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Comment: Re:The REAL WTF... (Score 1) 584

by Bellegante (#36754266) Attached to: The Wi-Fi Hacking Neighbor From Hell
You don't understand, and most people don't.

In Texas, 99.5% of all cases are resolved by plea bargain. Its all for the same reason, and innocence or guilt doesn't factor in: The prosecutor will offer a deal that you'd be a fool to reject unless you were certain you could win your trial.

If you happen to be poor, and in the right area, the court might be one that appoints public defenders without any fuss (that isn't a good assumption to make, though) or maybe you've got lucky and the area you are in has an actual public defenders office, in which each attorney is assigned a mere 200 cases at a time.

Its easy to say he was stupid for not taking the plea bargain, but innocent people take these plea bargains too, for the same reasons - felony record and probation or 5 years in prison? Sure you can win? Want to take the gamble?

Not my site, but one of a few that really covers this subject: http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/

Comment: Re:Here come the "But not special *ME*!" posts (Score 1) 317

by Bellegante (#36721550) Attached to: 25% of Car Accidents Linked to Gadget Use
There are very few areas of this country where you can live without a car. You can make laws that say people can't drive, but they'll do it anyway. What you DO accomplish is that you criminalize a large portion of the population, while expanding and taxing the underclass. If you'd like proof this is the case look well.. anywhere in the US. Uninsured drivers are illegal in most places.. but they drive. 10% of Texans have active warrants for arrests , mostly for unpaid traffic fines. Not legal to drive. I'm all for responsibility, but if you expect people to lay down and die because they broke laws before.. its just not going to happen. http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2007/07/more-than-10-of-texans-currently-wanted.html

Comment: Re:Scientific 'Facts' Change more often than Relig (Score 5, Insightful) 892

by Bellegante (#32379680) Attached to: The "Scientific Impotence" Excuse
An important detail is missing here: Scientists don't say those things! The media does. Scientists say "Based on our recent observations/experiments, there may be a correlation with this reading and proof of x." The media follows with "Science proves x beyond a doubt! Panic!"

Comment: No Asylum? (Score 3, Insightful) 778

by Bellegante (#28662139) Attached to: British Men Jailed For Online Hate Crimes
No free speech in the UK, I get that (though I strongly disagree with it!), but why not offer asylum? Don't we believe in the right to free speech ourselves? Isn't this a perfect example of a situation in which we should, when someone comes to us who is being prosecuted for a crime that we do not consider to be a crime?

Comment: Re:Starting? (Score 1) 272

by Bellegante (#27972029) Attached to: ASCAP Starts To Act Like the RIAA

Me camping out on your front lawn will never detract from your funds..

I'd have to pay to recover my ammunition, of course..

But seriously, you're comparing not getting perpetual compensation for something you wrote to invading your personal space? You could conceivably have your written song copied and distributed worldwide without even knowing about it. It's not a personal matter at all - you can't own words or ideas. That's why we call it copyright. It's a legal construct we invented specifically because actual ownership was an impossibility.

That said, they could simply work out a deal with the band (or bands) they sell the music to. 10% sounds good. Sure, without copyright, other bands could play and the writer wouldn't be compensated, but the original band will always do the best. If you need examples of this, look at the copyright situation in china. copies and (illegal) derivative work exist; the original makes the most money, the others, less.

Comment: Cost of ownership? (Score 4, Funny) 172

by Bellegante (#27971557) Attached to: Open Source's Battle In Africa
The total cost of a windows box, the entire cost of ownership, is the up front cost of the MS software? Really?

Jesus, I've been a fool for using Linux on my personal systems. Why, considering all the man hours I've put into it, I would have saved virtually hundreds of dollars by paying for a quality Microsoft product!

I'm going to run out right away and buy a new operating system! Looking forward to never having to configure anything, and having a bug free system that does everything I want!

(Mods - Joke. Really.)

Comment: Re:Starting? (Score 1) 272

by Bellegante (#27971477) Attached to: ASCAP Starts To Act Like the RIAA
There is a difference between morality and law. It's an important distinction. I'm well aware that the copyright law can be used to prevent children from singing 'happy birthday' because that particular song is copyrighted; and yet you'd be miserable scum to try to enforce that.

Which is why I asked for a moral, rather than legal, explanation.

I do agree that some form of protection for an artist is desirable, but imagine this world if it did not exist. People would still want authentic music from the actual artists, but they'd have to be the best - if some band could come along and do the music better than the original, then they would hit the top. We would still have mass production of music CD's and such, but those CD prices would be slashed dramatically, with a lot of smaller businesses putting them out. Bands would still make the money that they do make off of live performances. Really, we'd only get rid of the scum of the earth that leech off the current system. The people we care about (The Bands, and The People) would be just fine.

Need proof that music without copyright can still pull in money? You can still buy compilations of classical music, and people still pay to see performances of it. I would assert that, in combination with advertising and popular culture fanaticism, copyright (for music) is completely unnecessary.

Comment: Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (Score 1) 272

by Bellegante (#27970695) Attached to: ASCAP Starts To Act Like the RIAA
Of course not, and from the individual point of view a lot of things don't make sense. I feel for those people, and as I said I consider it to be a noble cause to get them released.

That doesn't change the fact that they were imprisoned by mistake, and every mistake that causes innocent people to be imprisoned that we fix prevents an infinite number of future citizens from being imprisoned (well, assuming this society lasts forever, which I doubt, but you understand my meaning).

Think of it like your system; sure, if there's a trojan there you want to remove it, but shouldn't you put more effort into patching the vulnerabilities?

Comment: Re:Why Is the Music Industry So Messed Up? (Score 1) 272

by Bellegante (#27970205) Attached to: ASCAP Starts To Act Like the RIAA
There are several good reasons that the music industry is corrupt as it is.

1. Old school players. ASCAP and company got into the game early and have maintained control throughout the years by primarily assaulting people with little financial backing. (clubs, notably)

2. Cash cow. The cost of reproduction is virtually nothing for the imaginary property produced, but you -have- to maintain a grip or lose significant profit. There's no non corrupt way to maintain that grip over people, so it's a corrupt industry.

3. Leading us into the third point, that save for the musicians themselves, the entire industry structure is inherently corrupt It's been discussed here ad nauseum, of course. The distributors exist to leech off the artist's popularity, and provide nothing in return. ASCAP exists to intimidate people into payment, providing nothing of value. The whole thing is based around the idea that copyright exists because Music can be owned, rather than the constitutionally valid idea that it exists so that music will be free to the public.

Comment: Re:Paging Ray Beckerman (Score 1, Interesting) 272

by Bellegante (#27969817) Attached to: ASCAP Starts To Act Like the RIAA
Sure, and getting innocent men out of prison is a noble cause. Though, it seems like a case where they miss the forest for the trees. Getting one man out of prison is an immense legal undertaking! Those resources are better spent reforming the system to prevent innocents from going to prison in the first place.

"The medium is the message." -- Marshall McLuhan

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