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Submission + - Homeland Security Seizing Pirate Site Domains ( 2

Nocuous writes: The Department of Homeland Security is now seizing sites, using new powers granted by the Senate. Ironic, given the mission statement on the DHS' website about "preserving our freedoms"

"The U.S. government has launched a major crackdown on online copyright infringement, seizing dozens of sites linked to illegal file sharing and counterfeit goods. Torrent sites that link to illegal copies of music and movie files and sites that sell counterfeit goods were seized this week by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division of the Department of Homeland Security. Visitors to such sites as,, and found that their usual sites had been replaced by a message that said, "This domain name has been seized by ICE--Homeland Security Investigations, pursuant to a seizure warrant issued by a United States District Court." "My domain has been seized without any previous complaint or notice from any court!" the owner of Torrent-Finder told TorrentFreak, which listed more than 70 domains that were apparently part of the massive seizure. "


Submission + - Google OS Announced 12

shystershep writes: "Rumors have been floating around for years that Google was planning an OS to compete with Window. As of Tuesday night, it is official: "So today, we're announcing a new project that's a natural extension of Google Chrome — the Google Chrome Operating System. It's our attempt to re-think what operating systems should be. Google Chrome OS is an open source, lightweight operating system that will initially be targeted at netbooks. Later this year we will open-source its code, and netbooks running Google Chrome OS will be available for consumers in the second half of 2010." It is separate from the Android mobile OS, will run on both x86 and ARM processors, and is aimed primarily at web use. Other than that, details are scarce."

Comment Bentonville? (Score 3, Insightful) 538

I wish they'd enlightened us as to some of their 'subjective' reasons for their choices. The Northwest Arkansas metro area (Fayetteville, Springdale, Bentonville & Rogers) regularly makes the top ten of 'best places to live' lists. It's not New York, if that's your thing, but then they listed Boston & SF, too, so WTF?

Comment Re:Good News for Blizzard, bad news for copyright (Score 1) 838

I don't want to sound like a condescending ass, but I am a lawyer. (So I guess that makes me a condescending ass . . . ? Not exactly how I meant it, but sure sounds that way, & can't really argue.)

The '900-page' contract you mention would be unenforceable, but not because someone missed that clause. In every jurisdiction in the US there are four (depending on how they're broken down) requirements for a valid contract: competent parties, legal subject matter, mutual agreement, and valid consideration.

The first is easy - you can't hold a 6-year-old or insane person to their agreements. The second means that contracts for drugs or prostitution are not enforceable. The third means that the parties agree on what the contract is. And the fourth is that there has to be an exchange of something valuable - an agreement to give someone a gift is not enforceable (in most circumstances).

Totally aside from the fraud/misrepresentation issue of trying to trick someone out of their car, the contract you're talking about would be voidable for lack of consideration: it doesn't have to be equal, but you have to show that each side intended to give up something of value to them in exchange for what the other side was giving up.

You could argue a lack of consideration when you think you're getting an unencumbered piece of software, and the other side knows you're only getting a limited license, but you will run into all sorts of problems with that. First, the sofware vendor is going to be able to point out that everyone in the industry only sells licenses, and they'll be able to give examples of mammoth organizations like Wal-Mart or the U.S. government purchasing software on a per-seat license basis. Second, they're going to argue that there would be a failure of consideration if the transaction were structured as a sale instead of a license, because then they would be giving up all sort of rights that would be valued much higher than the $50 you forked over at Best Buy.

As for mutuality, it says right there on the box what you are getting. If you believe that you are getting more than the EULA allows, in direct contradiction to what that warning says, then that's a unilateral mistake and a unilateral mistake is not going to get you very far.

Not wanting the EULA to be binding is not the same as saying that it is. For a non-tangential precedent, see Tres Jeanee, Inc. v. Brolin Retail Systems Midwest, ___ F.3d ___ (W.D.Ky. 2007), in which the court, when faced with the validity of a EULA, looked at other jurisdictions and concluded:

a survey of cases from other jurisdictions suggests that clickwrap agreements requiring the user to assent to their terms are generally upheld in the face of allegations of insufficient notice of terms.

The Seventh Circuit has explicitly upheld EULAs, where the sole issue in the case was the validity of a 'shrink wrap' license agreement where the terms were only a notice was on the outside of the box and the terms were inside. ProCD, Inc. v. Zeidenberg, , 86 F.3d 1447 (7th Cir. 1996). The court gives a good example in that one: warranties on consumer goods. By your argument (and that of the defendant in that case) no warranty would be valid because you didn't know the terms when you purchased the product. I would highly recommend reading the case, it's fairly clearly written. I'll leave you with one last quote, from the court's discussion of the Uniform Commercial Code (which has been adopted in most, if not all, states):

A vendor, as master of the offer, may invite acceptance by conduct, and may propose limitations on the kind of conduct that constitutes acceptance. A buyer may accept by performing the acts the vendor proposes to treat as acceptance. And that is what happened. ProCD proposed a contract that a buyer would accept by using the software after having an opportunity to read the license at leisure. This Zeidenberg did. He had no choice, because the software splashed the license on the screen and would not let him proceed without indicating acceptance. So although the district judge was right to say that a contract can be, and often is, formed simply by paying the price and walking out of the store, the UCC permits contracts to be formed in other ways. ProCD proposed such a different way, and without protest Zeidenberg agreed. Ours is not a case in which a consumer opens a package to find an insert saying "you owe us an extra $10,000" and the seller files suit to collect. Any buyer finding such a demand can prevent formation of the contract by returning the package, as can any consumer who concludes that the terms of the license make the software worth less than the purchase price.

Lord of the Rings

Submission + - New Line Stiffed Tolkein's Estate, Too (

shystershep writes: "The trust that manages the estate of J.R.R. Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is suing New Line Cinema, the Hollywood studio that obtained the rights to produce films based upon his works. It is seeking over $150 million for breach of contract, plus punitive damages and the revocation of the studio's right to make more Tolkien-based movies. The lawsuit cites the problems that Peter Jackson had getting paid, and accuses the studio, as he did, of "engaging in the infamous practice of 'Hollywood accounting.'""

Submission + - The 64-bit Question: XP or Vista? 2

shystershep writes: "Here's the deal: my current system is getting a bit long in the tooth, and I've upgraded it about all that I reasonably can. So I'm planning on building a box. It will of course have a 64-bit CPU (x64). My primary OS will be Linux, never mind the flavor. I will also be installing a version of Windows, however, to be used almost exclusively for gaming (yes, I know there are games that work under Linux, but I am also interested in games which do not). So my question is, which would it be better for me, Windows XP Pro x64 or Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit? They are roughly the same price to buy, and I don't see any advantage with going for the 'ultimate' edition. Which is better for performance? Application compatibility? Availability of drivers (keep in mind I'm building from scratch, and therefore can pick and choose hardware on this basis)? And what about a couple years down the road: will XP still be comparable, or would going with Vista be better for the continuing updates and increased focus on it?"

Submission + - Google employee perks versus state prison perks

Wee writes: "Google recently topped Fortune's list of "100 Best Companies to Work For" partly due to its huge set of employee perks. But who really has the best perks: Google or your local state prison?

Mike Nicholson wrote a cleverly humorous article on Google employee perks compared to the stuff that prisoners are entitled to. The verdict? If you're really after perks, you should commit a major crime rather than work for Google."

Submission + - Florida congressional loser wants access to code

An anonymous reader writes: Florida congressional loser Christine Jennings (D) wants access to the source code of touch screen voters.

"... Her lawsuit says she must be allowed access to the secret inner workings of the touch-screen machines in order to find out if something did go wrong.

The manufacturer, Elections Systems and Software, does not want to disclose its trade-secret security systems, which are protected by Florida law. " ID=/20061219/CAPITOLNEWS06/61219007/1001/RSS

Submission + - Robot models itself and learns to walk

user24 writes: "Josh Bongard, Victor Zykov, and Hod Lipson of Cornell have created a self-modelling robot.
From TFA: "We have demonstrated how a physical robot can create an "internal model" of itself, and then use that model to generate successful motor patterns for locomotion, before and after damage. Most current robotic systems plan their behavior using a built-in mathematical model whose from is provided externally by engineers. Some robots can adapt without a model, but require many physical trials. Our result shows that a machine can adapt without being given a model and without extensive trials, by gradually developing an internal model of itself."
Watch the video here."

Submission + - Who are the world's geekiest girls?

ouijapod writes: CNET have made a list of history's most geeky girls. Most of us will be in agreement with the inclusion of Ada Byron, who wrote the first computer program, and Grace Hopper, who invented the first compiler (COBAL). But what about Paris Hilton, who comes in at number 10 on the list for "clutching her PSP" and "having her Blackberry hacked"? And Lisa Simpson at number 7 — it's funny, but weren't there enough real-life girl geeks to fill the list? Who are in Slashdot's list of top girl geeks?

iPod Faces Patent Probe 203

twofish writes "The long running patent spat between Apple and the struggling Creative Technology took another turn today. Creative is claiming that the US International Trade Commission (ITC) has now launched a probe into the possibility that the iPod infringes on Creative's patents. Creative has asked the ITC to issue an order stopping Apple from marketing, selling or importing iPods into the US."
User Journal

Journal Journal: Empty

Didn't really have anything to say at this point; just thought that the page looked a bit too empty without any journal entries. So now that's taken care of . . .

I suppose I ought to get back to work now.

"I have five dollars for each of you." -- Bernhard Goetz