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  • Apr 30th, 2013 @ 4:21pm

    Minor tweak...

    I like all of these options on some level, but the second one is an issue: Require Actual Reduction to Practice and Commercialization

    When you file for a patent in the first place, you're doing so BEFORE production begins. This is almost a universal truth, since after production has already started, if you have not yet patented your own product, someone else will do so immediately and then sue you - another sort of troll. We'll call them Ice Trolls. (What can I say? I play a lot of Skyrim!)

    So perhaps this would suffice:

    Either require production, or else, if none can be shown within 2 years, a single motion can be filed and all the money ordered returned, with interest.

    This allows genuine, valid patents to still prevent infringement while their product is finishing development but gives defendants a fair remedy against trolls who are no more likely to begin production in 2 years than they were when they filed the suit.

    Other than this though, I love all these suggestions.

    Surprised to see this from B&N. Happy, but surprised.

  • Apr 30th, 2013 @ 3:54pm

    It's all fine and dandy until...

    ...until they catch a senator and his mistress eating a fancy supper (or worse) and the wife finds out. When that happens, one of two reactions will follow:

    1) Congress will suddenly change its mind and this constant surveilence will be declared officially bad.

    2) Congress will approve the next no-bid contract from the same company with no debate and we eventually end up with a corporate police state rather than the government police state we have now.

    Sadly we have to hope for the former because it's the lesser of two evils for all of us.

    Well, except the 100 senators who have all the real power.

    This is the problem with a representative republic: only the representatives have any actual power.

  • Apr 1st, 2013 @ 5:42pm

    Sucks for her staff

    Keep in mind, this MAY help her avoid any sort of liability for reading (or neglecting to read) emails. But it doesn't help the staff she delegates these things to. In other words, this doesn't really remove the blame for a potential failure. It merely shifts it to the hired help.

    If I was working for her I'd quit over something like this on as good terms as possible. The alternative is that, sooner or later, something will hit the fan and THEY will be the ones fired in disgrace, not the Luddite boss. At least if her staff quits now they might get a good recommendation out of it.

  • Apr 1st, 2013 @ 5:20pm


    It depends on the specific position, but some judges - including the magistrate judges that often hear administrative law hearings (including trademark, though not copyright) - don't even have to be lawyers. Neither do probate judges. One county in my state (Alabama) has a cotton farmer as probate judge. Not even kidding.

    It's hilarious the kind of rulings you regarding people's estates from down there, heh.

  • Apr 1st, 2013 @ 5:15pm


    As noted, willful infringement only requires an allegation, not proof. The only way to defeat the "willful" clause is to defeat the infringement part.

    However, since MERE USE OF BITTORRENT is not infringement, that should've been easy here. The problem is that, without Glover bothering to answer the lawsuit (Remember, complaints cost money, but ANSWERS ARE FREE!), we have no counter-proof that what he used bittorrent FOR wasn't infringing. Was it? Probably not, but without an Answer filed, the Judge is legally bound to assume everything in the complaint is fact.

    The real issue here is that Glover didn't respond at all. That's the problem. Accordingly, there's nothing as a matter of law or procedure wrong with this judgment, unless Glover wasn't properly served. As long as service was perfected, this is all, sadly, totally legit and the way the legal system is supposed to work.

    Hopefully we will find out he was served at the wrong address or not at all, etc. A LOT of these trolling operations will pay a "process server" (not a REAL process server, but someone who claims to be one) to just sit around and sign affidavits all day claiming they couldn't serve the guy. Then, they run an ad in the local newspaper with the narrowest circulation (service by publication) and, when the defendant doesn't somehow hear about the ad in 30 days, boom, default judgment granted.

    It's sneaky, and if the process server didn't make a good faith effort, it's illegal. But if he did, or if they tried certified mail and it was rejected, it's totally legit.

  • Apr 1st, 2013 @ 5:02pm


    This is not entirely true.

    A judge, even at the district court level, can hold a lawyer in contempt - i.e. put them in a holding cell in the local jail - the exact same way they can with a defendant. The trick is, they must bring them back for hearing every 72 hours. But they can, if they're willing to have a rehearing every 72 hours, keep them there indefinitely.

    My boss was a district court judge for almost 2 years. One time, a deadbeat bought a car, made the down payment with a worthless check, then failed to make 11 months of payments before the car dealer finally sued him. When brought in for a hearing on the matter, the man said, and I quote "I have the money. I just don't see why I should pay them."

    After over a dozen hearings and almost 2 months in jail, he finally decided to pay them. She brought the man up for hearing every 3 days until he finally changed his mind. It was a lot of work on her part, but she was rather offended at his total lack of any intent to pay his bill, so she made the effort to force him to do it.

    So yes, if a lawyer (or defendant) refuses to follow a judge's orders, through the magic of every-3-day-hearings, they CAN (but rarely do) hold them there literally forever. The question is this: Will Prenda Law piss them off badly enough to tempt Judge Wright into doing something this drastic.

    Knowing Prenda, I'd bet the guys in the tank will be getting some company.

  • Feb 26th, 2013 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You missed the "in some ways".

    Congrats man!

    Totally off topic but idc.

  • Feb 26th, 2013 @ 6:46pm

    Re: The Shoes Peddler Parable

    Addendum to this story: everyone in Africa who can afford shoes now has them, and those who can't now want them.

    Moral: Either sell the masses shoes at a reasonable price, or they'll go steal them. Simply "going barefoot" isn't an option, and if you won't sell them conveniently and reasonably priced, they'll get their damned shoes however they can.

  • Jan 30th, 2013 @ 12:37pm

    So glad I'm not in NZ

    Seeing as how apparently using uTorrent - even for legal traffic - is illegal now, I'm really glad I'm not in NZ.

    Why, just this week I tried downloading Ubuntu 12.04, then realized about 20% through that I should be downloading the 64-bit ISO instead. So, I cancelled the 32-bit torrent, and downloaded the 64-bit one. After a lot of trial and error (more error than trial, really) I settled on CrunchBang (this is for a server I ended up removing the GUI from anyway, but the install process for standard Debian is a freaking nightmare) and torrent-ed that.

    So nevermind that I'm using a perfectly legal program to download free, open source software. Had I been in NZ, not only would they find me guilty of 2 counts - I'd be guilty of a third count of this nonsense due to the TOTALLY UNUSABLE 20% DOWNNLOAD of 32-bit Ubuntu I didn't even freaking finish.

  • Dec 18th, 2012 @ 3:35pm

    What has this gotten us?

    I know a lot of people, when defending the TSA, like to make the point that we haven't been hit domestically since 9/11 so "it must be working" but here's a better question: How many terrorists has the TSA stopped in the past 11 years?

    The TSA has the 4th largest budget in the entire federal government (it's part of DHS, which is actually second, but if you break down exactly how much of DHS's budget is TSA, it's 4th) and has cost the constantly-failing airline industry equally as much as it has cost taxpayers directly. Over the past 11 years, there has been 1 new TSA job for every 4 jobs lost by the airlines, so it's a net job loss too. Add to all this insult the probably millions of people who are dying of cancer as we speak from the damn body scanners, and the true "cost" of the TSA is incredibly high.

    So what has this all bought us? Has the TSA stopped one single terrorist in the past 11 years?

    I know the FBI has stopped a few (and pretended to stop many more) and I know the passengers, not the TSA, stopped that shoe bomber guy. Hell, the flight attendants stopped a guy trying to shoot someone on SouthWest several years ago. Yet, for all this talk of stopping terrorists, has the TSA stopped any at all? Even one?

    Or perhaps the more appropriate question is in order: has it stopped more deaths at the hands of terrorists than it has caused through the body scanners? Has it saved more lives than it has all-but-destroyed through the overly invasive pat-downs and cavity searches? Has it caused more terrorists to miss their would-be flight than it has stopped people from making it to important meetings, holidays, or even people trying to reach dead or dying family members halfway across the country?

    I'm willing to bet the answer is no. In fact, I'm willing to risk flying cross-country on a non-TSA-secured plane the rest of my life to prove it.

    After all, the flight attendant has a better chance of saving me anyway.

  • Nov 12th, 2012 @ 3:37pm

    You want Sources? Here ya go an effort to (try and probably fail to) settle this once and for all, here ya go:

    First thing's first, the entries on the official Forbes 400 list have switched around a little. Basically Christ Walton has fallen from #4 to #6, but this doesn't change the list.

    Now, I have verified that entries 4-10 are correct. I mean, nobody is going to dispute that the Koch Brothers (5 & 6) are Republicans (or at least Tea Party-iers, which all run as Republicans) and considering as how Michael Bloomberg is a sitting Republican mayor at this very moment, we can't debate that either. The Walton family (of Wal-Mart fame) occupies all the remaining seats, and have both overwhelmingly supported republicans in elections, and also in several situations given political speeches on their behalf.

    I haven't checked 11-20 and don't intend to, however I do want to note that, although Bill Gates funnels most of his money into charities that would seem to support the Democrats, most of his donations directly to either candidates or PACs are to Republicans by a margin of almost 2-to-1, so we can assume that he is one of those "Reagan Democrats" that agrees with the Democrats socially but the Republicans on economics, so he's really split.

    In addition, Larry Ellison is also debatable. Whilst he has made scarce few political contributions at all, he has almost singlehandedly funded at least 2 senate races in 2010, both for Republicans. The one of the two that won then authored a bill, literally on his third day in office, WHILE THE PAINT IN HIS OFFICE WAS LITERALLY STILL DRYING, trying to push Oracle hardware in a new database system being used by the Border Patrol. This despite the fact that the existing system at the time was only 2 years old and had complaints from a total of only 2 actual Border Patrol agents, total. Whilst this shows no real political allegiance towards the Republican party, it does show at least that Mr. Ellison has some preference for buying Repiblicans over buying Democrats, heh.

    So yeah, there ya go. Out of the top ten richest people in America, somewhere between 7 to 9 of them are Republicans.

    But really, when you have one party building its entire economic platform on the idea of "trickle-down economics" and the other pushing "trickle-up economics" it's no wonder that the people from whom the money would be trickling down (or not) support the Republican party. It just makes common sense.

  • Nov 12th, 2012 @ 2:27pm

    Re: How will things go for Apple?

    Just wanted to say that 1) All of this is true.

    And 2) I HATE that it is true. Why? Because Samsung sucks.

    Not Android, mind you. Android is freaking awesome. But really, both Acer and ASUS tablets are vastly superior to anything Samsung (or Apple) makes, and not locking down the bootloaders helps that a LOT. On the phone side, HTC is still king. I mean, they're losing market share left and right, but they still make the best phones out there, period. And I know this from experience.

    In early August I got a T-Mobile Sidekick 4. It's made by Samsung, and at the time it was just over 3 months old. Yes, really. My previous phone was a G2, also T-Mobile branded, but produced by HTC. I used the sidekick for 2 weeks, and in those 14 short days, I almost totally bricked the damn thing 7 times, including 3 times JUST REBOOTING IT. Yes, it was such a cheap piece of crap simply rebooting the thing was enough to require that I USB it in and re-flash thee stock firmware. It's THAT bad. And it's not just that device. The dual-core Samsung phone with the 2GB of memory and the "big, beautiful screen" my mother briefly tried before running screaming back to her iPhone wasn't any better. Now I'm back on my 2-and-a-half-year-old HTC G2. It's old, it's slow, but yanno what? It's running ICS, it has a BACKLIT HARDWARE KEYBOARD, and it never, ever crashes. The 2 year newer Samsung can't do ANY of that, much less all of it.

    So yeah. As much as I hate Samsung, I hate Apple much more, so I'm happy to see this. But don't get me wrong - only because, as long as Samsung keeps pushing back, iOS doesn't take over the market, and that's a good thing.

  • Nov 7th, 2012 @ 12:34pm


    This is why, even when I buy legit, boxed games, I go find and install a crack anyway. And I buy quite a few. Right now, I have 24 games installed, and I have boxes for 19 of them sitting on the shelf above my desk right this very moment, all legally bought at full price. The other 5 I've had for less than 2 weeks. Unless something changes, I'll be buying two of them (Borderlands 2 and Dishonored) on Saturday after I get my patcheck, and I'll simply delete the other 3 and never see them again. I call this a self-imposed 14 day trial, and to date I've only ever violated this once (and then a friend bought me Minecraft so that corrected that situation.)

    But back to the point, guess how many of those 19 boxes I bought I've ever opened? Zero. None. Notta. For all 19 of those games, I'm still running the copy I pirated. They have no bugs, no DRM, and no steam (yes I know that's repetitive since steam IS DRM, but many people don't see it that way...) I never have a game magically disappear because some dumbass running a cloud server doesn't THINK I bought it. I never get kicked off multiplayer because I have singleplayer cheats enabled (I'm looking at you, ME3 - and yes, I only have cheats enabled that don't effect multiplayer anyway, i.e. all items in stores, etc.) And yet, I still support games and the companies who make them, with my wallet - I just don't support the asshats they outsource their DRM to.

  • Nov 7th, 2012 @ 12:16pm


    I was trying to come up with some sort of excellent retort or funny aside to post in response to this lunacy, but I think I have developed some sort of strange chemical imbalance wherein, when a story on Techdirt reaches the highest levels of "OMG how fucking dumb can you be?"-ness, I start seeing blood and feeling rage and can't think straight.

    Is this normal? Maybe this only happens with prolonged Techdirt reading? Perhaps I need to lay off it for a while or something? And how did my CD collection end up in shattered pieces on the floor?!

    Oh well, back to The Bay.

  • Oct 30th, 2012 @ 12:58pm


    Stardock has a habbit of breaking ground in a lot of ways, and this probably stems from their origins. They didn't being as a game studio, but rather making desktop customization products - skin engines, icon replaces, etc. They did this because, simply put, the customization that XP offered "built in" was crap, and they sought to improve it. Personally, I only ever used IconPackager (decided I was happy with a normal XP theme) but it was a well-crafted piece of software that did something nothing else did at the time. More to the point, it wasn't rehashing something that someone else had done, nor was it filling an existing niche. It was creating a brand new niche, and it was executing on it very, very well.

    Skip forward to Sins of a Solar Empire, the first big foray they made into games (and the last one I paid much attention to) and they did it again. We have Starcraft, we have Supreme Commander, etc. RTS games set in space are nothing new, nor is the 3-faction standard nor the scroll-in-and-out bit. What Sins did well is, strangely enough, putting space combat IN SPACE. Starcraft? Either on a planet or on a station. SupCom? Again, planetside. Frankly the main feature for me of Sins was to finally play a space-based RTS that was all actually in fucking space. What a concept! Of course, it also didn't hurt that they made the game so easy to mod. Why anyone releases a game with code in place specifically to PREVENT modding is beyond me. I can understand not wanting to ADD modding capability, but Christ, why would you ever, EVER remove it?!

    So anyhow...honestly, I'll probably give this new game a shot. My experience with Stardock has always been good, and to see them admit a mistake is always a plus.

    Also, to comment #3 up there, it wouldn't work. Stardock has their own steam-like platform called Impulse. My bet is that it's probably added to the Impulse account of people who bought the previous game. Impulse is a rather unique variation-on-a-theme of Steam. As far as I know (I don't use either of them, or Origin, or any other DRM-masked-as-an-updater system) the main difference is that Impulse doesn't stop you from playing your games when you're offline. Imagine that!

  • Oct 29th, 2012 @ 9:20am

    Closing at 4...or

    Current time in Ottowa:

    Current time in Kabul:

    So there's a 9.5 hour difference in time here between the surveillance and the most likely source/destination of any potentially useful intel. Now, maybe my math is wrong and perhaps my sense of how terrorists operate is rooted too deeply in TV shows like Homeland, but here's the problem with closing at 4:30PM or 9PM, either one: They're closed when the terrorists are awake.

    So they're spying on their own citizens, fellow Canadians, but they're LITERALLY asleep at the wheel during the hours when any ACTUAL terrorists are likely to pass information through their network. Brilliant! Fucking brilliant!

    I gotta say, as an American this makes me feel better. I mean, at least there's a itsy bitsy teeny tiny chance that the NSA's program MIGHT catch SOME useful intel since, yanno, they're at least fucking awake. Our system may be pure, unaldutured evil, but at least it has a CHANCE of working.

  • Oct 19th, 2012 @ 8:51am

    This isn't all bad

    I still believe that having robots do things for us isn't a bad thing. I WANT robot drivers. Have you SEEN how absolutely AWFUL a HUMAN driver is? Even people who drive 300 laps per day in the exact same circle (NASCAR) frequently have wrecks that kill them! For something so readily predictable, that's disgraceful. A robot would never make such a catastrophic error when the task is doing the exact same thing over and over and over...

    Cars aside, I don't think allowing robots to replace manufacturing jobs is bad either. I want a future like WALL-E minus the pollution. Think about it: aside from the pollution, WALL-E's future is pretty damn Utopian.

    Of course, I also want to eventually be able to upload my mind into a robot chassis and live forever, so if nothing else I want to see advanced AIs because any system capable of running a sufficiently advanced AI should be capable of emulating a human brain with the right modifications.

    Seriously though, this isn't all bad news. Some of this is awesome.

  • Oct 18th, 2012 @ 2:17pm


    I code, but only PHP (I can read C, JAVA, a few others, but can't go beyond a "hello world" without a quick reference close at hand) so my ability to contribute patches is minimal. However, I have contributed 20+ WINE compatibility reports, at least 3 Apache bug reports, and I wrote the manual entry for a utility I used because man kept telling me it wasn't found - then I found out it was just missing from my system and the existing man page was much better.

    So yes, I contribute. And yes, even I hate Unity. I suppose in a way it is living up to its name, though - Unity has a way of unifying everyone in their desire to return to GNOME 2, i.e. what just plain worked, period.

  • Oct 17th, 2012 @ 6:38am

    Well obviously...

    "So it's not a "feature", it's a bug."

    Dude, these are Canadians. Only Americans would try the "feature, not a bug" trick.

    And I say this is an American myself. Eh, nobody's perfect.

  • Oct 12th, 2012 @ 9:20pm

    Blue Screen of Death?

    More like Blue Screen of Thirst.

    Though really, they should just put Linux on these. My motto is "if it's good enough for NASA and a wristwatch, it's good enough for anything." Especially since you can install it on a dishwasher. Not all THAT different from a coke machine, really.

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