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  • Nov 26th, 2018 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Company X spying BAD! [Tacitly: GOOGLE spying GOOD.]

    I couldn't find a definition of that term at all, just offhand.

    I did manage to find the Wikipedia entry for a "standard form contract", which defines that as "a contract between two parties, where the terms and conditions of the contract are set by one of the parties, and the other party has little or no ability to negotiate more favorable terms and is thus placed in a "take it or leave it" position". That isn't the same term as "forms contract", however, and that definition wouldn't seem to fit with the way you've used the term.

    From the way you use it (and from a vague sort-of impression I've gotten from somewhere), I have the idea that it might mean something like "an implied, automatic contract, with certain terms, which exists and is enforceable under certain circumstances even if one of the participants in those circumstances did not intend to enter into any contract", but I have no idea what if any the basis for that would be.

    So, if you have a definition for "forms contract" which you want the rest of us to use for purposes of discussions with you, please either provide or point to it.

  • Nov 26th, 2018 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: "And we should trust you THIS time why again?"

    It does, actually.

    A more general statement of the principle would be "the fact that I broke the law to do X shows how hard it is to do X without breaking the law".

    Whether or not it *should* be hard to do X without breaking the law, or even hard to do X at all, is a completely separate question.

    Your "speeding" analogy doesn't include an indication of what goal the speeding was intended to accomplish, so it doesn't map very well to the case at hand.

    The "shot him" analogy could fit, in a form more like "the fact that I shot him in order to survive is an indication of how hard I found it to survive without shooting him" - although that example itself does show the limits of the principle, since people can and do indeed go to the extreme solution without even trying the less extreme ones first. (And that might well apply to the case at hand.)

  • Nov 26th, 2018 @ 4:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Cops do what they please

    I (think that I) would argue that that turns on the difference between reasonable and legitimate.

    Yes, it was reasonable for them to expect that they'd be able to get away with it; that is, reasoning from the observable evidence (the loads and loads of good-faith-exception precedent to which you refer) could validly lead to that conclusion.

    But that doesn't mean that their expectation of that was legitimate, and in fact the court's decision seems to have held exactly that it was not.

  • Nov 25th, 2018 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Cops do what they please

    It appears that you may have missed the dependent clause:

    The government simply can't do what it did -- turn someone's house into occupied territory for several hours without probable cause -- and expect its evidence to survive.

    This is not saying "you are not able to do X", but rather "if you do X, it is not legitimate for you to expect Y to happen".

  • Nov 25th, 2018 @ 5:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: OKAY, what "changes need to be made"?

    As someone else has pointed out recently, there is actually a valid use of 'theft' with regards to copyright, yet infringement isn't it. Instead, it's when people claim to own copyright that isn't their's, such that there's an actual loss of control/profits, and where the ownership over the copyright has actually been 'lost'/attributed to the wrong person, albeit temporarily.

    Well, yes; I'm well aware of that valid sense of the term, but it clearly doesn't apply to the usage that was being addressed, and I thought it was well enough understood to go without being pointed out in this instance.

    An argument you can shoot down simply by pointing out that if they really did have their copyright stolen, such that they no longer have it, then they no longer have any legal rights to the work in question, such that they cannot issue takedowns for it, nor demand compensation for infringing use. Since they can still do that, no matter how much a copyright has been infringed on, it's pretty clear that they still have it.

    While this is true, I think there's still some ground to stand on about the "taking away exclusivity" part of it, though just at the moment I find holes in the argument every time I try to phrase it.

    There's also the angle that "if all tools for effectively enforcing the copyright (takedowns, et cetera) are being denied/opposed (as violative of other rights), then the copyright effectively does not actually exist no matter what the law may say" - which, you may note, is basically a rephrasing of some of the arguments used by the copyright-maximalist trolls hereabouts.

    As is frequently pointed out in other aspects of the copyright discussions on Techdirt: it's all about control. This is just another way in which that manifests.

    I strongly suspect that the overwhelming majority of those pushing the conflation between the two terms wouldn't be willing to accept the two actually being treated as the same.

    Oh, I wholeheartedly agree. At the very minimum, the penalties for "commercial infringement" need to be radically adjusted; as I understand matters, they were originally set when commercial infringement was conceived of as having such a high bar to entry that any operation infringing on a scale which could qualify as "commercial" would have to be carried out by what is basically a medium- to large-scale business organization, in the business of creating/moving/selling counterfeit products, and were calibrated both to appropriately penalize that type of operation and to effectively counter all the profits from the transactions in the operation that didn't get caught. Neither of those principles applies to the types of copying that is being classified as "commercial infringement" nowadays, and so the statutory penalties are grossly out of proportion.

  • Nov 24th, 2018 @ 5:31am

    Re: Re: OKAY, what "changes need to be made"?

    Copyright infringement is not theft. If it were theft, you could tell me what was stolen from the possession of the original artist—and no, “potential” income does not count.

    Control.

    Copyright says "I have exclusive control over the creation of copies of this". If you create a copy without permission from me, I no longer (can think that I) possess that control. Thus, copyright infringement constitutes theft of control.

    Some of the copyright maximalists may even admit that that's the real focus of their objections to (what they call) piracy.

    Some of them might even extend it further, to "if I don't have the control, then I don't have the copyright, and therefore by (taking away/flouting/ignoring/rejecting) the control you have taken away the copyright, and therefore by creating the copy outside of my control you have stolen the copyright, and therefore it really is theft of copyright after all!".

    That's a twisted line of logic, but I think it may represent the internal "reasoning" (probably largely subconscious or retroactive-justification) behind the examples of "copyright is stealing" which don't just represent having not considered the ways in which physical theft isn't the same as copyright infringement.

  • Nov 23rd, 2018 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Oh come on...

    Unless he winds up being able to blame the coming economic downturn on the Democrats having taken over the House, which - given the sway he has over the views of the part of the country that is inclined to support him - I wouldn't put beyond the bounds of plausibility.

  • Nov 23rd, 2018 @ 7:06am

    Re: Oh come on...

    Strictly speaking, Trump's (first?) term began on January 20th, 2017, and ends on (or immediately prior to?) January 20th, 2021 - in both cases, Inauguration Day. That remains true even if he leaves office before the end of that period; that would just lead to someone else filling out the remainder of Trump's term.

    By that standard, the midpoint of his term will be on January 20th, 2019. We still have just under two months to go.

  • Nov 23rd, 2018 @ 6:51am

    Re: Who else?

    What "family server"? All the reporting I've seen has been that she used a Microsoft-provided, Microsoft-hosted personal E-mail account - and that, as the article points out, she specificially did not set up her own server. Is there some reporting on this that I've missed which would indicate otherwise?

  • Nov 20th, 2018 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Specify type of goat."

  • Nov 19th, 2018 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:Member when you promised to leave forever

    The original "gigantic lair" was a typo for "gigantic liar".

  • Nov 17th, 2018 @ 4:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Except no.

    I believe that that interpretation is a misreading.

    I'm given to understand that "the press" in that sentence means "the printing press"; by that angle, "freedom of the press" means "freedom of access to the printing press", or more broadly, "freedom of access to the means of (mass) publication".

    As far as I understand matters, "the press" as referring to people - much less to a certain class of people, or to people in a certain line of business - is a back-formation, derived entirely from the term having been used in that particular place. (Or at least from the equivalent metaphor.)

    I don't think that the "of the press" detail of the First Amendment has any bearing on this situation, in either direction. Or at the very least, not because of Jim Acosta being a reporter.

    That said, it's entirely possible that there are court precedents establishing otherwise, of which I am not aware. (Although I might, if shown such precedents and given time to consider them, decide that they were wrongly concluded.)

  • Nov 14th, 2018 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Voting Register considered absurd

    I think the idea is:

    • The law surrounding elections prescribes a certain procedure to be followed.

    • That procedure requires that votes received outside of certain boundaries not be counted, and/or that the counting of votes be complete by a certain point in time.

    • Therefore, votes received outside of those boundaries are not valid, and/or counting votes after that point in time is illegal.

    • Therefore, any attempt to count votes which were received outside of those boundaries, and/or to count any votes at all after that point in time, is an attempt to violate the terms which define the boundaries of a legitimate election.

    • Therefore, any such attempt is an attempt to illegitimately alter the outcome of the election.

    • Therefore, any such attempt is an attempt to steal the election.

    Or in other words: "The rules are the rules, and if following the rules means that some votes don't get counted, then those votes have to not get counted, and anyone trying to count those votes is breaking the rules!" (Never mind the question of who wrote those rules, or why, or of whether rules which prohibit counting otherwise-valid votes - in the sense that they are not fraudulent, and were cast in good faith by people who are legally qualified to do so - are appropriate under a theoretically-democratic system...)

  • Nov 9th, 2018 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Illegal Robocalls

    I think the "legal robocalls" category is for things like electoral polling, political advocacy, and so forth, which are (IIRC) specifically exempted under the law.

    There's also robocalls which the recipient has signed up for; my household routinely receives robocalls from our local pharmacy notifying us that a prescription is ready, for instance.

    There are probably other categories I'm not recalling at the moment - but the point is that there are, indeed, categories of robocall which are not illegal, and some at least of them probably should not be.

  • Nov 9th, 2018 @ 2:35pm

    Re: If it were two "Baptists" instead of "Mormons"...

    Leaving aside any other problems with your characterization of the matter, I'll just note that I'm pretty sure the description of the municipal judge as a "good Mormon" was meant to refer to him as being a good, loyal adherent to the teachings of Mormonism, and thus presumably considering himself subject (in some degree and scope) to the authority of the church's leaders.

    Neither of the groups you substituted in for the Mormons have any such teachings/authority principle, so the analogy breaks down there at the very least.

  • Nov 7th, 2018 @ 4:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: We will fix this promptly!

    Er, 2014 wasn't a Presidential election year. Did you mean 2012, 2016, or the 2014 midterm?

  • Nov 6th, 2018 @ 8:45am

    Re: Re:

    Or at the very least, that you do not believe that you necessarily will, and you are not willing to take the chance that you might not.

  • Nov 6th, 2018 @ 5:07am

    Re: Re: First Past The Post

    Mind, there are actually quite a few different ranked-preference voting systems out there, some of which do a much better job of leaving no room for "strategic voting" (in which voting for the candidate you really want to support isn't actually the best way to achieve your desired result - a superset of the spoiler effect) than others, and the one I understand Maine to have adopted is one of the worst in that regard.

    It's still likely to be far better than single-choice first-past-the-post, however; it simply wouldn't be as good as a proper implementation of the Condorcet method. (With some mechanism for a tiebreaker in the unlikely event of a genuine multi-candidate rock/paper/scissors who-beats-whom loop; my vote in that situation is for the flip of a coin or roll of a die, i.e., random selection from among the tied candidates.)

    In today's election (for the seats for which the system will be in use) and in the ones to come, for as long as this system is in use, Maine's elections will be worth paying attention to.

  • Nov 5th, 2018 @ 3:35am

    Re: Re: good thing they could store it in the..basement.

    I believe his point was that in that interview the owner indicated that the restaurant does have a basement, vs. the more recent claims (after/regarding the "Pizzagate" scandal) that it doesn't.

    Having not encountered that interview, I can't really speak to whether or not that point is accurate, never mind anything deeper about the whole matter.

  • Nov 4th, 2018 @ 2:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As the NDA would presumably be incorporated into the employment contract, I imagine that that would be given a pass under the same terms-of-employment-contract loophole as I cited in my previous comment; right of private contract (including the right to give up one's other rights in exchange for something, such as employment) again.

    The problem, under that model, would be that it seems likely that the employment contract for the officers wasn't actually modified to incorporate the terms of the consent decree (either directly or by reference).

    While I was sleeping tonight, another angle - and possibly one less likely to require such gymnastics - for permitting this to work occurred to me: the "state actor" doctrine, and the fact that a police officer operating within the confines of his or her duties is by definition a state actor. Unfortunately, either I don't have a sufficiently clear grasp of that doctrine to argue it with facility for this context, or I'm pretty sure those with the type of [Ll]ibertarian mindset I'm sort-of standing in for here would see the imposition of such a doctrine overriding the First Amendment rights of the individual officers as a problem with the doctrine rather than a reason why the officers should be bound by the decree.

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