Fair point, but the relevant authorities don't seem to be interested in prosecuting perjury by resident citizens either...
DMCA takedown requests are made under penalty of perjury, but that only applies to the part where you declare that you're the copyright owner of the work that's being infringed (or are authorised to act on their behalf). That is, if you file a takedown that says "I am the owner of work X and I claim that work Y, which you are hosting, infringes on the copyright of X," and you're not actually the owner of X, you can go to jail for it. (Though I've never heard of that actually happening.) If you are the owner of X, but Y doesn't actually infringe on it, you're allowed to say, "Oops, sorry!" and carry on as if nothing had happened, even if it should be obvious to any reasonable person that there's no way on Earth that Y could possibly infringe on X.
I don't know anyone who uses Google Play Books either - not that I imagine my friends are a representative sample of ebook users. More than that, I don't know any authors who claim to be selling well there. (I probably know more authors than the average reader - see signature.) It's rare that the site even comes up in conversations about ebooks and where to sell them and how to market them. So even though it appears to be easy to get away with selling pirated books there, I'd be surprised if the pirates are making a large amount of money.
I'm surprised the pirates have even figured out how to upload books, to be honest. When I decided to start selling my books there, I found the publisher's interface one of the most unfriendly and ill-thought-out sites I'd used in recent years. (To give you just one example, it would allow you to upload an ePub that didn't conform to the relevant specs, which Google would refuse to sell, but didn't give you any indication of the error until you drilled into your dashboard a few days later to find out why the book wasn't live yet.) So far, it hasn't been worth the effort for the number of books I've sold there.
I live near the Thameslink line between Bedford and Brighton, and we have a similar arrangement there - two pairs of tracks, one for the express trains, one for trains that stop at all stations. Except that it goes down to one pair of tracks in the middle of London, so a late-running or non-moving train can still stop everything else. It doesn't help that the line is at 100% of capacity in rush hour, and it also didn't help that the previous operating company stopped maintaining the trains when they knew they were going to lose the franchise...
True, but then you have to worry about an express service getting stuck behind a local one if the local one is running late or has broken down. You could have the tracks fan out at the smaller stations, so the local service switches to a track that's next to a platform, while the express stays on a track that passes straight through. It doesn't help if the local train hasn't reached one of those stations yet, but at least means the express doesn't get held up for the whole of the route.
Or you build two sets of tracks along the whole route at twice the cost and probably twice the amount of NIMBY-ism...
If you ban strong encryption or make its use impractical, then anyone using it, pretty much by definition, must be using it to hide something illegal. That gives the spooks a good idea as to who they should be investigating, even if they can't crack the encryption. And if they can crack the encryption, preventing law-abiding citizens from using it drastically cuts the number of messages they have to crunch through in order to find something useful.
(I'm not saying I think strong encryption should be banned, just why I think the spooks might want it to be banned.)
The Turing test is usually presented as something that a machine either passes or fails, but since no machine has yet passed it, contests have focused on how long a machine can withstand questioning before the interviewer decides it's not human, or what percentage of interviewers it can fool for, say, ten minutes. So you can say one machine is more intelligent than another, even if you don't have a definition of intelligence apart from "intelligence is the ability to convince a human that you are human". To use your GPS analogy, it's more like the GPS tells you how far from the destination you are, but not in which direction.
I agree the Turing test isn't very useful in its own right - or at any rate, attempting to build machines that can pass it isn't very useful. We already have 7 billion entities that can pass it, and making more of them is a very low-tech process. I'd rather we figure out how to build machines that can do things we want to do but can't, or aren't very good at.
Too lazy to RTFP (read the fine PDF), but I assume the point is that some humans can pass the Lovelace test, whereas few or no machines currently can.
So why does Amazon get to set the price, and not Apple or the publishers?
Because that's how the sale of every other product to the consumer works - the manufacturer or publisher tells the retailer "we'll sell you a crate of widgets for X dollars apiece" and the retailer is free to sell them to the consumer for whatever they think the consumer is willing to pay. Usually it's some function of X, but it doesn't have to be.
Agency pricing (so-called because the publisher sets the retail price and the retailer acts as an agent of the publisher, taking a fixed percentage of that as his profit) removes the ability of retailers to compete on price. Apple liked it because they don't want to compete on price anyway. It doesn't matter so much when you're talking about their hardware - plenty of people are willing to pay a premium for an Apple computer or phone or tablet because they perceive them as better or cooler than cheaper products with similar specs from other manufacturers. But if you're talking about ebooks, it's hard to see why you should pay $12.99 or $14.99 for the latest Stephen King or James Patterson from Apple when you could get exactly the same thing for $9.99 or less from Amazon. But if it's the same price at Amazon, you might as well get it from Apple.
The publishers liked agency pricing because it meant Amazon couldn't price ebooks at a point where it would cut into the publishers' print business. The publishers know that print is going away anyway - they're just trying to prolong it as much as they can because they know that when Barnes & Noble goes bust, there won't be anyone else they can play off against Amazon. They also know that print distribution is the last advantage they have over self-publishing. Self-published ebooks now compete on a level playing field with ebooks from the big publishers, but it's still very difficult for a self-published book to sell a lot of copies in print. (The ones that have managed it were usually picked up by a publisher after doing well as ebooks.) Everything else a publisher can offer an author can be bought from freelancers for a one-off fee, instead of most of the revenue for the life of the copyright.
Having said all that, the lawsuit was never about agency pricing as such. US competition law cares very little about protecting retailers. What was illegal was that Apple and the publishers colluded to raise prices, thus harming consumers. The fact that they used an unusual method of pricing to do it is neither here nor there, really.
Mercury and Venus don't have moons either, and I don't think anyone would seriously argue that we shouldn't call them planets.
In the battle of Amazon vs Big Publishers, here is their side of the story:
Link to Original Source
Publishers might say they want everything electronically nowadays, but I imagine they'll make an exception for an author who brings in as much money as GRRM. (I wonder how much they'd have to pay someone to retype one of his books?)
You're stil going to get to the same place at the same time as the other passengers.
True, but you have a nicer seat with more room, and everything before and after the flight runs faster and smoother. You have your own check-in desk and security line, so you can arrive at the airport an hour later than the economy-class passengers. You have a bigger baggage allowance, so you might not have to put anything in the hold - and if you do, it'll probably come off the plane first. All that can make the difference between a day trip and an overnight stay, or turn a trip of n days into n-1 days.
The big cost in publishing is the printing, shipping, warehousing, distribution of the dead trees
Actually, no. That accounts for between 15% and 20% of the retail price. Most books don't make a profit for the publisher, so the costs are dominated by the overheads - the author's advance and the cost of employing everyone who's involved in making the book ready to be sold. It doesn't seem to have occurred to the major publishers that if they lowered the prices of ebooks, more titles might sell enough to make a profit. (Indie authors and smaller publishers figured it out a long time ago.)
Apparently they also do passes that are good for 30 days, which cost $96 (see the comment a few places above). The scam was to buy lots of $1 tickets and reprogram them into 30-day ones.
I didn't know the shuf command existed until now. You just gave me an easier way to pick my lottery numbers -
seq 1 49 | shuf -n 6 | sort -n
Thanks for that.