by Mike Masnick
Thu, May 23rd 2013 7:58am
by Mike Masnick
Thu, May 23rd 2013 5:51am
Kim Dotcom Threatens To Sue Google, Facebook And Twitter Over 2-Factor Authentication Patent If They Don't Help Him
from the hmmm dept
But... he says he may sue them now. Specifically, he's asking them to help fund his defense, in exchange for not getting sued for the patent. He points out that his actual funds are still frozen by the DOJ and (more importantly) that his case actually matters a great deal to Google, Facebook and Twitter, because the eventual ruling will likely set a precedent that may impact them -- especially around the DMCA. That's actually a pretty good reason for the tech industry to think about participating in the case even if they don't like Dotcom at all and don't want to be associated with him. Bad cases make dangerous caselaw, so having a good defense would be useful.
That said, the threat of suing over a patent if they don't fund his defense seems like a potentially poorly thought out strategic move that could backfire. Remember, Dotcom has been hit with racketeering claims, and I would think that anything that implies "give me money or I'll sue" isn't the best move for someone already facing racketeering charges.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, May 23rd 2013 3:44am
from the interesting-move dept
There may be some concerns about this. The "ownership" of the new work belongs to Amazon, as you're basically signing a publishing agreement with Amazon, who then controls the work. Given the situation, that might not be that much of an issue for most fanfiction authors, but some may be concerned (for example, imagine if this had happened with 50 Shades of Grey, which originated as Twilight fanfic, before becoming a monstrosity of its own). Also, there's no guarantee that Amazon will agree to sell the work, but it claims it will publish "as many as possible." It basically sounds like they reserve the right to reject ridiculously bad works.
In some ways, though in very different circumstances, this reminds me of some of the cooler aspects of YouTube's ContentID program, in that it sets up a way for people to reasonably monetize what might be considered infringement under the law, but which most people realize isn't what copyright law should be destroying. Once again, if you just make it so that innovation can occur, people quite frequently figure out business models that build on what maximalists consider "piracy" if they give it time and let the business models shake out.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 22nd 2013 11:54pm
from the nicely-done dept
I met Jack Conte a few years ago, after having written about him and his band Pomplamoose a few times. I'd always been impressed by Pomplamoose's ability to really connect with their fans and to build a way to support themselves via that strong connection. But in my brief interactions with Jack, it quickly became clear that he thinks deeply about different ideas for revenue models, and so it's little surprise that he's now built what seems like a pretty cool platform for ongoing support for content creators. It's basically a platform, like Kickstarter, but rather than backing a project, you back the production of certain types of regular content. So, for example, you could promise that you'll pay $5 every time Jack releases a new video (and you can put limits on how much you pay, so he doesn't get away with suddenly releasing 1,000 videos at once). It's called Patreon, and it's got a nice, simple video explaining how it works:
Either way, I'm glad to see some new platforms popping up like this. For a little while, it had been getting kind of annoying to see just how many Kickstarter clones were popping up (including a new one from Donald Trump?!?). You never know, of course, if Patreon will catch on, but conceptually the model makes a lot of sense for many types of content creators. In some ways, it seems like a better model for connecting with "true fans" than something like a Kickstarter. While Kickstarter has the appeal of "this is a big event, join us!" it would be nice to see some more ongoing, sustainable model platforms become popular as well.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 22nd 2013 7:53pm
from the this-post-is-a-test-of-your-sense-of-humor dept
And, because people who angrily write comments on this site rarely read to the end of the post, I'll just point out that this is a joke, not anything even remotely serious. Laughter is good.
by Michael Ho
Wed, May 22nd 2013 5:00pm
from the urls-we-dig-up dept
I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that.Here are just a few more pithy words for recent graduates. (PS. Congratulations!)
- Bill Watterson, the creator of Calvin & Hobbes, spoke publicly at his alma mater for graduation. "The truth is, most of us discover where we are headed when we arrive. At that time, we turn around and say, yes, this is obviously where I was going all along. It's a good idea to try to enjoy the scenery on the detours, because you'll probably take a few." [url]
- Everyone should pursue their passion, right? But what if you don't know what your passion is? Economist Tyler Cowen tried to respond to this question, but Cowen admitted he was stumped on how to pick a particular career path. [url]
- The world's first commencement speech via Twitter was just 20 tweets long. If you thought that a 140 character limit might deliver more profound or sage advice, tweet #12 is "Never tweet pictures of yourself in underwear..." nuff said? [url]
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 22nd 2013 4:32pm
from the about-time dept
Thankfully, Rep. Ted Deutch has introduced a bill that would require a true disclosure of the owners of patents that are being used in litigation. Specifically, the bill would require a much clearer accounting of who "any real party in interest" would be concerning any patent. Failure to do so would mean that it would limit the ability of those patent owners to collect on any damages. Specifically, patent owners can only collect on damages that occur after the true owners of the patent are disclosed. This would help a tremendous amount, since so much in the patent troll world today is done in incredibly shady ways. It is believed that a very large number of patent trolling operations are actually run by patent lawyers themselves, who saw how lucrative it was, but who don't want to be publicly identified with their trolling. Forcing the actual owners to identify themselves would be a big help in making sure that people actually understand what's happening with patent trolling.
It's interesting to see Congress suddenly interested in patent reform again, even if in a piecemeal fashion. After spending nearly a decade fighting over a "comprehensive" patent reform bill that became the America Invents Act (a watered-down, mostly useless, bill) we kept hearing people say that patent reform was "done" in Congress. But in the past few months, three key bills have been introduced, each targeting the patent trolling problem. There was Rep. DeFazio's SHIELD Act, which would make it easier to shift fees and make trolls responsible for the costs of bogus lawsuits. Then, a few weeks ago, there was Senator Schumer's bill to make it easier to get tech patents reviewed relatively quickly by the USPTO to see if we can throw out more bad patents. And now this bill, called the End Anonymous Patents Act, from Rep. Deutch.
So far, none of the bills has received much momentum, but it's good to see that more and more people in Congress are realizing that the patent system is incredibly broken, and that trolls are a big part of that.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 22nd 2013 3:26pm
from the seems-more-likely-to-become-more-accepting dept
"In America, there's a sense of fairness that's culturally true for all of us," Schmidt said. "The lack of a delete button on the Internet is a significant issue. There is a time when erasure is a right thing."Of course, this makes me wonder, what the hell did Eric Schmidt do as a kid that was so bad?
Yes, yes, we erase the criminal records of youthful offenders when they come of age, but I think this is something different. Trying to delete factual information from the internet is a quixotic task, unlikely to yield much that's beneficial.
Perhaps instead of trying to delete the past, society as a whole will become a lot more accepting of the fact that kids do stupid things when they're young. And many of them learn valuable lessons from those stupid things and they grow up to be better people. Plenty of folks have funny tales of their youthful indiscretions and, while these stories may be more difficult to embellish for effect if the details are all sitting on YouTube, does it really make more sense to try to delete that history or just to recognize that kids grow up and things they did as teenagers do not reflect how they're likely to act as adults?
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 22nd 2013 2:24pm
Chinese Hacks Of Google Database Of Surveillance Targets Highlight How Dumb Technology Backdoors Are
from the how-can-people-still-not-see-this dept
"What we found was the attackers were actually looking for the accounts that we had lawful wiretap orders on," Aucsmith says. "So if you think about this, this is brilliant counter-intelligence. You have two choices: If you want to find out if your agents, if you will, have been discovered, you can try to break into the FBI to find out that way. Presumably that's difficult. Or you can break into the people that the courts have served paper on and see if you can find it that way. That's essentially what we think they were trolling for, at least in our case."The more openings and the more data that is shared, the more openings and opportunities there are for people who you don't want to see that data to have access to it. That should be a major concern. Just before all of this was revealed, we had written about a new report how such backdoors basically destroy any competent attempt at cybersecurity. Julian Sanchez highlights how those who think this isn't a problem are almost certainly confused about how computer security works.
Defenders of the FBI proposal tend to pooh-pooh security concerns raised about requirisng such backdoors: Our brilliant American programmers, they assert, will find ways to enable wiretapping without creating new vulnerabilities. But if a company like Google, with its massive financial resources and a stable of some of the smartest coders anywhere, can be victimized in this way, how realistic is it to expect thousands of Internet startups to achieve better security?Creating more access to information that should be secret might help law enforcement, at the expense of our civil liberties, but it's also going to help those with nefarious intent quite a bit. And that should be a serious concern.
by Tim Cushing
Wed, May 22nd 2013 1:20pm
from the LEO-Video-Editing-Services,-open-for-business-24/7 dept
A pair of the cell phone recordings of the David Silva beating have been released by attorney Daniel Rodriguez. 23ABC News received the videos first, both of which capture the final moments of Silva's life. Unfortunately for those seeking more clarity as to the actions of the nine responding officers, these videos fail to provide much insight into the officers' actions during the previous 30-40 minutes.
Both videos were shot after the batons had stopped (allegedly) swinging. [The videos won't embed so you'll have to click through to view them.] In the first, Silva is surrounded by several members of law enforcement who are obviously still restraining him. You can hear faint orders to "get down" being yelled by the officers, but the most noticeable sounds come from Silva himself, who spends most of the runtime screaming.
The second video shows the efforts of law enforcement and the responding EMS unit to revive Silva. One of the offscreen voices makes a couple of interesting statements. First, he points out that officers "stood around for five minutes" by Silva's unmoving body before attempting resuscitation. The second, echoed by a female voice, lends some credence to the story put forth by several witnesses: "Now, it's a murder scene."
Also of note, at 5:19 a second cell phone, presumably recording, shows up in frame. This would appear to be the other cell phone that was seized by the Sheriff's Department, the one on which the footage is no longer available.
The witnesses claim that both phones had footage of officers striking and kicking Silva, but with both phones now returned to their owners, none of the footage has survived. Both phones made their way from the deputies who seized the phones to the Kern County Sheriff's Office, which then shared the phones with the Bakersfield PD and the FBI. The FBI has apparently analyzed both phones but has yet to release its findings.
Here's where we stand right now, according to Rodriguez:
Rodriguez told ABC23 that "the more incriminating video was one on the other cellphone." He said that video was shot "while the batons were swinging." Rodriguez added the second phone was returned to his client with no video. If a video was erased from that phone, he said, it could not be recovered because of the type of the device.
David Cohn, the attorney for David Silva's family, has his own concerns:
[Cohn] said his clients are concerned that the videos might be erased or destroyed, either accidentally or on purpose. He has not seen them.Cohn also (obviously) has his concerns about the phone seizures themselves.
"If I'd heard that they'd given them to the FBI, ok," he told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "But the Bakersfield Police Department, whom they work with on a daily basis? It certainly doesn't have the look of impartiality."
Cohn said the Sheriff's Department went "well beyond a reasonable search" in obtaining the videos, making no effort to ask for copies or voluntary cooperation from the witnesses.Beyond the deputies' abuse of these witnesses' rights, there's another aspect that may have made these seizures illegal, as posited by ExCop-LawStudent.
"They held these people hostage for several hours pending the serving of a search warrant. I've never heard of that before," he said.
The Privacy Protection Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000aa(a) (hereafter PPA), states:In support of this argument, the author cites the infamous case brought against the US by Steve Jackson Games, which had several work products seized by US Secret Service agents via a warrant, despite not being a suspect in the investigation at hand. The end result was $50,000 in damages plus attorney's fees being awarded to the game maker for these illegal seizures.
Notwithstanding any other law, it shall be unlawful for a government officer or employee, in connection with the investigation or prosecution of a criminal offense, to search for or seize any work product materials possessed by a person reasonably believed to have a purpose to disseminate to the public a newspaper, book, broadcast, or other similar form of public communication….
This law provides that if a person takes a video of police action and intends to disseminate it to the public, the police can only obtain the video by subpoena, not by a search warrant. In this case neither of the individuals who had their property seized were suspects in the crime being investigated, the death of David Silva at the hands of Kern County Sheriff’s deputies, nor were they being arrested.
The sheriff’s office was aware of the video because the individual that taped the beating called 911.
Further, that individual informed the 911 personnel that she intended to disseminate the video to the public (at 0:46 of the call), saying “I’m sending it to the news.” At this point, the Sheriff’s office was on notice that this was “work product” protected by the Privacy Protection Act, and should have been obtained by subpoena, not by a search warrant. Indeed, the law specifically provides that a warrant can only be used after a subpoena has failed to obtain the material.
The video supposedly containing the most damning footage is missing. What we do have available only shows the aftermath of the beating. We're still waiting for much more information to be released. There's been no word back from the FBI on its analysis of the phones. The coroner has yet to release an official cause of death and the sheriff's office has stated this process could take up to four months. Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood continues to make concerned noises, but the lack of conclusive video has also prompted a bit more hedging, along with some unfortunate statements.
"I have seen the video," Youngblood said last week. "I cannot speculate whether they acted appropriately or not just by looking at the video."The passive voice in this context is bordering on reprehensible. There's a person controlling the baton and that person presumably should have the training to ensure proper "placement" of the weapon. The two deputies seen on the surveillance tape seem to be controlling their batons very well, using both hands to swing and connect with Silva. Nine officers swinging batons at one man are going to run out of "appropriate" real estate on a human body very quickly.
The sheriff, however, acknowledged that there is a great deal of public concern about the incident and subsequent investigation. "It is not just troubling to the public, it is not just troubling to news media, it is troubling to me," he said. In an interview with The Times, he said the credibility of the department is at stake.
"Baton strikes were used, but what I don't know is how many and where they were on the body and if they caused significant injury that caused death," he said.
Youngblood said the baton is a less lethal weapon, and because of that its use doesn’t usually lead to deputies being placed on leave. But he said the head is not an appropriate place for a baton strike.
"Sometimes in the heat of battle, the baton doesn't go where you want it to go.... If someone has 20 baton strikes to the head, OK, that is easy for us. But when there is a fight or scuffle and a baton strike goes where it should not ... then you have to evaluate,” he said.
Youngblood seems to be drawing a line between proper baton use and a savage beating, but he's drawing the line in his office's favor. If all officers aimed exclusively and repeatedly for Silva's head, it's an open-and-shut case. But, if Silva struggled, or if blows rained down on other parts of his body as well, it's probably just good (if a bit too aggressive) police work (pending "evaluation").
Youngblood's statement serves two purposes: to define how far officers under his control actually have to go in terms of violence in order to warrant further review or disciplinary action, and to justify the fact that his deputies are still on active duty, despite earlier reporting that they had been placed on paid administrative leave until the investigation was complete.
It is common to place law enforcement officers on paid leave during investigations of arrest-related deaths, but the Californian reported the deputies involved remain on duty.Youngblood's deputies who allegedly beat a man to death are still on patrol. One hopes that they won't find themselves in any situations in which a baton strike might be used, or go where the deputies "don't want it to go."