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Comment Re:Why ask? (Score 3, Insightful) 437

It's giving you a taste of your own medicine.

Wait, what? I actually don't pirate software. I don't download what I don't have permission (from the rights holder) to download. And yet, from that, you're saying it's okay to violate my rights. You're saying that it's okay to violate the rights of one party on the grounds that a second party's rights are being violated by a third party, based on your assumption that the first party and the third party are pretty much one and the same.

Wow, and I thought I was an asshole. Thanks for making me realize how wrong I was.

Comment Re:rolls eyes (Score 5, Insightful) 433

the need to cut off the internet makes perfect sense IN THE RIGHT CONTEXT. which is what the law will be tailored to. but if you take the idea of shutting down the internet, and put it in the context of your deepest fear: say, censorship based on political ideology, of course the idea is frightening. AS IF THIS CONTEXT MAKES ANY SENSE. there is no slippery slope, folks, unless you remove from the law and its invocation the existence of thinking human beings. all jokes about big government to the contrary, that's absurd

One thing I have found time and time again: It is very easy to determine whether or not a law will be abused. Simply look at the people who are worried about what will happen, ask what they're worried about, and then listen to the responses from the proponents. When the responses include such phrases as "this will not happen" "it's impossible" "that's absurd" and the like, the law will be abused in exactly the way being described.

To see too many examples from my own lifetime, you only need to look at copyright law. Laws can now be copyrighted by the writers, and legal battles waged so that the laws can be even be posted online so that everybody can see the laws they are subjected to (see: building codes for various areas around the country, such as Oregon). People working legally within their own country can be held prisoner should they visit another country (see Dmitry Slyarov). People in other countries being investigated in their own country for violating a law that only exists in the US (see DVD Jon).

I have seen any number of people worried about the laws our government enacts, and the way in which it enforces those laws. I have seen them say "Wait! Bad idea! Abuse runs rampant with this!", and be told "Don't worry. Won't happen. You're being overly paranoid." Every time that has been the response, I have later seen that law get abused in just that way. And here you are, telling me (and others) not to worry, we're being paranoid, it won't happen. You'll pardon me if, based on past observation, I am somewhat skeptical of your claim.

If you want to calm us down, and keep us from worrying, it's actually quite easy: Get limits put in the bill. For instance, this would help: "If the President uses the power granted by this law, then a vote of confidence is to be held in both houses of Congress within 48 hours. If the vote of confidence does not pass with at least a 2/3 majority of all members of the houses (not just those who attend), the President is immediately removed from office, with his successor, the Vice President, to take his place. In addition, the order to shut down the Internet will be rescinded immediately on completion of the vote." Put that in, and I'll be okay with this bill passing. The people in charge will be unwilling to use this power except under conditions that would actually require its use. Your response goes from "That's absurd" to "Thanks to this provision, we can ensure that it will only be used when absolutely necessary." Anything less than that sort of response, and I'm nervous.

Quite frankly, you should be nervous too. If you're not, you haven't paid enough attention to how power gets abused.

Comment Re:what has the university to do with it? (Score 5, Insightful) 167

Ya know, I really don't reply much, but the whole "anti-american" thing has gone too far when the damned summary includes something that tells anybody that knows anything about currency that this is not US thing. Here, allow me to quote it:

they fined the student £300

You might be especially interested in the currency indicator. That "£" symbol is used to denote the UK currency unit called the "pound". Over in the actual article (I know, nobody ever reads it, but I still did), they say this:

Rich Martell, 21, a final-year computer sciences student at University College London, has taken the site down under pressure from university authorities, who were concerned that it was distracting students from their studies.

So, at least in this case, no, it is not an "american thing". It is, most definitely, a "London thing". As London is considerably closer to Europe (and, being part of the UK, is considered to be part of Europe) than any part of the USA, I would have to venture that your assertion

Here in europe, the university has nothing to do with their students privat projects.

is now verified to be false. In fact, it might be so far false that this could be considered to be a "European thing", though I'm not sure I'd take it that far myself.

Open Source

Licensing an Abandonware Game? 148

WolverineOfLove writes "I'm recreating a 1980s abandonware game with copyrights that have been seemingly unused for the past 18 years. The situation is detailed further in a Slashdot journal entry I just wrote, but in short: Is it worth dealing with all the copyrights and paying money if I want to recreate an abandonware title as an open source game? I know there are legal implications to certain decisions I might make, but there is a real possibility that this game's copyright holder will do nothing with the rights, and I'd much prefer preserving it for others than letting it fade away."

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