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  • Feb 21st, 2017 @ 3:59pm

    "Made short work"

    Judge Gilbert also made short work of [defense] argument that Megaupload was a neutral intermediary, and thus deserving of safe harbours, which limit an internet service's liability.

    [citation needed]

    It was established early on that Megaupload was responsive to takedown notices and cooperated with law enforcement, which more than fulfills what is required for safe harbor provisions of the DMCA.

    So Gilbert would have to make a spectacular point in order to suddenly disqualify Megaupload and Dotcom from those safe harbor provisions, say, to provide a clear and convincing evidence that Megaupload was unresponsive to takedowns.

    To Megaupload's credit, perhaps it was too cooperative with law enforcement considering that some of the files he was supposed to take down but didn't, he left in place at the request of law enforcement. And this behavior would later be used against him in these court proceedings.

    Regardless, there's also strong indicators of bad faith by US law enforcement so yeah, Gilbert could disagree, or adjudicate against Dotcom based on spurious logic or whimsical opinion, but to make short work of DMCA safe harbor protections would actually require a logical miracle.

  • Feb 21st, 2017 @ 3:44pm


    This is what got me when I first read about the story (in WaPo), that Copyright Infringement didn't apply but Conspiracy did.

    Conspiracy? Conspiracy to...???

  • Feb 21st, 2017 @ 3:31pm

    Ninety Five Percent

    95 percent of forfeitures involve people who have done nothing in their lives but sell dope.

    This must me the kind of House Alternative Fact much like John Kyl's well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does [is provide abortions]

    We need some kind of punitive system for bad facts and statistics used on the House floor to support positions.

    Some kind of kick-to-the-nads or take-a-bite-of-shit-sandwich penalty.

  • Feb 21st, 2017 @ 2:04pm

    It's better to not presume.

    Trump jokingly suggested he'd ruin the careers of politicians mounting reform efforts.

    Seriously, Trump wasn't joking.

    Not at all.

  • Feb 19th, 2017 @ 1:22am

    Re: Re: Re:

    That exact scenario seems to have happened more than once.

    The guy who was in prison for contempt for 14 years seemed to not know how to break it.

  • Feb 17th, 2017 @ 7:56pm

    A nation of child porn

    How is it that any crime, no matter how odious or heinous, would be such that it alters the rights of a suspect including his right to due process?

    I think this exemplifies this attitude we have that justice is served when a suspect is convicted, even by a plea deal, and even when he was denied a fair defense (by defunding our public defenders and stripping him of his assets -- both are common policies) and yet when suspect is acquitted, it is commonly assumed that he escaped justice on a technicality. Not that the court proved he was innocent, but that the court failed to administer justice.

    And we will often try multiple suspects for the same crime, and if both are found guilty, both serve time.

    This isn't justice. Justice is supposed to be impartial, and the failure of the legal system to remain impartial because it's a hot-button crime like child porn or terrorism is an indictment of the system.

    In the 80s intra-office character assassinations were easy, since a middle manager or low executive accused by rumor-mill of sodomy or child sexual abuse would get quickly discharged. (Heh.) This is the same thing, but with a state-sanctioned legal system behind it.

  • Feb 17th, 2017 @ 7:43pm

    I wonder what happens with a trapped strongbox.

    We don't think much about safes because there's a lot of good technology to cut through them. Some are trapped to lock down when drilling is detected, but who cares when you have a thermal lance handy.

    But what if the alleged incriminating evidence is fragile (say, paper) and the safe is designed so that if an drill pierces the detection barrier (or some other intrusion countermeasure is triggered) it bathes its contents in acid or fire, say, activating a big ol' blob of Thermite.

    Is this the same situation as the data block?

    The San Bernadino iPhone?

  • Feb 17th, 2017 @ 7:35pm

    The Fifth Amendment needs to be expanded and clarified.

    It should not be legal for the state to compel any action to force a suspect to incriminate himself.

    So long as we have this work-around the state will merely phrase their inquiries so that they are not subject to the Fifth Amendment exemption.

    This won't stop fingerprints. At the time Apple released fingerprint scanning on their phones, we already a means to take a visual fingerprint and render a working artificial finger. (Using atypical fingers at atypical angles may still work as a hack, though.)

    It is curious how law enforcement are not penalized for having turned off their body-cams, yet a suspect who permalocks a phone by trying too many times to unlock it will still be presumed guilty of intentional obstruction and contempt. Whether or not you are given benefit of doubt depends on whether or not you are a member of the gang.

    So long as the enforcement and interpretation of law is inconsistent we will never have justice in the United States.

  • Feb 15th, 2017 @ 8:06pm

    Law doesn't apply to nobility.

    That was one of the whole points of this country, and was also made a point of post-revolution France. As per the Napoleonic Code the law applies to everyone.

    Any form of selective enforcement, including prosecutorial discretion is a failure of justice, and therefore a failure of state.

    And this is the outcome. People who believe the law doesn't apply to them behave as though it is true. Even to the point of atrocity.

  • Feb 15th, 2017 @ 3:01pm

    The solution to this...

    Won't be a solution either. Without accountability our officials are inevitability tempted to corruption.

  • Feb 15th, 2017 @ 2:58pm

    truthfulness as a strategy

    It is possible to have brutal honesty as a strategy, if your own failings are quotidian and relatable. It's a good one since the public learns to believe you.

    The problem is when you're actually engaged in criminal activity (insider trading, say), or have a habit that your party won't forgive. (Commonly, lechery or sexual perversion.)

  • Feb 9th, 2017 @ 1:14am

    And yet...

    While we don't say every imprisoned convict is guilty we certainly presume it when we're not thinking about it.

    Moreover, when suspects are convicted, it's presumed they were convicted fairly, yet when they are acquitted they escape justice.

    And this narrative runs through all of our fiction, where the bad guy is obviously bad long before the arrest...

    Except in Agatha Christie stories, in which everyone is just a little bit evil.

  • Feb 8th, 2017 @ 3:47pm

    "people who break the law"

    Remember that our justice system has a 90% conviction rate even before we get to plea bargains.

    That's because we give our grossly overworked public defenders very little budget, so they really don't have time or manpower to build a case.

    Then we seize the assets of suspects to prevent them from affording a defense. We often do so before they are suspects, on the pretense that the money is criminal.

    (And Trump just encouraged county sheriffs in a recent meeting to seize more assets because it's all drug money.)

    Then we favor our law enforcement so much (even when they perjur the court) that we favor officer testimony over video to the contrary.

    (And I'm not even going to address our shitty overreaching laws, such as our drug possession laws with mandatory minimums and the CFAA and Espionage Acts, all of which are subject to prosecutorial discretion)

    So we can pretty safely argue that a significant portion of our prison population -- what remains the highest incarceration rate in the world -- is innocent of the charges with which they were convicted.

    Which makes them political prisoners.

    If we were a humane country, we'd recognize that imprisonment is containment, pending reform, not punishment. Indeed, convicts typically leave the prison system less capable of reintegrating into society than as the convicts they were when they entered.

    Our prison system is way fucked up, and any mistreatment of its inhabitants is sheer abuse, often of falsely-convicted innocent civilians.

  • Feb 8th, 2017 @ 3:30pm



    There are nice Muslims and jerk feminists, and sometimes the Islamic State terrorists have a point.

    I'm pretty sure we're all baby-eaters and cannibals, yet we can generally agree we don't want a holocaust, whether nuclear, ecological or social cleansing. Even if it's in someone else's backyard.

  • Feb 7th, 2017 @ 7:30am


    Way to reduce human beings to a legal exploit.

    Are you a three fifths of all other persons sort of fellow?

  • Feb 7th, 2017 @ 7:25am

    "San Francisco is the most looney left"

    Oh, do elaborate! You can't really just toss a comment like that out there without being specific. Or were you just duckspeaking?

  • Feb 6th, 2017 @ 3:23pm

    ugh. Dangling participles.

    In the case of Miami, FL undocumented inhabitants make up about 11% of the city's economy, which documented immigrants would certainly feel, if all those undocumented people were all rounded up and deported.

    I'm sure I could rewrite this to be clearer still, but I'm lazy.

  • Feb 6th, 2017 @ 3:21pm


    In the case of Miami, FL undocumented inhabitants make up about 11% of the city's economy, which documented immigrants would certainly feel, if they were all rounded up and deported.

    And that's before regarding that some legal Americans and legal non-American immigrants are related to undocumented immigrants, and breaking up families is very messy.

    There are good reasons that most major cities are sanctuary cities, and some of them are obvious enough to regard Trump's contempt for them as direct aggression on urban America.

    You might want to read up a bit on why the law's the law doesn't work very well when (as Madison put it) the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood.

  • Feb 6th, 2017 @ 3:09pm

    "those who violated our laws"

    You understand that you likely violate more US and state laws than undocumented immigrants do, yes? That by implying they are illegal you are being completely, if unwittingly, hypocritical.

    They may get deported for being here without proper documentation (what is not required of those of us who appear to belong) But if some of the laws you've broken were enforced, you'd be in prison for twenty-five years plus. More likely they'll let you plead to five.

    Remember that prosecutory discretion is still a thing, that our attorneys general choose what laws to enforce, and when to enforce them. And it is only by their grace that you (and the rest of us) remain free. If one of them doesn't like you (say if you're the wrong color), then it's off to Sing Sing for you.

    So do be careful when invoking law for law's sake.

  • Feb 6th, 2017 @ 2:56pm

    Cheering one asshole when they hate on another...

    Techdirt policy as much as I've observed it has been to cheer on assholes when they do something commendable and censure them when they do something despicable.

    Just because people behave poorly sometimes, enough to be regarded as a jerk even, doesn't mean they don't do some things right from time to time.

    Things are not only shades of gray, but grays evident are merely other shades of gray dithered together.

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