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Submission + - SPAM: porn recordkeeping law may be unconstitutional

arbitraryaardvark writes: In Free Speech Coalition v Attorney General the Third Circuit Court of Appeals June 8th found that the 2227 federal regulations which require porn producers to keep records such as proof of age on file, have constitutional problems.
[spam URL stripped]...
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Many years ago I posted to slashdot about earlier challenges which won but then lost, so I figured I'd update with this new case. While the earlier case was about the first amendment, this one is about the 4th amendment, because the regulations claimed to allow unwarranted searches at any time.

Link to Original Source

Submission + - "Happy Birthday" Public Domain after all? (

jazzdude00021 writes: No song has had as contentious of copyright history as "Happy Birthday." The song is nearly ubiquitous at birthday parties in the USA, and even has several translations with the same tune. Due to copyrights held by Warner Music, public performances have historically commanded royalty fees. However, a new lawsuit has been brought to prove that "Happy Birthday" is, and always has been in the public domain.The discovery phase for this lawsuit ended on July, 11 2014, yet this past week new evidence surfaced from Warner Music that may substantiate the claim that the lyrics were in the public domain long before the copyright laws changed in 1927. From the source:

And, here's the real kicker: they discovered this bit of evidence after two questionable things happened. (1) Warner/Chappell Music (who claims to hold the copyright for the publishing, if it exists) suddenly "found" a bunch of relevant documents that it was supposed to hand over in discovery last year, but didn't until just a few weeks ago, and (2) a rather important bit of information in one of those new documents was somewhat bizarrely "blurred out." This led the plaintiffs go searching for the original, and discover that it undermines Warner Music's arguments, to the point of showing that the company was almost certainly misleading the court. Furthermore, it definitively shows that the work was and is in the public domain.

Comment Re:political speech (Score 1) 233

ok, but many (but not all) courts have upheld anonymous speech as being part of the free speech the constitution protects. talley v california 1960 is the landmark. mcintyre v ohio (1995) is the best known. Doe v Cahill, Dendrite,and 2theMart are cases that apply this to discovery. I have not yet read the Illinois case to see if it gets the balance right. Generally, courts are saying the plaintiff has to show they have a case before they can get at the data, because otherwise people bring bogus cases just to mine the data to silence their enemies.
- arbitrary aardvark

Comment reason should hire paul alan levy (Score 2) 183

Reason can oppose the subpoena. Court cases sell magazines. The lawyer to hire is Paul Alan Levy of Public Citizen. He's the expert on anonymity and subpoenas. I'm a lawyer who does anonymous speech cases, but Levy's focus is n the discovery process in litigation, and what are the right standards; how much does the party seeking the subpoena have to prove in order to accommodate first amendment interests? The relevant cases include Dendrite, 2theMart, and Doe v Cahill.

Doe v. Cahill, 884 A.2d 451 (Del. 2005), is a significant case in the realm of anonymous internet speech and the First Amendment. While similar issues had been tackled involving criticism of a publicly traded company,[1] the case marks the first time a U.S. State Supreme Court addressed the issue of anonymous internet speech and defamation "in the context of a case involving political criticism of a public figure."[2]

Comment Re:The judge ruled correctly (Score 2) 584

I agree with your first two sentences. Mod parent up.

However, the right to a secret ballot is already in the Colorado constitution. (It's also in some federal legislation called HAVA.)

This is a federal judge, properly finding that plaintiffs haven't asserted any controlling authority showing there is a federal question in the case, so it's filed in the wrong court.

I have not read the complaint in this case. If I'd been writing the complaint, I would have used equal protection, tied into the state right to a secret ballot. Under Bush v Gore, if they do it one way in Denver, they should do it that way in Boulder too. But I don't think there was an equal protection claim raised.

(I'm a former election lawyer, and I'm a former Boulder County officeholder, and I'm aware of this case, but I haven't read any of the documents, so I'm speculating.)

Your Rights Online

Submission + - 2257 Proof of Age rules back in court

arbitraryaardvark writes: "The third circuit revived Free Speech Coalition v Attorney General, a case about the constitutionality of paperwork requirements for models on adult sites. We discussed this in 2009 when the 6th circuit overturned a finding of unconstitutionality. The case will now drag on,and may reach the Supreme Court someday. has more."

Comment time for a new verse (Score 1) 1059

Let me tell you the story
Of a man named Charlie
On a tragic and fateful day
He put ten cents in his pocket,
Kissed his wife and family
Went to ride on the MTA

Charlie handed in his dime
At the Kendall Square Station
And he changed for Jamaica Plain
When he got there the conductor told him,
"One more nickel."
Charlie could not get off that train.

                                                Did he ever return,
                                                No he never returned
                                                And his fate is still unlearn'd
                                                He may ride forever
                                                'neath the streets of Boston
                                                He's the man who never returned.

Now all night long
Charlie rides through the tunnels
                                                                  the station
Saying, "What will become of me?
How can I afford to see
My sister in Chelsea
Or my cousin in Roxbury?"

Comment Re:Wish they would just knock it off with "earth-l (Score 1) 168

"A space probe that takes 9 years to go from earth to Pluto would take over 100,000 years to get to even our closest neighbor, a mere 4.2 light years away."

Your major point that stars are really really far away is an important one. Stross or Scalzi blogged about that a while back.

However, I'm going to nitpick your sentence quoted above,and suggest that your conclusion may be wrong as well.

Talking about a space probe that takes 9 years to go to pluto is like talking about how long a snail would take to go to hawaii. In snail terms, it's too far. But I've been to hawaii and back. Also, I think you used a linear projection. But spacecraft don't usually travel linearly. Assuming some sort of fuel or propulsive mechanism, (a problematic assumption, i know) they keep accelerating to turn-around point. Speed of spacecraft increases by exponential factors, sort of a moore's law of spaceships. Within 100 years, some kind of fusion drive or other advanced technology should be doable. Make yourself into a software simulation, on a piece of hardware that can withstand 20 g's and weighs a gram, and has a fusion drive first stage to get it started,and you shave a lot of time off the trip. How to slow down at the other end I don't have a solution for yet.

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