3 Count: Skype This

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1: Skype Founders Set to Get 10 Percent, Option to Buy Three Percent More and Two Board Seats

First off today, Skype users can rejoice as it appears the Skype lawsuit has been settled. The case, which saw the two original founders of the company sue their buyer, eBay, alleging that the company did not have a license to manipulate or alter the code to the Skype software itself. That software, according to the founders, is owned by Joltid, a company they own. Though it seemed odd that eBay would buy the company but not the rights to its core product, the suit hit at a time when eBay was looking to resell Skype to other investors and the lawsuit threatened the future of the company.

Well, today we have word that a settlement has been reached. The former founders of Skype will be given a 10% stake in the company and an option to buy an additional 3% for $84 million. They will also be given two seats on the company’s 23-person board.

This puts to bed one of tech’s ugliest and most vindictive copyright lawsuits in recent years and clears eBay, Skype and its new owners to move forward with the company’s future.

2: E.U. Leaders Bolster Internet Access Protections

Next up today, the EU has reached an agreement that it hopes will serve as a compromise between various nations and companies that wish to disconnect file sharers from the Web and activists who view the Web as an inalienable right. The EU has agreed that any action resulting in the disconnection of a file sharer must be subject to some form or legal review and can not be done simply on the say so of copyright holders.

This follows closely a similar deal in France, where an initial bill to disconnect repeat file sharers was shot down after it failed to provide judicial oversight to the process. A revised bill, one with such oversight, is making its way through the legislature now.

With this agreement comes an end to over 6 months of negotiation on the issue that will finally allow for the passage of the related telecommunications act, which will overhaul many aspects of the EU communications systems.

3: Judge Halts Online Sale of Beatles Songs

Finally today, I think we all saw this one coming. A judge has ordered BlueBeat to stop selling Beatles tracks on its site, rejecting its famous “psycho-acoustic simulation” argument. The company had been selling Beatles tracks for just 25 cents, even though Beatles music is not available for legal download anywhere on the Web. They had claimed that their tracks were not copies, but rather, were legal covers created using their “psycho-acoustic simulation” technology.

The judge, however, found that argument less than compelling and, despite a registration certificate for the works, has issued a temporary retraining order barring BlueBeat from selling the tracks while the lawsuit against them, filed by EMI, moves forward.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.


That’s it for the three count today. We will be back tomorrow with three more copyright links. If you have a link that you want to suggest a link for the column or have any proposals to make it better. Feel free to leave a comment or send me an email. I hope to hear from you.

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