A major new patent bill, passed in a 117-4 vote by New Zealand’s Parliament after five years of debate, has banned software patents.
The relevant clause of the patent bill actually states that a computer program is “not an invention.” Some have suggested that was a way to get around the wording of the TRIPS intellectual property treaty, which requires patents to be “available for any inventions, whether products or processes, in all fields of technology.”
Processes will still be patentable if the computer program is merely a way of implementing a patentable process. But patent claims that cover computer programs “as such” will not be allowed.
The number of wiretaps secured in federal criminal investigations jumped 71 percent in 2012 over the previous year, according to newly released figures.
Federal courts authorized 1,354 interception orders for wire, oral and electronic communications, up from 792 the previous year, according to the figures, released Friday by the Administrative Office of the United States Courts. There was a 5 percent increase in state and local use of wiretaps in the same period.
Less than a month after allowing foreign visitors to access 3G wireless networks, North Korea has reportedly severed tourists’ connection to the mobile Internet.
The reclusive country announced last month that it would soon relax restrictions on visitors’ access to the Internet via mobile devices within its borders, rules that long required visitors to leave their handsets at the border or airport when entering to the country.
The U.S. Senate voted overwhelmingly today to endorse levying Internet sales taxes on American shoppers, despite warnings from a handful of senators that the proposal is antibusiness, harmful to taxpayers, and will be a “bureaucratic nightmare.”
By a vote of 75 to 24, senators adopted an amendment to a Democratic budget resolution that, by allowing states to “collect taxes on remote sales,” is intended to eventually usher in the first national Internet sales tax.
The vote follows a week of fierce lobbying from the National Retail Federation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association, which represent companies including Walmart, Target, AutoZone, Best Buy, Home Depot, OfficeMax, Macy’s, and the Container Store. They argue that online retailers, which in some cases do not collect sales taxes at checkout, enjoy an unfair competitive advantage over big box stores that do.
Starting next week, most U.S. Internet users will be subject to a new copyright enforcement system that could slow the Internet to a crawl and force violators to take educational courses.
A source with direct knowledge of the Copyright Alert System (CAS), who asked not to be named, has told the Daily Dot that the five participating Internet service providers (ISPs) will start the controversial program Monday.
The ISPs—industry giants AT&T, Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner, and Verizon—will launch their versions of the CAS on different days throughout the week. Comcast is expected to be the first, on Monday.
The company that measures television viewership said Thursday it will soon begin counting people who watch programming through broadband in addition to the traditional broadcast or cable hook-up.
Nielsen’s move is a significant step toward recognizing a world where the definition of TV viewing is swiftly changing and toward satisfying clients concerned that the company isn’t keeping up with those changes. Separately, Nielsen is developing ways to track content on tablets and mobile phones.