Technically it is another law. Modifications to statutes in the U.S. Code are made by passing new laws that modify the existing statutes. These amending bills have to get through Congress and be signed by the President, just like the ones that created the law in the first place.
A spokesman for CBS, which also owns such marquee journalism properties as CBS News and 60 Minutes, declined to comment on how a similar situation might be handled if it occurred at its other news properties.
"In terms of covering actual news, CNET maintains 100 percent editorial independence, and always will," CBS said in a prepared statement.
It's not self-righteous to call invertebrates 'spineless'
True, it's not easy to quit.
I recently dealt with this in a large company where I was one of very few people to stick my neck out over an unethical policy. I found, by talking to my coworkers, that most just hadn't even thought about it much. Once they did think about it, they all agreed that the situation stunk to high heaven. Yet despite this, they each had various reasons they wouldn't quit, disobey, publicly protest, demand concessions, or even voice their concerns to higher-ups:
1. Inertia, complacency, overall job satisfaction, desire to maintain good relations with coworkers, realization that it'll blow over and soon be forgotten. "Yeah, I was ready to quit or raise a big stink about this yesterday, but I thought about it and you know, it's just one little thing wrong in an otherwise good job." (This goes on for years.)
2. Deference to authority, confidence in superiors, fear of reprimand, fear of not being promoted or getting a raise, fear of being the only one to disagree or take greater action than others, fear of peers being negatively affected. Aside from not wanting to rock the boat, people feel it can be counterproductive to doubt the boss or consider options other than what's offered from above. "Yes, it's unethical, but surely they're doing what's good for the company, what's good for all of us in the long run; they rely on our confidence in them. Where do I sign?"
3. Fear of the unknown: not having another job lined up, no confidence of landing on one's feet, reluctance to belt-tighten, fear of being seen as a boat-rocker when looking for a new job, embarrassment of facing friends & family with even temporary abandonment of the dogged pursuit of life "success" as measured by career/income/property. It's astonishing how many conflict-averse adults allow their parents to dictate their priorities, or who equate downsizing with personal failure. "But I can't give up the McMansion yet; I'll lose money on it. Besides, I have kids!"
4. Fear of legal repercussions. Many have signed a no-compete agreement, so they feel like they can't start up or join another company and carry on like nothing happened, and don't consider talking to a lawyer about what the risks actually are. Some also worry that public protest carries a risk of personal liability for a perceived negative impact on their publicly traded company's stock price. "What if they sue me?"
5. Prioritization of personal ethics. Many are paralyzed by moral conflicts, or just feel it is more important to follow through with one's personal and contractual commitments than to stand up for any other rights or moral courses of action that arise later. Faced with the choice, they'll continue following the rules and letting the captains steer the ship. "Yes, it's starting to look like this relationship isn't working out so well, but I made my bed and now I have to lie in it."
6. Mercenary tendencies. Some are just in it for the money. They don't care about the ethics of the situation, they just want the paycheck. Maybe they felt that way when they signed on, or maybe they're just beaten-down and numb from all the corporate B.S. "Let someone else fight the good fight. For me, it's just a job."
7. Blissful ignorance, resignation to the fact that every job has some kind of distasteful aspects, or just no room in one's life for work-related drama. Some avoid or ignore anything that upsetting. "I just can't worry about this right now. Besides, it's just work. I've seen worse. I'm on the path of least resistance."
8. Gratitude. "The economy is down; I'm lucky/glad/blessed to have a job."
9. Organizing as a group and taking one's concerns to management is one step removed from forming a union, which many people oppose for political reasons, and which puts management squarely on the defensive. It may well create a hostile, adversarial environment for the everyone. "I don't want to screw things up for me and my coworkers. Besides, unions are bad for business, bad for America."
Every one of these reasons can reasonably be interpreted as a manifestation of spinelessness. Just because there's a bunch of them doesn't change that. It is what it is. If that's too harsh a name for it, how about "fear-based decision-making".
If you're spineless, just admit it. And if you begrudge being derided for it, then either grow a thicker skin, or grow some balls and do something to improve your situation. Calling your accuser "self-righteous" is just ad hominem.
(FWIW, I did stick it out in gracious/mercenary mode for a while, but quit before getting something else lined up, and haven't regretted it one bit. It required some adjustments, but I have other sources of income and am doing fine.)
Unsympathetic comments I've seen elsewhere, coming from people who assume he was guilty and who don't understand what a plea bargain is or what Swartz's options really were, have been along the lines of "he was only facing 6 months, not 30 years". Something also about how we're all sheeple being led around by Lawrence Lessig.
Re: Re: Tinfoil hat time - who talked to the Feds?
Thanks for that, sophisticatedjanedoe! That article (published last night) satisfies my curiosity as to whether JSTOR was actually opposed to the criminal indictment. Apparently they were opposed and took what action they could, behind the scenes, so I rescind that part of my speculation.
I still think they could've done more to protest it, or to at least publicly indicate their opposition, even if this meant pissing off the publishers, but I suppose no one asked.
Sorry to pounce on this one piece of your article, and feel free to ignore this distraction, but I'm not convinced JSTOR "wanted nothing to do with the case." In their press release from the time of Swartz's arrest, JSTOR never expressed actual disapproval of the Feds' pursuit of the case, nor did they deny involvement.
What JSTOR said was they were the ones who discovered what he was doing, put a stop to it, found out who he was (apparently with help from someone else?), and settled their dispute with him in the month prior to his arrest. And they said the decision to prosecute wasn't theirs. Well of course it wasn't their decision; it's a criminal case! The government makes that decision.
Although they say they had "no interest" in it becoming an ongoing legal matter, they don't at all seem to mind at all that the Feds were pursuing the case. Perhaps they were just trying not to irritate the publishers, but to just say it was "not our decision" without saying "and we find the decision regrettable", well, it's about the same as "hey, not my problem" or "sucks to be him".
My tinfoil hat is wearing its own tinfoil hat, I admit, but it seems quite plausible that JSTOR, MIT, and/or JSTOR's publisher buddies would've gotten the ball rolling, telling the Feds "here's what we know about what he did. Do with it what you will, because we're not going to pursue it in civil court" ... if not also "so go teach that son of a bitch a lesson."
I mean, would the prosecution really have put together the initial indictment without any cooperation or claims of harm from the parties? It's possible, but I smell a rat. I think someone said "settlement is not enough... let's tell the Feds what we know, and if they want to pursue it, great. If not, oh well. Either way, 'not my problem!'"
So I want to know what prompted the Feds to press charges. How did they learn about the incident? What contact did they have with MIT and with JSTOR? What contact did JSTOR have with MIT? And were any publishers involved?
Everyone who signs a contract with these ISPs has agreed to resolve any disputes with them through binding arbitration, sought in an individual capacity (so, no courts, and no class action). The terms of the Six Strikes plan also provide for arbitration. Also, the accused are not publicly named, and thus suffer no "harm" other than inconveniences that they signed up for in their ISP's TOS. So there will be no lawsuits over this.
That case started out as Wiley v. Does 1-27 filed in Southern New York. One of the Does tried to get the ISP subpoena quashed and the defendants severed, but the judge rejected their arguments. Wiley used this as ammo in their argument against Verizon's refusal to hand over subscriber identities in three of their other mass lawsuits. Any idea what ever happened with that?
The case was then pared down to four named defendants and moved to Western New York. One didn't respond and got a default judgment against them for $7000, split up the same way as in this case. The docket shows that two of the other defendants were dismissed and that one of those two settled. The remaining one started to fight it, but it's not clear what happened; all I see on the docket is that Wiley's lawyer canceled a post-discovery conference. I'd like to know what happened, if anyone cares to comment further...
Re: Re: First sale rights in CDs are already limited
The issue here is that the record company has declared that all "unauthorized" lending is "prohibited". It is being argued that this was an overstatement, a "copyfraud". You're failing to convince me otherwise.
OK, sure, so 17 USC 109 disallows commercial lending. It must thereby be read as allowing some kind of noncommercial lending. Now, if case law has not resolved exactly what kind of lending qualifies as noncommercial, so what? That doesn't change the fact that the record company was making an overstatement. There are still situations where lending is allowed by law, even if the record company doesn't authorize it. For example: lending by a library, other noncommercial lending (as supported by case law now or in the future), and fair use.
So the fact remains that the copyright owner can expressly forbid certain uses, yet they'd still be wrong to say or imply that the law prohibits those uses. So yes, with their general warnings on CDs, they've overasserted their rights...this sure sounds like copyfraud to me.
Yes, but the statement printed on the CDs is that it is indeed "prohibited" to lend at all. There's no nuance to it whatsoever. It says that all "unauthorized" lending is prohibited. That's simply not true. It's not disingenuous of Masnick to point this out.
You're right, everything on the list is potentially non-infringing. In fair use situations, it doesn't matter whether the use is "authorized" or not. Why, then, is it not copyfraud for the statement to say that all "unauthorized" uses are "prohibited"? Seems like an over-claim to me.
Re: Megaupload Mike supports symbiotic piracy, NOT copyright.
You're really upset about all the money being made off of free content by file hosts, link sites, etc. If it really is a substantial amount, and piracy is really killing you, then the solution seems simple. Get into the file hosting and linking business, and do a really good job of it. Problem solved; no finger pointing needed.
I'll just semi-respond to the last point, since that leapt out at me. So it's not on TPB yet...sure, but doesn't that just prove the CwF+RtB philosophy referred to on the Insider Shop page? I mean, TechDirt's Insider Shop has positioned itself as the primary, if not exclusive distributor during the work's period of greatest marketability, and made money doing it, without resorting to any technological or legal contrivances and finger wagging in an effort to stop piracy. All they had to do was make it available in a way that respects what people actually want (in this case: pay-what-you-want, unlocked PDF, no handing over personal info) on a site which, for other reasons, attracts an enthusiastic pool of potential consumers. The stock photo sites more-or-less get this, but last time I looked at a major publisher, label, or studio website, all I saw was a bunch of ads.