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Slashback: BBC, Crypto, Dummies [updated] 147

Slashback tonight with some rare bits of good news, at least for those who liked BBC Ogg Vorbis streams, or who use AES to protect data. Plus, a (final?) turn in the Greek gaming ban, and another visit to Dummies hell.

Let's get with it on those .ogg portables, OK? rassie writes "Checking back at what used to be one of my most visited sites, I noticed that I might start using it again very soon. The BBC is returning to streaming in ogg format. From the page:
Update (2002-09-24): Yay, the legal issues have been resolved. We now have rights to all the of the BBC's radio output. Hopefully we should start kicking off these streams soon."

Your email is still (probably) safe. BitterOak writes "A recent Slashdot story reported that AES might have been broken by the new XL attack of Courtois and Pieprzyk. However, it appears there aren't enough linearly independent equations for this attack to work against AES. Cryptographer T. Moh has a brief explanation here, and Don Coppersmith posted a comment on the NIST AES discussion forum (under General Cryptanalytic Attacks), which comes to the same conclusion. Coppersmith is one of the world's greatest cryptographers, so it seems safe to assume that AES has not been broken at this point."

Hey, now it's just like most of the U.S.! yoink! writes "The BBC is running the following story detailing the end of the short-lived electronic gaming ban in Greece. The Government realised that (hopefully) relatively little gambling was involved with those playing computer, and console games all over the country. The decision to clarify those games which are, in fact, electronic gambling facilities are the only forms of electronic gaming with which the revised legislation now concerns itself."

The lawyers sound like ... dummies. Blue Aardvark House writes "I am an author for the Slash site Slackers Guild. Recently Nastard, the owner of Slackers Guild received a threatening letter from Wiley Publishing concerning the site's Slacking for Dummies document. Nastard's reply is here."

Update: 09/27 03:31 GMT by T : Note: the Slacker's Guild website seems to have slacked, and the links no longer work. For the text of the letter sent by Wiley to Nastard, search below for comment #4340698 by SiMac; for the response, see comment #4340840 by decaying. Also, the "Slacking for Dummies" document link now points to Google's cache.

It's not the first time that Wiley has hunted down obvious parody works; they've even fired off similar mail because someone used "Dummies" in the subject line of an email.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Slashback: BBC, Crypto, Dummies [updated]

Comments Filter:
  • by Theodore Logan ( 139352 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:05PM (#4340693)
    Your email is still (probably) safe.

    Bah! Boring people should stop encrypting things [satirewire.com] anyway.
  • by SiMac ( 409541 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:06PM (#4340698) Homepage
    Dear Nastard:

    Wiley Publishing, Inc. ("Wiley"), formerly Hungry Minds, Inc., publisher of the well-known and well-regarded "? FOR DUMMIES" series of reference books and products has recently become aware of your use of the "? FOR DUMMIES" trademark and trade dress on your webpage www.slackersguild.com in the form of Slacking For Dummies.
    As you may know, Wiley has over 100 trademark registrations and applications in the United States, Canada, and other jurisdictions for the trademark "FOR DUMMIES", many "DUMMIES" formatives and the FOR DUMMIES trade dress. The FOR DUMMIES trademark appears not only on our books, but also on CD-ROMs, trade and consumer advertising, in catalogues, point of sale displays, Wiley's websites, and other promotional and licensed material distributed worldwide. This series has been in existence since 1991 and has enjoyed tremendous success.

    Since the FOR DUMMIES trademark is a federally registered mark, United States trademark law requires that Wiley take all reasonable steps to prevent others from using its marks, or confusingly similar marks, in such a way so as to "dilute" its distinctiveness as an exclusive designator of Wiley's goods and services. If the mark is used by too many different sources, it becomes a "generic" term, and Wiley may lose its exclusive right to use it. Thus, it is Wiley's responsibility to police for the use of "?. For Dummies" in any manner, and stop all unauthorized use of its trademark. Accordingly, in order to fully protect its valuable trademark, Wiley cannot permit such unauthorized use in connection with your website. Although you may present the defense that your use of the marks is a parody, a parody may still be considered infringing if it results in an increased likelihood of confusion, tarnishment or is disparaging to our reputation. A parody is a literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule. However, unless the trademark is at least in part of the parody, then your work does not qualify as a parody in the legal sense.

    In order to resolve this matter quickly and amicably, we request that you:

    1. Remove all materials from your website which bear the infringing material; and

    2. Provide written confirmation to me by no later than October 3, 2002, that the above steps have been taken and you will refrain from using the "? For Dummies" mark, or any other mark that is confusingly similar to any Wiley mark, in the future.

    While we prefer to resolve this matter informally, Wiley will use all legal remedies available to protect its trademark rights. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

    Sincerely,

    Kimberly Ward Skeel
    Manager, Contracts and Intellectual Property
    Wiley Publishing, Inc.
    (317) 572-3304
    Email: kskeel@wiley.com

    (Sorry, I didn't get the response)
    • The slack server timed out. Here's a Google cache of the original Guide [216.239.53.100], which does appear to contain some obvious trademarks of the "for Dummies" dummies, but would probably fall under fair use (parody).


      Google doesn't seem to have cached the actual thread, unfortunately.

      • Reply to Letter (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:15PM (#4340745)
        Dear Kimberly,

        I've given serious thought to your request, and while, as an artist, I can appreciate your company's desire to protect it's intellectual property, I feel it is also my responsibility -- again, as an artist -- to protect my own rights. The work in question is parody, which is considered speech, and is protected by the first amendment. For a parody to be at all effective, it logically must include the name and/or image of the objects or ideas being parodied. Since I am obviously not a corporate entity, and the work in question does not exist for the purpose of generating profit, and since the law offers more protection to non-commercial speech than commercial speech, I feel that I am completely within my rights.

        Under normal circumstances, I would have been glad to reach a compromise and alter the work in such a way as to keep both of our interests in mind. However, your first course of action was to imply threat of legal ramifications should I not comply, which tells me that my interests are of no concern to you. Therefore, I believe your interests to be of no concern to me.

        Furthermore, your concern that people may be confused by the document on my web site is ridiculous, since, outside of the name and an image that is quite obviously satirical in nature, there is no implied connection to your company. Even the copyright information, which is itself a joke, makes no mention of Wiley Publishing, Inc. It would take a person severely lacking in intellectual capacity to confuse my work for anything your company has published, which is ironic, considering that your books are marketed to people you refer to as "dummies". However, it is my audience that I write for, and for the nearly two years that this item has been available on my site, not one person has contacted me with any degree of confusion on the matter.

        I can only assume that your intent was to scare me into complying. Perhaps you assumed that I was not familiar with the law or my rights, and I would simply give in. This is not the case. If you're willing to respect my rights and discontinue your reliance on litigious behavior, it would be both appreciated and noted to other free speech advocates. If not, I have no choice but to defend my rights.

        Sincerely,
        Nastard

        • Fucking classic. That's some awesome shit. I'd love to see what they have to say to that.
          • Probably something along the lines of:

            With reference to our letter dated [whatever], we must restate that, under United States trademark law, if a trademark is used by too many different sources, it becomes a "generic" term, and Wiley may lose its exclusive right to use it. Wiley has no wish to limit the usefulness or accessibility of your Internet site, but the company, having been granted use of FOR DUMMIES as a trademark, must now police its use or jeopardise the investment made in good faith in that trademark.
            We should be pleased to see your Internet site succeed under a different title: but we hope you will understand that this is a matter on which we have no scope for compromise, as, again as stated in our previous letter, United States trademark law requires that Wiley take all reasonable steps to prevent others from using its marks.


            IANAL, but that's my guess.

            You can look at the situation two ways, and neither makes Wiley the bad guys here. Either:

            1. The website uses "for Dummies" because the phrase was popularised by Wiley. If this is the case, Wiley is pretty much forced to act like this, for the reasons above. Don't blame them, blame the law that leaves them no discretion to permit certain uses.

            Or:

            2. The website would have been called "for Dummies" regardless of Wiley's existence. If this is the case, Wiley should never have been given the trademark in the first place, as it was obviously a generic phrase. Again, don't blame Wiley - blame the trademark office that made that bad call, on the basis of which Wiley has now made a considerable bona fide investment.

            Either way, I don't think Wiley's acting at all unreasonably, given the constraints they're under.
        • Shoulda been titled "kiss my ass you dummies" :-)
        • "Legal Briefs for Dummies".

          On a more Darwinistic note, I was at the book store a while back and saw "Sex for Dummies" and "Parenting for Dummies." No joke. They must be concerned that natural attrition of their customer base (*Cough*Evolution for Dummies*cough*) could potentially be adjusted for via this method. I'm surprised Microsoft hasn't hit upon a breeding program yet -- I had high hopes for DNA but that didn't seem to go anywhere.

        • K i c k - a s s This guy is awesome. I am donating a couple of bucks to his site now...
    • by guttentag ( 313541 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:39PM (#4340845) Journal
      IANAL; I just play one on a television show that has never been filmed, but here is what I would send back:

      Ms. Skeel,

      I apologize if there has been a misunderstanding. As any Dummy knows, certain words and phrases that originated as trademarks have become so integrated into our language that it becomes difficult to distinguish the two. Examples of this phenomenon include Kleenex, Frisbees, Xerox copies and some phrases I can't recall because no one remembers the companies with which they were once associated.

      At issue here is a question of usage. We have not infringed upon your trademarks because your trademarks refer to guides for people who are genuinely stupid in a general, all-encompassing sense. Our guide, on the other hand, is intended for intelligent people who just happen to be ignorant in one particular area -- "slacking," in this case.

      Again, I apologize if this was confusing for you, but I invite you to read my book, written just for people like you, entitled "Common Sense for Complete Imbeciles."

      Have a pleasant day, and I wish you the best of luck in learning to read my book.

    • While reading "Slacking for Dummies", I noticed:

      All material henceforth contained within the boundaries, electronic or otherwise, of this document are
      the property of SlackersGuild.com and its respective owners. Any attempt to steal, borrow, copy, plagiarize,
      or otherwise rip off my work will result in the immediate legal action of our team of attack lawyers.
      By downloading, reading, having read, or having someone read to you the contents of this document, you
      agree to forfeit all of your worldly possessions, including any and all trademarks, patents, copyrights,
      or other intellectual property you may own. You also agree to jump up and down twelve times while
      patting your head and screeching like the little monkey that you are.

      This document (c) 2000 SlackersGuild.com All Rights Reserved, so fuck you.

      Is it possible that a Wiley's employee may have read this, found it funny, and decided to "test the waters"?
      This almost seems like a parody of a parody...

      Also, did anyone check to make sure the e-mail headers weren't forged?
    • Okay, they own "? FOR DUMMIES", "FOR DUMMIES", "?. For Dummies", and "? For Dummies".

      I guess I'll trademark:
      "* [fF][oO][rR] [dD][uU][mM][mM][iI][eE][sS]", excluding the subset that they claim.

      Now's where I get the profit, right?

      Okay, so I'm tired.

    • Subgenius sues for use of the word Slack
      Posted by TacoJr on Thursday September 26, 2018 @07:59PM
      from the didnt-you-know-they-were-the-next-scientologists dept.

  • Did the slackersguild even have a chance?
    • Didn't take long, did it?

      Did anyone manage to get a copy of Nastard's Reply?
      • Re:instant /. (Score:4, Informative)

        by decaying ( 227107 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:37PM (#4340840) Homepage Journal

        From the /.'ed page......

        [quote]Dear Kimberly,

        I've given serious thought to your request, and while, as an artist, I can appreciate your company's desire to protect it's intellectual property, I feel it is also my responsibility -- again, as an artist -- to protect my own rights. The work in question is parody, which is considered speech, and is protected by the first amendment. For a parody to be at all effective, it logically must include the name and/or image of the objects or ideas being parodied. Since I am obviously not a corporate entity, and the work in question does not exist for the purpose of generating profit, and since the law offers more protection to non-commercial speech than commercial speech, I feel that I am completely within my rights.

        Under normal circumstances, I would have been glad to reach a compromise and alter the work in such a way as to keep both of our interests in mind. However, your first course of action was to imply threat of legal ramifications should I not comply, which tells me that my interests are of no concern to you. Therefore, I believe your interests to be of no concern to me.

        Furthermore, your concern that people may be confused by the document on my web site is ridiculous, since, outside of the name and an image that is quite obviously satirical in nature, there is no implied connection to your company. Even the copyright information, which is itself a joke, makes no mention of Wiley Publishing, Inc. It would take a person severely lacking in intellectual capacity to confuse my work for anything your company has published, which is ironic, considering that your books are marketed to people you refer to as "dummies". However, it is my audience that I write for, and for the nearly two years that this item has been available on my site, not one person has contacted me with any degree of confusion on the matter. I can only assume that your intent was to scare me into complying. Perhaps you assumed that I was not familiar with the law or my rights, and I would simply give in. This is not the case. If you're willing to respect my rights and discontinue your reliance on litigious behavior, it would be both appreciated and noted to other free speech advocates. If not, I have no choice but to defend my rights.

        Sincerely,
        Nastard
        [/quote]

        • Hey I noticed you sig! You're probably from Great Britain and so the Ned's Atomic Dustbin reference is very familiar to you, but over here in Canada hardly anybody knew of them. Well, anyways, an interesting piece of trivia, I was away for the summer teaching a course for the army when they came to play in my hometown of Montreal, it was my only chance to see them and I missed out, but a friend of my sister knew the opening band (Letters to Cleo) and managed to get me a T shirt and all their autographs. Funny thing is they broke up a week later! Anyeays, this all probably means nothing to you, but you've made my evening! Cheers!
          • Actually i'm in Australia.... I got to see them once (on the "are you normal?" tour)..

            I remember a t-shirt from the God Fodder tour in Australia, on the front it had "Did you see Ned's Atomic Dustbin?" with their nuke symbol and on the back it had in large large print "WELL YOU FUCKED UP".... I always wanted one of them...

            Anyway...... I noticed your nick... is that another ned's reference?

            • Yeah, i used to be registered as Furtive here but lost the password years ago, thnx for reminding me I had completely forgotten. Guess I was a bigger fan that I remembered ;-) At the time I thought it was a pretty cool name for a record label, and would make a handy sig. I've been using it everywhere since. The Ned's shirt i got actually has the furtive logo embroidered on the sleeve.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:07PM (#4340703)
    The most annoying thing about this is that practically every one of these books has a title of the form:


    [Someone else's trademark] For Dummies


    If that's not hypocritial, I don't know what is. They seem to think they can use trademarks they don't own in a title, so why can't we?

    • by Anonymous Coward
      None of this would have happened had Wiley accepted my manuscript, covering the legalities of this issue, entitled "For Dummies For Dummies".

      Unfortunately they felt that it was too complex, and have subsequently published "For Dummies For Dummies For Dummies", which describes my book in simpler terms, and outlines the lawsuit against me and Random House.

      I have since begun work on a series of promotional literature, in which famously stupid people are interviewed on why they like a particular product or technology. "Dummies For Email" and "Dummies For the George Foreman Grill" are two titles currently in the works.

    • while that's true, the publisher either holds a right to use the TM (granted by the owner), or the actual owner of the TM considers it good promotion of their TM, where taking action would be counter-productive to their own product.
    • Apparently there's also a tome called Story Branding For Dummies [cnn.com] floating around...

    • There's been a couple of replies, but they've missed the real answer.

      Trademarks apply only to a category of products. As long as the products are different types, there is no infrigement... thus, apple computer [apple.com] and apple records. [schomakers.com] (actually that's a bad example [slashdot.org] because the products overlap when you get computers playing music). But, compare orbital [loopz.co.uk] and orbital [orbital.com]. No infringement. Thus, if "windows" is a software product, and "wordperfect for dummies" is a book, there is no overlap, thus no infringement.

      But ya' gotta love the irony!
      • ""wordperfect for dummies" is a book, there is no overlap, thus no infringement."

        Wait... there's a manual that comes with wordperfect right? And that manueal is generally printed in a bound dead-tree medium (book)? and its title is probably "Wordperfect x.x"?

        I'm sure that some million-dollar lawyer could argue that into a succesful case...
  • by d.valued ( 150022 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:07PM (#4340706) Journal
    It's insane how litigeous America is nowadays.

    For example: There are currently 600,000 lawsuits involving asbestos - alone - in the legal system. Older doctors are retiring sooner because they can't afford malpractice insurance.

    The very threat of litigation is enough to shut most people up, especially when you have SLAPP suits (Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation) and when your organization has the obvious ability to win a DSW [tuxedo.org].

    • Older doctors are retiring sooner because they can't afford malpractice insurance.

      Hell, young doctors are leaving and changing careers. There is a problem with hitting the intern stage and realizing that being a Doctor in today's world means being technically bankrupt and everybody's punching and money bag. It's sad that a group of people who really want to honestly help other people aren't allowed to be human and fail, struggling to help the best they can.

      --
      Evan (no references, and HMOs are another matter...)

      • They can avoid retiring. Move to somewhere sane that wants doctors. Like New Zealand.
        • Yeah, only they then need to go through all the hassle involved in getting their qualifications accepted.

          Mind you, it's probably easier for US doctors to transfer their quals than most European countries.
          • Yeah, only they then need to go through all the hassle involved in getting their qualifications accepted.

            As long as you have a postgraduate qualification like the UK's MRCGP it's actually a doddle. Took me 30 mins to get the Visa and 15 min. interview with a nice prof at Christchurch Hospital.

          • Depends. I know a Brazilian who's having a hard time because New Zealand is antsy about accepting Brazilian qualifications - she has to work under supervision for a while, and places which are screaming for staff in the papers won't take her on on that basis.

            OTOH, I believe quals from places like the States and UK are more likely to be taken at face value.
            • In Australia the doctor's union (they call themselves the Australian Medical Association, but they are really just a trade union with pretensions) screams long and loud to make it hard for foriegn-trained doctors to practise here. This is kind of bad, because in rural areas there is a huge doctor shortage at the moment.

              I'd imagine the New Zealand doctors' union had its head similarly up its arse.

              • Actually depends. GPs seem to be OK, but there are some nasty stories around some specialists acting like a cartel.

                Plus the present New Zealand government would be a great deal more willing to intervene with the heavy hand of legislation than the present Australian government, which helps keep them in line.
          • Mind you, it's probably easier for US doctors to transfer their quals than most European countries.

            Just how does a European country transfer its qualifications as a medical doctor to New Zealand, anyway?
      • It's sad that a group of people who really want to honestly help other people aren't allowed to be human and fail, struggling to help the best they can.

        I'm in Europe. I'm also the proud dad of a doctor. His little handbook of advice to travelling doctors included a special advisory for
        travel in the US, from memory: "don't say you are a doctor. Don't volunteer to help in any situation, since you will be sued into oblivion whatever the outcome."

        Scary.
        • You'd have to be extra-vigilant for this to work... if you come across a situation where you might be able to save someone, and then don't, you expose yourself to lawsuits and possibly criminal prosecution.

          The fact is, if you're a doctor and you see someone having a heart attack, you can be prosecuted for criminal negligence if you do nothing. If you save the guy's life you can be sued for breaking his ribs while you were starting his heart again.

          All the doctors I know (and that's 10 or 12 actually so not a huge sample) would rather save the guy's life and let their insurance shield them than not volunteer. I think it's pretty pathetic that your unnamed European country suggests doctors let people die in the name of financial self-interest. I thought Europeans were supposed to be engaged in a caring, concerned social fabric free of the bitter struggles of the cutthroat consumer marketplace, and it was the US where people were mercenary capitalists only out for themselves.

          I say again: pathetic.
          • I think it's pretty pathetic that you took the worst case scenario and based your bashing on that. The previous writer didn't mention risk of life at all. The biggest number of cases don't include any risk of life. Those are the cases the advice is for.
            • Quoting from the parent post:

              "don't say you are a doctor. Don't volunteer to help in any situation, since you will be sued into oblivion whatever the outcome."

              Don't volunteer in any situation, because you'll be sued.

              Sounds to me like it easily covers the worst case. Even if you exempt imminent death, it's still a completely disgusting thing for a doctor's handbook to advise you ignore a patient in favor of saving your bank account.

              You think it's okay for a doctor to ignore your broken leg because he's from Europe and doesn't want to get sued? C'mon. I know it's reprehensible, and you know it too.
              In fact, it's even MORE pathetic if you're talking about ignoring little Joey's sprained ankle, than if you're talking about a serious injury. What kind of asshole would ignore a kid who banged his head falling down because he's afraid of a lawsuit?

              Any way you slice it, it's self-centered and mercenary. To be honest, though, I'm more inclined to believe that the original poster was making it up as a way to lend some shred of credibility to what is actually an just a bit of elitist anti-USA snobbery. If you're gonna take a shot at the US healthcare system, be a man and voice your own opinions. I'll take all comers on that score, you can be sure.
              • In fact, it's even MORE pathetic if you're talking about ignoring little Joey's sprained ankle, than if you're talking about a serious injury. What kind of asshole would ignore a kid who banged his head falling down because he's afraid of a lawsuit?

                Now which one is it? Did little Joey sprain his ancle or bang his head? If his ancle, little Joey should get a ride to a hospital for proper care. Including x-ray to make sure nothing serious is broken. However, this is really no brain surgery or even urgent. Plenty of time to call parents etc.

                If he banged his head, little Joey needs an ambulance and qualified personnel with proper equipment who make sure he's transferred to a hospital safely. Moving him or trying to do your own checkup may cause bad injuries if he has broken his neck.

                The doctor can call the hospital/parents/ambulance just like any normal person. But if he says that he's a doctor, parents can sue for a) treating the kid or b) not treating the kid depending on the outcome. It's a lose-lose situation.


              • I did say "from memory", but I also remember I found the wording close to telling the docs to break their Hippocratic oath.

                It's not made up. Let's take the broken leg example: The European doctor would help get Joey to an ER or someone who could treat him, just like any other human would. He would just not
                1. say "I'm a doctor", 2. start treatment.
                Practicing without a license, hey? what's that furriner done to my Joey, I'll sue his ass off.

                This has very little to do with the state of the US health system, instead, it reflects the fact that the majority of the world's lawyers live in the US. (ICBW, that may be an UL.)

        • It should be noted, though, that there what are known as "Good Samaritan" laws, named after the biblical parable, in most states that will protect one who is acting in good faith to administer emergency care.

          If you are a doctor and see a guy suffering a heart attack, helping him won't expose you to liability because of this concept. If you act in good faith to save his life, and he still dies despite your care, you aren't at fault.

          It depends on the state in which you are in, though I believe most have such a statute. The AMA should have such a list....

          However, I believe precedent in almost every state will protect a giver of first aid from any legal exposure if aid is given.

          IANALBIP1OL. Talk to a lawyer if you have any questions, because I ain't one and this is not given as legal advice. (Now I gotta cover my ass from legal exposure ;)
  • The Government realised that (hopefully) relatively little gambling was involved with those playing computer

    [Humour]

    That is until you get a leading Greek lawmaker overhear a game player in a cybercafe say "Betcha 20Euros I can beat you in a Unreal Tourney 2003 frag fest" to another gamer.

    [/humour]

    • A wager like that is usually considered a game of skill and not a game of chance, that is why many competitions can have prizes in places where gambling is illegal. Just wanted to point that out :). Funny post tho.
  • How to Be a Comple Nastard for Dummies
  • by clubin ( 542806 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:10PM (#4340723)
    You can find the usual Google cahce here [216.239.39.100]
    • As you know, I received an email yesterday from Wiley Publishing, Inc., threatening legal action if I did not discontinue use of their trademark in the "Slacking for Dummies" document. It probably goes without saying, but the document is parody, which is protected as speech under the First Amendment. As such, I'm placed into a position of choice; I can bend over and take it from a corporation looking to litigate the little guy into complacency, or I can stand up and defend what I think is one of the best things about America.

      I've done my share of complaining that free speech is being stripped away from us in increasingly larger chunks, and I've had a word or two to say about people who let that happen. Now that I find myself in a position to stand up for what I believe in, I have a moral obligation to do it.

      Below is my reply to Kimberly of Wiley Publishing.

      >>>

      Dear Kimberly,

      I've given serious thought to your request, and while, as an artist, I can appreciate your company's desire to protect it's intellectual property, I feel it is also my responsibility -- again, as an artist -- to protect my own rights. The work in question is parody, which is considered speech, and is protected by the first amendment. For a parody to be at all effective, it logically must include the name and/or image of the objects or ideas being parodied. Since I am obviously not a corporate entity, and the work in question does not exist for the purpose of generating profit, and since the law offers more protection to non-commercial speech than commercial speech, I feel that I am completely within my rights.

      Under normal circumstances, I would have been glad to reach a compromise and alter the work in such a way as to keep both of our interests in mind. However, your first course of action was to imply threat of legal ramifications should I not comply, which tells me that my interests are of no concern to you. Therefore, I believe your interests to be of no concern to me.

      Furthermore, your concern that people may be confused by the document on my web site is ridiculous, since, outside of the name and an image that is quite obviously satirical in nature, there is no implied connection to your company. Even the copyright information, which is itself a joke, makes no mention of Wiley Publishing, Inc. It would take a person severely lacking in intellectual capacity to confuse my work for anything your company has published, which is ironic, considering that your books are marketed to people you refer to as "dummies". However, it is my audience that I write for, and for the nearly two years that this item has been available on my site, not one person has contacted me with any degree of confusion on the matter.

      I can only assume that your intent was to scare me into complying. Perhaps you assumed that I was not familiar with the law or my rights, and I would simply give in. This is not the case. If you're willing to respect my rights and discontinue your reliance on litigious behavior, it would be both appreciated and noted to other free speech advocates. If not, I have no choice but to defend my rights.

      Sincerely,
      Nastard
      • At one point in time, Cleaning the f*ing kitchen [fridgemagnet.org.uk] used to be "Cleaning the f*ing kitchen For Dummies". They too got a nasty letter but didn't want to spend the time to fight it. Being UK based, they would have had a harder time of it. Thanks for standing up for the rest of US.

        Hasn't something changed?

        If you've heard about this from elsewhere or have been here before, you may remember that it used to be called something else. But it isn't any more. In fact, it had a mock-up of a cover based on one of the "For Dummies" books, but that's not here any more either.

        I think you can guess what the reason was. It was lawyers.
    • Slacking For Dummies
      aka "Slacking HOWTO"
      by Nastard

      1.) INTRODUCTION

      This document intends to provide the most accurate and up to date information on the art of slacking.
      For all intents and purposes, it should be considered the defacto source for slacking information, and
      the maintaining of ones own ability to slack.

      1.1) History

      This is the first distributed version of this document. Therefore there can be no history.

      1.2) Comments

      All comments regarding this document should be directed to nastard@nastard.com

      1.3) Copyrights and Trademarks

      All material henceforth contained within the boundaries, electronic or otherwise, of this document are
      the property of SlackersGuild.com and its respective owners. Any attempt to steal, borrow, copy, plagiarize,
      or otherwise rip off my work will result in the immediate legal action of our team of attack lawyers.
      By downloading, reading, having read, or having someone read to you the contents of this document, you
      agree to forfeit all of your worldly possessions, including any and all trademarks, patents, copyrights,
      or other intellectual property you may own. You also agree to jump up and down twelve times while
      patting your head and screeching like the little monkey that you are.

      This document (c) 2000 SlackersGuild.com All Rights Reserved, so fuck you.

      1.4) Acknowledgements

      First off, I would like to thank myself for creating such a wonderful document, and being such a supportive
      source of inspiration to myself. Thank you, me.

      I would also like to thank:
      batman

      2.) TOOLS

      2.1) Sunglasses

      Never underestimate the power of hiding your eyes. The eyes are the gateway to the soul. They can give
      you away, or they bluff you out of a bad situation. They also close when you sleep. So, obviously, it
      would make sense that hiding them can be an advantage.

      2.2) Shoes/Clothing

      There are two primary modes of slacking: Hiding It, and Not Giving A Shit. Bearing this in mind, clothing
      is as important a tool to a slacker as a hammer is to a carpenter. If you are intent on hiding your slacking
      and progressing through the corporate ladder undetected, it is best to look damn good, to counteract the
      obvious slacking. Distraction is the key. If not giving a shit is more your style, then let it show. Get
      some comfortable shoes, wear a bathrobe to work, and just say "fuck the dress code". You may as well be
      comfortable during your (most likely short) stay at work.

      2.3) The Joys of Nerf

      Make no mistake about it, there will be others like you at your place of employment. Others who share your
      love of fucking off instead of working. Utilize this, for when the shit hits the fan, and it probably will,
      it's far better to have someone there with you to distribute the blame upon. The more employees involved, the
      less guilty you look.

      So what do you do to pass the time with co-workers? Well, you could talk to them, but that is more likely to
      bore you than to help pass the time. So instead, I recommend that you bring toys. Nerf guns are the best.
      You can bring other things, like laser-tag sets, or water pistols, but they are noisy and wet, respectively.
      Check out http://www.nerf.com/ and http://www.toysrus.com/, these are the best places to get a good idea of
      what you want for those epic Nerf battles on slow days.

      2.4) Web-Based Slacking

      If you are amongst the fortunate who have internet access at work, count yourself lucky. Working in fast food or
      construction involves much more work, and seriously hinders your ability to slack, but it also takes away your
      ability to spend countless hours staring at a monitor pretending to work.

      So what do you do? Well, I doubt I need to tell you how much information there is out there on the net, but you
      may not realize that there is an almost UNLIMITED amount of hours you can spend slacking using this tool. So,
      USE IT. I recommend visiting sites with lots of content so you can immerse yourself in them. This helps to
      pass the time.

      Slackers Guild, Slashdot, and TheForce.net are my personal favorites, for there is so much to be read on each of
      these sites. Also, they have user comment sections, which allow for others like you to contribute to the entertainment
      of others. User comments are the bread and butter of sites that know how to utilize them, and are an exercise in slacking
      in their own right. What better way to slack off and have your site boom than to have your users post the content
      for you?

      3.) GETTING STARTED

      3.1) Why Slack?

      Good question. No, wait, I take that back. It's a stupid question, and proves how new you are at this. At any
      rate, I will answer it.

      The benefits of slacking have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt by the scientific community time and time again.
      Well, not really. In fact, you will probably get your ass fired if you don't do it right. But if you DO manage to do
      it right, it can be the best thing that ever happened to you. Just think: No more hard labor. No more long tedious
      projects. No more stress. No more concerns about how much effort you put into your work. Life is beautiful when you
      slack. It allows you to put more time into doing the things you really love. Spending time with your loved ones
      without being stressed out, watching TV, reading, and even sleeping better can all be achieved through proper slacking
      techniques.

      3.2) Microslacking

      How do you get yourself into slacking mode? Well, if you are a hard working American, it may be hard for you. If you
      are like me, and generally hate doing anything that doesn't directly benefit you or the people you actually care about,
      slacking comes much easier.

      If you find yourself in the first group, you may need a little practice before you jump into the slacker pool. That's
      okay, you just need a little practice.

      Start by doing little things. Take 10 minutes per day to just sit there. Gradually increase the time period as you get
      used to it. Also, spend more time surfing the web. Pretty soon you will get lost in what you are doing and forget
      work completely.

      Another good way to get practice is to spend more time on smoke breaks. Have 2 smokes instead of just 1. Or, if you don't
      smoke, start. The amount of money I have accumulated for being on extended smoke breaks could probably put your kids through
      college. Or at least feed some starving kids.

      Stay up later than you should. This way, you will be tired and lethargic through your work day. But don't fall asleep at
      work. Not until you have mastered the art of slacking.

      3.3) "I'd Rather Be..."

      Every day, when you first get to work, ask yourself, "what would I rather be doing than spending time working?" When you
      have satisfactorily answered yourself, DO IT. Whatever it is you would rather be doing, spend your time and energy on that.
      I personally like to read, and I get a lot of reading
      done at work. In fact, the amount of literature I've gone through while on the clock would put your local library to shame.

      Some people might say "I'd rather be rock climbing". Well, for a very select few, this might be a viable option. For the
      rest of us, its probably not a good idea. Besides, cubicles offer very little in the way of jagged rocks. Instead, read
      up on it. Learn about it. Make plans to do it on your time off. Even better, use your works' internet connection to
      order items related to your favorite outdoor activities.

      4.) BETTER LIVING THROUGH SLACKING

      4.1) Incorporating Slacking Into Your Personal Life

      Using these slacking techniques in your day-to-day life is actually very easy. Just do what you want to do. Screw mowing
      the lawn, I wanna watch TV. Screw doing the dishes, I wanna watch Mallrats for the 800th time. It's just as easy as
      slacking at work. Just take what you don't want to do, and replace it with something you DO want to do.

      4.2) Lying to Friends and Family to Avoid Favors

      Have you ever been asked by a friend or family member to do something you just didn't *feel* like doing?

      "I need you to take me to the airport"
      "Can you help me move?"
      "Would you mind killing my father for me?"

      Why waste your time helping others, when you could spend that time indulging in self-serving activities like watching porn?
      Well, you don't have to. That's right, no more favors. Just follow these easy steps.

      Step 1: Come up with a damn good lie. It wouldn't hurt to have a prefabricated list ahead of time.
      Step 2: Check your lie. Nothing will get you in more trouble than getting caught in a lie.
      Step 3: BELIEVE YOUR LIE. No single step is as important as this one. If *you* don't believe your lie, why should anyone else?
      Step 4: Follow through with your lie. Allude back to it later on, and hint at portions of the lie. Don't lay it on too thick,
      just enough to remove any thoughts that you may have been lying.

      I certainly don't advocate lying about everything. I am obviously referring to laziness and work avoidance here, not covering up
      a murder or cheating on your spouse/partner/loved one. There's a line between little white lies to get out of work, and a cold
      blooded lie. Please lie responsibly.

      4.3) Inviting Others to Slack With You

      They say misery loves company. Well, so does apathy. Slacking is fun enough alone, but when you get a friend to join
      you, it elevates to a whole new level. Here's a few tips on choosing a slacking mate:

      Beware of friends who seem to enjoy their jobs. It's fine for someone to like what they do, perhaps even admirable. But
      these people are most likely to try to convince you to do work. The last thing you need while slacking is a good influence.

      Do NOT, I repeat, DO NOT bring children into your slacking adventures. Children have the nasty
      habit of being honest, and that could mean your ass.

      Watch your slack mate. See what they do. You will learn, fairly quickly, what lines you shouldn't cross. Slacking with
      friends is great, but remember, unless this person is a very trustworthy friend, they could sell your ass out at any time
      if you do something worse than what they have done. Be careful not to overstep that line

      4.4) Slacking for Fun and Profit

      Slacking is always fun, that's a given. What about profit? Is it possible to actually make extra money by doing it? Sure.
      There are plenty of ways to do it, all you need is to look. All Advantage pays you to surf, and if you remember, we covered
      earlier how important surfing is to slacking. Set up an AllAdvantage account at work, and have the checks sent to your
      home. If you can convince a few co-workers to sign up with you as their referrer, this can add up *very* quickly.

      Another option is to start a comment-based website and collect ad revenue. I would
      recommend visiting www.slashdot.org for an excellent example of this.

      5.) GETTING AWAY WITH IT

      5.1) Looking Busy

      There's no such thing as looking too busy. The busier you look, the more people will believe that you are an upstanding,
      hardworking employee worthy of praise. A technique I recommend is one I like to call the "Costanza". On NBC's Seinfeld,
      George once pointed out how busy people thought he was when he simply looked irritated. I use this one *constantly*,
      and let me tell you, it works. Coincidentally, I also wear a lot of black. And a black trench coat. It may seem retarded,
      but I will tell you, there is a noticeable difference in the way I am treated when I have my coat on, than when I don't.
      It really helps to make me look pissed off.

      Another way to go is to look confused. If you look perplexed over some problem or another, even if you are literally
      just staring at a wall, others will either leave you alone, or offer to help. If they offer to help, just explain that
      you have it under control, and a solution is more satisfying when you reach it without assistance. This goes a LONG way
      towards making you look like a good worker.

      5.2) Knowing When To Slack

      As with many things, there is a right and wrong time to slack. If your boss is gone and you are left to fend for yourself,
      go all out with a Nerf gun fight. If the company's owner is standing right behind you, you probably shouldn't be looking at
      porn sites (or this site). Use your good judgment here.

      5.3) Excuses

      Touching back on the subject of lying, excuses are a huge part of slacking. If you get caught, do you want to be stuttering
      all over the place and looking like a jackass, or do you want to quickly explain yourself and get on with what you were doing?
      I can guess which way you would answer that. Have an excuse prepared ahead of time. Recite it. Know it. BELIEVE it.

      The best defense is a good offense. This is also true with excuses. If you get caught or accused of slacking, come back
      with some accusations of your own. The accuser will immediately be put on the defense, and completely forget why they ever
      even bothered you. Or at least regret it. Use this one with caution, you don't want to look like a jackass.

      6.) GETTING AHEAD BY DOING NOTHING

      6.1) Taking Credit for Other People's Work

      SlackersGuild.com (us) runs slashcode. I assure you, I did NOT write slashcode. I didn't help write slashcode. I was
      barely able to install slashcode. This is a great example of using someone else's work as your own.

      The one thing I will say about this is DON'T BE STUPID. Please don't be an idiot and take credit for someone's hard
      work while they are sitting right next to you. Only morons and soap opera characters do this. There is a line between
      taking credit and stealing, and we certainly don't advocate stealing. Borrow, recycle, and reinvent all you like, but
      please do not steal.

      6.2) Feigning Interest In What Others Have to Say

      Three words: smile and nod.

      6.3) Surviving Meetings

      A true slacker knows how to look interested and important while surrounded with peers and superiors. That being said,
      here are a few things you can work on to survive, and even look good, in meetings:

      - Ask questions. I'm not saying pay attention, I'm just saying ask questions. The best way to do this is to rephrase
      what the speaker just said, throwing in lots of colorful adjectives and big words.

      - Bring a pad and paper. Don't let anyone see what you are writing, but keep your pen moving. It gives the appearance
      that you are taking notes.

      - If you own a palm device (like the Handspring Visor - http://www.handspring.com/), take it into the meeting with you.
      Even if you are drawing pictures or sending email, it makes you look busy and cool.

      6.4) Being an "Idea Man"

      This is my favorite step. It's so easy to extrapolate where a suit is going when he/she is talking and jump to the conclusion
      before they do. If you pull it off, they will almost think that you came up with the idea, or at least get the impression
      that you are on the same wavelength as them, which is guaranteed to make them like you. Everyone likes their own ideas,
      especially corporate types. Use this.

      If you have an idea, no matter how stupid, tell your boss. It makes you look interested and concerned in the direction the
      company is going. Brownie points abound for even the lamest of ideas. If it's a good idea, you are almost guaranteed a
      promotion and/or raise.

      7.) OBTAINING MORE INFORMATION

      For more information, visit the main page of www.slackersguild.com. We are constantly updating and adding more resources for
      slackers and slackers-in-training. The user comments are also a good place to look for information. Chances are, someone has
      an idea or point that I have missed here.
    • Moderation Totals: Redundant=1, Informative=3, Total=4.

      Interesting, seeing as how this was the first posted link to the cache. It's even more interesting that the later-arriving dupe of this post is not marked as redundant.
  • Death to Realplayer! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zeinfeld ( 263942 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:14PM (#4340740) Homepage
    I am not an ogg purist, but realplayer sure as hell is the suckiest piece of ad-ware, perster-ware and general nuisance-ware arround.

    All the real streaming server does is to puke out bits on an IP pipe. That is not rocket science, but the cost is utterly ridiculous.

    I always said that the biggest mistake we made with the Web (apart from makinf the CERNLib license terms require a credit) was not putting an uncompressed audio format in as a default. The point is that nobody pays for the compression, they pay for the ability to make noise. Make the ability to create noise free and the audio codecs become just an optimization.

    • Then uninstall it.

      And then email the web sites that use it and send them a very nice business-like letter like this:

      ----------------

      Dear So and So,

      I was pleasantly surprised to find out that you now provide streaming audio on your web site, as I am a long time reader, and enjoy your site tremendously.

      I am however disconcerted that you do not provide any audio besides RealAudio. As you may be aware, the RealAudio client software is quite unstable and has caused my equipment to fail repeatedly, as well as compromised my privacy. I have uninstalled it and have no plans in the future to install it on my computers. [It's important to say computers, it implies you have more than one and thus have money]

      I strongly recommend you provide alternative audio streams, such as mp3 or, even better, ogg vorbis.

      I appreciate your taking the time to listen to my suggestion.

      Thank you very much

      Real Full Name
      Real Full Email
      Real Full Phone Number.

      [If you put your phone number, they can see where you live, and they won't think you're full of caca]

      -----------

      This usually works very well, and it does not take that many such emails for them to actually make the change.
    • Agreed, the Real products (Real One or whatever?) are absolutely terrible. I love listening to the BBC from here in Canada, so I installed the Real product but was too disgusted with it to keep it. I was hoping they'd bring back OGG at the BBC and now they're making it happen. Hooray for the BBC!

      And if you still don't think ogg is that amazing, have you heard what it sounds like at low bitrates? Check out these 32 kbps mono ogg samples [pc9.org]. Try to get that quality out of mp3, real, wma, or whatever! Ogg rocks at low bitrates... actually, it's fine at any bitrate. I only rip CDs to ogg these days.

    • I am not an ogg purist, but realplayer sure as hell is the suckiest piece of ad-ware, perster-ware and general nuisance-ware arround.

      The OS X version is actually surprisingly good. And ad-free (so far..)

      • That's because it's a beta. Rest asuured that when (if?) they ship a release version, it will have nag-ware, spy-ware, and anything else they can come up with to annoy you, all customized for OS X :)

    • I completely agree that realplayer is a hideous spyware tracking application (with built in media player) and and its audio/video quality leaves a lot to be desired but there is a way for windows users to view realplayer files without needing to open realplayer

      I found this this winamp plugin [musiclivesonline.com] enables Winamp (v.2.x) to play realaudio/video streams , the downside is it still needs a copy of realplayer on the system as it uses realplayer's dll's to perform the decompression but the bonus is i no longer need to open that hideous RealPlayer application ever again. Now all we need to do is either persuade every website to stop using realmedia streams or reverse engineer the protocol and create a alternative way to decompress the real protocol/system so people no-longer need to install Real in order to listen/view their streams

      it might be an idea for the XMMS people to contact this guy/company and see if they could pass on the knowledge so *nix systems could benefit too
    • The client is a spammy piece of shit as well. The other day I was at NPR's website, and I decided to try out there RP stream. Punched a hole in the firewall for real player, and listened to NPR for awhile.

      My version of RP is probably a year or two out of date, since I tend not to use it. Anyways, today, I checked my email, and there's a nice upgrade message from Real.

      Fixed the hole in the firewall. RP isn't trusted with unrestricted access to the 'net anymore. If I want to listen to streams, I'll open it on a site-by-site basis.

  • by Lobsang ( 255003 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:23PM (#4340779) Homepage
    And put some reference like

    "It used to be called 'Slacking for Dummies' but since we realized it's a trademark, we renamed it to 'Slacking for Lawyers' just to keep consistent with the original idea..." :)
  • The definition in the article makes it sound like games where you pay for access to a third-party server (like Blizzard or whatever) are still banned as you would be "enriching" someone else.
    • All this excitement over nothing. I snipped this official explanation [ncl.ac.uk] from Wednesday's RISKS digest.

      This one sounded too far out, so I checked with the local Greek consulate. (My question to them was "is this a hoax?", quoting the Web page referenced in RISKS-22.23.) Here is their reply. I hope this clears the air a bit.

      After we received your e-mail we have forwarded it to the Press Office of the Greek Embassy in Ottawa. They have informed us they are aware of these articles but they are not accurate. The New Greek Law has banned all games that can be used for gambling or modified for gambling purposes even if they exist in private spaces (Only Casinos are excluded from the banning). However neither foreign tourists neither Greek citizens will be prosecuted when they use cell phones with games , or lap tops in which games are installed or any portable game consoles for example :play stations, gameboys, x-box etc, since these games cannot be modified for gambling and furthermore the owner doesn't insert coins or credit cards in order to continue using them. We hope that this answers your question.
  • by spun ( 1352 ) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {yranoituloverevol}> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:25PM (#4340787) Journal
    I remember seeing this book in bookstores a while back. Anyone else remember this?
  • by wackybrit ( 321117 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @08:32PM (#4340820) Homepage Journal
    Since SlashBack is mostly just disparate posts, I thought I'd post a primer for those unfamiliar with the OGG format.

    OGG is a music format created by Jan Vorbis in 1974. (Trivia: It was originally going to be called EGG, but Jan found out 'EGG' was already trademarked by Egg Corp.)

    Jan initially developed the format to be a free source (and licence free) version of MP3. Using comp.lang.basic.misc, Jan rallied a large group of QBasic programmers into finalizing the protocol and releasing the first OGG encoder and player as QBasic source code (Trivia: This is why OGG encoding is so slow today as a simple BASIC -> C convertor was used to transvert the code for ports.)

    The OGG format has since come on in leaps and bounds and is enjoying a reputation that only Pascal and the original Apple Mac once had.

    In conclusion, most OGG users are quiche eating ponytailed geniuses who believe in free speech.
  • I still have that domain in my /etc/hosts file from when it was a browser-crashing gay porn redirect, ~2 years ago. Are they legit now? What's next, the goatse.cx [straightse.cx] people doing a network security site?

  • One of the metrics used to decide trademark cases it "the possibility of confusion" - the likelyhood that the alleged infringer may be mistaken for the infringed by the customers of the infringed.

    Remember the target market of the "? for Dummies" books - people so stupid that they are willing to buy books calling them Dummies.

    Perhaps there are grounds for this case...

    <subtitle target="clueless">sarcasm</subtitle>
  • Slashdotted (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nastard ( 124180 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @10:33PM (#4341400)
    Well, I guess this explains why I can't ping my server. Hopefully things will be sane again in the relatively near future.

    I had considered just giving in and changing it to something like "Slacking for People Who Are As Retarded as Those Dumb Fucks at Wiley Publishing," but I realized I'd been given a chance to stand up for what so many of us spend a good deal complaining about - free speech.

    As you can see in my response letter (thanks to those who posted it here), I did decide to stand up for myself. I just hope I did the right thing.

    Thanks to those of you who actually managed to get to the site, to those of you who might try back later, and thanks a lot to Blue Aardvark House for GETTING THE FUCKING SERVER SLASHDOTTED.

    Since I can pretty much count on my ISP being none-to-thrilled with the traffic, if anyone happens to feel like making a donation towards covering the damage of the slashDoS (or, god forbid, legal costs), we accept Paypal :P
  • by Iamthefallen ( 523816 ) <Gmail name: Iamthefallen> on Thursday September 26, 2002 @10:54PM (#4341502) Homepage Journal

    Let them hear it [wiley.com]



    To:
    Kimberly Ward Skeel
    Manager, Contracts and Intellectual Property
    Wiley Publishing, Inc.

    Dear Kimberly,

    It recently came to my attention that you are, on behalf of Wiley Publishing Inc. threatening the creator and maintainer of some creative works on a certain website, www.slackersguild.com with legal action due to what you state to be infringing on your "For dummies" trademark.

    I can appreciate your company's desire to protect it's intellectual property, but I feel it is also my responsibility to guard my, and others, right to free speech when it is challenged and threatened in a frivolous way by corporations or goverment.

    I feel in the case of "Slacking For Dummies", aka "Slacking HOWTO" by Nastard, located at the website www.slackersguild.com, there is no risk of confusing the satiric works with the popular series of books you publish. Therefore your claim that it is infringing on your trademark is, in my eyes, ridiculous.

    As a result, I can guarantee that I will not support your company in any way by purchasing your products.as long as you seem intent on persuing this or similar matters by trying to deny the creator his or her right to free speech by frivolous threats of legal action. I will also strongly urge anyone concerned to not purchase any of your products should they value their own, and the right of others, to free speech.

  • Of course, as with all "breaks" of cryptographic algorithms out there, the Courtois-Pieprzyk XL/XSL attack on AES was nothing but an academic break [everything2.com]. From what I heard of it, to break a 128-bit AES key you still need to do approximately 2^100 encryptions, 1.26e30 encryptions, which is impossible even for the NSA. For Serpent (which is still widely considered to be the AES candidate with the highest security margin), the 256-bit key would still require something like 2^200 encryptions, still impossible unless you could get every sub-atomic particle in the universe to do a billion encryptions every second! I think the same is true if you had AES with the full key strength.

    No, even if the breaks were true, I'd still be confident in the security of my AES-encrypted files. I'd start thinking of other alternatives, sure, but I won't go back to using triple-DES.

  • by SomeOtherGuy ( 179082 ) on Thursday September 26, 2002 @11:24PM (#4341655) Journal
    ogg for portables!!! Not only any portable, but from the same company that brought you the SlimX.

    From here [mp3.com]:

    This morning (2:28am, EDT), I received an E-mail from Y.H. Lee, the Chief Engineer of iRiver's products. He has informed me that they are currently porting the fixed-point Ogg Vorbis decoder (Tremor) to their product. We will endeavour to assist them in any way we can.

    In addition to letting iRiver know that we stand behind them ready to assist with technical issues, I believe a huge thanks is in order to the people who have contacted iRiver asking them to support our format. We're indebted to all of you who have posted looking for Vorbis support on this thread, as well as all of you who have sent iRiver E-mails and called them on the telephone.

    Let's wait and see...and encode away boys and girls.
  • Well, that was the most apologetic trademark-related letter I've seen in a while (the one from Wiley). The subtext is definitely "look, this is what the law says to do to keep from being diluted, so we're doing it, and here we go."

    Seriously, if people writing trademark letters look like dicks, and thus easy targets, it's because the law says they have to, in much the same way that if a neighbor builds a swingset on part of your property and you don't say anything, eventually that land becomes their property.

    So it should be expected that they would send such a letter (and thus shouldn't draw such an injured reply), and it should be expected that SlackersGuild should reply with the (legitimate) response that it is parody. Yawn, on to the next issue. The interest here isn't whether lawyers are asses for sending letters, it's whether Wiley as a company will willingly outspend Nastard for something that's clearly not worth their time to push. But don't call them dicks for sending the letter in the first place; blame the law. And if they bury SlackersGuild in litigation, then call them rapacious bastards.

    • After reading your comment I went back and re-read the Wiley letter, then Nastard's. You are quite correct - Wiley were very polite, and said they preferred to do it informally. Nastard claims that their first course of action was to threaten legal ramifications, whereas what they really said was that they would do everything they could do to protect their trademark. Legal action? Of course, that's the only way to do it if you REFUSE TO RESOLVE THE MATTER INFORMALLY.

      By 'resolve' they don't NECESSARILY mean 'just do what we say'. I am curious as to what their reaction would have been if Nastard's reply had stopped after the first paragraph (not counting 'Dear Kimberley'). I guess we'll never know.
    • There is no law to blame--it is very clearly against such Wiley tactics. Parody is protected under First Amendment rights and any corporation attempting to use trademark law to override the First Amendment is engaging in bullying. See, when an individual looks at all their assets and considers that the legal battle alone would consume them all in days, it's pretty scary ... something like "either you change your ways or we'll take your house away." At least that's how it feels. There's no way for an individual to do the same to a corporation.
    • That was my interpretation too. I got the feeling that if Nastard put a paragraph up top saying, "This isn't commercially related to the [Topic] For Dummies books, they can be found [a href="publisher, Amazon, etc."]here[/a]," then the issue would probably be "resolved".

      Kinda knee-jerk, in my opinion. Protect free speech, but don't go crazy because some lawyer is doing his job, and making an attempt at being polite while doing so.

  • http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/09/26/172624 0&mode=thread&tid=167
    (return link to this thread...don't bother c&p'ing.)

    Is this really the kind of publicity that Wiley publishing is interested in? I understand the need to protect trademarks lest they become public domain, but considering how many of your titles deal with technology issues, perhaps pursuing web sites engaged in what clearly seems to be protected speech, namely satire, is not your best public relations plan. To clarify, I'm not associated with the site in question, but I am aware of the many ridiculous lawsuits (by many companies) which seek to limit users' rights online, as are many Slashdot readers.

    Additionally, to begin such a correspondence with a threat of legal action rather than seeking a mutual settlement is heavy handed and unnecessary. While it is by no means my place to tell you how to conduct your business or legal affairs, I reward those companies which conduct business in a respectable manner with my business. Pending a change in tone and tactics by Wiley, I shall have to find other places to spend my money. Such a change would be made most evident in ceasing to pursue the matter with slackersguild.com as well as a note of apology for the tone taken in the initial contact. I'm sure the moderators at slashdot.org would be more than happy to carry such news to help offset the negative publicity that this matter has generated for Wiley.

    Thank you for your time, and I hope to be able to do business with you in the future.
  • The worst is over, thanks to Timothy changing the links. We seem to be back online. Please be kind.
  • Someone should write "Parodies For Dummies" setting out the legal protection for parodies in various countries. Then everybody would have some knowledge to protect them from legal insanity.

    To protect their "valuable" property all Whiley need ask is for there to be an obvious statement on the parody pointing to the terminally humorless that IT'S A JOKE YOU DUMMY.

    (Is anyone else seeing off topic postings in this area?)
  • I read the the paper on the attack, and the paper on the flaw in the attack. I even understood most of it (for a suitably generous definition of "most", chuckle).

    The first paper explains that they discovered an unsuspected pattern in certain encryptions, AES (Rijndael), Serpent, and some others. They use this pattern to create a thousands of equations that, combined, define the password. Solving this may be lot simpler than a brute force attack on the encryption, but it is still a HARD problem. When I say "HARD" I mean it's just as hard as many other encryptions. Government spooks might be able to pull it off with further development and custom hardware, but probably not the hacker next door.

    Except, right now, the attack doesn't seem to actually work. They need a certain number of pieces to a puzzle, and according to the second paper they don't quite have enough. While it is probably a fatal flaw, it is unlikely to be a permanent flaw. The pattern is there, and it's quite possible someone will add more pieces to make the puzzle work, or may find a different way to use the pattern.

    To sum it up, we can probably keep using these encryptions, though people at a "national security" level might want to consider the first paper's suggestions about how to eliminate the patterns.

    -
  • This simple guide will show you how to troll on Slashdot without having to spend all day thinking about what to post.

    1) Never post using your real name. That's what that handy 'Anonymous Coward' user is there for !

    2) As soon as a new story appears on the front page, quickly post 'First Post'. If you get too excited and spell 'First Post' wrong, well, who cares, hey you're a troll ! Of course by the time you hit submit, you will likely be sixth or seventh post anyway. But who cares ! If you took the advice in step 1), you can just pretend you were one of the other Anonymous Cowards with a 'Frist P0st'.

    3) There are a number of extremely hilarious tricks you can do to the formatting of your message: you can make it extra wide, or really long. Everyone on Slashdot will appreciate your fine wit, and will show their gratitude by marking you as a troll !

    4) It is not necessary to make your troll be related to the story being discussed. Random text is very very funny, as are articles cut and pasted from something totally unrelated.

    5) Extra points are awarded for swearing, calling people 'Linux Zealots' and claiming that well known horror/sci-fi writer Stephen King is dead.

    By following these simple rules, you too can troll Slashdot !! Have fun !

  • But I did see their "Self-Esteem for Dummies".

    That could only be published by complete dummies.

    Eventually, the damn thing just gets so circular I can't think about it anymore.
  • Great. Now that I know IDG==WILEY, I won't buy Wiley books either. If they respond further to Nester's letter all he has to do is point them at this website, Ulysses for Dummies [bway.net], and tell them to buzz off. [bway.net] That site has been up for 4 years. Judges tend to see through this kind of bullshit and hammer lawyers doing this kind of inconsistent crap.

    Corporate Standover Tactics for Dummies [octapod.org.au]

Disclaimer: "These opinions are my own, though for a small fee they be yours too." -- Dave Haynie

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