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Comment: Timely discussion. (Score 1) 239

Until a proposed system to make automated vehicles feasible on public roads in mass is proposed, developed, protocols and legal procedures released related to this come about, this is nothing but a scare topic making vague assumptions about things that aren't even a topic for development yet.

Not really. We already have self-driving cars, and we have a lot of data about traffic accidents and mortality. The cars aren't available at retail yet, but they exist. Teaching them to drive in a way that makes the right safety tradeoffs is appropriate. (E.g. driving slowly through a stoplight might cause more accidents and fewer deaths; that's a hunch, but we have lots of data so there's a moral calculation that should be made based on the data and desired outcomes.)

Comment: Ticket Copyright Ownership (Score 1) 226

Not necessarily. Suppose the back of the ticket agreed in advance to sell the copyright to any media you take, or to grant an exclusive, irrevocable license, or the like. Then you get to fight about whether that's a valid agreement, but you may not own the copyright.

Comment: Lawyers and judges (Score 1) 226

Correct. There is no such thing as fair use in the UK. But if the video/twitter feed is hosted in the US then I am not sure where the 'infringement' is considered to have taken place.

The lawyers and judges will be happy to spend hundreds of hours trying to figure it out.

Even in the US, it is arguable how much context, and what kind, you would need to give the video in order to make it fall under "fair use." Even major television studios avoid using game footage without permission, even when they know they have an absolute right to use it, in part because of reputation issues but really because they don't want to be sued. You also have the issue of breaking copy protection by using the analog gap, at least in theory.

Bottom-line: if you're risk-averse, don't do it. Instead, describe it with your pretty words. If you want to do it, pay a copyright and sports law expert in your jurisdiction a few hundred euros to give you his best answer and listen to his advice. Do not get legal advice on slashdot.

Comment: Altering History has precedent (Score 1) 113

by Etherwalk (#47655617) Attached to: Wikipedia Gets Critical Reception from UK Press at Wikimania 2014

History has always been altered. Napoleon was the greatest general in the world not because of his generalling, but because he *bought the newspapers*.

People who had a bad reputation used to be able to move to another town. Now we have tracking.

That's good because it warns us when someone actually has molested children, but bad because it makes people unemployable even a thousand miles from their home because of stupid mistakes they made when they were 18 or 19, for example.

It's not black and white that all history should be preserved. Some history hurts the future more than it helps it. If tomorrow the whole world forgot the Israel-Palestine conflict, would it make the future better?

Comment: Criminal Embezzlement or Breach of Contract (Score 1) 127

by Etherwalk (#47655063) Attached to: DEA Paid Amtrak Employee To Pilfer Passenger Lists

Actually, if the employee was selling Amtrak's proprietary information without Amtrak's consent and was keeping the money, they are guilty of embezzlement and DEA employees may be guilty of crimes related to arranging that activity, e.g. conspiracy or solicitation.

If the employee was selling Amtrak's proprietary information and giving the money to Amtrak, the DEA was breaching its contract with Amtrak. The DEA has to share the proceeds of drug busts based on information that comes from Amtrak with Amtrak, and this method circumvented that deal.

Comment: Re:They're Monopolies (Score 2) 368

by Etherwalk (#47654995) Attached to: Comcast Drops Spurious Fees When Customer Reveals Recording

And, recording or not, they'll soon just start ditching "troublemaking" customers, like the hospitals do.

So, let's all be troublemaking customers. Let's make it as unpleasant and difficult as possible for Comcast to do business. We will be doing the world a service.

You will be punishing the service reps, not the people who make policy.

Comment: More flies with honey... (Score 4, Interesting) 64

Why is it considered okay to do this until you get caught? Then you apologize? How about not stealing the information in the first place for starters. Fuckwads!

When an institution or a person does something right, I find it useful to commend them for it.

There may be many other things they can do right in the future, that they are doing wrong now. And there may be things done in the past that were profoundly wrong.

But they've still done a good thing.

In the United States, communications professionals (and the people they coach, like our politicians) avoid admitting when they are wrong, avoid even *engaging* in serious discussion, precisely because people so easily latch onto any words acknowledging another position and turn it into a sound byte. Attacking people who do the right thing for not doing more encourages them *not* to do the right thing in the first place.

Here, a company admitted it was wrong and apologized. It may or may not be disinformation to distract us from spying on behalf of the Chinese Government; and the company may or may not still be doing things we consider wrong. But the company's message was the right one, and they deserve praise for taking responsibility for a foul-up and acting to correct it.

Comment: Not experts but not laypeople (Score 2) 327

Patent examiners review applications and grant patents on inventions that are new and unique. They are experts in their fields, often with master's and doctoral degrees.

If thats true then anyone should be able to get a job there, seeing all of the idiotic patents they allow. Thus the funny parts were "masters" and "doctoral degrees"

Examiners are not experts in their field. You could be approving Apple's patents based on the mere fact that you own an iPhone. Examiners do not judge the technical merits of a patent, nor are they expected to.

Patent examiners are not experts in the sense that we think of experts--they are not, for example, in the top 100 people in the world working in a given space, nor do they even have lots of professional experience in the space.

They are also not laypeople. They need to have a technical degree, and the degree they have is generally but not always relevant to the patents the office has them review.

So while they are not experts and not supposed to be experts, they are also not the clerk from your supermarket--unless the clerk happens to have studied engineering.

Comment: Censorship Useful, but Risky. (Score 2) 58

by Etherwalk (#47628321) Attached to: China Cracks Down On Mobile Messaging

This would help cut down on the stupidity that "news" outlets in the US spread to the uneducated and or uninformed population

Yes. Freedom of Speech, as conceived in many nations, includes the freedom to speak irresponsibly. These nations may be destroyed by that freedom, which creates an ecosystem of mostly-stupid ideas that it is very, very hard for wiser minds to change. Or they may be saved by it, if nations such as China tighten their grip on information far enough that they overly limit the free flow of innovative ideas and legitimate idea-generating-and-analyzing debate.

There are people on both sides of the political spectrum who should never be allowed to publicly speak to the American public about politics again. Not because we may disagree with them, but because they are obviously wrong, and alarmist, and they are hurting America by their false contributions to the debate. So it is in many free nations.

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