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The Courts

Lawsuit Claims LegalZoom Is Practicing Law Without a License 246

Bob the Super Hamste writes "Fortune has an interesting piece about a federal class action law suit against LegalZoom claiming that its software is illegally practicing law without a license. The law suit seeks to recover money from LegalZoom for every resident in Missouri who has used LegalZoom regardless of how satisfied the users were of the service. Currently Missouri law states that an individual who paid money to a non lawyer for legal services is entitled to sue the provider for 3 times the amount paid."

Comment Re:Macmillan already lost at least 1 customer (Score 1) 297

Since Amazon say 60% of their book sales are Kindle, I imagine Macmillan are going to be hurting.

This number has been widely mis-interpreted. Amazon didn't say 60% of their sales are Kindle books. What they said was for books that have Kindle editions (in total) they sell 6 Kindle books for every 10 paper books. That's actually 37.5%, not 60%.

I believe that stat was intentionally published in a misleading manner to generate exactly the misinterpretation you've made.

Comment Re:Hoping better, but probably worse... (Score 1) 444

Calling myself an independent contractor sounds better than unemployed so I'll go with independent contractor too....

Unfortunately, my wife doesn't seem to appreciate the difference.

She will, as soon as you give her the bill for all the services you gave her. :-)

Unfortunately, given the typical denizen here, she could pay that bill from the change she found in the couch.

Comment Re:But Sir (Score 1) 229

You can't tell without access to the sharer's computer, but it's reasonable to assume the most likely number.

The 1.00000etc number in my GP post is off because I forgot that the initial uploader didn't have to download the file. The real number is slightly under 1.0, at 1-(1/N), where N is the total number of complete downloads across the entire network. I imagine a typical file will have a number like 0.9999. Multiply that by the value of the track and then multiply that product to get actual losses if you make the laughable assumption that every copy equals a lost sale.

Yet, even that's going to be off when you look at radically differing upload speeds and things like that.

I still think this is a possible defense avenue. I don't think you can actually prove (in the typical case with multiple up- and down-loaders) that a particular computer ever sends a complete copy of a file to any other single computer. But I don't know the tech deeply enough, hence my questions.

It's been a loophole in the past for shipping weapons around - ship the parts (which is legal) and the recipient assembles them. And since a part of an MP3 file is unusable without the rest, I'd think a similar defense might work here.

Comment Re:But Sir (Score 2, Insightful) 229

MAFIAA: You have to take into account everyone that downloaded them.

JUDGE: Ok so lets say 10 people downloaded each one, that's about so that's about $4800 right?

By definition, the average participant in a peer sharing network uploads one copy. There's no way around that. If the actual number of uploads is unknown, the only remotely reasonable assumption for damage calculations is 1.0000000000000000000000000.

I know the defendant in this case wasn't using bittorrent, but is there actually any way to prove a person has uploaded one entire, complete, copy to anyone? I expect it's more like 30% to that person, 40% to another, 30% to a third, but since people are connected to multiple uploaders, how can you tell?

Comment Re:This is bad (Score 1) 347

Combined with this research, which shows that ugly men release more sperm, the chance of conception appears to be highest when a stunningly attractive woman sleeps with an truly ugly man. Somebody please think of the children.

Or, given the odds of that, we may just need to think of the child.

We've already had Christine Brinkley/Billy Joel.

Odds of another truly ugly man overchicking that much? Very small.

Comment Re:Good thing he wasn't a Nerd (Score 2, Insightful) 582

One other issue that eventually doomed the German war effort was their abject refusal to commit their industrial resources to "total war."

Allied factories were running around the clock. Not the German. They actually hamstrung their own industrial capacity by not doing this almost as much as the allied bombing efforts did.

Of course, by not taking Britain out of the war before Barbarossa, the allies were eventually able to deny Germans access to resources, and the German industrial capacity eventually wore out.

Comment Re:Slippery slope on "public performance" (Score 1) 461

I really would prefer it if you people could just turn your music down. I don't care if you want to destroy your eardrums listening to crap. I just don't want to hear music so loud it drowns out normal conversations from people on the street.

See, the thing is, it doesn't have to be THAT loud.

All it has to be is loud enough for someone else to hear. Could be the person in the neighboring car. If we're both stopped at a light next to each other, it doesn't take a whole lot of volume for my music to be audible in your car. And that, by ASCAP's logic, is a public "performance."

And you can't tell me you've never cranked your stereo when one of your favorite songs comes on. We've all done it.

Comment So, what I think you're asking for is... (Score 4, Informative) 211

...something like this:

1. You want to be able to store documents that currently exist electronically, and also handle documents you're going to scan. The latter may, or may not, be OCR'd.

2. You want to attach keywords to the articles, and be able to bring up a list of articles that match some arbitrary combination of these keywords.

3. Full-text search isn't as important (but would be useful if available).

If that's the case, I'm thinking Alfresco might be what you're looking for. Multi-platform, open source, java-based content repository. Supports document tagging (and loads, loads more). Relatively easy to use right out of the box, and has a CIFS interface so you can just create a project and simply tree-copy your current documents into the project. Don't let the "enterprise" designation on the software scare you away.

I've actually considered going that route for my own personal document library, but while Alfresco might be one of the only good solutions, it's like killing a fly with a cannon.

I'm frankly amazed that with the "paperless living" meme currently going through the productivity circles that someone hasn't come up with a simple tool to do something just like what you're looking for: point it at a root folder, let it suck in all the files, then start tagging away. Search with keywords or filenames or both, and provide a clickable list of hits. Full-text search isn't needed, as there's already a ton of tools out there that'll happily index your hard drive for you.

And, if a tool like that exists, could someone point me to it, please?

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