Tanner Andrews’s Techdirt Profile


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  • Mar 12th, 2017 @ 3:16am

    The VIP Tent for City Officials

    Leads to interesting speculation. It could be a legitimate city function where the officials are there to carry out city business. In that case, it needs to be open, pursuant to S:286.011; the consequences of violation could be noteworthy.

    It is also possible that the tentind and feeding of the officials serves no legitimate function, but that could then be deemed ``unauthorized compensation'' under Ch. 713.

    Fortunately, it's not my file, so I do not have to decide.

  • Feb 15th, 2017 @ 2:15am

    Re: Re:

    Isn't there a difference between copying and moving? I think I understand that a 'copy' may be made in RAM during the move process, but it is fleeting. Isn't it?

    Doesn't matter. MAI Systems v. Peak Computer, 991 F.2d 511 (US 9th Cir. 1993). Admittedly the court got it embarrassingly wrong, but that happens and you get to live with it.

    (and who came up with the dumb idea to use this ``use markdown'' cruft anyway?)

  • Jan 13th, 2017 @ 6:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: RFCs

    doesn't want to reference the RFC

    Certainly it would be hard for him to reference them without bringing himself into frivolous territory. My copy of RFC733 (format for ARPANET electronic mail) is dated 1977, which is somewhat prior to the plaintiff's publication.

    The problem is authentication. The authors have surely moved on from their institutions at the time of publication, and some may no longer be available at all.

  • Jan 13th, 2017 @ 5:53am

    Re: Time to get rid of Revisionist Historians

    opportunity for an anti-SLAPP suit

    If there were such a thing, then it would have to be brought in a state where the law supports it. Most states have fairly crummy anti-SLAPP laws, with the most common deficiency being that they only apply to things involving the government. See, for some foundation, Eastern Railroad Presidents Ass'n v. Noerr Motor Freight, Inc., 365 U.S. 127 (20-Feb-1961). While it does not deal with an anti-SLAPP motion, it does give some foundation for the run-of-the-mill statute.

    Unless you can show that the plaintiff is a government figure, your anti-SLAPP aspirations are probably doomed.

    His aspirations to have invented e-mail, which I was personally using before his ``invention'', well, that is a fact question which may have to go to trial. Not my case, I am not a lawyer in the state where venue appears to lie, and I cannot usefully discuss the parties' respective litigation strategies.

    If I were to have any views at all as to the merits of the case, they would probably lump the plaintiff's claim in with claims for goodness for this "markdown" mark-up intended to replace HTML with something less familiar but at the same time less useful.

  • Jan 11th, 2017 @ 9:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Smithsonian

    [use Pine and unix mail]
    Yes. Pine post-dates Elm, which post-dates 1978.

    Interestingly enough, I have tarballs of old V6 and V7 unix sources, which contain e-mail back in the late 1970s. Which is no surprise, if you consider that even as an undergrad at that time, I expected e-mail to be provided on pretty much anything calling itself a computer system.

    I conclude that the plaintiff may be less than fully forthright in asserting a claim to have invented e-mail in late 1978.

  • Jan 11th, 2017 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: [first amendment requirements]

    First Amendment does not require research, nowhere in its text will you find such a thing. The US Supremes, in Times v. Sullivan, 376 U.S. 254 (1964), said that an action by a public figure will only lie if there is what they term malice.

    Malice is either knowing falsehood or reckless disregard. In other words, you can repeat something you heard, even if it is false, so long as you do not believe it to be false or avoid finding out that it is false.

    There is a great body of work on this subject and I am summarizing, leaving out many nuances.

  • Jan 10th, 2017 @ 11:52am

    It Would Have Been Nice to Link the Ordinance

    When discussing such a thing, it is nice to have the text of the ordinance to hand so we can see what it actually says. Normally I would be fairly harshly critical of the original article and its writer for this omission.

    However, a quick search of the city web site does not produce it. The closest is that it is supposedly attached as `U' to the badly-scanned minutes, but in fact no such attachment is there.

    Neither does Municode have ordinances for Madison, MS.

    From this I can conclude that either (a) Madison's ordinance is so bad that it must be kept away from public view, or (b) Madison's officials are so incompetent that they expect people to know and obey a secret ordinance.

    You decide. Or you can come up with a nicer conclusion flowing from the same facts. Let us know if you do.

  • Oct 25th, 2016 @ 4:59am

    The Mayor May Well Be Correct

    The public records law [Ch. 119, generally] only applies to records made or received as part of the entity's business. Unless there is some action on the part of the city's governing board authorizing, or use of city resources supporting, the mayor's facebook page, I think he has a strong argument that it is his and not the city's.

    Officials do not lose all rights to act as themselves during their time in office. You do not get to review the mayor's personal check register, either, nor do you get to review his contributions to his church to see whether he tithes.

    I have not seen the suit, but presume that there are some allegations trying to tie the facebook account to the city. I am of the view that it will not be an easy case.

  • Oct 20th, 2016 @ 1:36am

    Just Waiting

    One of these days, someone whose video is subjected to a takedown notice is going to file suit for a declaration of non-infringement. The sender of the takedown notice is likely to feel sad as a result, especially if the court awards fees to the prevailing video author.

    One or two of these will probably not stem the tide of invalid notices, but it could start a trend.

  • Oct 20th, 2016 @ 1:13am

    Not Perjury

    [I do believe that knowingly filing a false court document counts as perjury]

    The courts do not agree. For perjury you need a knowing false statement of material fact under oath. But thank you for playing.

    And points off for whoever broke the HTML ``blockquote'' feature.

  • Aug 23rd, 2016 @ 6:00am

    Re: Re:

    they make less money if they give accurate advice

    That conflict was resolved long ago. The lawyer's duty is to the client. Lawyers are expected to warn clients that proposed actions are losers.

    Also, however, they should distinguish sure losers from likely losers. There may be some reason to fight where loss is likely but not certain.

  • Aug 23rd, 2016 @ 5:14am

    Re: A new chapter in the Big Business of Identity Theft

    [portfolio recovery associates, anchor receivables]

    Well, I never thought I would say that these companies are legitimate. I can say, however, that at least Portfolio are a buyer of used debt. They then try to monetize it. I am not as familiar with Anchor but would be unsurprised if they were similar.

    Some of the used debt is time-barred, and some of it has other problems, so it is generally worth defending. If you get a call from these people, tell them to send a letter and stop calling. If you get a letter, you or your atty can send an appropriate dispute notice.

    If you get a notice for court, take it to a lawyer right away. Do not ignore. If you do not know what you are doing, paying a lawyer will generally result in a better outcome at lower cost, even in small claims.

    There is often a fee-shifting provision. This may make the cost of the lawyer even more reasonable.

    Disclaimer: The law in your state may vary. I am not your lawyer. Go away.

  • Aug 23rd, 2016 @ 5:02am

    Re: Re: He's got a job to do, and he's doing it.

    But will he get paid for it?

    Not really any of our business. That is between him and his client. He might be handling it pro bono, for instance, because he is a big believer in their type of publishing; there would probably be an assignment of fees in such a case.

    He may also be getting paid every month as he sends bills to the client. Or he could bill irregularly because he is busy with other things. All of that is between him and his client.

    With all that in mind, I do remind people that the atty should not take an interest in the litigation itself. The rules on this can get complicated, however, because of legitimate contingency fee arrangements in tort cases and unconstitutional fee restrictions in worker comp cases. And things are at least somewhat different in your state.

  • Aug 22nd, 2016 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: If you are still using PayPal...

    As a consumer the only way I can deal with some businesses is Paypal.
    That's why there are other businesses.

  • Aug 22nd, 2016 @ 1:51am

    Collaborative Effort

    The vendor did more than furnish a tool. It was an active participant. It is as though Smith and Wesson were handing bullets to a guy operating a single-shot rifle so that he could more quickly fire at his victims.

    Here, the ``tool'' worked only with the active participation of the defendant Awareness. Awareness knowingly and intentionally, as part of its product, collected intercepted data. At least that appears to be the allegation of the complaint; it remains to be proved.

  • Jul 31st, 2016 @ 3:29am

    Re: What EXACT free speech is being violated

    In the same manner that I don't have access to the coding of this website (I can only see the results, not the code driving it), I don't have any particular rights to code that may exist as part of an item

    The situations are not analogous. I have may have no useful rights to a video of my neighbor reading a book, but if I purchase the book I have rights to my copy.

    I can repair that book. I can take it apart and re-bind it as the old binding wears out. I can furnish new covers if I want. The author's rights to the words printed inside it are undiminished, but the rights to the particular copy are mine. I could, should I choose, rip out chapter 3 (the one with the nasty bits about Judge -- and the banking cartel).

    I can highlight some of the remaining chapters. I can scribble notes in there. I can pass my copy along to a buyer, complete with my notes and the missing chapter 3 if I still have it.

    Likewise, if I purchase some device, I gain no rights to the code inside it. I cannot sell copies of that code. But I can surely sell my device. Or open it up and repair it. I can rip out the offending chapter 3, the part which says ``do not work when vendor sends a disable code'', should it please me to do so.

    All this works because I have the rights of ownership of my copy.

  • Jul 30th, 2016 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Taking lessons from the Erdogan School of Thin-Skin I see

    It's entirely plausible that the documents were provided under a non-disclosure agreement, and that L+G has legitimate reasons to want them to not be public

    In such a case, you do not provide them to the public. The government is, at least in theory, merely the face of the public.

  • Jul 9th, 2016 @ 8:50pm

    Re: (city decides to incorporate someone elses work)

    What happens is that the city decides to incorporate someone elses (sic) work into their law without consultation with or payment to the standards body

    It is not quite as you describe. The standards agencies actually urge the adoption of their standards as law. See, e.g. Veeck v. Southern Building Code Congress Int'l, 293 F.3d 791,794 (US 5th Cir. en banc) (SBCCI urges local govts to adopt its standards as provided).

  • Jul 9th, 2016 @ 11:47am


    If you can have secret courts, why can't you have secret cases too?

    Secret courts are an obvious evil. For the same reason, secret cases so qualify; I have one of those pending now and to date the court does not appear sympathetic to my views.

    What is wrong with it? Well, I agree with the court in R. v. Sussex Justices, 1924 K.B. 256,259 (K.B. 1924) that it is not enough for justice to be done, it must also be seen to be done. And if it is not seen, you can be fairly confident that ultimately it will not be done, for as Justice Brandeis said, ``Sunlight is the best disinfectant, electric light the most efficient policeman.''

  • Jul 9th, 2016 @ 11:41am


    I'll respect Techdirt's decision not to release the name, court, judge(s), and attorneys who violated America's justice system,

    Why? Techdirt has become complicit in protecting a court and its judges from the appropriate public disapproval.

    Since we have very little chance of more directly influencing judicial behavior toward the good, it seems to me that cooperating with the bad behavior is itself a bad thing.

    I will metaphorically fart in Mike's general direction, if this decision is not reversed at least as to the court, judges, and case number.

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