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  • Oct 30th, 2019 @ 7:15pm

    (untitled comment)

    In our complicated Trumpian world these simple definitions could be useful:
    Journalist: Someone who tells you what I want you to know.
    Traitor: Someone who tells you what I don't want you to know.
    Whistleblower: Someone who tells me what I want to know.
    Liar: Someone who tells me what I don't want to know.

  • Mar 25th, 2019 @ 9:46pm

    (untitled comment)

    I have a depressing sense that Art 13 will pass. Not because it should, but because the technical calibre of MEPs is woeful. I've already had serious problems with content trolling on a charity site where conference presentations from industry experts going back 25 years were linked. Apparently some old PDF presentations contained licensed images. As webmaster I expect submissions to use licensed images, and these may have been since they came from UN agencies. But in any case the images were not identified in any way as proprietary. The solution is simple - the entire site is now private. The industry is deprived of useful research tools. With Art 13 and 11 I expect a very significant fraction of the WWW will vanish into 'gated communities'. Until sanity prevails, it's a massive Lose Lose.

  • Jan 31st, 2019 @ 8:00pm

    Re: Let's be real

    The entire argument about author's revenue is total hokum. I don't buy books because of the cover art, I buy them because I'm familiar with the author. And the initial contact in the great majority of cases happens at the local library. I spend $hundreds/year on books in a variety of formats simply because I like the author based on a library loan.

    I do not typically buy books in a state of ignorance - caveat emptor. It's not as if the author or vendor is prepared to guarantee my satisfaction.

    Based on my experience, authors should be obliged to pay libraries for their very effective revenue-increasing free advertising. Or we can move to a no-quibble unlimited returns policy with the vendor paying return costs.

  • Dec 29th, 2018 @ 5:35am

    (untitled comment)

    Just asking for a friend, but does this mean the motor vehicle licensing agency will in future be responsible for all traffic offences committed by cars it registers?

  • Dec 29th, 2018 @ 5:27am


    Not just depth of pocket - many sites are sponsored or affiliated to charities or other orgs which (correctly or not) feel they cannot run the risk of negative publicity from high profile litigation defence.

  • Dec 29th, 2018 @ 5:23am


    True that. But the notion that there is some haemorrhage of funds is laughable. I'm old enough to remember the Payola scandals when the same content providers bribed DJs to give their hits more free air time. Now, I've just had to permanently remove a public domain transport safety website because of copyright trolling. I despair. Legislators appear totally illiterate, regulators suborned, and courts dedicated to excessive enforcement of bad law. I hope someone wakes up before the entire WWW becomes the shopping channel.

  • Dec 15th, 2018 @ 2:53am

    (untitled comment)

    So in Kansas, a man's home is his collander? I remember about 50 years ago being told by a well-meaning teacher that unlike the USSR's constitution which sounded wonderful but wasn't enforced, the US constitution actually meant something. One of the causes of the US Revolution was Writs of Assistance allowing warrantless search and seizure. By Kansas standards we seem to be well past that point.

  • Oct 10th, 2018 @ 3:51pm

    (untitled comment)

    A bit of context would help. This is a serious case of the pot calling the kettle black, almost as if we'd forgotten Ed Snowden's whistleblowing disclosures on the extent of Five Eyes spying - which got him unintended Russian residency as a reward. Whoever the Salisbury super-spy duo actually were, they were visibly stooges, not assassins. They make Wily Coyote look professional. Sergei Skripal might be able to ID them, but amazingly not only have all the witnesses vanished, but the press has displayed an astounding disinterest in finding them. Or examining the "official" UK narrative. As for the Dutch OPCW "hack" - is it really that surprising when the detailed chemical analysis of the alleged nerve agent remains secret? The OPCW protocols say that the findings should be available to all members, including Russia which, after all, had only been accused of using a prohibited weapon based on claims that it was a deadly poison manufactured in Russia - a manifest porky, since it wasn't Novichok and could have been manufactured anywhere. Complaining about Russians poking around the OPCW WiFi seem pretty feeble compared to the antics GCHQ and others get up to, including hacking friendly governments.

    So great, now we know where to find the GRU's car park. With that kind of sleuthing, finding Sergei Skripal should be a snap.

  • Mar 21st, 2018 @ 3:59am

    (untitled comment)

    We've had prosecutions this week for teaching a dog to do something offensive on a video and for downloading a book from the 70s which remains easily available. So a good week for the public, who are presumably catatonic with anxiety about someone reading Mein Kampf. I'm concerned that the unwary might be radicalised by reading something really dangerous, like Magna Carta.

  • Feb 21st, 2018 @ 1:21pm

    (untitled comment)

    I'm missing something. How can a snippet be a single word, since a single word cannot provide a unique source? If it is an unusual word like "benzophosphenolhydride" which is coincidentally the subject of a news story, how can I prohibit the use of this snippet on e.g. my company pharmaceutical innovations blog? Is this a literary snippet law or can I still point to stories using non-linguistic syntax (hex addressing)? The concept of protecting "small excerpts" of single word size must logically be extended to other publications and media. For example, will musical snippets of single note size be protected?

  • Jan 23rd, 2018 @ 3:15pm

    (untitled comment)

    No doubt the NSA won't want to lag the field on this one, so here we go with multinational backdoor keys.

  • Oct 30th, 2017 @ 4:12pm

    Re: Re: Unintended consequences

    I've been swamped with unsolicited advertising for beehives for 48 hours now because of a moment's curiosity. Beehives. I can certainly solve the problem - but not all the sites I browse are happy with TOR, and I don't want to spend hours going over my cookie list to delete the trash. The problem is that passive advertising is generally acceptable but "targeted" advertising is about as precise as being vomited on by the local drunk outside a bar on Friday night. It should be blindingly obvious that this is simply ad-spamming and shows total indifference to readers who might otherwise be disposed to buy their products. It's also worth noting that if tracking is essential for company viability, then when do we start to hear lobbying that insists tracking cookies are protected by law? After all, how can you allow cookie removal but refuse cookie-proofing?

    The MEPs should be congratulated for a burst of sanity. I predict that the demise of involuntary or extortion-based tracking cookies will make precisely no difference at all to internet economics.

  • Oct 23rd, 2017 @ 2:42pm

    Protocols and Apps

    Platforms are increasingly locations for international disputes about ownership of ideas and legitimacy of expression. If they have a location and a legally-identifiable owner, they are vulnerable. So protocols, and I wonder if something like Ethereum is a workable direction for distributed, unlocated, unattributable applications? It puts security back into the realm of consensuality instead of owned authority.

  • Mar 15th, 2017 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re:

    Wendy, the court decision was based on the evidence including press repetition, as mike observes. You can read it for yourself. I don't need to retry the case to justify my statement.

  • Mar 14th, 2017 @ 6:54am

    (untitled comment)

    Keen as I am to support freedom of expression, speech is never totally free - the test being actual harm. The line relating to "hurt feelings" is quoted out of context. The judge was rejecting anything about hurt feelings and going on to focus on the real test in law which is harm to reputation. The key to understanding this is the full context of what happened in the UK in terms of Hopkins' claims being all over the tabloids, which amplified the damage to Monroe's reputation. It's like the "glass jaw" cases where if you punch someone during a fight and it turns out he has a fragile jaw, you can't escape damages by saying you didn't know and you just tapped him a bit. The test isn't what you thought you did, it's about the consequences of what you actually did.

  • Mar 12th, 2017 @ 3:23am

    Re: Two-hundred and thirty-three counter-examples and counting...

    I used to listen to Radio Free 365 until it was driven off "air" by a change in royalty payment rules from proportional to flat rate. No warning, and they became instantly non-viable. Which was a shame for the artists they featured at no cost to listeners, because I used to hear a song I liked and buy the album, or several albums, by the artist. I bought pretty much every Suzanne Vega album after hearing Calypso from Solitude Standing. There were a lot like that, and mucho dineros for record companies. In the years since then I have purchased one album. Not a policy decision, just nothing crossing the radar. I could say the same thing about library books - I buy books based on what I borrow, at a rate of about 4 to 1. The booksellers should pay the public library for all that effective advertising.

    Payola wasn't good, but the opposite is even worse for both artists and potential fans. The problem with letting lawyers run your business is that everything looks like litigation - including adoring fans.

  • Jan 23rd, 2017 @ 4:47pm

    (untitled comment)

    If it works as advertised, really good news at last for Immigration, Human Rights and Asylum legal practices where the opposition is always government.

  • Jan 20th, 2017 @ 3:57am

    Fattened Aleph

    Borges was fascinated by the ontological issues of literary creation, especially replication - can a copy be more real than the "original"? Can generations of copies result in something which improves on the "original" - as with the Hronir in Tlon, Uqbar, a story which starts with a copyright infringement: "the encyclopedia is fallaciously
    called The Anglo-American Cyclopaedia (New York, 1917) and is a literal but delinquent reprint of the Encyclopedia Britannica of 1902." Anyone familiar with Borges' works (which apparently does not include his wife) would find the "Fattened Aleph" an interesting extension of his literary approach and legacy. It certainly poses no threat to her revenue stream.

  • Jul 20th, 2016 @ 3:43am

    (untitled comment)

    Global growth figures may also be hiding variability in country-by-country performance. UK Netflix is a far cry from most, apparently because it's competing with Sky for exclusives. The result is a UK presence which isn't worth the cost of membership. Possibly the same is true in other national versions.

  • May 20th, 2016 @ 8:29pm

    (untitled comment)

    Depressing but it shows the evolution of an interesting company from startup with the first PC sound boards and a handful of people, to a wide range of neat audio gizmos, to stagnation, irrelevance and patent trolling. Patent trolling is a bit like the end game for a star - a black hole for those too big to shrivel into a dismal burnt-out red dwarf. The real end for Creative was probably its sell-off of 3DLabs which took it out of the SOC and tablet market.

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