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Comment Re:Strong statement by European commissioner Kroes (Score 2) 314

The original U.S. copyright law, hard-coded into the Constitution, is for a 14 year period of exclusive distribution, with the option of a one-time renewal. This was originally intended for authors, and I think that it's entirely fair. Were this law still in effect, everything in the U.S. made prior to 1984 would be in the public domain.

However, I'd like to point out that when the section on copyright was originally drafted, there was no such thing as free distribution. It cost money to duplicate anything, and so copies had to be paid for to recoup on losses. The law was designed to prevent others from profiting on a new work, giving the artist time to collect on the the time and effort s/he put into it. It was never intended to limit distribution, but rather to encourage it, as the creator had nothing to risk by sharing his/her work.

With the advent of the internet and computing in general, non-profiting distribution has to be considered a separate case. In many cases, works are being distributed to people who either aren't going to or aren't allowed to buy said works, representing exactly zero loss to the rightsholders, but a great deal of free advertising. Any serious artist would be overjoyed by that prospect.

Comment Re:Google is squishy soft on business identity (Score 1) 374

Business aren't entitled to privacy. Even in the European Union, which has privacy rights for individuals, businesses don't get that right.

That may be true in the EU, but here in the US, and only in some states - like New Mexico - it is possible to form a pseudo-anonymous corporation, with absolutely no tiebacks to you other than through the IRS.

It's cheap (very cheap), and you can build an unlimited stack of DBAs like Robert Brown or John Smith. I'm not going to even start with the many ways that could be abused.

Getting sued? People on your ass because of your scandalous/fraudulent business practices? File a dissolution form and start another corporation. Easy as that.

Comment Re:In other news (Score 2) 245

That's just terrible. The internet is supposed to be all about free expression, no? Allowing companies to pay to block those who would mock them flies right in the face of that idea. If said companies are so concerned, they should be buying up name-is-stupid domain names themselves (and whatever other variations they can come up with). If they miss a few, well, they should have been more imaginative.

Comment Re:Is this the "American Freedom"? (Score 3, Informative) 386

Oh, "freedom" is just a marketing slogan here in the U.S. It gets us lots of immigrants that will work for less pay and fewer benefits. The illegal ones are especially beneficial, since they'll work for next to nothing with no benefits.

When politicians use the word, they mean economic freedom - e.g., the right to screw other people out of their money.

Comment Re:Gov't Waste is a myth (Score 1) 311

Well, if the U.S. were to impose high tariffs to all trade coming in, ensuring that anyone who wanted to sell here intended to manufacture here, and used the military to ensure low or non-existent tariffs on the other end, we'd see a huge boost to the economy, creation of new, better paying jobs, and an overall decrease in the need for government entitlements.

That's about the only way I can see to reduce entitlement spending. The laws aren't going away - any political body that even attempted to do so would receive such tremendous blowback from the general population that they could be sure of being replaced by people who would just reinstate said entitlements.

Comment Re:I'm all for catching the bad guys.... (Score 3, Informative) 276

I seriously doubt that you've done nothing wrong. The USC has over a million pages of laws: it's gotten to the point where our law-makers and law-enforcers themselves are no longer aware of all of the possible ways to break the law. And it's because of this volume that it has become impossible to live a day-to-day existence in the US without breaking some law or another.

Here's a great example:

16 USC 3370 (summary)
It is unlawful for any person to import, export, transport, sell, receive, acquire, possess, or purchase any fish, wildlife, or plant taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of any Federal, State, foreign, or Indian tribal law, treaty, or regulation

That's a quick summary of the Lacey Act, for those who aren't already familiar with this very broad federal regulation.

There are many such overbroad laws like these in the USC, this just happens to be one of the most famous. With laws like these on the books, it's hard to avoid breaking the law. According the Lacey Act, it's at least a $10,000 fine to possess a lobster under 10.5 inches anywhere in the US; coupled with the Conspiracy Act, it's a federal felony to plan possession of a lobster under 10.5 inches with at least one other person. I don't know if you've ever had a small lobster, but there's a good chance you've managed to break the law somewhere in the world with regards to animals or plants, and that's all it takes.

My point here is that the intention of the authorities isn't to "catch the bad guys", it's to manufacture them. Everyone is guilty of something, the feds just need broader, more invasive access to discover what that something is.

Comment Re:Self-fulfilling prophesy (Score 1) 321

eztv.it is significantly faster for me than any of the sites you just mentioned. Plus, they list current shows right up front without me having to already have the linke from somewhere. Finding crap on rapidshare without already having the link is not especially easy.

Furthermore, copyrighted material on the web is subject to a DCMA takedown notice. What could be there one day will be gone the next. Bittorent is definitely the way to go for tv, movies, and music.

Comment Re:Choosing the most popular seeds... (Score 1) 321

I bet the overall percentage of pornographic torrents is much higher than 9%.

Yes and no. Pornography is actually very scarce on public trackers, and generally tends to be short, low-quality clips (you can get better on any of the tube sites, usually). On the other hand, there are large private trackers like tna and empornium that specialize in full-length, high quality rips. These sites get a lot of traffic, but since they aren't major public trackers, wouldn't have been included in the study. Honestly, since they were using public trackers, I'm surprised the percentage was that high. Their stats must be skewed.

Comment Re:Funny how low it is. (Score 1) 321

With inaccurate numbers such as these, lobby groups can convince government to regulate, hinder or even ban torrent usage harming legitimate usage.

I'm not at all surprised by these numbers for one important reason: if a file can be downloaded legally, most people (including myself) will simply skip the whole torrenting business and simply download direct through http/ftp. I use Linux: you'd better believe I'd rather download direct than use a torrent; it's faster and easier that way.

As much as people (especially on this forum) would like to pretend otherwise, the main reason the bittorrent protocol still exists and is used today is copyright infringement. This will never change.

If media lobbying groups do manage to illegalize the bittorent protocol, another P2P protocol will simply rise to take its place. You can't illegalize two computers connecting to each other. As long as that remains true, there will always be a P2P protocol in use, and it will always be used primarily for copyright infringement.

Personally, I think this is awesome. The IP laws, especially in the US, have become very very flawed, and this helps regulate that. Now we just need 3d printing technology to advance to the point where P2P patent infringement becomes viable.

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