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Comment Re:Not Stupid Enough (Score 1) 188 188

Thanks for the WIPO/DMCA info!

For those /.ers who not only like to read TFA but also the source material, the WIPO article mandating member countries adopt anti-circumvention laws is here.

And just to clarify the term length provision, WIPO is an add on to Berne 1971, and Berne requires a term of at least life plus 50. The current longest term is apparently Mexico, with life plus 100.

Comment Re:Not Stupid Enough (Score 1) 188 188

Legally near-impossible, as it's required by international agreement.

This aspect doesn't get enough attention. I researched copyright reform ideas for a paper in law school, and found (to my surprise, even though I follow IP stuff pretty closely) that we are hamstrung many times over in what reforms we could actually enact, on account of treaties we largely bullied the rest of the world into signing.

Term reduction, mandatory registration, escalating fee structures... none of that is really on the table in light of our treaty obligations. Not only do ratified treaties sit in a sweet spot just south of the Constitution itself, but these particular ones we've been pushing hard for decades. I was unaware of the mandatory encryption-breaking prohibition, but it does not surprise me.

Comment Re:Not Stupid Enough (Score 5, Insightful) 188 188

I recently read an excellent piece that addressed this subject. The proposed two-pronged solution was quite modest and yet could fix most of the DMCA problems in one fell swoop.

1) Apply penalty of perjury to the entirety of the takedown notice, just as it is currently applied to counternotices.

2) Take away safe harbor status not only for failing to abide by the notice process, but also for failing to abide by the counternotice process.

Neither is earthshatteringly new, but it would take all of two lines of ink and a bit of political will. User-generated content companies like Google and Facebook could even provide that will. #1 is unambiguously good for them because it will lead to fewer DMCA notices they have to deal with. And even though #2 looks bad for them, it actually makes their lives much easier in that it legally mandates they do what they want to anyway (but which studios try to prevent): keep content up with minimal hassle.

Note the bullshit Universal that was pulling back in 2007--issuing blanket (i.e. not in good faith) takedown notices for Prince's music to everyone on the internet (including the mom who posted video of her kids dancing)--is still being litigated.

Comment Re:How? (Score 1) 368 368

Just exactly how do they propose 'taking out' a drone? I can only hope that they're not thinking about shooting out of the sky. Remember, any bullets that go up must come down

Water cannon? I'm sure they could outfit the water drop helicopters with a high pressure, low volume hose for just this purpose.

Comment Re:Taxi company (Score 1) 193 193

Well, I think they're doing both. They are lobbying at the state and local levels, and they are apparently breaking laws (sensible and ridiculous alike).

The latter is starting to look like a good way of achieving the former, though. When you finally give people a decent transport service, all of a sudden they start giving a shit about the regulations that could make it illegal.

Whereas, come at it from the ground up and say "Hey, we're a no-name startup, please change your laws protecting a powerful entrenched industry so we can operate, ok?" ... I can see that not working too well.

However, knowingly breaking the law has its risks, and no crying if you get caught. It's a different thing to rail against the law than to say you shouldn't be punished for breaking it.

Comment Re:Taxi company (Score 1) 193 193

Uber wants to be above the law, or at the very least, encourage their drivers to break the law. This is not an ethical way to do business.

I agree that if you break the local laws wherever you are, you will be subject to the prescribed penalties. I also agree that not all laws are good things. For different reasons I agree that there are instances of Uber acting unethically (fake hailing Lyft rides, for instance, or misusing customer information).

I disagree that disobeying one or more regulations is, by definition, an unethical way to do business. There are cities where Uber is not allowed to pick up at the airport. And yet, when Uber drivers nonetheless pick up at those airports, the only thing harmed is the taxi oligopoly (and perhaps public respect for the regulatory system, which people can see is not being used for the public good but to prop up entrenched interests).

Like jaywalking laws and signage size ordinances, port authority pickup regulations do not invoke deep questions of right and wrong behavior (i.e. ethics), beyond the metaethical questions of the origin of morality and whether following The Law is a moral good in and of itself.

Comment Re:No chance of winning (Score 1) 176 176

If 'politically correct' means not wanting to award a prize to a game encouraging vigilante, or state sponsored, murder of low level minor criminals then I suppose that's what you should call it, personally I prefer 'not being a dick'.

That's rather minimizing the butchery of many species (including intelligent primates like gorillas) to near extinction. You even call it a major issue in the next sentence. These are not smash and grab kids or poor Jean Valjeans hunting the only food they can find to feed their starving families. These are well-financed, cold-blooded killing operations with expensive gear.

Advocating their execution may be in poor taste, but I wouldn't call it "being a dick." And I'm not convinced that using potentially lethal means (e.g. gunfire) to stop a poaching operation in progress would be wholly unwarranted.

Comment Re:The UBER's check-list to be a transport company (Score 1) 193 193

Uber also adds the "Showing up, but then refusing you a ride if you have a service animal" and other serious issues that keep cropping up.

Well that shit clearly needs to stop. A company practice of refusing access to the disabled or their service animals is unacceptable, as is deliberately underserving those with disabilities. If that is occurring at a high level, nail em to the wall.

However, while I support universal service animal access, I'm more sympathetic to the individual driver with cloth seats who knows that dog hair can be hell to clean out (and will get all over your next fare).

All that adds up to requiring (at penalty of large fines) the RS company to ensure sufficient handicapped access in a portion of their driver pool, without demanding that every last driver accept shed fur in what may be their only vehicle.

Comment Re:Taxi company (Score 1) 193 193

I don't understand how Uber is a taxi service. They don't take street fares. At best Uber is a car service.

This. The ability to be hailed from the street (and in some places, use special lanes/stands at public transportation hubs) is what makes a taxi, what requires a medallion, etc. Uber, Lyft, and friends cannot be hailed from the street, so they are not taxis in the strict sense--they are a car service that utilizes personal-use vehicles.

Although for the purposes of some /.er outrage, there is no practical difference. For instance, the need for adequate insurance applies to both taxis and car services. I'm all about consumer protection, so I have no problem with requiring the corporation to insure at commercial liability levels (which they do, but the different coverage permutations could definitely use more clarity). This also makes me a big fan of the driver pictures and ride tracking Uber employs.

Licensing I'm on the fence about. I'd like to see some data on accidents per mile driven by ridesharing drivers vs taxi and car service drivers. My personal, anecdotal experience is that taxi drivers have been more reckless and less knowledgable; YMMV. If the data were to consistently show that Uber had fewer accidents and other incidents, what's the point in making all those people get CDLs? It would just be a barrier to entry without demonstrable safety benefit. If it went the other way, or even if it was lower but not low enough, I'd be in favor of some sort of class or cert (akin to a defensive driving course).

I'm even less inclined to buy in to non-safety related regulations, which are largely relics of a bygone era or straight buttering the biscuits for the taxi lobby. IIRC the major traffic engineering burdens in this arena are from street hailable taxis (even when they aren't intentionally shutting down a city), but if there are studies showing RS is a major independent contributor, I'm all ears.

As for other regs, metering is even less reliable than the fare estimates given before RS rides. RS may already be better serving underserved areas. I am in favor of requiring more handicapped-accessible vehicles, and Uber has the resources to make sure there is an appropriate ratio if there aren't enough.

"It's the best thing since professional golfers on 'ludes." -- Rick Obidiah