The democratic political system (not just in the US, but all over the world) is a shadow of what it should be.
The theory is that politicians are voted in by the people, and represent those same people. They do what is right for their constituents, and will get voted out if they do not.
The reality is that far too many politicians care only for their own political careers. They do whatever is needed to get into (or stay in) office, even if that means selling out. They listen to big companies and lobby groups, because those groups make a lot of "campaign contributions". They don't listen to regular people, unless there's enough of a movement to threaten their election chances.
It's selfish people in what should be a selfless role.
It's great to see politicians like Wyden out there, because at least he and his kind seem to remember that they represent the people. If only they were the majority, not a minority.
This was a study done for the IFPI, not for Apple. The only thing that Apple have to do with this is that they provided digital sales data from iTunes. What was done with that data was up to the IFPI.
And as for the iPhone-bashing... I'm getting sick of it. I hate Apple as much as anyone, and think that too many people buy the iPhone because of the brand (and not on features or price), but I'm getting sick of the iPhone hatred all across the Internet. If Apple hadn't brought out the iPhone, the smartphone market would be years behind where it is now.
There seems to be far too much confusion over what this law actually has effect over. The law targets PERSONAL information, i.e. information which can be linked back to you as an individual. It won't have any effect on information that is effectively anonymous.
This means that Techdirt doesn't have to do much if an EU citizen wants their personal information removed. In this case the personal information is limited to their name and email address. All it would take is a simple database search on that person's email, and to replace the name and email with suitable anonymous values. That makes the commenter nothing more than an Anonymous Coward.
The main intent of the law is for firms that hold large quantities of personal (and potentially sensitive) information on an individual. Marketing companies, for example, would have to remove any identifying data on that person. They would not, however, need to remove that data from any anonymous aggregates that they use for statistical purposes.
"The AC brought up.
Google is not elected, Governments are.
Your response to this?"
If you don't like what Google have done, you can quickly and easily start using another search engine. There's nothing to stop you.
If you don't like a censorship order from a foreign government, there's absolutely nothing you can do. A search engine has little choice but to comply, otherwise they may be blocked completely, may face hefty fines, or their directors may face other legal complications (especially if they try to enter the country that made the order).
If you don't like a censorship order from your own government, you can write to your representative and complain. You also get the chance to try and vote the ruling party out in the next election. All you have to do is hope that the next government isn't just more of the same as the current one.
The technologies in use today are often more than 20 years old. They existed back in the days when the Internet was used mostly by academics and research facilities. They continue to be used because, aside from the flaws, they still work fairly well.
Now that we're seeing more and more parties trying to abuse these technologies, the engineers are trying to come up with a more robust solution. This takes a lot of time, because you need to try and think of all the ways that malicious parties may try to break the proposed technologies. Any new system that is decided on also takes a lot of time to roll out, as there are billions of internet-connected devices that may be affected.
The engineers know the system is broken, and are trying to fix it. Idiotic laws like PIPA/SOPA will stop those efforts dead in their tracks, by legislatively introducing the sorts of failures that the new systems are trying to prevent.
Kitchen knife manufacturers produce tools that are designed to be used by the general public, and which have clear and intended legal purposes. However, some people choose to use the tool for something other than its intended purpose, and may cause (physical) harm to others.
Many of the tools used for online piracy are designed for use by the general public, and have clear and intended legal purposes. However, some people choose to use the tools for something other than their intended purposed, and this may cause (financial) harm to others.
What's the difference here? In both cases you have tools with significant non-infringing uses, which are abused by some for purposes other than what was intended. In both cases the misuse can cause harm to others. Yet you say that all possible measures must be taken to stop one misuse, whereas the other can go unregulated?
So you would advocate manual review of all user-posted content on all websites, worldwide? Do you have any idea of how financially crippling that will be to web sites?
Let's take YouTube, one of the biggest sites. They have (on average) roughly 48 hours (172800 seconds) of video uploaded to them every second of every day. Let's assume that they have to review between 1/2 and 2/3 of that in order to pick out infringing content; that's 100000 seconds worth of video to be reviewed, every second.
In order to review all of that content with minimal delays, they would need 100000 reviewers working at any one time. If those reviewers were being paid a mere $1 per hour, it would still cost YouTube $876 million a year in review costs ($100000/hr x 24 hrs/day x 365 days/year).
The real costs to YouTube would be a lot more than this. For starters, competent reviewers would most likely cost a lot more that $1 per hour. There would be small delays between watching each video, meaning that more reviewers would be needed. There are also management costs, the costs of implementing the review system, etc. The true costs are more likely to be upwards of $5 billion a year.
And that's just YouTube. I'm not even thinking about sites like Facebook, MySpace, Vimeo, web forums, etc. The total cost to the tech industry would be hundreds of billions of dollars a year, and that's just to keep the legitimate sites running. Piracy might drop slightly, but illegitimate sites would still continue to run in dark corners of the web, and would still drive the vast majority of the world's piracy.
SOPA is not going to stop piracy. It's barely going to make a dent. And yet it will cost legitimate web sites billions of dollars a year, just so they can avoid being blocked or having their revenue streams cut off. This is why SOPA should be stopped dead in its tracks.
YouTube does not choose the content - the users who upload it do. No human at YouTube has any knowledge of the content of the video that was uploaded. Any processing that happens to it is fully automated, and requires no manual intervention.
*THIS* is the reason why YouTube qualifies for safe harbor. They have no knowledge that the uploaded material is infringing. As long as they remove anything that's pointed out to them, they're safe.
It doesn't matter how much automated processing YouTube does on the video, how they present the uploaded video, whether advertising was inserted by any means... The ONLY important thing is that nobody at YouTube knew that the video had infringing content.
And you can't just say "YouTube should be able to automatically identify infringing content and stop it being shown." The human brain is incredibly good at pattern matching, a million miles beyond what any computer program can do at present. In other words, there is no 100% effective way to detect infringing content. Even 20% accuracy is pushing the envelope with current technology.
Anonymous Coward: It is currently impossible for any site to prevent its users from uploading infringing content without having a human review *everything* that is uploaded. This requires hiring enough staff to review all of the content, which increases the costs to the business. Small start-ups may not be able to afford the additional costs, killing innovation. Existing companies would have to curtail user uploads if they could not afford to hire enough people to review everything at a reasonable pace, again killing innovation.
Think of YouTube for a bit. With 48 hours of video being uploaded every second, they'd need to have roughly 172,800 reviewers active *every second of the day* in order to keep up. Assuming that each person works 8 hours a day, they'd need more than half a million reviewers on payroll. If each reviewer was paid $US10K a year, that would come to more than $US5,000,000,000. That's right: five billion US dollars a year, just paying for reviewers. Is it really fair to lump that cost onto YouTube?
As a New Zealander, I'm glad that there will be some review and public consultation before the treaty is ratified. This at least gives us a chance to tell the government why this "trade agreement" is simply a money-grab by the big multi-nationals.
Who am I kidding? Our government has a history of ignoring what the people say. I don't expect this to be any different.
I'd say that this is the most likely reason. The anti-spam filter is probably checking the IP address of linked sites, and spam-binning emails that point to known spam sites.
OccupyWallSt.org doesn't have an A record (IP address), AAAA record (IPv6 adress) or CNAME record (pointer to a different site name). The correct web site address is www.OccupyWallSt.org, which has a valid A record.
Given that there was no valid way to resolve OccupyWallSt.org (without the "www."), the spam filter probably decided that this was a spam site that's since been taken down, and treated it as such.
Note that this doesn't need any human intervention, just an incorrect assumption on the part of the programmers of the spam filter.
Where does Mike talk about companies dissolving and moving overseas? He doesn't.
Mike addressed who was affected by PROTECT IP:
* Non-US companies may be affected, because their domains will effectively become invisible to US citizens.
* US companies may be affected, notably those that run DNS servers. Implementing PROTECT IP will require updates to DNS software/hardware, and there will be other ongoing costs of compliance.
Never mind that all of these measures can be worked around by simply using a different DNS server. (PROTECT IP works in the same way as unlisting a number from the phone book. If you can't turn a name into a number, you can't make the call. The workaround is like using a 3rd party phone book, one which still has the number listed.) So in other words, PROTECT IP will cost a lot, but won't do anything to protect intellectual property.
Not all of Motorola's patents will be software. Anything that deals with controlling the underlying phone hardware will most likely still be valid.
It'll be interesting to see how this ruling affects things. The "do XYZ, but with a computer" patents and their kind are obvious sitting ducks, but what about patents that relate to user interfaces? Or simple storage of data?
(As a developer, I'd like to see all software patents go. After all, code is simply a bunch of mathematical algorithms, and they aren't patentable.)
Once upon a time, the USPTO had enough competent staff that it was safe to assume all issued patents are valid. However, with the number of patentable areas growing (e.g. software, business models) and the number of applications increasing like crazy, more and more questionable (or downright invalid) patents are being issued.
Just look at the study that found 30% of patents covered by other older patents. That 30% are clearly invalid (in whole, our at least in part), yet they were still issued by the supposedly infallible USPTO.
I don't mind the presumption of validity, as long as that presumption is grounded in reality. That's clearly no longer the case.
When will companies realise that "security through obscurity" just doesn't work. As soon as anyone finds a hole, that security is gone. Even if the finder is gagged, the fact that there is a hole will lead others to find it.
Instead of bringing lawsuits, the transporation companies should be spending that money to find a real fix for the problem. One that will stand up to public scrutiny.
"Nokia has lost in the court of technology. They didn't see the smartphone coming, and are now way behind."
What are you talking about? Nokia had smartphones on the market several years before Apple even thought about the iPhone. They all run Symbian, which still holds the highest market share of any smartphone OS.
The only thing you can credit Apple for is making smartphones consumer-friendly. They took what was largely existing technology and slapped a nice coat of paint on top of it. They then spent a fortune on marketing and making the device "cool", and now it has a mass following.
Sure, the iPhone is a great device. It does what most people want, in a way that's easy to learn. But from a technology standpoint it's well behind the curve, and Apple's policy on what apps they allow on the store is arbitrary at best. You're pretty much locked in to doing what Apple want, in the way they want you to do it. I just can't stand that.
I'm surprised that nobody has pointed out yet that there are separate figures for PS3 and standalone Blu-ray players. If you look at the combined figures, market penetration of Blu-ray has gone up from ~9% to ~16%. Considering the price of Blu-ray hardware and the current economic market, this isn't too bad.
And while streaming HD video may be the future, it's very much the distant future. For this to work, high speed (20Mbps+) internet connections will need to be the norm, and backbones will need enough bandwidth to serve all of the different video streams. It will be several years before the US and western Europe get to this point, and until then physical media will still be an absolute necessity.