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Comment Re:Terminated Based on Accusations? (Score 1) 150

The actual DMCA process (when not abused) isn't so bad:

1) Copyright holder claims that John Doe violated his copyright.
2) Copyright holder takes ISP to court to prove this actually happened.
3a) Copyright holder's case doesn't convince the judge to issue a subpoena. End here.
3b) The judge is convinced and issues a subpoena.
4) The ISP gives the copyright holder the user's information.
5) The copyright holder sues the user.

Overall, the process is relatively fair. The ISP can't be expected to be the judge of whether something is a copyright violation. That's for the courts. There are definitely improvements that can be made like in penalty amounts, but it's a decent process.

The problem here is that RightsCorp and the judge are saying that the process should be:

1) Copyright holder makes a few accusations against a user.
2) ISP kicks user off.

No court involved. No burden of proof. Nothing. Just "X did this wrong" followed by punishment.

Comment Re:Terminated Based on Accusations? (Score 1) 150

Oh, there are plenty of people here that own copyrights to things. Did you ever take a photo with your smartphone? Congrats, you own a copyright! Now if a hundred of us were to claim that RightsCorp violated our copyrights (whether or not they did is immaterial since RightsCorp is claiming that the mere accusation counts), RightsCorp's ISP would have no choice but to kick them offline.

Comment Re:The judge issued a verdict ahead of trial? (Score 1) 150

Does the ISP get to say to them these are the subscribers who's services where suspended without cause these are the ones that left and here is bill for that lost revenue? does the subscriber get to charge them for hook up fees when they move to a new service or damages when their accounts are suspended?

No, because the only penalty in the DMCA levied against the accuser is for falsely stating who you are. So if I claim that I'm Steven Tyler and you violated "my" copyrights by sharing "my" songs, I could get fined. However, if I claim that you violated copyright on songs that I actually do own the copyright to, I won't be fined even if you never even knew such songs existed - much less downloaded/uploaded them.

This means a rights holder could toss DMCA claims against everyone, demand settlement fees, quickly drop the cases where the user is going to fight back (without any penalty to the rights holder), and collect settlements from the rest. Pure profit!

Comment Terminated Based on Accusations? (Score 4, Informative) 150

So the judge is saying that Cox should shut off customers based on repeated allegations? As in, the proof isn't in yet and they've just been accused of something. Why even bother with trials or checking for proof then? Just fire a few dozen DMCA reports against random IP addresses and watch as people get taken offline. No proof required.

If this makes it into precedent/law, how long until many people accuse Rightscorp of copyright violations and take them offline? Or does the "guilty-and-taken-offline-before-proven-innocent" rule only apply if a company is accusing an individual. (To quote Animal Farm: "All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.")

Comment Re:Nothing to hide (Score 1) 67

You'll get no argument from me that the system is in serious need of changes at many levels to protect people from identity theft. Unfortunately, the credit agencies and credit card companies profit off of identity theft (selling people's data, taking in fees from fraudulent purchases and then writing them off if proven to be fraud, etc). They have powerful lobbying groups that will fight any changes that threaten their business - a category which includes increased consumer protections.

Comment Re:Nothing to hide (Score 1) 67

SSN is, unfortunately, a big deal. With your SSN, date of birth, and name, anyone can open lines of credit in your name. This includes credit cards, loans, etc. I found this out the hard way when someone opened a credit card in my name after somehow obtaining my name, DOB, SSN, and home address. (I never found out how they got this information and never will.)

I was lucky in that the thieves paid for rush delivery of the card and the card was sent out before their address change request (from my address - needed to open the account - to their address) went through. The card arrived at my house and I was able to close the account and freeze my credit to make sure this didn't happen again. Had the card gone to them, though, they would have run it to its limit (which was more than $5,000) and not paid the bill. I would have found out about it when the collection agencies banged on my door for payment and they wouldn't be likely to take "But I didn't open that account or spend that money" as an excuse for not paying "my" debts.

So threatening that you'll reveal someone's SSN is a very big deal - especially if you link it to their name and DOB.

Comment Slight Elaboration (For the Record) (Score 1) 322

One further point. I'm implicitly assuming long-term capital gains tax rates, and that's a reasonable assumption when oversimplifying slightly. For the record, short-term holdings (assets held less than one year) can get taxed at ordinary income tax rates. The top marginal U.S. income tax rate is currently 43.4% inclusive of the Net Investment Income Tax (NIIT) if it applies. However, short-term holdings presumably haven't gained as much value as long-term holdings, especially in the aggregate, unless you've been particularly lucky. And there's a simple solution for that, too: wait until the short-term holdings become long-term holdings (held for one year), then expatriate.

These are not exactly middle class problems, are they? ;) You've got to be solidly within the top 5% on a wealth basis to get to an Expatriation Tax calculation, never mind actually owing any Expatriation Tax. And then, if you do pay some, you're resetting your cost basis anyway. You're just paying Uncle Sam what you would have paid when you sold the assets, less a blanket exemption. That's quite fair when checking out permanently, just as you must settle your hotel bill and minibar tab when you check out of a hotel.

Comment Re:The IRS keeps its hooks in US citizens who leav (Score 5, Interesting) 322

You've provided reasonable links, but you simply haven't read that information correctly. Here's how the U.S. Expatriation Tax actually works (assuming your net worth exceeds $2 million or that you otherwise are subject to the Expatriation Tax), oversimplifying only slightly:

1. Take your total worldwide net worth at fair market value as if all your assets were sold the day before your expatriation date.
2. Subtract your total worldwide cost basis from your net worth. The result is your total gain from your mark-to-market "deemed sale."
3. Subtract $690,000 (tax year 2015, adjusted annually for inflation) from your total gain. The result is your total taxable gain. If your total taxable gain is zero or negative, stop: you do not owe any Expatriation Tax.
4. Otherwise, pay ordinary capital gains tax rates on your total taxable gain, with a current top marginal tax rate of 23.8% (if the NIIT applies, and I'm not sure it does, but let's assume that). This is your total U.S. Expatriation Tax.

If you owe Expatriation Tax your cost basis is reset. Any subsequent capital gains on U.S. assets will only be taxed based on your new, reset cost basis. Note that "wash sale" rules do not apply when making the Expatriation Tax calculation, so deemed sale capital losses are not limited within the calculation. To some degree you can pay your Expatriation Tax in installments if you wish and only pay statutory interest on deferred payments (currently 3%). If your assets are generating a higher after-tax rate of return (quite likely) then stretching out your Expatriation Tax payment to the maximum extent allowed by law is a good idea. You may also wish to stretch out your Expatriation Tax payments if you prefer to raise funds more slowly, perhaps as in the form of interest, dividends, royalties, and/or earned income.

The U.S. Expatriation Tax is not a hardship by any reasonable definition of hardship, and it's quite disingenuous to complain about not getting a $250,000 capital gains exclusion on a home when you're getting a $690,000 blanket exclusion. But if it were a hardship, there's a simple, 100% effective solution to avoid the U.S. Expatriation Tax: don't renounce or relinquish U.S. citizenship.

Comment Re:Lucas not having control to do what he wanted (Score 1) 420

And if the whole point of Star Wars is family, then why does Amidala die in Episode 3 for no other reason than "boo hoo, Anakin's crossed to the Dark Side"? She's a strong character up to that point but just decides not to live anymore. If Star Wars was about family, then she would have wanted to care for her new babies - or at least live long enough to make sure they were headed to decent homes. Instead, she just decides to die because that's what Lucas' script said for her to do.

Comment Re:Netflix Should Quit Making Shows (Score 3, Insightful) 165

Some of the shows Netflix has made have been hailed as great programming. I personally can't speak for what I haven't seen, but Daredevil was fantastic. I highly doubt that any network TV station could have produced anything of that quality. It would have degenerated into Criminal Of The Week stories, forced pre-commercial cliffhangers, post-commercial recaps, and a story that didn't flow as nicely from episode to episode. Only HBO might have been been able to do Daredevil as well as Netflix did. (Which isn't a coincidence as Netflix wants to have more original programming like HBO does.)

On the comedy/sitcom end, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was funny in a way that I wish more sitcoms were. Again, no commercials meant they didn't need to pause the episode's story to show ads.

This doesn't mean a Netflix produced Lost In Space is guaranteed to be fantastic, but - based on their past successes - it means there's a good chance that it'll be good.

Comment Re:You did Something vs. You didn't do Anything (Score 2) 206

Just choose the right position to hide context from the photo, the right angle for emotional effect or simply ask people to do something or rearrange some objects.

Obligatory Calvin and Hobbes: http://filmmakeriq.com/images/calvin-hobbes-cameras-lie/

Also, I'm guilty of this. Taking photos of my boys and carefully making sure the mess of toys isn't in the frame so that our house doesn't look like the mess it is.

A failure will not appear until a unit has passed final inspection.