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Comment: Re:Finally. (Score 1) 182

by RIAAShill (#35839002) Attached to: Google Sends Repeat Infringers To Copyright School

Can slashdot form a PAC? I'm sure there are 15k people here that care enough about copyright to do something like that, and I'd certainly spend $10 a year to maybe get something accomplished..... rather than just endlessly troll.

Slashdot might be able to sponsor a PAC, or at least allow a PAC to use the Slashdot name. Or you could just start a PAC without any affiliation. The Federal Election Commission has good information regarding connected and nonconnected PACs, including registration toolkits. But, PACs are highly-regulated entities, so expect to spend a lot of time dealing with paperwork in order to stay legally compliant.

If you are serious about starting a PAC, you should try to find a lawyer who is willing to work pro bono to get things started. You can contact professors who teach copyright law. Some of them might be willing to help you or at least refer you to someone willing. At a certain point you'll probably need to use a portion of the PAC's income to hire some professional accounting or legal help. But, when you are just starting, you might find volunteer support is available if you take the time to seek it out.

Despite the other poster's comments, helping to fund political campaigns is not necessarily akin to "bribery." Campaign money cannot be used candidates for their own personal use. Yes, each candidate uses that money to try to get elected. But spending that money improperly (e.g., taking the family on a vacation or paying the mortgage) can land a candidate in serious legal waters.

Political campaigns are expensive. Each Representative and Senator has a constituency in the hundreds of thousands or millions. Candidates face tremendous costs trying to reach out to such a large population. And candidates cannot do it alone. In supporting campaigns, some people volunteer their time (which is worth money) while others provide money (which can be used, among other things, to compensate others for their time). Campaign financing makes it possible for those who are not extravagantly wealthy to accumulate the funds needed to run a meaningful campaign. And PACs make it easier for a large number of people, each providing small donations, to speak with one voice on a issues that they care about.

Comment: Re:Finally. (Score 1) 182

by RIAAShill (#35824794) Attached to: Google Sends Repeat Infringers To Copyright School

What of all the works that were removed from the public domain without any compensation whatsoever to the public, each time copyright terms were extended? Robbery!

A valid criticism. You should write to your representative and Senator. Let them know where you stand. Or better yet, start a Political Action Committee (PAC). By collecting $155,000 / year ($10 / year from only 15.5k people) your PAC could max out its contributions to the primary and general election campaigns of every incumbent (or their leading opponents) on the House Subcommittee on Intellectual Property, Competition, and the Internet and the Senate Judiciary Committee. You may not get your way (especially if your message boils down to "copyright sucks!"), but you can be sure they'll listen. Taking a few steps of civic engagement would be much more positive (not to mention legal) than, for example, downloading the latest top-40 and claiming its justified because you have to go to the library, instead of Project Gutenberg, to get a Hemingway novel.

The propaganda is so badly done it should be obvious to any reasonably intelligent kids.

I thought it was cute. Then again, I'm a fan of Happy Tree Friends (although they usually suffer a lot more than they did here) and camp tributes to the silly educational movies of yesteryear. And there didn't seem to be anything untruthful in the video. The nuances of copyright were laid out appropriately, as were YouTube's general policies, which largely follow one of the DMCA safe harbor provisions (other than the potential ban for life, which is not a DMCA safe harbor requirement).

If you want another attempt to provide education on the web about copyright law and its implications, check out Tales from the Public Domain: BOUND BY LAW? It is entertaining and educational, but it is targeted at an audience that is a little more aware of copyright issues than the audience of the YouTube clip.

Comment: Re:Hang on... (Score 1) 728

by RIAAShill (#34154366) Attached to: Considering a Fair Penalty For Illegal File-sharing

Having rich friends does not make you rich, nor does having rich parents (though that can be more of a help), nor does being lucky.

This didn't really deserve a flamebait moderation (even with the "bullshit" and "kicked you in the nuts" remarks...this isn't exactly a forum limited to refined, polite discussion). Wealth isn't about how much your friends or parents have. It is about what you have and what you do with what you have.

You sounds like you have done very well for yourself, perhaps as a result of aggressive double-digit savings combined with decent double-digit returns (not at all implausible with nearly two decades of work under your belt). Of course, if you switch to an overly lavish lifestyle, fail to protect yourself from disaster (e.g., through adequate medical, disability, house insurance, etc.), or get into copyright infringement fights with aggressive copyright holders able to secure liability-happy jurors, you could eat through your savings very quickly. You sound like you've got a good head on your shoulders when it comes to finance, so you're probably in good shape.

Your age also makes a big difference, as The Millionaire Next Door can attest. $1M when you're 65, looking to stretch your money through a potentially long retirement, isn't nearly as impressive as $1M when you're 40, able to let your money grow so that you have a nice sum available if you decide you're done with being a wage slave.

And everyone---absolutely everyone---has to be careful with money in order to be truly rich or wealthy. As even The Richest Man in Babylon said:

All men are burdened with more desires than they can gratify. Because of my wealth thinkest thou I may gratify every desire? 'Tis a false idea. There are limits to my time. There are limits to my strength. There are limits to the distance I may travel. There are limits to what I may eat. There are limits to the zest with which I may enjoy.

The truth is, just about anyone who, starting early enough, controls spending effectively and manages money with reasonable skill can become independently wealthy. That is, most people could acquire, or at least could have acquired, enough money to afford needs and reasonable desires based on savings alone. For some, that may mean saving $10M. For others, it may mean only saving $250k.

Of course, the lifestyle one can afford with $10M is much different than the lifestyle one can afford with $250k. But, if you retire with $10M in the bank, yet spend $1M a year, then you are not as rich as the person who retires with $250k in the bank, yet only spends $12.5k a year.

Comment: Re:Ill gotten gains (Score 1) 728

by RIAAShill (#34154008) Attached to: Considering a Fair Penalty For Illegal File-sharing

But by the first-sale doctrine, they lose those rights anyway as soon as they sell the music to you, and they already lost the right of the music they sold to people who did buy the album.

You are, I assume, referring to the first-sale doctrine as codified under 17 U.S.C. Sec. 109. That is specifically limited to "a particular copy or phonorecord lawfully made under this title." So sure, if you purchase a CD (a phonorecord lawfully made under the copyright statute), then you can sell that copy, no problem. However, you are only allowed to sell or dispose of the particular copy. Distributing a new, unathorized copy falls outside of the scope of the first-sale doctrine.

As an aside, what would be the law if I made 1000 (unauthorized) copies of a music CD and posted them to 1000 random people? Obviously, I'd pay for the CDs and postage.

Do you mean obviously that is what you would pay in terms of damages? If so, that's not accurate. If the copyright holder elects statutory damages, then damages would range from $200 (minimum for innocent infringement) to $150,000 (maximum for willfull infringement) per work. The statutory damages provisions are a bit odd because they are based on the work, not the number of copies. So if you distribute only one copy, you are as liable under statutory damages as if you distributed one hundred thousand copies (although the copyright holder could elect to seek actual damages instead of statutory damages).

Comment: Re:Ill gotten gains (Score 4, Insightful) 728

by RIAAShill (#34145036) Attached to: Considering a Fair Penalty For Illegal File-sharing

If you steal something, yes. If you COPY something, then no. http://www.knowaguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/Piracy-vs-Theft.jpg

Very insightful graphic. Of course, when someone borrows your car keys, you would be rather upset if your keys were "pirated" (i.e., copied without your consent). Sure, you still have your keys when the originals are returned to you. But, you've lost your lawful ability to control access to your vehicle.

Copyright infringement through file sharing isn't like having your car "copied." It's more like having your car keys copied. In the case of file sharing copyright infringement, the copyright owner loses lawful exclusive rights, such as the distribution of the work.

Comment: Re:Yes, they piss me off (Score 2, Insightful) 126

by RIAAShill (#32197210) Attached to: The Parking Meter Turns 75 Today

So, taxes pay for the roads, the sidewalks, etc. If you pay taxes, and you park where these fucking abominations are, then you get the pleasure of paying another tax on top of what you've already paid to park there.

That sounds great, doesn't it?

Sounds better than driving around for an hour trying to find a parking spot. Putting a price tag on a spot encourages use of public transit or private parking. It can also discourage even visiting in the first place, so municipialities and businesses have to consider whether demand is strong enough to support parking meters (or, in many cases, whether more investment in free parking is justified).

$2 an hour for a good shot at a nice parking spot, along with the knowledge that I'm giving a boost to help fund improvements in the roads, schools, and other assets and services, doesn't seem like such a bad deal to me.

Comment: Re:email? (Score 3, Interesting) 306

by RIAAShill (#31628248) Attached to: College To Save Money By Switching Email Font

Next up - saving electricity by using smaller fonts on the computer screens.

...of course that wouldn't work given that smaller fonts would mean fewer dark foreground pixels and more bright background pixels. Switching from white backgrounds to gray backgrounds would be more likely to have any impact (assuming that modern monitors use more electricity when displaying bright images).

What no one seems to have brought up is that while Century Gothic uses less ink than Arial, it also takes up more space (unless the size is reduced). Try it out with some Lorem ipsum text. I found that five paragraphs Arial 12-pt with 1.25" margins on letter paper takes up about 11" vertically. Those same five paragraphs in Century Gothic 12-pt take up 12.75" vertically. That 15% increase in space could easily lead to savings in ink being offset by additional paper waste.

Comment: Re:It's Just A Table (Score 1) 260

by RIAAShill (#31603058) Attached to: The $8,500 Gaming Table You Want

What's their target audience? Millionaire gamers? Good luck with that.

Dungeons & Dragons was first published in 1974. If the typical early adopter was between 14-24, then that means there is a segment of gamers who are between 50-60. Saving $6,000 a year at 7.5% interest, starting at the age of 25, earns you just a tad over one million by the time you hit age 60. Assuming that some segment of gamers fit the stereotype of being well-educated (and thus capable of and foresightful enough to save such sums), then it is highly likely that there are a fair number of millionaires who, at the very least, hold a nostaligic soft spot for role playing games. Furthermore, many people in this group may want to have a product like this, but do not want to invest their time to make it themselves. For instance, someone who has achieved earning potential of $200,000 / year might estimate that an hour saved is worth about $100. Considering the hours designing, buying stuff, building, fixing newbie mistakes, finishing, cleaning, etc., and then throwing in the cost of tools and materials too, buying a professionally-made product may be worth it to a fair number of people.

Comment: Re:fine (Score 3, Insightful) 257

by RIAAShill (#31429394) Attached to: Unboxing the Fake Intel Core i7-920

Q: What's the difference between a $50 brand-name pill and a $2 "fake"?
A: $48.

If you are lucky. Counterfeit pharmaceuticals are not like generics. If you purchase a counterfeit, you don't know who is providing you with the drug. You think you are buying it from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Roche, etc. But the counterfeiters have stolen the identity of the company, so you can't easily go after the suppliers of your drugs if their quality is poor.

Generics, on the other hand, do not hide who they are. You (or the FDA) can go after them if their drugs do not contain the active ingredients promised. You don't get a fancy brand name, but you aren't being lied to about who the supplier is.

Comment: Re:How legal briefs work (Score 1) 525

by RIAAShill (#31206970) Attached to: Tenenbaum's Final Brief — $675K Award Too High

I expected better of you and am disappointed.

You should expect better. Beckerman's approach to criticism is sad and arguably at odds with free speedh ideals. Even those who are willing to stand up against over-the-line criticisms of Beckerman are the subject of his wrath if they believe that Beckerman should be held to standards of decorum too.

Even more disappointing is how many others (the sampling of the /. population that has moderation points during such discussions) act in a manner reminscient of other zealots to suppress discussion that is interesting, insightful, and needed. Perhaps /.'s population of nerds interested in real discussion is being overwhelmed by those who are more narrow-minded and who don't like having their vision of the world challenged.

Comment: Re:Only initial seeders liable? (Score 1) 525

by RIAAShill (#31202994) Attached to: Tenenbaum's Final Brief — $675K Award Too High

And such contract would immediately be thrown out by a court since a legal contract by definition can not cover illegal activities . . .

I'm not so sure that the courts would immediately throw out the agreement. There is a difference between using the courts to enforce an agreement to perform illegal activities (e.g., to try to collect on contract for a "hit") versus using the courts to make additional parties liable (e.g., making an additional party liable for wrongful death damages). In the first case, the courts themselves would seem to help further the illegal activities. It's not clear that the courts further illegal activities in the second case. And it seems that the plaintiff benefits from increased (although indirect) access to assets and earning power, which increases the amount that the plaintiff can actually collect.

Lets say that D distributes 10 copies of a work to indemnifiers I1-I10. P sues D and wins a judgment of $10,000 (within the statutory damages range for willful infringement). If D is able to collect an average of $1,000 each from of I1-I10, then D gets off without having to personally pay any damages, but P still ends up with $10,000 and now I1-I10 have contributed to their role in the infringement. However, if D is only able to collect an average of $500 each from I1-I10, then D still owes P $5,000, which would still discourage infringement. Because D takes on the risk of not being able to collect from I1-I10, enforcing this indemnity arrangement would not contribute (significantly, at least) to the copyright infringement.

Comment: Re:That is complete BS (Score 1) 525

by RIAAShill (#31199512) Attached to: Tenenbaum's Final Brief — $675K Award Too High

You're wilfully omitting that they would in effect steal the person's reserves. The percentage income taxation only comes into play after all other resources have been depleted.

Nah, I just wasn't sure what personal property would be exempt from attachment. The Massachusetts laws are a bit out of date, but I'm guessing that the courts use a little bit of discretion and that there may be some federal statute that comes into play. A lot of assets, such as those held in 401(k)s, are protected from most judgment creditors. Unless Tenenbaum has a huge savings account sitting out there (that hasn't been drained by lawyers), wage garnishment would probably be the primary means used to collect on the judgment.

Comment: Re:Tenenbaum deserves to lose again (Score 1) 525

by RIAAShill (#31196068) Attached to: Tenenbaum's Final Brief — $675K Award Too High

So you think it is ethical to make a man a slave to the RIAA for this crime?

Wow! I thought all they were asking for were damages. I didn't realize that they were going to take away his freedom and institute forced labor.

If all they were asking for were damages, then they might be able to go after non-exempt assets and garnish up to 25% of his wages. It would be like having an additional layer of taxation and his standard of living would drop (unless he worked extra hard to boost his income 33%).

But, apparently the 13th and 14th amendments were quietly repealed. Otherwise, it would be "completely false hyperbole" to say that upholding this judgment would make Tenenbaum a slave to the RIAA for his acts of copyright infringement.

Comment: Re:Only initial seeders liable? (Score 1) 525

by RIAAShill (#31195676) Attached to: Tenenbaum's Final Brief — $675K Award Too High

Obviously the sharers have a piece of the liability too, since if they didn't request and didn't hang around the seeders wouldn't be sharing with anyone. But that is much that same as the drug dealer and the drug user problem, or looking for who started and participated in a bar brawl. They are in a symbiotic relationship, but the "offenses" of each party are somewhat different.

All this talk about who is and who should be liable has me thinking about indemnity. What would happen if someone created a new file sharing protocol in which someone downloading a file has to first agree to indemnify the individual uploading the file for any damages resulting from the distribution? That is, the seeder, or intermediate file-sharer, refuses to distribute the file to anyone who doesn't agree to cover copyright infringement damages. The uploading file-sharer would (automatically, of course) record the downloader's assent to those terms, the downloader's IP address, and the time of the download.

Chances are that few would be willing to participate in a file-sharing network like that. But, if they did, it would be fascinating to watch the lawsuits that take place. The investigation company's download of the file might prove problematic as a basis for proving distribution because of the indemnity agreement. However, the log of downloads would be discoverable and would provide evidence of distribution (or lack thereof). The defendant could use that log to file a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contribution_claim_(legal)>contribution claim against everyone to whom the file was distributed. If the defendant managed to identify all of the downloaders, then theoretically the defendant could have all damages covered (lawyers fees and servicing costs might be tad high though).

Of course, the copyright holder could then go after all of those identified by the original defendant. This kind of software might seem like something that names names. So, I don't expect anyone to run with this idea soon. But, I think it would have interesting consequences if something like that was developed.

Comment: Re:Only initial seeders liable? (Score 1) 525

by RIAAShill (#31193900) Attached to: Tenenbaum's Final Brief — $675K Award Too High

The idea is similar to how an avalanche starts, IMO. You don't lay the blame for a huge avalanche on an unstable ridge of snow if it's halfway down the mountain when the avalanche started at the top.

You can't even really say the avalanche would have been any less destructive if that ridge was a gentle slope instead.

I'm not sure that comparing file sharers (who have free will and can be held liable for their actions) with ridges (which are features of the landscape that can't really be held liable for anything). But, if you really want to discuss the idea in terms of avalanches, consider an alternative metaphor (although it has plenty of its own flaws).

The initial seeder threw a snowball down the mountain. It started small, but it got bigger as it went down. A house at the bottom of the mountain gets hit by the resulting avalanche, causing significant damage to the house. No one knows who threw the snowball that started the avalanche, so it's pretty much impossible to hold that person fully liable.

However, halfway down the mountain there used to be a forest. Had the forest been there, then the avalanche would have come to a halt (or at least been slowed down), which would have reduced or eliminated the damage to the house.

Because of the risk of damage from avalanches, it is illegal to cut down trees from the forest. However, a lot of people cut down trees anyway. The home owner found one of the people who had been cutting down the trees and argues that the tree cutter should be responsible for a significant portion of the damage caused by the avalanche.

Does it make sense to say that the tree cutter is not liable to the home owner at all for the damage caused by the avalanche, simply because the tree cutter did not throw the snowball and was part of a mob of other tree cutters?

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