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Comment: Re:Extradition? (Score 1) 299

by Sabriel (#48817921) Attached to: Uber Suspends Australian Transport Inspector Accounts To Block Stings

The difference is that Uber is doing it for the money.

Is your friend paying you more than the cost to you of providing the ride? Are you participating in a scheme that arranges rides for money (whether the money goes to you or someone else)? Would your vehicle's insurer consider it to be commercial use of the vehicle? If the answer to any of these questions is "yes", what you are doing could well be illegal without registering as a commercial operation.

You want anything more technical or accurate than that, ask a lawyer. I am not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

Comment: Re:i vote with my wallet (Score 1) 328

Here's the thing: if one truly believes in a system of justice and the rule of law, then one must refuse to recognize the validity of any contract that is not of equitable nature (be it equally fair or equally unfair).

You have a false premise. There are lots of laws that I disagree with -- even the current length of copyright -- but I don't go around breaking every law I disagree with just because I disagree with it. If everyone did that, it would be anarchy, not to mention, why have laws in the first place (since you're going to do whatever you damn will want anyway).

... I'm not seeing my false premise. As I pointed out later in my post, my position on copyright doesn't mean I'm going to go out and copy all the movies. Society is a mesh of overlapping obligations and responsibilities. So while I think "copyright" is an inferior and even fundamentally flawed mechanism, "Don't be a douche" (as Noah put it in his reply to me) remains a tenet I agree with.

By the way, your seriously deluding yourself if you think we've ever had a system of justice. We have a system of laws (such as it is). Justice is a mythical creature that only exists in theory. One person's justice is another person's injustice.

I know. Doesn't mean we shouldn't try, at least a little. The alternative, as you said yourself, is anarchy.

Comment: Re:i vote with my wallet (Score 3, Insightful) 328

... No, I think you don't agree with him - or if you do, you're conflicted on the issue, and you're laboring under at least one false apprehension.

Here's the thing: if one truly believes in a system of justice and the rule of law, then one must refuse to recognize the validity of any contract that is not of equitable nature (be it equally fair or equally unfair).

So if you truly agree that copyright is no longer equitable, then (given the above) you must agree that _neither_ party is required to abide by its terms as-is. You don't get to call it theft, because in the absence of copyright the information that comprises a work _is neither tangible nor property_: stealing a "Harry Potter" DVD does not steal the concept of "Harry Potter" itself.

This is why I generally consider any attempt to "copy-protect" a work, via a method that does not allow for the "limited times" clause of copyright law, to be either an act of fraud or a disavowal of the creator's rights to protection of that work under copyright law - because to deliberately attempt to make your work un-copyable while claiming the protections of copyright law would be tortious misconduct.

Which doesn't mean I go around copying DRM'd movies on principle - there's more than enough free/cheap legal media for me to spend the rest of my life watching if I wanted to be a couch hermit - it just means that I recognize contracts (are supposed to) go both ways.

Comment: Re:Here we go again (Score 1) 496

by Sabriel (#48442225) Attached to: As Amazon Grows In Seattle, Pay Equity For Women Declines

Some managers don't want to hire women because they worry that they will go on maternity leave or quit completely if they get pregnant. That one is harder to deal with, but does again exclude good candidates and diversity from the company.

Perhaps explain to those managers that while, yes, women are indeed statistically more likely to leave/quit due to having children, men are statistically more likely to leave/quit due to serious injuries? Furthermore, a pregnancy usually allows at least a few months to arrange a replacement; a serious injury is rarely so respectful.

Comment: Re:Uh... no (Score 2) 135

by Sabriel (#48400881) Attached to: Can the US Actually Cultivate Local Competition in Broadband?

There's a reason we gave out cable monopolies. It was too expensive to build out the infrastructure w/o a guaranteed profit and we're too frightened of the gov't to just make it a public works project. It's either monopolies or figuring out how to counteract 50+ years of cold war propaganda about the evils of socialism...

Bullshit. "We" gave out cable monopolies because even 50+ years ago "our" politicians were bought and paid for by the cable companies, they just cared more about hiding it back then.

If the government really believed in capitalism, and no corporation was willing to build it without a 'guaranteed' profit (read: not having to worry about competition), it should've said "well too bloody bad then, we're not going to do it for you unless we make a 'guaranteed' profit too!" and held a referendum on whether to create its own for-profit company specifically to build the infrastructure, with itself as the majority investor (anyone else willing to invest being welcome) and lease capacity to anyone willing to pay.

Comment: Re:The Fix: Buy good Chocolate! (Score 5, Insightful) 323

by Sabriel (#48400091) Attached to: MARS, Inc: We Are Running Out of Chocolate

Maybe you were just trying for a Funny, but that just makes it even more depressing that someone modded you Insightful.

Because GP, as a chocolate maker, was saying that _cocoa_ should be more expensive. Does that mean the average price of chocolate would rise? Yes. Does that mean the GP's wholesale and retail price would rise? Maybe, maybe not, because they're already paying the farmers well above the typical rates.

Regardless; when one of the "middlemen" between you and the farmers, tells you that the farmers are getting stiffed by the global system that supposedly exists to protect those farmers, you should pay more attention.

Comment: Re:Name the type, or statement is meaningless (Score 2) 260

by Sabriel (#48346999) Attached to: Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

While indeed the current trend is to abuse copyright via absurd lengths, "modern" copyright law originated much earlier than the USA's founding - in Europe, where it was used as a means to ensure that only words agreeable to the Crown and the Church were distributed, as the technology of the printing press began to spread in the 15th and 16th centuries. Note that the first privileges of monopoly were given to the printers, not the authors; e.g. in Britain the latter were not "protected" by the Law until the Copyright Act of 1709.

Modern patents have a similarly sordid origin; it's not a coincidence that the system arose at a time when the ability to record and distribute information began to grow in tandem with the need for more workers (all potential leaks) to meet product demand, and many patents were to manufacturers and middlemen, not necessarily the inventors. Also, while the granting of patents became systematic around 1450 in Venice, formally publishing the descriptions of patented inventions was not introduced until 1555 by King Henry II of France (and that concept spread very slowly). Basically? Patents were still "viciously protected" trade secrets, it was just that the privilege of breaking your kneecaps for tattling was enforced by the crown.

TL,DR: copyrights and patents originated as self-serving plutocratic legislation; as social and economic systems grew increasingly tangled and interdependent, what appears to be a "modern" system built on mutual respect is the result of enough varied selfish interests pulling taut the legal fabric as to give only the semblance of a level playing field.

Comment: Re:Name the type, or statement is meaningless (Score 2) 260

by Sabriel (#48343227) Attached to: Computer Scientists Ask Supreme Court To Rule APIs Can't Be Copyrighted

The laws governing copyright, patents, trademarks and every other legal concept commonly lumped under the banner of "Intellectual Property" are all entirely different, and in most cases they are mutually exclusive. This makes using them in the aggregate as "Intellectual Property" legally meaningless if one is trying to state something concrete.

I disagree. The term "intellectual property" is a useful super-set for the group of sets "copyright", "patent", etcetera, that all result from different legislative approaches to the same goal: monopolising wealth by artificially restricting the use of information.

(of the "big three", I find trademarks the least offensive in this regard - the idea of a "maker's mark" at least began as an honest attempt to provide something useful to the citizenry, whilst copyrights and patents are rooted in their origins of censorship and extortion respectively)

Comment: Re:Time for a revolution (Score 1) 424

by Sabriel (#48236515) Attached to: Law Lets IRS Seize Accounts On Suspicion, No Crime Required

Completely untraceable transactions, physically divorced from the participants? Now where have I seen that before... oh.


What do you think criminals would do with completely untraceable transactions? What do you think organised crime would do? You might want to study the consequences of driving transactions underground during the Prohibition era.

I'd give it a year, tops, before our already-vaguely-representative government would be replaced by completely un-representative, un-traceable overlords.

You might have mail.