The Circuit: Apple’s education event, online piracy bills, Kodak files for bankruptcy

LEADING THE DAY: Ahead of a major announcement about education expected from Apple today, the company is aggressively pushing a strategy that would secure its dominance among a variety of schools, The Washington Post reported. Apple is expected to make an announcement about digital textbooks, renewing its drive to capture the education market by putting iPads into classrooms.

Piracy bills: Support for two online piracy bills in Congress appeared to wane Wednesday after opponents of the legislation staged a dramatic protest in which vast swaths of the Web effectively went dark. Several senators, including many former co-sponsors of the Protect IP (Intellectual Property) Act, said that they will oppose the piracy bill. The bill is scheduled to come up for a cloture vote Jan. 24.

The Senate version of the bill lost several of its co-sponsors, including Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah). “It is simply not ready for prime time, and both sides must continue working together to find a better path forward,” Hatch said of PIPA.

Issa introduces OPEN in the House: Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) officially introduced an alternative to the Stop Online Piracy Act in the House late Wednesday, weeks after posting the bill online and gathering input from the Internet community. The bill, called the Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade Act (OPEN), differs from SOPA by proposing that the International Trade Commission be granted jurisdiction over online copyright infringement cases. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) has already introduced the OPEN Act in the Senate.

“OPEN is a smarter way to protect taxpayers’ rights while protecting the Internet,” Issa said in a statement.

SOPA sponsor Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.) was quick to reply with a statement saying that the OPEN Act would be ineffective in combating piracy.

“The bill is not an effective tool for combating online intellectual property theft.  The proposal amounts to a safe harbor for foreign criminals who steal American technology, products and intellectual property,” he said in a statement.

Kodak files for bankruptcy: Eastman Kodak Co. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday, after weeks of rumors about the company’s dire financial situation. The Associated Press reported that the company has secured $950 million in financing from Citigroup and did not announce job cuts as part of its filing. The company has reportedly failed to find a buyer for its portfolio of digital-imaging patents, the report said.

Facebook adds more partners: Facebook added support for over 60 new apps on Wednesday with partners including Foodily, Ticketmaster, Pinterest and others, giving interested users the chance to share more about their daily activities. In addition to the familiar statuses that tell you what your friends have liked, Facebook is now supporting a range of apps that will tell you what they’re cooking, where they’re running and what they’re reading.

The apps are all set up to use the “frictionless sharing” function on the social network, meaning that users only have to give an app permission to share information once. That system of sharing has drawn criticism from privacy advocates who believe the new sharing system might violate the company’s privacy policies.

Piracy whistleblowers: The Software and Information Industry Association (SIIA) won a D.C. appeals court decision that affirms its right to protect an informant in a software piracy case against Solers Inc. Solers, a Virginia-based technology company, accused an anonymous informant of defamation and served the SIIA with a subpoena to discover that person’s identity. The appellate court ruled that a defamation claim did not overcome the First Amendment right to anonymous speech.

The Washington Post filed an amicus brief supporting the organization.

Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.
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