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Comment Re:Autodialers (Score 2) 167

Funny how autodailers were illegal when...

But that is exactly what the judge is pointing out. The judge is quite correct here, it is a simple matter and the law is invalid on its face.

If they banned ALL unsolicited autodialers -- which many states do -- then it is constitutional. Prohibiting the activity for everyone is proper.

By banning ONLY political autodialers it becomes a limitation on a specific type of speech. Limiting only a group of people or a specific type of speech is generally improper.

Comment Re:License to work (Score 1) 639

Also came to the comments to mention Lexmark v Static Controls. The appeals court SPECIFICALLY called out motor engine parts, garage door openers, and video games as parallel interoperability purposes, and specifically wrote that those were not, and could not be, restricted under DMCA.

I mean, it doesn't much more clear that this from the courts: Automobile manufacturers, for example, could control the entire market of replacement parts for their vehicles by including lock-out chips. Congress did not intend to allow the DMCA to be used offensively in this manner, but rather only sought to reach those who circumvented protective measures “for the purpose” of pirating works protected by the copyright statute. Unless a plaintiff can show that a defendant circumvented protective measures for such a purpose, its claim should not be allowed to go forward.

If someone is actually sued by John Deere for DMCA violations, that would be right at the very top of a competent defense.

Comment Re:Why the Hell didn't Let's Encrypt register it?! (Score 1) 120

Based on the links in the story, the trademarks are still in the examination stage and have not yet been issued.

If that is the case, Let's Encrypt can still send in forms and notify the USPTO of the conflict. They don't have much time, but if they passed along that information on their site to the patent examiner that should be enough to trigger additional investigation.

Comment Re:So where's the "require" part? (Score 1) 367

it would, at most, require "online platforms" to allow the use of national ID cards as credentials, but says nothing about requiring users to use them as credentials.

Hey, quiet you!

The -pitchfork vendors- free speech non-bias enforcers will be checking up on you based on your login credentials, so watch it!

Comment Re:Ok, why? (Score 4, Insightful) 311

The first time a lawyer gets prosecuted for perjury, we'll see a hell of a lot less abuse of DMCA takedown notices. If it ever happens, which isn't likely.

Agreed. That is about the only safeguard in place in the act, and it is not enforced.

Swearing under penalty of perjury isn't what it used to be. General perjury on a sworn document is up to five years in prison, but like most such laws, is only enforced if you offend a prosecutor or officer of the court.

When the lawyers who sign the bulk takedown requests start to end up in prison and lose their license, the others will start to take more care.

Comment Re:Google, Facebook, Reddit (Score 1) 346

If you don't think these corporate media giants don't influence, frame or inject domestic and foreign policy agendas then you are still that little kid playing Farmville.

Influence is tricky in real life. Any small choice humans make is likely to have some bias. Humans express their biases everywhere, even in taking small but measurable differences in making choices when working to counter their bias.

The company openly admits that humans make choices in what shows up. Zuckerberg also openly admits that there possibly is bias. More critically: He openly states he and the company will investigate which at this point is the best thing we can ask.

With humans making choices to what shows up and what is passed over, even when the humans are doing a really good job of only filtering out spam and problem posts there is still a bias that gets introduced. That bias is an influence, and Zuckerburg was quick to note in his statement that while he didn't see any obvious problems that had taken place, he agreed bias still needs to be investigated at least.

If he had announced that there was no way there was bias in the human-managed system or declared that he would not have investigated, that would have been a problem.

Comment Re:I'm leaning toward the 20 years estimate (Score 1) 381

So in 5 years, we might have self-driving cars coming off the assembly lines, but it's gonna take a lot more than 5 years before that's a sizable percentage of the cars on the road.

... We can certainly get there, but it isn't going to be cheap for a while yet.

... That means significantly higher production/maintenance costs than a comparable 'standard' car. ... have no interest ... until the day I can completely disconnect from the driving part without rational fear.

All of those together suggest a certain progression, which the companies already understand and have in their plans. We'll see a progression for what is available to the public.

Autonomous vehicles for general use will follow a plan something like:
* on private lots for companies making them. (Already starting in Googleplex and a few test locations.)
* traveling between private lots for companies making them. Automated shuttles, basically.
* near private lots of the companies making them. Think ride hailing, but to/from work for those who live nearby.
* near the companies, now serving neighbors too. Small-scale community taxi or shuttle.
* around key locations, slightly bigger taxi service in a municipal area, probably centered around the company and service-center hubs.
* expanding to public availability you can purchase your own if you aren't in an existing service area.

We've already got the first one, publicly available cars on the private lots. We also already have private availability (to the engineers and employees) as a private shuttle.

Give that another few years and the autonomous cars will expand to be publicly available in the neighboring areas as more drivers come to accept them on the road. It will take some acclimation and the businesses will find some ways to get people comfortable with them, but businesses that see them on the streets will see the benefits. The vehicle company will start seeking more and more data and more test cases and then (likely 2020-2025 timeframe) will start offering their cars as public community shuttles near their offices with appropriate waivers and documents. Publicly or semi-publicly available as a shuttle to stores, shuttle to schools, shuttle to the company, shuttle to the airport. As they companies get more confident they'll expand their public fleet and begin charging for the shuttle service, probably in the 2025-2035 time frame. This will expand to more municipal areas, a small number at first in high-tech sites with low rates of bad weather, probably in the 2030-2040 time frame. Then around 2035-2045 it will likely start to see the public be able to buy a vehicle for themselves.

So yes, I agree we will see autonomous taxi services around major cities becoming increasingly available in the 15-30 year time frame, not the 5 year time frame.

Comment Re:no parallel construction act? (Score 1) 78

Citations missing.

That's easy enough:

Currently about 97% of federal "convictions" are guilty pleas. Other topics like the "trial penalty" are common enough subjects someone with your low user-number should know, and are easily found in search engines.

The common practice is for prosecutors to heap on an enormous pile of federal crimes until the risk of happening to be found guilty of some obscure aspect of one of them, like the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act that potentially forbids screen names under penalty of jail time, that the person realizes the relatively short prison stay is better than legal defense that quickly reaches six-figure costs in addition to a high chance of many years in prison, versus a few tens of thousands of costs and a few months to a few years in prison.

For most victims of this type of aggressive prosecution it is only a matter of how much they can afford to fight the prosecutor, not a matter of actual justice for wrongs done.

Comment Re:I fail to see the problem here (Score 2) 93

Maybe the issue isn't that reasonable procedure was followed, but that Microsoft has chat logs at all? Is it just connection info, or is it what was actually said?

At work the company uses Skype. Skype keeps records of conversations. When you move from device to device it shows your conversation history with the person. You can also scroll back quite a long way even if the conversation was on a different machine.

For a business-style conversation where you want to preserve logs and look up what was said in the past, and where people are constantly switching between their desktop computer, conference room computers, and phones, preserving the chat histories is a bullet-point feature that businesses typically want.

Getting a legal order for the data, either via warrant or subpoena, is typically a non-issue. They differ slightly in method, but both end up requiring disclosure of business records if they exist. If you are concerned about it, use a system that makes NOT recording the conversation a bullet point.

Comment Re:DSL isn't necessarily unreliable (Score 2) 224

Ummm..what about fibre optic cable. Toronto we've had fibre optic cable [...] In Tokyo, they've had [...]

Yes, in large cities where the population density is measured in thousands per square kilometer, it makes a lot of sense.

The locations being mentioned are rural areas. Some have a population of approximately 0 per square kilometer, it can be 5+km between homes. Others are smaller towns where the population may be single-digit or double-digit per square kilometer.

Currently fiber doesn't make sense financially until you begin to approach 1000 per km2. Then you can have enough customers to justify the costs involved at a reasonable rate.

Comment Re:What about the money? (Score 1) 45

These guys should give it back, no?


Well, I certainly would sue for it.

People have tried in the past.

There are no refunds.

Here's what the courts wrote about the reasoning for the "no refunds" rule: The possibility of obtaining a refund of all royalties paid might induce a manufacturer to accept a license based on a patent of doubtful validity, derive the benefits of suppressed competition which the patent affords, and challenge the validity only after the patent's expiration. The licensee would have a chance to regain all the royalties paid while having enjoyed the fruits of the license agreement. Bristol Locknut Co. v. SPS Technologies, Inc., 677 F.2d 1277, 1282 (9th Cir. 1982)

There are ways to license the patent so that the effect is limited, I wrote about that in a different reply.

Comment Patent becoming invalid. (Score 1) 45

This doesn't necessarily mean the original holding was wrong--remember that probably *most* software patents have become invalid in the last fifteen years.

Most are never challenged, but you are right that those few which get challenged are frequently invalidated.

I've learned from various discussions with my legal department friends there are many changes in patent agreements over the past few years.

(Liberally using "we" and "you" to represent the sides:)

* Indemnity rules are slightly changing. If we are licensing your patents, if someone else comes after us about your patent, companies are making it more likely you pay the costs.

* Payment is more often gradual over time rather than once-off. Patent rules don't allow for 'refunds' after using a patent. (Mostly to stop someone for using a patent for many years, then after getting enormous benefit, challenge the patent and try to get a refund.) But they do allow payments to be held in escrow for a short time, allow temporary holding of payments during a challenge, and allow termination of payment if the patent is invalid or unenforceable. To hedge the bet they may pay a little more money for the patent license but spread it over the full duration, or make payment based on milestones hit (such as getting a successful clinical trial, or having the product available in stores, or reaching a financial threshold), or making balloon-style payment with moderate size payments over time plus a large final payment.

* Licensees are making explicit the existing requirement for repayment in events of fraud or material misrepresentation, including if the fraud was against the patent office. This makes it a little easier to enforce one of the rare ways to get money back from a bad patent license.

* Licensees are focusing more on the description of use rather than the patent numbers. This helps in cases where there may be several closely related patents. Already the courts have ruled that you cannot add new patents that block us from using a patent we already licensed. But this protection is that if we licensed specific patent numbers with the intent to do a certain thing, and you have other patents related to doing that thing, the license covers those too.

So yes, businesses are adapting to a world with an increasing number of patent invalidation and certain troll tactics.

Comment Re:Why conceal it? (Score 4, Interesting) 740

Quite the opposite.

A free market according to its model requires one thing that does not exist in our reality: A consumer with total information available to him. And while this is impossible, we can still try our best to get to it as close as we possibly can. Because that's what the market model demands.

That is pretty much the ideal. Give the person all the information and let them make choices based on it.

Unfortunately it gets back to the great-great-great-however-many-greats-granparent post: Several large, well-funded activist groups have been pushing for labeling of the products plus some disinformation campaigns. Not in an attempt to educate people about the truth of GMO food, but in an attempt to get GMO products killed.

I'm all for complete labeling and consumer education, but it doesn't play nicely with disinformation and misinformation campaigns.

Too many people are uninformed or misinformed. This is not just "Roundup Ready" plants. Many in the "natural" movement have caused serious regressions, such as using far more harmful "natural" pesticides when we have alternatives that are tightly focused and less harmful overall. Yet they forget all of the modern fruits and veggies we eat today are the product of several millenna of cross-breeding, selective-breeding, and cultivation.

Many of those cultivation are dangerous for many reasons. It isn't just superficial things like carrots that are an unnatural orange rather than their natural deep purple. The world loves modern bananas without seeds but can no longer naturally reproduce. A few decades ago thanks to eliminating natural variance, a disease destroyed the world's banana population and a new strain needed to be cultivated. We crave seedless oranges that are so large they are dangerous to the trees and have so few seeds they are also requiring human intervention to reproduce, have less juice and less flavor and are prone to several diseases ... but they are popular because they have easy-to-remove peels and no seeds. Most of the world's avocados are all splices from a single tree, the genetic diversity has vanished in under a century, but it seems growers around the world turn down genetic diversity in favor of the single Hass tree's fruit. Wheat and corn once had long deep roots and low yield; today the plants have barely enough root structure to stand but the wheat plants produce far more wheat kernels, and ears of corn went from a single 25mm cob per plant to multiple cobs more than ten times the size, and now both of them are getting even less genetic diversity with Roundup Ready cultivations being the popular single survivor. Giant, bright-red tomatoes are more colorful and juicy than ever, and in the last 50 years cultivation has been for mass and color rather than flavor, and we are quickly losing genetic diversity.

Somehow GMO activists tend to not mind the changes giving bigger fruit or popular features over the past many thousand years. It is only the ones done in a chemical lab most activists seem concerned about.

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