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+ - 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.

Comment: Re:Terman and Hollingworth studies (Score 1) 488

by james_gnz (#35939932) Attached to: What Does IQ Really Measure?

Conclusion? The smarter you are, the more likely you are to be maladjusted.

I think that's the smarter you are if you are above average, or the less smart you are if you are below average.

Or to put it another way, the conclusion is this: The further away you are from average, the less likely you are to fit in.

Comment: Re:Primary Programming. (Score 1) 645

by james_gnz (#34685058) Attached to: Greed, Zealotry, and the Commodore 64

What about Sweden? We've freed ourselves from religion, and we are doing just fine.

Oh, you might think you're doing okay, but boy, are you in for a rude awakening. Real soon. Any day now, you mark my words. And when it does happen, I'm going to laugh at your misfortune heartily. In the meanwhile I'll just bide my time saying "Any day now." And if any misfortune comes my way, that's only bad luck, clearly.

Comment: We all have unjustifiable beliefs, but some more (Score 1) 645

by james_gnz (#34684944) Attached to: Greed, Zealotry, and the Commodore 64

You're quite right we all assume the reliability of our memories, as well as that of our senses. (In fact, we may be wrong about these things. People with Alzheimer's disease may have unreliable memories, and people dreaming have unreliable senses.) And yes, we also assume that there was a past, and will be a future.

We start with these beliefs built-in, and a good thing because we couldn't do anything (including build further beliefs) without them. Some of us are also indoctrinated with religious beliefs as children. As adults, we can (hopefully) analyse our beliefs and question them. Nihilists notice none of our beliefs have any ultimate foundation, and therefore doubt them all. But this leads us nowhere. What if nothing exists, or at least nothing can be known? Then there is nothing to think about. We must make a few basic assumptions so we can admit anything as being worth thinking about.

But why make more assumptions than we need to? In particular, why make some specific religious assumptions rather than others? And although we can't hope for any ultimate foundation for our beliefs, we can aim for self-consistency, and Christianity doesn't seem very self-consistent to me.

Comment: Re:The web is public domain? (Score 1) 565

by james_gnz (#34133750) Attached to: Cook's Magazine Claims Web Is Public Domain

The use of the term "pirate" when referring to infringing on copyright goes back hundreds of years. If you think the meaning is still dubious, you're an idiot.

I said that, if anything, a later meaning is dubious, and specifically in response to the suggestion that an earlier meaning is dubious.

The term "public domain" also goes back hundreds of years, and is very specific. Anything that can legally be copied is said to be in the public domain. Public domain is the natural domain of all works (and in fact all objects), copyright is an exception that pulls works out of the public domain and into the private domain for a set period of time.

This definition is in fact no different than any other definition of "public domain". It is literally free for the public to use because nobody owns it any more. Same with any other object in the public domain.

To publish a work is to make it public, hence 'publish'. Copyright laws have historically applied from the time of publication (i.e. from the time that a work is made public), not to works that have not been made public (which are covered by the likes of privacy laws), hence, historically, all works under copyright law would necessarily be in the public domain, regardless of the lack of a public legal right to make copies.

Comment: Re:The web is public domain? (Score 1) 565

by james_gnz (#34131558) Attached to: Cook's Magazine Claims Web Is Public Domain

You were using a meaning of the term external to the domain of this discussion either to purposely confuse the issue to benefit an agenda, or just to be jackass.

In the context of copyright law 'public domain' has a very specific meaning which has nothing to do with being 'publically available.' Using other (dubious) meanings of 'public domain' in this conversation is being willfully obtuse.

The earlier meaning of 'public domain' is no more dubious than the earlier meaning of 'pirate'. If anything, it is the later meaning which is dubious, and used to confuse the issue to benefit an agenda.

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