Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Techie fired over Grokster comments on BBC

A British IT consultant accused by the Hollywood movie industry of running a BitTorrent file-sharing hub has been sacked by his employer after appearing on BBC 2's Newsnight programme last week to comment on the US Supreme Court ruling on Grokster.

Alex Hanff was served with legal papers by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) earlier this year, which claims Hanff's DVD-Core website had been helping people to illegally download copyrighted films.

It was on the back of this that Hanff was asked to appear on Newsnight to comment on the US Supreme Court ruling that peer-to-peer companies such as Grokster could be held responsible for the copyright piracy on their networks.

But on his return to work the next day Hanff was sacked by Aldcliffe Computer Systems in Lancaster, where he had been working for just a week.

The company said that he failed to disclose the pending MPAA file-sharing civil lawsuit during the application process for the job and only became aware of it from the Newsnight interview.

Tribal Group, the parent company of Aldcliffe Computer Systems, said in a statement: "The decision to terminate his employment was made in order to defend our legitimate business interests. Mr Hanff has declared that he is opposed to copyright and intellectual property laws. Since much of our business is based around the protection of our copyright and intellectual property, we consider our dismissal of Mr Hanff entirely justified and appropriate."

But Hanff claims the company gave him permission to leave work early to appear on Newsnight and said he plans to appeal against the dismissal at an employment tribunal.

He told silicon.com: "They are claiming they fired me because of my opinion, which is a breach of my human rights."

In the meantime Hanff said he has been advised by his legal representatives to ignore the MPAA civil action.

"It is a civil case and the MPAA has no jurisdiction in the UK," he said.

Source.

More in Tux Machines

Manjaro Works To Make Calamares A Distribution-Independent Installer

The Arch-based Manjaro crew has been developing Calamares, an open-source installation framework they hope will basically lead to being a universal Linux distribution installer. The Manjaro camp has been developing Calamares as a distribution installer framework they'll be using for Manjaro 0.9+ and they also hope other Linux distributions will adopt it so it can become somewhat of a universal Linux installer so each distribution camp no longer keeps needing to write their own installer. Read more

Has The Sky Fallen? Qualcomm Contributes To Freedreno's DRM/KMS Driver

In an interesting change of events, Code Aurora on the behalf of the Qualcomm Innovation Center has added Adreno A4xx product support to the Freedreno-spawned DRM/KMS "MSM" driver. Rob Clark started the Freedreno project over two years ago as a reverse-engineered project around Qualcomm's Adreno hardware. At the time Rob was working for Texas Instruments but now is employed by Red Hat. The Freedreno driver has largely been developed just by Rob with contributions by a few others, but without any official support from Qualcomm. Freedreno is to Adreno hardware as Nouveau is to NVIDIA hardware. Like Nouveau, Rob developed Freedreno code through clean-room reverse engineering. Read more

New Projects from the Ever-Protean World of Open Source

In my previous column, I pointed out that free software was now so successful, and in so many fields, that people might wonder whether there's anything left to do. The question was rhetorical, of course, of course: the ingenuity of the open source community means that people there will always find new and exciting projects. And not just the big one that I suggested of baking strong crypto into all our communication tools. There are countless other novel uses for open source, as these three very different examples below indicate. Read more

Microsoft 'loves' Linux? Then stop attacking open source

According to Satya Nadella, Microsoft loves Linux. He said as much, complete with pictures -- and his team backs him up. In itself, it's a remarkable statement. Nadella's predecessor, Steve Ballmer, described open source in the darkest terms, characterizing it (with the GNU GPL) as a commercial cancer and never retracting the slur. In many ways, that dark prophecy has come true for Microsoft, which has seen its rent-seeking business model steadily eroded by open source. Though it still has a cash cow to milk, Microsoft's monopolies no longer frighten anyone. Read more