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Comment Re:I think they might'a meant to say something els (Score 1) 121 121

Actually, the Copyright Act was replaced entirely in 1976 (becoming effective in 1978), and has been amended some, yet in substantial ways, since then. Noises are being made about a new Copyright Act coming along in the near future.

The person who wrote the summary is a bit confused. What happened is that the Warner claim was based on a copy published in 1935. Evidence was discovered of a copy that was published in 1927. That's not terribly interesting, but a copy published in 1922 has also come to light. That is interesting, because the cutoff for copyright on published works is 1923. (Due to the duration of copyright prior to the effective date of the 1976 Act, which retroactively lengthened the term of copyrights that were still in force)

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 121 121

Disney holds a trademark on Mickey Mouse, and can retain said ownership into perpetuity. That aspect alone can rightfully keep anyone else from utilizing the character in their own works, forever,

No, that part of the trademark will lapse when the copyright terminates. A trademark can't function as a substitute for a copyright. The remainder of the trademark might prevent people from selling MICKEY MOUSE brand breakfast cereal, but it would not stop them from using the character in their own works.

This is really the main reason that Disney is concerned about copyright terms; they know what would happen to the trademark.

Comment Re:Invasion of the DMCA trolls? (Score 1) 121 121

Piffle.

Copyright is utilitarian from top to bottom.

Copyright is only tolerable if it is better for society than not having it. One specific implementation of copyright is better than another if it provides a greater benefit for the public than the alternative.

It's no more based on fairness than a zoning regulation requiring a certain setback from the street.

Comment Re: Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 121 121

A small nit here:

An exclusive right isn't a right that is held only by one party (and in fact, copyrights can be held by many parties), but is literally a right to exclude others.

So copyright isn't a right to make copies (that's free speech, and it applies even to works that aren't eligible for copyright). It is instead a right to exclude other people from making copies, and from doing certain other things with regard to the protected work.

Comment Re: Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 121 121

As far as copyright on the glyphs for the letter font goes, the consumer or manufacturer who uses them, pays or has to pay for their use. I'm sure Microsoft and Apple license the various fonts included in their respective OSes.

Letter shapes are not copyrightable in the US. They may be eligible for a design patent, but that's relatively short-lived. Usually the only protectable thing, especially over a decent timeframe, is the name, as a trademark. That's why Apple's version of Helvetica from way back was called Geneva, and Microsoft's was called Arial.

How about forcing these descendents to donate their parents' assets to the public domain, just like copyrighted works?

We do.

We impose taxes on inheritances, because inheritance of substantial wealth is harmful to society. We impose taxes on property, because ownership of large, unproductive estates is harmful to society. We abolish property rights like the fee tail because inalienable property rights are harmful to society.

All property rights, beyond what an individual person can defend from others by force, relies entirely on the willing cooperation of others. The only reason I don't own the Brooklyn Bridge is because I can't convince enough people that I do. But if I were more convincing (or could overcome the force that would be mustered against me if I just tried to block others' access to it), my right of ownership would be perfectly legitimate.

Copyright operates similarly; no author has a right to tell others that they can't make copies, etc. of a work, merely because the author created it. All the author can do is keep the work a secret, if he's worried about that. Or he can convince others to respect his wishes. Just as you might not like to recognize my right of ownership of the Brooklyn Bridge merely because I really, really want you to, so too are third parties unlikely to honor a claim of copyright unless it provides some benefit to them that would not be enjoyed otherwise.

And so the deal with copyright is that we're willing to recognize an author's claim of copyright for a little while, because it seems to be useful to society, but eventually we're going to stop, and instead treat the work as being in the public domain, for the same reason. Authors can't stop that from happening, and there's too little benefit for the public in a perpetual copyright to bother recognizing them. It's a one-sided deal in favor of the public, but thems the breaks.

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 121 121

The whole point of copyright was to encourage writers and publishers and artists to invest time in making a good product.

No, the whole point of copyright was to promote the progress of science (which is an archaic term for knowledge) and to thus serve the public interest.

Half of that involves encouraging authors to create and publish works which they would not have created and published but for copyright. But the other half is to grant the least amount of protection, for the least amount of time, that is necessary to accomplish that.

And the success of any copyright law is measured in how much of a benefit it provides for the public (in terms of the number of works created and published), less how much harm it causes the public (by restricting the free use of the works).

The idea of copyright ... was to provide payment for services rendered, which would encourage creators to make more quality products in the future.

No. First, copyright doesn't guarantee any reward for the author or publisher; that's left to the market. All copyright does is funnel some of the profits available for the work toward the copyright holder. If a work is a flop, the copyright holder doesn't make any money.

Second, copyright doesn't care about quality. A brilliant work gets as much protection as a crappy one, (and again, the market may reward crappy works over 'quality works). This is necessary because artistic value is a matter of subjective judgment that the government should not be involved in. Quantity is the only permissible metric, and since a larger number of works will tend to result in a larger number of 'quality' works (see Sturgeon's Law) it's all okay in the end.

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 121 121

Until relatively recently the only way to obtain a copyright was to explicitly submit the material to the Library of Congress for certification at which point you were granted a 14 year exclusive use. You could apply for an additional 14 year grant but after 28 years the material would be forced to fall into the Public Domain and permanently accessible from the Library of Congress. You had those maximum of 28 years to make as much return on your investment as possible, but you were expected to then reinvest that return into new ventures.

"Relatively recently?" What are you, a highlander?

The 14+14 term you describe lasted from 1790 to 1831. Then it became 28+14. And in 1909, it became 28+28. That's the term that changed relatively recently, in 1978, to life + 70, etc.

Still, kudos on the general thrust of your argument.

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 121 121

Well, it's a little more complicated than that.

The sine qua non of a trademark is that all goods with the same mark originate from the same source. If this is true, the mark can be protected. If not, the mark cannot be protected. This is why trademark holders are always concerned with infringers; if the infringer is not stopped, there will be identically marked goods originating from different sources, and the protected status of the mark is jeopardized and can be lost.

Trademarks and copyrights only sometimes overlap with regard to the subject matter that they protect (e.g. a very artistic trademark could be protected by copyright as a work of art; a mere word used as a trademark could not be copyrighted, however). However, copyright is considered the superior right; a trademark is not allowed to function as a substitute for a copyright, nor to interfere with copyright policy.

This means that if the trademark is a character from a creative work, and the work is in the public domain, copyright law allows everyone to make copies and use the work and thus the character from the work, as they see fit. Trademark rights in the character can't interfere with this, so to the extent that there is a conflict, the trademark loses.

So the MICKEY MOUSE trademark might survive with regard to products unrelated to creative works, like those ice cream bars that looked like a Mickey Mouse head. But it would not survive with regard to movies, books, comics, television shows, etc. And I wouldn't want to bet money on whether it would survive with regard to things like t-shirts or hats that might feature Mickey Mouse in an ornamental capacity, rather than as a trademark. So a lot of the merchandising gravy train would derail.

Comment Mod parent up. (Score 2) 339 339

I've had similar arguments with telco people. If the DIGITAL part of the system is not dropping (or delaying) packets then there is no problem with the DIGITAL part of the system.

Swapping cables that are not causing dropped/delayed packets for other cables that won't drop/delay packets is useless.

And testing the digital portion is very easy.

If you think you hear a difference, it is probably your imagination or the analog portion on either end.

Comment Re:Please (Score 1) 352 352

Its like saying "Hey, Chevrolet, you know your customers like the radio station set to 101.9, why cant you engineer your cars to respect their choice instead of forcing your nefarious 101.5 agenda."

Yeah, but this is a Mozilla car analogy we're talking about here.

In the current 2015.7 model, release, the UX team has decided that a 5-button hamburger menu on an AM dial (and only from 1100Khz to 1150KHz in 10KHz increments) is all that's needed. Users who want to access a wider range of frequencies in the AM band are free to write an extension or purchase a third-party radio head unit.

To further improve the user experience, we remind prospective extension developers that in the Aurora channel for the 2016.1 model year, the about:config setting for frequency.megavskilohertz has been removed, along with the FM antenna. The UX team has made this recommendation based on telemetry that suggests that few drivers actually listen to FM radio, especially since the 2013.6 model, in which the AM/FM toggle switch was removed because the UX team for 2012.1 felt it was cluttering the dashboard.

Comment Ha! (Score 1) 109 109

From their other link:

With dedicated customer support available by phone or online, and replacements and exchanges whenever Pepper is not working properly, corporate customers will be able to use Pepper with peace of mind at their businesses.

Eat your own dog food.

Staff your support division with Pepper robots. PROVE that they work.

Comment Re:Industrial network (Score 2) 75 75

IF the people in charge are asking for it, find and suggest a solution that can do it safely.

I'm with you so far.

If they are not willing to pay for your solution, find another, albeit less safe solution and present it with a list of assumed risks. Rinse and repeat until you have a solution they are willing to pay for with risks they are accepting, then do that.

In my experience, any "solution" that you present will be understood to do everything that they wanted.

Even if you say that they cannot have X at $Y. They will give you $Y and then demand X.

When you cannot do so, a contractor will be brought in to set up a flawed implementation that will reduce your security BUT will provide X at a price point that you said could not be done.

Which is why we see this story pop up over and over and over again.

Comment Re:a nice Linux trick (Score 1) 684 684

Swapping Caps and Escape has changed my life to the extent I would consider carrying little stickers around for all the keyboards I remap. Unsurprisingly, I'm a fairly heavy vim user...

If you swap caps with control, then in vim you can use Control-[ for escape, which is also a pretty good option. (That's what I do.)

On Gnome 3, I have recently switched from using xmodmap to setting org.desktop.gnome.input-sources.xkb-options to ['caps:swapescape'] in dconf-editor. Much easier.

The problem I had was I wanted to map the CapsLock key to Control, and the LeftCtrl key to Hyper. There are built-in xkb rules for doing both, but they don't work right when you try to combine them, and the documentation available for xkb is hard to understand, to say the least. I finally got it working by hacking one of the rules definitions in the system-provided definition files to do what I wanted -- I gave up trying to figure out how to do it the "right" way.

Comment Re:a nice Linux trick (Score 1) 684 684

Unfortunately it's hard to get xmodmap to play nicely in cases like hotplugging keyboards or using Gnome, at least under Linux. There is a standard option for swapping caps lock and control (or escape, or several other similar options), but if you want a layout option that isn't built-in, then prepare yourself for a world of frustration.

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