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Comment Re:Outside of the design of the system (Score 1) 764

Distribution is only one of many rights reserved by copyright, and again this has been true since the beginning.

The fact that it has become easier for "just anybody" to commit certain offenses does not mean that somehow they were originally meant to magically be exempt from the law if they did commit those offenses, which is what is implied by the idea that the laws "weren't meant to target" them.

Comment Re:Confused? (Score 1) 764

Ok... what I'm not seeing is why both sides would be motivated to settle after a ruling had been reached in the (2nd) trial. Why at that phase were there settlement talks; and if such talks broke down, why didn't the RIAA just say "fine, no settlement, pay the judgement".

Given the judge reduced the award, maybe that's the wrong question. Maybe the right question is, even if the RIAA thought "we can win a higher award again if we get a new trial", and even if Thompson thought "maybe this time I'll win or at least get a lower award"... why didn't the court just say "screw you both, this was the ruling, we're moving on down the docket"?

Comment Re:Confused? (Score 1) 764

Yeah, I think we all get that.

What I can't figure out from TFA is - where the hell did the 3rd trial come from?

The second trial occured because the judge ruled that he'd erred. That makes sense. Now where did the 3rd one come from? TFA says that she asked for either a reduction in damages or another trial; she got a reduction in damages... so why wasn't that the end of it?

Comment Re:Outside of the design of the system (Score 3, Insightful) 764

Copyrights were never really meant to target individual citizens? Says who? I don't see any support for that claim in the Constitutional basis for copyright law; or in the first copyright act; or in any other subsequent copyright act that I've read...

In fact every copyright act I've read is explicitly not merely a regulation on business, as they specifically assign liability for infringement even if it isn't commercial in nature.

Perhaps you're mistaking how you'd like to see copyright used as somehow representing what it was "meant" to be used for?

Comment Re:Important: Read This! (Score 1) 165

Yes, I've heard the term "selection bias"; apparently one of us knows what it means, and you aren't the one.

I'm not "selecting" the cases I'm looking at. I'm looking at every case that has impacted me in any way, and suggesting that everyone else in the discussion do the same.

If that's a biased selection, then what you're really saying is "yes, class actions that affect people are crap, but that's not a fair sample" (apparently meaning that we have to include all the cases that don't affect anyone).

When I asked you for your view of what class action is, you responded in a way typical of those defending bad law: you gave me a technical description of the intent of the law, without reference to the reality of what the law does in practice. Laws and legal practices are not judged by their intent; they are judged by their effects.

You want your argument to matter, tie it to reality. So far all you've said is that we should ignore the fact that in most people's lives class action suits are nothing but an abuse, because in theory the law allows them to be used for other things.

Comment Prece-what? (Score 1) 165

"With several outstanding class action privacy suits against Facebook and Zynga, it is interesting to see Google set this precedent"

That is, of course, unless you know the first thing about the law. In that case, you are aware that one defendent deciding to settle doesn't set a precedent at all for other defendents in separate lawsuits (even if the nature of those suits is similar).

Between that, my lack of interest in suing Google over this matter, and my general antipathy toward class actions in practice, I find this terribly uninteresting.

Comment Re:Important: Read This! (Score 1) 165

"slashdot's consensus about what class action cases are is really, really off-base."

Really? So you claim you've done a handful of more-legitimate class actions, and you think that overturns the common view of what class-action cases "are"?

Tell you what: enlighten us. What are class actions? Then we can all dig through our records for records of class action settlements that affected us, and see what percentage conform to your description vs. the /. concensus. I can already tell you which one covers 100% of cases that have affected me.

Comment Re:Trade secrets are worse than patents (Score 2, Interesting) 250

HFT is already pretty exclusionary, so I'm not sure that's the real issue.

Also, barring a screw-up at the PTO, you'd have to actually be ahead of the curve on HFT techniques and would only get a monopoly on those advances - not on anything necessary to doing HFT today.

And given the short expected lifetime of an HFT algorithm (particularly if one is optimistic enough to hope that the practice might become illegal in the near future) I'm not sure you'd want to invest in a patent, whereas protecting a trade secret is actually made easier if the time horizon is short.

Comment Re:Unfair advantage (Score 4, Insightful) 250

I keep hearing that "anyone" can do this. Please point me to where I can sign up to collocate my server with the market computers - because that is actually necessary to set up an effective HFT system.

The ability of an elite few to buy access to information about the value of an item, when that information is unavailable to others with whom they will buy and sell that item, is a violation of free market premises.

Much of what the SEC regulations do is to produce a free market. This is what many political pundits fail to understand - the "free" in free market does not mean "unregulated". The best regulatory approach in the world would never create a 100% ideal free market - money will always be able to buy research - but there's a difference between "not being able to produce a perfectly flat playing field" vs. "allowing people to artificially create an information assymetry, with the express purpose of taking profits from those on the other side of the field, with an insanely high barrier to entry for those who want to join you". HFT is the latter.

HFT is a practice that should be regulated out of existence.

Comment Re:Western Electric Hearing Aid ca. 1925 (Score 1) 685

Why the person she's conversing with is invisible? Quick top 3 possibilities:

1) She's talking to herself
2) The person is behind her or otherwise out of view
3) She, and all the extras, are just wandering around chattering to produce the illusion of a background crowd, and it happens she moved into a position where the illusion breaks down if you focus on her

Comment Re:OK, I'll bite. (Score 3, Insightful) 685

Maybe it's not a cell phone as we know it. Maybe it allows communication through time. Maybe it isn't about time travel at all, but was an alien communicating with the mother ship.

Or maybe the story is bs, and either the video was manipulated, you're not seeing what you think you see, or the guy was immitating "talking on a phone" with a small, boxy object that happened to be in reach (either for reasons you'd have to be in his converation to know, or because he's nuts). For that matter, maybe he was holding something cold to a bruise on the side of his head while takling to the person next to him.

Even for Idle this is silly.

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