Griff’s Techdirt Profile

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  • Feb 1st, 2012 @ 3:02am

    Superinjunctions etc

    In the UK we had the ridiculous scenario where it was illegal for anyone to report that a famous footballer had had an affair with someone (or even that such an injunction existed). By the end everyone knew the facts but no-one could report them.

    I worry about a few things with a "right to delete" law such as this.

    John Smith writes on Techdirt "the sky is red"
    Peter Jones writes "John Smith says the sky is red but I disagree".
    John Smith writes to Mike and demands his remark is removed.
    Does Mike have to find and remove Peter Jones' comment too ?

    I would like to see
    - the right to ask Facebook et al to COMPLETELY delete an account and all related historic data
    - a company such as Facebook make it clear in their TOC when you signup that there might be a charge for this and what the charge would be. (Then they can't complain about the urden)
    - where I signed TOC's that hand over copyright of my postings, there should be a clear fee structure for buying it back.
    - the company would also make it clear where their responsibility ends (ie with their own servers). Mirrors, caches etc held elsewhere are not their problem and they won't scour the internet clearing up stuff that propagated as a result of it being publically accessible at some point.

    I heard someone on the news (a publicist) complaining that a 1 week jail term 20 years ago was the first thing that comes up on google about his client. I thought "tough".
    I don't think ANYONE should be able to censor facts that have at anytime been in the public domain. And that includes people running for office with previous DUI's etc. A fact is a fact, and it can't be copyrighted and shouldn't be censored.

    Therefore if I choose to demand to redact my comments in a forum
    - I better make sure I didn't give away the copyright first (read the TOC's !) or else be prepared to buy it back.
    - I should understand that the FACT that I made comments on the forum will be true and available in the public domain , even if the content is not.


    I don't think it's unreasonable for google to remove cached copies of content where the original content has been legitimately removed by some legal process. I'm sure they do already , but that's just a personal guess.

  • Jun 25th, 2011 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Encryption

    Wasn't that Phil Zimmerman ?
    What part did Assange play, I can find no references for that.

  • Jun 25th, 2011 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Where in this title does it say "its possible"

    That would in the use of the word "can" rather than the word "did".

  • Jun 21st, 2011 @ 4:30pm

    Re:

    I thought he was saying just check the content hasn't already been uploaded once before.
    No need for an "official list". Just hash the content of every book at upload and block any whose hash is not unique.

    You can be pretty sure that among these 1000's of PLR books there will be a lot of duplication.

  • Jun 17th, 2011 @ 5:34am

    When I was at high school...

    ... studying chemistry,

    Inorganic meant
    - stuff like salt
    - often coloured unless anhydrous
    - simple to understand
    - unlikely to kill you before you graduated

    Organic meant
    - stuff like benzene
    - probably coame from oil
    - mostly it stank
    - often it was highly flammable
    - teacher insisted on leaving the room before we started ("you kids only do this once, it's every week for me !")
    - mostly carcinogenic (or else not yet proven carcinogenic)

    Then a few years later the word "organic" suddenly seemed to start meaning "natural", "good" and "wearing sandals".

    How did that happen ?

  • Jun 3rd, 2011 @ 1:44pm

    Who'd want this camera ?

    for theaters it seems like a pretty expensive proposition for pissing off your customers

    And for phone manufacturers. Or will it be illegal to sell a camera that doesn't have this (thus forcing everyone to license Apple's IP ?).

    Hardly a selling point for a new camera that it can be disabled. Or will people just find some jailbreak code to "fix" the phone when they get it home. In which case you are just punishing the innocent.

    Will UK prominent soccer players be able to get "IR injunctions" to prevent the Paprazzi from photographing them with their mistresses ?".


    My suggestion for a better technology ? Continuously (randomly) varying frame rate & interlacing. This means there will be a periodic interference with the camera's fixed frame sampling rate causing a poor end product noone will be able to watch. But the human eye won't be fazed by it in the theater.

    Oops, should have patented it first...

    Doesn't fix the ANALOG hole, but who is using analog video recorders in theaters these days ?


    But I guess that would need new projectors and (maybe) cameras. Or could conventional digital recordings be post processed into this format ? In which case just new projectors.


    Why not just mandate that all new build cameras must emit a signal when filming ? Then the police could run into the theater armed with a receiver and arrest the terrorists / sorry, bootleggers, without any change to theater infrastructure.

    Or would that be overreacting ?

  • May 26th, 2011 @ 2:33pm

    My new credit card company

    My card company of > 10yrs was bought by a large bank.
    Hmm. Wonder what terms they'll change to get their £billion stake back.

    The new privacy policy was online as a PDF so I read it.

    There were three sections in effect
    - the ways we collect your data relating to you
    - the uses it can be put to
    - the groups of people we can share it with

    And if you take the worst from each category and make a sentence it would read something like

    We gather tons of data including every transaction you ever make and your IP address whenever you connect to our site,
    and we use this for any purpose that in our view helps our business, and we may share it with absolutely anyone it suits us to share it with.

    As an exercise I tried to copy the worst bits, stitch them together with a few "..." between and paste into an email back to their customer service dept and ask them to clarify.

    But the PDF of their terms is not possible to copy from. I tried it lots of ways. In the end I thought maybe I'd print it to another PDF then copy from that. But CutePDF couldn't print it (weird error).

    When they put that much effort into stopping you quoting their privacy policy in an email, it HAS to be time to move on !

  • May 25th, 2011 @ 1:13am

    Harassment

    The big difference between his name being out on twitter and the mainstream press being allowed to report it is that twitter doesn't besiege your house with camera trucks and people trying to take pictures of all your family as they attempt to walk down the street.
    That is the "harassment" which is being referred to, not the idea of papers reporting it.

    Giggs knows we all know it is him.
    If this had all come out with no superinjunction it would still have been big enough news to get his family pestered by the press. (Though this has undoubtedly made it worse).

    I'd have preferred that the injunction simply addressed the real situation and sought to ban media organisations from within 100 yards of his family (who are the victims). Which is all it has really been achieving of late.


    On another point, even if twitter was UK based, I don't see how you can sue someone for tweeting this.
    If they don't know it is true for sure then they are guessing/speculating, and that can't be the same as wilfully revealing details. If it's legally secret, how am I supposed to know who it is ? How can I know when I retweet if I am breaking the injunction or not ? A law that I cannot legally find out whether I am breaking, is surely a stupid law.
    Maybe it comes down to tweeter zero, the first person to tweet it. Yet if they are not in a priveleged position to know the info behind the injunction, they are just speculating too.

    Put another way, if I tweet the identity of all the top 50 footballers, guessing it must be one of them, am I guilty of 49 libels and 1 injuction breaking? And if I have the right to know the charges against me, doesn't someone have to break the law to tell me what I did wrong ?

  • May 24th, 2011 @ 4:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Not sure I agree.

    If I have a (legal) joint in Amsterdam then fly home to a less permissive country 5 days later then
    - I haven't possessed the drug at home
    - I haven't bought the drug at home
    - I haven't taken the drug at home
    - I have not been "intoxicated" with the drug at home

    But if a very sensitive test can show it still in some qty in my bloodstream are you saying that
    a) there is is an offence under which I could be prosecuted in any country you know of ?
    b) that you'd be OK with that morally ?

  • May 24th, 2011 @ 4:22am

    Re: Re: Striesand-Giggs effect

    No idea who Briggs is but looking forward to seeing someone sue Twitter in California while remaining anonymous...

  • May 20th, 2011 @ 5:58am

    Search complete can offend in its own right

    Honestly, if it was going to order Google to remove the sites from the index anyway, I wonder why the suggested search was even an issue. Once they're out of the index, the suggested search issue becomes meaningless.

    Don't agree.
    Spose the site was something alleging Minister A has been having affair with starlet B.
    Spose google un-index the site.
    If you type Minister A in the search box and it offers "affair" to complete the phrase (based on a million Argentinians having already searched for it) then that is a further thing the govt would like to restrict even though the page itself may have gone.

  • May 17th, 2011 @ 1:38pm

    Crazy

    Has Tom Cruise sued him yet ?

  • May 5th, 2011 @ 6:07am

    It's important to note...

    .. that in the UK this was a public holiday.

    If people had been pulling a sickie to be there and their boss saw them on the beeb, the story would be completely different.


    My mate and I camped in the street through the night till about noon for LiveAid concert tickets. As the doors opened, the press were there, and my mate's picture made the front page of the evening news (sold at the exit of our large employer's car park as people leave). Needless to say he was supposed to be off sick and his boss saw him in the paper...

  • Apr 26th, 2011 @ 4:18am

    (untitled comment)

    it appears that the Consumer Complaints Board has no enforcement ability.

    Guess the headline should read

    Sony Politely Asked To Pay Finnish Man 100 Euros For Removing OtherOS

  • Apr 23rd, 2011 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Economics knowledge

    I followed the link given by Mike, it does not lead to the image posted by Mike.

    You get
    Publisher: Crown Business (August 11, 2010)
    Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
    And no mention of who sets pricing

    Now, that may be because I'm in the UK (though I still see dollar pricing, and I'm not rerouted to amazon.co.uk).

    Are you saying that the pricing worldwide is set by Random House ?

    Because the price disparity still exists in my link.

  • Apr 23rd, 2011 @ 7:04am

    Re:

    Jeez I hate what this s/w does to the greater than sign.

    What I was going to say is that in the olden days some albums were more than a set of unconnected singles.
    Bundling 10 tracks into an album was because of more than just the "inefficiences of the technology".
    many single Pink Floyd tracks I could name would be meaningless without the context of the album, for example...

  • Apr 23rd, 2011 @ 5:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Is an ebook edition really less valuable than a paperback?

    Agreed - cheaper may mean more sales (completely different argument to "cheaper is necessary because someone else sells it cheaper).

    However

    1. This economic theory generally applies to price sensitive markets. People who pay $200 for a device to read a book with no realistic expectation of the eBook ever being significantly cheaper than the paper version don't strike me as a price sensitive crowd of people.
    Starbucks sell coffee at up to $5 when a plain filter coffee might be $2 elsewhere in the same street. But they are not catering to the same people as those who buy the cheap stuff elsewhere.

    2. If (as widely suggested) Amazon's costs for eBooks are ridiculously high, then a 10% drop in Amazon sale price might halve their margin. It would have to double sales to be worth it. I think Amazon probably know what they are doing. Kindle owners will bitch about it then keep buying the books either way.

    The only place where there is real competition in this arena is where Amazon try and get you to buy a Kindle over a Nook. After that, you're locked in.

    Of course, the publishers might be idiots for demanding that price from Amazon/B&N. But while the eBooks sell, they'll keep doing it.

    Same as MS will keep charging silly money for Office.

    When you're competing with "free and not quite as good" (as some would perceive OpenOffice) dropping MS Office prices by 25% wouldn't win over many OpenOffice users. They've already learnt to live with the shortcomings of OO and it's FREE.

    So if there's someone out there happy with a shitty crooked scan of a paper book for free, they don't suddenly buy the Kindle edition because the price comes down 25%, do they ?

    Or maybe you are thinking of a load of Kindle users with only $50 per month to spend. They could buy more ebooks if the price was lower. But that's just the same revenue at lower margin, isn't it ?

  • Apr 23rd, 2011 @ 4:15am

    Re: Economics knowledge

    Amazon does set the price of eBooks.
    What they can't always set is the cost, and so they have even chosen to sell them at a loss in the past.

    It is in Amazon's interest to find the correct price point for optimal sales (even if it below the cost they are forced to pay) so they can go back to the idiot publishers and show them the figures. Semi-Emotional arguments ("eBooks should be priced at less than paper") won't make the publishers change their minds. But hard data might.

    Thus they start high, watch sales, and reduce the price if required. And if they sell a ton with the price high, then that proves the Kindle adds value and the publishers might stop seeing it as an afterthought in their strategy.

    If they start low, they can't put the price up later and so they have incomplete data.

  • Apr 23rd, 2011 @ 4:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Is an ebook edition really less valuable than a paperback?

    A dodgy poorly aligned graphic scan of a paper book is not THE SAME THING as a well formatted Kindle ebook. After OCR and a lot of formatting effort (akak "added value") it might be.

    Do you think it is ?

    I'm a huge fan of free ebooks - I get them from the Gutenberg site, in a format to go on my PDA for when I want to read while travelling or when forced to sit somewhere for hours unexpectedly. But the "free" PDF at the link given is no use for that whatsoever.

    For time rich / money poor people, this may seem like a free eBook.

    A friend of mine told me he could get a Napster streaming subscription and then record albums to MP3. Of course, track lengths were never exactly right so automatic track naming via internet webservice wasn't possible. And even after he manually renamed the tracks, the MP3 file properties were not as you'd like them so certain players (ie a Sonos) would not group tracks by author.
    After he described the palaver he'd go through to get an album properly onto his Sonos, I compared this with buying the MP3 album from Amazon, and you know what ? The Napster route (probably violating TOS, maybe even illegal) simply wasn't cost effective for me.
    I value my time more.

    So for me there is NOT a meaningful free copy online (unless someone has a better link).

  • Apr 23rd, 2011 @ 12:39am

    Re: Re: Is an ebook edition really less valuable than a paperback?

    People buy something when value to them >= price.

    If the value remains high, there is no reason for the price to come down (regardless of production cost) unless they can buy THE SAME THING cheaper elsewhere.

    You seem to be suggesting that even though Amazon can clearly sell stuff at this price, they should actually drop the price because of a theory about price eventually tending to marginal cost.

    Or are you in fact suggesting they won't manage to sell at that price because
    - the paper book is cheaper
    - there is some comparable digital alternative (such as ?)
    - some other reason

    Or are you saying they won't sell any ?

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