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Comment: Re:Dramatic stories (Score 1) 328

by Butterwaffle Biff (#39464423) Attached to: Congress Wants Your TSA Stories

The simple fact that the government does not have the right to unreasonable search and seizure should be more than sufficient. In fact, it is a farce that the Bill of Rights even exists; assigning short names (e.g., "unreasonable search and seizure") to a list of things the government may not do is like telling a 2-year old not to smoke a crack pipe. There was significant debate over whether the Bill of Rights should ever have existed back when the constitution was drafted and I agree more and more with Hamilton's position on this every day.

Comment: Convergence! (Score 1) 484

by Butterwaffle Biff (#34562648) Attached to: America's Cubicles Are Shrinking

So what happens when the increasingly obese population grows to the full size of the shrinking cubicle? I predict a new cottage industry of cubicle insertion/evacuation engineers equipped with Texas-sized shoe-horn-like instruments, bungie cords, and winces to help pop people into and out of their offices each day; it would help avoid fixing the problem(s).

Comment: Re:It depends (Score 1) 390

by Butterwaffle Biff (#31492598) Attached to: I prefer my (non-technical) books to be ...

is there a place where we can buy ebook in a non-crappy drm encumbered format ?

Depends on your tastes, but you might be interested in Webscription. They sell science fiction e-books in a variety of forms, but all without DRM. For a single fee, you can download the same book multiple times after purchase and in different forms (HTML, Palm Pilot/Mobipocket/Kindle, Rocketbook, EPUB/Stanza, Sony LRF, RTF and MS Reader). Sample chapters can be read for free on line.

Baen, who started the business, also has a library of free books to get you interested in their authors. The free books tend to be the first in a series so that you have the "opportunity" to buy some books. :-) The quality of the authors is variable but they do have some big names. In any event, I'm a happy customer; it's not the only place I look, but it's the first place I look.

Censorship

IOC Orders Blogger To Take Down Video 389

Posted by kdawson
from the cone-of-ownership-descends dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The International Olympic Committee has ordered a blogger to remove a video from his website showing the death of Georgian luger Nodar Kumaritashvili. The IOC asserts that it owns all the rights to all images taken at the games, and only licensed broadcasters can use them. However, the blogger, Stephen Pate, points to a Canadian law that allows copyrighted images to be used in newsworthy cases."

Comment: Nothing I'd rather have the government doing... (Score 1) 387

by Butterwaffle Biff (#29906763) Attached to: Obama Looks Down Under For Broadband Plan

I can certainly think of a lot of things the government should be doing, but socializing network access isn't one of them. Why not try clamping down on fraudulent advertising that claims unlimited service for a fixed fee or abuse of monopoly power or patent reform? Government shouldn't be telling industry what to do (or trying to do it via some "public option"). Rather than telling industry what to do, it should telling them what not to do. The role of government is punishing those whose behavior encroaches on the rights of others, not trying to predict and preempt bad behavior — that's like trying to legislate utopia and it's got us to a place where the government dictates policy by throwing cash prizes out to a few huge and largely unaccountable companies implement it. Not good.

Comment: Re:Why? (Score 1) 235

by Butterwaffle Biff (#29632155) Attached to: House Committee Passes "Informed P2P User Act"

Most of the text of laws I have seen are for the state, not the federal government, but they read much more like your latter example (e.g., "the text of Article 8 shall be superseded by..."). In any event, your argument that the acts are not really increasing the size of the actual law doesn't ring true to me. For example, the federal law by which I am governed consists of 18 volumes, each 1300-1500 pages in length (as of 2006). Supplements are issued until the next release in 2012. You might be able to read 23000+ pages but could you keep it all in mind every day as you live your life? Now add in the state laws for your home state. And those you visit. And any foreign countries you might care to see. However we got here, the end result is unknowable by any single person much less every average citizen.

As for whether this particular law is needed, I would argue that the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. 1030 (the "CFAA") which was passed in 1984 (Hello, Orwell!) covers most if not all of the acts the "Informed P2P" law covers. As others have pointed out, its true intent is most likely to criminalize all peer-to-peer communication to make some group's life simpler (e.g., the MPAA/RIAA or government intelligence services) at the expense of everyone who uses peer-to-peer software for legitimate purposes.

Comment: Why? (Score 1) 235

by Butterwaffle Biff (#29619705) Attached to: House Committee Passes "Informed P2P User Act"

Why is this a law? Certainly there are other laws on the book that make fraud and misleading advertising criminal? Why not set the attorney general loose on the most egregious offenders? This is exactly what's wrong with politicians these days: they think that writing more laws is the answer. If it's not already, the saying that "Not knowing the law is no excuse for breaking it," is going to be a joke. Sure, if you are writing malware you might guess that you are breaking the law. But what about all the new corner cases and bureaucracy that this new law introduces? Is there really no burden at all on people engaging in honest activities?

The universe does not have laws -- it has habits, and habits can be broken.

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