Yes, I think the statement that companies should never review their own products is a bit overblown. I have no problem at all with employee's reviewing their company's products so long as the relationship is clearly disclosed.
Here though, it was not disclosed (whether the employees had good reason to not disclose or not is another topic). That is a problem.
I actually think Lessig would make a masterful president. He is brilliant, understands both law and technology, and is energetic and forceful. I have read several of his books and cited him repeatedly in my own academic publishing, I think he is the best candidate currently running.
That is the way things were originally. If certain formalities were not observed, then there was presumptively no copyright protection.
Personally, I think having the initial protection be automatic is actually a good thing. With that said, there is a middle ground of making that initial protection very short and requiring formalities for any longer term.
Lessig discusses both the history and the idea of returning to an opt-in / formalities-required system in his book Free Culture.
As you point out, digital orphans will become a massive problem. I suspect that they will not be a huge problem for purely academic researchers in a university settings. Academic research is often one of the quintessential examples of what is meant to be protected by fair use and their universities may be able to both advise them on the nuances and offer some protection in the event of a problem.
However, as this article points out, this will be a major problem for projects that may blur the lines between pure academic research and commercial ventures though. Many documentary videos have already had to change their plans due to copyright questions, for example.
As weird as it may sound, that does happen, especially around airports.
If I may indulge in an anecdote, I was once travelling with a medium sized group on company business. We found it was cheaper to hire a limo that could hold us all than take two taxis. We found this because there were limos there waiting to be hailed and one of the limo drivers approached us to offer his services.
There are certainly some things that benefit from being connected to the internet, but I do not need my refrigerator or most other appliances connected. It adds unnecessary complexity, and things should be kept as simple as possible.
While there are some truly valid defamation cases, it is all too often used to attempt to silence critics and intimidate other potential critics. Anti-SLAPP laws help prevent that kind of abuse, and a federal anti-SLAPP law would be particular useful given the D.C. Circuits recent ruling.
There is a difference between "actual knowledge", "red flag knowledge" (the term for the part you highlighted) for specific files, and being willfully blind to the details.
I wrote a short paper on the topic here but the very short version is that you have to be aware of those facts or circumstances for specific infringing activity. This is very hard. Simply being aware that infringement is enough will not generally trigger that requirement. (Though this is somewhat debatable. I cite to others who believe it should in that paper.)
I vehemently disagree with the suggestion that registration should be required. There are huge amounts of content where registration would at least slow the publication process that ought to be protected by copyright, and that is to say nothing of unpublished works.
With that said, I do agree that either the copyright term should be shortened dramatically or else that registration could be required to get an extended term of copyright after the initial automatic protection wears off.
I understand your objections to the concept, but there have been indications that something like this could reduce crime (including muggings for cell phones and others). This would only work if such kill switches are widespread and common, and that is best achieved by mandating them.
Of course, some of the abuses by both hackers and potentially by authorities (not to mention the phone companies) are true risks. But the answer rather than abandoning the idea is to build in both legal and technological safe guards against its abuse.
How is leaving a 9 year old alone in a park with a cell phone bad parenting?
Obviously, there could be context here not mentioned, but off hand I would call that fine. Most 9 year olds are more than mature enough to handle it, real crimes against children are rare, and in this case the kid had a way to call for help if she got hurt or had trouble. This sounds fine to me and the meddling parents and authorities should probably have stayed out of it unless there were other circumstances that actually made it dangerous.
Reading only this article and not the opinion letters, I fear that those two opinions by the lawyers may not have been completely different. The college feared being sued as much as it feared losing that suit, and fair use is seen as an affirmative defense currently. Even a fair use ruling in your favor can be very expensive to acquire.
It may be a criticism of our current copyright laws and in particulr the strength of fair use that this situation arose, but in the current state of the law the college's fear of being sued is reasonable. We may wish that a college would be prepared to accept that risk on behalf of its students to fight for their free speech, but a smaller college may not have the resources to do that.
In short, we should be reconsidering our current copyright laws rather than blaming this school.
Considering that almost all the music I have purchased in the past few years has been found on Pandora or at least an artist I found because of Pandora, I find it surprising that the labels aren't paying them, much as they often pay radio stations, to play more of certain songs or musicians.
This particular article struck me as a bit melodramatic, yet I agree with all of its core points.
Chief amoung them for me is that graphics are not what make a game great. I do enjoy good graphics, and they are a factor, but only one amoungst many. The gameplay and story are more important. I played Planescape: Torment fairly recently and it was phenomenal despite the graphics being dated.
Unfortunately, you have a point. And it is a point that should be remembered by consumers.
With that said, the PS4 currently looks far superior to the XBox in being more consumer friendly and having better hardware as well.
Given Sony's history, I agree you have a point and we should approach with caution to make sure they stay with it. But for the moment I am happier with their stance than I am with Microsoft's and I have money waiting for PS4 launch day as long as they don't change their policies.
I buy almost all of my games new, but I also generally resale my games afterwards. That ability is a factor in how much I am willing to pay for a game, especially one that I am unsure of. Especially for a game I am not certain I will enjoy, it is a major factor to know that I can resell it to recover at least some of that money to buy the next game.
And that is before we get to the fact that them declaring by fiat that I cannot resell really annoys me and I would be more inclined to look at other options with fewer restrictions.