The Tech - Online EditionMIT's oldest and largest
newspaper & the first
newspaper published
on the web
Boston Weather: 55.0°F | Overcast

Briefs (right)

Microsoft Opens Appeal in Europe

By Paul Meller

Microsoft kicked off on Monday its weeklong appeal of the European Commission’s 2004 antitrust decision against it with a searing attack on the regulator’s arguments for ruling against the bundling of Media Player in Windows.

In a packed Grand Chamber of the European Court in Luxembourg, Microsoft and the commission, Europe’s highest competition authority, both claimed to speak for innovation in the software industry.

In carefully prepared presentations, each side explained to the panel of 13 judges why its interpretation of events since 1998 are essential in determining the driving forces behind the software market.

If the commission’s ruling is upheld by the court then the commission will have a powerful legal weapon with which to challenge future moves to bundle products. Microsoft’s strategy for its next generation of Windows, dubbed Vista, which is due for release early next year already seems to have raised that possibility.

If the court overturns the commission’s 2004 ruling, then the value of that precedent will largely be lost, and the commission’s authority to police competition among dominant companies will be curtailed.

Harvard Novelist Says She
Unintentionally Copied

By Dinitia Smith

Kaavya Viswanathan, the Harvard sophomore accused of plagiarizing parts of her recently published “chick-lit” novel, acknowledged Monday that she had borrowed language from another writer’s books, but called the copying “unintentional and unconscious.”

The book, “How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,” was recently published by Little, Brown to wide publicity. On Sunday, The Harvard Crimson reported that Viswanathan, who received $500,000 as part of a deal for “Opal” and one other book, had seemingly plagiarized language from two novels by Megan McCafferty, an author of popular young-adult books.

In an e-mail message on Monday afternoon, Viswanathan said that in high school she had read the two books she is accused of borrowing from, “Sloppy Firsts” and “Second Helpings,” and that they “spoke to me in a way few other books did.”

“Recently, I was very surprised and upset to learn that there are similarities between some passages in my novel, ‘How Opal Mehta Got Kissed, Got Wild, and Got a Life,’ and passages in these books,” she said.

Calling herself a “huge fan” of McCafferty’s work, Viswanathan added, “I wasn’t aware of how much I may have internalized McCafferty’s words.” She also apologized to McCafferty and said that future printings of the novel would be revised to “eliminate any inappropriate similarities.”