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Comment Re:You didn't address my points. You misread me. (Score 1) 420

Jobs didn't invent USB even though he put it into the iMac fruit-colored all-in-one '040 machines that ran system 7 or 8.

iMacs initially had G3 processors; everything with 68040 chips had been discontinued before he came back. (And it was MacOS 8.1 that they started out with, IIRC)

Jobs didn't invent ethernet but he created ethernet dongles for 68040-based Mac IIci machines.

The Mac IIci had a 68030, and it didn't have any built in ethernet support at all. You're probably thinking of the AAUI port on the Quadra 700. And he was long gone from Apple when that stuff came out.

And the main thing I'd object to was this:

- the first optical drive on consumer hardware (it was magneto-optical however)

Bullshit. The NeXT cube was not consumer hardware. The thing cost $6500 and was initially only sold to the higher ed market. When they finally hit the retail market, they were priced at $10,000 and were about as big a flop as the similarly priced Apple Lisa.

Comment Re:For those Curious (Score 1) 207

The law is retarded if it doesn't segregate common and commercial use of the term.

Well, it doesn't, but I think it's better than you think. The raison d'Ãtre of trademarks is to prevent customer confusion. If you buy a bottle labeled with the COCA-COLA mark, you should be able to expect the contents to have the same quality (taste, ingredients, etc.) and same origin as every other identically marked bottle. OTOH, if you buy a bottle labeled SODA, POP, or COLA, there are a lot of different things that it could be, some of which might even be worse than the crab juice. Where there is no consistent quality, or no single origin, there's no trademark.

If the public uses a mark to refer to goods or services of differing qualities or origins though, they redefine the mark so as to make it generic. Typically this is caused by confusing the mark for the name of the underlying good or service, rather than as a trademark identifying that a good or service is interchangeable with other so-marked goods or services, which may have different origins. E.g. XEROX brand photocopiers vs. xerox machines.

The typical way to stave this off -- a trademark becoming dangerously synonymous with the marker good or service -- is advertising. Xerox has been doing it for years. My favorite ad of theirs was "You can't xerox a xerox on the xerox." But I wouldn't put a lot of money on their continued success as keeping their mark for photocopiers if it came down to a fight.

The closest thing I've ever seen to what you describe was that Thermos is entitled to use the THERMOS mark with a capital T, but everyone else who makes vacuum insulated flasks can use it without the capital T.

Comment Re:oh no (Score 1) 140

And a stopped clock is right twice a day.

McCarthy didn't know that was true, and had no reason to think it was true, he just lied about it. It was total coincidence that it happened to be true. And since he had no real information, he was no good at actually ferreting them out. And it's bad counterintelligence to just publicly identify enemy agents -- you're better off feeding them disinformation, turning them, or using them to find more, all very quietly.

The man was a drunk and a lout and deserves nothing but scorn.

Comment Re:$24 (Score 1) 347

And that's what we need for knowledge: broad agreement that locking away knowledge is immoral, and that sharing is good, desirable, and a fundamental right. It's been too easy to confuse the public, and persuade many people that they don't have rights that they actually do have. We've had craziness such as governments using copyright to monetize access to the law! We have poor children being denied educational material, over fears that might somehow hurt publishers of textbooks. We have scientists being silenced, technically not allowed to hand out copies of their own works that the public paid for, because they were forced to turn over all copyright to a publisher, in order to get published at all. We've had embarrassing cases such as Dmitry Sklyarov. When a person is technically in violation of copyright just for being overheard while humming a copyrighted song, when people doubt that they have the right to discuss certain subjects such as the details of how to reverse engineer a product lest that somehow infringe on someone's copyright, fair use just isn't enough. George Hotz is another embarrassing case for the Land of the Free. I think that like slavery, copyrights and patents have to go. Until they do, we will continue to see these abusive attempts at extreme control of knowledge enjoy too much success.

I can think of just one way in which copyright does work, as a sort of publicly known usage and endorsement. The example I have in mind is the use of a song in a commercial. (I recall a case in which Nike used the Beatle's Revolution in a commercial, without permission. Nike was sued, and lost.) We can know beyond doubt who the authors are, and who is using the songs. Those users are not private individuals privately using knowledge for their own enjoyment, they are commercial entities seeking to sell products and services to the public, and as such must broadcast to the public. But similar to plagiarism, this need not be covered by copyright. We can enshrine a particular right to compensation in this instance to some other much more limited law. Call it "commercial use right", or "sell out right" or some such. (But, want to be careful that an organization like ASCAP can't bully restaurants into paying royalties for playing music regardless of whether they play only free music, such as music that is out of copyright.) We don't need slavery to enforce relationships between employers and employees, and we don't need copyright law for this.

Well, the goal of copyright is to promote the progress of science (by which was meant 'knowledge') for our society. And while it dies have negative effects, if it can be tailored so that the good outweighs the bad, it seems worth having.

I'd generally agree with you, restricting copyright to only apply to uses by non-natural persons, and to commercial uses: if a company that owns a movie theater wants to perform a movie, let them have to pay for permission; if an individual just wants to download a movie to watch, why should they have to pay?

Comment Re:Don't (Score 2) 687

Most pirates are casual pirates that wouldn't put much effort into it.

Some are determined, and you can't stop. But to say all are that way is ignorant of the pirate ecosystem.

True, but thanks to the miracle of software, it only takes one person to crack the DRM. Then everyone just follows suit. Most people couldn't figure out how to break DeCSS on their own, but it's pretty easy to use a DVD ripping program.

Comment Re:Wow (Score 1) 648

this person didn't really buy the books for himself which is what the first sale doctrine is for? he had relatives buy books for the purpose of reselling them in a country where people have a lot more money

i'm surprised SCOTUS didn't find for the publisher. this is a pretty big expansion of the first sale doctrine

No, first sale has always covered used book stores, video rental stores, and other for-profit enterprises. There is no expansion here. All the doctrine ever said was that the copyright holder has no right -- under copyright, at least -- to control distribution after the first one. There are a few caveats here and there (when lobbying groups got Congress to do their bidding), but that's basically it.

Comment Re:Goodness! Did sanity just prevail?! (Score 1) 648

Yes, the Senate became very corrupt pretty quickly, with states more or less selling seats to the highest bidder. Directly electing them was meant to get Senators into office who would look out for the interests of the nation since the old method of appointments wasn't working.

Elections around these parts aren't perfect, but let's at least try to find all new ways of screwing things up instead of reverting to the tried and true ways. At least with experimentation we might get lucky.

Comment Re:Goodness! Did sanity just prevail?! (Score 1) 648

They also should interpret federal law. This case wasn't a constitutional question, it was basically asking what the precise meaning of a statute was. Everyone seems to agree its a constitutional statute, though.

And they have a host of other duties. In fact, ironically, judicial review for constitutionality is not one of their enumerated responsibilities, and there was much dispute early on with the two political branches claiming that power for themselves.

Comment Re:Goodness! Did sanity just prevail?! (Score 1) 648

Of course, Congress does have the right to regulate interstate and foreign commerce, and would be well within its rights to limit or even prohibit the existence of corporate entities as it sees fit. And if it chose to abolish those which engaged in political speech, this would not run afoul of the First Amendment.

Comment Re:Goodness! Did sanity just prevail?! (Score 1) 648

Had the court ruled against Citizens United then the court would have been giving the government the absolute authority to prevent groups of like-minded, non-wealthy individuals from pooling their money to make a political statement.

No, they could still do that, the only difference would be that they would be liable for the group as it would likely be a partnership.

I don't see a reason why we should extend the privilege of limited liability to politically active organizations. Let them choose which is more important to them.

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