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Comment: Re:and... (Score 1) 137

Correct. And since they're not authorized by the copyright owner of the allegedly infringed work the statute should kick in.

For the umpteenth time, no that's not how the DMCA's perjury clause works.

I own the rights to a video I made about dogs. I file a DMCA takedown notice claiming your video about cats violates my copyright.

Because I am asserting you're infringing my video about dogs, and I own the copyright to that video, there is no perjury. I am legitimately filing takedown notices to protect the copyright on the dog video. That your video is about cats is irrelevant to the DMCA. By issuing a takedown notice, I am swearing that I own the rights to (or am authorized by the owner of) the dog video. It is only perjury if I don't own the dog video or am not authorized by the owners of the dog video (e.g. what those lawyers filing lawsuits against people downloading porn were doing - threatening to sue even though they weren't authorized by the real copyright owners, in the hopes that because it was porn people would roll over and settle without a fight).

There's tons of precedent for this, by the way. If I call the police and say "so and so robbed my house today" and then, when they come and investigate and find no evidence that my house was robbed I say "oh, well, not really" - I'm going to jail in that case. That's filing a false report and it's a crime.

Yes that's the way it should work. But that's not the way the DMCA is written. At this point I think the only way this will ever be fixed is if millions of everyday people start filing DMCA takedown notices against stuff owned by studios (e.g. official Justin Bieber videos on YouTube), claiming it violates the copyright on their cat or dog video. Since the DMCA puts the burden of proof entirely upon the accused with no penalty for the accuser, the only way to stop the abuse is to accuse the accusers who are abusing it.

Comment: Re:Go Aereo! (Score 2) 137

Yeah, this could lead to the demise of the cable companies as we know them. For a long time I've said cable TV/Internet needs to be regulated as a utility. With a utility like gas or electricity, the utility company owns the pipes but is prohibited from selling the content that's carried over the pipes. They can set up a subsidiary to sell the content, but they must also allow other gas/electric suppliers to sell to customers at the same transport rates they charge their subsidiary. Those transport rates are set by a public utilities commission. Effectively, the utility company has a monopoly on the pipes (it makes no sense to install multiple gas or electric lines to each house), but due to the monopoly its transport pricing is subject to government approval and it must offer the same pricing to all sellers. Thus maintaining a free competitive market for gas and electricity.

In the U.S., cable TV/Internet has been the big exception. Because it doesn't make sense to install multiple cable lines, most municipalities only grant access to a single cable company. Yet that artificial monopoly is not regulated like a utility - the cable company completely controls the pipes and the content that's sent over those pipes. (This is a necessary step when an industry is first developing. Different companies have to be allowed to try different ways to lay down pipe and offer content over those pipes for the market to determine the most efficient way to distribute that content. But once the best method is determined, the industry is essentially a utility. At this point I think we all know TV/Internet delivery is headed towards fiber to the home.)

If Aereo can get themselves classified as a cable company, that does to cable TV what VoIP did to phone service. Right now the cable companies sell you TV, and oh by the way you can get Internet access too. With Aereo's model, you only need to get Internet from the cable company, and you can get your TV from Aereo. The cable company essentially becomes a utility giving you only Internet service. Companies like Aereo could then sell you TV service delivererd over the Internet.

Unfortunately, this means Aereo is going to have both the broadcasters and cable companies arguing against them to the FCC and the courts. While I hope they succeed like VoIP did, the influence of money in politics makes me think their chances are slim.

Comment: Re:Simplified summary (Score 3, Insightful) 137

Close, but what's happening here is similar to what happened with Pandora and online music broadcasters. They tried to get by by paying the same royalty rates as radio stations, which are negotiated between the RIAA and all radio broadcasters en masse. The RIAA smelled an opportunity and finangled the courts so Internet radio got defined as something new and different, and thus they could negotiate rates against a much smaller and less established entity. Consequently, Internet radio pays much higher royalties than broadcast radio.

I suspect the TV stations are trying for a similar play here. It's completely illogical (like saying you're not buying the movie, you're just buying a license to view it; but then saying you need to buy a new one at full price if you're upgrading from VHS to DVD to Blu-ray), but logic is secondary to them if there's an opportunity to extract more money from people. I think that's my biggest gripe with Copyright law - since it's a completely artificial monopoly I think the rules governing it must make logical sense in order for supply and demand to work as with natural property. But instead the copyright holders are twisting that artificiality to completely illogical means that break how markets naturally work.

Comment: Re: Failsafe? (Score 2) 464

Air Transat 236 also glided in to a safe landing. A fuel leak in one tank and crew misdiagnosis of the problem led them to pump all the fuel in the good tank into the leaking tank, resulting in fuel starvation at cruise altitude. The incident is not as well known because the pilots have refused to talk about it.

The altitude (10 km) and distance to the final airport (120 km) when the second engine flamed out also point to a 12:1 glide ratio. Slightly better in fact as the pilot had to execute a 360 and some S-turns to bleed off altitude just prior to landing. It was an A330, which is slightly larger than a 767. Both are widebody (twin aisle) aircraft, and both were saved by the RAT providing emergency power. So while it's certainly possible to power electronics even with total engine failure, it's not something a good engineer should be designing the plane to be reliant upon in an emergency.

Comment: Re:Incoming international flights (Score 4, Informative) 683

by Solandri (#47399565) Attached to: TSA Prohibits Taking Discharged Electronic Devices Onto Planes
The point of airport security isn't to stop terrorists. It's to calm and reassure the public. After every major airliner accident, there's a drop in airline travel. (Least there was back when we'd have 2-3 commercial airliner crashes a year. We're now to the point where it's so safe we go 2-5 years between accidents.) How do you think these people are traveling if they're too scared to fly? Some of them just stay home, but most of them travel by car. Where they are more likely to die in a car accident than from a terrorist attack.

So the point of airport security is literally security theater. Show the public, "Hey we're doing something to stop those terrorists, so it's safe to fly!" When the real goal is to stop people from getting themselves killed while driving because they're too scared of terrorists to fly.

Unfortunately, the people running the TSA never got the memo and are taking their jobs way too seriously.

That said, every time I've had a phone or laptop die from a drained battery, I've been able to turn it on, and it'll power up for at least 5-30 seconds before sensing the low battery and automatically powering off again. This is due to an intentional safety feature of Li-ion batteries - if you drain them too much, they can explode when charged. So devices are designed to shut off long before the battery reaches this point, and consequently there's always enough juice left to briefly turn the device back on again. The only way you can get to a state where the device literally will not power on is if you drain the battery, then let the device sit there for weeks or months so that it self-discharges below the voltage where the device will refuse to use the battery at all. So the guy whose phone dies while traveling shouldn't be affected by this policy change at all (unless the TSA decides to be assholes and require you to demonstrate something more than the phone booting, while not providing a standard microUSB charger).

Comment: Re:Maintain DMCA safe harbor? (Score 4, Insightful) 92

by Solandri (#47390535) Attached to: Rightscorp Pushing ISPs To Disconnect Repeat Infringers

Oh, yes, there are MANY problems with this whole scheme. And a lot of it could be solved TOMORROW by the FCC choosing to regulate ISPs as Title II Common Carriers.

Actually, all this is probably exactly why the FCC is choosing not to regulate ISPs as common carriers. If they do that, then the copyright holders and the government have to do the legwork of tracking down and prosecuting copyright violators. The way it's set up now, they can just threaten the ISP and make the ISP do the busywork for them.

Comment: Re:Missing Option: I HATE fireworks. (Score 2) 340

by metlin (#47386677) Attached to: On 4th of July:

Yes, because anyone who cannot afford to pay for a baby sitter should forego ever eating out or watching a movie.

And the reason you find more babies out is for a few reasons:

1. Families are smaller and there is less of grandma and grandpa living 'round the block. As such, you are left with no family help.

2. Economic realities make childcare extreme expensive, even in double income families.

3. Single parents are also a lot more common, and the single parent already has someone taking care of the kid during the day. They can't magically "leave" the kid behind for everything that they do, just because other assholes in public find them to be an inconvenience.

If I can't get a sitter, I'll do my best to calm my baby when I'm out in public. If you don't like it, you can bugger off.

Comment: Re:Missing Option: I HATE fireworks. (Score 1) 340

by metlin (#47385865) Attached to: On 4th of July:

You know, I cannot understand the recent cultural backlash against babies.

Yes, babies cry. They cry at night, they cry in restaurants, and they cry on airplanes. They cry when they are hungry, when they are tired, when they're pooping, and when they need a diaper change. And often, they cry for apparently no reason at all.

As a father of a four month old, I can tell you that we parents aren't exactly pleased to hear our babies cry, either. We don't want our kids to be in pain, and we want them to be happy. We are acutely conscious of bothering others, and we feel helpless about the whole thing.

But you know what's worse? Assholes who cannot stop complaining about crying babies. Guess what? It's how human beings are. You cried too. So did every human being who's ever lived.

So, get over it. Babies cry. Live with it. If you don't like it, find a place without any humans who procreate. And show some empathy, for crying out loud.

Comment: Too many secrets (Score 1) 74

A member of Germany's foreign intelligence agency has been detained for possibly spying for the U.S. The 31-year-old is suspected of giving a U.S. spy agency information about a parliamentary inquiry of NSA activities.

So the investigation into the NSA's secret spying activities, is itself being conducted in secret under penalty of espionage charges should any German violate that secrecy?

We seem to be forgetting why people object to the NSA's activities. Something about governments being open and transparent in their operation so the public can be assured their actions are trustworthy. Any investigation into the NSA's activities should be done publicly and openly, to demonstrate a contrast with how the NSA operated.

Unless that is the German government has something it wants to keep secret from its own people. But in that case they become the pot calling the kettle black.

Comment: Re:Well, duh... (Score 1) 210

Ideally we'd like a "right to be forgotten" that means when I ask Facebook to delete my account, then by delete I mean "not a single bit of my accounts data remains".

Even that is problematic. Presumably Facebook keeps backups. And for a backup to be a true backup, it has to be offline and off-site. So when you submit an account deletion request, they can't just scrub your data from their servers. They have to bring those backups back on-site and online, and scrub your data from them as well.

A better solution is to mandate a maximum period to private data retention policies, e.g. 1 year. Then you can submit your deletion request, Facebook scrubs your data from their servers immediately. But by law they're allowed to keep the offline backup for up to a year, at which point they're required to scrub it. When it's a year old, it's not any good as a backup anymore, so they can just delete the whole thing instead of having to find your specific data within it.

Yeah you probably want all the backups scrubbed immediately. But the whole point of living in society is that everyone makes compromises to arrive at a solution which works better for everyone overall. You don't get your data entirely scrubbed immediately. Facebook doesn't get to keep that data forever.

Comment: Re: Well, duh... (Score 1) 210

That's why Google shouldn't be wasting time trying to do this. It's not their job, and the task is damned if they do, damned if they don't.

They should simply invert the process - remove every search result older than x years from the countries affected by this court decision. Pre-comply with all possible cases before people submit privacy takedown requests. Then provide the court with a list of all removed content and say they will add each removed link back if and when the court approves it. Make the people who want old stuff to reappear submit their request to the government - the institution who thinks this policy is a good or even workable idea.

Comment: Re:The point is lacking (Score 1) 133

Meanwhile even at current energy consumption levels US per-capita energy consumption is 308 million BTU per year, or 247 kWh per day. At 5kWh per square meter of solar panel per day (a conservative number achievable almost anywhere with low-to-mid-range solar panels) that's only 49.5 meters of panels per person, or 532 square feet. A little high, but not unachievable.

That's the panel's peak output - what it produces when it's oriented normal to incident sunlight on a cloudless day at noon. e.g. An average 16% efficient panel is rated at about 125 W/m^2 peak. Multiply that by 24 hours and you get 3 kWh/day for a square meter of panels. Unfortunately the sun doesn't stay directly overhead 24 hours/day.

To get average panel output, you need to multiply by PV solar's capacity factor. That takes into account night, movement of the sun, weather, etc. For the continental U.S., PV solar's capacity factor is about 0.145 (for northern Europe it's closer to 0.10). So averaged over a year, your 16% efficient panel is only going to generate 0.435 kWh/day.

Assuming your other energy figures are correct, this equates to 568 square meters of panels per person.

Comment: Re:Non-story. (Score 1) 346

by Solandri (#47379307) Attached to: Goldman Sachs Demands Google Unsend One of Its E-mails
This is something that's bugged me about people (ab)using email. This sort of stuff doesn't even need to be "sent". Presumably anyone with a GS brokerage account has a login to some place on the GS website. The email should just be a notice that some new important information is available, and they need to login to their account and read it. (If they don't and they lose money because they didn't, then the fault is theirs.)

People seem to have long forgotten that email isn't secure. As we used to say in the 1980s, sending someone an email isn't like sending a letter in a sealed envelope. It's like sending a postcard - anyone along the route the email takes to the final recipient can read it.

In this particular case, if you've got the same information which needs to be read by multiple recipients, email is a stupid way to do it. Why make x copies and send it to the corners of the world via the Internet, when you can put just one copy on your company's website and only authorized people can view it after logging in? Multiple recipients for an identical large or important file should immediately equate to "not for email" in your mind.

If a camel is a horse designed by a committee, then a consensus forecast is a camel's behind. -- Edgar R. Fiedler