What I don't understand is this: how did software ever get patented in the first place
I attribute it to a combination of things, starting with the unfortunate wording of the Patent Act which says that "processes" can be patented, and then defines processes as follows:
The term "process" means process, art or method, and includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or material.
Ignoring the inane circularity of a "'process' means process", the act was amended to employ the word "process" in the 1930s, back when "information processing" was virtually non-existent. So the term as intended by the legislators of the time obviously only referred to processing associated with mechanics, chemistry, and manufacturing for which granting of patent protection is arguably reasonable (or at least the processes are not abstract).
With the advent of computers, and the ability of machines to "process" information, the term took on the connotation of performing manipulations upon purely abstract concepts -- something that has traditionally been rejected as deserving of patent protection.
Unfortunately there are many misguided folk who fail to grasp that no matter how much you process an abstract concept (such as information), that concept is still going to be abstract.
We also do so because it is a matter of safety for our customers. Our tools are used in high-energy industrial environments, where precision and safety is an absolute necessity.
It is not the purpose of trademark law to protect people from misusing items they've purchased; it's purpose is to protect them from being misled in their decision to make the purchase.
That an electrician, engineer, or hobbyist might grab the wrong DMM out of the toolbox because of similar schemes is not an issue to be addressed with trademark law. If there is a concern that the CAT II, III, and IV markings on the device are not sufficient then a more conspicuous standard (such as color coding) should be mandated.
By mentioning the fact that the CIA searched the network of the Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, it means people will die?
I don't see where Sen. Udall even mentioned that much. All he stated in his letter was that the CIA had taken unprecedented action of some sort. Hardly revealing at all (perhaps they refused to serve meatloaf in the cafeteria).
It makes me cringe to see Aero described as "innovative". It is a horrendously inefficient means of receiving broadcasts, with the one redeeming quality being that it is less horrendously inefficient than most other means imposed by the monopolistic regime of copyright.
Moreover, the "camel" comment in the letter and the report is pure hearsay. Swartz's lawyer is the only one who has said this is what the lead prosecutor said. Just because he says so does not make it true.
This is incorrect on a couple of counts.
First, it was not Aaron Swartz's lawyer who quoted the lead prosecutor, it was MIT's lawyers (in a memorandum provided by MITís outside counsel to its Office of General Counsel, dated August 10, 2012).
Second, MIT's counsel recited what the lead prosecutor stated directly to them -- in order to qualify as "hearsay" they would have to had quoted something that they heard that the prosecutor said to someone else.
One of the most contentious aspects of the NSA's surveillance is the central belief by General Alexander and presumably many others at the agency that it must "collect it all" in order to protect the public. To stand a chance of overturning that policy, those against this dragnet approach need to come up with a realistic alternative.
A realistic alternative? How about "don't collect it all". Fire the people who have based the organization's operations on this failed policy of "collect it all" and hire people who can run the NSA in a manner that doesn't do massive harm to U.S. technology companies, doesn't subvert the efficacy and reputations of cybersecurity standards bodies, doesn't embarrass the U.S. government in the eyes of foreign leaders, and doesn't violate the U.S. Constitution.
"But he set aside his own decision, as he said 'likely to be overturned'
Rogers is wrong on two counts.
Judge Leon did not "set aside" his judgement, he "stayed" it. Setting aside a decision nullifies it, staying a decision postpones its execution until a later time.
Nor did the Judge say it was "likely to be overturned"; he presumed the government would appeal his decision -- so "likely to be appealed" would be an accurate paraphrasing -- but he also warned the government it should prepare for the eventuality of "when, and if, this ruling is upheld".
This reminds me of the petulant and childish response of movie theaters when filmmakers started trying to release films online at the same time they were in the theaters. Like in that situation, ...
It might be "like in that situation" were Target seeking to have their physical copies released in advance of the Itunes release, but the fact they are objecting to not receiving equal treatment suggests it's a rather different situation and hardly deserving of being called petulant and childish.
a somewhat angry questioner in the audience insisted that some comments written on Techdirt by some of our users were "illegal in Germany" and that, under German law, I was liable for them. He stood at the microphone with a laptop reading the comments ...
So was the questioner arrested for doing something that was "illegal in Germany"? Or is there some reason that his sharing of the comments was legal while Techdirt's was not?