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  • Jul 2nd, 2012 @ 6:01pm

    (untitled comment)

    It's not entirely true that there's "no way to remove this garbage". Not every satellite that goes into orbit is destined to become space junk occupying a desirable orbital slot.

    If a satellite still has fuel left at the end of its service life, it can be slowed down in a controlled manner so that it de-orbits at the time and place of our choosing. Likewise, satellites up in geosynchronous orbits can have their orbits adjusted to move them even further outward into a super-synchronous "graveyard" orbit, where there aren't any operational satellites and collisions aren't a problem.

  • Jun 5th, 2012 @ 11:38am

    The real problem

    I don't see anything wrong with "patents as products". Just like an author may sell the movie rights for his best-selling novel, it's understandable that patents can have a value all their own, and will be bought, sold, or traded.

    The problem (as has already been pointed out several times) is that patent applications no longer have to accurately and specifically describe a concrete execution of an idea in order for a patent to be granted.

  • Oct 8th, 2011 @ 11:53am

    Re: Health Club model?

    Has this been documented somewhere (Netflix throttling quick-turnaround customers) I never saw it on my account, even though I was frequently doing the rent/rip/return thing every day for weeks on end.

    Also, if this is true, I would think that Netflix' shenanigans would be painfully obvious to the public, because you'd have some people with items in their queue listed as "long wait", while other people would have the same items in their queue listed as "available" (much like how Amazon charges different people different prices - clear your cookies and log in anonymously or log in as someone else, and all of a sudden "your" prices for particular items start changing.

  • Jun 28th, 2011 @ 10:29am

    DA's Role

    "Of course, given all that, one thing still not explained is why the DA pressed charges in the first place. While it's good that they've now decided that there was no legal basis, isn't the point to determine that before you press charges?"

    Everything up until yesterday's hearing (her arrest, booking, incarceration, and being released on bail) could have possibly happened without any input from the DA at all. Yesterday's hearing was her first court appearance since being arrested, so I'm not surprised that that's when the charges were dropped.

    The cops were asshats, to be sure, but I'm not really sure the DA had much of an active role in pushing this forward. True, he could have pre-emptively dropped the charges before yesterday's hearing, but she was already out on bail so it's not as if she was languishing in jail awaiting her court date.

  • May 13th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

    Really?

    Chest-thumping and insults aside, can anyone explain why simply linking to a site that allegedly promotes copyright infringement (which is a civil infraction) should be considered a criminal act, much less a felony?

  • Feb 7th, 2011 @ 7:21am

    Could it be this easy?

    "This Court has in personam jurisdiction over absent class members because due process is satisfied by providing them with best practicable notice, an opportunity to opt-out, and adequate representation."

    So were the people they're trying to sue really given the chance to "opt out" of being a defendant?

  • Dec 22nd, 2010 @ 1:50am

    Re: here here

    "I got max cable, I dvr for the ratings on the shows I like."


    If you're trying to say that you DVR the shows you like to help their ratings, even though you actually watch the show via downloads, then don't bother.

    Unless you're a participating member in the Neilsen TV ratings program, no one gives a crap what you watch on your DVR, and whether or not you record a particular show on your DVR will have no effect whatsoever on its ratings.

  • Oct 27th, 2010 @ 12:21pm

    Possible confusion?

    Despite the attendant's use of the phrase "no fly list", I think it's more likely that the guy was simply placed on the airline's internal list of "banned customers".

  • Jul 8th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What's the difference?

    Eugene - thanks for the reply, that made a lot of sense. I missed the whole "transformative" aspect of sampling that was missing from my director/author examples.

    I'm still not sure how I feel about taking a recognizable portion of one song and using it as a significant part of another song without credit (the Madonna/ABBA example).

    With much shorter fragments, I don't have as much of a problem with it. For instance, I've heard the laugh from Yaz' "Situation" used in other songs. And I've some of the noises from Art of Noise's "Close to the Edit" recently as well (funny that I remember the sample but not the song it was used in.) But in those cases, they're used almost more like sound effects rather than part of the melody of the song.

  • Jul 8th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: What's the difference?

    I guess I'm not seeing the difference. You say he's not trying to pass someone else's work off as his own, but when I hear a significant chunk of a well-known song spliced into another artist's work with no credit given to the original artist, something about that doesn't seem right.

    I remember hearing a good-sized part of ABBA's "Gimme Gimme Gimme" looped and used as the background for essentially all of Madonna's "Hung Up on You", and I don't think ABBA was credited on the liner notes. Was the listener supposed to just *know* that it was a sample and not Madonna's original work?

  • Jul 8th, 2010 @ 8:52am

    What's the difference?

    I've never understood why sampling gets a free pass from so many people who might not feel the same way about similar situations.

    If I'm making a big-budget movie and want to include a cool scene of a tidal wave impacting a city, and instead of writing/shooting the scene myself I just decided to splice in a scene from "2012" or "Deep Impact", I'd get my ass sued off.

    Likewise, if I'm writing a novel and I copy a page-long description of the ocean from one of Hemingway's books without crediting him in any way, I think that's pretty plainly wrong. We even have a word for it - "plagiarism".

    So what makes sampling different? Is it a cultural difference because we're talking about musicians and not directors/authors?

  • Oct 1st, 2009 @ 6:31pm

    Can't understand...

    When exactly is the tipping point where a content creator goes from wishing/hoping/praying that someone would watch their creation to actively preventing people from watching it? It must be nice to have enough money to feel safe alienating your fans.

  • Oct 1st, 2009 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Probably in the expected ballpark, but -

    I generally agree with Ethorad's post, but I had a problem with his statement that "Surely they must expect to get in that region of suicides?"

    Further, my problem with his post comes from the fact that I *do* have an understanding of statistics, rather than from a lack of understanding.

    You can't call 16 suicides per 100k per year "normal" or "expected" just because that figure is close to the national average, unless you can also show that your smaller population is representative of the larger population as a whole.

    As another example, let's say that the annual death rate from cardio-vascular disease is 300 per 100k. That may be "expected", but if you were to see that kind of death rate from cardio-vascular disease at a large college, that would certainly not be "normal" or "expected", since the population of the college is markedly younger than the overall population.

    If Ethorad is just going to compare per capita suicide rate at FT with that of the general population in France and judge the number of suicides at FT to be "expected", then the burden of proof is on him to show that the population of FT is at least reasonably similar to the overall population of France.

  • Oct 1st, 2009 @ 9:55am

    Probably in the expected ballpark, but -

    France's national average for suicide may be in the 17-18 per 100k range annually, but a significant number of those people aren't the same type of people you'd likely find at France Telecom (for instance, how many of those annual suicides are people under 18, people over 65, serious drug abusers, homeless/unemployed, etcetera).

    I'd bet that if you compare the suicide rate at FT with the national average **for those people in the population that are economically/socially/age-wise similar to the FT employees** that you'd find that FT has much more than its fair share of suicides.

  • Aug 31st, 2009 @ 12:01pm

    Financial feasibility?

    Does any facet of the simulation address the economic feasibility of the various models? I don't argue that a completely free and open exchange of ideas would result in the greatest amount of innovation in the shortest amount of time, but that's assuming that all parties involved can remain in business.
    But if Company B can simply copy the products of Company A, and charge a lower price since they don't have to recoup R&D costs, I don't see how all the various parties can stay in business long enough to see the benefits of increased innovation.

  • May 21st, 2009 @ 10:46am

    Another possible implication?

    Would this law also require that the code in the car's ECU (Engine Control Unit) be unencrypted?

    If so, this law would be a boon for the aftermarket performance companies. Right now, much of the information in the ECU like fuel maps, ignition curves, and the algorithms to modify the fuel & ignition settings based on engine sensor data is encrypted, so it's difficult to modify the ECU to optimize it for modifications like larger turbochargers or bigger fuel injectors until the ECU has been "cracked".

  • May 1st, 2009 @ 4:03pm

    Different Industries

    Trademark cases can get a little weird sometimes when it comes to determining whether or not two companies are in related industries. I remember years ago when a snow-ski manufacturer was refused the right to name one of their models "Quattro" because Audi complained. The court ruled that both the automobile and the snow ski could be considered "sport vehicles" and determined that confusion could arise. The ruling was even stranger for the fact that "quattro" is simply the Italian number for "four", so I'm surprised Audi was able to lay claim to it in the first place.

  • Apr 29th, 2009 @ 12:46am

    (untitled comment)

    Sounds like an old George Carlin routine:

    “Today a man shot six people on the crosstown bus, got a transfer, and shot six people on the downtown bus. In order to prevent this from happening in the future, authorities are discontinuing the transfer system.”

  • Apr 27th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I *don't* think it's fair, but that wasn't the question being asked.

    Personally, I'd like to see all works enter the public domain upon the creators' death. That poses a problem when the "creator" is a corporation like Disney, though. In a case like that, you'd have to do something different, such as having the work enter the public domain "X" years after its creation. I think a good value of "X" is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30-50 years, personally.

  • Apr 26th, 2009 @ 10:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: @ Scott How discs are made

    Really... What company ships software with their burner that allows you to copy CSS-encrypted commercial DVDs? Be specific.

    You're comparing apples to oranges anyway - the two specific machines that Alan linked to are *standalone* duplicators. They're not used with a separate computer and don't have any additional software included - just the firmware inside the duplicator unit itself. And that firmware doesn't include the code to bypass the protection on commercial DVDs. THAT'S the reason the companies that sell those duplicators aren't being sued by the MPAA like Real Networks is. (And that's the question Alan was asking when he brought up those duplicators)

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