IANAL, but I am familiar with the business. For those of you claiming this is self-destructive, the NMPA as well as individual publishers actually license the lyrics right to certain lyrics websites. The publishers own a valid copyright in the lyrics alone, so legally speaking, republication of the lyrics without copyright license is infringement. Several lyrics websites are officially licensed and sanctioned. I won't name names, but you can usually tell which are licensed and which aren't by the quality and accuracy of the lyrics on the site.
Usually the publishers steer clear of these sites due to lack of personal jurisdiction, or at best make half-hearted efforts by throwing around a take-down notice here or there. Publishers want to collect money, and they're well aware that going after Lars Lokke Ummerstal in Latvia isn't going to be profitable. However, take-down notices are relatively cheap and easy, and I believe the idea is to stick by principle and crack down on infringing websites in order to have a chilling effect on copyright infringement generally. This is not new, or particularly newsworthy.
It's also not really all that infuriating, from a copyleft perspective. Because publishers are licensing their copyrights to lyrics and tablature, they aren't strangling the marketplace of ideas. The only real question is whether or not the sites are unfairly targeting websites legitimately engaging in fair use (as opposed to those actually making money off of advertising revenue and merely claiming their use is fair), but, as fair use is an affirmative defense and not a bright line rule, there's no way for a site to prove as a threshold matter that their use is fair.
This isn't as straightforward now as it used to be. Google has now introduced full-sized image search which allows people to pull images directly from their Google search page rather than linking to the source page. Once upon a time, Google was able to get away with this because it only linked small-sized thumbnails that weren't suitable replacements to the original. The searcher actually had to link to the page to get the content, as you point out.
Now, however, the searcher can get the content, full-sized, directly from the search link without ever hitting the original site. The bandwidth still comes from the original site, but the image can be seen entirely within the Google context. Fascinatingly, this full-sized (as opposed to thumbnail) image linking is exactly the example that the judge in Perfect 10 v. Google, Inc. , which legitimized fair use of image searches, declared would not be an example of fair use.
Google has seemed to have entirely forgotten about that. Curiously, no lawsuits have popped up since. Granted, this is now in the days of robots.txt, but the law hasn't exactly caught up to discern the difference. Surely somebody with an interest in Google's deep pockets would sue for copyright infringement.
That said, the problem is clearly not that "technology" gets preferential treatment but that what one defines as "fair use" is tremendously murky and cannot be statutorily determined. It has to be decided on a case-by-case basis, and the pattern of ruling on what constitutes fair use has absolutely no correlation to itself. For example, is it a fair use to watch a movie in a park (semi-public place that might warrant a public performance) to a group of 6 close friends and family? 12? On a big-screen? Who knows.
Until fair use gets locked down as to something other than "whatever the judge feels like is fair," everyone on both sides of the equation will scream about perceived injustice.
You are mistaken.
The legal definition of entrapment varies from country to country, but the basic definition is that entrapment occurs when a law enforcement agent induces a person to commit a crime that he or she otherwise would not have committed. Knowledge that the person is a law enforcement officer is not required. See, e.g. Jacobson v. United States, 503 U.S. 540 (1992). What is required is some form of but-for causation -- that but for the law enforcement officer's conduct, the defendant would not have committed the crime. Whether the defendant knows the officer is a law enforcement agent goes to objective / subjective state of mind standards regarding whether the defendant was likely to commit the crime -- i.e. inducement is harder to prove if the defendant did not know the facilitator was a figure of legal authority, because there is less of an indication of compulsion. In Jacobson, the government targeted the defendant with a child pornography mail subscription and arrested him upon his receipt and opening. The Supreme Court overturned his conviction on the grounds that the defendant did not have a predisposition towards purchasing child pornography (as no other child pornography was found in his home), and therefore but for the post office inspectors' actions, Jacobson would not have committed a crime.
What you may be referring to is entrapment by estoppel. That "applies when, acting with actual or apparent authority, a government official affirmatively assures the defendant that certain conduct is legal and the defendant reasonably believes that official." United States v. Howell 37 F.3d 1197, 1204 (7th Cir. 1994).
While I don't dispute your basic premise that programming languages should be taught in curricular liberal arts colleges (and indeed I was required to "learn" one at mine), I would argue that there is more to be gleaned from an understanding of literature or history or geography than there is from understanding a programming language. A programming language teaches you the particulars of how to realize software within the context of that software. You might be able to take away some general concepts regarding how computers work, but understanding how a computer executes software is a far cry from understanding how to read and write code.
Traditional liberal arts courses provide a broader understanding of what defines humanity. There is a breadth and interconnectedness in those courses that is not present in programming languages which are essentially practical knowledge. For example, if a student learns KOBOL, 90% of what he learns will be practically useless today because little of the Framework upon which to hang that knowledge still exists. At best the student could keep the generalized concepts, but that is a negligible portion of the material learned. But if a student reads Faulkner, while there may be significantly less practical application, a much greater portion goes to explain the general repository of humanity and its collective knowledge (southern culture, how we process death, Reformation, how the mentally challenged mind works, etc.). A better solution would be computer literacy courses rather than programming courses. I use my knowledge of geography significantly more than I use my knowledge of Java and C++ on a day-to-day basis. That doesn't mean I shouldn't know about computers generally, but why waste my time learning a practical skill set to glean the global knowledge when so much of the practical material will be useless to me?
OP is not at all wrong, and it's bullish of you to suggest that a business should simply change its entire operating strategy to account for the limitations of the install base of the operating system. I worked as a CTO for a niche retail business (wine) which had certain custom measures to track in order to maintain basic levels of inventory management (e.g. multiple vintages and sizes use the same SKU). The stores had already deployed Macs for their POS due to the business decisions of my predecessor. I spent months trying to find a POS system that could handle anything beyond the "my first retail system" level. I found three retail POS systems at all. One of them we were already using -- and it didn't work, one of them was similarly barebones and locked down all of the database material so I couldn't export to something like Quickbooks, and then there's Lightspeed, which is big, costly, and spends more time and energy on advertising "It Works on Mac!" than it does providing any utilitarian function whatsoever. I gave up and installed Windows 7 on the systems through BootCamp, opening up at least 30 wine-retail specific POS systems for my pleasure.
Nearly all cross-platform software suites don't talk to one another. Quickbooks won't talk between Mac and PC. More specialized office applications and database applications won't talk to one another. There might be a FEW that will provide interoperability, though it's often buggy beyond belief, and most don't provide critical features necessary to certain businesses. Try and find an actually usable service-based POS (QSRs and restaurants). There are none. I'm sure that's because the Mac hardware is not touchscreen, which makes the OSX unusable to an entire industry.
If the general topic is about replacing your fleet of bulldozers with pickup trucks, parts commonality between the trucks and bulldozers is a pretty important metric.
Hating DRM is trendy here on Slashdot, and I'm usually the first to decry it. The problem is not with DRM but with shoddy and opaque implementation of DRM -- i.e. when its implementation hurts honest consumers.
There are a couple good reasons for DRM. One -- and please bear with me here, I promise I can justify it -- is to stop piracy. Okay, yes, DRM as it has been implemented by the vast majority of businesses has been nothing short of abysmal. It punishes the honest consumer without presenting so much as a stumbling block for hardened pirates. There's actually a lot of argumentative parallels here. Why have gun control when criminals will break the law while honest people won't? Why outlaw drugs when people who want to do drugs will do them anyway? These are actually really important arguments. However, while the contrast is stark, it's not a black-and-white scenario. Simply because we have the Second Amendment here in the states doesn't necessarily mean we should be giving everyone a rocket launcher. Marijuana might not be harmful, but should we really let people make meth in motels and poison all of the other guests?
In these scenarios, the key question is what is "reasonable" regulation. In other words, the question is what is economically efficient -- what methods and standards will save us more money in the long run than we will spend? Do we need to install backscatter machines in the airports to protect against terrorists? Probably not -- we'll never see that money back. Should we deregulate and let on someone carrying an RPG? Also, no. The cost of preventing people carrying RPGs on airplanes is minimal compared to the savings. Even assuming I were lawfully carrying my RPG for non terrorist-y activities, what if it accidentally detonated? The savings are greater than the cost.
The same is true with DRM. The problem that consumers have with DRM is that it robs them of the cost of their experience. I paid full price to get some gimped, server-dependent version of the game that was not what was advertised to me. DRM right now is like backscatter machines in airports; it assumes everyone is a criminal, attempts to push the limits of personal freedoms and privacy, and ultimately is probably motivated by greed more than user experience. But that doesn't mean that DRM itself has to be evil or bad. While there are plenty of textbook cases out there of people who download to try-before-buying, or who live in a country where the software/game is unavailable via legitimate retail, there are also a plethora of people who simply want to download a product without paying for it. They'll justify it with the same reasons -- "I'm punishing the developers for X" or "I can't afford it right now." This assumes that the user has some inherent right in the product that gives them the ability to use that product without paying for it. To be honest -- and I know this is going to be an unpopular view -- but the same can be said of regional restrictions. Nothing gives me the personal right to download and play a Japanese game in the U.S. I might justify it by saying that I'm not hurting the copyright holder if he couldn't have sold it to me in the first place. I might think that I have an inherent right in the public domain, that copyright is (as it is) artificial and should only be presumed where the rightsholder is enforcing his rights (i.e. not in the U.S.). But legally that's not how it works. Nothing specifically grants me the right to use something that I have not paid for. Part of the difference is due to internet culture buying into the notion that information is free and should be shared amongst everyone. We recoil when the capitalist world starts to encroach on our free internet with their advertising and paywalls and out-to-make-a-buck mentality, so we flee the corporatized services like Facebook in search of something more open. I digress, though, and that's a different issue.
DRM's problem is in how it's implemented. Inevitably the cost of implementation is greater to the consumer than the value gained. Inevitably, DRM means that I have a broken product, and had I simply pirated the unlocked copy I would have received an unbroken product at a cheaper/free cost to me. That's not so much the fault of DRM as it is its horrendous implementation. Always-online requirements, server checks, dongles, security keys, and other such nonsense create additional points of failure at which software can break. Transparent, low-key DRM on the other hand significantly reduces my user-experience cost. The reason why a lot of people say "Steam gets it right" is because Steam is so minimally intrusive on my game experience. A one-time registration online is mostly harmless and has only affected me personally once. There is a cost associated with that, and there is a cost associated with the inability to resell my games. However, that cost is more than offset by the tremendous discounts Steam provides. Therefore, the cost to me for DRM is negligible.
Don't buy the industry's overinflated numbers where every download must translate to three purchased products stolen (one for each system or some nonsense). It still would be foolish to truly believe that piracy doesn't have a cost. The cost is less than the industry claims, but it's still there. And what costs the business ultimately costs the consumer. At its most basic element, copyright was created to "promote the progress of useful science and arts." Ideally, more money into the business will result in more created products. It might not work out that way every time, but the Call of Duty franchise is a good indicator that sales translate to sequels at minimum, and even sometimes studios that do well will create entirely new IP. At some point -- perhaps a point well below where we are now -- piracy hurts the bottom line, and a worsened bottom line results in less intellectual property being developed, which ultimately hurts the consumer.
Anecdotally, look at Steam. Look at how many publishers celebrate Steam - DRM and all - by comparison to something DRM-free like GoG. Look at how many success stories have come out of that distribution platform, all in spite -- I would argue in fact because of -- a very lightweight DRM that is attractive to developers and a non-issue for consumers.
The second issue, and perhaps the easier sell, is that DRM is appropriate when you need rules and structures for online communities. Requiring an always-online, first-party server for an MMORPG is actually draconian DRM. We tend to accept it, however, because there's an inherent value in having a well-regulated, reliable gaming community. Take Blizzard's World of Warcraft. Without DRM, I could simply inject gold into my account and buy anything I wanted. For single-player games this hurts no one, but in multiplayer games, I'm now able to crash the economy and disrupt other people from enjoying the game in a way that they want. Similarly, I could wall-hack and bot any first-person shooter, cackling maniacally and easily getting my $60 out of whatever XBox multiplayer shooter I happen to be playing. I would be doing so at the expense of the other players' enjoyment, however.
DRM is effective in these multiplayer environments that need a basic set of rules to govern how players interact with one another. When I play Battlefield, I expect the servers to kick users who aren't complying by the game's rules. The only way to do this is through DRM, because the server is managing and controlling the rights of the player to enjoy the game.
Ultimately, first-party servers are soured because companies like EA and Microsoft wind up using their first-party controls to do more than regulate the conduct of a game. EA took the "It's an MMO!" mentality and applied it, terribly, to SimCity. In that game, users realized that there was no reason to call a sandbox game an MMO. EA merely performed lip service to link up cities and force interdependence to justify greater DRM and greater control. It was arbitrary and forced. Microsoft actually had a good deal going with XBox Live -- pay for dedicated servers and an officially supported online network. Once upon a time there was value in this. Then the dedicated servers disappeared, so now you're paying for the right to host games on your own Xbox. Then ads started popping up, so I'm paying for the privilege to be advertised to. Some of you might remember that broadcast cable, once upon a time, was introduced as the "subscription, ad-free alternative to OTA!"
Thus, the problem with DRM is that it's just so easy to abuse. That doesn't mean that DRM itself is a problem, though. It is possible to implement DRM in such a way that it provides more value than it takes away -- these instances are usually so transparent or rare that they are overshadowed by the catastrophes of EA, Sony, and Ubisoft, so we tend to recoil at DRM altogether. At the end of the day, it simply boils down to what is economical for the consumer -- not necessarily what is economical for the publisher, though ideally the two should go hand-in-hand.
If it's "unconstitutional as heck," then no, no it absolutely should not have happened sooner. You don't just get to flagrantly violate the Constitution -- you know, the document that enumerates states' and citizens' rights -- because it somehow promotes local tribalism. Go amend the Constitution if you want to make something unconstitutional suddenly constitutional. Otherwise, you just basically said it's a good idea to flagrantly violate the fundamental law that has serves as the core of the United States because it affirms your limited idea of what constitutes economic efficiency.
If a state's sales tax is so high that it is more economically efficient to ship the product from a different state at least 48 hours transit time away than to buy from within the state, it's a pretty clear indication that the tax is too high, or the distribution models within the state are lacking. By your logic, we should violate the GATT 1994 and place punitive tariffs on incoming products from China because they rob hardworking Americans U.S. jobs. Because clearly that's a more logical and economically friendly policy than reducing the number of domestic legislative restrictions that sent those jobs overseas in the first place.
Applicant is advised that, if the application is amended to seek registration on the Principal Register underTrademark Act Section 2(f) in part, applicant must disclaim the descriptive wording “MINI” apart fromthe mark as shown because it merely describes a characteristic or feature of applicant’s goods.
Applicant should submit a disclaimer in the following standardized format: No claim is made to the exclusive right to use “MINI” apart from the mark as shown.
Essentially the problem is that the whole term "iPad Mini" is descriptive, because even if "iPad" were (and it is) a protected trademark, you can't say "small iPad" and make that whole mark trademark-able, which is what "iPad Mini" attempts to do. While the application deconstructs the "iPad" term as merely descriptive (which is unfortunate because it probably makes this ruling appealable, since I don't think the prior trademark applications relied on the secondary meaning exception to a descriptive mark), that's just salt in the wound. The real reason it was denied is because they tried to call their iPad "Mini" and trademark the whole term. It's still quite possible for Apple to use the "iPad(R) Mini" mark denotation.
Also, for those who don't know, (R) is a registered trademark that has been filed with and approved by the USPTO, whereas (TM) is an unfiled trademark that you nevertheless use in business that could stand up to another company using your trademark. (R) [federal] will always trump (TM) [state].