by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 5th 2013 2:10pm
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 27th 2012 3:51pm
from the regulatory-control dept
The same Planet Money folks who brought us that story recently did a podcast and a NY Times article on another example of regulatory ridiculousness. This one involved a woman who had built a small business braiding the hair of African children in Utah. The woman, Jestina Clayton, grew up in Sierra Leone, where she learned to braid hair, and when she ended up in Centerville, Utah, she discovered there was demand there, due to a large number of adopted African children, whose parents had no idea what to do with their hair. Then, someone threatened to "report" her for practicing "cosmetology" without a license. She checked it out and discovered that bizarre (but all too common) regulation made that true -- but to get her license she'd have to go to school for two years at a cost of $16,000. All to braid hair. And, even more ridiculous, none of the schools taught anything having to do with braiding hair like Clayton did. It would be a pure waste.
If you can, you should listen to the Planet Money podcast on this, because they actually get a spokesperson from the "Professional Beauty Association" try to explain why the government must regulate "professional beauty" practitioners before they kill again (well, only slight exaggeration). She does go on and on about the "consumer safety issues" of the people she's supposedly representing. My favorite risk? "Open wounds." From hair braiding?
Either way, Clayton went before the (I'm not joking) Barber, Cosmetology/Barber, Esthetics, Electrology and Nail Technology Licensing Board of Utah, to try to convince them to let her braid without a license. Apparently this became a big issue and "licensed cosmetologists" came out of the woodwork to argue against her -- and her request was denied.
As the report notes: none of this is to necessarily say that all regulation is bad and that industries don't need some sort of regulation. But, at the very least, if there is going to be regulation, shouldn't there be some evidence that it's (a) needed and (b) effective? Because, somehow, I don't think that there's a big risk from a woman braiding some kids' hair in Utah.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jan 11th 2012 11:51am
Once Again, SOPA Supporters Caught 'Copying' Others' Works In An Effort To Shut Down Sites For Copying
from the telling... dept
Just one little tiny problem... there appears to be a fair bit of evidence that Shurtleff "copied" his work from elsewhere and simply "remixed" the work of others. TorrentFreak goes into great detail how many of the statements in the opinion piece supposedly written by Shurtleff, have appeared elsewhere from pro-SOPA folks.
To back up this claim we will highlight a few sentences from the Attorney General’s article, and compare them with those previously delivered by the MPAA and affiliated pro-copyright groups.They go on to find lots of other rather complex phrases that show up in both Shurtleff's "new" opinion piece... and lobbying efforts from times past. In fact, the whole thing seems like a classic "remix" -- cutting and pasting lots of works from elsewhere, and creating something "new" out of it. Who knows if this reaches the legal standard for copyright infringement... but it certainly calls into serious question either the legitimacy of the op-ed... or, the competence of Shurtleff. Once again, we think such remixing is good and should be allowed. But it's pretty crazy to argue for laws like SOPA... and do so with what certainly sounds like plagiarized phrases from elsewhere.
The first sentence that caught our attention is: “It will take a strong, sustained effort to stop Internet thieves and profiteers.”
Strong words, but also familiar ones. In fact, former MPAA President Bob Pisano uttered exactly the same words in 2010 when he congratulated the Senate Judiciary Committee with unanimously approving the COICA bill, the predecessor to SOPA and PIPA.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jan 6th 2012 2:32pm
from the make-it-a-campaign-issue dept
Congressional extensions on copyright have been repeatedly pushed by interested businesses to the point where the public interest is damaged. Copyright should protect artists and creators when they take action to request it. Instead, it is abused to the point that innovation is held back and very little falls into the public domain.While I don't know how recently it has been updated, it doesn't mention things like PIPA or SOPA. However, Ashdown has tweeted about the bills and it appears he's not a fan. Given that he actually used Hatch's ridiculous INDUCE Act (another bill that attempted to broadly expand copyright law) as a campaign issue in 2006, you have to imagine he'll use PIPA again this time around. While he lost last time around, in 2006, very few people were paying attention to these issues. This time around, as SOPA and PIPA are getting more attention, perhaps he'll get more attention.
The public has an interest in seeing works move into the public domain after a reasonable period has passed for commercial gain. Abandoned and orphaned works should default into the public domain instead of being locked up indefinitely.
Legislation like the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) strips the consumer of their rights to own and modify their purchased property. DMCA abuse has been leveraged against everything from real-estate listings to restricting competitors. If the DMCA had been present before this millennium, it is possible that Compaq would have never been able to reverse-engineer the IBM PC BIOS and jumpstart the personal computing revolution.
That said, as the same commenter noted, getting a Democrat elected in Utah is close to impossible. Still, Ashdown was able to get over 30% of the vote on a shoestring budget, while many of these issues weren't making news. At a time when these issues are making headlines, and outrage towards incumbents for being in the pockets of a few big businesses is at an all time high, could he actually mount a serious challenge?
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 4th 2011 9:56am
from the incentive-structure dept
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 4th 2010 10:20am
from the all-your-bugs-are-belong-to-us dept
"If they're using Utah organisms, we think Utah as a state should benefit from royalties. Like a patent," said Sen. Lyle HillyardOf course, that's a total bastardization of what a patent is for. A patent is supposed to be a limited incentive to invent in an effort to promote the progress -- and, in exchange for the patent, you're supposed to teach the invention. None of those other aspects apply to what Hillyard is discussing here. There is no limit. There is no incentive (if anything, it takes away incentives from doing stuff in Utah). It doesn't promote progress (just giving money to the state) and there is no teaching or disclosure involved. In other words, it has all of the worst parts of a patent and nothing good at all. It's basically a blatant money-grab, highlighting the concept of ownership culture, where people try to claim ownership of things that cannot and should not be own-able.
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 2nd 2010 3:05pm
Utah Moves Forward On Plans To Let Attorney General Have All Sorts Of Info On Internet Users With No Judicial Oversight
from the and-this-won't-be-abused? dept
Of course, the politicians supporting this claim that it's necessary to keep people safe:
"If we charge our law-enforcement folks with trying to protect us and trying to catch these people," [sponsor of the bill, Rep. Brad] Daw said, "we need to always be trying to review the capabilities these criminals have and the tools technology gives to them and make sure we have adequate tools in place."Except that makes no sense. Prosecutors could get a judge to grant a subpoena already. Why do they need to do this with no judicial review? This isn't about protecting people and catching criminals. You already had a process to do that. It's just that it had oversight. So what's the excuse for taking away the oversight?
from the with-friends-like-these... dept
I asked you before to remove me from your mailing list. I supported your bill but because of the harassment will not again. If I am not removed I will turn you over to the AG for legal action.Can't wait to see Thompson claim that this is all part of the conspiracy of video game fans against him. Clearly, the video gamers have somehow brainwashed the President of the Utah Senate...
Utah Governor Vetoes Video Gaming Law, Noting Unintended Consequences And Likely First Amendment Issue
from the saving-taxpayer-money dept
While protecting children from inappropriate materials is a laudable goal, the language of this bill is so broad that it likely will be struck down by the courts as an unconstitutional violation of the Dormant Commerce Clause and/or the First Amendment.Even the Salt Lake City Tribune is now trashing the legislature for pushing this bill forward and praising the governor for rejecting it:
The industries most affected by this new requirement indicated that rather than risk being held liable under this bill, they would likely choose to no longer issue age appropriate labels on goods and services.
Therefore, the unintended consequence of the bill would be that parents and children would have no labels to guide them in determining the age appropriateness of the goods or service, thereby increasing children's potential exposure to something they or their parents would have otherwise determined was inappropriate under the voluntary labeling system now being recognized and embraced by a significant majority of vendors.
Whew. Gov. Jon Huntsman rightly vetoed House Bill 353, which would have given voluntary media-industry ratings of movies, DVDs, video games, CDs and even books the weight of law and made sellers responsible for enforcing them.
Somehow, this misguided piece of legislation zoomed through the Legislature with hardly an opposing vote, and, we suspect, without a thorough vetting.... In their misplaced zeal to limit access to media they don't like, our legislators might have eliminated the very tools parents need to set limits on what their children see and hear. We dodged a bullet on this one. Having misfired badly, the Legislature should not bring it up again.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Mar 20th 2009 12:39am
from the utah-politics-at-work dept
"We should be going after the Googles that are creating this problem. They're the villains." .... "If we're going to use the strength and resources of the state to go after businesses, then we ought to go after the business that is causing the harm. ... We ought to go after the Googles with the state's resources and reputation."Then, there's Rep. Jennifer "Jen" Seelig, who voted for the bill. But, that shouldn't be surprising. You see, even though she's an elected official in the state legislator, she's also still employed as a registered lobbyist for 1-800 Contacts, the company that has been pushing the bill. Apparently that sort of conflict of interest isn't seen as a problem in Utah.