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Comment: Re:Adopt the German Rules (Score 2) 331

by Yebyen (#49357631) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers

I don't think so. It varies state-to-state.

In New York, non-compete may be valid if it is limited in scope or duration, regardless of consideration offered. In other words, you can be barred from competition (in your specific industry, for a reasonable specified length of time as determined by the courts) with no specific compensation if that's the terms of the non-compete agreement. Those agreements can be mandatory as a condition of employment.

So as usual New York State residents are basically fucked.

Comment: Re:Adopt the German Rules (Score 3, Insightful) 331

by Yebyen (#49357401) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers

I don't know, I like the fact that the non-compete is only valid while the payments are ongoing, but I think it's still going to be a problem for a lot of people if they are forced to sign a paper that says they can be terminated and barred from working for the competition in exchange for 50% of their salary ongoing.

If I was a specialist, I would consider the threat of losing 50% of my salary to be very tough to cope with, but losing 100% even harder. California rules recognize that when the "consideration" is "you get/keep the job" that's pretty much the definition of duress, it's Hobson's choice, it's not really a choice at all. You sign the paper because you want to keep your job, or you need to have the job.

You are free to reject the non-compete, as an added bonus you get to lose your job and you may not be entitled to unemployment or any severance package for your refusal to cooperate.

I have never been a business owner, and it's good to get different perspectives. I can see how it would be attractive to get 50% of what you're paid for not working anymore. As a knowledge worker I have a hard time imagining a scenario where it's worthwhile for me to give up on making money at what I've been training to do since high school for any length of time. Maybe I am imagining the scope of a non-compete to be larger than it is in fact.

Maybe I would see it differently if 50% of my salary was a bigger number ;)

Comment: Re:Adopt the German Rules (Score 4, Interesting) 331

by Yebyen (#49357131) Attached to: Amazon Requires Non-Compete Agreements.. For Warehouse Workers

F$*# that, use California rules. In California, a company that insists on having an invalid non-compete agreement signed by their workers under threat of firing may be liable for wrongful termination in violation of public policy.

Which non-competes are unenforceable/therefore illegal? Basically all of them.

The only time a non-compete agreement is valid (regardless of consideration) is when the person signing away their rights does it as part of a sale of a business and the goodwill of that business. So, you can't create the next WhateverApp, sell it for $X-leventy billion, write a deal that says you will not compete with the business you just sold, and declare that non-compete invalid under California law.

But basically every other non-compete is automatically invalid (even when it is for compensation). If you are paid under the terms of a non-compete for your cooperation, and you break the terms of the deal, you will still be entitled to keep what you have received (that deal was not legally binding) and the company's only recourse is to stop sending the payments. They cannot sue you for violation of contract terms.

Requisite: IANAL but I play one on slashdot.

Comment: Re:Well no shit! (Score 1) 232

by Yebyen (#49356719) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

So, nobody then.

I do not see how advertisers paying for eyeballs diverted from search results is the same as anyone "paying for search results" with their search queries. "You tell me what you're looking for and I'll tell you where to find it."

If this is what passes for quid pro quo then all those ad sellers might as well pack up and go home.

Do bartenders usually serve alcohol for the satisfaction of knowing what kind of drink is most popular? No! They do it because they have a liquor license and they will customarily be paid for the drinks they pour. You can't simultaneously be both the product and the consumer. Those are separate services, even if they are happening at the same time on the same networks and servers.

What I hear is "nobody actually pays money for search results."

Comment: Re:Well no shit! (Score 1) 232

by Yebyen (#49303267) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

Who pays for the Google search web service?

I'll admit, this page is amusing in the context of this discussion: honestresults.html

I know plenty of people pay Google, some pay for hosting of their business services, some pay for advertising placement in search results, but does anyone pay Google for Web Search (as a consumer of web search results?)

Comment: Re:Well no shit! (Score 2, Insightful) 232

by Yebyen (#49303075) Attached to: FTC: Google Altered Search Results For Profit

Microsoft also not only had(has) the #1 best-selling operating system in the world, it also _sells_ it. For money, to customers who buy it (sometimes indirectly, to many of whom are people that don't realize they had another choice.) People come to Google for their search, just like people come to Google for their other services, but nobody pays for search. Just like every other company that provides a multitude of services, including some loss-leaders, tries to promote their other profit-making services from their loss-leaders, Google uses Search to promote its other profit-making services.

If you knew that Google provides airplane ticket listings and you go to the familiar interface and type in "airplane tickets", the bigger crime would be if Google couldn't show you their own airplane listings first (or the listing they sold to the highest bidder) because of their "privileged position as #1 search giant," but they were instead somehow obligated to maintain an objective criteria to find the most popular result and return it (read: and all the other more popular services) first. In spite of the fact that you came to Google asking Google for their help with plane tickets, a service which they even do provide, sometimes for a profit.

Where should you go to find Google flight listings? Yahoo? The fifth page of Google search listings? Hogwash.

Comment: Re:Characters can be trademarked (Score 1) 255

by Yebyen (#49173761) Attached to: Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use

The jury is still out, I guess. This article and others would seem to indicate the actual character of Mickey Mouse is protected by copyright. I tend to agree.

I know that Mickey is also protected by trademark, and I can't find a source that says Mickey (the character) is being actively protected by copyright, or that a court has ever ruled that Mickey is specifically protected by copyright, so I'll back down on that specific statement. It's possible that likenesses of Mickey have in fact only been protected through trademark, except when they were copies.

But, that being said, there are characters who have enjoyed copyright protection from the courts, and the courts that ruled in favor of this protection usually used development of the character and distinctiveness as the criteria to determine whether a specific character should enjoy the protection of copyright.

Comment: Re:That's because it's not entirely copyright anyw (Score 1) 255

by Yebyen (#49173693) Attached to: Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use

That's not 100% correct either, but I like your middle-ground better than anyone else I've seen posting on this thread.

Characters can be covered by copyright. It is not established that these characters are covered by copyright, and characters are not always automatically covered by copyright, but when they are sufficiently developed, and if the courts decide to rule in your favor, characters in and of themselves can be protected by copyright.

Circuit courts have ruled both ways.

Comment: Re:That's because it's not entirely copyright anyw (Score 1) 255

by Yebyen (#49173367) Attached to: Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use

No, it's not a trademark issue unless you attempted to sell merchandising. You need to be engaged in a trade in order to violate a trademark. Then, the marks which are owned by original Power Rangers must only not be confusingly similar to be unprotected.

Mickey Mouse the character is copyrighted and you cannot market Mickey Mouse cartoons or goods without Disney's say-so. This is entirely because of copyright. They may also have trademarks that mean you can't make a cartoon and call it Mickey Mouse, even if the appearance of the cartoon is dissimilar enough to not be a copy or confusingly similar. The name is also trademarked. Those trademarks only stay good for Disney if they are renewed and defended. They are not the only protection around the Mickey Mouse brand, though.

Comment: Not satire without Power Rangers mark (Score 1) 255

by Yebyen (#49173291) Attached to: Gritty 'Power Rangers' Short Is Not Fair Use

By using the "Power Rangers" name for his piece, Kahn got way more views than he would have gotten if he had released it as "just another dark sci-fi short film."

That's what makes it satire. The video itself was not funny, but the concept was hilarious. My jaw was on the floor when I watched this.

It would not have been funny or satire if it was not about the Power Rangers. I only watched half of the short before I ran out of attention but I agree, this was worthy of a "Staff Pick"

Comment: Re:What about shuffle? (Score 4, Informative) 201

by Yebyen (#49165899) Attached to: That U2 Apple Stunt Wasn't the Disaster You Might Think It Was

Did you know you actually have to follow special instructions just to remove this one "Gift" album, since it registers as a purchase in your iTunes library? You can't just delete it as you suggested.

Similar to how you have to opt-out of iMessage when you quit having an iPhone through some obscure form on Apple's website, I can tell you I have actually heard people tell the story of how frustrating it is to "lose all of your messages" when giving up your iPhone. Every time you have an expectation of regular people to perform some minimally technical menial task, be prepared for 90% or more of those people to give up and fall off the edge of the funnel instead. This is not even a discussion of "the intelligence of Apple's targeted market segment."

You already know how that conversation ends, every time. "I just gave up and got another iPhone." And... wait for it... Apple's scheme really works! They (lusers) never ever connect it on their own as being "something bad/anti-competitive that Apple did," and something that Apple ostensibly should be punished for (with market forces moving away.) Network effect = gravity. Seems that Apple is well past the critical mass.

That page honestly could not be any simpler or easier to find, but I don't know anyone who can say they actually used it. Most people won't even connect the dots for the first two weeks and realize they are not receiving iMessage or any messages from any of their friends with iPhones anymore. If they can even find someone who will explain it to them, they will usually just hear "bad user, should have stayed loyal to Apple; Apple good, new phone problem."

Comment: Re:So what will this accomplish? (Score 1) 154

by Yebyen (#48914107) Attached to: Uber Capping Prices During Snowmageddon 2015

Correct me if I'm wrong, but in normal operation on a busy night you can see Uber prices surge up to 500% or more. If you want to see anti-gouging laws implemented like they have in New Jersey, where gas stations and service providers are not allowed to increase their prices during a disaster situation, go ahead and support Uber's right to surge pricing whenever they want it.

Uber has done this thing voluntarily to try and avoid that, or to try and make themselves look like gracious help-your-neighbor types, earning goodwill and getting exposure with good impressions or whatever. It's not like they've done away with surge pricing either, they've only capped it at 290%, which means again -- if they were a gas station or other essential service in New Jersey, they might be already running afoul of anti-gouging laws that do exist there.

Think of it from a risk management perspective, too. If you have the possibility of earning three weeks pay in two days just by going out to risk your life driving around strangers in the storm of the century, are you going to do it? Maybe every driver will! What if you had the potential to make only two and a half days worth of pay in the same amount of time instead? How bad is that storm supposed to get again?

Maybe if that's all you can make, you're gonna check that weather report again or look outside and think about it for a minute before you just sign on your car and open up shop today.

I've got all the money I'll ever need if I die by 4 o'clock. -- Henny Youngman