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Comment Re:Why shouldn't they be free to decide their pric (Score 1) 383

Those books are public domain because their copyright has expired. You're free to print em, change em, do anything you want.

So I guess I do have a free speech right to copy works made by other people. Since the expiration of copyright doesn't grant me any rights, but merely removes rights that had been granted to the author, and since it's rather odd to claim that free speech is a right which flows from the state to the people, I guess I must have the same right even as to copyrighted works. Copyright infringes on my right while it subsists, but there doesn't appear to be any other way of making sense of this.

Oh, and BTW, Oliver Twist was never copyrighted in the US; we didn't grant foreign authors copyrights until much later. I just chose those works because the authors hated people copying their work, legally or not.

Comment Re:one step in a series. (Score 3, Insightful) 383

Let me clarify: a publisher can whip up copies of a book as easily or more easily than a pirate can. Yes, the initial creation of the book is difficult and costly, but the marginal cost of each copy thereafter is not greater for the publisher than the pirate merely due to the state to which technology has advanced. I was never addressing the issue of paying for the labor needed to get the book ready to publish to begin with; those sunk costs are not going away and are not too closely linked to publishing technology. Hell, some authors still write books longhand.

For example, if the cheapest way to print a paper book is to use a huge offset press, publishers likely have an advantage over pirates who will either have to conceal their huge illegal printing operation or use inferior techniques, such as xeroxing books one at a time. OTOH, if xeroxing books one at a time somehow happened to become a cheaper means of printing than anything else, the legitimate publishers would have the offset press hauled away, install a bunch of xerox machines, and still not be behind the curve of the pirates.

Digital distribution has greatly reduced the risks, while digital copying has eliminated the investment and greatly increased the profit margin

That only brings pirates toward technological parity. Legitimate publishers are not prohibited from using the latest tools. It may be difficult for them to figure out how to make money whilst selling books over Bit Torrent or whatever the kids are using these days, but they needn't be shackled to the old ways.

Comment Probably not a replacement for full time employees (Score 1) 95

I get paid to audit code, so I'm biased.

The article says that no one employee could find hundreds of bugs and that's true. But when you hire employees you are building a process. Improving the process by writing a new QC script can eliminate hundreds of bugs over a couple years. These are not attributed to one employee and since the offending code is not committed then they aren't even counted as bug fixes.

Offering a bug bounty, on the other hand, is a unpredictable thing and you'll get random fixes. It is valuable because it provides a fresh perspective.

My guess is that if you collect a few bug bounties then Google will send you a recruiting email. It might be more expensive to hire you to work full time it's still a worthwhile thing.

Comment Re:Why shouldn't they be free to decide their pric (Score 1) 383

Stealing the property of others without payment is not free speech.

So if I print up a copy of Oliver Twist or The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, without paying Dickens or Twain, you're saying that that would be stealing and that I could not assert a free speech right against the state if they tried to shut me down? News to me.

BTW, property law is also a matter of consensus. Get enough people together and you can change who owns property regardless of the consent of the previous owners or possessors. If you don't believe me, take a look at how the US came to control much of North America.

Copyright ensures payment to the creators of the creative work in exchange for payment from the consumer. The payment encourages and supports the creative class to create more work, and so on.

I'm sure you've badly misworded whatever you were trying to say; what you have there is classic 'heads, I win' (authors get paid), 'tails, you lose' (in exchange for readers getting to pay).

Copyright is utilitarian through and through, and can be thought of best as a means of exploiting authors for the benefit of the public. The authors get something out of it, but it's a bit like how dairy farmers deign to feed their cows, even though all the farmer really wants is the milk. If starving the cows worked better, he'd do it. We give authors a chance to get money (not even guaranteed money!) because it's convenient for us. Not because it is right or fair or other such crap. If we were concerned with authors having a comfortable life because it was fair, we would give everyone such a life; only giving it to authors would not be fair.

Comment Lying for the Lord (Score 1) 1448

This is a known tactic. He can say anything he wants, as long as it serves what he perceives as serving a higher purpose. Look up "lying for the lord". See also Mittens Romney.

I can tolerate him, but I don't ever have to give him money or listen to him again. I'm not asking that he be jailed for his treason. That's pretty tolerant.

Comment Re:Why shouldn't they be free to decide their pric (Score 1) 383

I don't recall voluntarily agreeing to copyright laws. Why, then, should I be obligated to obey them? Especially given that it infringes on my right of free speech to be forbidden to copy a work, regardless of whether it originated with me or not.

The answer of course is that majorities tend to rule, and if a majority has a legitimate power to establish a copyright law, they likely have a legitimate power to establish an antitrust law.

Oh, and BTW, I think you may have misunderstood what an ad hominem argument is. When someone says that you're stupid, and that therefore because you are stupid, your argument is wrong, that is an ad hominem argument. It's fallacious because even stupid people can make valid arguments; out of the mouths of babes and all that. OTOH, when someone says that your argument is wrong, and also that you're stupid (not as a necessary consequence of having made a wrong argument, mind; everyone makes mistakes), that isn't an ad hominem, that's just an insult. Maybe it doesn't do much for the quality of the debate, but it can have a certain rhetorical usefulness, and it can be fun, you dipshit.

Comment Re:one step in a series. (Score 3, Interesting) 383

There is one fundamental difference from books vs ebooks: ebooks can be cloned perfectly in a split of a millisecond. Books cannot. This was a limitation of the analog world. Now, in the digital age, this limitation has vanished.

Meh. There's no technology that favors pirates more than it does legitimate publishers. At most there is parity; a publisher can whip up millions of ebooks with minimal effort and cost just as easily as a pirate can. At worst the publisher will have an advantage if only due to being able to work openly.

Before ebooks, pirates could operate printing presses. Before presses, pirates could employ scribes. Before literacy, pirates could memorize the epic poems that were passed down orally.

I fail to see how the landscape has changed so radically. All that's changed is that the up front costs to publish a book quickly and easily -- legitimately or as a pirate -- have dropped a lot.

Comment Re:Wheel reinvented once again (Score 1) 304

I don't think it's change for the sake of change necessarily. You've got to remember that this stuff is created by a young generation that's just entering the workforce. They see existing technologies as old and crufty. Declaring types? Get with the times grandpa!

Plus, there seems to be a fascination with making code as terse as possible...

Comment Re:And what's that in metric? (Score 2) 353

But when you say "goes 10x further per [unit fuel]" you're talking about it the other way! I.e. this one gets 110 km/L, 10 times more km per liter than your car that gets around 11 km/L.

If instead you're comparing 9 L/100km to 0.9 L/100km, that's not talking about how much distance you get per liter, but about how many liters you use per distance, i.e. the rate of fuel consumption. Of course, they're equivalent ratios; it's just a reciprocal.

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