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Comment Re:Waze in LA is dangerous (Score 1) 86

Interesting to know that, I've never seen it do that - in fact I'm surprised that it is aware of the difference in traffic congestion between two parallel lanes on the same freeway - usually people's cell phones can't determine their location with such precision as to differentiate between different lanes on the same road.

Comment Waze in LA is dangerous (Score 1) 86

Using Waze to navigate in LA is terribly unsafe - I live here, I've used it and what typically happens is it diverts you on to side streets, and then from those side streets has you try to make a left hand turn onto a major, busy 8-lane boulevard where there is no traffic signal to help you. In LA, that's legal, but most of us think its dangerous, if not outright suicidal. Worse, instead of left turns, sometimes it tells you to proceed on a side street across such a wide, busy boulevard, again where there's no traffic signal to help you. Nearly everyone who lives here whom I've talked to in person or online and has used Waze has similar experiences to my own and also thinks its dangerous.

Our mayor ought to be working with Waze so that their navigation algorithm stops offering such 'advice', for the safety of everyone. Barring that, the city ought to send Waze data on traffic accidents they've caused, and Waze, in turn, can send the city a warning every time it suggests such an unsafe move to a driver so that ambulances can be dispatched preemptively.

Beyond that, most of Waze's detours on to side streets are in to neighborhoods that used to see only minimal vehicular traffic before Waze came along. They've got noticably more traffic now, and the folks that in these areas are upset. A lot more dangerous for their kids to play on the street, for one thing, and of course their neighborhoods aren't as quiet any more. Personally I think we all pay taxes for all these streets, so we ought to be able to use them as we please, but these people do have some valid points and there's no denying Waze's impact on traffic patterns where they live.

Comment Re:Intractably horrible. (Score 1) 354

I suppose that it probably depends upon Comcast's agreements with the various cities / communities that its contracted with to offer services, but generally cable companies, and thus cable internet providers, have some sort of agreement to exclusively offer cable services in specific geographic areas - in effect legalized monopolies - but I'd be very surprised if, having such monopolies, they'd be allowed to pick and choose who in those geographic areas they will sell to, and to refuse to sell to anyone else. Of course, this is probably going to turn out against the way it probably ought to work, because companies and governments are not too isolated from one another these days, I'm sure these agreements are grossly favorable to the companies and not the consumers.

Comment Re:Libel? (Score 1) 354

"Skipping over the finer details of how this probably isn't a "false accusation of criminal conduct",..."

Well, its a given that an accusation of copyright infringement is an accusation of criminal conduct, being that copyright infringement is against the law.

As for the accusation being or not being false, its very possible that it is false, especially if the criteria is that the party making the accusation must have a good faith and reasonable belief that the accusation is true. Under this system, if my ISP accuses me of copyright infringement, all they are basing it on is the copyright holder providing them with an IP address that they don't like, that happens to be mine. The ISP itself has no other basis for believing me to have engaged in copyright infringement except the word of the copyright holder. The copyright holder isn't providing them with evidence - it isn't even outlining what the evidence is. Its just the copyright holder saying "hey, the guy with this IP address is infringing! Trust us!". That's not exactly proof, or evidence, is it?

As for it being libelous or slanderous - (I forget which, but one of those is written / published word, the other is just spoken word), it depends again. Nominally the warning would be private. After all, they're just displaying a warning to me when I try to use my internet connection, right? Ok, now suppose someone is at my house using my computer or watching me use my computer when this warning pops up. Now, in their eyes, I'm a criminal. Now my reputation is damaged with that person. They may even spread the word. So the accusation is not private and for purposes of a person's reputation, might as well be public. There simply should not be a reasonable expectation that everything that appears on my computer screen is private and will only be viewed by me.

Comment Re:no, it's not a good thing (Score 1) 354

Its rather absurd, I think, but the idea that agreements entered in to while under duress should be invalid got lost somewhere along the way. A good example of this is when employees are laid off by a corporation - usually the layoff is accompanied by a termination agreement, which is basically you agreeing to take some money from the company in exchange for you not suing them for laying you off, or for anything else. The idea that for most people, the layoff is going to proceed whether they like it or not, and that they'll soon find themselves out on the street without the money being offered long before they could ever get to court, and the fact that one party of the "agreement" (the company) has placed the other party (the employee) in the position where they basically have no choice to agree, doesn't seem to carry any legal weight, which is beyond unfair.

Comment Re:Libel? (Score 1) 354

I'm no lawyer but from what I've read, with certain types of accusations (aka de facto libel) you only need to prove that the libel was incurred - you do not need to prove specific damages to collect. And yes, false accusations of criminal conduct qualifies as de facto libel in most US states.

Comment Re:I like this idea (Score 1) 354

I don't think downloading itself really constitutes a reproduction. If user A has an MP3 file of a copyrighted song, and the contents of that file are transmitted from user A to user B, but user B never actually records the contents of the file, not even to memory, but simply discards the contents of the file bit by bit (or byte by byte) as they arrive, then no copy has ever been created and user B has done nothing wrong.

Moreover, a 3rd party monitoring the communication between user A and user B might be able to tell that the contents of the MP3 file were transmitted from user A to user B, but without having access to user B's computer, has no way to determine if user B recorded the contents, or discarded them as they arrived.

So a 3rd Party monitoring internet communications can prove distribution, but cannot prove reproduction.

Granted, if user B tried this defense, they might be forced to turn over their computer for analysis, or it might not pass the smell test with the judge or the jury (after all, why else would user B initiate a transfer of the file to their computer if not to record it?), but technically, its true.

Comment Re:There always is the alternative... (Score 1) 354

Sure it does. What interests of the artists are the record companies protecting? Artists are generally making money off of concerts, not record sales. Yes, they're making (probably) more money off of concerts than they otherwise would due to the record companies promoting their albums. But record companies are not the only ones who can promote albums effectively. Keeping the record companies in business does not serve the artists.

Comment Re:Anti-trust (Score 1) 354

That's one way to look at it. Yes, the copyright holders still only have a person's IP. The difference now is that they are using a third party agent (your ISP), who has a lot more than your IP, to harass you, disrupt your internet service, and potentially even slander you (imagine you're using your PC in front of other people, or they're using your PC, and suddenly up pops a message accusing you of copyright infringement - now your reputation is damaged with those people). What's more, there are no mechanisms in place to ensure that the copyright holder really has a good faith belief that you've done anything wrong - all they need to do is name your IP address to the ISP and now they've sic'd the ISP on your like a guard dog.

Suppose it wasn't the copyright holder and the ISP getting together to do this. Suppose it was just two divisions of the same company. That makes it seem a lot more nefarious, huh? Well, just start by thinking of how many movies Time Warner owns the copyright to, and how many internet subscribers Time Warner Cable has.

Comment Re:There always is the alternative... (Score 1) 354

Exactly. If someone told the movie industry even at its height that they could collect $50 / month from most every family in America, they'd be doing triple back flips. The fact that they could, but they won't make it happen, and instead chose to alienate their customers / potential customers, is mind-boggling.

Stellar rays prove fibbing never pays. Embezzlement is another matter.