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Comment: Re:rule of law (Score 2) 172

by kraut (#49502685) Attached to: Joseph Goebbels' Estate Sues Publisher Over Diary Excerpt Royalties

Longerich maintains this case has important censorship implications. “If you accept that a private person controls the rights to Goebbels’ diaries, then – theoretically – you give this person the right to control research,” he said.

A private person controls the rights to Goebbels' diaries until a court of law declares otherwise or they fall into the public domain for some other reason. Courts should have done this in the aftermath of WWII, but Germans wanted these copyrights to remain valid in order to control such writings.

The drive for essentially infinite copyrights comes mainly from the Walt Disney Corporations and the rest of the US Media. Germany has perfectly effective legal sanctions in place to prohibit the distribution of Nazi propaganda - personally I think they're misguided, but they certainly doesn't rely on copyright law.

Arguing as if "research" should be exempted from the usual rule of law is particularly embarrassing for a German professor studying the Holocaust, since many atrocities were committed in the Third Reich because German academics considered themselves above the law and got away with it.

a) research isn't affected by copyright in the same way as publication
b) The Third Reich was, on the whole, scrupulously legal. Once you have absolute power, passing laws to make your atrocities legal is trivial. Which is why the Nuremberg trials didn't apply German laws then, and why we need strong international enforcement of human rights laws today, regardless of national laws.

Comment: Re:Misinformed (Score 2) 124

It won't matter. Initial negative experience will color all future opinions. Apple really screwed the pooch on this one.

Yeah, badly. I mean, they only presold 1,000,000 of them with an average price of around $400. That's $400,000,000 in one single day.

This is version 1.0, which in the open source world would really be version 0.8 or so. It's a beta. Totally new product for Apple, and the people who are lining up to buy them know this.

Give it a few versions and it'll likely be faster and have longer battery life, as well as some very reasonable native apps.

Comment: Re:Technically right (Score 5, Interesting) 239

by IamTheRealMike (#49483705) Attached to: Google Responds To EU Antitrust Claims In Android Blog Post

We wish you luck, but if it breaks, dont come crying to us over it.

The history of mobile operating systems shows that your preferred strategy is a losing strategy. Users DO come crying over it, and developers cry twice as much. J2ME was basically Android 0.1 and took this approach - it was just a bunch of API specs and then phone vendors could license different implementations, write their own, etc.

J2ME sucked. I know this because I tried to write apps for it. Literally every freaking phone had its own unique combination of stupid, obvious bugs that rendered key APIs unusable without enormous piles of hacks. J2ME developers theoretically wrote Java, but often used a C style macro preprocessor because so many hacks required different source code to handle.

Android learned from J2ME and took a different approach - one single reference implementation that everyone builds off and is not pluggable except in very small, tightly controlled ways. You can modify the reference implementation to your hearts content unless you want access to the Play Store, in which case you have to pass the "Compatibility Test Suite" for core OS functionality, and for some other kinds of things that are impossible to unit test (e.g. Maps quality), agree to ship the Google implementation. This saves developers from J2ME hell making users and developers happy, and still lets manufacturers tweak things that aren't covered by the CTS, like reskinning things.

I see no evidence the EU has any understanding of the delicate balancing act Android represents, or the history of mobile phone operating systems. I fear this will be yet another bull-in-china-shop scenario. On the other hand, if Google are doing things like what Microsoft used to do by saying "if you sell any Google-services phone you cannot sell any non-Google-services phone" then that'd be a problem that is correctable without hurting developers.

Comment: Re:What? Why discriminate? (Score 1) 698

by Trailer Trash (#49480067) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

Most of what you say is true, but irrelevant. There are other ways that compensation happens, particularly in a church setting. If you look at the truly rich preachers they tend to have everything owned by the company - house, cars, etc. There are really few rules for limitations on that sort of stuff. Even the executive compensation isn't capped as you think. The IRS rules (which they rely on a court to enforce) looks at comparable compensation in the same general area of business and may try to get a court to declare some "salary" as "dividends" which are then taxed at the corporate level as well as the individual level.

Little of that would matter to huge "churches" any more than it matters to huge corporations. They'll find ways to get rid of any "profits" before the tax man comes.

Comment: Re:What? Why discriminate? (Score 1) 698

by Trailer Trash (#49478711) Attached to: 'We the People' Petition To Revoke Scientology's Tax Exempt Status

This. I tend to cringe at these megachurches that collect (metric) tons of money from poor people with the (false) promise of "health, wealth, and prosperity" - only to turn-around and spend hundreds of thousands, or even millions, to buy a fancy plane, property for a bigger parking-lot (I've personally seen that same church humiliate a poor, homeless person - by putting a suit jacket on them for service, then refuse to provide any kind of real material help.

The bible's position on it is pretty simple, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's..." - "USA" is printed on the dollar, churches ought to pay taxes. Even money that falls out of the sky counts as income.

This seems to be a recurring theme with people who have no understanding of taxes and corporations. Removing the tax exempt status from most churches wouldn't change anything - at least not at the federal level.

Churches aren't people. If you buy a car, you buy it with money that's already taxed. Same with your house, clothing, food, etc. You get to deduct charitable donations.

But corporations only pay taxes on profits, which are [generally speaking] what's left over after the expenses are paid. That means the plane, big building, parking lot, etc. gets paid for before taxes. Same with salaries. They would likely have no problem getting by with little or no taxes. Actually, it would probably end up like the corporate world where the biggest players pay little or nothing and the small guy gets screwed because he can't afford as good of an accountant.

I see this from the left quite often. I get stuff in my email every couple of weeks about how we need to revoke the NFL's tax exempt status. The NFL lost a couple hundred million last year - think they care about taxes? If they weren't tax exempt they'd be getting a substantial refund (and I'd likely be getting emails about *that*).

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