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Comment In a galaxy far, far away... (Score 4, Funny) 152

"New Republic Prosecutor Andrew Marshall said the rail-less walkway over the nearly bottomless pit 'could have killed somebody.' The fact that it didn't was because the writers 'pulled a deus ex machina out of their nether regions.' The engineering firm responsible for the Starkiller's power control station, Foodles Production, pleaded guilty to two breaches under health and safety legislation, one count under section two of the Health and Safety at Work Act of 9624, which related to a breach of duty in relation to employees, a second under section three, a breach over people not employed by the company. The lawyer for Foodles Production, which is owned by Disney, said "AARGHHHH" as he was force-stangled by Disney's newly-revealed CEO, the aforementioned Kylo Ren."

Comment Re:Doing Trump's work for him (Score 2) 460

The republicans are saying the government should stay out of it, not take over it.


It's the republicans in state government telling the democrats in a city government that the city cannot permit those nasty transsexuals to use the public bathroom of their choice.

To wit:

Transgender people who have not taken surgical and legal steps to change the gender noted on their birth certificates have no legal right under state law to use public restrooms of the gender with which they identify. Cities and counties no longer can establish a different standard. Critics of the Charlotte ordinance cite privacy concerns and say it was "social engineering" to allow people born as biological males to enter women's restrooms.

McCrory's office says businesses arenâ(TM)t limited by the bill, and that private companies and private universities can adopt new or keep existing nondiscrimination policies.

Tell us again how a city government should not set a policy for its own bathrooms and state government is staying out of it, not taking over it.

Comment Re: Great news everyone! I have a patent on everyt (Score 3, Informative) 93

That said, AFAIK, Coca-Cola is the ONLY company authorized to buy de-cocanized coca leaves from the federal government's sole authorized supplier. So as a practical matter, even if you downloaded their allegedly secret formula online, you'd never be able to replicate it exactly unless you wanted to risk getting raided and arrested by DEA agents, since there's no legal second source for that key ingredient.

Tell that to Red Bull. You're mostly right -- there are only certain companies licensed to trade in coca leaf, probably because it'd be too easy otherwise to trade coca leaf under the cover of it being de-cocanized coca leaf -- but Stepan can sell to other beverage makers besides TCCC.

Comment Re:Fishy case (Score 3) 115

Yes, in these situations, I am this much of a douche.

If you'd bothered to read the complaint, Bitmanagement cites a specific email sent on a specific date by a specific NAVFAC employee with a specific document allegedly planning for deployment of the software onto a specific number of computers.

Your first post in this chain demonstrates that you are not familiar with the Navy program, not familiar with the contractor(s) involved, and for some reason assume that contractors would only include software technical support rather than, say, the engineering services, construction services, and other services that would be incolved in assessing and repairing all that infrastructure.

Then you double down and announce "OK, I know this business," which you clearly do not, and pull some numbers out of your nether regions that we should totally trust. You know better than the plantiff, who merely developed the software and was negotiating the agreement with the Navy. You also know better than the people who actually read the complaint and know that, no matter what, you do not make material misstatements of fact in documents that you submit to a Federal judge.

Finally, when it's pointed out to you that the complaint identifies a specific basis for the numbers used, you announce "It's my business and I know how such projects are run" and
I stand by the small numbers." You demonstrably do not know how this project is deployed and run, and your pseudononymous, fact-free postings do not "stand[] behind your numbers." I could create another Slashdot pseudonym tomorrow and then stand behind a claim that there are actually only 20 million people on the entire Earth. Neither the identify nor the self-declared expertise are verifiable, so there is nothing standing behind those posts.

You are an uninformed blow-hard helicoptering into a dispute that will be resolved in a U.S. Federal Court based upon actual evidence. Yes, your estimate is meaningless, and I don't feel remotely "douchy" for pointing that out.

Comment Re:Fishy case (Score 1) 115

Well, the neat thing is that they claim to have have an email from NAVFAC Deputy Program Manager Alexandre Viana with a deployment schedule for installation onto 558,466 Navy computers.

Either they have that email or they don't. Unless you have personal knowledge of this deal or could be qualified as an expert by a party with the approval of the court, your estimate is, frankly, meaningless.

Comment Re:Wait a minute (Score 1) 115

600,000 computers? How big do they think the U.S. Navy is anyway? That's almost two computers for every active duty service member.

You presume that the suit is limited to computers actually owned by the Navy. Add in Navy contractors running the software to support the Navy and the number doesn't seem so implausible. 28 USC 1498 requires that you sue the government for a contractor's copyright infringement if its done under the terms of their government contract.

Comment Re:Fishy case (Score 1) 115

arf arf. But seriously, almost 600,000 copies of a piece of software when the Department of the Navy has fewer official user workstations than that...much fewer. That's Army level of personnel, not Navy.

You cannot sue a government contractor for patent or copyright infringement separately and apart from the relevant government department or agency running the contract. 28 USC 1498 requires that you sue the government for the contractor's infringement of any copyright, such as in this case.

The Department of the Navy may have fewer user workstations, but what happens when you add in the number of workstations plausibly involved on the contractor/supplier side? Exactly. Very large numbers begin to be involved.

Comment Re:Won't block them? (Score 1) 32

First, they could ban the Bots who are collecting and trading the skins that are being gambled on. We all know that this would only be a temporary measure. More bots would simply be created to replace those banned. Secondly, they could alter the API for Steam to prohibit the type of trading that is occurring. However, they would break a lot of legitimate functions if they went this route. So saying that Steam "won't block" the gambling is being pretty disingenuous.

The Steam API *does* require a key. I know this because I've used it and I have a key.

You're not actually disagreeing with each other. The GP did not say that accounts could not be blocked (e.g., keys blocked or revoked). The GP is merely saying that Valve would have to engage in account-by-account whack-a-mole (with the inevitable false positives) and the gambling sites would adapt their use to be more dispersed and more similar to users (increasing the false positive risk). Or, alternately, remove the functionality for everyone -- the "this is why we can't have nice things" trope writ large.

Valve's current strategy is actually more likely to be effective. Cease and desist letter (not effective), then lawsuit (minimally effective), then injunction (modestly effective), then obtain the cooperation of payment processors (surprisingly effective and easy once you have a court document that ties the activity to heavily regulated gambling/money laundering-related activities). You can't kill it all, with bitcoin and flying below the radar (like many torrent sites), but you can suppress your problem.

Comment Re:Wait, I have a better solution! (Score 0) 114

Here's my solution: ...
Stop walking through your lives with your eyes glued to your stupid phones and actually live your life...

by spending your days staring at a computer monitor and attempting to tell the masses how to live their lives instead!

Well, they'll certainly reform now that some pseudononymous oldster posting on slashdot has shown them the error of their ways.

Or simply continue to do what they're doing while waiting for you to todder off into oblivion. Like younger generations always have.

Comment Re:Not necessarily clueless; potentially pragmatis (Score 1) 195

...And you, as a professional working in this space, haven't got the slightest problem with this?

Congress passed a law. The Supreme Court has repeatedly upheld the law.

I'll pick my own hill to potentially die upon, thank you very much. You can choose differently, but you'll be choosing for yourself.

Comment Not necessarily clueless; potentially pragmatists (Score 5, Insightful) 195

I'm a lawyer. I plow through these things regularly for clients to advise them whether certain objectionable things are present, or occasionally even to negotiate the fine details of the wording.

That being said, I don't read them at all when signing up for services for myself. Oh, I'll do better than most and actually read the closing documents for my house, or for the loan for my car, or an employment agreement, because there's real money involved there. But for "free" services, and even that $25/mo Netflix account, no, it's not worth the time or aggravation. You draw the line somewhere based upon how much you'd write off by saying "screw it, I'm out of here." Guess what -- to a surprising extent my business clients do the same thing.

The extreme example here is not relevant because there's no way on Earth that a court will permit them to collect. They're of course trying to highlight that people don't read even terms that can be enforced against them, like binding arbitration clauses. I applaud the effort in principle, but it's a losing cause because it ignores a more fundamental problem that people instinctually recognize:
For most individuals, the terms are essentially non-negotiable.
If you want to hire a programmer to do something for you, by all means, negotiate in detail and do it well. If you want to buy consumer software, take it or leave it. If you're signing up for some new cloud service, take it or leave it. Unless you are willing to put in a lot of effort, can generate enough outrage to create an ad-hoc negotiating group, or are confident that you can find an advocate within the business, reading the agreement changes nothing.
Also, very few ordinary people are deciding whether or not to enter into a contract based upon enforceable terms like an arbitration provision. That's a very high order effect in their personal utility function, if it would be considered at all.

Short summary: If the license says something that is enforceable in court, odds are super good that you can't get it removed with anything short of an activist campaign. If that's not your thing, you're still a decent human being for not caring. I understand that you have other priorities. If the license says something that is not enforceable in court, why should you care at the outset? Deal with it if the circumstance arises. Again, you have other priorities.

I call it pragmatism. I don't care whether you do or not.

Comment Re:The DNC overlords always get their way (Score 1) 644

That's cute. You think all Hillary's votes are actual people and that no voter fraud happened. Yes, I am sure the woman who had half as many people at her rallies "legitimately" won.

Wait a minute. The democrats and democrat-leaning activists have declared that voter fraud essentially doesn't exist (i.e., is too low to have any impact on anything), therefore Republican efforts to tamp down on voter fraud for the pat 8 years were really aimed at minority voter suppression.

So which is it, Bernie supporters? Does voter fraud not exist, or are there legitimate reasons to demand more rigorous documentation from voters at the polls?

Whatever the truth is, it cannot be both.

Comment Re:AT&T needs to watch out... (Score 1) 204

Hosting illegal materials is still illegal. The CDA doesn't exonerate someone who knowingly and willfully continues to make content available that is illegal regardless of who is considered the "publisher". Ever seen the operator of a child porn site get raided? Yeah, it's like that except with terrorists. Just because Facebook is Facebook doesn't make them above the law, and trying to cling to your weak/twisted interpretation of the CDA doesn't change that.

Prevailing interpretation of the CDA to you.

It's not as if we haven't seen this before:
Twitter responded that as a publisher, it is immune from liability for content posted by its users under the Communications Decency Act of 1996.
          But plaintiffs' attorney Joshua Arisohn said that because direct messages are not published, they fall outside the protections of that statute.
          "The common definition of publisher is one who disseminates information to the public," Arisohn said. "If Congress wanted a broader definition for publisher, it could have made one."
          Twitter attorney Seth Waxman replied that direct messages are covered under the 2009 Ninth Circuit ruling, Barnes v. Yahoo!, which found that entities cannot be held liable for content posted online by third parties. Finding otherwise would that mean every provider of email and direct messaging, such as Apple and Google, could be liable for content exchanged by their users, Waxman said.
          Orrick was not persuaded that companies like Twitter could be sued for messages sent by users.
          "Just because it's private messaging doesn't put this beyond the Communications Decency Act's reach," Orrick said.

But please, continue to make unsupported assertions about the field I practice in. I'll certainly take your word over actual precedent and reputable lawyers.

Comment Re:AT&T needs to watch out... (Score 1) 204

I don't see a blanket statement releasing them from liability for what they publish...

That's funny, because you've quoted it.

47 U.S.C. 230(c)(1)
Treatment of publisher or speaker No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.

Not liable for publishing third party content
and over
and over again

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