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'Citizenfour' Producers Sued Over Edward Snowden Leaks 161

Posted by Soulskill
from the indicting-a-ham-sandwich dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this news from The Hollywood Reporter: Horace Edwards, who identifies himself as a retired naval officer and the former secretary of the Kansas Department of Transportation, has filed a lawsuit in Kansas federal court that seeks a constructive trust over monies derived from the distribution of Citizenfour. Edwards ... seeks to hold Snowden, director Laura Poitras, The Weinstein Co., Participant Media and others responsible for "obligations owed to the American people" and "misuse purloined information disclosed to foreign enemies." It's an unusual lawsuit, one that the plaintiff likens to "a derivative action on behalf of the American Public," and is primarily based upon Snowden's agreement with the United States to keep confidentiality. ... Edwards appears to be making the argument that Snowden's security clearance creates a fiduciary duty of loyalty — one that was allegedly breached by Snowden's participation in the production of Citizenfour without allowing prepublication clearance review. As for the producers and distributors, they are said to be "aiding and abetting the theft and misuse of stolen government documents." The lawsuit seeks a constructive trust to redress the alleged unjust enrichment by the film. A 1980 case that involved a former CIA officer's book went up to the Supreme Court and might have opened the path to such a remedy.

GCHQ Warns It Is Losing Track of Serious Criminals 225

Posted by samzenpus
from the where-are-they-now dept.
An anonymous reader writes The Telegraph reports, "GCHQ has lost track of some of the most dangerous crime lords and has had to abort surveillance on others after Edward Snowden revealed their tactics ... The spy agency has suffered "significant" damage in its ability to monitor and capture serious organized criminals following the exposes by the former CIA contractor. Intelligence officers are now blind to more than a quarter of the activities of the UK's most harmful crime gangs after they changed their communications methods in the wake of the Snowden leaks. One major drug smuggling gang has been able to continue flooding the UK with Class A narcotics unimpeded for the last year after changing their operations. More intense tracking of others has either been abandoned or not started because of fears the tactics are now too easy to spot and will force the criminals to "go dark" and be lost sight of completely."

Comment: Re:people still watch that crap? (Score 1) 106

by Dogtanian (#48644079) Attached to: Behind the Scenes With the Star Trek Fan Reboot

TOS was a bunch of LSD lights and kirk visiting stupid copies of earth

Hahaha.... I'm sure someone will point out that Kirk only went to a "stupid copy of earth" twice and LSD lights in space didn't feature that often... yet somehow you've managed to distill and exaggerate an already selective general perception into something that *sounds* like you hit the nail on the head. :-)

TNG a bunch of technobabble and reengineering the ship to solve the problem of the week

True... but you forgot the overuse of the holodeck, which, if you were to exaggerate it the same way you did TOS, would have every third episode involving Data dressing up as Holmes and chasing Moriarty who'd somehow overridden the safety settings. :-)

(Disclaimer: Still my favourite ST series).

never got into Voyager

Saw some of it, nowhere near as bad as some people claimed, but came across as too much like a rerun of TNG with weaker characters.

(And the TNG-style episodic "reset button" formula was more obviously contrived when there was an end goal (i.e. to get home) that had to be put back out of reach).

Comment: Re:Separate Marginal Tax Rates for IP (Score 1) 153

by Dogtanian (#48641853) Attached to: The Beatles, Bob Dylan and the 50-Year Copyright Itch

Listen here SmartAss®, It is for...

Er, yeah, I think we all know what you meant. You yourself understand that the guy was being a "SmartAss®" (i.e. he knew what you meant but deliberately misinterpreted it), so not sure why you bothered re-explaining the bit in bold!


The Beatles, Bob Dylan and the 50-Year Copyright Itch 153

Posted by Soulskill
from the they-get-by-with-a-little-help-from-their-lobbyists dept. writes: Victoria Shannon reports in the NY Times that fifty years ago was a good year for music, with the Beatles appearing on Billboard's charts for the first time, the Rolling Stones releasing their first album, the Supremes with five No. 1 hits, and Simon and Garfunkel releasing their debut album. The 50-year milestone is significant, because music published within the first half-century of its recording gets another 20 years of copyright protection under changes in European law. So every year since 2012, studios go through their tape vaults to find unpublished music to get it on the market before the deadline.

The first year, Motown released a series of albums packed with outtakes by some of its major acts, and Sony released a limited-edition collection of 1962 outtakes by Bob Dylan, with the surprisingly frank title, "The Copyright Extension Collection, Vol. I." In 2013, Sony released a second Dylan set, devoted to previously unreleased 1963 recordings. Similar recordings by the Beatles and the Beach Boys followed. This year, Sony is releasing a limited-edition nine-LP set of 1964 recordings by Dylan, including a 46-second try at "Mr. Tambourine Man," which he would not complete until 1965. The Beach Boys released two copyright-extension sets of outtakes last week. And while there's no official word on a Beatles release, last year around this time, "The Beatles Bootleg Recordings 1963" turned up unannounced on iTunes.

Comment: Re:Interesting, but ... (Score 1) 150

by JanneM (#48607289) Attached to: Want To Influence the World? Map Reveals the Best Languages To Speak

Great idea! Now we all only need to agree on which language to standardize on. I'm sure that worldwide discussion will be calm, focused and productive. Please post the results here in the thread once it's been decided.

I suggest Swedish. It's just about equally well known by almost everybody in the world, so nobody is starting out with an unfair advantage. I get a lifetime gig teaching Swedish to everybody. And you get umlauts! Win-win.

Oh, and by "suggest" I of course mean "absolutely demand or I will refuse any part of this scheme".

Comment: Re:Doubt it (Score 1) 299

by Dogtanian (#48596679) Attached to: Blade Runner 2 Script Done, Harrison Ford Says "the Best Ever"

In the sequel, the story will have to be much more powerful because the world is already introduced. From what I see in Wikipedia, it's not going to do it (which is not surprising, because it is by a different author).

That's a story from a series of Blade Runner books. Not the plot of Blade Runner 2, the movie.

Yeah... I suspect the film's still going to be written by a different author though. Well, unless there have been significant improvements in ouija board technology I wasn't aware of...

Comment: Re:Sounds Better? (Score 1) 433

by Dogtanian (#48595175) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

I will admit there are some moments on audio records that weren't effectively replicated by replacement CDs. For example, the swelling of a brass section in a jazz big band, and a dramatic piano entrance with loud, stacatto notes (I can just picture the pianists' hands repeatedly dropping 10 inches). Not at all dramatic on the CD, but maybe with today's higher bit mastering that could be improved.

Isn't this a problem with the (already mentioned) audio range compression- AKA "loudness war" where the quiet bits are made louder and hence the (already as loud as they can be) loud bits don't sound as much louder by comparison.

I noticed this with one song on a Vangelis compilation I got from a shop that- compared with the vinyl version- lacks "punch" when the expected increase in volume should come in.

Comment: Re:not lossless (Score 3, Interesting) 433

by Dogtanian (#48594915) Attached to: Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

Vinyl is the only consumer playback format we have that's fully analog and fully lossless

The article itself gives plenty of examples why vinyl isn't lossless, and it's easy to name a few more.

This comes across as a second-hand, simplistic interpretation of something that was a fallacy to begin with. This is a fallacy that's either explicitly or implicitly used as the (flawed) basis of arguments, even on Slashdot.

The fallacy is that because "analogue" as a *purely abstract* concept can in theory have infinite precision- as opposed to digital (which by definition has a clearly-defined level of precision)- then an analogue medium like vinyl records must inherently be able to hold more detail than a digital one like (e.g.) compact discs.

Problem is, that argument could then be applied to any analogue medium (not just vinyl), so that e.g. a cheap, worn-out audio cassette recording made on a portable recorder in the early 70s must also be inherently superior to a CD, or even to a 24-bit, 96KHz digital master(!!!)

This makes the flaw in the argument more obvious, but it's still a flaw when applied to vinyl. The problem is that we're talking about actual, real-world examples of analogue media, not the abstract concept. In real life, no analogue medium can have infinite bandwidth, so they quite obviously *do* have inherent limits of precision and quality- just not as clearly delineated as those of digital. (*)

Of course, you might argue that we could engineer our analogue media to higher standards... but similarly, we could (theoretically) engineer a higher resolution and sampling rate into digital media, so there is no inherent argument in that either way.

Furthermore, by definition, a "perfect" analogue copy would require infinite perfection in the duplication process (clearly impossible) and the ability to verify this to infinite levels of precision (ditto). So by definition *any* analogue copy will be imperfect.

This isn't to say that CD is better than vinyl, or that digital is better than analogue. Maybe vinyl *is* better... maybe not. What it *is* saying is that the "analogue is infinite and digital is limited" argument *in itself* is flawed, and not a valid basis for drawing a conclusion either way. One can make comparisons where either is the clear winner- a good quality analogue turntable setup (and LP) will quite obviously sound better than a grungy 4-bit digital sample "bit bashed" through a C64 or Atari 800 sound chip. But the aforementioned 24-bit, 96KHz digital master will blatantly knock spots off an analogue C90 cassette recorded in 1973.

(*) One may be scientifically able to calculate the meaningful upper limit of cassette bandwidth and the noise floor by (e.g.) looking at the maximum theoretical magnetisation possible, spacing of the grains, et al... both in theory and in practice. I can't tell you what those limits are, but I can be quite confident that they'll exist, and hence dictate the maximum sound quality.

Comment: Re:Benny Hill? (Score 1) 80

by Dogtanian (#48594313) Attached to: Proposed Theme Park Would Put BBC Shows On Display

Given the standard of what ITV produces* this isn't surprising. I can't think of a single show that ITV managed to export before Downton Abbey.

What are you talking about? The company "ITV plc" (which has only existed since 2004) or the ITV network?

Remember that "ITV" was originally- and still is- the collective name given to the network of (once independent) regional franchisees for the main commercial TV station.

It was only after the franchisees were allowed to merge- starting in the 90s- that the two largest remaining companies merged to become "ITV plc" in 2004. Before that, there wasn't an ITV company, just a bunch of separate companies that generally cooperated. And there are still two companies (STV and UTV) that are on the ITV network but not part of "ITV plc".

So, yeah, there were plenty of "ITV" shows exported before 2004, but those were made by various different companies.

Comment: Re:When you try and leave . . . (Score 1) 80

by Dogtanian (#48593347) Attached to: Proposed Theme Park Would Put BBC Shows On Display

Will a giant white ball chase you down?

Not unless they license that show, since it was made by ATV/ITC for the ITV network, not the BBC. (*)

Unless, of course, I misunderstood you, and you were referring to a bizarre episode of It's a Knockout. ;-)

(*) Ditto this post regarding the "all British TV programmes were made by the BBC" fallacy Americans and others seem to hold.

The clash of ideas is the sound of freedom.