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Saturday, September 20 2014 @ 02:55 AM CDT

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Google Agrees to Negotiate Before Seeking Injunction Relief in Connection with "Standards Essential Patents" (Updated)

Intellectual property Rights


Check out my new Author's Blog: Tales of Adversego

The big news in the tech world yesterday was the announcement by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that it was terminating its review of Google’s business practices without requiring significant changes to the search giant’s advertising practices. While that facet of the story has been extensively covered in many other venues, another important aspect of the FTC’s settlement has received little attention – Google’s agreement to enter into binding arbitration with implementers objecting to its offered license terms. Only if the would-be license refused to enter arbitration, or refuses to honor the arbitrators decision, can can Google seek injunctive relief in the future in connection with any “standards essential patents” (SEPs) that it owns.

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My New Author Blog: "Tales of Adversego"

Adventures in Self-Publishing

Well, I finally took the plunge. Every book marketing guide you'll find tells you that you have, have, HAVE to build a Web site to support your book. I've resisted doing so for a year now, because I'm not sure that I really see the point. After all, an Amazon page can carry all of the basic information and reviews, and if you do a good job adding content to that resource, what else does a reader need? And exactly how, by the way, is a reader likely to ever find your site, anyway, since the Amazon, B&N and other pages for your book will always out-rank it?

The obvious answer is that you have to continue to provide enough content at your book site to provide an incentive for people to keep visiting it. And that content has to be of sufficient value that they'll want to see the latest things you have to say. Having launched this site, I know how much work that can be - and I had the advantage of addressing a narrow, rather arcane topic, which made it easier to gain some visibility.

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Smashwords' Big Year (and what it means for authors)

Adventures in Self-Publishing

If you haven't checked in on eBook publisher Smashwords (SW) lately, you're in for a surprise. The little business that Mark Coker started five years ago is now the biggest publisher of eBooks around. And you don't have to take his word for it - a Bowker press release in October reached the same conclusion.

So how big is big? According to a year-end blog entry by Coker, big is big, not just in numbers of titles, but in year over year growth. This year, the Smashwords author count jumped from 34,000 to 58,600, and the titles in the SW catalog leaped from 92,000 to 190,600. Eye-popping numbers like that would be the envy of any venture capitalist, but Coker has pulled this off without dipping into that well at all. Amazingly enough, he's also done it with only 19 employees (up from 13 at the end of last year, and only 3 in 2010).

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(The Return of) Adventures in Self-Publishing

Adventures in Self-Publishing


Bust of Janus/Vatican - Courtesy of Longbow4u and the Wikimedia Commons2012 has marked another memorable year in the transformation of the book publishing industry. The Federal Trade Commission forced Apple and all but one of the involved major publishers to abandon their eBook pricing. The Fifty Shades of Gray brand expanded to become (of course) a trilogy, and that franchise has now sold more paperback copies faster than any book to date – over 65 million copies in 37 countries. And the last person on earth that had not yet authored a self-published book announced the release of “My Little Ponies and Me – an inspiring tale of betrayal, forgiveness and ultimate redemption.”

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What Does 'Open' Mean?

Open Source/Open Standards

 Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Daniel in the Lion's Den; Rubens; c. 1615, courtesy of Krscal and the Wkimedia CommonsIf you are a regular reader of this blog, you probably have an interest in 'openness' of some kind: open standards and open source software most likely, but you may also feel strongly about openness in other technology-enabled areas, like open data or open government - or openness as a guiding principle, no matter what the digital terrain. And if your interest has taken you into the debates that surround any of these types of openness, you're probably also aware that openness is a term that not everyone defines the same way, or across all situations.

The debate over what 'openness' should mean in the standards arena has been around for a long time - perhaps as long as a hundred years. But in order to understand the current debate, it's important to realize that we are in phase two of that dialogue. 

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The U.K. Cabinet Office Solves the Open Standards Policy Conundrum

Intellectual property Rights

 Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Governments certainly have more than enough to concern themselves with these days – financial crises, natural disasters and terrorism, to name just a few. Given that’s the case, it’s surprising that so many are finding the time to worry about what kind of standards the products and services they purchase comply with. But they are.

That’s the case in the EU, where the final terms of version 2.0 of the European Interoperability Framework (EIF) were the subject of heated debate, resulting in a watered down definition of what should be regarded as acceptable standards for use in enabling communications between EU member nations. It’s also the case within those EU member states that are considering adopting definitions similar to the original formulation that appeared in the original, 2004 version of the EIF.

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Portuguese Government Adopts ODF as Sole Editable Document Format

OpenDocument and OOXML

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

According to a press release issued today by the Portuguese Open Source Business Association (reproduced in full at the end of this blog entry), the government of Portugal has decided to approve a single editable, XML-based document format for use by government, and in public procurement.  And that format is not OOXML.

Instead, the Portuguese government has opted for ODF, the OpenDocument Format, as well as PDF and a number of other formats and protocols, including XML, XMPP, IMAP, SMTP, CALDAV and LDAP. The announcement is in furtherance of a law passed by the Portuguese Parliament on June 21 of last year requiring compliance with open standards (as defined in the same legislation) in the procurement of government information systems and when exchanging documents at citizen-facing government Web sites (an unofficial English translation is here).

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Life Imitates Art in Cybersecurity (Again)

Cybersecurity

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

Well, it’s an interesting world we live in, isn’t it?  I say that because one of the lines I came up with to promote my cybersecurity thriller, The Alexandria Project was, “It’s only fictional in the sense that it hasn’t happened yet.”  There wasn’t much question in my mind that this statement would prove true, but I hadn’t expected that it would happen so quickly, and even so precisely.  In the latest example, it almost makes you wonder whether those involved have read my book.

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Checking Back in on OpenStand

Open Source/Open Standards

 

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

In case you haven’t thought about it lately, it’s a fair bet that everything in your life today depends to some greater or lesser extent (usually the former) on the Internet and the Web.  And in case you’ve never thought about it at all, what makes those vital services possible has less to do with servers and fiber optics than it does with protocols and other standards.  Take that reality a step further, and it becomes obvious that that the processes by which these essential enablers of our interconnected world are created is pretty important.

Further to that thought, a few weeks ago I was intrigued to read that five of the standard setting organizations (SSO) most responsible for the Internet and the Web had united to launch a new initiative called OpenStand. Intrigued, because while the press release answered the “who, what, when and where” aspects of the story, the “why” was a bit less fully fleshed out. I did some investigating on that front, and wrote about what I learned here.  

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Standards and the Status Quo

Open Source/Open Standards

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?

In an otherwise useful essay on the convergence of open standards and open source software development efforts, Adobe's Dave McAllister makes a statement that's worth challenging, since it reiterates a common misconception. In the opening of his essay, Dave states:

Standards are designed to stabilize a technology or interface, package or connection. Open source is driven by continual development. Standards tend to update and publish on a schedule measured in years, while open source updates and publishes in sometimes days. Standards drive the status quo. Open source  (often) drives innovation.

The first part of that statement is crucially accurate: the value of a standard derives entirely from the industry agreeing to freeze some element of technology or interface.  But the later statement that "Standards drive the status quo" at the expense of innovation is misleading at best.