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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.

Comment Re:Great !! 123 more jobs, (Score 1) 288

Allergies are to specific proteins. Each gene is effectively coding for one protein (not always the case but typically is when GMOs). Even if you were, by chance, allergic to potatoes, I highly doubt that's the specific protein you were allergic to. The allergy argument against GMOs is pretty weak, and currently only exists in the realm of the hypothetical.

Comment Re:Great !! 123 more jobs, (Score 2) 288

That's a concern for vegans, though frankly, there's really no such thing as a vegan--just people who like to pretend they aren't using animal products. That said, there are occasionally (not always) nutritive merits to organic food--not so much when it comes to plants, but specifically with meats. Factory farmed animals/eggs/milk are lower in omega-3 fatty acids because their diets are formulated for cost rather than nutrition--whereas free range animals have a much more balanced diet.

Of course we could easily fix this by throwing some flax seeds in with the corn and soy. We don't really have to get rid of modern farming techniques to get healthier food, just revise them a bit and perhaps spend a tad more on feed. But, that's only going to happen if their is consumer demand for it and many of the people who feel strongly have essentially "opted-out" of the voting process by becoming vegans/vegetarians. We could address a lot of the complaints vegans have about how we treat animals in this country by simply having an "ethical meat eating" movement to replace veganism.

Comment Re:Great !! 123 more jobs, (Score 1) 288

Clearly it's not, because you make this about the technology instead of how its used. Round-up resistant corn is only a sped up version of what nature would have delivered to us eventually. The issue isn't the corn, but rather the fact that we've taken it as an excuse to use way more round-up than is even remotely reasonable. The pesticide use is a problem--but you're not going after that, you're going after a technology that made it possible--a technology than can just as easily be the solution rather than the problem if used properly.

Not only does the anti-gm crowd seem to want to throw the baby out with the bathwater, but they actively campaign against the *baby* and pretty much ignore the bathwater. It makes no sense.

Comment Re:Great !! 123 more jobs, (Score 1) 288

Unless you're out picking wild berries and digging up tubers in the forrest, you're eating GMO even if you're eating organic. Just because the previous technologies for genetically modifying an organism weren't as sophisticated as modern ones, doesn't mean the results are any less freakish. After all, we spent a lot more time turning an every day grass into the genetic freak corn we know and love to use for pretty much every aspect of our diet. Hell, the modifications we've made since using modern gene splicing techniques are paltry by comparison.

People need to get over their irrational fear of GM foods. If we all eat organic, we're all going to starve eventually.

Comment Re:"If this was Microsoft" (Score 1) 186

The EU is investigating Google because large corporate targets are a good way to channel the electorates anger safely away from the people who want to be elected. If its going to be us vs them, we need a them--and European's natural distrust of large corporations makes Google a natural target. Ignore that they flat out deny doing most of the things they're accused of by various EU investigative bodies--and there's no evidence to suggest they do either.

It's been pointed out that Americans trust corporations and not the government, while Europeans trust the government and not corporations. Personally I'm not a huge fan of either, but its pretty clear to me that the their case against Google is a bunch of nonsense. They've got people freaking out over street view but not over live video cameras on your street corner? Give me a break, Europe.

Comment Re:"If this was Microsoft" (Score 1) 186

Except that Microsoft has a phone OS and Bing is it's default search. So Microsoft does do this, and nobody has raised a peep about it. Google is the new Microsoft, for no other reason than because they're big. Corporations are bad. Big ones must therefore be worse. It's really quite simple.

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