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Comment Re:good luck with that one... (Score 1) 126

Well, yes. The official campaigns argued as if Brexit was only about immigration and the economy, but in reality I suspect a lot of people voted to leave on the basis of democratic deficit and sovereignty arguments, a belief that the EU shouldn't be used to override national laws in this way. And frankly, in this specific context, I think they are right.

Comment Re:Fair use (Score 1) 126

Small snippets are not considered copyright infringment.

That's not entirely accurate. For example, here in the UK, there is no specific minimum amount of material that has to be copied before copyright is infringed. Any work significant enough to be subject to copyright protection in the first place is also potentially subject to infringement.

As an aside, the AC you replied to was overstating the position of US fair use law as well. The amount of the work being copied is only one of the four factors that determine fair use, and again there is no specific minimum required for infringement. If the original publishers could demonstrate (and I'm not saying they can or should, but hypothetically) that the headlines or excerpts being copied by automated news aggregators represented a substantial part of the overall value of the original work, then that copying would not necessarily be fair use.

Comment Re:Google's reply? (Score 1) 126

Google got them by the balls. You hand out your snippets for free or nobody will see your page.

Maybe, but I'm not sure the news businesses don't have a point on this one.

News is very much about the headlines and near real time information. There are lots of real people doing real work to generate that information stream for readers/viewers, both at the news outlets themselves and via the agencies that are in turn paid substantial amounts of money by the news outlets. There is definitely a reasonable argument that automatically scraping the key information to republish on other sites is not transformative in any useful way and the freeloading does significantly compete with the original sources.

I'm also not sure Google really is doing those outlets much of a favour by listing them. I could name the web site for every major news source I read regularly without any help from Google, and I visit those sites via bookmarks or links from other sources, not via anyone's news search engine built on top of a scraper. Even if I were looking for something like a particular newspaper I don't read regularly, I'd probably only need a search engine to find its home page at most, not to republish its most valuable content in some derived format instead of just giving me the original source.

So I wonder whether the news businesses shouldn't just call Google's bluff on this one. If they all banded together and started marking their robots.txt files and such to make it clear that they didn't want anyone else republishing their material, I don't see they wouldn't have a reasonable case both ethically and legally against a news aggregator that was just scraping their content and then directly competing with them.

Comment Re:good luck with that one... (Score 1) 126

Buying laws only works because people fall for politicians' campaigning. Ultimately only the voters control who gets to make the laws, but as long as those voters pay as little attention to who they are electing as we (collectively) often do and believe the special-interest-funded campaigning as much as we (collectively) often do, the rot will continue.

Unfortunately, copyright is one of those issues that is just not that interesting to most people, as long as they can carry on ripping Game of Thrones and sharing their meme pictures and putting their wedding first dance video on YouTube without anything bad happening. Most people have probably never even heard of copyright law, and have no concept that the actions I just mentioned might even be illegal.

If people were actually penalised for infringing copyright, consistently and reliably, to the extent that the law in many places now permits, then those laws would be changed next week. But as long as they are only selectively enforced, and as long as only a few genuinely innocent people get totally screwed in places like the US because the legal system is stacked against them, it will fly under the radar and just be a tax on all of us for the benefit of the few huge rightsholders and distribution channels who are creaming off their cut of almost everything.

Comment Re:good luck with that one... (Score 1) 126

Why does "copyright reform" always mean increasing copyright

It doesn't. Around two years ago, the UK government passed a law that created a private copying exception, thus finally legalising things like format shifting or using cloud services as long as someone had a legitimate personal copy and it was not being shared around.

Of course, less than a year later, that law was struck down after a judicial review, because EU.

And that wasn't an isolated incident, as we see here. The EU is fast turning into global enemy #1 for progressive copyright reform. It's a huge supporter of big rightsholders at the expense of everyone else.

Comment Re:Please stop this farce (Score 1) 52

The US should seriously consider to act act like an asshole less often and clean up their own justice and prison system instead, rather than bullying other countries and their businesses.

Rest assured that there are plenty of Americans who agree with you...

Sadly, they have no voice in the government, since it is all run by special interests...

Which is why I continue to be amazed how many Americans will vote for Clinton, when it is so clear that she is bought and paid for by big money...

Comment Re: Only SOME Optical Media Is Durable (Score 1) 366

Rear deck... the shelf behind the rear seats? Then they almost certainly weren't in direct sunlight, though they may have been heated nicely. Modern car windshields are pretty much universally designed to block UV rays, the high-energy wavelengths that cause most damage. Without that protection most of the plastic interior of the car would rapidly become brittle and crumbly within a few years, photodegradation is a major problem for plastics.

Still, you probably also got very lucky if you truly had no problems.

Comment Re:Too secure for insecure? (Score 1) 523

Cherry picking that there might be one or two emails out there that are still missing

It's not, "one or two". Maybe you missed this part of the story:

However, an untold number of official e-mails from President George W. Bush's era will probably never be recovered because it would be extremely costly to do so, lawyers involved in lawsuits brought by the National Security Archive and Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington said.

Comment Re:Good on him (Score 1) 223

An EV powered by 100% coal electricity would still emit less pollution than an ICE.

That is debatable, depends on the coal plant in question...

But for the moment, lets pretend what you say is 100% true...

However, of course, the US only gets about 35% of its electricity from coal and I get all of my electricity from solar so much less pollution.

Good for you, but so what? I get all my power from coal, and another 1/3 of the US gets it from natural gas, cleaner, but not by enough...

You seem to be saying that since I've changed to a Tesla that it won't change anything. However, I haven't bought gasoline for 18 months so it definitely changed something. The more people who buy EVs, the less gasoline is used. Seems simple enough.

No, it really didn't change anything, it just made you feel better. Hang on, before you start typing...

Did the CO2 levels in the air go down? No? Did they go up ever so slower because of you? Perhaps, but you might be shocked to learn no, it really didn't.

Your lack of gas use has helped hold down the price of oil and thus the price of gas. So other people have been able to afford to use more.

Think about that statement for a minute. If everyone driving an EV and otherwise trying to save gas wasn't bothering, gas prices would clearly be higher, thus restricting further use. But with cheap gas, some people are inclined to buy a truck or SUV and just keep driving, thus negating your benefit.

Further, even if you cut gas use in half, taking 200 years to burn it all instead of 100 years isn't going to change the total amount of gas burned, it will just take slightly longer, and from the climate's point of view, 100 years and 200 years are the same thing.

The only real solution to CO2 is to leave the oil in the ground and the only way to do that is to stop burning it completely. A small fraction of people driving EVs isn't going to change one very simple fact...


Now think about THAT for a minute... because unless you can change that, your Tesla doesn't change anything.


Finally, have you looked up what it would take to just stop CO2 from going up, much less to bring it back down? If you haven't, you might want to, the numbers are sobering. In short, we are WAY past the point of no return on runaway CO2 levels, there is zero chance that we're going to stop this at 500 or even 600 PPM CO2 levels. The changes required to do it are far too extreme and simply would not be acceptable to the masses.

Comment Re:If you are so sure (Score 1) 266

So the question might be reversed, should everyone with the same job description be paid exactly the same, regardless of work output or experience?

This is a good question. All people inflate their own sense of worth. Workers who claim to work 80 hours a week are often making very different choices about how to manage their time as someone who claims to work 40. It's one half of the Dunning-Kruger effect (the other half being that people of high capability often underestimate the difficulty of what they do).

Now I'm not saying that you're exaggerating the amount of work you did in comparison to others (especially those tricksy women, amirite?), but it would be consistent with what we know about human nature and the actual data from the workplace of people who claim to work long hours. Studies have shown that the more hours people claim to work over 55, the more they're exaggerating how many hours they actually work. People who claim to work 75-80 hours a week are usually overestimating by at least 20 hours.

Competence is a complicated thing masquerading as a simple thing. No, people who have the same job title as you shouldn't necessarily make the same amount of money. Your pay is based on performance reviews, training, proven competence and a whole slew of other inputs. The problem is, a lot of those so-called metrics have a built-in bias. And in a salaried workforce, those biases can really run rampant. That's why in countries with healthier, more dynamic economies, you will see pay based on seemingly arbitrary measures like job title and seniority. This was an innovation of the labor movement and led to the most productive workforces in the world.

I have no doubt that you're a competent, hard-working guy. That's my built-in bias because I like you, Ol Olsoc. A lot of times, we find agreement around here. We have things in common. If I were overseeing a performance review of you, I'd probably be predisposed to rate you highly. I'd certainly be predisposed to rate you more highly than the woman who's been a bitch to me every since I made that joke about the one-eared elephant at Miller's retirement party.

Now, get the picture?

Comment Re:IP law has nothing to do with logic. (Score 1) 315

It's not really that simple, and in a restricted market well designed patents can encourage trade secrets to be replaced by a limited monopoly combined with publication in sufficient detail to allow others to replicate the invention.

Unfortunately, that doesn't describe the current situation, where things would be improved if all patents were canceled and declared void and invalid from the beginning.

Also read Spider Robinson's "Melancholy Elephants" for an insightful take on copyright law by an author. (Short of it: Copyrights last much too long.)

Both patents and copyrights have a valid place in a good legal system. But the current laws for both are worse than not having any laws about them.

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