Silicon Valley Watcher - Former FT journalist Tom Foremski reporting from the intersection of technology and media

Monday Newswatch: Amazon patent trouble, Chinese bloggers use real names, BitTorrent does hardware

Posted by Richard Koman - October 23, 2006

IBM says Amazon infringed patents

Software critical to Amazon's web operations, including customer recommendations, advertising and data storage, infringes on IBM patents, Big Blue said in a suit filed today. IBM says it offered to license the patent to Amazon many times but “Amazon.com has refused every time.” In a press release IBM said: “We filed this case for a very simple reason. IBM’s property is being knowingly and unfairly exploited. ”
"We believe that Amazon's entire business model is built upon these patents and that damages could be substantial," said IBM spokesman Scott Brooks.

Reuters: IBM Sues Amazon over Web patents

China to insist on real names for bloggers

It's hard to persecute free speech when the only name you have to go is 'Freedom Blogger.' So China has signaled it will insist that would-be bloggers turn over their real names to the state.

"A real name system will be an unavoidable choice if China wants to standardize and develop its blog industry," the official Xinhua news agency quoted the Internet Society's secretary general, Huang Chengqing, as saying.

Bloggers anonymously disseminating untrue information on the Internet bring about ... wait for it ... a negative influence. Isn't that the point? Under the proposed rule, users would be required to register under their real name to open a blog but would still be allowed to write under a pseudonym.

BitTorrent cuts hardware deals

BitTorrent took another step towards respectability in cutting deals for the software to run on network routers and storage devices by Asus, Planex and QNap. The Asus devices can download files via BitTorrent without a PC. (News.com)

"These are the places where people will store their media in the future," said Ashwin Navin, BitTorrent's co-founder. "People don't want files to clutter their home PCs. Our technology working with these devices allows an entire family to share a jukebox."

Deals like these push forward the idea of the digital living room. Imagine a home entertainment center running not off a DVD player or even a TiVO but a media server, wirelessly distributing huge media files to an HDTV or stereo. But proof of concept was to be a video-on-demand store selling digital version of Warner Bros. movies. That's been delayed and now BitTorrent says it won't debut until early 2007.

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