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  • Jun 4th, 2013 @ 1:02pm

    I find Scalia's page 46 unpersuasive

    Scalia makes the argument that the primary purpose of collecting fingerprints is identification, with solving of earlier crimes only secondary, while the primary purpose of collecting DNA is solving earlier crimes. This seems to me to be a distinction without a difference. If it is constitutionally permissible to use fingerprints to fish through AFIS in order to attempt to connect an arrestee with earlier crimes, then it does not matter at all whether doing so is common or rare - it must be constitutionally permissible to use DNA for the same purpose.

    DNA sampling could be made more like fingerprinting if all samples were classified by a standard profile of alleles, then destroyed, keeping only the profile as a kind of "DNA fingerprint". This would increase privacy by making it impossible for anyone to get hold of a DNA sample and analyze it for any purpose other than identification. Of course, it would also preclude future use on those samples of more-sophisticated DNA analysis techniques, whose reliability will probably be greater than today's.

    The one feature of DNA fingerprinting that is fundamentally different from actual fingerprinting is the possibility of identifying familial partial matches. It is hard to imagine how this could be prevented in general, although such matches could, and probably should, be made inadmissible in court. It is also conceivable that they could be treated as fourth amendment violations, causing the results of any investigations based on familial matches to be inadmissible, as well.

  • Mar 7th, 2011 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: get real

    That's a nice bit of question-begging, there. Don't you realize that one of the important questions being discussed here is what rights Sony (or any manufacturer of hardware) actually has, or should have? Neither you nor Sony can create rights by merely asserting that you have them. If you are talking about legal "rights", you may (or may not) be correct, but that is not what most other commenters are talking about, and is not how the unqualified term "rights" is generally used.

    I believe that anyone who owns a PS3 has a natural right to alter Sony's proprietary software on that PS3, and I also believe that anyone has a natural right to sample an MC Hammer song for use in a derivative work. I am, therefore, led to the conclusion that certain DMCA restrictions on hacking and the extension of copyright to derivative works are both improper, and should removed from their respective laws.

    On the other hand, I do believe that Sony has the right to forbid modded PS3 units from playing on PSN, because PSN is an entity that they own, and they can restrict access in any way that is made quite clear before a user purchases a PS3. That does not mean I necessarily think it is wise for Sony to do this, of course; that is a business decision, not a moral one, and I don't know enough about Sony's business to make any judgment.

    By the way, you should write "within its rights", not "within it's rights".

  • Sep 13th, 2010 @ 4:46pm

    Re: How much was the bribe paid by Google to Steve Cohen?

    The author of this comment is obviously not familiar with British defamation law, and its egregious misuse to silence critics of corporations and politicians. For instance, see the Guardian article "British libel laws violate human rights, says UN" or this New York Times article: "Britain, Long a Libel Mecca, Reviews Laws".

  • Apr 20th, 2010 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Global world?

    Actually, book publishers are way ahead on this one. They publish plenty of books that are unreadable in the US already. In fact, it is a rare pleasure to find even one book that is readable.

  • Jan 7th, 2010 @ 2:07pm

    Re: Canadians

    You don't actually believe that, do you? People south of the border may not realize this, but most Canadians are reasonably happy with the medical services they have received all their lives (as are most Americans, as it happens), although small majorities in both countries are dissatisfied with waiting times to see doctors.

    Anyway, what does Canada's medical system have to do with the propriety of the AMA's enforcing copyright on CPT codes?

  • Nov 11th, 2009 @ 8:53am

    it may be a private-property issue

    According to, a release is not generally needed, even for a "trademark" or copyrighted building, so long as it is visible from a public place. They cite a federal appeals court decision: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame v. Gentile, 134 F.3d 749 (6th Cir. 1998)

    If the painter had to be on UT property to view the tower as painted, UT may have the right to charge him; otherwise, definitely not (as long as that decision stands).