Judge Delivers Thorough And Complete Smackdown Of Oracle's Copyright Claims

from the a-bit-narrowly-focused dept

Well, well. A few weeks ago, the jury in the Google/Oracle lawsuit ruled that Google infringed on a very small amount of Java API, but as we noted it was still an open question (and one for the judge to rule on) whether or not APIs were even eligible to be covered by copyright. In the second phase of the case, the jury completely rejected the idea that Google had infringed on Oracle's patents. So all that left was the 37 APIs. And that tiny "win" for Oracle is now gone as well, as the judge has ruled that those particular APIs are not covered by copyright:
So long as the specific code used to implement a method is different, anyone is free under the Copyright Act to write his or her own code to carry out exactly the same function or specification of any methods used in the Java API. It does not matter that the declaration or method header lines are identical. Under the rules of Java, they must be identical to declare a method specifying the same functionality — even when the implementation is different. When there is only one way to express an idea or function, then everyone is free to do so and no one can monopolize that expression. And, while the Android method and class names could have been different from the names of their counterparts in Java and still have worked, copyright protection never extends to names or short phrases as a matter of law.

It is true that the very same functionality could have been offered in Android without duplicating the exact command structure used in Java. This could have been done by re-arranging the various methods under different groupings among the various classes and packages (even if the same names had been used). In this sense, there were many ways to group the methods yet still duplicate the same range of functionality.

But the names are more than just names — they are symbols in a command structure wherein the commands take the form
java.package.Class.method()
Each command calls into action a pre-assigned function. The overall name tree, of course, has creative elements but it is also a precise command structure — a utilitarian and functional set of symbols, each to carry out a pre-assigned function. This command structure is a system or method of operation under Section 102(b) of the Copyright Act and, therefore, cannot be copyrighted. Duplication of the command structure is necessary for interoperability.
As some have pointed out the ruling is somewhat narrowly focused just on these 37 APIs, but the principles involved in why those 37 APIs are not copyrightable certainly will apply to plenty of other APIs as well. The ruling itself (embedded below) is pretty thorough and detailed. We had noted earlier that Judge Alsup had admitted that he'd learned to code Java in order to better understand the case (and that he'd had a history of knowing other coding languages as well) -- and it shows. Rather than using braindead broad analogies that don't make much sense, as we see all too often in court rulings, Alsup gets to the heart of the matter and clearly understands what an API is and how it works. His ruling is actually a decent primer on some parts of code for those who have never coded.

From that, Alsup points out just how ridiculous this entire case has been -- and specifically notes that he's explaining the level of ridiculousness of Oracle's position for the benefit of the appeals court who will surely hear this case once Oracle appeals (and which almost certainly will be staffed with judges not nearly as clued-in as Judge Alsup).
Oracle has made much of nine lines of code that crept into both Android and Java. This circumstance is so innocuous and overblown by Oracle that the actual facts, as found herein by the judge, will be set forth below for the benefit of the court of appeals.
He goes on to explain not just how insignificant the situation was, but he details how it happened and why it's crazy to consider it worthy of a copyright infringement suit. It's a pretty complete smackdown of Oracle's position.

Again, it is quite likely that Oracle will appeal, even though this ruling is so firm it might be smarter for Oracle to issue a giant apology to the tech community and just get on with doing business. That seems unlikely, of course, as Oracle probably hopes to find less knowledgeable judges on appeal. One hopes, however, that the appeals court judges will recognize the very, very thorough nature of Judge Alsup's ruling, and reject any appeal as well.


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  1.  
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    arcan, May 31st, 2012 @ 3:53pm

    yay a judge who actually knows what he is doing.

     

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    Mason Wheeler, May 31st, 2012 @ 4:02pm

    Re:

    Agreed. The good judge is a gentleman and (literally, it would seem) a scholar.

     

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    Jeff (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 4:07pm

    My prediction:

    - Oracle will try and spin this as a "win".

    - Oracle will then appeal the ruling and tie this issue up in courts for decades to come. Innovation by stagnation...

     

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  4.  
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    Mason Wheeler, May 31st, 2012 @ 4:09pm

    Re:

    OK, maybe I'm just RDF-deficient, but I really don't see any way that such a thorough and complete smacking-down can be presented as a win, no matter what spin you put on it.

     

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  5.  
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    rubberpants, May 31st, 2012 @ 4:16pm

    Re:

    "Unfortunate that...our innovations...respect...significant questions...intellectual property...valuable property...property...property."

     

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    PlagueSD (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 4:34pm

    Well, there goes my idea of patenting a method of advancing though lines of code in a computer program to provide information based on various input procedures.


    Back to the drawing board I go...


    /sarcasm

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re:

    Paging Righthaven.

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 4:41pm

    Re:

    I was all excited, then I realized what this says about my opinion of the court system right now. :(

    I think the last time I respected a judge personally was the guy who shot down Prop 8 with a decision even a high schooler could read. Rare gems, rare gems.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 4:43pm

    While the basis for Judge Alsup's ruling is sensible, I'm not sure if it is consistent with existing copyright law precedent.

    For example, the Ninth Circuit has issued several opinions that conflict with the "no copyright protection for names or short phrases" bit.

    Other decisions have held that interoperability is not a valid defense or reason to deny copyright protection, unless the expression used was required for interoperability *at the time the code was written* (as opposed to simply being required for later code to work). That seems to conflict with Alsup's ruling.

    As for the "system or method" business, that seems to conflict with the notion that 102(b) is simply intended to be a codification of the idea/expression dichotomy.

    I hope any appellate opinion really gets into these issues.

     

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  10. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Mason Wheeler, May 31st, 2012 @ 4:46pm

    Re: Re:

    *eyeroll* Yeah, gotta love an activist judge who takes the clearly-expressed will of the people and decides by fiat that it's invalid. I'm sorry, but that's not what democracy is about, no matter what the subject matter.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 4:51pm

    Re:

    You're 1/2 right. SCOracle's statement was as follows:
    "The court's reliance on "interoperability" ignores the undisputed fact that Google deliberately eliminated interoperability between Android and all other Java platforms. Google's implementation intentionally fragmented Java and broke the "write once, run anywhere" promise."
    Of course, they neglected to state exactly how this constituted copyright infringement, which is what the case was about.

     

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    vegetaman (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 4:58pm

    Wow.

    Glad to hear those of us in the software field came out in the clear on this one!

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hi. I'm a woman who wants to marry my girlfriend. Please don't be a douche to me today, I've kind of had it rough with someone gay bashing at work already, and I'm out of spoons. Thanks.

     

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  14.  
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    arcan, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    if i remember right a judges ultimate job is to uphold the constitution. not democracy.

     

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    arcan, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:05pm

    Re:

    if it goes to the appeals court i think it will then it will never be touched upon

     

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    RonKaminsky (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Yeah, gotta keep those minority slaves for our cotton fields, no? The majority voted for it!

    Perhaps in the case of this particular proposition you might be correct; however, what most people believe is "democracy" is far from the strict version which you think it means.

     

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    Mason Wheeler, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Then please don't put words in my mouth. I'm not gay bashing, I'm bashing judges who overstep their authority, no matter what the subject matter. (As I explicitly said.) I'd have similar words for judges who came up with a similarly bad ruling on any other topic.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re:

    What?

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, the "interoperability" was one basis for determining it wasn't copyright infringement. So, if interoperability is not really applicable...

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How about instead of picking out one word and going into contortions, you instead read the word in context before responding and looking like an idiot?

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I provided the context you were leaving out. Interoperability was a basis for Judge Alsup saying the copying that occurred did not constitute infringement. That's what the interoperability language has to do with copyright infringement.

    You acted as if you didn't understand that. If you did, then maybe you were just being disingenuous. I don't know.

    But there's really no need to be an asshole about it.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And what I'm saying is that declaring a ruling "oversteps" because it has the potential to give back rights that were taken away from friends of mine (and potentially from me) comes across as rather like saying you don't care if I ever have those rights or not, so long as at least 50% of people in my state decide to deny them to me.

    I'm sorry, but I'm tired of politely smiling while people cheerfully say it's okay to treat me like a second-class human being. It's not okay. I don't care what theory of tyranny of the majority you espouse; in this and every other case where fundamental human rights are involved, you're wrong. As for who gets to decide if this is a fundamental human right or not: I do. Because I'm the one who knows what it's like not to have it.

    (My apologies to everyone else for hijacking this thread. I'll bow out now to reduce the commotion.)

     

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  23.  
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    Mason Wheeler, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As for who gets to decide if this is a fundamental human right or not: I do. Because I'm the one who knows what it's like not to have it.


    There are millionaires out there. They seem pretty happy, on the whole. And since I know what it's like *not* to have that standard of living, I proclaim that it's a fundamental human right, I should be able to be a millionaire too, because I want to, and it would make me happy!

    ...that is how it works, right?

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "As for who gets to decide if this is a fundamental human right or not: I do"

    Sounds like tyranny of the minority.

    Obviously, this is a personally important issue to you, and that's understandable. I happen to desire the same ultimate result that you do w/r/t same-sex marriage.

    That doesn't meany everyone should shut up and celebrate a result if they think the result was brought about by illegitimate means.

    To some people, following the rules of our system of government is a very important issue.

     

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  25.  
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    Failboat, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And at what point are you legally being denied the chance to make millions of dollars?

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    1. I happen to believe that the government should recognize a covenant or contractual agreement that has been entered into by two rational, consenting adults. I also believe that two people should be able to enter into whatever covenant/agreement they want.

    2. Can we PLEASE stop calling this a fundamental human right?

    It is not a fundamental human right. Fundamental human rights are rights that you have simply by existing. They have existed since people were people. Marriage, Civil Unions, whatever, are constructs of culture and are not, by any philosophical definition a fundamental human right.

    If you want to call it a matter of fairness and equality, go for it.

     

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  27.  
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    Failboat, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It is actually their job to decide if the Constitution was made in a fair and equal way. It is the Executive branch (police/fbi/cia) to execute/uphold the law.

     

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  28.  
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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 5:41pm

    Re: Alsup

    Well, I also like when judges deliver good rulings based on common sense... yet Alsup is not exactly what he is protrayed these days.

    Just half a year ago Mike wrote about the very same judge:

    Unfortunately, not all judges have recognized this abuse of the system yet. In a new ruling in the Northern District of California, a judge ruled that its not just okay to join totally separate defendants together in such a lawsuit, but it's fine to make them "jointly and severally liable" for the damages. The full ruling is embedded below. It's a "default judgment," meaning that the two defendants didn't bother to respond to the lawsuit or show up. Thus, no one presented the other side of the story. Such things happen and not responding to a lawsuit is almost always going to lead to a default judgment and trouble. But, there's simply no reason that the court should have then taken the further step of assuming that the two parties were linked and that they should be jointly and severally liable for the damages. Unfortunately, even as a default judgment, this ruling can and will be used by lawyers to suggest that joinder is proper.


    My (and not only my) opinion is that this judge is an arrogant despot, yet he is clever enough to make fair and reasonable rulings IF he invests his time and energy in studying the case subject. But if, for some reason, he does not want to spend his time, he is quite capable of delivering nonsense — presenting it as if he knows what he is talking about.

    Kudos to Alsup for taking the effort to become "clued-in" in this particular case, yet no one who knows him could predict the outcome, and it is equally possible that this outcome would be bad.

     

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  29.  
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    davnel (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re:

    Not to mention a pretty good programmer.

     

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  30.  
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    arcan, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    that is kind of false. they decide whether or not a law is justified under the constitution. whether or not the constitution is correct is not their problem.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your moniker is apt

     

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  32.  
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    arcan, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    better way of wording my original point though. judges job is not tied to democracy. however it is directly tied to the constitution. if a law violates democratic processes but not the constitution judges are not technically able to do anything about it.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:45pm

    Major props to the judge for actively researching whats being presented to him, even more major, MAJOR props for coming to an "honest" UNDERSTANDING of whats being presented to him

    In case you missed it the first time, major props :)

    Reckon this is one judge to keep an eye on

     

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  34.  
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    arcan, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    the cacf or whatever appeals court. the one that does all the copyright cases.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re: Alsup

    In short, when one likes the results, the judge is genius. Otherwise, he's an asshole.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Um, that doesn't really clarify.

    First, there isn't a single appellate court for copyright cases. Since this case was in the Northern District of California, it would be appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

    Second, your sentence is mangled English. I'm not saying that to be a dick (I do the same when I'm typing comments online), but I really don't know what you were trying to say.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 5:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Even if the example is ridiculous, the point is apt. Fundamental human rights have a deep metaphysical and philosophical basis. It is not accurate to say that each individual gets to decide what they are.

    Otherwise, marriage would have absolutely no limits (polygamy, minors, objects, animals, whatever), people could possess illicit substances and claim it is their fundamental right, and so on.

    Human rights are by definition completely separate from the government and without limit.

     

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  38.  
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    davnel (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 5:58pm

    This is old news

    Way back in the day, say 1982 or so, IBM came up with a wonderful (if anemic) machine called the "Personal Computer". It used a ROM based program called a BIOS (Basic Input Output System) to act as an interface between the hardware of the machine and the software running on it. At the same time, IBM published a binder they called the Technical Reference (which I still have). This volume contained, among other things, the complete source code for the BIOS (copyrighted), one presumes on the hope that this would prevent a third party from copying the machine and it's BIOS.

    Along comes Phoenix. They set up two teams of engineers. The first read the IBM source and from that produced a specification of exactly how the BIOS worked and the requirements to operate it. We call those APIs now.

    The second team, which had never seen the original source, took the specification and wrote a completely new program that performed all of the BIOS functions without copying any of the original. This is called a "Clean Room" procedure.

    IBM, of course, sued to prevent Phoenix from using their BIOS, but lost in court, and the age of "IBM Clones" was born.

    The idea that APIs or software specifications are not copyrightable is not new by any means. I don't understand what Oracle is thinking. They MUST know this, but are still wasting megabucks and months of lawyer time relearning the Phoenix lesson. WAKE UP ORACLE!

     

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  39.  
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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 6:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Alsup

    Is it surprising? We all behave this way. More or less. Yet it is counter-productive to reject good deeds delivered by a person who has shown himself not from his best side in other instances. Sometimes I even praise an obvious asshole Randazza for his Righthaven work :)

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You do not get to decide what is or is not a fundamental human right. Your comments though display an ignorance of the way a legal society works that I see far too often. You and others tend to talk about what is morally right and what you believe is right but the reality is what you believe is right is completely irrelevant to how judges should rule on the validity of a law. Judges should rule based only on the validity of the law not on their personal moral beliefs. And prop 8 is one of those cases where on the surface at least that the judges made a moral decision not a legal one.

    That said I'm actually a proponent of same sex marriage as I don't really see why it is such a big deal over all to those it doesn't directly affect. But then I'm a libertarian so I'm weird that way :p

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 6:36pm

    Nice

    Thank you Judge Alsup for restoring a bit of faith that the system CAN work, so long as intelligent men still hold sway.

     

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  42.  
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    Ruud (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 6:45pm

    Kudos for the judge. He really understands the subject. Near the end of his ruling he comments on Oracle's motives:

    That interoperability is at the heart of the command structure is illustrated by Oracle’s
    preoccupation with what it calls “fragmentation,” meaning the problem of having imperfect
    interoperability among platforms. When this occurs, Java-based applications may not run
    on the incompatible platforms. For example, Java-based code using the replicated parts of the
    37 API packages will run on Android but will not if a 38th package is needed. Such imperfect
    interoperability leads to a “fragmentation” — a Balkanization — of platforms, a circumstance
    which Sun and Oracle have tried to curb via their licensing programs. In this litigation, Oracle
    has made much of this problem, at times almost leaving the impression that if only Google had
    replicated all 166 Java API packages, Oracle would not have sued.
    While fragmentation is a
    legitimate business consideration, it begs the question whether or not a license was required in
    the first place to replicate some or all of the command structure. (This is especially so inasmuch
    as Android has not carried the Java trademark, and Google has not held out Android as fully
    compatible.) The immediate point is this: fragmentation, imperfect interoperability, and
    Oracle’s angst over it illustrate the character of the command structure as a functional system or
    method of operation.

     

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  43.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 6:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Judge was not overstepping authority. The CA constitution has a part that specifically talks about equal rights. In CA, there are two types of modifications you can make to the constitution. The first is for trivial things (eg: pay raises for legislatures), which is designed to get around the stalemate of partisan politics. The other type of change materially affects the rights of a group (ie: minority). It's a higher bar which is designed to protect minorities from oppression by majority.

    The change in CA preventing gay marriage is clearly of the second type, since it's modifying an existing constitutionally specified equal right.

    Judges jobs are to rule not just on the letter of the law, which is easy. But to rule on the INTENT of the law in it's original context and transpose that into the current context. That's why we need smart people in the judicial system, and why we need the complexity of jury trials. If it's just letter of the law, pretty much anyone who can read can deal with that.

    I find that countries that limit themselves to letter of the law typically find themselves over-regulated in short order. Live in another country for a while to appreciate that.

    Before living abroad, I used to think the litigious overly "lawyered" US was a bad sign. Now I think it's a healthy sign.

    It's silly to think a law, written in English, generations ago will be able to be as effective now.

     

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  44.  
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    Rich, May 31st, 2012 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sigh. You call it the "will of the people" because it's what *you* want. Democracy is NOT about what the majority wants. It is about EVERYONE having the right to be free and happy regardless of what the majority wants! Democracy protects the minority from the majority.

     

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  45.  
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    DC (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 7:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Please make sure you read the AC who starts:

    "Judge was not overstepping authority. The CA constitution has a part that specifically talks about equal rights. In CA, there are two types of modifications you can make to the constitution. The first is for trivial things (eg: pay raises for legislatures), which is designed to get around the stalemate of partisan politics. The other type of change materially affects the rights of a group (ie: minority). It's a higher bar which is designed to protect minorities from oppression by majority."

    I'm doubtful of your familiarity with the details of this case.

     

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  46.  
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    Rich, May 31st, 2012 @ 7:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are gay bashing, regardless of how you spin it. I love how you guys scream about activist judges who stop your slimy, disgusting against to push *your* beliefs and *your* will upon the rest of us.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 7:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    youre quite confused. mating for life is a facet of nature, not society. marriage is how the legal system recognizes that fundamental human right.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 7:17pm

    Re:

    you forgot to add "over the internet"

     

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  49.  
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    DC (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Alsup

    Yeah, well ...

    Judges can be wrong and it is ok to point out when you think they are wrong.

    Funny that, I didn't notice you actually pointing out anything you thought was either correct or incorrect in the posts or the rulings. You aren't here just to slag off Mike, are you?

    I don't read this post as saying the judge is a genius, but rather: Thank God we have a technology case in front of a judge who understands technology a good bit.

    The joinder case, I don't read as Mike calling the judge an asshole, but rather that it was unfortunate that the default judgement had to be rendered because the defendants didn't respond, and "WTF, why did he go beyond simple joinder to joint liability. Boggle."

    Who knows, maybe the judge has been spending time to better understand this new internets thingy.

     

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  50.  
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    DC (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 7:24pm

    Re: Re:

    I think the link has been disapeared, but this morning before the judge's ruling, I saw a story about Ellison spinning the jury verdict as a win on the copyrights.

    The pic of Larry was not a good one.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 7:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Democracy is NOT about what the majority wants."

    It is actually.

    A just society requires more, democracy does not.

     

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  52.  
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    DC (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Found it. It was on ARS.


    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/05/larry-ellison-swerves-into-fantasyland-discussing-all -of-oracles-litigation

    It's funny. Thank God that Larry's reality distortion field only works on himself.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So like Baboons I should get a Harem... and that's a facet of nature.

    Make a usefull point or stfu - many natural "mates" are not for life. Oh wait - you must be another Creationist... er Religious whack-job... oh hell - whatever todays politically correct way to refer to them is.

    Ducks dont speak they quack - hence it is a natural facet of nature that we pass a law only allowing people to quack.

    Epic - Logic - Fail.

     

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  54.  
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    MrWilson, May 31st, 2012 @ 7:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nice attempt at an argument (and sadly all too common) but you're missing out on the fact that marriage is a matter of agreement between two consenting participants. A minor can't legally consent. An inanimate object can't consent. An animal can't consent. Gay marriage doesn't open the door for non-consensual marriages.

    That's just absurd. As absurd as the arguments against letting women vote that were being made 100 years ago, such as the argument that the family would cease to exist if you gave women voting power.

     

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  55.  
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    MrWilson, May 31st, 2012 @ 7:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Democracy can have limits, such as not being able to vote to deny civil rights to citizens. What you're referring to is called Ochlocracy.

     

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  56.  
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    Andrew F (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 7:56pm

    I hope Oracle appeals

    And loses. It'd be nice to get some more precedent saying APIs aren't copyrighted.

     

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  57.  
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    MrWilson, May 31st, 2012 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't remember it being a rule of our system of government that voters got to decide how civil rights are selectively denied to an unequally treated class of citizens. By nature, the act of being able to vote to deny equal treatment under the law is inherently unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment.

     

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  58.  
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    Andrew F (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 7:59pm

    Judge Alsup

    Judge Alsup's middle name is Haskell. Seriously.

     

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  59.  
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    btr1701 (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > I've kind of had it rough with someone gay bashing at work already

    How exactly is what Wheeler said 'gay-bashing'?

    Merely disagreeing with a judicial decision is not 'bashing' anyone.

    Get over yourself.

     

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  60.  
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    btr1701 (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 8:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > declaring a ruling "oversteps" because it has the
    > potential to give back rights that were taken away
    > from friends of mine comes across as rather like
    > saying you don't care if I ever have those rights or not

    Then that's your problem for wrongly coloring his words with your own personal bias. It certainly doesn't objectively transform his general comment about judicial overreach into 'gay-bashing'.

     

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  61.  
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    btr1701 (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 8:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > Nice attempt at an argument (and sadly all too
    > common) but you're missing out on the fact that
    > marriage is a matter of agreement between two
    > consenting participants. A minor can't legally
    > consent. An inanimate object can't consent. An
    > animal can't consent.

    I notice that you addressed all of the AC's examples except polygamy. Convenient lapse, since that *would* involve consent between adults.

     

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  62.  
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    Nobody, May 31st, 2012 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Equal rights for what? choices? that is what you're defending right? A choice?

    So while regulating equality for men vs women, race vs race you now want to give equality based on choices?

    So if I choose to be a hater, I get equal protection under the law as someone who chooses to have sexual relations with like gender? Those are just choices - not something that is innate or something decreed by birth.

    Choose to do what you want, but don't expect the *right* not to be offended by that choice.

    People who choose to do things that aren't in the norm should not, have not the right to expect equal treatment.

    Sexual preference is just that, preference, choice - not something you have no choice over like skin color, ethnicity, where you were born, your family, etc...

    I'm all for allowing people to do what they want, but to try and protect free-will choices as a status-quo and give equality to choice based decisions is just plain wrong.

    Want to be partners, go ahead, be partners, just don't call it marriage as marriage is reserved for couples who can or should be able to procreate (yes, yes, there are lots of people who can't procreate due to medical or other reasons) by having one of each gender in said union.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 31st, 2012 @ 9:11pm

    Re: Re:

    Then you've clearly never read a post by Florian Mueller, (paid) Oracle and Microsoft shill extraordinaire. He's only a step or so down from the MPAA's league.

     

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  64.  
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    btr1701 (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 9:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > Democracy is NOT about what the majority wants.

    LOL! Actually, majority rule is the very definition of democracy. That's why the Founders were careful *not* to design a democratic form of government. What we have isn't a democracy, but a constitutional republic.

     

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  65.  
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    Mike42 (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 9:34pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Probably not: he's probably just a hacker.
    But that's all it takes to realize that Oracles full of shit, and kudo's to him for taking the time and effort to learn Java, even at a hacker level!

     

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  66.  
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    Mike42 (profile), May 31st, 2012 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Our founding fathers warned about true democracy.
    "True democracy is two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for lunch."
    That's why we have a democratic republic, and a three-way balance of power.

    Yes, your stupid bigotry was anticipated.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 12:03am

    Without the incentive of copyright, no one will ever make an API again.

    How will people get paid for setting up third-party access to their data and functionality?

     

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  68.  
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    MrWilson, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 12:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I left out polygamy because I didn't want to get into a religious debate since that seems to be the most prominent context for polygamy.

    It seems like polygamy is usually a matter of inequality in which men have too much power over the women in their segment of society, so I'm opposed to it on those grounds. Also, polygamy doesn't always involve consensual participants. Just ask the 13 year old girls who get pushed into such marriages.

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 1:58am

    Re: Re:

    Clearly you didn't heard of the late Steve Jobs and his bending reality field.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 2:09am

    Re:

    Is this a joke?

     

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  71.  
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    Ruud (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 3:33am

    Re:

    The code behind the API is still covered by copyright. Also, providing an API makes your software open and a preferred choice as a component in a larger system, which in turn can boost sales.

    Without API's, Windows would not have become the leading OS, there would be no App Store, Play market, and Facebook would not have become the de facto authentication engine. Whether you like any of these platforms or not, it is their openness thru API's that helped them achieve market dominance.

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 4:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Okay, fine, but the first AC did not make that distinction--she/he said that she alone gets to decide what fundamental human rights she has. I agree with his/her goal, but not with her reasoning--and you failed to support her reasoning or explain why mine is incorrect. All you did was attack some of my examples.

    Specifically you failed to address the fundamental point--regardless of whether same-sex marriage should be allowed, it is NOT a fundamental right. Not by any long established understanding of those terms.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 4:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Polygamy absolutely does involve consensual adults. It certainly also includes unwilling participants, which is terrible.

    However, you've actually made my point--if you are willing to restrict some types of marriages, by definition same-sex marriage (or any marriage for that matter) is not a fundamental human right.

    Regardless, same sex marriage should be allowed IMO.

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 4:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well then, you've made my point, although I don't actually agree with you--I still believe it is a cultural construct. Partnering in nature is certainly not universal.

    By your argument, the only issue would be then whether or not the government restricts that right, and they do not. What they do not do is recognize all marriages. Any two people can partner and enter into whatever covenant they wish. The government does not restrict that--what it does not do is recognize those partnerships equally. That is very different from restricting fundamental human rights.

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 4:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Alsup

    Well, at least you recognize your cognitive bias. The rest of us are a little further along and try to objectively consider thoughts that are directly opposed by our biases.

     

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  76.  
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    Niall (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 5:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You were doing so well until your own logic fell apart with the duck analogy. And I don't see a creationist/fundamentalist arguing for *more* human rights, especially not for gays, so another fail there. Besides, no-one is legislating that by quacking like a duck you're breaking the law. Feel free to do so, you might make more sense. Try looking around your hobby horse before spouting.

    Whether or not *marriage* is a fundamental human right is one argument. Separately, that it should apply equally to everyone is another principle - but there should be as little discrimination as possible, within the bounds of reason. The main baseline reasons given, that consent cannot be given, either in practice (objects, animals) or legally (minors), stops a marriage from happening, should not, per se, stop gay marriage - or even really polygamy, although polygamy is rather harder to practically manage.

    Just because X (gays, blacks, mixed couples) get married doesn't harm you, nor any marriage of your own. What matters is does it harm anyone involved. Minors, yes. Objects - it's a little irrelevant. A polygamous set-up - possibly. Gays - no, no more than people from wildly different social or educational backgrounds, or mixed race couples.

    Try to keep the conversation on track, and try and deal with each element separately.

    Whether or not marriage is a fundamental human right (and it probably should be), everyone should be treated equally under the law.

     

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  77.  
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    Niall (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re:

    That's the follow-up patent. Followed next by various phone methods.

     

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  78.  
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    Ed (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 6:37am

    Best comment ever

    Saw this on another forum: "Ellison Gollum !!Oh! Cruel Google hobbit! It does not care if we be hungry. It does not care if we should die! Not like Master. Master cares. Master knows. Yes, precious.."

    Does Master = Apple?

     

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  79.  
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    Lord Binky, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 6:40am

    I like how if Oracle appeals, the next judge is going to read the ruling and think either "Shit, now I have to learn this too" or "Shit, I'm not learning this, his ruling looks good to me"

     

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  80.  
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    chafporte, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 6:54am

    could this apply to file structures and file systems ?

    I wonder if this reasoning could be used as a precedent in file structures and file systems cases. Today many believe you need a Licence to write a BMP file, or write in a FAT32 file system.

     

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  81.  
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    Neppe (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Science might tend to disagree with you.
    https://www.sciencemag.org/content/253/5023/1034.short


    ABSTRACT

    The anterior hypothalamus of the brain participates in the regulation of male-typical sexual behavior. The volumes of four cell groups in this region [interstitial nuclei of the anterior hypothalamus (INAH) 1, 2, 3, and 4] were measured in postmortem tissue from three subject groups: women, men who were presumed to be heterosexual, and homosexual men. No differences were found between the groups in the volumes of INAH 1, 2, or 4. As has been reported previously, INAH 3 was more than twice as large in the heterosexual men as in the women. It was also, however, more than twice as large in the heterosexual men as in the homosexual men. This finding indicates that INAH is dimorphic with sexual orientation, at least in men, and suggests that sexual orientation has a biological substrate.

     

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  82.  
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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 7:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Alsup

    Thanks for recognizing me as a not-so-lost soul! I try hard. "objectively consider thoughts that are directly opposed by our biases" is too advanced for me at this time though. Completed the Step 1 (recognizing my own tendentiousness), I'm working on the Step 2: recognizing other people's biases. Hope to become the rest of us some day ;) Peace.

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 7:47am

    Re: Judge Alsup

    That's too good!

     

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  84.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "equal treatment under the law" is a funny thing. Every law discriminates. We don't treat felons equally as non-felons. We don't treat minors equally as adults. We don't treat people with drivers' licenses equally as those who do not have them.

    The question is whether the 14th Amendment (under either the due process clause or the equal protection clause) and Supreme Court precedent interpreting the 14th Amendment prohibits this type of discrimination. I'm of the opinion that it does.

    But I'm also of the opinion that judge Vaughan Walker's analysis of the Prop 8 matter was not soundly based in legal precedent.

    So, even though I like the result, and I agree with the result from the legal perspective, I still think it's worth criticizing how the judge arrived at the result.

     

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  85.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Alsup

    "Judges can be wrong and it is ok to point out when you think they are wrong."

    I agree 100%

    "Funny that, I didn't notice you actually pointing out anything you thought was either correct or incorrect in the posts or the rulings."

    Then you weren't looking very hard.

    Also, I haven't posted a single thing about Mike in these comments or any of his articles in these comments.

     

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  86.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 9:02am

    Re: Re:

    "The court's reliance on "interoperability" ignores the undisputed fact that Google deliberately eliminated interoperability between Android and all other Java platforms. Google's implementation intentionally fragmented Java and broke the "write once, run anywhere" promise."
    Well, gee, I guess that's why Google called it Android and not Java. Go figure.

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 9:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, BS. The guy didn't even say what his desires are regarding same-sex marriage, and was *explicit* that his opinion has nothing to do with the issue at hand (whether it's gay marriage, healtchare, etc.)

     

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  88.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > It seems like
    > polygamy is
    > usually a
    > matter of
    > inequality in
    > which men
    > have too
    > much power
    > over the
    > women in
    > their segment
    > of society, so
    > I'm opposed
    > to it on those
    > grounds.

    First, I see no evidentiary basis for your use of the word 'usually' here. Of the polygamous societies that exist, there are indeed instances of oppression, but it's certainly not true in every case, or even the majority of cases.

    And there's plenty of examples of one-on-one heterosexual marriages and relationships where the man dominates the woman with both physical and emotional intimidation, and plenty of gay relationships where one partner abuses the other, so if you're going to oppose an entire domestic system based on the fact that it might be abused, then you pretty much are left with chastity and solitude for everyone.

    > Also, polygamy
    > doesn't always
    > involve
    > consensual
    > participants.

    Heterosexual marriages and live-in relationships don't always involve consensual participants, either. I would imagine the same is true of gay relationships.

    Bottom line, every single argument you can use in favor of gay marriage can be equally applied to polygamous marriage, and every argument you can use against polygamous marriage can be equally applied to both gay and straight marriage.

    The only argument against polygamy that's left is "I don't mind gays marrying, bu't I just don't like polygamy! It's yucky!" And isn't that what the opponents of gay marriage are basically saying?

     

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  89.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    but a constitutional republic


    More like a representational democratic republic, actually.

     

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  90.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 12:04pm

    Re:

    I want to bear his children

     

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  91.  
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    btr1701 (profile), Jun 1st, 2012 @ 8:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    > More like a representational democratic republic, actually.

    No, because the Constitution and its requirements are superior to the limited democratic principles it authorizes. The Constitution is the basis for the republic, not democracy.

     

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  92.  
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    MrWilson, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 8:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Polygamy absolutely does involve consensual adults."

    No, it doesn't.

    http://lmgtfy.com/?q=forced+into+polygamous+marriage

     

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  93.  
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    MrWilson, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You missed my point about polygamy being a part of a particular subculture of society in which the society as a whole, not just particular individuals, force women into non-consensual relationships. 14 year old girls forced into a polygamous marriage who don't know a different life and isn't able to easily escape is significantly different than a gay or straight partner in a relationship who chooses not to leave despite having alternatives like the ability to move away or date other people.

    Are you saying that most gay and straight relationships in which one participant dominates the other (and I'm using the term dominates in its harshest form, the kind that warrants a restraining order)?

    What you're describing regarding domination is an unhealthy relationship that shouldn't exist regardless of whether there's marriage or not. You're taking a worst case scenario and using it as an argument against gay marriage when its actually just an argument against any bad relationship.

     

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  94.  
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    MrWilson, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm saying the referendum itself is by nature unconstitutional, the same as it would be unconstitutional for a referendum to say that it's okay to kill anyone that the majority of the members of society don't like. There are some things that can't constitutionally be voted upon. Therefore, Walker made the right decision because the vote, by nature, was procedurally invalid from the start.

     

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  95.  
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    Gordon, Jun 1st, 2012 @ 8:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's NOT their job to decide if the Constitution was made in a fairly and equal way. A judges ONLY job is to decide if an act falls within the confines of law. Now the Supreme Court has a Constutional obligation. Mainly that is to decide if a law that is passed is Constitutional or not. Not to decide if the Const. is fair and equal.

     

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  96.  
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    hmm (profile), Jun 2nd, 2012 @ 7:06am

    look at who runs oracle

    I remember a TV documentary a few years back.

    There was Richard Branson talking about space exploration and why rich people have a duty to the general population to make the world better.

    There was Bill Gates, saying "this is the hospital I'm helping to fund...these are the scientist I'm paying to research stuff...."

    Followed by Larry Ellision who showed off his insanely huge collection of cars and how much bigger his house was than his neighbours.....

     

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  97.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 2nd, 2012 @ 9:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wait, so you show that EVERYONE is forced into polygamy by searching for "forced into polygamy"? Do you always define words by using the words themselves?

    What does stupid mean? Oh, it means you are stupid.

     

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  98.  
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    andrewrocks (profile), Jun 2nd, 2012 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

     

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  99.  
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    MrWilson, Jun 2nd, 2012 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow, you really picked a bad time to try to argue denotations.

    I said polygamy doesn't always involve non-consensual participants, which is quite different than saying every polygamous marriage involves non-consensual participants.

    You said "Polygamy absolutely does involve consensual adults."

    ab·so·lute·ly
    adverb
    1. without exception; completely; wholly; entirely: You are absolutely right.

    It only takes one example (found via that google search I provided you) to disprove your claim that polygamy absolutely does involve consensual adults.

     

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  100.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 3rd, 2012 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Troll, if all you want to do is focus on irrelevant points just to be difficult, go ahead.

    If you actually want to have a constructive debate,
    a) I don't believe marriage (of any sort) is a fundamental human right
    b) The same reasonable justifications used for gay marriage can be used for other types of marriage

    You have given no well-founded arguments for either a) or b). If you wish to dispute them, please define human rights and why marriage is among them (not just that you think they are). And please explain why polygamy would not fit into that same definition.

    The argument that polygamy is abused is not a contrary argument, but in fact one separate from whether it should be recognized. We do this in every facet of life: nearly everything we use or do legally can be abused. Now if your argument is that we as a society often restrict things, like guns, because their potential for abuse is too great, I would grant that because it would then prove that marriage is not a fundamental human right, which by definition are UNRESTRICTED.

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2012 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Except that the constitution itself can be voted on. When a large enough majority of people want something, they're going to get it, in any governmental system. There's no way around that. For civil rights, some are in the constitution but others just reflect the opinion of a simple majority when they were written into law. Think of the counter example. Not every judge is in favor of expanding civil rights. Do you really want a situation where a single judge gets to deny a right to some group of people, even if a large majority of the population (and the legislature) have voted to grant it?

     

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  102.  
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    Chris, Jun 4th, 2012 @ 8:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, the vast majority of the legal system follows the positivist philosophy which says that there are no natural rights. Your rights are what the law says they are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    identicon
    Chris, Jun 4th, 2012 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    For all the rulings I've read, the judges purposely ignore intent (since they would be guessing) and focus on the literal meaning of the words. Even so, the rulings are hardly trivial since if you've read most statutes, they are written pretty badly, and often overlap and conflict with each other. It's a mistake to assume that those in the legal system are smarter or better intentioned than the legislature.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
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    Chris, Jun 4th, 2012 @ 8:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    A judge's job is tied to democracy in the sense that the constitution itself is tied to democracy. It was created by voting and it can be modified the same way. Everything ultimately comes down to voting. The only question is how much of a majority does it take.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2012 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Correct. If they had the power to judge the constitution itself, that would give the supreme court absolute power and we would then be a despotism, not a democracy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  106.  
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    Chris, Jun 4th, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    OK but suppose some group of citizens doesn't currently have some right under the law. How do you give it do them if, as you said, rights cannot be voted upon? I assume you're just referring to ballot initiatives, not the legislature voting. The truth is that all rights in a democracy are decided by vote, even if indirectly.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  107.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2012 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But criticizing someone who makes the right decision for the wrong reasons doesn't make the critic some sort of bigot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  108.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 2nd, 2013 @ 3:56am

    corret if group of people in any country haven't any current right under this law then how do we can give them if we said yes then it cannot be voted.

    To get free employee payroll project and free simple java tutorials for beginners and different programming codes for java just Click here for java programming and project codes

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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