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jaquer0

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  • Jul 7th, 2017 @ 8:19pm

    Of course DRM is absolutely necessary!

    It is absolutely essential that DRM, walled gardens, release windows, movies and TV shows that mysteriously appear and disappear on Netflix and the rest of it be maintained and strengthened.

    How are we going to have robust, free, P2P file sharing sites if the media monopoly mafia suddenly makes their paid services as easy to use as a well-seeded torrent?

    I have Amazon Prime, a streaming and DVD subscription to Netflix, and a cable-like internet-based TV service.

    Yet often I will download something I see is available on my streaming services, because I had to watch it at 7:47 PM when it started but I was watching something else, or just want to make sure there are no annoying "buffering" interruptions ... thank you Comcast!

    Or I want to make sure I can see it --or see some part of it-- away from Wi-Fi access, or just repeat a scene because I didn't hear it well (high-frequency hearing loss is a common side effect of the chemotherapy drug cisplatinum, but it beats the hell out of being dead).

    People say it's "stealing" but I've already paid to watch it. All I'm doing is time-shifting and creating a reasonable accommodation for my physical limitations, given that I survived cancer and have gotten so old I'm on Medicare.

    My one difference with Tim Berners-Lee is that he shouldn't allow it in HTML, because soon enough people will break it and then all you've done is junked up the protocol with tech that will be deprecated before the year is out.

    Much better to let the media mafia stream it in an encrypted stream, and that way you can charge people for using an app at the client end to decode it (sort of like a virtual cable box). That way you can pay the app rental every month to remind you how fortunate you are that this monopoly has condescended to let you be their customer.

    Sp promote free (as in freedom, even if it's also free like free beer) video on the internet by letting the media mafiosi cut off their own heads and hold them up to show there are no brains in there.

  • Mar 11th, 2017 @ 8:29pm

    Camera and mic should be physically removable

    The only way cameras and mics can be considered secure is if they are physically removable, i.e., if they are an add-on module. Promises by the companies that their security is better are worthless, since they a) may get to the TV (or whatever) and break the protection before the consumer gets it or b) Hack it once in consumer's possession. Settings and even physical switches are worse than useless, as they can be bypassed. Physical removal is the only way.

    Not allowing the TV to connect to the Internet would lead to many limitations in functionality that consumers are unlikely to accept.

  • Mar 30th, 2016 @ 11:35pm

    'Revert' to piracy???

    I'm amused by your comment that IF the media monopoly mafiosi requires us to subscribe to multiple cable-type services instead of just one, consumers will "revert" to piracy.

    I certainly will not. Although I was working to a cable TV news channel at the time, quite a few years ago I simply dumped cable TV. I firmly believe that if people haven't bothered to pirate a TV series, then it's not worth seeing (just like the cable news channels: there's a reason CNN and Fox don't get pirated).

    So I'll not be "reverting." I'll just be continuing to get payback for the decades they screwed me. What these brain-dead morons don't understand is that piracy is their *competition,* and over time it will only become easier and more convenient to get pirated content.

    When they offer an easier, more convenient, higher-quality product than the ever-so-kludgy pirate bay, they will be able to charge a premium for it. But they have to do it, because you can't compete on price with free.

    Victimizing people with anti-sharing campaigns will only get consumers mad, and disrupting file sharing patterns will only spur the development of more robust technologies, just as the killing of Napster led to Justin Frankel (of Winamp fame) developing gnutella. It's been two decades since the Cult of the Dead Cow started sharing mp3's on their web site, and trying to shut sharing music never worked.

    A good example of this is what is happening to music file sharing. Individual songs are no longer shared, nor are many albums, except perhaps for the hottest, newest hit. But usually it is simply so much easier to go to amazon or itunes or wherever to get your music. And, sure, much of it is on YouTube and easily ripped, but for most people in countries like the USA, why bother just to save 99 cents and lose the convenience of cloud storage and so on? And for those for whom 99 cents does make a difference, I'm glad stream ripping is there, just like AM radio was when I was a teen in the 1960s.

    The net result on the evolving music scene is that although until a few years ago I'd not paid one cent to the music monopoly mafia in this century, now I do.

    Until the tv series producers learn the same lesson, I'll keep on supporting the competition to the media monopoly mafia. If they ever get it right, *then* I might "revert."

  • Sep 6th, 2015 @ 4:27am

    I think Nestle has a reasonable point

    If I were looking for a snack at a convenience store and Nestle Crunch were among the ones I'd be likely to buy, among three or four others, the color scheme and prominent display of the word "Crunch" might lead me to pick this one up thinking it was Nestle's. Even if I noticed the packaging is a little different I might just dismiss the thought because it must be a different size or simply a refresh in the packaging.

    I might even observe that this is no longer a "Nestle Crunch" but a "Fit Crunch," and chuckle to myself about Nestle trying to pass it off as a healthy snack.

    I think the writer's defense of this very blatant attempt by a competitor to abuse for its own advantage the brand equity of Nestle's product borders on the ridiculous. It's the exact same shade of the main color. It's the exact same main word. It's a very similar layout on the front of the package. This was done consciously with malice aforethought.

    You might say, only a minority will confuse the two products, buying the wrong one. That may be, but even a smallish minority of a few percent is enough for that infringement to unfairly harm Nestle. In addition, there may be many times that number of Nestle Crunch consumers whose eye is caught by the very similar packaging and, even after realizing the products aren't the same, a few will just decide to try it instead of Nestle's item?

    And let's be honest: is there anyone who doubts for a moment this identification overlap between the two products is precisely what the maker of the "Fit" product wanted?

    The only debate is whether this "catch the attention of consumers" effect by using the same most prominent word, very similar placement on the package, and identical main color on the bottom half of the packaging should be considered wrong or not.

    And remember: this is not like buying a car or even making a $100 purchase. This is a $1.00 purchase and so the identification will be made at a glance, usually without a second thought.

    That is the reality, and what it means is this: IMHO, that "trade dress" is intended to take advantage of consumer familiarity with Nestle's brand, and its reputation and standing, through at least an initial and momentary confusion, which, in a minority of cases, will lead to a person paying for the Fit snack thinking they were buying the Nestle one. It may be only one out of 20 or even 50, but it is going to happen.

    And then you have some additional number of lost sales to Nestle among those who would not have considered this alternative save for the initial confusion with the Nestle product.

    Now if Fit had diverted sales from Nestle by calling its snack "Communist Revolution" and advertising it's redder-than-a-firetruck packaging by completely buying out every last ad space during the Superbowl, fair enough. But not by calling its product "crunch" and packaging it in such a way that at first glance, it seems to be the other company's product.

    Just think about how this product is actually sold. You don't go to a candy bar showroom and pick up the literature on the models you're interested in, go home and read it, come back, haggle over the price and so on, and finally try to arrange financing. Instead, you stand in front of a rack with many dozens of these items feeling your stomach growling and out of the corner of your eye you spot the familiar blue of one of your favorites, and as you pick it up you notice they've changed the packaging a little, but, yeah, it's "crunch."

    That's a swindle, because NO ONE stops to consider the packaging in the detailed, systematic, anal-retentive way this article poses.

    If *this* is not infringement, then only direct, immediate fraud, where some other sugar water is sold in those curvy Coca-Cola bottles, would constitute infringement, and the legal concept of infringement of trademarks and trade dress would loose all meaning, since the only prohibited conduct would simply be outright fraud.

  • Aug 16th, 2015 @ 9:43pm

    Timothy Geigner - flaming asshole farts again

    So Timothy Geigner can't imagine how seeing pictures of a murdered loved one's corpse to "hook" people into commercial, for-profit entertainment could possibly upset the mother and sister of the victim.

    Why does Techdirt subject itself to the humiliation of having this flaming asshole's brain farts featured as its very own content?

    I don't give a flying fuck about the law, free speech, the first or the hundred and first amendment, the public domain nor any of the rest of that bullshit.

    Any entity who does this to members of a grieving family for the purpose of commercial exploitation of their tragedy and grief should be punished with a mandatory sentence of the corporate death penalty: expropriation without any compensation to owners, shareholders or creditors except only individual, non-controlling employees of the enterprise.

    Why include creditors and not just those folks with equity? Because in today's totally financialized world, creditors often become the real controling interest in an enterprise. I could say something like that there is a rebuttable presumption against the creditors, but hey, I'm not drafting a statute but making a MORAL point:

    Anyone who consciously exploits for profit the tragedy, misery and suffering of others should be subject to sanctions devastating enough so that it will not occur to anyone in the next few hundred years to copy their conduct.

    If expropriation without compensation is insufficient to achieve the desired result, then I would suggest hiring the guy who chops people's heads off in our best pal Saudi Arabia to do so to those responsible, and decorating Hollywood's Walk of Fame with the heads of the miscreants hoisted above the sidewalk on spikes.

    This to illustrate to the next generations that there are some "creative" efforts to turn someone else's pain into your own profits, no matter how "legal," that come with too high a price.

  • Aug 16th, 2015 @ 3:27am

    This is a preposterous article

    Despite this Techdirt author's twisted reasoning, Veck did publish the libelous article, in its entirety, long after it had been retracted by the original publisher.

    He incorporated the libelous article into his own, when the original publisher's retraction was a matter of public record and easily discoverable on the Internet. Veck republished the libelous article by making it part of one that he himself researched and wrote attacking Warman.

    Tim Cushing's claim in this Techdirt post that there is such a difference between "publishing" and "republishing" that Veck "truly didn't 'publish' anything in the more traditional sense of the word," is preposterous.

    Being a "publisher" doesn't mean you are the author of the piece, it means you are the one bringing it to the public and therefore does make you responsible for it, whether your are the first to publish it or many more have done so before you.

    Especially when dealing with a harshly accusatory article that will harm someone's reputation, a publisher, i.e. someone who consciously chooses to present such an item to the public, is under a moral and journalistic obligation, as well as a legal one, to check out the claims made in the article.

    How much or how little this entails will depend on a host of circumstances. But a publisher is responsible for what s/he publishes.

    But in this case Veck's responsibility is even more unambiguous. He incorporated the entire libelous piece into one of his own. He embraced it and vouched for it by treating it that way.

    Veck's claim that "he didn't know the article had been retracted" is a perfect illustration of a libel that I think meets even the very strict American "actual malice" standard (applied to public figures under US law). "Actual malice" means publishing something derogatory knowing it to be false or in reckless disregard of whether or not it is true.

    It is called "actual malice" because the circumstances show the real and overriding motive was to attack the person's reputation, no matter what.

    In the course of his own polemical attack on Warman, Veck republished another attack on Warman, apparently without doing as much as an internet search, because such a search would undoubtedly have turned up the retraction.

    I flat-out find it not credible that Veck did not already know the article he republished had been withdrawn when he not just republished it, but vouched for it even more emphatically by incorporating it into his own piece.

    He was obviously researching Warman at the time, and Warman's lawsuit and the paper's retraction were a matter of public record and even of some notoriety. Veck could not have avoided discovering the retraction with the barest minimum of investigation.

    Moreover, Veck's retraction underlines that he was acting in bad faith. He carefully steps around admitting that what he published was false, saying Warman “states that these allegations were false, and so I wish to retract them and apologize.”

    This is not a lack of obsequiousness, as the author of this Techdirt piece claims, but of honesty.

    In my opinion, the author of this piece, Tim Cushing, has no business writing about these issues. He says in his lead, "Here's a not-so-gentle reminder that Canada's defamation laws are significantly different than those in the United States," later on explaining that:

    "Veck didn't make these defamatory allegations himself and yet he is being held responsible for the words of others. That's because Canadian law doesn't consider the originator of the false claims to be the sole responsible party."

    Can Tim Cushing name a single country anywhere in this world, nay, in this solar system, where the law says only "the originator of the false claim" is "the sole responsible party?"

    Neither here nor anywhere else does the law allow a publisher to evade responsibility for what they publish. And in many countries, this sort of libel might get you not just a civil judgment, but criminal charges.

  • Aug 16th, 2015 @ 12:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    IANAL but a journalist that has been trained and exposed to these questions for decades.

    If Bob republishes the libelous article or the most significant parts, once it has been admitted to having been false, or having been rules libelous, even with a thousand disclaimers, he is likely to still be found liable for libel.

    Bob's citing court judgments or retractions are only likely to increase his liability UNLESS his reference to the libelous claims is very brief, extremely cautious and references judicial prceedings or settlements that are a matter of public record.

    For example, when reporting on a court case: "Mike falsely accused Charlie of inappropriate conduct with minors. A court found the accusations without merit and ordered Mike to pay XX thousands of dollars to Charlie as compensation."

    If people can simply republish a libel and cover themselves by including a disclaimer that would soon become purely perfunctory, protection against libel and defamation would vanish.

  • Aug 16th, 2015 @ 12:18am

    Re: Re:

    Not so under U.S. law. If "Charlie is a rapist" is presented as a statement of fact, whether or not attributed to a source, it is clearly defamatory and potentially libelous. There are various defenses, for example, that it was a report on a trial or Congressional hearing, or if the statement were quoted about a public figure and some controversy that surrounds the person, in which case the standard is not whether the statement was false but made with "actual malice," meaning knowing it to be false or in reckless disregard of whether or not it was true.

    IANAL, but I am a journalist with more than four decades of experience that's been exposed repeatedly to training in major news organizations as well as concrete cases involving consultations with lawyers.

    Republishing a libelous article makes you just as liable as the original publisher. In the case of a public figure, you *might* have a little more protection, depending on your agreement with the writer or syndication service handling the article and your procedures (for example, articles from the service usually get posted automatically but the service is required to flag for review by each client, preventing automatic publication, articles asserting derogatory information about any person or entity).

    If by simply attributing the statement to a source, one could avoid liability for libel or defamation, then to all intents and purposes there would be no protection against libel or defamation.

  • Apr 23rd, 2015 @ 5:47pm

    How to stop this: firing squads for officials who murder

    "Flawed testimony" is just a pretty word for perjury. Perjury is a felony. Felonies that lead to the death of persons also constitute murder, a federal crime subject to the death penalty. Dozens of the cases where perjured testimony was presented by FBI personnel were death penalty cases and at least some of the defendants have already been executed.

    The mainstream corporate media is all about "this testimony didn't necessarily convict those people, there would have been other evidence" and "they were really guilty as charged."

    If you were on a jury in the case of a mafia hit man, would you accept claims that "my bullet wasn't the lethal one" and "the SOB had it coming" as convincing defenses?

    I say put these lying scumbags on trial for capital murder and then execute them on the White House lawn with a firing squad and see how quickly the rest start to think twice about committing perjury.

    But further: formal or informal organizations that systematically engage in criminal conduct are "Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations." The members are also members of criminal conspiracies. ALL members of a criminal conspiracy that results in murder are also subject to murder charges.

    I'm not saying shoot ALL the FBI agents on the White House lawn. Not enough room. Let's do a bunch on the national mall in front of Congress, others in front of state capitols.

    It might have the helpful effect of reminding state governments and congresscritters that if they act as collaborators with criminal conspiracies, they might well meet the same fate.

    "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants." --Thomas Jefferson

    There's been too much blood from patriots; time for some from tyrants.

  • Apr 2nd, 2015 @ 7:48pm

    Comcast outrage

    Comcast limits its Atlanta clients to a total traffic of 300MB a month before charging an additional $10 for 50 MB.

    This means that customers could enjoy Comcast's new speed of 2gbps (which equal 250 MB of traffic per second) for a little over one second before Comcast's extortionate "data hog" charges kicked in.

    Assuming only a 1% usage of Comcast's 2gbps offering, which would be 20mbps, or 2.5 megabytes per second, in 2 minutes a user would have consumed an entire month's bandwidth allotment. And that's using only 1% of what Comcast claims they will deliver!

    Charges for usage beyond 300MB/month are $10/50MB, or $30/minute. Again, using only 1% of the capacity Comcast claims it will be offering.

    That works out to $1800/hour, $43,200 a day, which is more than the average American worker earns in a year -- including multimillionaire CEO's in the average!

    Monopolists (and duopolists, in practice there is no difference) should be strictly regulated as common carriers, including --especially-- for their rates.

    They rely on easements (the right to use) public property to run their cables and fibers, as well as publicly-mandated easements from the owners of private property. This for the greater good of the community as a whole, not so they can engage in extortionate price-gouging.

    These sorts of public announcements by public utilities should be binding on them. And when they are shown to be scams, as in this case, the corporations involved should be subject to exemplary punishment, up to and including the corporate death penalty -- forfeiture of their assets without compensation.

  • Apr 2nd, 2015 @ 7:48pm

    Comcast outrage

    Comcast limits its Atlanta clients to a total traffic of 300MB a month before charging an additional $10 for 50 MB.

    This means that customers could enjoy Comcast's new speed of 2gbps (which equal 250 MB of traffic per second) for a little over one second before Comcast's extortionate "data hog" charges kicked in.

    Assuming only a 1% usage of Comcast's 2gbps offering, which would be 20mbps, or 2.5 megabytes per second, in 2 minutes a user would have consumed an entire month's bandwidth allotment. And that's using only 1% of what Comcast claims they will deliver!

    Charges for usage beyond 300MB/month are $10/50MB, or $30/minute. Again, using only 1% of the capacity Comcast claims it will be offering.

    That works out to $1800/hour, $43,200 a day, which is more than the average American worker earns in a year -- including multimillionaire CEO's in the average!

    Monopolists (and duopolists, in practice there is no difference) should be strictly regulated as common carriers, including --especially-- for their rates.

    They rely on easements (the right to use) public property to run their cables and fibers, as well as publicly-mandated easements from the owners of private property. This for the greater good of the community as a whole, not so they can engage in extortionate price-gouging.

    These sorts of public announcements by public utilities should be binding on them. And when they are shown to be scams, as in this case, the corporations involved should be subject to exemplary punishment, up to and including the corporate death penalty -- forfeiture of their assets without compensation.