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Comment Re: Micropayments? (Score 2) 219

Well, part of it is that even a small payment can still incur a psychologically large cost. If each user post here on /. cost one cent to read, would you want to have them load automatically? Probably not, many of them are not worth that much, and you could quickly run up a bill of a few hundred dollars a year on that sort of thing from this site alone. So instead you'd have to take more time to think about what was worth spending even a little on, because it adds up and the price doesn't really match the value to you of the thing you'd be paying for.

Something similar happens when people have metered or capped Internet usage compared to at least nominally unlimited usage.

You really can't avoid this problem unless the micropayment is so small that it is likely not worth the cost to implement. I suppose if I knew that a year's worth of micro payments for me, for everything I use, was no more than about a dollar a year in total, it wouldn't be so much that it would feel like I was wasting money on the Internet. But because the average user doesn't want to spend a noticeable amount ever, and there really aren't that many users in comparison to sites, the resulting pie of money wouldn't be much to split up. (Especially once you reduce the amount to account for lower average incomes elsewhere in the world)

Comment Re:Yeah, that's the problem (Score -1, Offtopic) 135

We need more medical personnel, or nothing we do to try to fight these resistant illnesses is going to make a difference because we won't have the manpower to implement it.

Sorry, the affordable care act requires more bureaucrats, and less doctors. Doctors are the evil 1% anyway, so we must drain them dry. Can't imagine why fewer people would want to enter and stay in that profession.

Comment stick a fork in it (Score 1) 315

I used to love Firefox, because it was demonstrably better than IE. It was easier to use, less spammy, and frankly, fun to stick it to Microsoft. It was even worth the occasional memory apocalypse.

Haven't used it for several years now, except for testing. I can get dumbed down interfaces and adware anywhere, thanks very much.

Comment Re:On this I side with facebook (Score 2) 147

Option 2: Active editors. These forums are cultivated, maintained, and very ban-heavy. As a side-effect, the forum can be held responsible for third-party content.

Not true in the US (other than, potentially, with copyright issues and the like).

Remember, the CDA was intended to encourage providers to engage in censorship. Since the previous state of affairs was as you suggest, the way that they were encouraged to censor was to remove liability for material posted by third parties. But since many sites don't care, and the CDA protects them fully no matter what they do or don't do, it didn't really work out. Also other parts of the CDA turned out to be unconstitutional.

Comment Re:Why is the Left so fiercely defending Islamism? (Score 1) 728

What motivates educated people to sit in front of a keyboard for 40 minutes composing a thousand-word defense of the disgusting mass murder Islamists committed in Paris today?

Pics or it didn't happen. Do you actually have any examples of "the left" defending these attacks, or are you just finding someone to hate?

You can't be serious.

A bunch of idiots slamming "religion" in this context is defending Islam. Because "religion" didn't do this; Islam did this.

Not to mention saying that "we" somehow caused this. The only way we caused this is by inviting them into our countries.

Exactly nobody is afraid that Presbyterians or Amish or Jews are going to shoot up innocents in their movie theaters and cartoonists offices. Everybody is afraid that Muslims will, and with good reason.

Some are so afraid that they refuse to even say who they are afraid of. They hope that keeping their voices down will keep them safe. And they try to silence anybody else who dares to notice the bleeding obvious.

Comment Good lord ... (Score 2, Insightful) 728

... I know it shouldn't surprise me, but even after this, the top rated comments are still slamming generic "religion" and talking about "backlash" playing a role.

What exactly would it take to wake you up? Would anything do it? Your own head being sawed off? Your city being bombed?

Comment Re:Probably not (Score 2) 220

Start with the fact that cloud services are big, ripe, juicy targets for anyone and everyone. Continue that there's probably never a time when their service isn't under some kind of attack in one way or another. Add in the fact that my server contains nothing of any real value to anyone but me. And extrapolate that to a very low likelihood that anyone would bother to take the time to attack my server.

That was a good argument in the past, maybe, but today the attacks are all automated (and the ones that aren't are against high value targets that don't meet your criteria anyway).

Low value or not, your server get hammered against every day simply for being on the internet.

Comment Re:Why the fuck is this a video (Score 0) 220

Why is this taking megabytes of bandwidth to convey a message that could take kilobytes? Is there something visual about this concept that can't be communicated in writing? Stop the dumbing down of of /.

I'm guessing it might have something to do with her femaleness.

See?!? She's female and a geek! Female! Geek! See?!?

Comment Re:Excellent. (Score 1) 674

Either way, we need to come up with some solution as automation is going to put more and more people out of work.

So what, if we invent a robot that picks up litter, we should force human beings to do it because it's good for them?

Screw that. Some people will become total layabouts, but most will find something to occupy their time which is at best not harmful, and ideally productive. Like how numerous scientists and inventors before the 20th century tended to be people who had an independent income and could therefore spend all day screwing around with insects or what have you.

A basic income -- and increased access to adult education, from remedial to graduate programs, as well as technical training -- are good responses to the decreased need for humans to work. Don't make things worse by adding paternalism into the mix.

Comment Re:Excellent. (Score 1) 674

The trick is to let you collect the stipend and make money at a job as well. Up to a certain level anyway.

Well, sure it should be in addition to what you can make working, or otherwise, but it should go to everyone. The reason being is that this is on a per-capita basis, and there really aren't that many people wealthy enough to turn their nose up at the equivalent of about $10,500 annually, so not a lot is being spent superfluously by doing this. OTOH, if you cap it at an income level that is low enough that it makes fiscal sense to create a bureaucracy to verify who should and shouldn't get it (and remember, much of the savings to the government of a basic income is lowered transactional costs in administrating it) then you're excluding a large enough number of people who are likely politically active, donate to campaigns significantly, etc.

FDR saw the same logic behind why all worker pay is taxed to fund social security, even for people who don't really need to receive it: "We put those payroll contributions there so as to give the contributors a legal, moral, and political right to collect their pensions . . . . With those taxes in there, no damn politician can ever scrap my social security program." (That is, if you tax people and don't give them anything for it, they'll try to dismantle it, so don't do that)

Comment Re:Isn't the current mouse protection rule ... (Score 1) 207

If Steamboat Willie fell into public domain in the USA, there is no reason to think that would somehow grant other people the free privilege to use Mickey Mouse in their own works, because Mickey Mouse is trademarked.

In Fleischer Studios, Inc. v. A.V.E.L.A., Inc, the character of Betty Boop was at issue. Without getting too deep into the weeds, the gist of the dispute was that Fletcher claimed to hold copyrights and trademarks on the Betty Boop character, and AVELA was printing up Betty Boop art. There, the situation was similar to a public domain character, because Fleischer turned out not to hold the copyrights at all (and it isn't the court's problem to figure out who did and to drag them into this suit), but did have trademarks. The district court, on remand, said: "The words 'Betty Boop' used on goods bearing the image of the character Betty Boop self-evidently describe those goods, and are not referring to something else. ... In addition, there are no words other than âoeBetty Boopâ available to describe or name the character Betty Boop. As noted above, these proceedings have already established that Defendants may so use the character over Plaintiff's objection [because the Plaintiffs could not show that they held the pertinent copyrights]; Defendants must also, therefore, be able to identify this character by name."

End result: The Fleischer trademarks didn't prevent the free use of the trademarked character by a third party, where copyright was not a factor.

And given that the way that precedents work is that you look more for analogous situations, rather than those which are exactly alike, it requires no real effort whatsoever to see how this would apply in a future MICKEY MOUSE trademark case.

However, given the repeated long-windedness of your replies, you evidently have far more patience for discussing this matter than I.

Well, this is both my job -- I'm a copyright and trademark attorney -- and also my hobby. And while I admit to being long-winded, is that really the worst thing in an Internet argument?

Comment Re:Isn't the current mouse protection rule ... (Score 1) 207

Yes, but that's because the name Peter Pan, as it refers to the name of the main character in the story that is now in public domain, was not under any trademark in the first place (any trademark status it has since acquired, such as the name of a particular brand of peanut butter, or bus services, or the like, happened after the work fell into public domain).


First, names are not copyrightable; even during the time when the original Peter Pan plays by Barrie were copyrighted, the name could have been used by others without running afoul of the copyright.

Second, while patents require novelty, i.e. that something has never been done before, trademarks do not. And while copyrights require originality, i.e. that something originates from an author, rather than having been copied, trademarks do not. It is perfectly acceptable to use pre-existing material to make a mark, e.g. APPLE for computers, and it is even perfectly acceptable to copy someone else's mark provided that it is not then used in an infringing or diluting manner. A classic example is the PERSON'S mark used for clothing: In 1977, a Japanese clothing firm began using the PERSON'S mark in Japan, and in 1981 an American visited Japan, bought some samples of PERSON'S clothing, took them to America, and began manufacturing and selling his own line of clothing in America using the PERSON'S mark. In 1985, the Japanese firm began selling in the US, and the next year, the two firms realized they were now both in the same market with the same mark. They went to court, and ultimately the American won, since he had been the first to use the mark in the US; it didn't matter that he copied the mark from the Japanese, because trademarks, like copyrights, are not really international in nature, and use in Japan didn't count for anything in the US.

Third, your history is wrong. The Swift Company's divisions E.K. Pond and Derby started selling PETER PAN brand peanut butter in 1928, at a time when the plays were not only copyrighted, but Barrie himself was still alive and still held the rights. There's no indication that the name was used with permission, that there was a license agreement, or that there was any payment, or that Barrie even knew about it. Great Ormond Street Hospital, which wound up with the copyrights says that they never gave permission or got paid during the remainder of the time that the plays were still copyrighted in the US.

Had the character been called something that was simply descriptive of him, such as "Orphan Flying Boy"

You have a way too narrow view of what's descriptive in a trademark context. A mark is descriptive if it has an ordinary meaning and is used in conjunction with goods or services directly related to that meaning. Show anyone a picture of the Mickey Mouse character and ask them what that is, and they'll tell you that it's Mickey Mouse; the name of the character is a characteristic of it. If it weren't, you could say that no, the picture is of a character named Dan O'Neill, and people would believe you.

There is nothing magic or special about the US's copyright or trademark laws that would suggest that what would happen within the US should be even slightly different than what has already happened elsewhere when those jurisdictions have extremely similar laws.

No, there are two special things. First, many other countries regard international treaties such as the Berne Convention as being law which can be used by parties to a suit. The US does not; we regard most treaties to simply be obligations on our government to abide by them, but our actual law is what our own government enacts. Maybe they'll pass laws that comply with their treaty obligations, maybe they won't. We've been in violation of the TRIPS Agreement and the Berne Convention with regard to our homestyle exception (it concerns publicly playing the radio without owing royalties or needing permission) for well over a decade now and not only are we not about to fall in line, but we've deliberately gummed up the works so that we can keep on violating it and getting away with it. And it's totally legal in the US to rely on the homestyle exception. No one can sue you for using it in violation of treaty. This is because to Americans, copyright and trademark treaties are really only useful for 1) circumventing our own democratic institutions to impose greater protection for private interests, and 2) as a part of a trade policy meant to fuck over everyone else in the world, partly for those same private interests, and partly just because we can. There's no degree of amity or anything involved.

Second, we don't care about the rest of the world very much. We have our own statutes, and centuries of our own copyright and trademark caselaw. Only under extraordinary circumstances (or if we were interested in pre-American history) would we look at the law outside our borders for guidance on these subjects. Often our laws are somewhat different than those found elsewhere, such as how we're basically the only country in the world to have proper fair use. Whether or not Disney holds a MICKEY MOUSE trademark that effectively inhibits the free use of the public domain in Canada would not, for a single second, enter the mind of a judge who had to decide on how to treat the mark in the US when Steamboat Willie enters the public domain. Maybe this is a bad attitude for us to have, but it's par for the course around these parts.

No problem is so formidable that you can't just walk away from it. -- C. Schulz