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Comment Re:Simple (Score 1) 75

A couple of things; session codes can't be shared, or rather there would be no point in doing so, they're temporary server-side identifiers. Second the internet is fairly useable without cookies, they aren't like javascript. Some sites may use them to store your login details but that's poor programming since your browser should be the only software doing that. In any case browsers like firefox have an option to erase everything when you close it. If you live in the EU you should even see regular notices asking for your permission to use cookies.

As far as I can see with plugins like multifox and user agent switcher along with routinely deleting cookies and an ISP that uses dynamic IP addresses (most of them), there should be no real way for websites to track you unless you use your real name and email address etc.

Comment Re:Good for them (Score 4, Insightful) 184

It's high time the US as a society fell out of love with the perp walk and permanent punishment as embodied by long term criminal records and started to embrace the idea of real rehabilitation, making "convicts" part of normal society again. And for pity's sake stop prison rape, what the actual fuck.

Comment Re:No (Score 3, Insightful) 64

1) Reform copyright terms to 5 years by default.

This severely penalises small content producers in favour of massive corporations, all a publisher needs to do is wait five years and they can leverage their marketing and distribution might to completely own a franchise while the original creator gets nada.

Comment Re:We already had one (Score 1) 52

If we're grading planets according to habitability, it's fairly binary - habitable or non habitable. Until we've mastered the effects of low or high gravity on people anything not almost exactly earthlike is going to be more effort for less return than a large space station. You might fine tune it a bit by adding a third category - habitable with modifications, like say a semi toxic atmosphere you can survive with air filters. Even then considering how much of the earth's atmosphere is a result of its biosphere the odds of finding an earth-compatible world without running into huge ethical problems regarding the disruption of its native life forms is minimal.

So here's my ad hoc categorisation scheme which no doubt the scientists involved have already superseded.

Class A: Completely human compatible, habitable and uninhabited.
Class B: Completely human compatible, inhabited by something.
Class C: Moderately human compatible, can be terraformed or colonists genetically engineered for unprotected compatability, uninhabited.
Class D: Moderately human compatible, can be terraformed or colonists genetically engineered for compatability, inhabited.
Class E: Inhabitable with sanctuary (sealed compartments, very difficult to develop, think Mars or the moon), uninhabited.
Class F: Inhabitable with sanctuary, inhabited.
Class G: Completely uninhabitable (like Jupiter).

Comment Re:Stronger IP protections (Score 1) 278

Until you sign a deal with a publishing company.

Many more people are self publishing nowadays than ever before. Seriously, they represent a significant percentage of the total publishing marketplace.

at the end of the day their copyright is still being signed over to a company and no longer owned by themselves.

That's not how copyright works unless they were creating work for hire. They still own it, they may sign an exclusive license but there's considerable legal debate over whether or not copyrights can be transferred or even made public at all, hence the existence of things like creative commons.

And if you go truly independent (as in, publish your own work,) and you find a copyright infringement.. you now have to somehow come up with the time (and potentially money) to fight for it.

Fortunately stronger legal protections as embodied by the DMCA make it relatively easy to have infringing works taken down immediately. If it looks like they were making money from your work, then sue them.

Remember that most of the big companies like Youtube have fast-track takedown policy for "trusted" publishers but an individual trying to get something taken down has a hell of a lot more trouble.

Nonsense, you may be thinking of the automated Content ID tool which draws on a library of copyrighted works for automatic comparison, but when a DMCA notice is sent infringing works get taken down.

Definitely an increase, but I'd say that has far more to do with the rise of internet distribution channels than it does to do with stricter copyright laws.

No doubt a contributing factor along with ubiquitous and cheap tools of creation but we can say at minimum that stronger protections haven't noticeably hindered creative output. For a graphic example of borderline illegal work check the booming mockbuster industry, which pretty much knocks any arguments about the suppression of derivative works on the head.

Sure they'd love to make a living from it but many if not most of them would still produce new works without financial incentive. Internet distribution means they now have an opportunity to distribute that work to a wider audience but again, a lot would do so regardless of whether or not they make money from it (and even with the stronger copyrights, there's a lot of people who post Youtube videos and fanfics and whatever other creative endeavors without any expectation of compensation. They just do it because they love it.)

Whatever gets you through the night, I suppose. Contrary to the opinion of people who've overwhelmingly never created anything in their lives, most artists who've put a lot of time and effort into their work get pretty riled when someone starts sharing their for-profit work for free. If they released something deliberately intending that it should be used as a business card that's a different matter, and of course someone who put in less effort is going to care less, but otherwise it's the surest way to piss someone off.

So we end up with a law that's only really beneficial to artists on paper and not in reality, while at the same time effectively criminalizing a large percentage of the population.

You've constructed a framework of half-truths, imagined circumstances and worst case scenarios in an effort to justify the masses taking advantage of the work of the few, which is precisely why we have laws. I'm not in favour of industry overreach like mass lawsuits or criminalising non-profit sharing, civil penalties are plenty, but really if you don't plan on infringing anyone's copyrights I dont see why you'd oppose stronger protections.

Comment Re:This ruling won't fix anything (Score 3, Interesting) 201

If they're forced to hand over the data they won't be in business in the EU for long, which considering the enormous size and wealth of the EU is going to hurt any company badly, so I guess they'll have to open seperate competing European branches. Either that or the US government is going to have to play nice with the rest of the world.

Comment Re:Does the real name policy curb trolling? (Score 1) 231

While I'd say that it would be possible to remain incognito on facebook with caution and a sprinkling of technical knowledge if they rescind their real names policy, the EU at least is finally making moves to restrict its ability to transfer data to regimes with fewer protections for proviacy.

Comment Re:Does the real name policy curb trolling? (Score 5, Insightful) 231

Real names are far more useful to bullies than otherwise as they allow bullies to track people over multiple platforms, find their phone numbers, place of work, even track them right to their front doors. A real names policy does little to stop trolls either, they just register a burner account and troll until they get kicked off, it's not hard to do.

I'm solidly in favour of this EFF petition and I hope everyone signs, like it or not facebook is the de facto means of mass communication on the internet for most people today. They already have way too much power and have proven themselves more than happy to abuse that power in ways that would have gotten an accountable entity shut down hard, any moves to curb their influence and reach must be supported.

Comment Re:Stronger IP protections (Score 1) 278

"Creative output"? No change whatsoever.

Well that doesn't reflect my experience at all, but we're comparing what people find interesting so it becomes a battle of the anecdotes. In terms of fantasy, paranormal, or science fiction I feel I've far more and better options than twenty or even ten years ago.

Indie authors and musicians are not "sharply on the rise".

A swing and a miss. I believe the author of "The Martian" was an indie. Self publishing is taking off in a big way - but don't take my word for it, google it yourself.

And to think that stronger and longer IP protections is the reason behind the rise of indie artists is just dumb.

Not just small independent artists but large corporations also, stronger protections make creative work more valuable (this can't be disputed) and encourage higher quality. I mean who wants to put in a lot of time and effort if some nimrod is just going to filch it. However they apply to ALL creative work, not just whatever is put forth by Sony.

The people who say "stronger and longer IP protections is good for creativity" are almost universally people who have never done anything creative.

Funny, I was just thinking that people who say "stronger and longer IP protections strangle creativity" are almost universally people who not only have never done anything creative but who probably freeload off the people who do the creative work.

What you're increasingly desperately trying to do is frame this in terms of cigar-smoking capitalist Snidely Whiplashes lording it over poor toiling peasants who don't own the means of production, except they actually do. Welcome to the 21st century, marxism is worse than useless here.

Obviously this doesn't mean I support the entire treaty, at least until I see it.

Comment Re:Stronger IP protections (Score 1) 278

Stronger IP protections are generally being welcomed by the creative types I know.

"Stronger IP protections" are not for the "creative types you know". They're for the ownership types you know.

I've no idea why you think the two are mutually exclusive. Indie authors and musicians for example are sharply on the rise, in terms of cinema while the blockbusters will forever remain in the hands of corporations there's a lot of decent quality amateur stuff coming out. Everything you write, you have immediate copyright protections on, that's how easy it is to take advantage of stronger copyright law.

I'll put it to you like this - with stronger and longer recent IP protections recently, have you noticed a decrease or an increase in creative output?

With that said I'd oppose criminalising non-profit copyright infringements or attempts to eat into existing fair use standards.

Comment Re:Millennials and "codes of conduct". (Score 4, Insightful) 247

You can change your behaviour. You can change your opinion. You can even change your religion. You can't change the colour of your skin or whether or not you were born with nuts, drastic surgery excluded. That's why making racism and sexism of any sort acceptable, in particular under the flag of some warped version of "justice" is particularly dangerous. Because once it becomes acceptable to hate there is no final destination, it keeps on rolling until someone rolls it back, and no matter which direction the pendulum swings the situation is usually worse than it was to begin with. That's the difference.

There's a good reason collective punishment is usually viewed as a war crime. If you go down that road you end up asking why people with white skin, English, Irish, French, American, Polish, Russian, all of them aren't generally being punished for the crimes of the Nazis generations later, or even just Germans. Or why stop there, maybe Mongolia owes Iran reparations for the actions of Genghis Khan. Islamic states should pay for the conquest of Spain perhaps?

Some peoples' attitudes do need to change but what the "millennials", which is to say that subset of American youth who've been fed various offcolour sociological activist theories - not an entire generation by a long shot - need to understand is that if you rope in everyone as guilty you end up creating a reaction and creating problems which never needed to exist in the first place.

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That's funny ..." -- Isaac Asimov