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Comment Re:Using the law to give himself an unfair advanta (Score 1) 275

Rent-seeking is a lot broader than using the power of government to attack other businesses. It's any economic practice that seeks to use some kind of privileged access to something, being the gatekeeper of something, to leverage an unearned income.

I know most people would say otherwise but I strongly contend that rent in the ordinary sense of the word is exactly that. The housekeeping that a hotel/BnB/etc provide is certainly a real service that they could charge for as such, but the model of "I have a thing I'm not using, you need to use a thing you don't have, give me money I can keep forever and I'll let you borrow it for a while" is exactly the kind of gatekeeper behavior that defines rent-seeking.

If you want to profit off of something you own and aren't using yourself, sell it.

Comment Re:Interesting, but probably irrelevant (Score 1) 117

If downloading copyrighted material is infringement, then

This antecedent is the matter in question here. Of course it's common sense that the consequent follows from it, but asserting this antecedent is the new thing here. Previously it was held (rightly) that being the recipient of someone else's illegal distribution of an illegal copy was not illegal copying and distribution on your part, but on theirs.

Comment Re:Interesting, but probably irrelevant (Score 1) 117

To continue the analogy, it's like a library places a book on a public shelf. You are the one choosing to take it off that shelf, walk over to the copy machine, push the button, and then take the photocopy home with you.

That's not analogous. A closer analogy would be if I could walk into the library, browse the book titles on the shelf without being able to touch them, and then ask the librarian to photocopy one of them for me to take home. When you download something from a remote server, you're sending it a request to transmit a copy to you. It's up to the other party (and how they've configured their server) whether to comply with that request or not. You're not even in possession of any media to copy until they've already copied it and distributed it to you.

Comment Re:Interesting, but probably irrelevant (Score 1) 117

It's not about possession, it's about who's in control of the "make a copy" process.

So if I first ask my girlfriend to make me a mix CD, then I become party to her copyright infringement, but if she just does it of her own accord I'm fine?

If asking for a mix CD still leaves me innocent, what if instead I email her asking her to email me a ripped copy back?

What if she has a script in her email that will read properly-phrased incoming emails and email ripped MP3s back?

I ask because I'm not in control of the "make a copy" process when downloading either. I'm asking someone else in possession of the media to send me a copy of it. They're doing the copying and distributing of it. Does it make a legal difference that I asked them to? Does it make a legal difference if the asking is via electronic communication instead of verbal, or if their response is automated instead of manual?

Comment Re:Interesting, but probably irrelevant (Score 1) 117

However, if you load up your torrent manager and say "download please!" you are making your own copy, which is then stored locally, just like pushing the button on a copy machine.

Only if you actually made a durable copy of the file, and they won't have any evidence of that from the network traffic. All they know is that someone else sent a copy of the file to you. That would support a case against the uploader, but not the downloader. It might be enough to get a warrant to examine the downloader's device for a stored copy of the file, but it's unlikely anyone would go to the effort of actually serving a warrant to recover, at most, a small multiple of the retail value of one copy of a single work, and until they do so there is nothing to support a charge of copyright infringement.

Of course the root of the problem is copyright. This is just one of the more notably absurd, and yet inevitable, consequences of trying to impose artificial scarcity on something that can be duplicated by anyone at effectively zero cost.

Comment Re:and if I shoplift a rack full of CD's it's just (Score 1) 117

Suppose I download a song to the same computer twice, as can easily happen. Technically because the thing I did wrong was copying, ...

No, you're making the same mistake as the judge in the article. The one who makes the copy and distributes it across the Internet is always the uploader, not the downloader. You didn't make a copy, the person who uploaded the file to you made a copy. The DMCA should not be considered applicable to "mere downloaders" because "mere downloaders" aren't doing anything which would infringe on copyright, namely making or distributing copies or publicly performing the work. That's all on the uploaders.

You do make a very good point, however, about the way the impact to the copyright holder for each copy is grossly overestimated when calculating "damages".

Comment Re:Interesting, but probably irrelevant (Score 1) 117

Is the recipient of a mix CD a copyright infringer? If not, it doesn't make any sense that a downloader would be either.

The one who started out in possession of the media, made and distributed a copy of it, is violating the right to control copying and distribution, i.e. copyright.

Someone who started out with nothing, copied nothing, distributed nothing, but ends up in possession of something that someone else illegally copied and distributed, has done what exactly that violates what law?

Comment Pay later...short term thinking wins (Score 1) 317

There are solar panels which produce power (70%?) that were made in the 1970s. So you may pay upfront costs of 10 years worth of power but you get DECADES of power after that point. Then it's basically free. Just being simplistic that is a good deal if you have the money and it's a great loan situation too. We all know that utility rates will go up over the next 10 years.

Storage is the big problem and expense we need to be investing in solutions for. So maybe then we end up with 30 years upfront costs... then it becomes a bigger loan situation. Obviously this is impossible because we never had to factor in our energy costs into trying to afford the biggest most bloated house we can afford.

Comment but this is NEW (Score 1) 158

What is NEW here is not that they could collect that metadata or that they let government benefit from it. What is new that this time it is a BUSINESS plan, a service for sale where they do the government's work for them and then sell the results to whomever they can find to sell the service to.

Assuming they follow the law (like anybody would go to jail) do we even have any laws that would apply to a private corporation data mining their customers and then selling the analysis?

REMEMBER after Snowden when the government said they'd change practices of spying on everybody? Remember how they said they'd work with businesses to have them do more instead of just hand over complete access thru a backdoor? This sure seems like the result of those changes to me! So instead of bright NSA contractors data mining our lives we outsourced it to the companies (plus probably still have back doors we will not know about until the next Snowden type risks his life.)

Comment Re:Paradox (Score 1) 113

Flying a drone is not considered as if you are holding the camera. If you could fly in such a way that you only film your property, it would be allowed.

This is what doesn't make sense. You are allowed to photograph public areas, and not just your own property (as long as you don't use a drone). They're putting hobbyist drones in the same category as CCTV cameras and other devices which are left in place to record continuously. Most of the drones affected by this law are not the expensive, semi-autonomous sort which can fly on their own using GPS waypoints, and even those only fly for a short time before the batteries are depleted. You can't just set them up to fly around and record for an extended time while the operator is not present. They require an active pilot. Most of them require line-of-sight, though some might be equipped for FPV. Either way, their presence is obvious from the noise, and the operator has to be fairly close by. To say that these drones would make lousy "surveillance" devices is a massive understatement. A person could accomplish much more effective and privacy-invading "surveillance" by hiding a cheap, disposable smartphone in the bushes. No hobbyist drone is going to be recording anyone surreptitiously.

Comment Paradox (Score 2) 113

The ruling of the Swedish administrative courts forbids anyone to fly a drone equipped with a camera as long as its not "... to document crime or prevent accidents...".

The Swedish administrative courts have created a legal paradox. If it is a crime to fly a drone with a camera, then by doing so one is automatically documenting a crime... which apparently makes the drone legal, ergo no crime exists to be documented, ergo flying the camera-drone is illegal. The drone thus exists in a superposition of legal and illegal states, threatening to tear the entire Swedish legal system to pieces. (One can only hope.)

Comment Re:It was a premises warrant. (Score 1) 430

Keys don't change. Fingerprints don't change. A biometric identifier is therefore not affirmative.

Which finger you use to unlock the device, however, can change and should be considered affirmative, just as if it were a (single-digit) PIN code. If they have the authority to collect fingerprint samples and to seize your device then I see no reason why they wouldn't have the authority to use your own device to collect the samples—but they have to decide which finger(s) to press against the sensor, not you, and the device will only allow so many errors before it disables fingerprint unlocking altogether.

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