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Comment: Re:The law makes no allowances for irony. (Score 1) 122

by james_gnz (#49162991) Attached to: Craig Brittain (Revenge Porn King) Sues For Use of Image

The photographer does hold the copyright to the photograph, but copyright isn't a right to make copies of the photograph, it's a right to prevent people from making copies of the photograph. People other than the photographer may hold other rights that also preclude making copies of the photograph (but that doesn't mean they're allowed to make copies of the photograph either).

Your first link is very different from the other two. In the first case, the guy who owned the camera initially claimed he was not the photographer--specifically that a monkey picked up his camera and took the photo itself. (The photo became a bit of a sensation on this basis, but when it came to light that you don't get copyright just by owning a camera, the guy changed his story, and instead claimed he had got the shot ready, and just let the monkey push the button.) In this case, the question is about who (or what) the photographer was, and therefore who (if anyone) holds copyright (since monkeys can't hold copyright). In this case, it is questionable whether the guy who owned the camera holds copyright, and therefore whether he can preclude others from making copies.

The other two links don't relate to disputes about who the photographer is, and therefore don't relate to disputes about who holds copyright. In these cases, it is not in question that the photographer can preclude people from making copies. What is in question is whether other people hold other rights that also preclude the photographer from making copies.

Comment: Re:Pretty much a given? (Score 1) 24

by james_gnz (#49025739) Attached to: EU Parliament Blocks Outlook Apps For Members Over Privacy Concerns
I expect this was a quip, rather than serious. Was the USA ever trustworthy, going back to the formation of the Union between 1776-1789? I'm not an historian, but I'd guess they started out relatively trustworthy. I'm given to understand they had some high ideals. Power corrupts though, I suppose.

Comment: Re: Moral Imperialism (Score 1) 475

by james_gnz (#48193695) Attached to: Manga Images Depicting Children Lead to Conviction in UK

Giving someone money isn't speech, but it can be closely tied to speech in such a way that taking away your ability to do so effectively infringes upon your free speech rights.

I disagree. I rather suspect that most of the money that people might make from such speech (assuming drawings of children having sex is considered a form of speech) comes from the legal right to prevent other people from copying them. This legal right is granted "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts".

To be clear, I'm not advocating a ban on drawing, or the possessition of drawings, but I'm far from convinced that the right to free speech encompases a right to claim payment for drawing children having sex.

+ - Wikipedia threatened with legal action over monkey 'selfie'->

Submitted by james_gnz
james_gnz (663440) writes "The Huffington Post and The Telegraph among others report that Wikimedia has been threatened with legal action over publishing a 'selfie' taken by a monkey.

Apparently, while photographer David Slater was attempting to photograph monkeys in Indonesia in 2011, one of his intended subjects appropriated his camera and proceded to photograph itself. Some of these photographs turned out rather well, and made headlines, and income, for Slater. Now the photos are making headlines and income for Slater again, as he threatens to sue Wikimedia for not recognising his copyright over them on the grounds that he didn't take them."

Link to Original Source

Comment: Re: Laugh all the way to the bank (Score 1) 83

"In very rare circumstances do you ask a court to rule on a contract before anything has happened." -- queazocotal

That's my understanding too--a court generally gets involved when someone alleges someone else has broken the law, not when someone is considering doing something and wants to check it won't break the law. I expect Dixie_Flatline got the opposite view from the linked Microsoft or WinBeta articles, both of which imply otherwise (although neither directly state it). I'd hazard a guess that the WinBeta article is largely parroting the Microsoft one, and my feeling is that neither are particularly reliable sources.

Comment: Re:Who is being taxed, exactly? (Score 1) 322

by james_gnz (#47189423) Attached to: Fixing China's Greenhouse Gas Emissions For Them

How about instead of playing five knuckle shuffle while attempting to funnel more money into the government coffers we instead look at ways to sequester the carbon emissions and perhaps replace them with naturally economically viable solutions?

Governments could put more money into research, but it would still have to come from somewhere (not that I'm saying this is necessarily a bad idea, but I think it's a false dichotomy).

The entire idea behind cap and trade is to restrict usage and it hits the poor the worse.

Yes, but everything hits the poor worse. If food prices rise as a result of increasing crop failures, this would hit the poor worse too.

Comment: Re:An even better idea. (Score 4, Interesting) 76

by james_gnz (#41425151) Attached to: W3C Group Proposed To Safeguard User Agent State Privacy

The costs of patent litigation exceed their investment value in all industries except chemistry and pharmaceuticals.
Bessen, James & Meurer, Michael J. (2008) Patent Failure. Princeton University Press.
So it would make sense to abolish patents in all other areas.

The economically optimal copyright length, assuming a single flat term, is slightly less than 15 years
Pollock, Rufus (2009) Forever Minus a Day? Calculating Optimal Copyright Term.
I think it might be better to have a shorter copyright term followed by a further copyleft term though.

Comment: Right to think + presume innocience = no patents (Score 1) 274

by james_gnz (#36396752) Attached to: Ask Slashdot: Reducing Software Patent Life-Spans?

Copyright disallows people from copying ideas that others thought of. Patents disallow people from using ideas even if they thought of them themselves, if someone else thought of them earlier. Some people think that copyright is a moral right. I don't think so. But even if we were to assume that copyright were a moral right, I can't see how anyone could honestly think that patents are. It seems to me that if we accept that people have a right to think of ideas themselves, and also accept that we should not punish people on the mere presumption of guilt (i.e. we shouldn't assume that someone has copied an idea if it's possible they thought of it themselves), then there can be no basis for considering patents as a moral right.

If there is any basis for patents at all, then, it must be, like tax, justified as a democratically agreed upon imposition on liberty as a means for promoting the greater good (even if we assume copyright to be a moral right).

By using clean room design (starting with an empty code base, and ensuring everything added was written in-house), it is possible for a company to ensure that software they produce is not covered by other people's copyrights. This is not the case with patents. The only way to determine that software is not covered by other people's patents is to check every part of it against every patent in existence.

In the case of pharmaceuticals, patents do significantly promote innovation, and a patent search is realistically achievable, so pharmaceutical patents do promote the greater good. In the case of software, patents do not significantly promote innovation, and patent searches are generally impractical, so software patents do not promote the greater good.

Comment: Re:The theory is nothing new, but it's cool to see (Score 1) 360

by james_gnz (#36029652) Attached to: Robots 'Evolve' Altruism
You've said people sacrificing themselves to help others in order to propagate shared genes can not be called 'altruistic' because it is selfish, but is this really so? If I sacrifice myself, it doesn't actually help me any (quite the opposite), even if it does help propagate my genes. Richard Dawkins' book The Selfish Gene talks about genes being 'selfish' although people aren't necessarily (AFAIK). And BTW, while you've objected to the use of the term 'altruistic', you've proceeded to use the term 'selfless' in a more objectionable way.

Felson's Law: To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.