• An Italian magazine claims the NSA eavesdropped on Vatican communications just before Pope Benedict resigned earlier this year. The NSA denies ‘targeting’ the Vatican, despite the magazine’s claim that it placed Vatican communications into various categories: “leadership intentions, threats to the financial system, foreign policy objectives[,] and human rights.” [H/T Team Cymru]
  • Renowned information security expert Bruce Schneier, who is a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, will lead a Reading Group (a formal study group) at Harvard Law School on Security, Power, and the Internet. Both non-HLS and non-Harvard students are invited to sign up.
  • Amazon unveils a new service for its Kindle e-reader. “Kindle Matchbook” allows users who have bought physical copies of books to download them to a Kindle or (Kindle app) for vastly reduced price or for free. Does this signal a trend toward more customer-friendly rights bundling? (Are movies next?) This also raises a trademark question: while ‘Kindle Matchbook’ is certainly protectable, is ‘Matchbook’ on its own generic — and therefore completely unprotectable — for matching books from one library to another?
  • Google launches the latest version (4.4) of its Android operating system.
  • The Motion Picture Associate of America (MPAA) released a report [PDF] detailing the biggest piracy offenders, both on and off the web. The report lists a veritable who’s-who of prominent filesharing and streaming websites, as well as physical marketplaces where counterfeit films are sold openly. Ironically, the MPAA was also recently in the news for criticizing Google, saying the search engine’s results too often led to pirated material. [H/T SANS]
  • The Institute of Medicine released a report on sports-related concussions, which found that football players are much more likely than players of any other sport to sustain a concussion, and that high school football players are twice as likely to sustain brain injuries as college players. According to ESPN, the report was funded by the NFL. [H/T ESPN]
  • The American Bar Association Journal reports two interesting developments in legal ethics. One, the Virginia Supreme Court applies lawyer advertising rules to a criminal defense attorney’s blog. And two, a Rhode Island attorney was publicly censured for failing to do due diligence on series of transactions that were — unbeknownst to the attorney — on behalf of an internet scammer.
  • A Norwegian man recently remembered he purchased $25 worth of Bitcoins in 2009. And not a moment too soon: since then, the value of a Bitcoin has been famously unstable, and his collection is now worth almost $850,000.
  • A startup called Mootus offers an online moot court forum where lawyers and law students “build skills, reputation and knowledge for free through open, online legal argument.” Issue presented: is that even possible. Analyze and discuss.
  • In news that will surprise no one, MLB is planning to review its obstruction rule.
  • In news that will surprise at least some, the word “twerking” can be found in a published opinion from the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit: EEOC v. Boh Bros. Constr. Co., No. 11-30770, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 19867, 2013 WL 5420320 (5th Cir. Sept. 27, 2013). “Twerking” also appears once in the Congressional Record, 159 Cong. Rec. H. 6565 (statement of Rep. Frankel). [H/T Eric Goldman]

–Brad Edmondson

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