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Comment Re:Forget Patents, what about copyrights?! (Score 1) 274

There should be some distinction between a work that has potential monetary worth 75 years after its creation, and something that has no worth 5 years after creation.

Not only no, but Hell No!

If you create *any* sort of differentiation, then it will be exploited so that the big corporations' work gets the max protection, and stuff by little guys gets the minimum, regardless of any artistic merit or monetary value. It won't start out that way, of course, but over time corporations *will* find a way to corrupt the system for their benefit.

Copyright would be just fine if the term was limited to something sane. After all, it exists for the sole purpose of encouraging the creation of new works. Rudyard Kipling won't be releasing any new works (unless he comes back as a zombie, that is), so there is no reason whatsoever to have any protection on his original works.

The sole determinant for whether a work should be in copyright is whether it will benefit the original creator for it to remain in copyright. Not a corporation that bought the rights. Not the creator's children (or grandchildren, or great-great-great-grandchildren). Just the original creator.

Comment Re:sadly he is going to lose (Score 2) 190

I don't see how returning something to protection for a limited time conflicts with the copyright clause, perhaps you could elaborate.

Perhaps not, but try explaining how doing so "promotes the Progress of Science and useful Arts". Do you really think that the creator of something that has actually expired out of copyright into the public domain is going to start creating new works if his (very) old stuff is returned to copyright? In reality, even before the most recent extension of copyright terms it was more than likely that the original creator was long dead before the copyright expired.

Unfortunately, what will happen is that if this point is even brought up, the Supreme Court will simply rule that this is a type of commercial regulation, and hence allowed under the all-powerful Commerce Clause.

Comment Re:What? (Score 1) 247

All it says is that the President has to sign the bill for it to become law (except where Congress gets the 2/3s to override a Presidential veto). Since autopens have for a long time been seen as legitimate signatures, I doubt very much that there is any question as to the constitutionality of this particular signature.

But why use the Autopen. US Law allows all kinds of documents to be signed via a digital signature, which doesn't require the signer to be in any particular place. And this type of signature has already been used to sign a bill into law - Bill Clinton signed the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act using a digital signature.

So why didn't President Obama follow this precedent, signing via digital signature?

The President should be required to digitally sign the text of the bill, and then, if someone wanted a dead-tree signed version, the Autopen could be used, after the text of the digital version and the paper version had been compared to insure they are the same.

I know this whole question is just a bunch of legal hair-splitting. And I would be quite happy if this technicality got that abomination of a law thrown out. I'm not holding my breath on it, though, as certain elements of our government have become quite fond of the powers that were granted to them via the Patriot Act, and won't give them up without a fight.

Comment Re:President Obama (Score 1) 247

Look, I'm not into the whole "political" thing.

But it isn't "Mr." Obama; it's Mr. President or President Obama.

You could also use The President or POTUS.

Saying "Mr." Obama isn't just disrespecting him, it's disrespecting The Office of the President. It's tacky.

I believe the accepted journalistic standard is "President Obama" on the first mention in an article, but "Mr. Obama" in the rest of the article. But there's no hard-and-fast rule - just "Mr. Obama" is itself an indicator of respect (at least more so than just referring to him as "Obama").

Also consider that this is the United States - disrespecting our elected officials is part of that whole "freedom of speech" concept...

Comment Re:No shit (Score 2) 146

Who's "they"? Do you mean Stalin (a Georgian)? Or maybe you are talking about the (ethnic Ukrainian) communist functionaries who sent Stalin fake statistics to try to convince him that his economic policies were working well and that there was no starvation in Ukraine?

While there may have been general starvation as a result of Stalin's failed policies, there were special policies put in place that applied *only* to areas where Ukrainians were dominant. Such as the law that if a collective farm failed to meet its quota, agents of the government would move in and seize 15 times that farm's quota, leaving that farm with no food at all.

Exact numbers are hard to come by, but the best estimates are that around 8 million people died in that famine, about 5 million of whom just happened to be ethnic Ukrainians. So others *were* dying. Just not as many.

Comment Re:that van may need to chgnge for that to work (Score 1) 178

Sorry, but that quote doesn't seem right.

First off, that van is explicitly designed for this purpose. So it's assumed it has the necessary medical equipment to perform the organ harvesting. In TFA, it explictly states that one of the reasons for the vans is so they don't *have* to have specialized medical facilities in the prisons.

Second, all the drugs used have regular medical uses, and have hopefully been subject to reasonable testing. I'd be really surprised if the doctor(s) who planned for these vans would have failed to consider possible organ damage from the drugs.

Finally, the prevalence of HIV and Hepatitis is quite true in US prisons, but not necessarily in other countries.

Comment Re:Or ASCAP, BMI, SESAC (Score 1) 130

But you do have a good point. What about ASCAP and BMI who do regularly sue bars and other venues that play music without paying royalties? They do not require copyright assignment.

Because they are not concerned with copyright infringement. A public performance of a song is *not* copyright infringement.

Under copyright law, you do not have to negotiate an agreement for royalties in order to use a work in a "public performance". Instead, the law specifies a "statutory royalty" that is due whenever a work is used in a public performance, with the rate of this royalty being set by the government (the Copyright Royalty Board). You may, if you wish, try to negotiate with them for a contractual royalty rate different from the statutory rate, but unless you have done so, you are obligated to pay the statutory rates.

ASCAP and BMI are just agents responsible for collecting the portion of those statutory royalties owed to the songwriters/publishers of songs used in public performances. They aren't suing because you infringed copyright (you didn't) - they are suing because in using the work in a public performance you've incurred statutory royalties, which they are (in theory) authorized to collect and fairly distribute it.

(The portion of the statutory royalties due to the artists/labels is collected by an organization called Sound Exchange).

In summary - to sue over copyright infringement, you need to be the holder of the rights to the work in question. But to sue over the statutory royalties for a public performance, you only need to be the agent authorized to collect those royalties.

Comment Re:What's funny is (Score 2) 428

You forgot another consequence, when the feds poisoned alcohol to make people think it was more dangerous, and killed its own citizens as a result:

Which they tried again in the 1970's by spraying marijuana fields in Mexico with paraquat. Which failed miserably since paraquat sprayed pot isn't really all that poisonous.

The simple fact is that if shenanigans like this are required to convince people the stuff is dangerous, then it's not dangerous enough to justify federal regulation.

Comment Re:FYI (Score 1) 101

Well, they do say that English rap^H^H^H forcibly takes new words from foreign languages. Although this word probably liked it.

Well, given the poor language's upbringing, it's not really all that surprising. After all, it was the bastard offspring of Anglo-Saxon and Norman French (which has a rather sordid history all its own, involving Latin, Gallic, Goth, Vandal, Frankish and Norse).

Comment Re:illegal why? (Score 1) 267

Not being a US resident, nor being married, I cannot help asking if the oath in question does not depend on the ritual itself? That is, not all rituals have an explicit question of other marriages. Or is it a part of the mandatory paperwork?

It's the paperwork. The marriage ceremony is, well, ceremonial. Without a government issued marriage license, the government generally does not recognize that the marriage exists (which means that for the purpose of taxes, social security, etc, the two people are still single).

(there are "common law marriages", which are still legally valid in some states in the US, that require no marriage license, but these are becoming rarer and rarer - only 9 states still allow them).

Comment Re:now is bad timing for any important news really (Score 1) 225

Aha, but it is a violation of US law to go to another country solely for the purpose of performing an act which is illegal in the USA.

Only if the law in question gives a strong indication (if not explicitly detailing) that it is intended to be applied to US citizens in other nations. For instance, traveling to another country to have sex with a minor *is* punishable in the US, even if the act is legal in the country where it happens. But in that case, the PROTECT Act of 2003 explicitly makes it illegal to do so - before that Act was passed, there was no legal basis for prosecuting individuals who did this. So it's possible for a US citizen to be prosecuted here for what was a non-crime in the country where the act was committed, but this is *not* the default for all laws.

Who told you that? It's Schedule A. That means it's illegal to use it without jumping through many hoops.

There is no "Schedule A" for drugs. I'm assuming you mean "Schedule I" under the Controlled Substances Act, which regulates commerce (production, distribution, etc) of various substances. It does not in any way make it illegal to use them. AFAIK, the federal government doesn't even have to authority to outlaw use of drugs (except on federal land) as the only part of the Constitution they can use for drug regulation is the Commerce Clause.

Your comment had small pieces of useful information but it was wrapped in gobs of misinformation. As such it looks like a deliberate attempt to mislead people. At best, you're wrong.

I'd say the same about your posts, but they're missing the small pieces of useful information as well.

Comment Re:now is bad timing for any important news really (Score 2) 225

BTW, if someone wants fly to Holland to smoke pot they'll have to remember that it's actually illegal to do so, even though it's openly tolerated by the Dutch government. But they can still be busted for it there, and they can be busted for it when they get back home, if the US AG has the evidence.

Now for the real question - what the hell have *you* been smoking?

If you commit a crime, you can only be tried and punished for it in the jurisdiction in which the crime occurred. If you, a private citizen of the US, go to the Netherlands, commit a murder there, then return to the US, you can NOT be tried for that crime in the US. At most, you can be arrested by US authorities, and sent to the Netherlands to stand trial (whether or not this is the case depends on what extradition treaties, if any, exist between the US and the Netherlands).

(note that the rules are somewhat different if you are an active duty serviceman - the military has automatic jurisdiction over all criminal acts of active duty personnel, regardless of where those acts occurred)

Now if you were in the Netherlands, and you hired a hit man to kill someone in the US, you could potentially be tried and convicted in a US court - under the "accessory before the fact" and "conspiracy" concepts, you are as guilty as the actual killer, even if you were on another continent when the crime was committed.

*That* is the basic theory underlying the trials of those captured in Afghanistan - they were involved in the planning of attacks against US targets, and as such the US should have jurisdiction over them.

And finally - smoking pot isn't illegal *anywhere* in the US. The laws all revolve around cultivation, possession, sale, etc. The only criminal penalties for using are the "driving under the influence" laws if you get caught driving while stoned.

Comment Re:now is bad timing for any important news really (Score 1) 225

Not to put too fine a point on it, but unless you're a constituent of the government in question, what the fuck do you care?

Let's see - a country with the world's 2nd largest population and 11th largest economy. Gee, events there couldn't possibly have any effect on the rest of the world, now could they?

This story is important in India. In the rest of the world, it's merely sensationalist, and Wikileaks may be using it to distract from its crimes

Er, what crimes? Or are you assuming that since Assange has been accused of something, all of the people involved in Wikileaks must be co-conspirators?

Comment Re:Who watches the Watchman? (Score 4, Insightful) 225

It should be easy to find ot if this person had such an aid.

Well, they *obviously* found someone named "Nachiketa Kapur", whose response was "There was no cash to point out to". Note that it wasn't "I don't work for Mr Sharma", or "I have no connection to that political party", or anything else that might indicate that he was *not* in fact Mr Sharma's aide.

What we'll probably discover is that Mr. Kapur is officially employed by someone other than Mr Sharma, in some position that on paper has nothing to do with politics. But Kapur's response indicates that he is involved in that party, and has some association with Sharma.

If you are unwilling to trust the government why are you willing to trust Wikileaks? Just wondering since this leak as far as I can see has no data to support it. And the best way to earn trust would be to release a bunch of leaks unaltered and then when it is worth the risk release an altered one.

Because governments routinely lie, while Wikileaks has yet to be caught in *any* sort of fabrication? Your theory of them building their reputation via real information so they can then fabricate some false info suffers from one major problem - what does Wikileaks get from risking that hard earned reputation? Is causing a scandal in India really worth risking the whole Wikileaks project?

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