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Comment Honestly? This is patent worthy? (Score 1) 176

A trademark, sure. But a patent? How is any of this patent worthy? None of it is significantly different from what's already been done. There's supposed to be a "non-obvious to an expert in the field" requirement to get something patented. How does Apple keep getting away with this crap? I don't care if this patent so narrowly worded that nobody will ever have to worry about their own NFC implementation infringing--this not just a "We shouldn't have software patents" issue, this is a "We shouldn't have stupid patents" issue.

Comment Re:Will Apple file a lawsuit? (Score 4, Informative) 146

Yes, but that's hardly the same thing. It did that by getting them from the corresponding apps on your Mac when you synced the phone. It didn't pull them out of thin air, which is what "Cloud" is all about. It also didn't work unless you had a Mac. You used to need a computer to make your smartphone work. Now the Smarthphone IS the computer--or it least it can be if you're the minimalist sort.

Comment Re:I still don't get it (Score 4, Insightful) 328

IANAL, but he didn't even break any laws period. He could have been in the United States and it would have been perfectly legal for him to release that information. It's not illegal to release classified information; it's illegal to share it if you were given access to it legitimately. If someone accidentally leaves it on the bus, you can do whatever you like with it. The government can't force citizens to keep secrets for it, it can only punish those who don't keep secrets after swearing that they would.

Comment Re:3,000? (Score 1) 189

The point that was being made, I believe, is that the FBI have repeatedly claimed that they need these sorts of constitutionally-tenuous expansions (like the provisions of the Patriot Act) to their powers to get "terrorists", but that is clearly a farce. Once they have the power, they will use it for any and all of their purposes.

Comment Re:Lies (Score 1) 730

It occurs to me that for the sake of accuracy and fairness, I should also add that the tracks that I've had the labels assert ownership over are ones which do in fact *sample* the tracks which they are identified as being by the automated content identification system. So while they are not the song in question, and are by artists not signed by the labels and released under creative commons licenses, it is not a 100% clear issue. I would believe they are obvious instances of fair use, since sampling has been such a big part the music industry for years. But IANAL, so perhaps I'm not qualified to say that the tracks are indeed 'trans-formative' and not derivative.

Comment Re:Lies (Score 1) 730

I've got this many times, myself. The content I have problems with are creative commons tracks by independent artists that I know for a fact are not owned by the labels asserting ownership.

The primary issue is this: YouTube, probably as a part of their deal with the labels to keep copyrighted music videos on their service, has given the labels too much power. Under the standard DMCA model, the copyright holder files a complaint, the video poster would contest it, and then that would essentially put the matter out of YuTube's hands. The label would then have to sue the person who filed the counter-claim if they felt they had a case. Under the current YouTube system, the label has the power to say "Nope. We reject your counter-claim. It's our stuff."

At that point, you are officially out of options. In most cases, your content gets to stay up, but it becomes monetized and the ad money goes to the label rather than the video-maker. Occasionally the soundtrack will be muted or blocked in certain countries (Germany, most often) but usually the notice just means more money for the labels and nothing else.

While I can see how that system might sound like a decent set-up since it means that YouTube gets to keep the copyrighted stuff *and* its users don't have to worry about being sued if they file a counter-claim, the problem is--surprise, surprise--the labels are abusing it. It is apparent to me that counter-claims are rejected virtually every time (only the labels have this power, if the copyright claim is from a 3rd party entity then a more standard DMCA model applies). It seems apparent to me, based on the rejections I've gotten, that the labels are simply not acting in good faith. They haven't quite automated the process of rejections, as that would be too flagrant--but whoever job it is to review the claims has apparently been instructed to simply reject them all out of hand.

Give the labels a financial motive to misbehave and, guess what? They will. It shouldn't surprise anyone. Remember when they took-down Tech New's Today's video covering the takedown of the mega-upload song. It included a sample of the song. It was newsworthy, and thus obvious fair use. The labels' defense? They didn't remove the videos on copyright grounds, but rather because they *wanted to*. They assert that their agreement with YouTube gives them the *right* to remove any video they want for any reason they want. YouTube may (I say, "may" because, as far as I know, they've been silent on that claim) disagree with that interpretation, but honestly its certainly not far off from how the labels are acting.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 197

That doesn't appear to be correct information. Nothing in the Computer Fraud and Abuse act really covers it, and I can't imagine how you could possibly construe a cookie as "wiretapping". There's a difference between tracking someone's computer with a cookie (or some other method) and illegally accessing it. We're talking about a law that obliges advertisers to "play fair" and respect the wishes of of people on the internet, but I doubt such a law exists. I've heard of "Do Not Track" list laws being proposed, but I don't think any of them have been passed. As far as I know, at least in the United States, you opt out of tracking by taking software measures against it (disabling cookies, blacklisting domains in your hosts file, etc)--not by saying "pretty please stop" and then magically expecting that request to have the force of law behind it.

Of course, standard IANAL disclaimer applies here and I'd love to be proven wrong--I just don't think such a law exists.

Comment Re:So... (Score 1) 197

To be fair, these are just technicalities. People with a grudge going over their practices with a fine-toothed comb. Remember the Wall Street Journal is owned Rupert Murdoch and that Microsoft is Microsoft. The people making the claims here have a bone to pick in both cases. Google is only doing with their +1 button what Facebook does with their like button--except that Facebook actually keeps tracking you when you log out.

Yes, Google is violating the spec to make things work they way they want them to, but they're only doing it to track logged-in users--something which logged-in users already opted in to. So at the end of the day, you can't say anybody's privacy was violated. Google is doing exactly what they told users they'd be doing, and just side-stepping some roadblocks thrown up by popular browsers in order to do it. They are violating a privacy-protection feature in order to do something which is not privacy-violating. They're cheating, and if they wanted to be evil, they could use those "cheats" to track people. I don't know about you, but I really can't get be bothered to go get my pitchfork out of the barn for a hypothetical problem.

Comment Oh? So now its sales? (Score 5, Insightful) 257

I thought we the music industry wanted to sue ReDigi into the ground because iTunes purchases were *not* sales but rather just licenses, and so the first sale doctrine didn't apply. So now its a license when that means they can restrict our right to resell our digital purchases when we no longer want them, but it's a sale when it comes to screwing artists out of money. I feel like maybe they're bit a teensy bit hypocritical.

Comment It's sad but this is indeed the way it works (Score 3, Informative) 181

YouTube doesn't follow a standard DMCA model where they file a claim, you file a counter-claim, and then YouTube steps out and leaves it between the two of you. Instead, YouTube hands the keys over to the labels and lets them be judge. You file a counter-claim, and they respond with "Nope. Counter-Claim rejected" or they simply don't respond at all. Either way, your soundtrack stays banned. I've had this happen to my videos twice now using Creative Commons *mash-ups*. There are indeed bits and fragments of their music mixed in there, but mash-ups are on pretty firm ground when it comes to fair use. The licensing rights should lie with the artist, who in turn released i t under a CC license for anyone to use.

Nevertheless, once now with BMG and once now with Universal I've had them file claims (disabling the soundtracks for anyone viewing in Germany) and ignore my counter-claims. At that point, there's nothing I can do anymore. Even if I were willing to indemnify YouTube and tell the labels to come after to me if they don't like it, it's just not even an option.

It's the same crap that happened to Tech News Today when their news show included a clip of the MegaUpload song in a story about it. Normally a counter-claim would be the end of it and they'd have to sue you (which they wouldn't do in cases of obvious fair use), but they feel empowered to ignore legitimate fair use because, apparently, they can.

Comment Re:Safe Harbor (Score 1) 1005

Specifically, the government contends that Megaupload does not qualify for Safe Harbor protections on a technicality:

Whenever a file was uploaded to Megaupload they hashed it, checked it against existing hashes, and, if it already existed, created a symlink instead of a new copy of the file.

Whenever a take-down request was received, they disabled the link, but not other links pointing to the same file. Obviously they can't simply delete the file, because they have to account for the possibility of a counter-notice which allows them to continue to host the file--but they probably could have disabled all of the symlinks instead of just the one. IANAL, I don't know how this argument will play out in a court--whether it relies requires that Megaupload to have been acting in bad faith to be a valid argument or not. I do know, however, that the government is also specifically alleging that this was part of a bad faith effort to undermine the DMCA and that there's "conspiracy" charges involved.

I suspect there's no real precedent for this sort of thing, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out. Maybe someone else who actually is a lawyer can offer insight.

Comment Re:Storing passwords (not as easy as you think) (Score 1) 122

Even worse than that, I so often see websites that give you a *maximum* password length of somewhere be 12-20 characters and even forbid the use of anything but letters and numbers. My password *must* be between 8-12 characters? What the hell good is that? I always wonder "What's the point of forcing me to pick a strong password then?" It'll be strong enough for any sort of remote brute-force attack, but one assumes just about any password other than 12356 works for that since most sites limit you to ~3-5 login attempts.

The whole point of of a strong password is to withstand local attacks when the password hash file has been compromised. With such arbitrary restrictions one wonders what the point of forcing users into hard to remember passwords is when even the strongest password you're allowed to pick is still fairly weak.

Perhaps they're using a very work-intensive hashing algorithm, but I somehow doubt it.

Comment That sounds like a bad idea (Score 2) 288

Tentacles are, evolutionarily, a gateway to intelligence. They're excellent tool-manipulation appendages, and one presumes they would be "free" and not used for locomotion. Generally speaking, intelligence is a maladaptive trait and natural selection works against it (which is why it's so rare). After all, it consumes a lot of calories but offers pretty much no practical value to an animal that can't communicate or use any kind of tool. But give a cow tentacles (or any other suitable tool using appendage, such as our own which were designed for hanging on to tree branches) and you could reverse that trend.

Personally, I don't want to eat anything smarter than a pig (including octopuses, primates, etc) and I'm frankly not all that sure about pigs, but I choose to believe they aren't as smart as some think simply because they're really, really delicious. I certainly don't want you fostering a new super-race of smart cows. Not only would I not feel comfortable eating them, but I'm afraid they might judge us harshly.

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