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Comment A good way for the students to protest... (Score 1) 421

I just sent this to a mailing list -- thought I'd spread the
idea here too (not having time at the moment to implement it):


A good protest method, if anyone has time & a means to contact some
students there:

Students there start deliberately using the software to share completely
legal things (e.g., freely licensed and public domain music and books),
and then when the police come knocking, explain to the police that
sharing culture and information is not inherently illegal. Force the
administration and the police to start making distinctions, instead of
always assuming that something is prohibited until proven permitted. might try to organize something like that, if we
can find some spare cycles, but... it would be a *perfect* kind of
action for Free Culture / SFC! Please, please beat us to it! :-)


Comment Use two spaces so sentence motion commands work. (Score 1) 814

Some editors have sentence-wise motion commands (for example, M-a and M-e in Emacs). These rely on the "two spaces after a sentence-ending period" rule in order to distinguish sentence ending from abbreviations. Documents that follow the two-spaces convention are more easily editable by people who use those commands.

Personally, I also find it much easier on the eyes -- I can find sentence boundaries with minimal mental effort, which saves those cycles for something else (like, say, understanding what the document is saying :-) ).

Submission + - Code for America -- two weeks left to apply (

kfogel writes: Just a note: Code for America applications are due in two weeks (Aug 15). It's kind of an amazing opportunity: spend 2011 working with other CfA Fellows helping host cities develop modern, open, web-friendly IT infrastructure. The fellowships are paid, and the program includes travel, health insurance, career opportunities, etc. It's not just for coders, either — they're also looking for people with system administration and deployment skills, documentation and community engagement background, and even civic IT procurement and contracting experience. Slashdotters who want to do some good and get plugged into open government work, this is your chance.

Submission + - Copyright as Censorship in U.S. Senate Campaign ( 1

kfogel writes: Sharron Angle, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Arizona, is using a copyright "cease-and-desist" letter to stop her opponent, incumbent Harry Reid (currently majority leader in the U.S. Senate), from reposting old versions of her campaign website. The old pages are politically sensitive because Angle campaigned from the far right in the primary, but is now toning that down for the general election. One can understand why a politician might want to de-emphasize certain positions after the primary, but using copyright law to censor your opponent from displaying your past positions? Mmmmmm. Shutting down the wayback machine... not gonna work.

The C&D letter is here. (It also accuses the Reid campaign of intending to impersonate Angle's campaign, which seems doubtful, but who knows?)

Comment Brown does not represent all composers. (Score 2, Insightful) 973

Considering how many great composers lived and wrote before copyright was even invented or could affect them (*cough* J.S. Bach *cough*), it would make more sense to call this "one composer's view of copyright". Especially given how much every composer -- Brown included -- is indebted to other composers.

(See the embedded video there.)

Comment Re:Software Freedom Law Center reaction. (Score 1) 232

Good point, but also remember that legislators didn't explictly allow software patents in the first place either, IIRC. Most of the important decisions along the way were made by what is effectively a regulatory body (the USPTO) or by the courts. Asking the Supreme Court to correct the mistakes of either a regulatory agency or of lower courts is not quite the same as asking it to overrule explicit Congressional direction.

Comment Software Freedom Law Center reaction. (Score 5, Informative) 232

The Software Freedom Law Center has a great response up. From SFLC chairman Eben Moglen: "The confusion and uncertainty behind today's ruling guarantees that the issues involved in Bilski v. Kappos will have to return to the Supreme Court after much money has been wasted and much innovation obstructed."

(I hope they'll be providing a deeper analysis later on; the above came out like ten minutes after the decision, so obviously it's just based on the summary of the decision.)

-Karl Fogel


Submission + - Bilski v. Kappos decision is out; SFLC reacts. ( 1

kfogel writes: The Supreme Court of the U.S. has released its decision in Bilski v. Kappos — it's an affirmation, but still a messy decision that doesn't go as far as we'd like in striking down business method patents. The Software Freedom Law Center has a great response up. Says SFLC chairman Eben Moglen: "The confusion and uncertainty behind today's ruling guarantees that the issues involved in Bilski v. Kappos will have to return to the Supreme Court after much money has been wasted and much innovation obstructed."

Submission + - Dead Pig Coverup at National Geographic? (

kfogel writes: As described in a Slashdot article from last week, scientists were using dead pigs to investigate floating bodies in the ocean. An article on National Geographic's web site discussed this practice... but then apparently National Geographic silently removed all mention of it, leaving us only with the tantalizing evidence preserved in the Google hit previews. Why the dead pig coverup? Who is National Geographic protecting?

Comment How much water is this relative to standard use? (Score 1) 271

So I'd love to know how much water, say, New York City uses in a given time period. Anyone know? Like many of us, I don't know what "600 million metric tons of water" means in practice. Comparing it to some more meaningful figure, like a major city's water usage over one year, would help a lot.

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