Microsoft loses Word patent appeal

A U.S. federal appeals court has upheld a $290-million US judgment against Microsoft Corp. in a patent case launched by Toronto-based i4i Inc., and issued an injunction that will prevent the sale of its popular Word software.

The court injunction is set to go into effect Jan. 11. The injunction is only against U.S. sales of the program on or after that date, and does not affect copies of the programs sold before the injunction goes into effect, Microsoft noted in a release.

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Facebook Asks More Than 350 Million Users Around the World To Personalize Their Privacy

PALO ALTO, Calif. — December 9, 2009 —Setting a new standard in user control, Facebook announced today that it is calling on its more than 350 million users to review and update their privacy settings—a first among major Internet services. In addition, Facebook will be rolling out easy-to-use tools to empower people to personalize control over their information—based on what the content is, why they are sharing it, when, and the audience they seek to reach.

“Facebook is transforming the world’s ability to control its information online by empowering more than 350 million people to personalize the audience for each piece of content they share,” said Elliot Schrage, Vice President of Communications, Public Policy and Marketing. “We’ve always designed Facebook to enable people to control what information they share with whom—it’s the reason our service continues to attract such a broad and diverse group of users from around the world. We’re proud of the latest evolution we’re announcing today and we will continue to innovate to serve users’ changing needs.”

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Google takes aim at browser redirection

Google has announced a service that it says will speed up web surfing and prevent browser redirection by malicious programs or internet providers.

The service takes aim at how the web addresses users type in, such as, are translated into the internet protocol numbers that computers use to communicate with each other. This Domain Name Server (DNS) resolution service is like the “switchboard of the internet,” said Google product manager Prem Ramaswami in a blog post Thursday.

Typically, when a user types a web address into their browser, their internet service provider automatically translates it and connects them to their desired website. That connection, however, can sometimes be hijacked by malicious code on the user’s computer, whereupon they can be redirected to a harmful website. Some ISPs also redirect users who have mistyped an address to a website they themselves operate.

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Facebook fine-tunes privacy controls

Facebook says it is boosting privacy by giving users control over who sees each bit of information they put on the social-networking site, and by doing away with regional and group networks.

“We’re adding something that many of you have asked for — the ability to control who sees each individual piece of content you create or upload,” said Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in an open letter posted on the site late Tuesday. “In addition, we’ll also be fulfilling a request made by many of you to make the privacy settings page simpler by combining some settings.”

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Google to limit free access to some news content

Google Inc. is allowing publishers of paid content to limit the number of free news articles accessed by people using its internet search engine.

The concession follows mounting criticism of Google’s practices from media publishers — most notably News Corp. chairman and chief executive Rupert Murdoch — that argue the company is profiting from online news pages.

In an official blog posted late Tuesday, Josh Cohen, Google’s senior business product manager, said the company had updated its so-called First Click Free program so publishers can limit users to viewing no more than five articles a day without registering or subscribing.

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Canadian copyright law to trump Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

Industry Minister Tony Clement, responding to accusations that an international anti-counterfeiting agreement will criminalize everyday activity by Canadians, says any such pact will be “subservient” to copyright rules created domestically.

Clement said suggestions that Canada will lose its copyright sovereignty to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a deal being negotiated largely in private by the European Union and a number of countries — including the United States, Canada and Australia — is “fear-mongering.”

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