Can the law be copyrighted?

UpCodes wants to fix one of the building industry’s biggest headaches by streamlining code compliance. But the Y Combinator-backed startup now faces a copyright lawsuit filed against it by the International Code Council, the nonprofit organization that develops the code used or adopted in building regulations by all 50 states.
The case may have ramifications beyond the building industry, including for compliance technology in other sectors and even individuals who want to reproduce the law. At its core are several important questions: Is it possible to copyright the law or text that carries the weight of law? Because laws and codes are often written by private individuals or groups instead of legislators, what rights do they continue to have over their work? Several relevant cases, including ones involving building codes, have been decided by different circuits in the United States Court of Appeals, which means the UpCodes lawsuit may potentially be


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Glide helps you build mobile apps from a spreadsheet without coding

The founders of Glide, a member of the Y Combinator Winter 2019 class, had a notion that building mobile apps in the enterprise was too hard. They decided to simplify the process by starting with a spreadsheet, and automatically turning the contents into a slick mobile app.
David Siegel, CEO and co-founder at Glide, was working with his co-founders Jason Smith, Mark Probst and Antonio Garcia Aprea at Xamerin, a cross-platform mobile development company that Microsoft acquired for $500 million in 2016. There, they witnessed first-hand the difficulty that companies were having building mobile apps. When their two-year stint at Microsoft was over, the four founders decided to build a startup to solve the problem.
“We saw how desperate some of the world’s largest companies were to have a mobile strategy, and also how painful and expensive it is to develop mobile apps. And we haven’t seen significant progress on that 10 years after the


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Workplace messaging platform Slack has confidentially filed to go public

Slack, the provider of workplace communication and collaboration tools, has submitted paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission to go public later this year, the company announced on Monday.
This is its first concrete step toward becoming a publicly listed company, five years after it launched.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Slack has raised more than $1 billion in venture capital investment, including a $427 million funding round in August. The round valued the business at $7.1 billion, cementing its position as one of the most valuable privately held businesses in the U.S.
The company counted 10 million daily active users around the world and 85,000 paying users as of January 2019. According to data provided (via email) by SensorTower, Slack’s new users on mobile increased roughly 21 percent last quarter compared to Q4 2017, while total installs on mobile grew 24 million. The company recorded 8 million installs in 2018, up 21 percent year-over-year.
Slack’s investors


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Idera acquires Travis CI

Travis CI, the popular Berlin-based open source continuous integration service, has been acquired by Idera, a company that offers a number of SQL database management and administration tools for both on-premises and cloud applications. The move comes at a time where other continuous integration services, including the likes of Circle CI, seem to be taking market share away from Travis CI.
Idera, which itself is owned by private equity firm TA Associates, says that Travis is complementary to its current testing tools business and that the acquisition will benefit its current customers. Idera’s other tools in its Testing Tools division are TestRail, Ranorex and Kiuwan. “We admire the business value driven by Travis CI and look forward to helping more customers achieve better and faster results,” said Suhail Malhotra, Idera’s General Manager for Travis CI .
Idera clearly wants to move into the DevOps business and continuous integration is obviously a major building block. This


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Quizlet hits 50M monthly users

Most students in the U.S. have used or at least heard of Quizlet, the website for creating digital flashcards.
The company leverages machine learning to predict in which areas its users need the most help and provides 300 million user-generated study decks, maps, charts and other tools for learning.
Roughly eight months after closing a $20 million financing, Quizlet chief executive officer Matthew Glotzbach has disclosed some notable feats for the emerging edtech: it’s reached 50 million monthly active users, up from 30 million one year ago, and though it’s not profitable yet, its revenue is growing 100 percent YoY.
As a result of its recent growth, the company is opening its first office outside of Silicon Valley, in Denver.
“We by no means feel like our work is done; 50 million is a very small fraction of the 1.4 billion students on the planet,” Glotzbach told TechCrunch. “Our focus is growing the platform. If we


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Rich-text editing platform Tiny raises $4M, launches file management service

Maybe you’ve never heard about Tiny, but chances are, you’ve used its products. Tiny is the company behind the text editors you’ve likely used in WordPress, Marketo, Zendesk, Atlassian and other products. The company is actually the result of the merger of Moxiecode, the two-person team behind the open source TinyMCE editor, and Ephox, the company behind the Textbox.io editor. Ephox was the larger company in this deal, but TinyMCE had a significantly larger user base, so Tiny’s focus is now almost exclusively on that.
And the future of Tiny looks bright thanks to a $4 million funding round led by BlueRun Ventures, the company announced today (in addition to a number of new products). Tiny CEO Andrew Roberts told me the round mostly came together thanks to personal connections. While both Ephox and Moxiecode were profitable, now seemed like the right time to try to push for growth.
Roberts also noted that


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Grammarly now saves you from embarrassing mistakes in Google Docs, too

Grammarly now supports Google Docs. Over the course of the last few years, Grammarly has made a name for itself as one of the better grammar and spelling checkers on the market. As a Chrome extension, it neatly integrates with virtually every major online tool and social media site, but until now, Google Docs remained a blind spot.
Because of its real-time collaboration features, the Google Docs editor isn’t just a straight-up text field, after all, so the Grammarly team had to do a bit of extra work to make its service work there. Once you have installed the extension, though, it’ll now work just like in any other web app.
The feature has actually been available as a beta to paying premium users for a little while, but now everybody can give it a try.
It’s interesting to see Grammarly come to Google Docs now. In July, after all, Google announced that


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Doctrine raises $11.6 million for its legal search engine

French startup Doctrine is raising a $11.6 million funding round (€10 million) from existing investors Otium Venture and Xavier Niel. Doctrine is building a search engine for court decisions and other legal texts.
This is a key tool if you’re a lawyer or you’re working in the legal industry in general. There are now a thousand companies using the service. It currently costs around €129 per user per month.
A little back-of-the-envelope calculation lets you see that Doctrine currently has a monthly recurring revenue of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Doctrine competes with Dalloz and LexisNexis. These databases have been hugely popular because it’s been so hard to list court decisions. Not only Doctrine managed to get a ton of data, but they also have better technology to search through all these entries.
France is currently trying to share as much open data as possible. Eventually, court decisions could be accessible to anyone. But


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Microsoft promises to keep GitHub independent and open

Microsoft today announced its plans to acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion in stock. Unsurprisingly, that sent a few shock waves through the developer community, which still often eyes Microsoft with considerable unease. During a conference call this morning, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, incoming GitHub CEO (and Xamarin founder) Nat Friedman and GitHub co-founder and outgoing CEO Chris Wanstrath laid out the plans for GitHub’s future under Microsoft.
The core message everybody on today’s call stressed was that GitHub will continue to operate as an independent company. That’s very much the approach Microsoft took with its acquisition of LinkedIn, but to some degree, it’s also an admission that Microsoft is aware of its reputation among many of the developers who call GitHub their home. GitHub will remain an open platform that any developer can plug into and extend, Microsoft promises. It’ll support any cloud and any device.
Unsurprisingly, while the core of GitHub won’t


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