• A bill passed in New Zealand effectively bans software patents by labeling them ‘not inventions.’ A newly invented process, implemented in software, would still be patentable, but the software that implements it would not itself be patentable. Will this square New Zealand’s goal with the TRIPS Agreement’s requirement that patents be available “without discrimination as to . . . the field of technology?” [H/T ArsTechnicasee also VentureBeatWaPo]
  • After cable provider Cablevision amended its antitrust suit against content provider Viacom, trying to show that Viacom’s practice of bundling ‘must-have’ networks like Nickelodeon, MTV, and Comedy Central injures competition, Viacom has once again moved to dismiss.
  • How much money do advertisers lose to browser ad-blocking software? This estimate pegs Google’s annual loss at $887 million, on about $50 billion of revenue. [H/T @Rsnake/WhiteHatSec]
  • Should celebrities have to add #promo, #paid, or #spon (for sponsored) hashtags to tweets they make pursuant to an endorsement deal? Octavia Spencer, who won the 2011 Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help, claims in this breach-of-contract suit that a sponsor used her insistence on tagging her promotional tweets with #spon to try to get out from their contractual obligation to pay her.
  • The front-page websites of The New York Times, as well as portions of the Huffington Post and Twitter’s UK site, was taken over by purportedly Syrian hackers, who did not breach the sites directly, but redirected their domain names after breaking in to the systems of a domain name registrar the companies all share. One researcher following the issue said: “If you watch the whois information right now, it’s bouncing back and forth between the Syrian Electronic Army and The New York Times.”
  • Facebook joins Twitter, Google, and Microsoft in reporting aggregate numbers of data requests it receives from governments around the world.
  • The FBI used full, non-specific ‘data dumps’ from cell phone towers near several different bank robberies to search for a number common to each location at the time the crimes were committed. The investigation led to two numbers that had registered with each tower, and to the eventual arrest of the ‘High Country Bandits.’
  • Some consumers who purchased e-books between 2010 and 2012 will be eligible for a refund of about three dollars per bestselling-title purchase, pursuant to the price schedule released Friday in the ongoing, high-profile price-fixing case. Kate Haywood previously wrote about Apple’s travails in the suit here (it was the only defendant who refused to settle, and was eventually found guilty of price-fixing). Publishers have objected to Apple’s punishment, saying it would pass the costs on to them and thereby punish them again, even after fulfilling their settlement obligations.
  • A charity organization that helped organize last year’s post-Hurricane Sandy relief concert sued its payment processor, claiming that the processor’s technical difficulties left millions of dollars of donations on the table.
  • The FTC filed another suit against a company that lost customers’ personal information. Should the FTC be the agency tasked with holding companies accountable for preventable data loss? Its high-profile case against Wyndham is ongoing (FTC v. Wyndham Worldwide Corp., D.N.J., No. 2:13-cv-01887-ES-SCM); Wyndham has challenged its statutory authority to sue over lax data protection practices.

–Brad Edmondson

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