from the objecting-to-objectivism dept
On Tuesday, as part of a discussion of the future of capitalism, we mentioned the skewed perception (on both sides of the political spectrum) of capitalism caused by extremists, most notably Objectivists. This spurred Mason Wheeler to take the next step and win most insightful comment of the week by suggesting adding Objectivism to the list of philosophies that society treats with a high baseline of skepticism:
The problem, as you suggested, is the Objectivists. For decades they've been a very influential voice defining capitalism as the twisted monstrosity Ayn Rand had in mind, to the point where today, people espousing the actual theories and principles of Adam Smith get accused of being dirty commies. And if infinite goods is gonna destroy that capitalism, where do I sign up?
Objectivists are a blight on society, and while I hesitate to use terms like "guilty until proven innocent" even as hyperbole, they need to be regarded with the same "treat as suspicious by default" viewpoint as Scientologists, and for the same basic reason: a key defining characteristic of practitioners is their religious adherence to an ideology that is actively and maliciously harmful to those around them.
(Further evidence of the unholy coupling between Rand and Hubbard!)
In second place on the insightful side, we've got Karl expanding on the many ways the Aereo ruling will effect cloud computing:
One of the many idiocies that Spangler repeats is the notion that the Aero ruling won't affect cloud services, because those services are "already protected from liability for copyrighted material illegally uploaded to their services under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act." (Others, like amateur-turned-professional copyright maximalist Terry Hart, have made the same argument.)
For one thing, he's wrong, because a ruling against Aero would create infringement where there currently is none. If streaming from the cloud to a single user is a "public performance," then it wouldn't matter whether the user acquired the content legally. The streaming itself - not the acquisition of the content - would infringe on the public performance right.
Second, even if he were correct, requiring DMCA protections for what are now private performances would be disastrous for cloud services and anyone who uses them. If they got DMCA protections, it likely wouldn't be under 512(a) ("Transitory Digital Network Communications"). The content is actually hosted on the cloud provider's network, so they would be protected under 512(c) ("Information Residing on Systems or Networks At Direction of Users").
This is one of the sections of the DMCA that falls under the "notice and takedown" provisions. This means that the only way cloud services would escape libaility is if they allowed copyright holders to issue takedown notices of users private files.
It also includes the controversial "red flag" sections that were recently (and solely) used to find the MP3Tunes guy personally liable for millions. There is absolutely no way a company is going to risk that sort of liability for cloud services, especially if their officers must operate under the threat of personal liability.
The only possible way that cloud computing can continue to operate is if they don't need DMCA protection in the first place. And it should be obvious why they shouldn't. As long as a single copy of a copyrighted work is streamed to a single user, both the legal history and common sense dictate that it shouldn't be a public performance.
(I posted this same comment on the Variety story, so we'll see if there's a response.)
For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start with a comment from Beech suggesting professors use good ol' market forces to teach Nature a lesson about open access:
Duke should tell the professors that there will be no waivers, then hand them a list of other reputable journals that don't require such bullshit. Nature won't have much of a reputation if no one publishes through them.
Obviously if America's slavery were a little more recent, Saxby Chambliss would call it "enhanced employment" and would object to claims that it wasn't justified. He would label any talk about the issue "a distraction."
Tom Coburn would call it slavery, but would insist that it was done in "good faith" to promote agriculture.
Feinstein would be willing to call it "a stain on our history that must never again be allowed to happen" but would refuse to call it slavery.
Over on the funny side, first place goes to Mark Wing, who realized that maybe we've just been misunderstanding the NSA's purpose all along:
"To serve America" is really just a cookbook.
(This may remind some of you of another great culinary misunderstanding.)
In second place, we've got a second win for Roger Strong (whose roster consists of a mere 14 comments so far!) This time, in response to the story of a botched drug raid and ensuing coverup, he noted that as with so many things, it's all a matter of scale:
The Iraq invasion and occupation? Just a rumor. Highly inaccurate. Never happened.
Our next move then was to check on a country - Afghanistan - which was in close proximity.
He claimed that there has not been a single case of NSA abusing its authority.
He's right you know. There hasn't been a single case, there's been loads of them!
And, finally, we've got an anonymous comment reminding us that if climate change was (unfathomably) a hoax, it'd be a shockingly benevolent one:
Oh dear ...
What if it is all a big hoax and we make the planet a better place for nothing?
(As long as we don't get too smug...)
That's all for this week, folks!