Google: if you support Amazon's Echo, you're cut off from Google Home and Chromecast


A closed-door unveiling of the forthcoming Google Home smart speaker platform included the nakedly anticompetitive news that vendors whose products support Amazon's Echo will be blocked from integrating with Google's own, rival platform. Read the rest

Swedish law will let you write off the money you spend fixing things rather than trashing them

Two men working in a Bicycle repair shop, with tools of the trade.

In Sweden a legislative proposal will let repair shops will charge lower sales-tax, and allow people who repair their appliances and bicycles be to write off their expenditures. Read the rest

Sitelock abuses DMCA to censor rival's criticisms


Sitelock is a major player in online security; a rival, White Fir, thinks its products are subpar, and has published extensive articles explaining why White Fir's products are superior -- articles that Sitelock has targeted with fraudulent copyright claims. Read the rest

HP detonates its timebomb: printers stop accepting third party ink en masse


On September 13, owners of HP OfficeJet, OfficeJet Pro and OfficeJet Pro X began contacting third-party ink vendors by the thousand, reporting that their HP printers no longer accepted third-party ink. Read the rest

Warner Bros flags its own website as a piracy portal in copyright takedowns

animation (2)

It turns out that asking a piece of software to decide which websites should be censored and which ones are legitimate has some problems, which I think comes as a surprise to all of us. Read the rest

How a digital-only smartphone opens the door to DRM (and how to close the door)


Fast Company's Mark Sullivan asked me to explain what could happen if Apple went through with its rumored plans to ship a phone with no analog sound outputs, only digital ones -- what kind of DRM badness might we expect to emerge? Read the rest

Your medical data: misappropriated by health-tech companies, off-limits to you


Backchannel's package on medical data and the health-tech industry profiles three people who were able to shake loose their own data and make real improvements in their lives with it: Marie Moe, who discovered that the reason she was having terrifying cardiac episodes was out-of-date firmware on her pacemaker; Steven Keating, who created a website with exquisitely detailed data on his brain tumor, including a gene-sequence that had to be run a second time because the first scan wasn't approved for "commercial" use, which included publishing it on his own site; and Annie Kuehl, whose advocacy eventually revealed the fact that doctors had suspected all along that her sick baby had a rare genetic disorder, which she only learned about after years of agonizing victim-blaming and terrifying seizures. Read the rest

DMCA tees


Support Techdirt before Aug 2 and you can get one of their classic "the content of this shirt has been removed" DMCA tees and hoodies! Read the rest

EFF is suing the US government to invalidate the DMCA's DRM provisions


The Electronic Frontier Foundation has just filed a lawsuit that challenges the Constitutionality of Section 1201 of the DMCA, the "Digital Rights Management" provision of the law, a notoriously overbroad law that bans activities that bypass or weaken copyright access-control systems, including reconfiguring software-enabled devices (making sure your IoT light-socket will accept third-party lightbulbs; tapping into diagnostic info in your car or tractor to allow an independent party to repair it) and reporting security vulnerabilities in these devices. Read the rest

Modern Farmer on how the DMCA takes away farmers' rights over their tractors


In spring, 2015, American farmers started to spread the word that John Deere claimed that a notorious copyright law gave the company exclusive dominion over repairs to Deere farm-equipment, making it a felony (punishable by 5 years in prison and a $500K fine for a first offense) to fix your own tractor. Read the rest

For 90 years, lightbulbs were designed to burn out. Now that's coming to LED bulbs.


In 1924, representatives of the world's leading lightbulb manufacturers formed Phoebus, a cartel that fixed the average life of an incandescent bulb at 1,000 hours, ensuring that people would have to regularly buy bulbs and keep the manufacturers in business. Read the rest

Sign a book of congratulations for America's new Librarian of Congress


John from Everylibrary writes, "Please join EveryLibrary in sending congratulations to Dr. Carla Hayden, our new Librarian of Congress, by signing below with your personal comment or reflection of congratulations along with your name. We will take all the signatures and comments made by midnight on Tuesday, July 20th and create a commemorative book for Dr. Hayden. We'll send the book, along with a nice bouquet from all of us, to her this week." Read the rest

As browsers decline in relevance, they're becoming DRM timebombs

My op-ed in today's issue of The Tech, MIT's leading newspaper, describes how browser vendors and the W3C, a standards body that's housed at MIT, are collaborating to make DRM part of the core standards for future browsers, and how their unwillingness to take even the most minimal steps to protect academics and innovators from the DMCA will put the MIT community in the crosshairs of corporate lawyers and government prosecutors. Read the rest

Tenant farmers: how "smart" agricultural equipment siphons off farmers' crop and soil data


The agricultural sector is increasingly a data-driven business, where the "internet of farming" holds out the promise of highly optimized plowing, fertilizing, sowing, pest-management and harvesting -- a development that is supercharging the worst practices of the ag-business monopolies that have been squeezing farmers for most of a century. Read the rest

Spotify threatens to report Apple to competition regulators over App Store rejection


Apple has rejected Spotify's latest app for inclusion in the Ios App Store, citing its rules against app vendors processing their own payments; Apple requires software vendors to pay to use Apple's own payment processor -- which collects hefty commissions -- in their apps. Read the rest

Phones without headphone jacks are phones with DRM for audio

Headphone_jack_3.5mm (1)

Nilay Patel's magnificent rant about Apple's rumored announcement that future phones won't have headphone jacks starts with the main event: "1. Digital audio means DRM audio." Read the rest

Video: Guarding the Decentralized Web from its founders' human frailty

animation (1)

Earlier this month, I gave the afternoon keynote at the Internet Archive's Decentralized Web Summit, speaking about how the people who are building a new kind of decentralized web can guard against their own future moments of weakness and prevent themselves from rationalizing away the kinds of compromises that led to the centralization of today's web. Read the rest

More posts