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Comment Re:Pigs might fly first (Score 2) 133 133

I'm guessing Time Warner is going to be giving all those royalties back?

That's what Good Morning to You Productions is demanding in the lawsuit.

I know this would never happen, but the damages here should have to go further than just returning the money. How many movies and TV shows over the years have been forced to not film a birthday scene to avoid royalties? How many people have been deprived of the standard birthday song at a restaurant or other public celebration, because the staff was not licensed for public performance?

Birthdays are important events. Movies and films often have scenes that want to show such events. Time Warner has deliberately impeded the "progress of the arts" which was the entire point of the Constitution by artificially limiting the production of such scenes in films and movies.

Every filmmaker who has ever filmed a birthday scene without the song or who had a birthday scene in a script by cut it because of royalty concerns should join in a class-action lawsuit and seek damages. Every person who wanted to hear "Happy Birthday" at a restaurant but got some crappy weird song from the waitstaff should sue them for damages. I imagine the cumulative amount, with damages, should come to billions, if not trillions, of dollars.

Only then will justice truly have been done. Only then will we begin to turn the tide against copyright trolls and those who would falsely claim copyright.

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 133 133

1000 years is still a "limited Time"

But that interpretation is not possible in context. Read it again:

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

So, copyright terms can only be justified if they "promote progress." Which basically occurs if the specified "authors and inventors" are encouraged to create more things. A 1000-year copyright term doesn't encourage more "progress" -- it only rewards someone (and that person's descendants) lucky enough to come up with something really popular.

A copyright term longer than a lifespan is thus not justified by the Constitution.

If I said to an artist or inventor, "You've done really cool things: I'll pay you X dollars per month starting now 'to promote progress' in your science/arts" and all you do is sit on your butt for the rest of your life and collect your check, have you done what I asked for? If you die and send some random guy to collect your check every month, are YOU (the artist/inventor) "promoting progress" in your science/art? So a 1000-year copyright term cannot achieve what the text of the law demands.

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 133 133

Copyright should be renewable forever upon payment of a fee every ten years or so. If a property is so valuable that it generates income, fine. Keep paying the fee and keep the property.

NO. The whole point of copyright was to encourage writers and publishers and artists to invest time in making a good product. It originated because publishers who tried to print a book had to invest a lot of money in things like manual typesetting and proofreading -- but the better-known publisher down the street could just buy the first copy, recreate it (cheaper, with more errors, but good enough), and make all the money (because they make it on the cheap), while the first (lesser-known) publisher goes out of business.

The whole idea is to allow time for people to recoup their time and investment in creating a quality product. Unlike most professions where you get paid at the end of the week or the month, a novelist may spent months or years creating a book, and a publisher (in the olden days) might spend months typesetting it... in hopes to recoup that investment of time and resources.

Most copyrights back when they started (in the late 1400s) were 7-10 years. That's plenty, in my view. But I'd be happy to go back to the original 1790 Copyright Act: 14 years, plus the possibility of a single renewal. That is MORE THAN ENOUGH. If you can't recoup your expenses in 14 years or produce something else in those 14 years that keeps your business going, you deserve to go out of business.

The idea of copyright was never that somebody would do one thing and live off of the profits forever. It was to provide payment for services rendered, which would encourage creators to make more quality products in the future.

Comment Re:Interesting argument (Score -1, Troll) 98 98

The communication is between humans and humans. A human at one end craft content and store in on a computer in a accessible format. The end user then crafts a request for that information and sends it via the internet and the stored communication from the content creator is then delivered to the end user.

So you are an author who sits in front of a word processor and writes a magazine article ("crafting content," in your language). That article is then printed in an "accessible format," called a magazine. The end user (reader) then "crafts a request" by sending in a magazine subscription request, and the content is then delivered to the end user. Sound about right? We should definitely regulate magazine publishers, making sure that they can't decide how many to print, how many pages to create, which advertisers they should contract with, how often they publish, or which letters to the editor the choose to print. Because we can't have all of that unfairness, especially if the publisher decides they'd rather make arrangements themselves to deliver their printed material to news stands or find other ways best suited to their advantage to get their publication in the hands of their audience.

their claim basically is that an answer machine hooked into a phone service means that it is no longer a telecommunications service

No, that's you making stuff up. The telecommunications service is the telephone service between you and the answering machine that happens to answer the call. The telephone service between the two end points is no different when you talk to an answering machine than when you talk to a person who answers the call instead. It's exactly the protocols, the same bandwidth, the same use of the resource during the exchange ... makes no difference, answering machine vs. human.

A network of computer networks passing routable packets around based on peering agreements between the operators of those separate (frequently privately owned) networks is NOT the same as making a phone call.

that email is not communications

I get it, now. You're being deliberately obtuse. You're trolling.

Their point is that having some servers pass around packets of information using a protocol like SMTP is exactly NOT like making a phone call. If you're saying that anything that is a form of communication is the same as a phone call, then please get back to hand-delivered daily newspapers, for example, and explain why that process shouldn't be subjected to the laws that impacting the publisher of a web site who wants to fatten up the network routes - even if it costs money - to make sure his audience gets a good, timely view of the content.

Their claim is so laughably stupid that the court should penalise them for making it.

As laughably stupid as not knowing how to spell "penalize?" Your half-baked vitriol on the subject is an example of exactly why this topic is a bad fit for most people, cognitively. Please don't do things like vote if it involves similarly complex subject matter. Thanks.

Comment Re: So much stupid (Score 1) 104 104

So you're saying that even with uber-militarized police nothing can be done about gangs?

Of course something can be done. But it's politically incorrect to do so. The most violent gangs are thick with illegal aliens from Central America. The leftier side of US politics really wants to be able to take legal Latino votes for granted. So they angle for policies that do everything possible to avoid ruffling feathers in that area ... including giving sanctuary to people who end up being enforcers for MS13, etc.

To deal with gangs like that, you have to actually arrest people and then once they're in prison, actually keep them there. We don't do nearly enough of that - the revolving door has those guys right back in action after short terms, and their habits of recruiting minors for a lot of their dirty work means little or no jail time for a big part of their operations. If they're deported, they just show right back up because we have a completely porous, unenforced border. That's only true because the federal government isn't bothering to do one of its main missions (controlling the border), and that is a 100% political problem. The existence and violent toxicity of powerful, organized, nation-wide gangs (like MS13) in the US is then left to local law enforcement to deal with.

So yes, when they move to deal with a place known to be protected by a bunch of MS13 soldiers, you better believe they want to show up with heavy equipment. Would you bring a nightstick to arrest a bunch of MS13 enforcers who consider killing police officers, cartel-style, to be a sport and a point of pride?

But none of that has to happen. Controlling the border and not tolerating tens of millions of illegals in a shadowy cash economy rife with internal, organized crime - it's a matter of political will. But because there are politicians who are too timid to talk plainly about it, and who would rather play identity politics in a craven hunt for votes, we have a system that perpetuates rather than addresses the problem. And the local cops get to risk their necks as a result. If I were in that line of work, yeah, I'd want an armored car when serving warrants, too.

Comment Re:sometimes it seems to me (Score 2) 351 351

I get that you want the best possible sound... and in some cases the placebo effect may actually help you enjoy your music more... but are there really enough of these people to base a business on?

If you're effectively making a cable that costs maybe $10 to manufacture, but selling it for $340, you don't need many "audiophiles" to make a significant profit. If you have a few hundred of them, you're already making 6-figure profits. (Obviously some cables may cost a little more to manufacture, but certainly not anywhere near as much as they are charging.)

It's kinda like wine. There have been studies that show that if you serve cheap wine in expensive bottles, people like it better. There have been studies that show that many wine prizes are awarded so haphazardly that you might as well choose them at random. There have been studies that show that actual wine judges at a major competition could barely rate the same wine with consistency above random chance on consecutive days.

And yet, people still will pay hundreds of dollars for some bottles. Recent studies have even shown that people literally get a better "pleasure" response in their brain when they are told a wine is expensive, compared to when it is supposedly cheap. It's more than a casual "placebo effect" -- it's something that people will pay hundreds of dollars to experience, even if most of that effect comes from the act of paying the hundreds of dollars rather than the product itself.**

I'm sure most audiophiles have a similar experience -- they literally receive more pleasure when they listen through an expensive cable. They want to pay more for that experience. So why not let them, I suppose? It's not like faith healers or psychics, who might do real damage with their charlatanism... the only damage these cable dealers could do, I suppose, would be with some obsessed audiophile who goes and throws his money away on expensive cables while his family starves. Maybe there's a couple people like that in the world, but it's certainly not a common problem.

And these sorts of "tests" won't convince anyone. I'm not sure what the point is anymore. It's like James Randi going after Uri Gellar -- true "believers" don't give a crap what the tests of "skeptics" say... they'll just keep believing. Let 'em enjoy their magic cables.

[**NOTE: To be clear, I am NOT saying all wine is the same. There are a lot of different varieties and flavors. But I do believe you should just buy what you like. There are $5 wines that have easily beat out $100 wines at blind tastings. So, if you like a wine and discover it's only $5, keep buying and enjoying it. If you like the $100 wine, and you like the taste enough to pay $100, fine.]

Comment Adapt into "auto clubs" (Score 1) 215 215

If companies that provide auto insurance are smart and see the writing on the wall (I have to assume so, since they are entirely about risk/benefit analysis), they will gradually transform into a different kind of entity. While they'll still provide insurance, they'll turn into a "subscription" version of a car rental company: Customers with the proper plan can request a self-driving car for certain periods, and may even receive a discount for doing so over using their traditional vehicle.

As autonomous car adoption rates increase, these hybrid companies will move more towards being an "auto club", where people pay a monthly fee (likely comparable to the combined cost of a loan payment+insurance) and will be able to order up self-driving cars. Depending on their plan, it may only be with advance planning and an extra charge for on-demand, or it is unlimited on-demand. They use the vehicle as necessary, then send it back.

They might only get so much time to allow it to sit idle, so if they're going to spend a day at Disneyland they have a car that will bring them, send it away, and order another when they go home. In fact, such "clubs" will likely have garages right outside of amusement parks. After all, if your car can drive itself, and you don't need to leave anything in the vehicle, why bother with parking? You could send it home, or to a far-off lot. And if you're going to do that, why bother with owning a vehicle at all? You can avoid all the maintenance of ownership, the cost of having a garage, and registration fees by just using one of these clubs.

The companies will still offer insurance: there will always be people who want to own their own car, self-driving or not. But that will become a "side" business, and the remaining portions of existing businesses may be sold off until you have only a handful of national auto insurers. I doubt the companies that focus on consumers would sell insurance to car companies, as the car companies have their existing liability insurance that will just increase if/when there's added risk from autonomous cars.

Comment Re:May you (Score 2) 302 302

it's part of history. Any sensible person and most insensible people know the difference between being accused of something and actually being convicted for it.

Maybe "sensible" people recognize that distinction.

But, be honest here -- if you were a young woman, and you searched for a guy you were considering dating and saw he had been "accused of" rape, would you go out with him? Would you even bother asking for his story? Or would just say, "Uh... no thanks"?

If you were in charge of hiring someone for a position, and you did a search and saw a guy was "accused of" rape, would you think twice about hiring the guy? If you had 50 applicants for the job, wouldn't you just skip to the next guy? Even if you'd be okay hiring him, if you were at a prominent company, would you be concerned that people looking up your employees might come upon such a record about this guy? Maybe you'd be okay working with him, but would your customers be? Is the risk worth it?

Is it legal to discriminate on this basis? Probably not. But if you have 50 other candidates for a job, you'll probably just move onto the next candidate... and no one will know why you passed this guy over.

And if your response is to say, "Well, you should find out the whole story" -- well, most "sensible" people probably have other things they need to do with their lives other than researching someone else's past in detail. They look for the most prominent stuff that comes up in a search engine hit -- "ooh, he was a suspected rapist." Boom. Why go further? And it might not even be easy to go further, since news media sources are much more likely to report prominently when someone is arrested for some heinous crime... when the charges are dropped a few weeks later, you're lucky to see a few sentences on page 10, if that.

I do NOT think the current implementation of "right to be forgotten" laws work right, but just acting like there is no problem and "it's all part of history that sensible people should understand" is just ridiculous... particularly if it comes to inaccurate or misleading accusations of something particularly egregious. Facts taken out of context are often misleading. Most of those facts just would disappear from the public eye a couple decades ago (unless you specifically went digging in an archive), but now they can be instantly available for many years. Our public morality and ethics have not caught up with this.

Comment Re:There is no right to be forgotten (Score 2) 302 302

Everything everyone does is part of history.

Actually, that's not at all true, at least in the meaning of "history" before the internet. History is traditionally a narrative created about the past, usually derived from reliable sources (or at least what were considered reliable by the author of the narrative). A random recollection of some dude about some other dude was not "history" -- it was "gossip" at best. It only became "history" if someone wrote down the account and gave it credibility.

In the past, reliable records about the vast majority of events and people were scant. There are major figures of medieval Europe, for example, where we have almost no actual records from their lifetime -- maybe a baptismal record, or a record that they were paid once by some guy at some point, but that might be it.

The fact that little Jimmy went pee in his pants during gym class in 3rd grade didn't used to be "history." Maybe a few of the kids in his class might remember that incident a couple decades later, but it was generally forgotten by everyone else. Nowadays, one of those kids might take out a cell phone and take a picture of little Jimmy's wet pants, text it to some other kids, and the picture might end up on the internet if it's sufficiently entertaining to some stupid kid.

Now Jimmy's pee-filled pants are an official durable record that might persist on the internet for decades, available to anyone with sufficient skills at searching.

We used to have a historical "filter" that would get rid of the random quotidian minutiae of our lives, simply because it wasn't recorded in durable form. "History" would only record "important" stuff.

Now just about any event can be photographed, videotaped, or otherwise documented to become a "meme" or at least passed around among hoards of people (and thereby become a somewhat permanent record).

The problem here is that we ALL do crap in everyday life that would look bad out of context. And once that crap "bubbles up" somewhere on the internet, it really does become a part of "history" in the old sense, because search engines are our new machines that curate historical records... rather than historians digging in archives and collecting records which would be turned into a narrative.

I'm NOT saying any of this is "bad," only that is VERY different from what "history" was even just a couple decades ago.

It starts with misunderstandings and people saying "they were a kid when they did that" and ends with inconvenient facts about what people did before their "views evolved" being forcibly erased for the convenience of the one wanting their past hidden.

You have a good point, though I doubt that anyone can succeed these days in having something "forcibly erased" from the entire internet AND all public databases AND all paper records.

What some people are proposing -- and what people are asking for in the "right to be forgotten" -- is to consider that some information be removed from prominent locations in major search engines, which (as I said) have become our default curators of "history." Note that it is "curating," not merely keeping records -- search engines need to decide what the top links are. And the algorithms they use may bring undue weight to random events that would largely have been forgotten a couple decades ago.

To be clear: I think the "right to be forgotten" actions against Google are NOT a good solution to this problem. I don't have a better solution myself either. But we do need to recognize that we live in a different world, where "history" is very different than it was just a few years ago. How we deal with that is yet to be determined, but our social mores and standards certainly haven't caught up yet in how to evaluate the new kind of "history" available to us.

And making some rant and slippery slope argument that making search engine hits less prominent will necessarily lead to the "forcible erasure" of history is just ridiculous, especially in the age where anyone can duplicate and store information in multitudes of places on the internet.

Comment Re: So much stupid (Score 2) 104 104

In absolute numbers, more white people are shot by police than black people, but the former also make up a significantly larger chunk of the population (63% white vs 12% black).

But if you're going to make everyone look at it through the lens of skin pigment, then you also have to do what the producer of those statistics did: take into account the demographics surrounding high crime rates. Police shootings rarely, rarely occur outside the context of the cops interacting with someone in the middle of a violent or headed-towards-violent situation. Though the media is focused on things like that idiot campus cop who shot the guy trying to speed away from a traffic stop, that's NOT the sort of thing that makes up, in any meaningful way, the larger body of numbers. Take into account the wildly higher rates of violent domestic disputes, basic street crime, robberies, and (if nothing else) gang warfare, and the percentage of police shootings involving people of one skin tone relative to the percentage of that skin tone in the population takes a back seat to what that percentage is actually doing when it comes to the sorts of activities that bring wary cops rushing to the scene.

If one insists on comparing skin color percentages in the wider population, compare skin color percentages involved in violent crime before doing math about how often cops have violent encounters with a given group. Or, skip the whole skin color thing, and focus on geography. In places where cops have a hugely higher rate of violent criminals and behavior to deal with, they end up having to use force more often than in places where the population is much less routinely violent.

Comment Re:Amazon Prime (Score 1) 202 202

No, actually. I'm just describing something I pay for, and which I like. I know that's not fashionable, but it actually is possible to like a company and it's products/services. On balance, I think Amazon is a remarkable operation. Not shy about it. The more people who check them out and also use their services, the better it gets for me. I generally - though not always - like what Bezos is doing outside the context of Amazon directly.

Comment Amazon Prime (Score 0, Offtopic) 202 202

I have to say, I keep stumbling across new reasons that I like Prime. Had a gig this evening, and needed some spendy batteries. A couple of clicks this morning, and they were on my doorstep in the afternoon. It only takes a few events like that in a year to make Prime worth the modest cost. But so many other little goodies that Bezos keeps tossing in to remind me why it's good to stick around. I have enough parts and pieces shipped in that it pays for itself in time and shipping costs regardless. The rest is frosting on that cake. It will be interesting to see how much of a production budget Amazon gives these guys to make their particular form of entertainment. I anticipate lots of drone footage of cars doing entertaining things.

Comment Re:How is this legal? (Score 1) 256 256

In the US, bullying isn't a problem so much as it is a national past time. Americans love power, and people with power; one way to increase your own (apparent) power is to decrease the (apparent) power of your rival. And then people will vote for whoever they think has the most apparent power (so long as that person has the right capital letter next to their name on the ballot.)

We do a lot of things weird here. Blow a guy's head off during prime time television? What, you're telling me you only did it once? Do it five times, think of the advertising revenue! Oh, you want to include a scene that shows a woman's nipple for half a second during that same time frame? No, sorry, you have to go to jail now.

I think that America (and Americans) has an incredibly amount of potential, but it's significantly hampered by our weird mix of "morals" and in-fighting over issues which, relative to the country as a whole, are fairly irrelevant but get all the focus.

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