Re: Re: The state's incentive is to have more prisoners
AC wrote, "No. They only have to pay for the unused beds."
That isn't correct. A filled bed is (obviously) not free.
I think what you were trying to get at is that their costs are fixed by the number of beds. But that isn't true, either. Unused beds means less direct costs associated with housing prisoners, such as food, medical, and water consumption, and possibly - if there are enough unused beds - guard salaries and even overhead.
There is no enforcement to prevent takedowns when 'Fair Use' applies. It's not in YouTube's algorithms, either.
And it's a judgment call, which means that it's possible to win a civil suit by invoking it, but otherwise, as things stand today, for most users, it's more of a theoretical right than an actual one.
The big IP holders regularly lobby against 'Fair Use' in Congress. They want it removed from the law. In their IP enforcement actions, they treat all re-use of their IP as infringing. The IP holders don't recognize 'Fair Use' as legitimate, despite the DCMA and other statutes which grant users that right.
Because of the high cost of civil litigation, most users will simply give up and accept the takedown. I know of only one who has successfully fought YouTube takedowns using 'Fair Use' as a defense. There may be more like that user, but I think it's the exception, not the rule.
But my point here was simply to make AC aware that just because an IP holder launches an accusation of infringement in a takedown notice, it doesn't mean that the user is automatically an infringer and undeserving of sympathy. You can't know until you dig into each case and see if the 'Fair Use' doctrine might apply.
Yeah, I get it. The judge found the guy to be annoying (for the record, so did I). So, like any good little authoritarian, the judge used his authority in an arbitrary way to punish the jerk. The judge had no difficulty finding vague statutes to let him do it. The books are full of them.
That's how things work in this authoritarian version of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
The end result sounds like something from the book 'Catch-22' - ridiculously absurd. Well, that's sort of the point Joseph Heller was trying to communicate. Authoritarian systems are capricious and clunky and produce endless absurdities, like cops shooting unarmed legless old guys in wheel chairs, or judges declaring obviously living guys legally dead. They do this shit because, obviously, they can.
Many, many takedown notices generated by YouTube are invalid under current statutes. I advise you not to jump to the conclusion that a particular case represents copyright infringement unless you've looked into the details and heard the arguments.
AC, you seem to think that I'm arguing in favor of Mike's viewpoint, and you're criticizing me for hanging my argument on his fallacious logic.
Mike is arguing in favor of the author's viewpoint: that advancing tech creates as many jobs as it destroys. I am arguing that since the 1990s, advancing tech has destroyed more jobs than it has created, and that the trend is accelerating, with potentially dire implications for the economy and for civilization itself.
My argument does not rest on Mike's fallacy.
In fact my argument doesn't rest on much of anything. It's a declaration, a description. I haven't reasoned from evidence here in the comments section.
Others have. There is evidence, but it's the sort of thing that fits better into academic papers or articles than a comment thread on TechDirt.
My purpose is to acquaint readers - the few who read comments, anyway - with the fact that there is a competing thesis which contradicts the TechDirt article, and that thesis has alarming and grave implications.
Greevar, you're quite right. I am assuming, or perhaps 'predicting' is a better word, that the means of production will remain in the hands of the capital-owning class unless it's stripped from them by force. I don't think 3-D printing is going to make much of a difference by itself, at least not in this century.
Technology alone won't do it, because wealth concentration has enabled the capital-owning class to completely corrupt government at every level. And that lets them establish the legal framework under which the economy operates.
Take the internet. On its own, it's a liberating force for information. But with every passing year, legislation creep is assaulting that freedom at the behest of the capital-owning class. Wholesale spying, which, combined with vague laws, enables government to prosecute anyone who annoys the elites, is only part of it. It's just a matter of time before laws explicitly prohibit ISPs like Google or Facebook from hosting unedited content from users that can be accessed by the public. Why do I think that will happen? They've got a strategy: first they'll go after small service providers for illegalities committed by their users (MegaUpload and The Silk Road being examples). Once that precedent is firmly in place (which overturns the DCMA), they'll get legislatures to endorse it with laws. Can you imagine Google letting users post what they like if Google will be liable when those users have broken the law somewhere? We'll be back to pre-internet days: the only information in the public space will be edited information from media companies. And they'll charge rent for it.
For 3D printing, it's a similar problem. You can legally print whatever the printer will let you print... if laws permit it. But copyright, trademark and patent IP is mutating and spreading like crazy. Exxon-Mobile filed a lawsuit just recently against another company that used an 'X' in its name! Maybe they won't win, but it's yet another high water mark, and it won't be the last one. Vague patents are being filed by the million! Which means that the average Joe will be vulnerable to lawsuits he can't afford if he threatens even minor damage to monopoly interests. They've got the law on their side, they can interpret however it suits them, they've got the SWAT guys to enforce it, and the spies to figure out who's transgressing against the interest of the owners of capital.
So while I agree that on its own, advancing technology has a tendency to distribute power more broadly, that alone isn't going to be enough to offset the powers of the totalitarian state that is slinking darkly towards us with greedy hands and more weapons than you could possibly count.
We do not need radioactive batteries in circulation for consumer goods. God, no.
For the space program, yeah, sure. We're running out of plutonium-238, there are only a few pounds remaining in NASA's inventory. If we can develop a replacement, hopefully one that's cheaper and safer to produce, then good. We need that.
But not for anything else. We especially do not need radioactive materials in consumer products. That's dumber than asbestos insulation in homes. Nothing good can come of it.
The problem with your conclusion is that there is no mechanism to distribute wealth below the capital-owning class if only a small percentage of humans are needed to do work. Furthermore, wealth concentration isn't the only trend going on. We're also trending towards more monopolization, more rent-seeking behaviors from large corporations (intellectual property lockdowns) and, as wealth is concentrated, more government corruption, so that laws favor these trends.
And so the 'end of work' that has been predicted by some economists is also a doomsday scenario. If billions of people are surplus to requirements and can't earn livings, they'll either starve to death or rebel.
Wealthy elites are betting on rebellion. And that's why the police are being militarized.
Robotics and automation hold great potential to improve the human condition. But without a mechanism to distribute the vast wealth promised by these advancing technologies, it can't come to any good end.
It seems to me that the FBI's vendettas against MegaUpload and Silk Road are aiming to move the legal system to embrace a legal theory which the RIAA and corporate copyright holders have long urged.
The legal theory is this: if you operate a broad online service, and the users of that service break laws, then the service provider has broken laws.
That legal theory, if it becomes embedded in law through a series of precedents, will knock Google and some other service providers off of their perches. Just for an example, it's hard to see how Google could operate its YouTube service at all if that legal theory takes hold, since anyone might upload illegal content, and Google would be instantly liable for it happening.
If those precedents are established, it will be awfully sweet news for a lot of media corporations who do not want user-generated content sucking attention away from their products. The only safe way forward for service providers would be to allow *only* edited content - which is what media corporations have for sale.
Currently, statutes do not endorse this legal theory, but it hasn't stopped a plethora of civil suits advancing it.
Now the FBI is going after these low-level service providers. The legal reasoning seems to be 'If he hosted it, he's as guilty as the actual offenders.' Once that precedent is in place, it will supercede the DMCA, which only requires that offending content be taken down after the service provider receives a notice of infringement or illegality.
I don't know if the Silk Road operator himself violated any statutes. But it sure sounds like the FBI wants to nail his hide to the wall for what his users did, and that right there is troubling for those who value an open net.
Very cute. If one proposes that advancing tech destroys jobs, he's a Luddite.
Unfortunately for the author's viewpoint, he's wrong, and you don't have to desire a nontechnical world to understand it.
Citing examples from the 1940's cuts no mustard. The crossover point happened sometime in the 1990's - the moment when productivity increases from advancing technology began to destroy more jobs than it created. Worse, the trend line now is hyperbolic. It's moving faster every years.
Here's the problem in a nutshell: productivity is not just rising, it's accelerating. Advancing tech is hitting more sectors every year, and as it does, jobs are shed. Some new jobs are created, yes. But since the 1990's, it's been less than those destroyed, and the gap is widening.
This isn't only a trend in the US; it's international. Last year, for example, Foxconn in China began a modernization program that will shed one million jobs in two years. One. Million. Jobs. That's just one company. A million jobs won't be created somewhere else. The tech they're upgrading to already exists. A few thousand workers is all that's needed to extend it to them.
What's most interesting to me is how apparently unlikely sectors are suddenly coming under threat of rising productivity. Take long-haul trucking and taxi drivers, for example. Jobs in those sectors have traditionally been directly correlated to economic demand. What happens when autonomous vehicles become a mature technology? That will happen in the 2020's. Answer: trucks and cabs will operate with lower accident rates. They won't have to stop to rest drivers. Some tech jobs will be created, but not enough to offset the job shedding those sectors will undergo.
Or take the field of medicine. Automation has barely nudged into that sector of the economy, but the potential is tremendous. Almost all of what primary care physicians do is 'if this, then that' boilerplate. They have to practice medicine that way; if they deviate from the boilerplate 'best accepted practices,' they're vulnerable to lawsuits if something goes wrong. But this very fact makes medicine a great candidate for automation. IBM rightly sees that field as an opportunity for its Watson product. Productivity will rise. Jobs will be shed.
A Luddite probably doesn't have the informed capacity to recognize what is happening. Techologists do. This is the take-away point: the owners of capital are gradually becoming the owners of the means to produce labor. Slowly at first, more rapidly later on, human workers are becoming surplus to requirements. Poverty is claiming more humans, also slowly at first, but the trend is accelerating.
Capitalism is a 19th Century ideology that has no conceptual framework for endlessly advancing productivity due to advancing tech. And so many of its adherents simply deny it could be happening at all. Unfortunately, that's a head-in-the-sand stance. It is happening. The sooner we wrap our minds around this fact, the sooner we can begin to make meaningful decisions about how the human race should adjust to the trend.
The FISA court's rulings are secret. We aren't allowed to know how they interpret Federal statutes.
FISA court orders are secret. We aren't allowed to know what they order people to do.
In the last two years, the FISA court has approved every government request for surveillance submitted to it - including requests for mass surveillance of American citizens' phone and internet communications.
FISA court proceedings are not adversarial. No dissenting argumentation is permitted.
We only know about all of this stuff because Snowden leaked documents (illegally).
How can anyone reach a conclusion different from Jimmy Carter's conclusion? He said that America no longer has a functioning democracy. I'm finding it very difficult to disagree with him.
How can we take back our democracy, folks? It seems to have been stolen from us.