaking with his friends and led to the breakdown of his marriage. His statement reads:

“If I knew that this game could have become so addictive, I would have become a lot more wary of it. I would not have bought it, or I would have left it until I was on holiday or until the New Year holidays,”

This is an absurd situation and the idea that you can try to seek compensation for your own lack or organizational skills is laughable. There’s no real precedent in Russia regarding cases like this, so it’s going to be interesting to see how the legal case proceeds. Common sense should prevail though because millions have purchased Fallout 4 and not had any negative effects in their private or personal life.

Has a game ever captured so much of your time it almost impacted on personal relationships?

French Consumer Group Sue Valve Over Steam User Agreement

In an unexpected turn of events, a French consumer group, UFC-Que Choisir, have chosen to begin legal action against Valve over the user agreement for their popular game distribution platform, Steam. The decision to sue was revealed in a French letter, in which they explained that Steam’s subscriber agreement contains elements deemed to be “detrimental to consumer interests.”

The points that the UFC bring against Steam were outlined on the Games sub-Reddit, where user ‘Silencement’ translated the letter. Shockingly, this translation may bring to light some questionable business practices you didn’t know about Valve, as many simply click-through the countless license agreements:

  • It is expressly forbidden for customers to resell their digital games, which is contrary to French law, which allows the transfer of digital products and licenses.
  • Valve refuse to accept any responsibility if they are hacked and customer data is leaked, or user accounts are compromised.
  • Valve has ownership to the rights to any user-created content uploaded to Steam.
  • Customers cannot get funds added to their Steam account refunded if their account is closed, deleted or banned.

In short, Valve applies Luxembourg’s consumer law, regardless of the laws of the user’s country.

Steam is often considered one of the best game digital distribution platforms in terms of customer service, especially compared to that of consoles, this lawsuit outlines some worrying issues. So while it may be unreasonable for Valve to keep an array of user agreements to account for every country’s consumer laws, we have to hope that Valve will respond to these accusations by adjusting their practices for the sake of their customers. Considering their track record in the past, however, Valve stands a good chance of coming out on top should they choose to fight the legal battle to the end.

Apple Sued For Data Consuming “Bug”

Apple is known for a lot of things but none more than their iPhones, for better or worse. In this case, it’s again for the worse. Apple has had some problems regarding their software and just like almost a year ago when it was revealed that Siri shared your conversations with other companies, they have been caught yet again relating to their data usage. Apple had the issue in October when they went to court that iOS’s 9 WiFi assist would use mobile internet alongside their WiFi, without alerting the user that they were now using their data roaming. Why not face another lawsuit for the same problem?

Hagens Berman Sobol Shaprio LLP have filed a class-action lawsuit relating to iPhone 5 and 5’cs using iOS 6 and 7. The issue relates specifically to these models because when users were streaming video for even a couple of minutes the phone would switch off its CPU allowing the phone to save power and battery life. The problem being is that doing this would also silently turn off the WiFi and start streaming the video data from a cellular signal.

The suit claims that they violated California consumer laws given that while Apple were aware of the defect they not only failed to fix or warn customers about the issue but that it was fixed for Verizon users back in September 2012 but wasn’t fixed for AT&T users until October 2014.

Streaming data is a costly activity and having your data drained without being warned, because of a known bug, has to annoy anyone. Have you ever gone over your data allowance or found you’ve used your phone data more than you expected?

AMD Responds to Bulldozer Core Count Lawsuit

Just one week ago, AMD was hit by a surprising lawsuit that claimed the microprocessor firm was misleading consumers. The chief allegation is that the Bulldozer CPUs were misrepresented as having 8 cores when, in fact, the 2 integer cores that made up each of the 4 modules cannot operate independently, only capable of issuing 4 instructions at a time. Now, we’re hearing from AMD who obviously see things in a different light, asserting once again that each integer core of a Bulldozer CPU can issue 1 instruction by itself.

“We believe our marketing accurately reflects the capabilities of the Bulldozer architecture which, when implemented in an 8-core AMD FX processor, is capable of running eight instructions concurrently”

While there is truth in the lawsuit that the shared fetch and decode blocks in Bulldozer do impact material performance, 2 integer units (cores) are still present in each module. Even if both can’t function at their peak performance at the same time, as long as they are operating independently, which they are, they’re functionally two cores. The biggest question to be addressed is whether or not the shared fetch and decode units would be enough to make the separate integer cores 1 core. Interestingly, the shared FPU is not an issue as the traditional definition of a “core” excludes floating point instructions.

With AMD on the financial ropes, this lawsuit is probably the last thing the need. It will be interesting to see the conclusion of this lawsuit as the definition of a core set by the court will likely have wide ranging impact on how CPUs are made and marketed in the future.

Schoolboy in TalkTalk Arrest Plans to Sue Newspapers Over Privacy Concerns

The TalkTalk data breach was allegedly masterminded by a 15-year-old schoolboy in County Antrim which caused a great deal of embarrassment and raised questions about TalkTalk’s encryption. Senior staff at TalkTalk believed the DDOS attack to be the work of a cyber-criminal gang or state-sponsored hack. Once the media had been told of the schoolboy’s arrest, various stories were published about his behavior and secluded lifestyle. Some outlets even published a picture of the young boy, with his face slightly covered.

Given the nature of these stories, the schoolboy believes he has a legal case against them in regards to privacy intrusion. He intends to sue three leading newspapers; The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and The Sun. Additionally, according to RTE News, the boy’s lawyers have commenced proceedings against Google and Twitter.

This is an interesting turn of events as there is a legal case when you consider the misuse of private information. However, it’s unknown if this is allowed due to the free press reporting on a serious news issue. The legal proceedings will begin next month and rest assured, we will keep you up to date with all the latest information.

Do you think the press breached this young boy’s privacy?

US Judge Likens Government iPhone Unlock Request

Tensions are rising between device makers such as Apple and Google against law enforcement. It’s showing no signs whatsoever of slowing down either, you may remember that the US government have their force on Apple to unlock encrypted iPhones used in criminal cases.

Apple, however, is now contending that the encryption it provides on the iPhone is meant to safeguard user data first and foremost and that giving law enforcement access to see private data is a dangerous precedent. Earlier this week, comments made by U.S Magistrate James Orenstein this week has bolstered Apple’s position and also dampened the U.S government’s wishes to steamroll technology companies. He took the tactic of comparing forcing apple to unlock an iPhone with forced lethal injection.

HotHardware released that Orenstein said it was similar to a hypothetical situation of a drug company being forced to provide lethal injection drugs for use in an execution, even if had objections to its products being used for such a purpose.

The lawyer for the Department of Justice Saritha Komatireddy didn’t take too well to Orenstein’s comparison, calling it “somewhat inflammatory.” Komatireddy also countered the comment, rightfully pointing out that Apple has been complicit in the past in granting law enforcement the ability to unlock iPhones. It makes me wonder why they’re fighting back now?

Amazon is Suing 1114 ‘Fake Reviewers’

Amazon has filed a lawsuit in Seattle, Washington to tackle a number of “false, misleading and inauthentic” reviews. The reviews in question are paid for by sellers to make their products look more appetizing. According to Amazon, the 1,114 defendants, referred to as “John Does” provides a false review service for as little as $5 (£3.24) on the website Fiverr.com, Once payment has been made, products will receive fake 5 star ratings.

Clearly, this skews the genuine reception of each product and hurts the consumer. As a result, Amazon has made this their top priority and said:

“While small in number, these reviews can significantly undermine the trust that consumers and the vast majority of sellers and manufacturers place in Amazon, which in turn tarnishes Amazon’s brand,”

“Amazon is bringing this action to protect its customers from this misconduct, by stopping defendants and uprooting the ecosystem in which they participate,”

This kind of fraudulent activity could increase the sales of poor value products, and deceive customers. Therefore, once the item arrives and is of a disappointing quality, Amazon has to deal with the returns process. This can be a costly endeavor and also discourages people from purchasing items in the near future.

Have you encountered any problems when buying products from Amazon sellers?

Family Sues School Amid Claims WiFi Made Son Ill

A family in Southboro, Massachusetts, is suing Fay School over accusations that its strong WiFi made their son ill. The plaintiffs, referred to only as “Mother” and “Father”, report that “G”, their 12-year-old son, suffers from Electromagnetic Hypersensitivity Syndrome (EHS), the same condition that afflicts Chuck McGill, brother of Saul Goodman (née Jimmy McGill) in Breaking Bad spin-off Better Call Saul.

G, who experiences headaches, nosebleeds, nausea, and other physical symptoms due to his condition, was exacerbated by the electromagnetic radiation from the School’s new WiFi set-up, the lawsuit claims. The suit seeks to force Fay School to either use Ethernet cables, disable the WiFi in G’s classroom, or shield the boy from the signals, while also seeking $250,000 in damages.

“We’re trying to work with the school,” said John J.E. Markham, II, the family’s lawyer of Boston law firm Markham & Read. “We’re still hoping to reach a resolution that will allow him to safely be in those classrooms.”

Whether EHS is a genuine medical condition, however, is a grey area. It is acknowledged by the World Health Organisation, but at present considers it as “not a medical diagnosis, nor is it clear that it represents a single medical problem.” More study into the mysterious condition is required before it can be truly acknowledged either way, but this could be key to the family’s lawsuit against Fay School.

Thank you Telegram.com for providing us with this information.

Users Launch Class Action Suits Against Ashley Madison

Users of extramarital affair site Ashley Madison have launched class action lawsuits against its parent company Avid Life Media, accusing of being negligent in protecting customer data. Two suits have been filed – one in California, another in Texas – alleging that the company failed to implement adequate security measures to stop user data from being compromised, and failing to notify customers once their data had been breached.

“Among the data compromised and downloaded were profiles of individuals who executed the option to scrub their user profiles and all associated data and paid $19 to Defendants to do so, yet Defendants failed to actually scrub the data,” the lawsuit filed in US District Court for Central District of California reads, after the public leak of “highly-sensitive personal, financial, and identifying information of the website’s some 37 million users.”

“One of the primary purposes of Defendants product and services was confidentiality and anonymity,” reads the suit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Further lawsuits have been reported in courts in California, Texas, and Missouri, plus another five in Canada.

Famed detective John McAfee has determined that the user data leak was an inside job, committed by a “woman”. Expect him to be called up as a key witness soon.

Thank you PC World for providing us with this information.

Duke Nukem Lawsuit Is Officially Over as All Sides Release Statements

Duke Nukem was one of the really popular FPS games back in the 90s and also had a reboot a couple of years ago with Duke Nukem forever. It was never really a game for me despite being a good game, it was just too colourful for someone as me coming from a heavy Wolfenstein, Terminator Rampage, Doom, and Quake environment. Even though the Forever game didn’t take off as some had hoped, it was a great game too and a future Duke Nukem game was set in motion in 2014 called Duke Nukem Survivor and later Duke Nukem: Mass Destruction..

However, those plans got scrapped as it came out that the legal grounds for the intellectual property weren’t clear and the project got renamed into Bombshell and pretty much any reference to Duke Nukem got removed from the game. It all turned into a large round of lawsuits that were settled back in May, but it isn’t until now that the three companies involved have issued public statements on the matter. Interceptor, the company behind Bombshell, had obtained permission for the new Duke Nukem project from the original developers, 3D Realms. But it turned out that 3D Realms didn’t own the rights to it at all, Gearbox did.

Long story short, Gearbox owns the right to the Duke Nukem franchise, Interceptor is working on Bombshell, and 3D Realms stand back as the original developers of the Duke Nukem game but with no involvement in the newer games. You can read the full statements below:

Joint Statement by Gearbox Software, 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment

Gearbox Software, 3D Realms and Interceptor Entertainment have resolved their differences; the parties have voluntarily ended all litigation between them.

From Mike Nielsen (3D Realms CEO): “When Interceptor acquired a license to develop ‘Duke Nukem Mass Destruction’ (‘Duke Nukem Survivor’) from 3D Realms, we did so in good faith and were not aware of any conflict. We never intended to cause any harm to Gearbox or Duke, which is why we immediately ceased development after Gearbox reached out. To secure the future of Duke, 3D Realms has agreed with Gearbox that a single home serves the IP best. And as big Duke fans, we’re excited to see what Gearbox has in store for the ‘King.’ As for our own games, we’re eager to complete development of the ‘Bombshell’ game and get it in the hands of our fans.”

Statement by Frederik Schreiber (Interceptor)

I’m really happy that the lawsuit between Gearbox, 3DR, and Interceptor has come to an end. Right now, I, along with my Interceptor colleagues, are busy making the finishing touches on “Bombshell.” We can’t wait until you guys can play it!

Now that the lawsuit is over, I’d like to say a few things about my history with Gearbox, and hopefully clear some things up. I’ve been a huge Duke fan for many years, and the original Duke Nukem 3D was a big influence on me and my career in this industry that I love.

I want to express my deepest gratitude to Gearbox for allowing me to work on Duke Nukem Reloaded. I decided to cease production of Reloaded in 2011 to establish Interceptor and work on Rise of the Triad.

I want to make it clear now, once and for all – It was my own decision to pull the plug on Duke Nukem Reloaded, even though we were fully allowed to continue development. I respect Gearbox for supporting a young developer, and I’m glad we can now put this behind us.

I look forward to completing development on “Bombshell” and-as a long-time fan of Duke-I’m excited to see what Gearbox has in store for the ‘King’!

Statement by Gearbox

Gearbox Software has voluntarily ended its litigation against Interceptor Entertainment and 3D Realms, and wishes to keep the terms of its settlement confidential except to confirm that Gearbox Software is the full and rightful owner of the Duke Nukem franchise.

Gearbox Software appreciates the sentiments from Interceptor and 3D Realms’ representatives. Gearbox Software President Randy Pitchford said, “I genuinely appreciate Mr. Nielsen’s and Mr. Schreiber’s statement and sincerely offer my best wishes to Interceptor Entertainment and 3D Realms towards their future success and, as someone who was part of the 3D Realms team when Bombshell was first imagined, I am excited to see what they have in store for us with their game.

Thank You GamesIndustry for providing us with this information