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  • Sep 14th, 2020 @ 1:50pm

    (untitled comment)

    The problem is likely that this involves the OFAC lists. The government's rules about those are pretty strict and not very sensible. If the OFAC servers return a hit, PayPal likely doesn't have the option of second-guessing it. By the same token, though, PayPal shouldn't properly be running the name/description of merchandise items through the OFAC query process. The name of the purchaser, yes, possibly the name of the supplier or manufacturer if known, but not item names/descriptions.

  • Sep 14th, 2020 @ 10:57am

    (untitled comment)

    In trouble again? Looks to me more like "in trouble still".

  • Sep 2nd, 2020 @ 7:33pm

    Bayesian filtering

    I'd hope Amazon was applying this already, but Bayesian filtering worked pretty well (still works pretty well, in fact) for separating spam from non-spam email. The Kindle store should be able to provide good-quality large samples of both actual books (pull from known authors and books which have been published on dead trees) and generated content, I'd honestly start by taking those samples and using them to initialize bogofilter, then feed it a selection of test books and see how accurate it's classification was.

    After classification, there's some heuristics that can be applied. If an author account is long-standing and doesn't have any scam-content flags, it's probably safe to just list any new books regardless of what the filter says. If they're uploading a lot of works over a short time-frame, check whether that author's got hardcopy-published works. If they do (or they don't and the filter says they're mostly or all scam content) it's probably safe to just go with the filter results, otherwise flag the lot for manual review because it's anomalous behavior.

  • Aug 17th, 2020 @ 2:44pm

    Re: But... Wha... Why?

    Major difference between user-posted content and ads: the advertiser (or ad network) can't just go in and drop it's ads into the site's pages, the site has to enter into an agreement with the advertiser (or network) and modify it's pages to display the ads. In the process the site has to evaluate the kinds of ads that will be supplied and decide whether they want to carry them or not and, through the contract, has control over what is supposed to be displayed. If an ad network is known to distribute content the site doesn't want to be liable for, the site only has to decide not to use them and the content won't ever appear. This makes the difference.

    The purpose of Section 230 isn't to permit sites to carry any kind of content without liability. It's to permit sites to allow user-posted content without requiring the kind of item-by-item review that would make carrying that content a practical impossibility. Advertising contract terms don't involve such difficulties in reviewing them.

  • Aug 14th, 2020 @ 10:23am

    Re: Curiosity

    How would the FCC go about reasserting it's authority? By doing the same thing Pai did: asserting it's authority (given to it by Congress) to decide which title to regulate broadband under. It'd mean going through the analysis and review process again, but given the state of broadband it should be easy enough to satisfy the administrative requirements to rule that broadband should return to Title II classification and regulation.

  • Jun 24th, 2020 @ 5:18pm

    (untitled comment)

    From how the police reacted I don't think they're actually interested in finding victims of sex trafficking.

  • Jun 16th, 2020 @ 9:52pm

    Re: 'If you're not willing to compromise then neither are we.'

    "Over our dead bodies."

    "I find your terms... acceptable."

    "... wait, what?"

  • Jun 15th, 2020 @ 6:46pm

    Re: About Discipline

    This is a major contributor to the decline of U.S. schools. Disruptive students bring down the quality of learning for everyone in the class.

    Oddly the most disruptive students I knew when going through school were the ones the teachers and the administrators and the SROs vehemently refuse to do anything about. They'd much rather target the targets of those disruptive students. Getting rid of the SROs will at worst not change anything because the teachers and administrators still won't do anything about the disruptive students and will continue to harass the students being victimized by the disruptive ones.

    The basic problem is that the administrators, the school board members, the rest of the adults involved are highly likely to have come from the same disruptive group of students: the highly social, popular, "in" crowd, the football and other sports teams, the Biffs of the world.

  • Jun 10th, 2020 @ 6:52pm

    (untitled comment)

    I look on his positions as this: the rest of the politicians are just as bad about it so choosing him isn't any worse, and at least he's an improvement in other areas and is more likely than a lot of them to be educable. I'll take what I can get.

  • Jun 5th, 2020 @ 4:51am

    Re: Fuck Elsevier

    No law or copyright concern, just a practical one: academic recognition requires that papers be published in well-established journals, and those journals will simply refuse to publish papers if the paper was previously published by this new publisher you suggest.

  • May 21st, 2020 @ 8:20pm

    (untitled comment)

    It's fallout from the abuses. So many entities abused cookies for so many bad things and refused to do anything about user anger or even admit they were doing it that the response turned from "Please stop the abuse." to "We find your terms acceptable." (in response to the abusers' position that allowing even benign cookies without restrictions means having to allow any and all cookies without restriction).

  • Apr 20th, 2020 @ 8:31pm

    (untitled comment)

    One wonders. The news organizations didn't create the material behind their stories. If they carry a story about how person A acted and what they said, it was person A who performed the actions and declaimed the statements. Without that, the news organization would have had nothing to write a story about. So if Google owes the news organization for linking to their story (profiting off what the news organization created, supposedly), then isn't person A owed compensation for the use of their performance by the news organization in the article? The news organization is, after all, profiting off what person A created.

    Let's take it a bit further. When a news site carries it's own ads, it profits when I view a page and profits further when I click on an ad. But the news site didn't perform the actions that yielded the profit, I did. Since the news site is profiting off of someone else's performance of actions, don't they owe that someone else compensation for the use of their performance?

    If the news organizations really want to make this the rule, are they willing to accept all the consequences of having that rule enforced?

  • Apr 12th, 2020 @ 5:42pm


    The captain wasn't the one who put it in the public eye. His letter went only to his chain of command (albeit the part of his chain of command higher up than his immediate superior). It was someone in that chain of command who leaked the letter to the press. The captain's merely the scapegoat so SecNav can avoid having to discipline/fire someone with political connections.

    I also suspect the leak was very deliberate.

  • Apr 11th, 2020 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re:

    I'd debate the question of employment contracts. Most authors aren't, for instance, employees of the publisher. When I'm an actual employee of the company they're paying me for my time and effort in the subject they hired me for. I think it's entirely reasonable to say that what I do while I'm on the clock does belong to them, they paid me for it in my regular paycheck after all. Contractors are another matter, the company is paying them for a specific task, not their time in general, it'd be entirely reasonable to say that only the specific work product the contractor was paid to create belongs to the company and everything else belongs to the contractor. And even for employees, anything created off-the-clock and outside the area the employee's paid to work on belongs to the employee, not the company. That's already the law in many places, including Califormia and Washington, and I make sure to add a clause to any assignment-of-rights contract citing the statute and explicitly limiting the scope of the assignment to only those things not exempted by the law.

  • Apr 11th, 2020 @ 12:21am

    (untitled comment)

    Current copyright law bears more resemblance to pre-Statute rules than post-. The Statute of Anne gave rights to the authors. Today the authors are mostly relegated back to their pre-Statute status as copyright vests primarily in the publishers (who won't publish unless the author hands over virtually all rights to them). As pre-Statute too, the targets of modern publishers are primarily other publishers with seeming disregard for whether the published works are actually ones the attacking publisher has any rights to.

    I'd rather see a revamp of copyright law that gave copyright primarily to the authors again and prohibited any publisher from locking the author out when it comes to control over the copyrights on his works.

  • Mar 23rd, 2020 @ 9:14pm

    (untitled comment)

    I wouldn't say his conduct merited a perjury and/or obstruction of justice investigation. I'd say it merited perjury and/or obstruction of justice investigation charges. The evidence is right there in the court records, clear as day. I'd bind him over for trial, and hand prosecution over to the public defender's office. I'd bet they'd love a chance to rip that officer apart.

  • Mar 16th, 2020 @ 12:34pm

    (untitled comment)

    When Sawheny says they don't have to worry because they haven't been hacked yet, I'm minded of:

    1. No Apollo capsule had had a fire due to a pure-oxygen atmosphere... until January 26, 1967.
    2. No Space Shuttle had had a failure due to O-rings... until January 28, 1986.
    3. No Space Shuttle had had a failure due to debris strikes from the main fuel tank... until February 1, 2003.
    4. No 737 MAX had had a fatal accident due to malfunction of the AOA indicator and the MCAS software... until October 29, 2018.
    5. The Voatz software had never suffered a hack... until ?.
  • Mar 9th, 2020 @ 11:51pm


    Storman doesn't have very good arguments. For example, his "first sale doctrine" argument falls apart when you notice that "first sale" protects the sale of that copy, it doesn't grant any rights to make and sell additional copies. It'd be a defense if and only if the uploader destroyed their copy upon uploading it and Storman's service destroyed the uploaded copy after the buyer downloaded it, all of which is exactly what RomUniverse doesn't do.

  • Mar 6th, 2020 @ 7:29am

    (untitled comment)

    As such, they literally can't see the best way to appeal to these users either, because to them...there's no problem that needs fixing.

    No, to them there is a problem that needs fixing. It's just that they think the problem is that customers aren't buying their product. They refuse to accept that that's not the problem, it's just a symptom of the problem.

    When faced with a patient who tells the doctor that they don't want to stop hitting their head with a hammer, they just want the doctor to make it stop hurting when they do, the doctor has two options:

    1. Prescribe high-powered painkillers.
    2. Prescribe a 5lb hammer with instructions to apply to the head repeatedly with as much force as possible until the pain subsides.

    The second has the advantage of ending the patient's complaint quicker.

  • Mar 2nd, 2020 @ 6:32pm

    (untitled comment)

    One thing Thomas leaves out is that the FCC could change the classification because the law gave them the authority to determine which classification those services fell into. Yes, that means the courts are going to have to discard old precedent when the classification is changed. That's no more a problem than it is that courts have to discard old precedent when the legislature changes the laws on them.

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