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Comment Re:better off without it (Score 1) 337

Tesla is a fad like iPod's were a fad. Soon it will be normal.

This is not in any way an endorsement of Tesla. Frankly, this stunt says to me that Musk is a whiny little bitch. Criticism is necessary for product improvement, no matter how stupid it is. If you smack the ban-hammer on any slight then that's just a sign of weakness and vulnerability... and it's unlikely you will get useful feedback in the future.

Transportation

France To Pave 1000km of Road With Solar Panels (solarcrunch.org) 405

An anonymous reader writes: France is planning on a project to build 1000 kilometers of road with specially designed solar panels. This project will supply 5 million people in France with electricity if it is successful. Though many solar experts are skeptical of this project, the French government has given the go-ahead to this venture. According to France's minister of ecology and energy, Ségolène Royal, the tender for this project is already issued under the "Positive Energy" initiative and the test for the solar panels will begin by this spring.The photo voltaic solar panels called "Wattway" which will be used in the project are jointly developed by the French infrastructure firm "Colas" and the National Institute for Solar Energy. The specialty of "Wattway" is that its very sturdy and can let heavy trucks pass over it, also offering a good grip to avoid an accident. Interestingly, this project will not remove road surfaces but instead, the solar panels will be glued to the existing pavement.
Java

Java Named Top Programming Language of 2015 (dice.com) 358

Nerval's Lobster writes: What was the most popular programming language of 2015? According to the people behind the TIOBE Index, Java took that coveted spot, winning out over C, Python, PHP, and other languages. "At first sight, it might seem surprising that an old language like Java wins this award," read TIOBE's note accompanying the list. "Especially if you take into consideration that Java won the same award exactly 10 years ago." Yet Java remains essential not only for businesses, it continued, but also consumer-centric markets such as mobile development (i.e., Google Android). That being said, even big languages can tumble. (Dice link) Objective-C tumbled from third place to 18th in the past 12 months, thanks to Apple's decision to replace it with Swift. In 2016, TIOBE expects that "Java, PHP (with the new 7 release), JavaScript and Swift will be the top 10 winners for 2016. Scala might gain a permanent top 20 position, whereas Rust, Clojure, Julia and TypeScript will also move up considerably in the chart." What has been your most-used (or best-loved) programming language of the last 12 months?

Comment Re:SCOTUS unanimously says otherwise, Congress (Score 1) 228

That list looks familiar. You may not like the list, but it's the list that Congress put in the law. The list isn't comprehensive, but it is law - statutory federal law.

Yes, I know what you were referring to. My dislike for the list has nothing to do with what is and isn't in it; I dislike it because it section 107 is worded in a rather confusing way, and it often trips people up.

What it actually says, rearranged for clarity is:

[T]he fair use of a copyrighted work ... is not an infringement of copyright.

[To aid in the determination of] whether [a particular use] is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include--
(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

[If the use is determined to be a fair use, by] consideration of all of the above factors[, it is irrelevant that the work] is unpublished.

[By implication, courts are free to also consider other factors to aid in the determination.]

[Although it is tautological to say it, fair use] for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research[, is ultimately fair use, and thus not infringing as per the above. However, criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research which are not fair use, may be infringing.]

Thus, the list is bogus. It confuses people into wrongly thinking that the only uses which are fair are the ones on the list, and that if the use is on the list, it must be fair. Neither is true. They're just examples of things that might be fair use, or might not be fair use, depending on circumstances.

Unanimous SCOTUS opinion in Campbell vs Acuff-Rose "fair use is an affirmative defense".

And IIRC, that was not relevant to the case, which was actually about whether uses may be presumptively unfair, which the Court found was not so. Essentially it's dicta, and Harper & Row is even more so, as there was no mention of whether it was an affirmative defense until the opinion, and it too was not relevant to the case, which dealt with whether any of the uses on the list were presumptively fair, which the Court also found not to be so. In fact, I'd say that it's completely built on sand: The only mention of it being an affirmative defense comes from a cite to a 1967 House Report, which merely says that the pre-codification form of fair use was historically often raised as a defense. The report then goes on to say that it would be wrong to place the burden of proving fair use on either side, which directly undercuts the idea of it being an affirmative defense which must be raised by the defendant or else waived.

The better case to look at is Sony:

Moreover, the definition of exclusive rights in section 106 of the present Act is prefaced by the words "subject to sections 107 through 118." Those sections describe a variety of uses of copyrighted material that "are not infringements of copyright" "notwithstanding the provisions of section 106." The most pertinent in this case is section 107, the legislative endorsement of the doctrine of "fair use."

Indeed, the statute itself is the best support for the status of fair use as not being an affirmative defense: The grant of copyright itself in section 106 is limited in scope so as not to cover the territory taken out of copyright by section 107, among others. Although for reasons of judicial economy, there's no reason to even bother with fair use unless a prima facie infringement can be shown, the statute clearly states that fair uses cannot possibly be infringing, as the copyright just does not extend that far; there's no mention of whether it has to be shown or not. Hell, 17 USC 108(f)(4) actually refers to "the right of fair use as provided by section 107."

Happily, we're beginning to see some success in fixing the mistake perpatrated by Harper & Row and Campbell, with cases such as Lenz v. Universal Music. There's still a long way to go, but it's a start.

think you'll find that I don't shoot my mouth off without knowing what I'm talking about. When I say "the law is ...", I'm probably quoting either the statute or SCOTUS.

Even SCOTUS gets the law wrong with alarming frequency. It's a bad idea to treat what they say as gospel, and even they know this. My favorite example is from Lawrence v. Texas, where they said of their previous decision in Bowers v. Hardwick, "Bowers was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today."

Comment Re:fair use is criticism, not competition (Score 1) 228

Primary categories that -can- be fair use include

Your list is bogus. Any use "-can-" be a fair use. However, no use is necessarily a fair use. Certainly there have been uses which weren't types you listed, and there have been uses which did fall into the listed categories, but were determined not to be fair.

Note also that with regard to the classic four prong test, additional prongs may be added if helpful, and the test isn't mean to be applied mechanistically.

A professionally produced "Star Trek" film certainly COULD compete with Paramount's 2016 Star Trek Film, "Star Trek Beyond". In fact, if it's available on Amazon, consider someone tells their spouse or parents they want the Star Trek DVD for Christmas. It's entirely possible the gift-giver (who isn't a Star Trek fan) would buy the wrong one, buying the unauthorized movie rather than Paramount's official Star Trek.

This is unlikely. The question is essentially whether the use is a substitute for the original work. Mere confusion isn't really relevant; you're looking for people who say that because they got a copy of the work which is allegedly a fair use, they no longer have a need for the underlying work.

Note that fair use is a "defense".

No it's not. Fair use is an exception to copyright. However, the person engaging in the use is better able and better motivated to make the argument of fair use than the copyright holder trying to prohibit it. For this reason it is treated like a defense as a matter of procedure.

Comment Re:Curious (Score 1) 228

Meanwhile, Xerox is not a genericized trademark, though some think it is.

It may be generic, the issue simply hasn't arisen, so far as I know.

The key to whether or not a trademark is generic is exactly what people think it is. If enough people think that XEROX is synonymous with photocopier, rather than being a specific brand of photocopier, it's generic, regardless of whether the Xerox company failed to try to protect its mark.

XEROX, KLEENEX, and BAND-AID are probably generic, but have simply never been challenged.

Comment Re:Breakin' the law, breakin' the law (Score 1) 410

I guess the secret to ensuring that your favorite pastime won't be annexed by a bunch of rogue law-makers is to take up a pastime that *they* enjoy.

For example... many, many times more people are injured or die as a result of playing golf than as a result of playing with drones -- yet you *KNOW* that golf will never be banned or restricted in the way that drones are being -- simply because so many lawmakers are also keen golfers.

Remember... politicians and bureaucrats are primarily looking after their own interests ahead of ensuring the public's safety.

Bitcoin

Core Bitcoin Devs Leave Project, Create New Currency Called Decred (softpedia.com) 122

An anonymous reader writes: Core developers in the Bitcoin project have left and started a new currency called Decred. Developers are citing a lack of transparency and a conflict of interests between the group that funds the actual Bitcoin software development, and the decisions taken inside the project. Jacob Yocom-Piatt, CEO at Company 0, who has funded development of Bitcoin since early 2013: "This is in part due to a lack of mechanisms and pathways for funding development work directly from the community, and as a result Bitcoin development is funded by external entities that create conflicts of interest between the developers and the representative power of the community that uses Bitcoin."

Comment Re:Reliability of refurbished booster is unknown (Score 1) 163

Why would you want to cut your production rate? Both reusability and economy of scale are essential in cutting launch costs. SpaceX ought to be working on internal projects that can use any excess launch capacity until there are enough customers, though, preferably ones that will help further the business. (Like electric space tugs and refueling / repair / refurbishment drones)

Comment Re:Fell like a stone (Score 1) 148

Oh yes, if this drone had been registered then it would have floated gently to the ground like an autumn leaf.

Sigh... what do you *really* think that registration does? Do you think it's a silver bullet that ensures these things fly safely, never crash and are 100% reliable?

Step right up son, there's a job waiting for you at the FAA!

The reality is that this was a professional-quality rig that suffered a catastrophic failure and whether it had been registered or not (which probably isn't even a requirement in the country where this took place) makes no difference.

It's great to see the levels of ignorance and "know it all-ism" on Slashdot hasn't decreased one jot recently :-/

Comment Re:"Drone"? (Score 1) 148

"There is always a kill switch on the controller, intended for those cases where the drone is out of control and at the risk of doing something really stupid. Of course this will cause it to fall out of the sky like a brick, so that has to be better than the alternative. It sounds like it was activated, but the reasons they give why are dubious."

What utter twaddle! Written by someone who clearly operates on the basis that "I don't need on steenken facts! I'll just make up some to suit my argument".

And yes, I can speak with authority -- I'm a well recognized name in the world of "drones".

Comment Re:"Drone"? (Score 1) 148

Actually, it's clear that the drone pilot was aiming for something "soft" to cushion the impact of his expensive craft and thus keep damage to it and its expensive camera payload to a minimum. It's just a rumor but someone said they heard him say "damn, missed" in a soto voice just seconds after the impact :-)

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