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  • Mar 27th, 2017 @ 2:45pm

    It comes from the dual-customer nature of movies

    Any given movie has TWO customers; theaters and movie-goers. Completely alienating one group of those customers (movie theaters) to the advantage of another (movie-goers) would probably not end well for anybody involved.

    It's all well and good for this website to propose studios go to 0-day and tell theaters "Getting asses in your seats vs. their living room is your problem now", but in the real world, a theater is not going to take that lying down, and will, naturally, prefer to show and market releases by studios that have more favorable terms.

    It may be hard for the editors of this website to believe, but studios have more on their minds than just piracy. (Although given that most new-release piracy consists of blurry copies of somebody pointing a camera at the screen, I agree that it's not really much of a threat.)

  • Mar 27th, 2017 @ 2:32pm

    The size of the company in question is irrelevant

    Either the work in question is covered under copyright, or it isn't. Either this use is fair use, or it isn't. It doesn't become less copyrighted, or the use any more fair, simply because Lexis/Nexis is a large company.

  • Mar 23rd, 2017 @ 5:43am

    I have a hard time getting angry about that first one...

    I have a hard time getting angry about a fake press release in an attempt to get a gang hit called off; in fact, I applaud the creativity involved here. Unless the Does themselves are upset about this plan (which I doubt), I don't really care if the press feels butt-hurt.

    And I'm not sure how the subsequent things mentioned in this article are connected, other than having to do with the same police department.

  • Mar 21st, 2017 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re:

    Killing or injury (of the physical variety, not the "I'm injured because somebody said something mean" kind) seems reasonable enough.

    But "Harass or intimidate"? What exactly is "harassment" or "intimidation" in a manner worthy of a criminal charge?

  • Mar 20th, 2017 @ 11:57am

    Yeah, Steele's plea probably isn't going to buy much

    With all this dirt pending on Hansmeier, Steele's promise to spill the beans probably won't buy him very much, which accounts for the odd nature of the deal. (It appears to be a "I throw myself at the mercy of the court" sort of thing, rather than much of a quid pro quo for turning.)

    I suspect many of the conversations Steele is having with the Feds consist of:
    Steele: "I can totally tell you how Hansmeier was behind [insert X nefarious scheme here]
    Fed: "Yeah, we knew that already, and don't try to pretend you didn't have a lot to do with it. Tell us something we don't know that won't lead to you getting shredded on the stand when you testify to it."

  • Mar 1st, 2017 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Confidential Informants

    Durn it; my attempt at emphasis got interpreted as an unclosed HTML tag.

    What I meant to say is that cannabis-based drugs cannot enter the FDA approval process until the DEA allows cannabis to be obtained more easily for research. The FDA and DEA are on opposite ends of the Executive Branch org chart and barely talk to each other; you are blaming the wrong agency.

  • Mar 1st, 2017 @ 10:03am

    Re: Re: Confidential Informants

    The FDA hasn't approved any cannabis-related drugs because said drugs haven't gone through the approval process. They can't enter said process until the -->DEA

  • Feb 16th, 2017 @ 6:07am

    There is no car "right to repair" law

    Errr... There is no "right to repair" law for cars. There is the Magnuson-Moss warranty act, which gives you permission to have non-warranty maint./repair done elsewhere, and it won't void your warranty, but that's it. Automakers are required to provide neither instructions nor parts to outside parties. (The OBD system is required to use some standard codes (mainly dealing with emissions, and things that could effect them), but nothing beyond that.)

    Now, in practice, most automakers DO provide repair instructions to outside parties, and will sell parts to anybody, because few car owners would put up with dealer-only maintenance, but they are not required to.

  • Nov 22nd, 2016 @ 1:27pm

    What a hilarious mess...

    Okay, it's not actually hilarious if you were one of the people who was affected by their bullshit test results...

    Anyway... I find it hilarious that a bunch of Venture Capitalists who knew nothing at all about medicine or biotech (there are VC's who routinely fund operations like this, and they stayed very far away) were willing to throw all sorts of money at a young woman whose only assets were dressing like a young, female, blonde, attractive Steve Jobs, and whose business plan consisted of nothing more than a rhetorical question: "Wouldn't it be great if we could run a lot of blood tests on a few drops of blood?" Well, yes, it would, but she did not then, and of course has not demonstrated since that she (or her company) has the least *bleep!*-ing clue how to reach that goal.

    The Jobs-ian Reality Distortion Field does not actually work when there are actual results to be measured, laws to be complied with, and people to not kill.

  • Nov 22nd, 2016 @ 1:16pm

    Commenters aren't a big deal for most sites

    At the time NPR dropped comments, commenters made up all of 0.06% of their readership. Virtually any effort at all doesn't really make sense if they are that small of a fraction of the userbase. It'd make about as much sense as making sure your new website worked well with Windows Phone and Blackberries.

    I'm not saying all sites are like NPR, but for them it was a perfectly rational choice.

    Websites have access to their user stats, and know how much comments cost them. You don't. Yeah, it'd be nice if they'd just say "comments are more trouble than they are worth", but most of us are capable of reading between those particular lines.

  • Nov 3rd, 2016 @ 11:27am

    Why is calling it competition "generous"?

    "Right, except calling any of this "competition" is being rather generous."


    DirectTV DOES directly compete with cable providers in the TV market. They each offer roughly-equivalent services, but with different features and pricing. Sounds like the exact definition of "competition" to me.

  • Sep 30th, 2016 @ 6:40am

    I think the ICANN transition is bad, but for different reasons

    I'm not worried about the Big, Bad, Reds taking over the internet, but certainly ICANN itself is problem free.

    It's a shame that exactly the wrong tack was taken trying to stop the transition, because ICANN has real, genuine, problems relating to accountability, and they routinely flout their own accountability measures, and seek to have the ones they have in place watered down.

    Not turning over the contract until those problems were fixed would have been a good idea, but there's no hope for that now, since Ted Cruz wanted to make a complete fool of himself.

    (What's the big rush, anyway? The US Govt. has not interfered with ICANN/IANA one bit over the years. Who cares if China and Russia don't like the US holding the contract? If they don't like it, they can make their own damn internet, which is more-or-less what they'd prefer anyway.)

  • Sep 27th, 2016 @ 8:28am

    Seems like a reasonable answer to me

    Using "Consumers don't want unlimited plans" as shorthand for: "We can't charge what we'd like (and meet our Return on Investment goals) for unlimited plans" seems to be a perfectly valid and normal answer for me. It's a business decision VzW has chosen to make.

    Because I love car analogies: I may want a fast car, but I am rather unlikely to buy a car from a company that gratuitously puts a 600HP V12 in every vehicle; I'll shop elsewhere, because I expect their prices will be too high.

    (But yeah: "'Limitless' means we'll let you spend your data on whatever you like" is pretty stupid.)

  • Sep 26th, 2016 @ 11:57am

    Netflix doesn't publish ratings because they don't need to

    Netflix of course knows exactly who is watching what, when, and for how long. To a degree that a traditional TV outlet could only dream of.

    But of all the things Netflix can measure, the things measured by traditional ratings are probably the least valuable.

    - How many total people watch such-and-such show
    - How soon after release they watch it
    - What age they are
    - How much money they make
    - Where they live

    What does matter? :
    - Does the person paying for the subscription (or somebody with sway over said person) have a reason to keep renewing?

    That's it. Nothing else matters when you have zero advertisers and a monthly fee.

    If only 50,000 people watch a show, that can totally be worth it if those viewers are SO loyal, they'll eat ramen noodles before giving up the monthly fee for that show.

    A show watched by 10M indifferent subscribers is nearly worthless, even if such an audience would be a smash mega-hit for an ad-supported network.

  • Sep 20th, 2016 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Keeping stuff that should have been confidential secret WAS Snowden's Job

    "The press decides what is and is not published, regardless of what Snowden, Government, or The People want. Snowden can no more control what the press does than he can control what the government does."

    As the one providing the classified information, Snowden was in TOTAL control as to what was published. If the information was not suitable for publication, he had to simply not provide it to the press to begin with. Since he chose to do a data dump of everything, he gets to bear the consequences.

  • Sep 20th, 2016 @ 9:56am

    Keeping stuff that should have been confidential secret WAS Snowden's Job

    Yes, it is ridiculous the Post is calling a story that it broke a criminal violation.

    But on a larger note, it is ALSO ridiculous that Snowden decided to outsource what should and should not be published to the journalists he turned over information to. As a whistleblower of classified information, that's HIS job, not one he can pawn off to somebody else and pretend it was all somebody else's fault.

    If he had restricted the information he handed over solely to programs of dubious domestic legality, he'd be a lot more likely to earn a pardon. But since he simply turned over every intelligence program he could get his hands on, he cannot wash his hands of the consequences of this actions.

  • Sep 15th, 2016 @ 4:36am

    Makes sense to me...

    In the Steam client, the customers they are targeting are those who might want to buy more games from Steam. To that end, the most useful reviews are those that buy games from Steam.

    While the opinions of Kickstarter backers may be genuine and honest, they simply aren't Steam's target audience for their reviewing system.

  • Sep 13th, 2016 @ 7:57am

    Re: Re: I would never issue a pardon to him

    What Snowden disclosed, and what has been disclosed to the public, is FAR in excess of the questionable domestic intelligence programs. There are an awful lot of perfectly normal foreign intelligence programs that have been shut down as a result of Snowden's actions.

  • Sep 13th, 2016 @ 7:00am

    I would never issue a pardon to him

    If Snowden had restricted his disclosures to programs of questionable illegality, I'd be first in line to push for him to be exonerated.

    But instead, it appears that he simply did a data dump of every intelligence program he could get his hands on, include what are perfectly legit intelligence operations of the sort we (and everybody) have intelligence agencies for to begin with. (Manning did essentially the same with diplomatic cables.)

    I don't think we should encourage the "stopped clock is right twice a day" form of "whistleblowing".

  • Jul 7th, 2016 @ 8:18am

    A balancing act is needed...

    Things (like electrical or building codes) that are written from scratch precisely to become law should certainly be freely available.

    However, there are grey areas: a law could state that "all govt-owned laptops must have 802.x WiFi adapters", or "all Widgets must meet ASTM XYZ". It takes time and money to develop those standards, and if said standards were not intended to be part of the law, and it seems unfair to strip their copyright protection because a legislature chose to reference them.

    (To make for a more obvious example, let's say that there was a novel where a law said it had to be incorporated into the 5th-grade curriculum. If I'm the author of said novel, I'm going to be pi$$ed if the Podunk Tri-County Consolidated School District can yank my novel into the public domain without getting my permission.)

    Maybe the solution is a rule where a lawmaking body must obtain permission to incorporate a copyrighted work by reference, and once that permission is obtained, the government body must make it available in the same manner it makes it's other laws available (and cannot restrict re-publishing.)

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