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Comment Re:Money stores value (Score 1) 115

The American Revolution is proof that you are wrong, as they won the war using only paper money.

Might want to brush up on your history a bit. They won despite the paper money, which was a major hindrance. Google for the phrase "not worth a continental". When the constitution was written, the memory of America's first hyperinflation was very fresh in their minds, which is why the gold and silver clause in the constitution forbids fiat currency.


Comment Re: hmmm, yes (Score 1) 218

Yeah, this is a choice between the possibility of malware vs. the certainty of it.

(The real right answer is "Linux," of course. And the other right answer is to avoid the newer Intel chips that are infected with the Intel Management Engine backdoor and the newer AMD chips that are infected with the Platform Security Processor backdoor to begin with.)

Comment Re:The game is too one-sided (Score 1) 416

Lots of people value various forms of art, and are willing to pay for them. In order for this to work there has to be some way of sending money people are willing to part with to people who create the art.

Good -- they can do that whether copyright exists or not! All copyright does is force people to pay, and since you were talking about the people who would pay voluntarily, that categorically excludes them from your argument.

This would lower people's quality of life.

In other words, you're saying "some people's quality of life is more important than other people's human rights." I have more than a little problem with that sentiment!

Comment Re:Easy solve for this (Score 1) 606

Because "unauthorized" has nothing to do ability, and everything to do with permission. It's the same way it works for lots of other crimes: rape is predicated on whether the other person consents, not whether he or she resists; giving a neighbor a key to your house for emergencies does not give them the right to go in your house any time they feel like it, etc.

Comment Re:We laughed when they said illegal numbers... (Score 1) 606

The real key here is whether the access is "unauthorized". Given that the access code is published for the world to see, It's going to be really hard to claim the access is unauthorized.

Nah, it works for hacking the same way it does for rape: it's entirely the owner's opinion.

Comment Re:Well that makes sense (Score 1) 179

We use [Javascript] because it's pragmatic to use the lingua franca of programming.

LOL, bless your heart.

You just go right on thinking that and having fun playing in your browser sandbox.

Pay no mind to all the C/C++ that implements that browser, and the server daemon on the other end, and the operating systems they both run on, and the libraries your code ends up calling to actually accomplish anything....

Comment Oh hey GEMSA, you want this taken down? (Score 4, Informative) 68

Well too fucking bad, because I'm reposting it instead. COME AT ME BRO!

Stupid Patent of the Month: Storage Cabinets on a Computer

How do you store your paper files? Perhaps you leave them scattered on your desk or piled on the floor. If you're more organized, you might keep them in a cabinet. This month's stupid patent, US Patent No. 6,690,400 (the '400 patent), claims the idea of using "virtual cabinets" to graphically represent data storage and organization. While this is bad, the worse news is that the patent's owner is suing just about anyone who runs a website.

The '400 patent is owned by Global Equity Management (SA) Pty. Ltd. ("GEMSA") which seems to be a classic patent troll. GEMSA is incorporated in Australia and appears to have no business other than patent litigation. The patent began its life with a company called Flash VOS. This company once offered a product that allowed users to run multiple operating systems on personal computers with x86-compatible processors. The '400 patent describes a graphical user interface for this system. The interface allows users to interact with "graphical depictions of cabinets" that represent memory partitions and different operating systems.

GEMSA says that Flash VOS moved the computer industry a "quantum leap forwarded in the late 90's when it invented Systems Virtualization." But Flash VOS didn't invent partitions, didn't invent virtual machines, and didn't invent running multiple operating systems on a single computer. All of these concepts predate its patent application, some by decades. In any event, the '400 patent claims only a very specific, and in our view, quite mundane user interface.

Importantly, the '400 patent's claims require very specific structures. For example, claim 1 requires "a secondary storage partitions window" and "at least one visible cabinet representing a discrete operating system." A user interface must have all of these features to infringe the claim.

In the past year, GEMSA has sued dozens of companies, ranging from Airbnb to Zillow. In each case, it makes the bare assertion that the defendant's website infringes the '400 patent. For example, it simply states that "AIRBNB maintains, controls and/or operates a website with a graphical user interface ("GUI") at that infringes one or more claims of the '400 patent."

GEMSA doesn't explain how Airbnb's website satisfies highly specific claim limitations like "a virtual cabinet representing a discrete operating system." In fact, the accused website bears almost no similarity to GEMSA's supposed invention:

As far as we can tell, GEMSA seems to think that anyone with a website that links to hosted content infringes its patent. Complaints with such sparse, and implausible, infringement allegations should be thrown out immediately for failure to state a claim.

There will be no prizes for guessing where GEMSA has filed its litigation. Every one of its cases was filed in the Eastern District of Texas, where we have long complained that local rules favor patent trolls like GEMSA. Venue reform legislation currently before Congress would stop trolls flocking to the Eastern District of Texas. That might help reduce abusive patent trolling. But we still need broader patent reform to ensure that such weak patents don't lead to abusive troll litigation.

Comment Re:We laughed when they said illegal numbers... (Score 1) 606

First of all, "protected" is a legal term, not a technical one. If the device was in the owner's house (or on his person) and intended only for the owner's use (as opposed to the public's use) then I'm pretty sure a prosecutor could stretch the definition of "protected" enough to apply.

Second, even if "protected" did refer to a technical restriction, any nominal restriction counts, even if it's trivially useless. It's like the front door of a house: even if it has no lock, the mere fact that it's closed is enough to make passing through it count as "breaking and entering."

Third, note the fact that "protected" modifies only one of the two listed conditions, either of which can trigger the law by itself. Even if the "knowingly and with intent to defraud, accesses a protected computer without authorization" clause doesn't apply, the "knowingly and with intent to defraud... exceeds authorized access" clause still can.

Comment Re: Brilliant ad campaign! (Score 1) 606

First of all, remember that Burger King themselves vandalized the Wikipedia page first, inserting advertisements into it.

Second, So what? Prosecutors don't care how minor the damage is. For example, this guy got two years in prison for something not all that different. The point is, I'm not claiming this sort of thing should be illegal; I'm claiming that it is illegal. As long as that's the case, then the least we should be asking of the "justice" system is that it applies the law evenly instead of compounding the injustice by only using it to persecute the weak!

In other words, putting a multimillionaire CEO in prison for bullshit reasons is the quickest route to repealing or amending the law, and doing so less unjust than failing to prosecute him because of his status while continuing to charge lower-status people for the same sorts of acts.

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