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  • Aug 13th, 2014 @ 4:01pm


    This certainly brings to mind (and is somewhat inferred from the post) the inevitable escalation. Drone flyovers forbidden. OK.

    If the police are able to record comings and goings of everyone everywhere with innocuous metadata captured with a camera, then why can't citizens do the same. It is not for lack of camera equipment, nor for lack of network connectivity, nor for lack of technical knowledge. The only reason that immediately comes to mind is lack of initiative.

    There may already be activities going on in this area that I somehow missed, but it seems like a really big citizen data repo enabling a bit of observation of "the watchers" could be useful for a lot of stuff.

  • Aug 7th, 2014 @ 7:06am

    In part, psychological warfare

    There is a nefarious dynamic at work here, which is undoubtedly too subtle for the parties involved to easily pick up on in the heat of battle. By putting legal pressure on companies who know that what they are doing is quite OK, the easy way out for the target is to say "it's illegal, so we're doing everything we can to stop it". It puts the target into a much more defensible legal position, and it also does something to quell the public who often says "ah, it's not their fault, it's just illegal". Let's call this "good marketing" for the sake of argument.

    Rather than actually calling it what it is, and educating people about the subtle legal issues, the safe route is to claim that the response is a necessary and valid thing.

    An example of the problem at work, from the first time I came across something like this and it really bothered me, is from Sprint. I got a Samsung phone on which they had disabled a trivial Android setting - shutter sound. After spending a bit of time scratching my head about why I could not even find the setting, I went searching the forums and FAQs for the answer. What I found shocked me. They turned off the ability to set "none" as the shutter sound on the camera because they stated that they were legally required to do so. By whom, I do not know. The official answer was short on specifics. My understanding (at the time, and probably still true) is that there is no legal requirement for an electronic camera manufacturer to simulate an analog camera shutter to warn people that their picture is being taken, but that is flat out what Sprint claimed they were bound by. I rooted my phone and fixed the problem. Most people won't.

    My take on this is that a company that simplifies a legal question in this way, to make it easily understandable as a binary right/wrong issue, plays directly into the hand of their opponent.

  • Aug 5th, 2014 @ 11:51am

    Re: Black Market

    Agreed, there will be a black market.

    Today, I can send a copy of my prescription from a doctor in the US to a Canadian pharmacy and legally get a prescription filled. In that scenario, nobody has broken a single law.

    Tomorrow, I may be able to find someone to illegally fill that same prescription. For many people, these are not the same things.

    It's not "Nah". It's "ok, if you want to do this illegally, there is a way to do it". If "Nah" means I can still get my legally prescribed drugs illegally, well, I guess that will always be the case.

    FWIW, I'm completely in agreement with your argument. There is a price that will settle somewhere between the ridiculous amounts being charged in the US, and the "friction free" CDN prices of today that will reward smugglers. My take on it is that this is not what we (collectively) want.

  • Aug 5th, 2014 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The real fight here is not search listing or discoverability. Mike pointed out the crux of the legitimacy issue, which is foreclosing delivery. As soon as nobody in the US can purchase the product, it won't matter much if you can find them in Google.

  • Aug 5th, 2014 @ 7:20am

    Re: Industry group control of TLD

    This was exactly my reaction, as soon as I started reading the post. It has nothing to do with how many people would naturally use the .pharmacy TLD, and everything to do with establishing control over "legitimacy". The .pharmacy moniker is a crappy TLD. Nobody would ever use it. Unless it was the only way to purchase an entire class of products online. That would seem to be the motivation. Expect rapid progress, given the amount of dollars involved.

  • Feb 25th, 2013 @ 11:38am

    Re: Re: Re: The copyright does belong to NASCAR, but it was fair use.

    Thanks for the correction. Seems like a silly mistake in retrospect. I also am not an expert.

    I really wish the topic of IP law was either much simpler, or much less necessary. If it is going to be necessary for everyone to understand this kind of stuff in depth just to carry out normal, everyday life, what hope do most people have of staying on the right side of the law?

    I spend way too much time digging into this stuff and trying to understand it already, and still there are surprises and logical pretzels everywhere you look.


  • Feb 25th, 2013 @ 7:38am

    Re: The copyright does belong to NASCAR, but it was fair use.

    Awesome explanation - thanks for laying the situation out clearly. Sounds to me like NASCAR didn't do anything particularly wrong (legally), but they did do something particularly dumb (Streisandly).

  • Feb 25th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    Fine Print

    I thought the takedown request was initially being justified by the assignment of copyright on the ticket. I haven't seen the text, but by walking in the gate you assign all copyright in any video you take to NASCAR. Sort of like a EULA for taking your rights away in the physical world.

  • Feb 13th, 2013 @ 7:42am

    Dislike - voting systems with dislike buttons

    It's interesting seeing the "no" votes on some of these things. I submitted a question about the CFAA, and there are almost as many thumbs down as thumbs up. I suppose there are some self-appointed fans of the DOJ who are policing these questions?

    The way this thing is set up, that may be a good strategy. If a question is hit early with negative votes it seems to keep it from being very visible. I suppose that could work in reverse too, so I guess I'll spend some time hunting down some infant questions I disagree with and trying to kill them (or at least wound them severely).

  • Dec 11th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Seems exactly backwards

    If you are investigating an assassination, wouldn't "political leaders and dignitaries" be pretty high on the list of people to look at? Maybe if the request was just for all of the data from "political leaders and dignitaries" it would make a lot more sense.

  • Nov 15th, 2012 @ 4:38pm


    If you happen to talk to the lawyer, see if you can get him to explain who wrote the second paragraph of that letter. Looks like it was a Nigerian scam author. Do they not teach grammar in law school?

  • Nov 7th, 2012 @ 10:35am

    Re: Voted Against Lamar

    Another factor contributing to Lamar's win may also come from redistricting. Mr. Smith has been my non-representative representative for as long as I've lived in Travis county. I didn't get a chance to vote against him this go-around, which makes me wonder if some of the creative map scribbles were an attempt to get him away from some of the tech heavy areas around Austin.

  • Nov 1st, 2012 @ 8:07am

    It is not the quantity, it is the quality

    You MAY have a lot of movies being made, but some of them are bad.

    We certainly know, for a fact, that the MPAA (and Hollywood generally) has no tolerance for the production of bad movies, which proves the point nicely.

    I think they win this one.

  • Oct 16th, 2012 @ 11:30am

    Little Leaguer hits pop fly - film at 11

    That techcrunch prediction won't fit nicely on any list in a few decades. The difference is that all of those memorable quotes from important people mattered. The techcrunch thing is just some irrelevant idiot showing his lack of imagination on the internet. Hardly unique. And, yes, I see the irony of making that statement.

    I don't know the score from last night's NFL football game, but I am quite sure that it will be remembered more widely and for far longer than the journalistic gem that you linked to here.

  • Oct 5th, 2012 @ 12:56pm

    First to flail

    I'm really becoming concerned about how the recent fundamental shift in our patent system plays into nonsense such as this. It seems obvious that in the world that existed up until our "reform", this type of situation is troubling but solvable.

    Now, with the first to file system being the law of the land, it seems to matter a lot less that someone did this fairly trivial implementation at the dawn of the internet.

    The clever, enterprising version of the patent troll species [cf. capitagium-ereptor] seems to have a golden opportunity now, where they can become the patent holder for lots of stuff that was just so obvious that nobody ever filed for it. It saddens me that there used to be a reasonable defense for that (a.k.a. prior art) and now, I fear, you may just be out of luck.

    I could be misunderstanding something important about the way the new version of the law works, in which case someone please set that straight, but it feels a bit ominous when pondering what will likely happen in the near future. I fear that when the trolls realize the potential of this game changing law, they will go on a more aggressive land grab. If the prior art argument becomes a moot point, then it seems like these guys will only be limited by their imagination in terms of what they can encumber and monetize.

  • Feb 8th, 2012 @ 11:43am


    This is so obviously true. Now that Google and Reddit have lost their standing in the community and also lost my trust by standing up for my rights, I have no other option than to simply trust the RIAA instead. Thanks anon coward!

  • Feb 8th, 2012 @ 6:55am

    Re: Yes, it was Google-- and the people Google pays....

    I was struggling for a minute there trying to figure out where the idea of "Big Search" came from. I guess it is simply intended to be a derogatory slam on the market position of Google. It's either that, or it might be because you are just a small independent search artist trying to make it big and having problems because "the man" won't let you shine.

    Certainly, the Google has its advantages, having provided a useful product to people (unfairly FREE I might add) which enables their astroturfing campaigns to run rampant across the web.

    All is not lost, however, and as an independent search artist you should take heart. As soon as we pass some really onerous laws that prevent most people from being able to have any concept of privacy of their own living rooms, you will be suddenly (and somewhat magically) enabled to do just exactly the same thing that you are doing now. By that, I mean that you will be able to blame other people for your own failures, but with the smug confidence of knowing that you have completely destroyed their ability to do anything productive to advance the art beyond what it is today. It will not advance your interests one iota, nor bring any value to anybody, but the legislation does bring with it the supreme confidence of knowing that you were "right" and those that were wrong now can't do anything useful for anybody.

    Since I'm also a constituent of Rep. Lamar Smith, I'll be sure to put in a good word for you when it comes time to divide up the spoils. I'm sure we can figure out some way to fine "Big Search" for more than a couple of billion dollars for their predatory practice of giving away a service of real value at the expense of those who have worked so hard to create and lock these things up.

    Buck up, young search provider. They may have won this battle, but they can't possibly win the war. Unless they do, of course, in which case you may want to consider a new line of work.

  • Jan 19th, 2012 @ 6:40am

    Re: Re: A matter of priorities

    I would say it's less of an issue of underestimating Jon Stewart's skills and more a question of why is that not what our legislator's careers rest on too?.

  • Jan 19th, 2012 @ 4:54am

    A matter of priorities

    I find it ironic (and also quite sad) that a comedian can figure out the core issue within two days and that congress has been working on this for two years and still hasn't gotten the point.

  • Jan 15th, 2012 @ 4:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Hey, it is almost like a discussion now

    ACTA is a dirty acronym (it's not a word) because it was a secretive process negotiated behind closed doors. It was duplicitous in its drafting and now every trick in the book will be used to ram it through the various legislatures that need to sign off on it. Well, not ours of course, because the ultimate slimy trick is to just bypass the legislature entirely. It's an international treaty (oh, except not in the U.S. it's not).

    I honestly could not care less about harmonization with Europe as justification for bad law. Since when do we take our orders from them? Saying that "they made us do it" rings a bit hollow, especially given the current state of play on who is driving what in the global war on common sense that is the "IP harmonization" effort.

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