Motorola Scores a Courtroom Coup in Germany
Today in international tech news: Germany grants Motorola a big victory against Microsoft. Elsewhere, the U.S. Office of Trade Representatives says that 99 percent of all music downloads in China are illegal, a French group goes to court because Google's autocomplete suggests that "Mad Men" actor Jon Hamm is Jewish, and China plays cat-and-mouse with the myriad terms used to discuss dissident Chen Guangcheng.
May 2, 2012 8:47 AM PT
A court in Mannheim, Germany, has granted Motorola Mobility an injunction against some of Microsoft's top products, including Xbox, Windows 7 software and Internet Explorer.
The BBC was one of the outlets covering the story:
[The injunction] follows a ruling that Microsoft had infringed two patents necessary to offer H.264 video coding and playback ...
Microsoft has said that if it met all of Motorola's demands it would face an annual bill of US$4 billion (pounds 2.5 billion). Motorola disputes the figure.
A statement from Motorola said: "We are pleased that the Mannheim Court found that Microsoft products infringe Motorola Mobility's intellectual property. As a path forward, we remain open to resolving this matter. Fair compensation is all that we have been seeking for our intellectual property."
Motorola, however, cannot act on Wednesday's decision until the case is heard by a U.S. court next week, according to Reuters.
Microsoft has said it will appeal the German ruling.
Google, Don Draper and Judaism
SOS Racisme, a French anti-racism group, is taking Google to court over its autocomplete feature.
At issue is the (automatic) inclusion of the word "Jewish" at the end of some searches, namely for "Mad Men" star Jon Hamm and news mogul Rupert Murdoch.
A hearing was scheduled for Wednesday.
Hollywood Reporter was among those covering the story:
This isn't the first time that Google has gotten in trouble in France for the way it auto-completes what users type into search boxes.
In 2009, Google was hit with two verdict in cases that questioned whether companies were defamed when it was "suggested" these companies were associated with the French word for "scam."
Autocomplete is performed without manual intervention, according to Google.
Report: Piracy Rampant in China
Less than two weeks after China vowed to do more to fight online piracy, the Office of the United States Trade Representative released a report claiming extreme piracy of U.S. products in China.
Granted, China's promise was to curb future piracy, and the USTR report looked at past piracy. But the report is still pretty damning: "[I]llegal downloads account for an estimated 99 percent of all music downloads in China ... "
Total music revenue (which includes both legitimate physical and digital sales) in China for 2010 was only $64.3 million. This compares to almost $4.2 billion in the U.S., $178.4 million in South Korea and $68.9 million in Thailand -- a country with less than 5 percent of China's population and with roughly the same per capita GDP. If Chinese sales were equivalent to Thailand's on a per capita basis, music sales would be almost $1.4 billion.
The USTR also calls out India for making "limited progress" on IP protection.
Mashable has a good article about how China's ever-zealous Internet censors, who collectively form the Great Firewall of China, "are playing a game of 'whack-a-mole'" with Internet users searching for or spreading information about Chen Guangcheng, a blind human rights activist who reportedly escaped house arrest and took up refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing.
Chinese users first employed "blind man" as code for Chen immediately after his disappearance became known. After that was blocked by censors, "embassy" became a popular term before it, too, was squelched ...
Users who try searching Weibo for these terms are greeted with an ominous warning: "According to relevant laws and policies, results are not displayed."
Weibo users have switched to more complex phrases to stay ahead of Beijing's officials. Just as China's censors figure out which phrases to ban, activists spread a new code -- and another mole pops up for the censors to whack.
References to Shawshank Redemption were being used as well, Mashable reported.