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  • Feb 03, 2010 @ 02:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Meh...just a way to dredge up that you never provided full disclosure on the experiment. So, I guess in that regard it's a cheap shot, though you did kinda just leave it hanging out there low those many months ago. So your net was greater than their gross...good to know. Of course, that is new information unshared until now. Also, I agree that it is a mountain/dust mite comparison. Glad to read that in this case at least, you agree with me that scale really does matter in the analysis of a business approach and that scalability is a critical factor. Hmmmmm....

    BTW, I agree with you on this one generally, Mike. I do think that Google needs to try something at a bit of a bigger scale with mainstream films and widely advertise it. I think the results will be much better. Whether they will be good enough to spawn a profitable service offering, who knows. You were definitely right to point out that the media has it wrong that this is Google's first try.

  • Feb 03, 2010 @ 05:59am

    Re: Re:

    I'm betting that Gooogle's net on this largely unadvertised, niche experiment was higher than TechDirt's net on the widely trumpeted CwF+RtB experiment last year. Sadly, Mike has refused to reveal the actual fiscal performance of that effort. Hmmmm....

  • Jan 28, 2010 @ 08:55am

    Re: Re: Re: First amendment?

    You've got a point. Again, though, with the next case pending against this guy regarding his alleged recruitment of hackers and involvement with importing the set top boxes, I'm thinking there may be more to the story.

    There are (unfortunately) plenty of better, cleaner examples of egregious awards against folks who weren't bad actors, just personal use transgressors, if you will.

  • Jan 28, 2010 @ 08:51am

    Re: Re: Note to self...

    Chronno, the difference I see here is that the car has legal uses, and in most cases the seller won't know the drivers intent. The software this guy distributed has no apparent legal use, therefore he had to have known that it would be used for illegal purposes. This has been the crux of complications in file sharing rulings, too. File sharing can be and is used for perfectly legal purposes...that some users break the law with it doesn't mean the tool or site breaks the law on its face.

    I'm also kinda wondering what else might have been going on in this case, that isn't covered in the DBJ's brief recap, which might justify such a large award. There is a follow-on case already filed against the same guy that charges "that Ward and Allison helped Jung Kwak, the owner of Oceanside, Calif.-based ViewTech Inc., a major importer of “free-to-air” satellite receivers, recruit hackers to crack a new version of Dish Network’s encryption technology." Sounds like there maybe more to the story.

    Also interesting that Mike doesn't call out this other case which sorta shows this guy might not be just an oppressed file distributed.

  • Jan 28, 2010 @ 06:42am

    Re: First amendment?

    Meh. This guy didn't publish his thoughts on the theory of how to crack a signal, but the tool to actually crack it. Big difference. Relates to the aforementioned difference between providing plans for a descrambler in the old days, versus the box itself.

    Yeah, it sucks and the amount is outrageous, but I don't think this is the case to hang a revolution on.

  • Jan 28, 2010 @ 06:38am

    Re: Re: Note to self...

    Indeed. But freedom comes with responsibility...if you tinker in areas where others are so obviously looking to assert their perceived rights, there is danger. I'm not at all saying "don't" but just be aware that rights holders - whether you agree with their interpretation of rights or not - may wish to act to protect their perceived rights, putting you in legal jeopardy. This isn't about living in fear of a lawsuit, but just about knowing the risks.

    Work the legislative process for change....

  • Jan 28, 2010 @ 05:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Good point, but I *believe* that applies only to the areas of spectrum that are public airwaves (TV, radio, shortwave, CB, etc). Dish and other providers use leased spectrum. I definitely could be wrong on that, though...

    Either way, though, there was long a distinction between providing the plans to build a black box to decode and selling the actual box outright. I remember back in the day (late 70s to mid-1980s) when there were OTA movie services using FCC-licensed UHF channels, you could legally buy the plans to build the decoder, but not pre-built boxes themselves. In this case above, the tool, perhaps, amounted to providing the box, rather than the plans.

    Please no hate on this one...I'm just thinking it though as a non-lawyer technologist type.

  • Jan 28, 2010 @ 05:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Nope. The analogy would be to whoever it was that provided the dynamite. As Mike notes, these guys didn't (apparently) create the tool, just distribute it. And yes, my readings as a non-lawyer show lots of examples in criminal prosecutions where those who provided the tools for a crime are prosecuted as part of it. Conspirators, aiding and abetting, providing the means, contributing to, etc. That said, they are not typically fined like this!

  • Jan 28, 2010 @ 05:29am

    Note to self...

    ....while I agree that the damages are ridiculous, all this does is reinforce the need to stay the hell away from content cracking, hacking and stealing activities and tools. How simple is that? The mere fact that DRM is put on content or that content is encrypted is the first, VERY CLEAR signal that someone or some entity - rightly or wrongly - believes they own and have the right to protect that content. While I agree that some of the logic and the methods are really problematic, just observing the signs and being guided by them will largely protect individuals from getting into a legal mess. Yes, yes, there are some exceptions, but that does not invalidate the rule.

    So, my note to self: to avoid legal entanglements with rights owners and the owners of content distribution systems like Dish Network, stay away from tools and activities related to cracking their protection, hacking their system or stealing there content without paying.

  • Jan 27, 2010 @ 06:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's buying tablets?

    Read more carefully: I wrote that iPod and, to a lesser extent, iPhones are the two examples of MAINSTREAM adoption of Apple products. However, they are largely the exception in Apple's product pantheon.

    And PLEASE don't make this an Apple versus Microsoft thing. it isn't. Even Jobs and Gates largely buried the hatchet a few years ago. The FACT is that MS trumps most everyone with market share in tons of product categories, most of which work just beautifully, day in and day out, on a massive scale. And the FACT is that Apple trumps everyone with usability and marketing in a number of product categories, and iPod/iTunes rules the roost, marketshare-wise in its category. They are both great companies at what they do, and both employ a lot of people in the US and around the world. There is goodness enough for everyone.

  • Jan 27, 2010 @ 06:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Who's buying tablets?

    Read more carefully: I wrote that iPod and, to a lesser extent, iPhones are the two examples of MAINSTREAM adoption of Apple products. The point is that Apple puts a lot of stuff out there that *most* consumers don't or can't use.

  • Jan 26, 2010 @ 05:37pm

    Ad Supported Content

    Mike, your comment "Wait, there are tons of companies that are making a ton of money off of ad supported content." Tons? Off of purely digital advertising? Tons? At scale? Really? Where? Print ads, yes. Broadcast ads, absolutely. But web advertising? Banners, popovers, popunders, takeovers, etc.? A rounding error for most media companies of any substantial scale.

    Shockingly, I'm not disagreeing with your assessment of this article, generally speaking. But I am interested in learning of these "tons" of companies creating new, professional quality content - di novo journalistic or editorial content, video, photos, etc. - making "a ton of money" off of web advertising.

  • Jan 26, 2010 @ 05:29pm

    Re: Re: Who's buying tablets?

    Spoken like a fanboy! Apple is BOTH wildly successful and the king of marginal, self-limiting, proprietary products that appeal to a limited, but lucrative segment (fanboys and hipsters). iPod was a smash, mainstream breakthrough. iPhone, less so, but still brilliant. Both offered little truly new, but packaged existing features brilliantly with typically masterful UIs. Mac, though, still marginal after all these years. AppleTV, QuickTime, etc. I look forward to their tablet offering, but doubt it will change any games, at least initially. Except for the fanboy hipsters. :-)

  • Jan 26, 2010 @ 05:55am

    Re: MD School Systems

    What does this have to do with the price of eggs? I assure you that the ranking of improvement for Maryland public schools is NOT indicative of what is happening in Baltimore City, which has the most troubled school system in the state.

  • Jan 26, 2010 @ 05:53am


    Baltimore is one of the most corrupt, money-grubbing cities in the US. It has been a launching pad for sketchy politicians for years (as well as a few earnest ones, I'd have to note). They are hurting for cash and this is a way for them to get it, in a manner that most citizens won't bother with protesting. Government - at all levels in the US - was not intended to have its own interests aside from those of the people. Crap like this, and like the use of eminent domain to enrich government coffers as opposed to serve a public good are examples of government acting like a corporation, something that has its own self-preservation interests that too often conflict with the rights of its citizens.

  • Jan 10, 2010 @ 07:53am

    Re: Parallels with sport

    I like your analogy. Interestingly, in the USA, Olympic endeavors are privately funded. It's one of the oddities of USOC that the US is one of the few countries out there where government funding does not make up a significant part of training budgets. Look at the NFL, MLB, NHL, etc...all private (minus MLB's stupid anti-trust exemption). Perhaps this, too, is instructive in the above context as well...get government out of the middle of innovation. This is not to say that government (especially military) can't fund innovation. But regulation and manipulation, not so much.

  • Dec 15, 2009 @ 05:41am

    Interesting but not Generally Applicable

    Mike, very interesting case, but I agree with you that it is likely not applicable to general corporate doings. I have been AMAZED at the personal crap people run across corporate messaging systems and store on file servers. When a company bumps into that during the course of, say, implementing a litigation-related data hold or investigating an HR complaint, it just creates problems for everyone involved. I doubt the attorney-client argument would hold much water if the discovery by corporate folks was an incidental result of legitimate activity, especially if the company has a good acceptable use and information security policy.

    I am curious about this comment: "If a company has a regular program of recording and examining employee email (as many do)..." Where do you get this impression that "many" companies "regularly" examine employee email? Record it, yes, though a better term is "archive" which is a legal requirement in many regulated industries. But examine content? Sure there are products that do automated compliance checks for PCI, HPPA, etc, but I don't think that's what you mean (and it's not the impression you leave). Do you really think companies have multitudes of email admins and lawyers just randomly combing user email, trolling for whatever they can find? Of course that HAS happened, but "many" and "regularly?" Definitely contrary to what I've observed in my Fortune 500-ish company career.

  • Dec 14, 2009 @ 02:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, not at all. BTW, the black helicopters are waiting for you.

  • Dec 14, 2009 @ 01:00pm

    Re: Traffic Shaping.

    Patently incorrect. There are numerous technical and legitimate business reasons to shape bandwidth utilization, especially when that bandwidth is limited. Now what a business chooses to shape and whether it notifies those impacted is another story. But traffic shaping itself is a normal, typical, useful and appropriate component of proper bandwidth and network management.

  • Dec 14, 2009 @ 07:21am


    Rethuglican? Oh, so all this evil comes from the right, then. Good to know. Glad you've boiled it down.

    Any ISP that isn't doing some form of traffic shaping and analysis is negligent in managing its infrastructure. Traffic shaping isn't a euphemism, it's a methodology often involving devices built and dedicated for the purpose. Now the purposes for which they use that methodology and the disclosure surrounding it is a whole other matter.

    If a business uses them for political, legal or value-judgment purposes, as opposed to typical and customary network management and defense, the absolutely need to disclose that. Customers (businesses and consumers) have a right to know exactly what they can expect.

    Traffic shaping and deep packet inspection sound nefarious to people who don't understand what they are. They are not evil on their face. That they can be misused does not mean they aren't legitimate and necessary for infrastructure hygiene. This is where the myth and assumption of unlimited bandwidth runs headlong into operational realities. Bandwidth has to be managed and defended carefully and consistently.

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