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Comment Re:Poor guy never answered the complaint (Score 1) 389

Yeah, that's the other parties' fees, I think. And the docket turns out to have a lot of activity for a case that only had one side chugging along. There's an "infringement report" (which seems to put this place over at least some of the caps for the statutory exemption). It looks like a banquet hall that hosts events, etc. There's a lot of correspondence (including what seems to be a BMI license application from the restaurant proprietor in which he allegedly underrepresented the restaurant's max capacity by a factor of 9 or 10). The law is, I and others have pointed out, weird here -- lots of rules that no one would guess.

Comment Poor guy never answered the complaint (Score 5, Informative) 389

The court didn't actually weigh the case, since the restaurant never answered the complaint. That's too bad, as most restaurants *don't* owe fees thanks to the Fairness in Music Licensing Act, the result of the NRA (National Restaurant Association) beating the music licensig lobby. It says that you don't have to pay fees:

(ii) in the case of a food service or drinking establishment, either the establishment in which the communication occurs has less than 3,750 gross square feet of space (excluding space used for customer parking and for no other purpose), or the establishment in which the communication occurs has 3,750 gross square feet of space or more (excluding space used for customer parking and for no other purpose) and--

(I) if the performance is by audio means only, the performance is communicated by means of a total of not more than 6 loudspeakers, of which not more than 4 loudspeakers are located in any 1 room or adjoining outdoor space;

So most establishments have a defense. Maybe this one did. But the judge heard from only one side since the restaurant never showed up to court. Too bad.

Submission + - Could tech have stopped ISIS from using our own heavy weapons against us? ( 1

JonZittrain writes: This summer, ISIS insurgents captured Mosul — with with it, three divisions' worth of advanced American military hardware. After ISIS used it to capture the Mosul Dam, the US started bombing its own pirated equipment. Could sophisticated military tanks and anti-aircraft missiles given or sold to countries like Iraq be equipped with a way to disable them if they're compromised, without opening them up to hacking by an enemy?

We already require extra authentication at a distance to arm nuclear weapons, and last season's 24 notwithstanding, routinely operate military drones at a distance. Reportedly in the Falkland Islands war, Margaret Thatcher was able to extract codes to disable Argentina's Exocet missles from the French. The simplest implementation might be like the proposal for land mines that expire after a certain time. Perhaps tanks — currently usable without even an ignition key — could require a renewal code digitally signed by the owning country to be entered manually or received by satellite every six months or so.

I'm a skeptic of kill switches, especially in consumer devices, but still found myself writing up the case for a way to disable military hardware in the field. There are lots of reasons it might not work — or work too well — but is there a way to improve on what we face now?

Submission + - After the Belfast Project fiasco, time for another look at time capsule crypto? (

JonZittrain writes: I'm curious whether there are good prospects for "time capsule encryption," one of several ways of storing information that renders it inaccessible to anyone until certain conditions — such as the passage of time — are met? Libraries and archives could offer such technology as part of accepting papers and manuscripts, especially in the wake of the "Belfast Project" situation, where a library promised confidentiality for accounts of the Troubles in North Ireland, and then found itself amidst subpoenas from law enforcement looking to solve long-cold cases. But the principle could apply to any person or company thinking that there's a choice between leaving information exposed to leakage, or destroying it entirely. Some suggested solutions are very much out of the box.

[Author's oped in Boston Globe.]

Comment Twitter's censorship is a fig leaf -- by design (Score 2) 91

Twitter's implementation of localized censorship is leaky by design. Users can specify in their settings what country they're in -- and that overrides any guess that Twitter might make about location from, say, IP address. So any Russian who wants to see what's missing -- after conveniently being alerted by Twitter that a given tweet is not accessible in that country -- can just switch to another country. Seems a pretty pragmatic move to prevent Twitter engineers from being arrested or money from being seized in a local jurisdiction while making tweets trivially available worldwide.

Submission + - Private networks for public safety (

JonZittrain writes: Projects like the New American Foundation's Commotion are designing ad hoc mesh networking to keep communications open when governments want to censor.

Former FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski and I argue that mutual-aid-based networks can be helpful for public safety, too, after attacks or natural disasters. There should be easy practices for anyone to open up an otherwise-closed wi-fi access point if it's still connected to broadband and is near people in trouble, and separately, to develop delay- and fault-tolerant fallback ad hoc networks so user's devices can communicate directly with one another and in a mesh. This can happen even while full packet-based ad hoc mesh is being figured out.

The ideas have been developed a little in workshops at Harvard's Berkman Center and the FCC. Why not bring the human rights and public safety communities together towards a common goal?

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Top Ten Things Overheard At The ANSI C Draft Committee Meetings: (9) Dammit, little-endian systems *are* more consistent!