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Comment Re:not surprising (Score 3, Insightful) 386

Sadly, what they'll understand is that they suffered a minor to moderate inconvenience, to which a seemingly acceptable resolution was offered.

There may be no understanding beyond "technical problem."

And while I'm sure the studio isn't happy, they'll still probably get money from every single person that showed up to the movie. So they'll have something to talk about as they drive the big truck full of money to the bank.

Of course, there are some exceptions to that model, and this is coming from a guy whose last several moviegoing experiences have been so unpleasant that I have not set foot in a movie theater in almost four years.

Comment Re:Well at this rate (Score 1) 438

Nope. Try again.

Copyright cases are usually pursued in civil court because that allows the infringed to seek damages for the infringement. But it is a crime, and can be prosecuted as such. In fact, one can be prosecuted civilly and criminally for infringement.

Section 2319(b) of title 18, United States Code, is amended to read as follows:

"(b) Any person who commits an offense under subsection (a) of this section-

"(1) shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies or phonorecords, of 1 or more copyrighted works, with a retail value of more than $2,500;

"(2) shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense is a second or subsequent offense under paragraph (1); and

"(3) shall be imprisoned not more than 1 year, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, in any other case."

Comment Re:How CAN they search a laptop? (Score 2, Insightful) 447

That's why they can keep your stuff for 30 days or longer.

They're not going to go file-by-file right in front of you. Oh, no. They're going to clone every storage device on you after physically inspecting the hardware. Then, if they bother to go through it and find something encrypted, they'll likely subpoena you for the key. Don't want to turn it over? Can't remember the old password? Contempt of court.

If they find something they think is criminal, watch US Marshals show up at your house weeks later to talk with you about it.

These searches will probably be carried out en masse behind closed doors; long after you get home sans laptop and CF cards.

But that's the underlying problem with the system. They can image your laptop drive and either actually confuse the data with someone else's (see: No Fly List), thereby getting you in trouble; or some unscrupulous person can drop a kiddie pron file, a missile schematic or a plan to hijack a plane in there and haul you off. How are you going to argue against that?

And we haven't even discussed how long they can hang onto the "evidence" or what their destruction policies are.

And no, they won't do it to everyone. That would cause panic and anger. They'll do it to random people because they can, and they'll do it to people they want to "get;" legitimately or otherwise. You can never show all the sheep how you're going to shave and slaughter them.

Comment Re:What's wrong with teaching? (Score 2, Interesting) 507

And until schools step up and start doing that, outsiders will come in to do it in their version.

We've seen it already with drugs and sex-ex. It's true, not fucking is the only way to not get pregnant. But that doesn't mean it's abstinence-only that should be taught. Yet, in many schools teachers would rather let someone else come in to talk about an uncomfortable subject; even if it's a little spun.

Same deal with digital downloads. The article mentions a few artists who do make their stuff freely available. But that's the exception, not the rule. A safe rule is, if you're not absolutely sure, don't do it.

Comment What's wrong with teaching? (Score 3, Insightful) 507

I bet I'll lose a ton of karma here, but...

What's wrong with teaching kids about respecting copyright? I agree completely that the US system is far from perfect, but we do have copyright laws on the books, and they're there for a good reason.

Most artists are not rich. The ability to control their music, pictures, paintings, designs, etc. allows them to pay bills very much in line with the ordinary Joe. It's a job. They should get paid for their job, if their work is in demand.

The Internet generation seems to think that if you can touch something, you can have it. I've started to see that 'entitlement' thing that the older folks keep talking about. Stuff on the Internet is not necessarily free. Sure, there are plenty of people who do make their songs, pictures etc. available for free legitimately. Why not download that? I'm betting it's because much of the time, it's not nearly as good as the paid-for stuff.

More people should be taught to respect copyright; even if it only leads to a change in the laws on the books (specifically, I hate the lifetime+70. Far too long.). But illegal downloading really IS stealing. I know that's an unpopular view, and the cartels have done nefarious things trying to enforce the laws, but it remains a fact.

And as to the fair use argument:

1) Fair Use is an admissive defense for copyright infringement. Meaning, you don't get to do something because it's fair use, you do it and if you get sued, you make a case for fair use.

2) Fair Use generally does not encompass making copies of something to give to someone else. It also does not encompass putting complete or majority portions of a work, say, online for review or critique purposes.

3) People should be able to make backups of CDs and movies (except for the lousy 'decryption' provision), and even shift between media.

But let's not pretend that downloading something you don't own or have license to use is somehow OK; much less Fair Use.

Comment Re:So essentially they want people to pay (Score 1) 463

It's not the artists.

The only thing I hold the artists personally responsible for is signing bad contracts with the labels.

But what's their alternative? That's the way the present system is set up.

If you don't like what they're selling, don't buy it. Obviously what they're selling is in demand by many, or there wouldn't be the fights over money. But don't think that someone's creative talent rests with their representation.

This is indicative of a greater problem in the world economy. There are so few people that actually produce anything anymore (whether it's a machinist making engine blocks or a guitar player making music), that a huge chunk of the economy revolves around being a middle man.

Just like present US insurance problems, this is simply obsolete middle-men trying to protect their cube jobs; and the artists and consumers are expected to foot the bill.

Artists do need to band together, because they will get screwed otherwise, but the middleman cartels aren't looking out for those they represent, not are they looking out for the consumer. They're doing whatever they can to keep their jobs.

The clear and vast majority of artists in any medium are not rich, and don't have anything but the average person's "wouldn't it be great to be dirty rich" attitude. Day-to-day, they want to make the same living you do.

Comment Re:Something needs to be done as today's system is (Score 1) 296

Personally, I don't feel this way about the healthcare issue specifically, but the average American is wildly overtaxed. And I don't mean that they simply pay too much in taxes, but that they get very, very little for the huge sums of money.

We have public schools, and for the most part, they are a disaster. We have public highways that are often a disaster. We have an absolutely massive military that does not seem to return much money to the taxpayer (save for the Coast Guard). We have social welfare (Social Security and Medicare/Medicade) that are completely broken.

Basically, with some exceptions, the bigger the 'public initiative,' the bigger the disaster at the end of the tunnel.

It's very hard for people to wrap their heads around paying yet MORE to help other people, when they themselves may just be getting by. Couple that with the fact that so much taxpayer money here does not go back to the citizenry, and you have a recipe for disaster.

Let's also not forget that the insurance business here is a huge one. They have plenty of money to keep the fires over this issue well-stoked. It has been suggested that some of the "protesters" at the town hall events were actually paid operatives from PR firms working on behalf of the

There is also, for better or worse, a staunch individualism among many Americans. Personally, I think it comes from being citizens of a country made of largely social outcasts from other places. Individual independence was a day-one kinda thing here.

That being said, I think that social or semi-social medicine is a great thing for the country. After all, we're going to continue to get soaked no matter who's running the show (does anyone actually think the public option will be cheaper or better than what we have now? It's the same people running the show, albeit with different titles). We might as well have the additional fractional amount of control that comes with having the program publicly administered.

Comment Re:And next they'll want them to get off the lawn (Score 1) 373


While I completely agree that the "recent" timeframe oscillates somewhat over time, what happened in the past, even the distant past, is absolutely critical to what happens tomorrow. Especially in terms of politics, government and global economics.

What we consider "recent" today is generally more recent in actuality. Partly because we are exposed to so much more of what happens today. But the long view of history, all few thousand years of written human history, is absolutely and supremely important.

It's not about memorizing trivia, but understanding how Greek government worked. What did the Chinese contribute to medicine and navigation? Why are resource-rich countries in Africa still such shitholes? How did Rome come to be a global superpower, and why did it all fall apart?

You can't know where you're going, if you don't know where you've been.

Comment Re:Ugh (Score 1) 290

Actually, I'm a Treo and Mac user. I have a 755p that is actually a great phone for me. It worked fine in Tiger, but a recent upgrade to Leopard broke the universe. I haven't played with the Mark/Space software yet, but I can say that Mac's support for Treos was weak at best, and nonexistent in recent years.

I'm not planning on upgrading to Snow Leopard any time in the very near future, but when I do, I suppose I'll get the Missing Sync software.

I would totally buy an iPhone as an alternative, but I will not do business with AT&T. So hopefully their exclusivity period ends before I buy a new phone and get locked in with another contract.

Comment Re:Kill your cable (Score 2, Interesting) 345

I did the same thing in February. We had a $180/month cable bill (including TV, Internet and telephone). Dropped the land line and the TV, and we're paying $45/month for the Internet.

We don't watch much TV beyond the odd PBS show, and the OTA HD actually looks better than the stuff I was getting through Cox. And even if it didn't, the near $1600 we're saving every year lets us get out and have more fun. Not at home. Watching fat and desperate people sing for a shot at fame and supper.

So yeah. 46" 1080p TV with rabbit ears, an Xbox360 (games and some streaming Netflix) and a bookshelf full of books.

I miss cable like I miss chlamydia.

Comment Re:Decriminalization in Light of the Drug War (Score 1) 640

I can't speak to an individual officer's experience.

And it hasn't gotten to the point of military or paramilitary involvement here (in the US) because for the most part, it's still bad guys killing and kidnapping bad guys.

But more than 400 kidnappings in Phoenix in 2008 points to the problem.

Plus, much of the anti-cartel action in Mexico is the same security theater employed by TSA here. It's all for show. Keep the gringos happy about the "War on Drugs."

My point was to show that it is happening here (even if not to the same magnitude, but certainly the same degree), and to call to light the fact that one of the solutions most likely to fix the problem is the legalization of marijuana. When booze was re-legalized, the wheels fell off the gunbattles in the streets of Chicago, the church-basement murders and the rest of what now resembles life as usual in Mexico.

Comment Re:Decriminalization in Light of the Drug War (Score 1) 640

Bullshit. Do a little poking around in San Diego, Phoenix, Tucson, LA, Houston, and El Paso, and you'll see very quickly that narco violence is at the same degree in the US as it is in Mexico. Sure, it may not be at the same frequency, but it's getting there.

Drug rips in the form of home invasions are becoming quite common, kidnappings for extortion (drugs or money from other cartels or factions) are very common and good ol' fashioned outright murder is not uncommon at all.

Granted, we don't hear as much about it because often it's badguys killing badguys. When we do, it's usually because some doofus hit the wrong house, or the kidnapee himself was an innocent; possibly only related to a rival.

Cartels are driven by the artificially high prices of drugs (especially marijuana) and fight with eachother either for access to more trade routes, access to more drugs, or shockingly, personal insults and vendettas.

No, no one likes the cartels. But the solution is the same as that which finally brought about the end of the American booze cartels of the 1920's and 1930's.

Qualification: I am a journalist who very often covers narco violence and cartel activities in the US, and northwestern Mexico.

Comment Re:Bye, bye. (Score 1) 881

Translation: "We have tons of traffic on our site that generates no revenue at all, so plans are in place to pare that back to core consumers that support our product."

Seriously, newspapers are faced with a huge problem, and it's not the Internet. They can continue to peddle the dog shit that passes for news these days in an attempt to capture the eyes of everyone cheaply, or they can refine their product to the point it has real value and seek to peddle it to those who can afford to pay for it.

Freeloading traffic to a site is great when you're trying to sell something other than the site itself. In the case of journalism, the information itself is what needs to sell.

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