My hat's off to people who record the police in public spaces, knowing full well that some of them are going to act illegally as a consequence. It's a public service. Let's find out which cops are law-abiding and which are not, and let the public know.
But it's not a crime to be untactful. To legally detain and arrest, the officer must witness a crime or have reasonable suspicion that a crime was committed.
Photographing police in a public space from a respectful distance is not a crime. Swearing is not a crime. Asking an officer who is exceeding this authority illegally to 'get out of my face' is not a crime. At no point did the photographer commit any crime at all.
The officer, on the other hand, far exceeded his authority. He harassed a citizen without any evidence whatsoever of criminal conduct, assaulted him, attempted to destroy evidence, and pressed false charges against him.
It's *legal* to photograph or take videos of the police in public spaces. The photographer *in no way* interfered with the arrest he was photographing. The photographer was within his rights to ask the officer to move out of his face. And it's not a crime to say 'fuck.'
The photographer baited the officer, sure. That's not illegal either - if he stays within the law. He did. The correct and legal response by the officer was to go about his legal business.
What distinguishes authoritarian governments from democratic ones is this: the law in authoritarian societies is whatever those in authority say it is.
We're in great danger in our own nation from this authoritarian trend. It's not just police departments, it's illegal actions taken by government behind the veil of secrecy, too. Assassinations, rendition, hacking and malware attacks, property seizures without due process, torture, refusal to prosecute torturers, refusal to prosecute Wall Street criminals, persecution of minorities, illegal spying which violates the 4th Amendment, on and on and on. The lawlessness not getting better, it's getting worse.
The brave young man who recorded this confrontation represents the only real hope we have, I think. Our democracy is no longer functioning; both parties are advancing the authoritarian security state and answerable only to the wealthy elites. All that's left is to expose as much malfeasance as we can.
NSA is able to compile dossiers based on our commenting at web sites and our e-mails, too, and they share with FBI and other agencies. Watch lists and targeted spying is the least we can expect. Even expressing nonviolent opinions is dangerous in America's security state.
Internet standards are still evolving, but we don't have the same degree of confusion that surrounded the standardization wars of the early electricity age. Thankfully!
To answer your question, no. We don't want to go through that business again. But if the 'internet of things' takes off, electricity suppliers *could* be in a position to determine which device is sucking how much power. Automatically, no meter readers required. And once they have that information, they *could* try to use their market power the same way Comcast wants to use its market power: to dictate terms to other market players who rely on their bandwidth.
It's called 'monopsony' in economics: where the market power of a monopoly enables it to dictate terms, not just to consumers, but to suppliers.
There is no conceivable way that the exercise of monopsony powers to enrich a monopolist is advantageous to either small startups or consumers.
Electricity is pretty much 'net-neutral.' It's sold in units having nothing to do with how it's used.
What would electricity sales look like if electricity was *not* net-neutral?
The supplier would be able to dictate different prices for different uses. If, for example, it wanted to encourage the use of Westinghouse refrigerators and discourage other refrigerator brands, it could manipulate electricity pricing by brand. It could even force refrigerator suppliers to pay a fee so that their products aren't disadvantaged.
Why didn't this happen when the electrical grid was rolled out? Simple. It would have cost too much in metering devices and meter reading, given the technology at the time.
And now it's sort of cemented in place. The public wouldn't be receptive to price manipulation intended to gouge more profits out of electrical device suppliers (and ultimately, of course, consumers).
That's where propaganda like the Wired article might one day find value to electricity monopolists. Once electrical devices are internet-connected, there's no need for crude meters or meter-readers. Usage data can be collected automatically. This *could* give electricity suppliers leverage to extract money from electrical device suppliers - but first they'd have to bamboozle the public with propaganda telling them all the ways it would supposedly advantage *them.*
All lies, of course.
Alas, well-funded think tanks exist whose sole purpose is to find ways to exploit monopoly powers. I suppose this is one area they'll get around to in time.
Berin, you ducked the question of whether the article you wrote was funded by Comcast, Time/Warner, or a proxy for the cable industry.
Just how independent was this journalism?
It doesn't *look* independent. It *looks* like shilling for the cable industry. How else should we take an argument that strengthening monopoly powers for the cable industry will actually benefit small startups on the net, an argument supported by irrelevancies having *nothing* to do with small startups? Netflix has tremendous market power, therefore all the small startups have market power? Sheesh.
Once again: if Comcast is handed more monopoly power, and if government fails to regulate its prices and activities, as so often is the case in the US with respect to monopolies, then it *will* exploit its market power to suck money from consumers and other net suppliers alike.
It's disturbing to me that a disingenuous front of pundits has arisen in recent years whose main purpose seems to be to encourage market monopolization, as if that were somehow a good thing for an economy. It's a good thing *only* for the monopolies in question. That's basic economics, which if anyone on this good Earth should understand, it's you, with your legal and economic educational background. But somehow, having gotten that wonderful education, you ignored all of that and became a champion for monopolies.
There is no justification to be found in economics for your advocacy. It's not merely a case of there being weak justification. There's *no* justification. So why are you advocating this way?
I caught the article on Wired and commented there. Crazy damned Wired. Increasing market power of cable companies through augmented monopolization does not help net startups.
The only reason I can imagine that the article survived editorial review at Wired is the authors sponsored the article. Paid Wired handsomely to publish it. Which, if true, means the authors themselves were hired guns on behalf of the cable companies involved, Comcast and/or Time Warner. None of which was disclosed at publication.
Follow the money, journalists, and I think you may find some juicy dirt.
I don't own a TV. Well, I do, but it doesn't work - it's an old analog set that doesn't receive digital signals. I have cable internet but not cable TV.
The only TV I see is over the internet in small chunks: sometimes Comedy Central's The Daily Show, occasionally a video slice on HuffPost or MSNBC or whatever. It doesn't add up to much.
I'm perfectly happy to have the TV ecosystem ignore me. I don't really care if advertisers think they are getting more audiences than they are.
In the years since I stopped watching television - starting in 2003, it was - I have learned to think again. (Doesn't mean I'm always right. But I am thinking.)
Television is hypnotic. It does our thinking for us when we plug into it, which is why advertising commands the big bucks. Ads literally program our attitudes and proclivities. TV is the most powerful propaganda medium ever invented - and it's frighteningly effective.
People who can't think, can't challenge the status quo. Our inability to challenge the status quo is why we are losing our rights under our own Constitution. If you ask me, it'd be a big step in a positive direction if all TV-watchers cut their cords. Some of them might wake up.
So, your argument is 'they're all nukes, what's the big deal.'
Fission produces large amounts of radioactive waste material with dangerously-long half-lives, and we have *no* plan in the works for making those waste products safe. Fission (as currently implemented) risks dangerous melt-downs. Fission plants are expensive relative to coal-fired electrical plants for the electricity we can harvest from them.
Fusion, on the other hand, doesn't work. But if it did, it would produce short half-life waste products in small amounts and pose no risk of melt-downs. As to cost, well, fusion doesn't work. We can't set a cost for something that doesn't work.
It's pointless to set up a false equivalency between fission and fusion merely because they're both nuclear.
Incidentally, fusion *might* be closer than TechDirt imagines. Last year, Lockheed Martin announced they are working on a fusion concept; they plan to have a prototype reactor by 2017 and a commercial product by 2022. Sounds pie-in-the-sky to me, but if it works...
Their concept calls for 100 MW reactors small enough to mount on a truck trailer, able to be mass-produced. They *think* they will be able to produce enough of them by 2045 to meet the base load power requirements of our entire civilization. No risk of melt-downs, minimal production of radioactive waste with only short half-lives. Cost? Nobody is talking about cost. Still, a 100 MW reactor that's trailer-mounted might turn out to be cheap compared to competing energy sources. Maybe.
Unfortunately, Lockheed isn't sharing many details about their design. So... maybe it won't pan out. But if it does, it'll be a far sight better than fission plants. A far, far sight better.
Either way: fusion is not fission. The two aren't equivalent, and if you can't grasp that, you're spouting nonsense.
Wedding photography is art, which is speech. It's a service, which isn't speech. Which is it primarily?
I think it's primarily a service. The message being created isn't the wedding photographers - much. She picks her angles and exposures, which is art, but the message is determined mainly by the buyer. So it's a service more than it's her own art.
An independent contractor/service provider should be free to sign contracts/provide services as pleases her. For example, a maid should be free to refuse employment with a particular rich employer if she doesn't like him. Her dislike is a good enough reason to refuse a contract and make it stick. It doesn't matter why she doesn't like him: he could be gay, or religious, or a reputed rapist, or has ugly children, or messes up the toilet seat, or maybe he wrote a book she hated. Any reason is good enough.
It's different when a business opens itself to the public, like a restaurant. But this case is much closer to the maid analogy than a restaurant. So it makes no sense to me to compel the wedding photographer to sign a contract for people she doesn't want to serve.
So I reach the conclusion that the ACLU is off-base this time, too - but not because the photographer is protected by the First Amendment. I don't see the First Amendment as having anything much to do with her right to refuse to serve the wedding couple.
As for the Equal Protection Clause, I can't see how that would apply, either.
Basic economic theory suggests that monopolization and rent-seeking have a depressing effect on economic activity.
To be fair, though, it's not *quite* as clear-cut as that.
Copyright ownership and management overhead can be dismissed. All of that is a drag on economic activity - enforcement, legal, administration. Get rid of that and the economy benefits.
Where you have to go cautiously is with content creators. If we aren't going to protect their products, then we must be able to visualize a way for them to be rewarded for their effort.
Techdirt.com is an example of a content creator which does not rely on copyright and still is able to reward content creation. It does this by attracting advertising. There are other examples large and small, but there are also counterexamples where lack of copyright protection will impede content creation, such as books. If anyone can copy a book and sell it, sidestepping the investment cost of creating it, then authors won't have much incentive to write books.
Ideally, the law would be shaped entirely around the goal of incentivizing content creation. Where incentives are adequate without copyright, there is no compelling reason for the public to consent to monopolization. Long-duration copyrights, particularly copyrights which endure long after their content creators are deceased, have little to no incentivizing effect.
Patents are a whole different ball game, but as your comment dealt mainly with copyright, I'll stop here.
AC wrote, "No. They only have to pay for the unused beds."
That isn't correct. A filled bed is (obviously) not free.
I think what you were trying to get at is that their costs are fixed by the number of beds. But that isn't true, either. Unused beds means less direct costs associated with housing prisoners, such as food, medical, and water consumption, and possibly - if there are enough unused beds - guard salaries and even overhead.
There is no enforcement to prevent takedowns when 'Fair Use' applies. It's not in YouTube's algorithms, either.
And it's a judgment call, which means that it's possible to win a civil suit by invoking it, but otherwise, as things stand today, for most users, it's more of a theoretical right than an actual one.
The big IP holders regularly lobby against 'Fair Use' in Congress. They want it removed from the law. In their IP enforcement actions, they treat all re-use of their IP as infringing. The IP holders don't recognize 'Fair Use' as legitimate, despite the DCMA and other statutes which grant users that right.
Because of the high cost of civil litigation, most users will simply give up and accept the takedown. I know of only one who has successfully fought YouTube takedowns using 'Fair Use' as a defense. There may be more like that user, but I think it's the exception, not the rule.
But my point here was simply to make AC aware that just because an IP holder launches an accusation of infringement in a takedown notice, it doesn't mean that the user is automatically an infringer and undeserving of sympathy. You can't know until you dig into each case and see if the 'Fair Use' doctrine might apply.
Yeah, I get it. The judge found the guy to be annoying (for the record, so did I). So, like any good little authoritarian, the judge used his authority in an arbitrary way to punish the jerk. The judge had no difficulty finding vague statutes to let him do it. The books are full of them.
That's how things work in this authoritarian version of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.
The end result sounds like something from the book 'Catch-22' - ridiculously absurd. Well, that's sort of the point Joseph Heller was trying to communicate. Authoritarian systems are capricious and clunky and produce endless absurdities, like cops shooting unarmed legless old guys in wheel chairs, or judges declaring obviously living guys legally dead. They do this shit because, obviously, they can.
Many, many takedown notices generated by YouTube are invalid under current statutes. I advise you not to jump to the conclusion that a particular case represents copyright infringement unless you've looked into the details and heard the arguments.
AC, you seem to think that I'm arguing in favor of Mike's viewpoint, and you're criticizing me for hanging my argument on his fallacious logic.
Mike is arguing in favor of the author's viewpoint: that advancing tech creates as many jobs as it destroys. I am arguing that since the 1990s, advancing tech has destroyed more jobs than it has created, and that the trend is accelerating, with potentially dire implications for the economy and for civilization itself.
My argument does not rest on Mike's fallacy.
In fact my argument doesn't rest on much of anything. It's a declaration, a description. I haven't reasoned from evidence here in the comments section.
Others have. There is evidence, but it's the sort of thing that fits better into academic papers or articles than a comment thread on TechDirt.
My purpose is to acquaint readers - the few who read comments, anyway - with the fact that there is a competing thesis which contradicts the TechDirt article, and that thesis has alarming and grave implications.
Greevar, you're quite right. I am assuming, or perhaps 'predicting' is a better word, that the means of production will remain in the hands of the capital-owning class unless it's stripped from them by force. I don't think 3-D printing is going to make much of a difference by itself, at least not in this century.
Technology alone won't do it, because wealth concentration has enabled the capital-owning class to completely corrupt government at every level. And that lets them establish the legal framework under which the economy operates.
Take the internet. On its own, it's a liberating force for information. But with every passing year, legislation creep is assaulting that freedom at the behest of the capital-owning class. Wholesale spying, which, combined with vague laws, enables government to prosecute anyone who annoys the elites, is only part of it. It's just a matter of time before laws explicitly prohibit ISPs like Google or Facebook from hosting unedited content from users that can be accessed by the public. Why do I think that will happen? They've got a strategy: first they'll go after small service providers for illegalities committed by their users (MegaUpload and The Silk Road being examples). Once that precedent is firmly in place (which overturns the DCMA), they'll get legislatures to endorse it with laws. Can you imagine Google letting users post what they like if Google will be liable when those users have broken the law somewhere? We'll be back to pre-internet days: the only information in the public space will be edited information from media companies. And they'll charge rent for it.
For 3D printing, it's a similar problem. You can legally print whatever the printer will let you print... if laws permit it. But copyright, trademark and patent IP is mutating and spreading like crazy. Exxon-Mobile filed a lawsuit just recently against another company that used an 'X' in its name! Maybe they won't win, but it's yet another high water mark, and it won't be the last one. Vague patents are being filed by the million! Which means that the average Joe will be vulnerable to lawsuits he can't afford if he threatens even minor damage to monopoly interests. They've got the law on their side, they can interpret however it suits them, they've got the SWAT guys to enforce it, and the spies to figure out who's transgressing against the interest of the owners of capital.
So while I agree that on its own, advancing technology has a tendency to distribute power more broadly, that alone isn't going to be enough to offset the powers of the totalitarian state that is slinking darkly towards us with greedy hands and more weapons than you could possibly count.