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Comment Have We Lost the War to Quid Pro Quo Complacency? (Score 3) 358

Time and time again I see news articles that seem to herald the idea that users are willing to sacrifice something like privacy for the use of software. Take Facebook for an example. You get a robust and snappy storage and website for communication at the cost of control over your life and privacy. And as I try to explain to people the tradeoffs most of them seem to be complacent. Even I myself use GMail, there's just no better mail service. Even if there were, I'd have to run the server from my home to be sure that I'm in control in it and it's truly free (by your definition). So given that much of the populace isn't even prepared technologically to harness truly free software, don't you think they have slowly accepted the trade offs and that the pros of your arguments -- though sound -- are only possibly realized by those skilled enough to edit source code or host their own mail server from their home?

Comment Companies Selling Actually Free Software? (Score 5, Interesting) 358

I found your piece on selling free software to be pretty logical on paper. However, has it ever worked in the wild? Can you name companies or revenues that currently operate on this idea (and I'm not talking about services or support of the software)? I simply can't come up with a widely used monetized piece of software licensed under the GNU GPL whereby the original software was sold at a single price and shipped with the source code -- free for the original purchaser to distribute by the license's clauses. Can you list any revenue generation from that? I must admit I'm not exactly enamored with paying for free software (as in your definition of free) before it's written yet I cannot think of any other way this would fairly compensate the developer.

Comment Re:Victory for common sense! (Score 1) 91

If other judges follow this precedent, it will be the death knell of civil litigation involving the internet in any way. I don't like how trolls do business, but I don't think changing the rules like this is a good idea overall.

This isn't changing the rules. This is following the rules.

See my article in the ABA's Judges Journal about how judges had been bending the rules for the RIAA. "Large Recording Companies v. The Defenseless: Some Common Sense Solutions to the Challenges of the RIAA Litigation". The Judges' Journal, Judicial Division of American Bar Association. Summer 2008 edition, Part 1 of The Judges Journals' 2-part series, "Access to Justice".

Comment Re:Victory for common sense! (Score 1) 91

Remember, Malibu Media can just change venues too and start this all over again... This judge didn't do anything worth while for you and me and opened himself up to an appeal where he obviously will be slapped. About the only thing he accomplished is getting Malibu Media out of his courtroom and off his docket, for now. Nothing else will change.

I beg to differ.

Malibu Media can't choose the venue, or the judge.

If Judge Hellerstein's decision is followed by other judges, it will be the death knell of the present wave of Malibu Media litigation.

Comment Re:Victory for common sense! (Score 1) 91

I fully appreciate your perspective and I agree that the waters are getting pretty muddy when you start trying to tie an IP address to a person, but the issue here is the issuing of the subpoena and not letting Malibu Media pursue discovery. They must be allowed to protect their rights in civil court, and that means they must be allowed to subpoena third parties for information so they can move from "John Doe" to an actual name and in this case, that takes a subpoena from the court.

While your argument for discovery has some logic to it, it is based on a false assumption of fact : that Malibu Media, once it obtains the name and address of the internet account subscriber, will serve a subpoena on that person in an attempt to find out the name of the person who should be named as a defendant.

Malibu Media's uniform practice, once it gets the name and address, is to immediately amend the complaint to name the subscriber as the infringer/defendant and then serve a summons and amended complaint, not a subpoena, on the subscriber.

This is in every single case .

Comment Re:Victory for common sense! (Score 1) 91

I'm not so sure I agree that this make sense...

You didn't read the judges 11 page opinion then, where he makes his reasons very clear. Among other things, the trolls claim that they need the information to take people to court, but they never do; they just abuse the courts as a cheap way to get information for their blackmail scheme. The point that an IP is not an ID is exactly the point here, because the copyright troll wouldn't have any right to the name of anyone than the copyright infringer. And the fine judge found out that these copyright trolls have in several instances just ignored court orders and have just lied to the courts.

Well said

Comment Re:Copyright trolls going down is a good thing (Score 4, Informative) 91

Hi Ray, nice to see the NYCL moniker around here again. I have a few questions if you're willing. First, you indicate that a judge has denied discovery due to several factors, one being that an IP address does not identify any particular individual. Can you speak to the weight or breadth of this specific Court's opinion here, in layman's terms? I see references to the Eastern and Southern districts of New York, might this decision influence cases outside of those jurisdictions?

It's not binding on anyone. But Judge Hellerstein is a very well respected judge, so it will probably have a lot of 'persuasive authority'.

Second, this business of "if the Motion Picture is considered obscene, it may not be eligible for copyright protection." I've read about certain cases where the Court stated that obscenity has no rigid definition, but "I'll know it when I see it." Does that have any bearing on the Malibu case? Was this some kind of completely outrageous pornography, where any community standard would likely find it to be obscene, or was it just run-of-the-mill porn? Would it matter either way? Would the opinion have likely been the same if the case involved a blockbuster Hollywood film instead of a pornographic and potentially obscene film?

I haven't researched that question yet, and I may well be litigating that issue in the near future, since I have several cases against Malibu Media which are now in litigation mode... so all I can say is, stay tuned.

Lastly, I'm curious whether or not you've kept up with developments in the case regarding Prenda Law, and how you might compare this case to that one, if at all. I try to read Ken White's PopeHat blog every once in awhile to see how poorly the Prenda copyright trolls are faring. It doesn't look good for Prenda, and I wonder if you would put Malibu in the same proverbial boat.

The Prenda people are a bunch of strange people who, based on reports I've read, may well wind up doing jail time. I know nothing about the Malibu Media people. If I did find out something really bad about them in would probably wind up in my court papers if relevant to the case or to their credibility.

Comment Re:F? (Score 1) 91

I should clarify: I didn't mean actual expansion of the law. What I meant in regard to item "F" was: since when does difficulty of enforcement, even if they did prove it, justify loosening the standards of evidence? I did not think that was allowable.

Well I knew exactly what you meant Jane, even before you 'clarified' it.

Comment Re:F? (Score 3, Insightful) 91

Hi, NYCL! I haven't noticed you around here much lately. Is item F even a thing? Since when does the difficulty of enforcing a law allow judicial expansion of the law? I thought that idea had been thoroughly buried a long time ago.

I have to agree with you Jane Q. For 10 years I've been trying to wake the courts up to the fact that they're not supposed to bend the law to help content owners just because the content owners don't know who committed the infringement. Glad to see them coming around.

Comment Re:Victory for common sense! (Score 1) 91

I think that if this troll can prove they have a copyright on the material and the right to enforce it, they will have a good case to appeal this decision and it will likely be overturned.

You also have to prove that the person you're suing actually committed the infringement. It's not enough that they paid the bill for an internet service account that somebody used to commit an infringement.

Submission + - Judge Calls Malibu Media "Troll", Denies Subpoena

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In what could be the beginning of the end of the Malibu Media litigation wave involving alleged BitTorrent downloads of porn films, Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein in Manhattan federal court has denied Malibu Media's request for a subpoena to get the subscriber's name and address from his or her internet service provider. In his 11-page decision (PDF), Judge Hellerstein discussed "copyright trolls" and noted that (a) it is not clear that Malibu Media's porn products are entitled to copyright protection, (b) discussed some of its questionable litigation practices, (c) Malibu's "investigation" leads at best to an IP address rather than to an individual infringer, (d) there is a major risk of misidentification, (e) Malibu has no evidence that the individual John Doe committed any act of infringement, and (f) Malibu's claim that there is no other practical way for it to target infringement was not supported by adequate evidence.

Comment Baidu Team's Apology Appended to Official Notice (Score 3, Insightful) 94

From the official announcement found in the NYT article (full of details we mostly already know) there comes an update with the team's response:

Message from the team in question:

Dear ILSVRC community,

Recently the ILSVRC organizers contacted the Heterogeneous Computing team to inform us that we exceeded the allowable number of weekly submissions to the ImageNet servers (~ 200 submissions during the lifespan of our project).

We apologize for this mistake and are continuing to review the results. We have added a note to our research paper, Deep Image: Scaling up Image Recognition, and will continue to provide relevant updates as we learn more.

We are staunch supporters of fairness and transparency in the ImageNet Challenge and are committed to the integrity of the scientific process.

Ren Wu – Baidu Heterogeneous Computing Team

So, while they deserve the year ban, the apology is nice. It's a shame we can never know what results a fair competition could have yielded ... and an even bigger shame that the media misreported Baidu as overpowering Google. I suppose the damage is done and the ILSVRC has made the right choice.

Perhaps I'm misunderstanding the classification problem but why isn't this run like most other classification problems (like Netflix and many other data challenges) where you get ~80% for training and the remaining 20% are held back for the final testing and scoring? Is the tagged data set too small to do this? Seems like wikimedia would contain a wealth of ripe public domain images for this purpose ...

Where are the calculations that go with a calculated risk?

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