You know, there are quite a few sites that screen postings before they ever hit the site...perhaps CL should start doing something like that, if only to cover their asses. My guess is that if this happens again - where a twisted crime like this ends up getting CL media attention of the worst kind - they're going to have to face some serious issues with their users going somewhere else. If they actually screened all their postings (which would admittedly raise their operating costs, but what can you do?), they might be able to catch this stuff before it hits the news.
A commenter over on Current TV, where I first saw this one, posed the question of why we do business with China and not with Cuba. We all know the answer to that one. What I find interesting is that all of two articles I've seen have mentioned any reaction at all by the US Gov't, and the reaction was noncommital. Again, we all know the answer to "Why China if not Cuba?", but someone should call them out on this one.
One last thing - Apparently, it's not just the websites being blocked. The London Times is reporting that various people - some of whom had relations or were actually involved with the 1989 protests, and at least one who was merely an advocate for the protestors' rights - have been taken from their homes and placed under house arrest, or 'urged' to leave the capital for the anniversary. Now, I don't know if this has happened in past years, but if not, it sounds to me like the CCP is getting nervous about something.
To clarify, fan fiction is not, in and of itself, illegal. Authors have the power to stop someone from creating derivative works, but in general, they don't bother until someone tries to go make money off of it. To use the example of the Harry Potter Lexicon (not Compendium), J.K. Rowling has no problem with fan fiction at all. In fact, a few years back, she said on her website that while she herself did not read the fan fiction (for fear that she might accidentally put an idea in a book that someone else came up with), she was immensely flattered that people liked her books enough to expand upon them, and, if you actually go to fanfiction.net and look, there are more Harry Potter fan fiction stories on the site than any other book.
This whole argument does distort the story some, however, since Rowling's argument against the Lexicon (which was to be a book format of the website) was that it offered far too little original content by the "author". She even went as far as to endorse another book, The Sorceror's Companion, in court. If you look at that book, you'll notice that there is quite a bit of original content.
It really does depend on the holder of the copyright as to what fans can get away with.
I think we should just go back to the days when bands and artists actually toured like, ALL the time. What a concept, yeah? Who misses the days when you could be sitting in some little bar and Willie walks in and just starts playing? I know I do.
As far as I'm concerned, any musician that finds themselves that concerned about album profits has lost sight of the real purpose of his profession and should be hung, drawn, and quartered for profaning the name of all music. Music is spirituality, and thus should be shared with all who are willing to listen.
Bach gave us God's Word Mozart gave us God's laughter Beethoven gave us God's fire God gave us music, so that we may pray without words.
Are you saying that there should be laws out there to regulate the size of ALL HDs? Or just portable media?
If you're going for the first, you may want to build a bunker in your backyard, because there are a lot of people going to be out for your blood. And if you meant the second, and you think that would actually work, well, I've got a great deal for you on the Golden Gate Bridge.
I can go get a Thermaltake portable hard drive enclosure and turn any desktop internal HD into a portable in about ten minutes flat. And that's only because those things can be a real S.o.B. to put back together. After that, it's a matter of rigging and programming to get it to play music through a set of headphones. And there's a torrent out there for everything. The how-to would be in a new edition of the Jolly Roger Cookbook within weeks after the law was passed.
Mike, just to clarify, I really couldn't give half a shit less about the giant corporations fighting like small children over who had the idea first (i.e. Mattel vs. MGA Entertainment in the news recently). As far as I'm concerned, they can all go hang. I'm talking about the guy that came up with the idea. If he'd been working out of his garage and got started selling the dolls at the local flea market, who's to say someone else wouldn't stroll by his little table and say, hey, now that's a good idea, and go make money off of someone else's idea? You have to realize that the patent system isn't supposed to stifle or stop innovation itself; that's an unfortunate side effect that may or may not come to pass, depending on who holds the patent and who's willing to do the work to figure out their process regardless of that fact. (I won't comment further than that, as I have not read your studies, nor any that contradict them, to judge for myself. Get me a list and I'll be glad to give you an opinion on that too. I'm a woman; I always have one.) The patent system is in place to PROTECT inventors and creators from people who would steal their ideas and use and market them as their own.
Put yourself in their shoes. If you were good Mr. Bryant and just trying to sell your dolls at the flea market, and the fellow that walked by and liked the idea worked for, say, MGA Entertainment, how pissed would you be to see YOUR dolls turning into the billion-dollar-plus franchise of a corporate giant and you don't see a penny of it, or even get credit?
One of the things I've noticed about you is that you're always quick to point out that you simply give credit where credit is due with your citations. Right there, in that very sentiment, you demonstrate the idea of patent and copyright law. Yes, it gets abused. So does aspirin, but are we throwing Bayer out the window? No.
The system itself - the infrastructure upon which our society clings - is not what is flawed - in this case. But money makes the world go 'round, and in case you haven't figured it out by the reaction to our good President (note: sarcasm) bossing around companies like GM and Chrysler, the government does not run this country. It's the giant corporations and THEIR leadership that uses the government like puppets, and the only reason they have the ability to do that is because they have the money to line the pockets of whosoever they feel can make things go their way.
It's bullshit that Mattel was even able to sue MGA for those dolls and not get laughed straight out of the courtroom, but that has nothing to do with patent law and everything to do with the retarded shit those companies put into the contracts of their employees.
As far as your position that we should never aim to "protect the livelihood" as a government policy, there isn't really a way around that without starting a war. There just happens to be this little line, almost inconsequential really, in the Declaration of Independence (remember that document?) that a lot of people take very seriously. Matter of fact, Will Smith did a movie about it. The pursuit of happiness? Sorry, the government has to protect that pursuit. Furthermore, the people of this country may be sheep, but they are only sheep insofar as they believe that their government is taking care of them.
That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; that whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.
The Law, when executed properly, is nothing more than a framework upon which our country builds its society. People that push and test the limits and boundaries of that law could be equated to the weight on the steel frame of a building. The catalyst for the frame becoming twisted and warped is always, and will always be, the greed and corruption of men that can be likened to a blowtorch. Take away the people that want to take advantage of the law and the framework stands strong, but if you take away the framework itself the whole construction collapses.
And there's your problem. It's not the law. It's the people using it.
Get me that list. I'm interested to see if you've got a point as far as the whole stifling thing, or if you're just full of wind, but I don't offer uninformed opinions as a matter of practice.