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Comment You've Already Answered - Library (Score 1) 508

Seriously, when I was in grade school and assigned reports that required research, the school didn't twist itself into knots trying to figure out how to get me an affordable set of encyclopedias or other reference material. I went to the damned library and did the research.

It's my understanding that schools today have internet-connected computer labs and/or public computers in their libraries, so this question is moot.

Comment Illegal versus Actionable (Score 1) 210

You don't seem to understand the difference between criminal and civil law.

Criminal statutes establish some conduct as illegal (theft, rape, murder, etc.), and commission of such offenses will cause the state to act against you.

Civil law establishes rules under which individual parties may sue each other for relief, damages, etc. Libel is a civil infraction. If you write something that is maliciously untruthful about another person (and though it creeps me right the fuck out, businesses *are* legally considered persons for these purposes) and it damages them in some way, they have standing to sue you in court.

In short, the state is not telling you that you are subject to criminal prosecution for lying, but the law does allow for anyone who you lie about to sue the pants off you.

Comment Civil versus criminal law (Score 5, Insightful) 210

The 1st amendment doesn't apply, as libel is a civil infraction.

You're still free to say/write whatever the hell you like, but if you do so maliciously and mendaciously and it causes articulable damages to another person, then they have grounds to bring suit. It's not the government that acts against you, it's the injured party.

Comment It's not that you lose if you don't show... (Score 1) 389

It's that if you don't answer the complaint, then the plaintiff files a motion for summary judgement. Hearing no objection from the defendant, judges typically grant such motions, legally affording plaintiffs all relief they were seeking in their complaint, which nearly always includes attorneys' fees.

Of course, then the plaintiff has to actually collect on the awarded judgement.

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.