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Comment Re:What about the presumption of innocence? (Score 1) 1590

That's never been the whole rule. You're presumed innocent as a matter of finding a verdict, but your'e not, nor have you ever been, presumed innocent as a matter of evidence gathering and investigation. This law, whether or not it is a good one, makes the correct move in requiring that the officers have some probable cause to begin investigating you (i.e. asking for papers). One question going forward is: is your skin color sufficient probable cause? If the officers think so, then that's going to be unconstitutional. However, how about if you're sitting in front of Home Depot in dirty clothes, not going in or out to buy anything. Is that probable cause to think you might be an illegal day-laborer? It's not sufficient to arrest you, but it's sufficient (most likely) for the officers to ask for your papers, i.e. to begin an investigation.

Compare it to less onerous laws. Right now, any officer in any state can ask you a question while you're walking on the street. You're entitled to ignore it and keep walking, and they can't just arrest you for that. However, let's say it is 2am and you're in a residential area. Now, the officer might have some concerns as to why you're walking around. In the interest of safety, he wants to know your name. When you're uncooperative, he might have enough probable cause to think you're there for criminal reasons. What if he sees what looks like a burglar's tool? (most states criminalize burglar tools).

If this law is enforced reasonably, it won't be trouble for anyone but criminals. If it's enforced unreasonably, it'll be wildly unconstitutional. The question is going to be the police, ultimately.

Comment Re:Poor jerk. (Score 1) 982

This is one of those situations that seems to draw out the difference between people who understand how policies work (as opposed to laws) and those who do not. A policy is an internal rule generated by an organization. Violating it exposes you to internal punishments and (in some situations) contractual civil liability. In other words, violating your policy might lead to some sort of penalty but not jail time. However, a law is above and beyond the scope of your organization, even when that organization is the government itself. The law that this idiot violated superseded the policy considerations. He was correct in his policy interpretation, I believe, but he was grossly incorrect in his legal interpretation. While the policy bound him against divulging the passwords, the law bound him against NOT divulging the passwords. He was in an ugly situation - one initiated by his boss - but this idiot is the one who broke the law to protect a policy.

Comment Re:I have a question (Score 1) 388

Admitting you did what you're accused of is admitting "guilt". This is a factual decision, and so witnesses are able to testify on that matter. "Liability", on the other hand, is legal obligation to someone else due to your guilt. It is a legal decision, and so witnesses are (generally) not supposed to testify on that matter, especially when that legal decision is the central issue of the case. The question was improper as it apparently called for something beyond the scope of the witness' testimony. I'm not sure it actually was (the issue of "I am liability" versus "I am liable" is subtle...) but that's the idea.

Comment Re:I have a question (Score 2, Insightful) 388

(a) The whole "life sentence" concept isn't valid. By that reasoning, poor people should just commit massive financial damages against people, because they wouldn't be subject to paying those damages.
(b) He's going to just declare bankruptcy anyway, so it's rather silly as an aside.
(c) Separately, his lawyers appear to be grossly unable to handle the case; their "fair use" defense was beyond laughable, and they failed to preserve the easiest possible appeal (which would have, at least, probably allowed a retrial).

Comment Re:The simple one. (Score 4, Interesting) 678

Blaming everyone else is bad, but you're completely inanely conflating viruses, etc. and porn.

The truth is, the best situation is to educate the child enough that they can be trusted to navigate the online world without either visiting porn inappropriately (i.e. w/ anyone else around) or downloading malware. The reality is, you have to educate children while using some protections against their mistakes.

So, teach her about sex, etc. Explain the issues as best you can, and discourage her from visiting it too much (and certainly set rules). But don't pretend she'll never check it out. The truth is, there's no harm in her checking it out occasionally.

Malware, on the other hand, is actually destructive, hence the use of spam, virus, etc. filters. So, teach her about it, hope she doesn't accidentally infect your system, but use tools to support her.

The key idea is to support your child's growth, not to restrict it.

Comment Re:No, I think the converse is true (Score 4, Insightful) 693

It's sort of fascinating that you've posted the exact sort of response TFA expects. I'm tempted to think you're being ironic.

Here's the thing: a lot (i.e. the majority, actually) of these technical arguments you've referred to here are just silly. For example, you complain that the RIAA evidence links only to the computer, not the user. This is, of course, true. However, in the case of a family home that means the prosecution can narrow it down to the household members, so your argument would merely be "Well, you don't know if it was the dad or the son, so you can't sue", and that'll end up just bumping into group liability (which I won't bore everyone with here).

In the case of a shared computer, you'd have more of an argument, e.g. one a library computer or whatnot. But realistically, how many prosecutions have involved such a machine? So far, as far as I know, all the prosecutions have involved machines in private homes or apartments, so what exactly are you arguing?

Comment Re:Capitalism at it's best. (Score 2, Interesting) 333

I don't think it's revisionist at all: the reason you couldn't be aware of the law was not just your illiteracy, but the difficulty in distributing the information. Today, it's not a function of literal illiteracy (i.e. inability to read) but rather figurative illiteracy of the law (i.e. inability to digest the readily available legal materials). We can solve that need by (a) educating everyone on all law, (b) continuing to rely upon lawyers, or (c) re-writing the law to be accessible to everyone.

Everyone (especially on forums like this) likes to jump on option (c), forgetting the basic problem that a system is definitely not automatically bad just because it's complex. Far from it, when you're describing a tremendously detailed world such as our own, it is inevitable that your laws would become complicated and labyrinthine.

Comment Re:Capitalism at it's best. (Score 4, Informative) 333

The law has not "become" so complex; from day one, the entire reason for the legal profession was that the average citizen (then, in the European nations) couldn't possibly be expected to know all the procedures of the courts, not to mention all of the details of substantive law.

Comment Re:Finances & Conflict (Score 3, Interesting) 460

I don't see the conflict. In fact, I think this case is ridiculous. A game should be fair? Ok, I am all for that. But simply building a tool that allows people to play unfairly does not constitute a crime or a civil offense. It might be immoral, but then my moral may be different of yours. Perhaps if you were in a tournament and someone uses a cheat, you could sue the cheater (and not the developer of the cheat, unless he happens to be the same person) for damages. But Blizzard? What damages did they had?

Besides, I don't see how he could have infringed their copyright since he doesn't distribute the game. If people cannot meddle with their own RAM because what's in there is protected by IP laws, we live in a very fucked world already.

I don't think you read the documents involved (including the stipulated damages issues already posted here).

Basically, Blizzard isn't just selling the software to users, but also the ongoing experience of the MMO which involves not only operating the servers and updating software, but also ensuring that the use of the software by legitimate customers isn't interrupted by illegitimate users.

A tremendous number of players find themselves disrupted by these Glider bots, and that's the damage.


Physics Journal May Reconsider Wikipedia Ban 155

I don't believe in imaginary property writes "The flagship physics journal Physical Review Letters doesn't allow authors to submit material to Wikipedia, or blogs, that is derived from their published work. Recently, the journal withdrew their acceptance of two articles by Jonathan Oppenheim and co-authors because the authors had asked for a rights agreement compatible with Wikipedia and the Quantum Wikipedia. Currently, many scientists 'routinely do things which violate the transfer of copyright agreement of the journal.' Thirty-eight physicists have written to the journal requesting changes in their copyright policies, saying 'It is unreasonable and completely at odds with the practice in the field. Scientists want as broad an audience for their papers as possible.' The protest may be having an effect. The editor-in-chief of the APS journals says the society plans to review its copyright policy at a meeting in May. 'A group of excellent scientists has asked us to consider revising our copyright, and we take them seriously,' he says."

"I may be synthetic, but I'm not stupid" -- the artificial person, from _Aliens_