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Comment Re:Avoiding the next My Sweet Lord (Score 1) 77

Then explain record labels suing individual file sharers, and explain George Harrison losing a million dollar lawsuit.

Sure. If it's not a clearly lost cause, then they'll give it a try. Most people just settle anyway.

Then what should one do to avoid losing a case like Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music or Three Boys Music v. Michael Bolton? Accidental infringement cases like these serve to bolster this "fairly hefty misconception about copyright law".

Ah yes, indeed you're correct. I thought you were claiming that people, in order to defend a lawsuit in court, would have to do something profoundly ridiculous like show the judge a comparison of every song ever released by the plaintiff.

Comment Re:It's a perfectly valid (Score 1) 268

Copyright is not as simple as that. While it seems intuitively obvious that this is a direct hindrance to the creation of art, thinking along these lines involves a relatively obvious (at least, in hindsight), but surprisingly common fallacy: namely the unfounded assumption that the inspiring artwork would have existed in the first place. To assume this is to implicitly assume that copyright is not valuable (since this initial existence is the mechanism by which copyright works), and thus makes any argument concluding on this basis that copyright is not valuable completely circular.

You say that copyright suppressed the creation of art, but most likely, it neither suppressed nor promoted it. It isn't likely to have suppressed it because without the support of copyright, because star trek isn't likely to have been made and been as popular without copyright. Copyright is as much responsible for the proposal to begin with, as it was for its being shot down. CBS defending their copyrights promotes copyrights, and thus the creation of art, just in a possibly unintuitive way.

Comment Re:But if you're not a corporation, you lack (Score 1) 77

But in practice, defending a work's copyright from the incumbent multinational publishers requires substantial financial resources. If you're not a corporation, you likely lack the resources to defend your copyright from false accusations of infringement.

In theory, a big corporation could drag it out for as long as they wanted, depending only on the amount of money in their bank account. In practice, if you can take the labels as far as the court stage, they'll probably drop it if as soon as it looks hopeless. There's simply no real financial sense to wasting their money trying to extract a few thousand dollars at the expense of much of their own time and money. They're not exactly defending a pristine reputation to begin with, and it appears that their business does not hinge on said reputation. Copyright infringement just happens to be one of the things where people can defend themselves, if they can be afford to go to court over it (and if they can actually defend themselves, of course).

Actually suing the labels for copyright infringement, that's another story...

Nor do you have the resources to check the work that you are preparing to publish against every existing copyrighted work to make sure that there is no substantial similarity.

Um, you do realise that a case actually needs to be made in order to successfully sue someone for copyright infringement? The onus is not on the accused to cross-check their work against every other work in existence.

That's a fairly hefty misconception about copyright law (and, I suppose, the legal system in general). Perhaps this also contributes to the animosity against copyright law?

Comment Re:This isn't news, this is an advertisement (Score 1) 150

Facebook seeks to satisfy an emptiness, a need for attention, that I do not have.

I don't think that's true. It's a tool that can definitely be used in this way, but it's also very useful for a variety of other purposes, which I would say do not simply defer to attention-seeking as the main purpose. It's an excellent tool for communicating instantly, discreetly, and cheaply, as well as the organisation of events, which is the way I have used it (and have seen it used). I use it to organise semi-regular board game nights between friends, or to casually chat to friends from other states. Very rarely (twice, in my recollection) have I used it to satisfy a need for attention. In fact, by and large, I avoid using it for long periods of time, because I often don't want attention, and the feeling of exposure is not pleasant. In fact, I've had facebook for at least four years now, but have only actually started logging in in the last 12 months.

Am I right in thinking that you've never used it? Your impressions of it sound like you've mostly read about its most negative aspects, so reinforced and repeated that they've become stereotypes and cliches, rather than its less heralded positive aspects. I suspect that if you tried using it for a decent amount of time, you'd find that you and your friends would not use for attention-seeking, and just enjoy the extra communication that it affords. Basically, I don't believe that you have invested the necessary time and gathered the necessary information to support your claim that "Facebook has little or nothing to offer me in exchange for the privacy I am giving up."

Of course, that's up to you. Nobody is forcing you to be completely informed in your decision against Facebook. However, I would think twice before pidgeonholing people who do use it.

You can call that "just my opinion" in the sense that other people don't feel that way, but I can say that one of those is definitely superior.

What does superior mean in this context? It certainly doesn't mean that everyone on earth prefers one to the other. What other metric could you be using to judge one superior over the other? Take the example of a celebrity. They have almost no privacy. If they put themselves on Facebook, they basically lose no privacy. The type of information that you can derive from facebook is not the type of information that a celebrity can hide from the public. Are you saying that their (lack of) privacy is worth more than the benefits of facebook? Even if your contention that its primary use is for attention-seeking, this may still be valuable to a celebrity. For example, to Paris Hilton, I can't imagine a downside to facebook!

I don't believe in absolute superiority, because I am (more or less) a logical positivist. As of yet, nobody has provided a method of verifying that some "thing" X is superior to another "thing" Y in such a way that people generally agree that it is superiority that its measuring (for example, I could say person A is superior to person B if A is older than B, but nobody would call it superiority that I was measuring), and thus the statement that X is superior to Y is, as of yet, meaningless.

People in general are not geeks. That's where I was coming from earlier. Geeks would be a much, much smaller market. Designing devices just for geeks would alienate "people in general". It would not be a good business decision. It wouldn't have produced the results I personally observed -- people who are not technically inclined who bought Macs and suddenly stopped having frequent "computer problems".

Sure, and this I agree with. However, it is fallacious to conclude the converse: if a person buys a non-geek computer like apple, then they are not a geek (and consequently have to hand in their geek card).

Comment Re:Oh Well (Score 1) 178

I like to think of it as a game, where you lose one life each time you accidentally click on an article without opening it in incognito mode. If you lose all 10 lives, you "lose" the game and can't read good journalism for the remainder of the month.

Have you considered subscribing? As you said, it's "good journalism", clearly something you value enough to go to the trouble of gaming the cookie. Perhaps this is something you should be actively rewarding, rather than taking active steps to avoid rewarding?

Comment The decision (Score 2) 177

As always, an important facet of any informed debate is comprehending all sides to a given issue. With that in mind, you can download the decision, as well as the rest of the documents, here (warning: 11.3Mb, pdf wrapped in rar). I'm assuming the following is the controversial bit:

Subsection 11A(5) of the Act provides that if a document is 'conditionally exempt' it still must be disclosed unless the decision maker is satisfied that, on balance, its disclosure would be contrary to the public interest. I have decided that disclosure of these documents, in absence of any solution or agreement, would be contrary to the public interest. My reasons for so concluding are, essentially, that the discussions that are taking place are at an early stage involving various industry representatives. The discussions, therefore, are at a very delicate, sensitive and important stage. Disclosure of documents while the negotiations are still in process, would, in my view, prejudice, hamper and impede those negotiations to an unacceptable degree. That would, in my view, be contrary to the interests of good government - which would, in turn, be contrary to the public interest.

(Copied manually and quickly, so don't take as gospel)

I see her point. As I'm sure we're all aware, there is a very vocal group of people who are against the idea of these talks occurring in the first place. The early stages of the talks could (and most probably do) contain aspects that are unreasonable and will not be present towards the resolution. These points could well be exploited by people who would like to see these talks not go ahead.

Think of it like couple counselling. The couple might start out angry and at each others throats, but that doesn't necessarily reflect how they feel about each other, and the compromises they're willing to make. If someone were to make the initial proceedings public, it would potentially send completely the wrong impression out to everyone. Anyone who is genuinely interested in the outcome of the counselling would prefer to hear about the latter stages.

Anyway, now you have the information, make up your own minds.

Comment Warning: Article not nearly as cool as it sounds (Score 3, Insightful) 71

The control exerted is obvious, not particularly forceful, and not particularly new. All the researchers have found is that some people will go a small distance out of their way in order to fulfil an objective in a mobile game. Somewhere, there's a guy in an advertising agency who's laughing his head off at their amateur discoveries.

Comment Re:This isn't news, this is an advertisement (Score 1) 150

Actually in the case of Facebook, a "geek" is someone who is technically proficient enough to understand that the private information they will inevitably give up is not worth the benefit of what is basically free, substandard Web hosting.

Someone technically proficient would understand the sort of private information they will inevitably give up, but the rest is opinion. You're prescribing ideology to something that is ideology-agnostic.

In the case of Apple, a "geek" is what you don't have to be in order to use their products because their products are specifically made for ease of use. Apple didn't design their consumer products for geeks because that's a very small market. They designed them for a general audience because that's where the sales are.

Apple designs their products for people in general, not for non-geeks specifically. Even if they did, geeks don't have to listen to Apple. There's nothing to say that geeks must have a different taste in consumer electronics to everyone else.

I don't usually indulge such childishness like what you are showing when you take a discussion about Facebook and Apple and decide that you just have to make it about me personally. But what the hell. Since you seem to really want to make this personal...if recognizing reality is your definition of a "superiority complex" then you sound like a very insecure person.

What happened to the adults who could disagree with someone's opinion without making it a personal matter? I miss them, wherever they went.

I'm sorry if you took it personally. That certainly wasn't my intention. I wholeheartedly disagree with your opinion, but not so much that I found it offensive to any degree. I don't post very politely, but that's part of the thrill of discussion on slashdot: putting passion in your arguments. As I usually do, I had endeavoured to keep personal barbs out of my post (if I want them in there, oh boy, you will know!), but I know that my usual passion can be misconstrued from time to time.

So, again, sorry for personally offending you. I remember some of your previous posts, and I know we disagree strongly on certain topics, but I too would rather keep discussions respectful (but not necessarily sterilised and boring).

Comment Re:This isn't news, this is an advertisement (Score 1) 150

Sorry, if you use Apple you have to turn your geek card.

Agreed. That's the way I feel about Facebook too.

I've always wondered exactly what characterises a "geek". Apparently it's something to do with having some kind of superiority complex that forbids you to use anything popular, convenient, and easy to use, and has nothing to do with having some kind of non-mainstream passion or quirky curiosity.

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Imagination is more important than knowledge. -- Albert Einstein