mattshow’s Techdirt Profile

mattshow

About mattshow




mattshow’s Comments comment rss

  • Mar 23rd, 2015 @ 8:29am

    Re: I don't understand the problem here

    Agreed. And people have been using timers to take self photos for decades. I've been packing a mini-tripod (more recently a GorillaPod) whenever I go on vacation for at least the last decade for this exact purpose. No one ever threatened to ban me from anywhere.

  • Mar 23rd, 2015 @ 8:27am

    Re: Selfie IP

    As someone who used to teach copyright law to students, I can guarantee you that your average selfie-stick user has absolutely NOT put any consideration whatsoever into who owns the copyright to their vacation photos.

  • Mar 6th, 2015 @ 9:04am

    (untitled comment)

    I dug around for some Canadian caselaw on this last year and all I came up with was a single Quebec Court of Appeal case: R. c. Boudreau-Fontaine.

    There, at least, the judge was firmly of the opinion that compelling an individual to divulge their password was unacceptable.


    [39] I note that it orders the respondent to disclose his password#s# [translation] "in order to establish that the computer was connected to the Internet by Mr. Boudreau-Fontaine, thus breaching the conditions of his probation." In other words, the justice of the peace was commanding the appellant to give essential information with the specific intent of having him incriminate himself. I cannot see how the criminal law can allow such an order. It should be noted that the respondent complied with the order but that he certainly would not have done so without it, proof being that he refused to speak with the police officers about the events of September 19 when he was arrested. As the respondent wrote in his written argument, this order raises the issues of the right to silence, the right to be presumed innocent, the right not to be conscripted against oneself, and the protection against self-incrimination. Commanded to participate in the police investigation and to give crucial information, contrary to his constitutional rights, the respondent made a statement #identification of his password# that is inadmissible and that renders the subsequent seizure of the data unreasonable. In short, even had the seizure been preceded by judicial authorization, the law will not allow an order to be joined compelling the respondent to self-incriminate.

    [40] In R. v. Hebert, 1990 CanLII 118 #SCC#, [1990] 2 S.C.R. 151 at para. 47, McLachlin J. writes:

    ... the right to silence may be postulated to reside in the notion that a person whose liberty is placed in jeopardy by the criminal process cannot be required to give evidence against himself or herself, but rather has the right to choose whether to speak or to remain silent.

    [41] Without necessarily being detained, the respondent was compelled to participate in his self-incrimination and was given no choice in the matter: he had to help the police officers convict him. This approach is unacceptable.



    But of course, things are different at the border.

  • Feb 25th, 2015 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    Ah, fucked up my quotes. Oh well.

  • Feb 25th, 2015 @ 12:30pm

    (untitled comment)

    [quote]
    "This device is capable of manufacturing firearms, and potentially by private individuals,” FedEx spokesperson Scott Fiedler wrote in a statement. “We are uncertain at this time whether this device is a regulated commodity by local, state or federal governments. As such, to ensure we comply with the applicable law and regulations, FedEx declined to ship this device until we know more about how it will be regulated."[/quote]

    My take on this statement is: someone up the chain in FedEx saw this product, which is advertised as a tool to help people make guns, and got spooked about the potential legal and PR issues. Now they're not going to ship it until the lawyers and PR folks tell them it's fine. Since this product probably represents about .0000001% of FedEx's total revenue, sorting this out probably isn't anyone's top priority. In fact, given that lawyers and PR people don't work for free, its probably more cost-effective for them to just not bother sorting this out at all and just choose not to ship the item.

  • Feb 13th, 2015 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re:

    You're assuming Mega had to have committed a direct infringement. 506 doesn't say that. Indirect infringement is still infringement. If Mega was aware of infringing content on the service and was intentionally leaving it up there and continuing to host the material in the hopes of enticing users to give them money, then there's a reasonable argument to be made that they were committing an indirect infringement for commercial gain

  • Feb 13th, 2015 @ 2:42pm

    Re:

    Sorry, 3) also requires that the person knew it was intended for commercial distribution. But again, he pretty much admitted that in his plea.

  • Feb 13th, 2015 @ 2:41pm

    (untitled comment)

    Not that I DON'T think this is the DoJ going overboard on this poor guy, and I'm certain that his plea agreement was nothing more than an attempt to just get all of this over with, but the criminal charges don't seem too far fetched to me. The criteria listed in § 506 are:

    1) the person has committed copyright infringement;
    2) for the purposes of commercial gain;
    3) through electronic means and the works have a value of more than $1000; and
    4) the work was "prepared for commercial distribution"

    Mega was a business and he was getting paid, so 2) isn't going to be too tough. 3) and 4) are also not going to too difficult: there were probably plenty of Blockbuster Hollywood movies in the mix there, and no matter how much you want to argue about how to "value" the cost of movie piracy, $1000 is not a high bar to reach.

    So we're pretty much left with the first question, which is: did he commit copyright infringement in the first place? After the isoHunt and Grokster cases, it seems pretty clear that courts are happy to nail you for contributory infringement if you're running a supposedly content agnostic service but the evidence shows that you were aware of specific copyright infringing content being traded. Maybe if this had gone to trial they wouldn't have been able to prove that part. But since he admitted as part of his plea that he had downloaded copyright infringing content himself from MegaUpload, that part is pretty much taken care of.


    I'm not saying they had an airtight case against the guy, but the criminal copyright charges aren't THAT far out there.

  • Feb 2nd, 2015 @ 2:16pm

    (untitled comment)

    Personally, I've always harbored a fundamental distrust of people with celiac disease. Nice to finally see a government with the cajones to back me up on this.

  • Jan 28th, 2015 @ 12:58pm

    (untitled comment)

    I'm actually kind of accepting of Comcast's excuses here. I meant, ghost-writing letters for politicians is kind of scummy, but on the scale of corporate shenanigans, it's fairly benign.

    I am far, far more disappointed in the politicians who would allow this to be done in their name.

  • Jan 27th, 2015 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re:

    Agreed. I pay $10/month for Google Play All Access, and before that I used Sony's Music Unlimited service. I listen to a ton of music, at home, in the car, at work when I can get away with it. Having access to that huge library of music, including brand new releases, is of tremendous value to me. I love having a friend text me to say "Oh, did you hear so-and-so released a new album" and 30 seconds and 10 clicks later, be listening to it, is of huge value to me. I've often remarked I'd pay double (or even more) what I currently pay for a good streaming service. I get far more value out of the music streaming services than I do out of my Netflix subscription.

    That might not be true for everyone, or even most, but I find $20/month to be perfectly reasonable.

  • Jan 23rd, 2015 @ 11:23am

    (untitled comment)

    This article reminds me again of what a difference statutory damages can make. In Canada, statutory damages actually serve to discourage copyright litigation: in many (but of course, not all) cases, they're set so low that the money a litigant might be able to get out of a lawsuit is less than what their lawyer's bill would be. This really discourages suing unless you can prove substantial actual damages.

    (And yes, this is true even though we have a costs system, where the losing side has to pay part of the winning sides legal fees. Even when you win, you never get 100% of those fees covered).

  • Jan 23rd, 2015 @ 7:47am

    (untitled comment)

    Pfft. CFL teams have been using the term "The 12th Man" for years to describe... you know, the 12th player on the field.

  • Jan 22nd, 2015 @ 7:47am

    Re:

    I'd also never heard of his nickname or "reputation" before this story, and I've never seen anyone wearing one of those t-shirts. And I live in Calgary (although I'm admittedly not much of a Flames fan, so I don't pay much attention to what their players get up to).

  • Jan 21st, 2015 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re:

    But the judge doesn't know. The judge is not an expert on how these radar guns work. And there are limits on how much independent investigation judges are allowed to do. They are generally expected to work with what has been put on the record: the evidence introduced by the parties.

    If the defendant's lawyer was going to argue that the use of these radar guns was unconstitutional, (s)he should have made sure the judge was educated on just how these guns work.

  • Jan 16th, 2015 @ 9:06am

    (untitled comment)

    When I lived in Halifax there was a case of a guy getting arrested in a donair shop late at night. I don't remember exactly what the charge was but there it was something similar: he was drunk and disorderly.

    Sadly, I can't find a copy online, but the judge dismissed the case and talked about the need for context for these kind of charges, stating "Tony's Donair Shop at 2am is not the Vatican Library". (As anyone who has ever been to Tony's at 2am can attest to).

  • Jan 13th, 2015 @ 8:13am

    (untitled comment)

    I'm frankly not entirely certain how the city's trademark was granted in the first place, since I'm not clear on how having a sign announcing what city the person reading it is in denotes any kind of commercial application.



    Is commercial application an absolutely requirement for a trademark under US law? In Canada, all a government has to do is let the trademark office know that they have "adopted" a mark and then no one else is allowed to use it. The US might not go THAT far, but still, I'd be surprised if governments aren't allowed to register trademarks even when they aren't being used for "commercial" purposes.

  • Jan 12th, 2015 @ 8:18am

    (untitled comment)

    I'm going to nitpick, because I think this is an important detail: in discussions of criminal law, motive and intention are not the same thing. Motive refers to your reason for doing a thing, and intention refers to whether you intended to do a thing. You might have had a very noble reason for doing a thing, but you still INTENTIONALLY did it.

    The mens rea requirement in criminal law only looks at intention, not motivation. So while the Espionage Act might be unique in that it removes the requirement for the state to prove intention, the fact that motive doesn't matter isn't unusual. That's almost always the way it goes in criminal matters. (Though once guilt or innocence has been proved, motivation sometimes becomes a factor in sentencing).

  • Jan 8th, 2015 @ 2:10pm

    Re:

    Argh. Used the wrong HTML tag. The second paragraph is the quote from the article.

  • Jan 8th, 2015 @ 2:09pm

    (untitled comment)

    The news reports I've read said that the two suspects were already known to police and were under surveillance. For example, this Reuters article states:


    The fugitive suspects are French-born sons of Algerian-born parents, both in their early 30s, and already under police surveillance. One was jailed for 18 months for trying to travel to Iraq a decade ago to fight as part of an Islamist cell. Police said they were "armed and dangerous".

    What kind of information was a broad, untargeted "mapping" program going to reveal that targeted surveillance hasn't?

More comments from mattshow >>