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Comment Re:Pokemon Go to rake in nearly $13 Billion (Score 1) 79

Actually, you can earn multiples of 10 pokecoins per day. Every 21 hours, you can get 10 coins for every gym you control at the end of the 21-hour countdown timer. I've never managed to have more than 2 or 3 at a time when that happened, but I expect when I get some more powerful critters I'll be able to do better.

Submission + - EFF lawsuit seeks to overturn DMCA ban on breaking DRM

Robotech_Master writes: The EFF has just filed suit against the US government on the grounds that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act’s anti-circumvention provision, Section 1201, represents an unconstitutional restraint on free speech.

The suit takes aim at the practice of outlawing breaking DRM, with the Librarian of Congress permitted to make exceptions to the prohibition every three years, as well as outlawing any explanation of how to break DRM. The EFF calls this “an unconstitutional speech-licensing regime.”

This isn't the first time the DMCA's anti-circumvention provision has been called in to question. Earlier this year, Congress asked for public comments on ways to improve the anti-circumvention process.
The Courts

Federal Court: The Fourth Amendment Does Not Protect Your Home Computer (eff.org) 309

An anonymous reader writes: The EFF reports that a federal court in Virginia today ruled that a criminal defendant has no "reasonable expectation of privacy" in his personal computer (PDF), located inside his home. The court says the federal government does not need a warrant to hack into an individual's computer. EFF reports: "The implications for the decision, if upheld, are staggering: law enforcement would be free to remotely search and seize information from your computer, without a warrant, without probable cause, or without any suspicion at all. To say the least, the decision is bad news for privacy. But it's also incorrect as a matter of law, and we expect there is little chance it would hold up on appeal. (It also was not the central component of the judge's decision, which also diminishes the likelihood that it will become reliable precedent.) But the decision underscores a broader trend in these cases: courts across the country, faced with unfamiliar technology and unsympathetic defendants, are issuing decisions that threaten everyone's rights.

Submission + - Whoever feels like innovating e-books, please raise your hand!

Robotech_Master writes: I keep seeing complaint after complaint that e-books are stuck in a rut, and nobody is interested in 'innovating.' Amazon tends to get the lion's share of blame for this, as they're the incumbent in the e-book market, but what's keeping its competitors from trying as well? A good innovation could be a competitive advantage against Amazon, after all.

It seems to me that we're not seeing any innovation because most consumers are perfectly happy with their ten-year-old Kindle e-book tech, and Amazon's competitors have effectively already thrown in the e-book towel. Anyone who tries to come up with something new runs into the roadblock that consumers don't want something new if it's not compatible with the e-reading tech they already have.

And yet, we still see all these people crying out for innovation, but no one actually making a move to innovate. Well, here's the bell, there's the cat; knock yourself out.

Comment It just wouldn't work out (Score 1) 380

The problem as I see it is two-fold: first, the sudden presence of about a zillion just-as-good-as-the-original digital media files up for resale would collapse the market and put publishers out of business.

Second, and more importantly, there's no way to prevent people from cracking the DRM on their e-books and backing them up before selling the DRM-locked original. You can crack the DRM on library books now just as easily as you can the ones you buy from Amazon. I don't see that changing.

Submission + - SPAM: Amazon adds SD card e-book storage, automatic video downloads to Fire tablets

Robotech_Master writes: Amazon has added a couple of interesting new capabilities in its latest Fire tablet firmware. The $50 Fire tablet will now automatically store e-books on SD cards, when available, and will also automatically download Prime Video movies to have on hand in case you can't access Wi-Fi for a while.

Comment Re:no sympathy for suckers (Score 3, Insightful) 81

Unfortunately, the only way to get this content is either to pay for it legitimately and then have to illegally crack it, or to pirate it which is illegal from the outset. If you want the content, you have to make a deal with some kind of devil.At least if you do buy it, the people who originally made it get paid something.

Submission + - After software upgrade, Kobo customers are losing books from their libraries (teleread.com) 2

Robotech_Master writes: After a recent Kobo software upgrade, a number of Kobo customers have reported losing e-books from their libraries--notably, e-books that had been transferred to Kobo from their Sony Reader libraries when Sony left the consumer e-book business. One customer reported missing 460 e-books, and the only way to get them back in her library would be to search and re-add them one at a time! Customers who downloaded their e-books and illegally broke the DRM don't have this problem, of course.

Submission + - Harvard Bookstore launches Print + Digital bundle for Chris Anderson's new book (teleread.com)

Peter Hudson writes: Teleread, Publishers Weekly, Digital Book World, and Publishing Perspectives are reporting that the Harvard Bookstore is launching a program in partnership with Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Shelfie where customers who purchase certain HMH books will get the ebook included free or at a substantially reduced price (Teleread reports that the majority of the bundled digital editions will be free or 99 cents). From Publishing Perspectives:

The new program is applicable only to certain New York Times bestselling titles including TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, releasing today); Life of Pi by Yann Martel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2002); Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2000); and How to Cook Everything The Basics: All You Need to Make Great Food by Mark Bittman (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012).


Comment Re:*sigh* (Score 5, Interesting) 796

I am not a lawyer. That said, here are a few comments on how I understand things and where I think they'd go. Your mileage may vary.

I always chuckle at this sort of thing. I like to call this "The Reiser Defense". If you ever followed the Hans Reiser trial, you'll note that he had a fundamental misunderstanding of how law works (or even is supposed to work). As a developer, he saw laws as a program. He thought that he had the program set up so as not to be able to convict him.

As it happens, the Law is not a program or set of mechanical rules. The Law may *appear* to be that way, but that's mostly a side effect of one of its goals. The Law is intended to be predictable so as not to be perverse when applied to people. The theory goes that people can only be held accountable for breaking laws if they can reasonably have been expected to know that they would fall afoul of it.

As it happens, this is not a blank check. You have responsibilities not to be entirely ignorant of the law. You have responsibilities to cooperate with law enforcement and the Court. You do not get to interpret the law any more than is necessary to mount your defense. All of your interpretations are subject to validation and endorsement by the Court. So the process surrounding justice use the trappings of a program or set of mechanical rules, but that is largely a construct to allow you to cooperate with the Court in executing the upholding the intent of the Law.

In fact, it's why it's called Contempt of Court. You have rights under the Law. It's the Court's responsibility to uphold those rights for you. Criminals do not respect the Law. If you behave in such a way as to prevent the Law from being applied by the Court, you show contempt for the rule of law and you hurt your chances in being able to exercise your rights under it. This is a fairly obvious social contract, and that contract--not some expectation that the law function as some sort of autistic machine--is what fundamentally underlies Due Process.

The Fifth Amendment is a law like any other. It's intention is to ensure that the parties involved in justice maintain separated duties. The theory is that you and the prosecution make claims and the court evaluates those claims. If the Court were permitted to compel you to make certain claims, then it's no longer really evaluating them and the integrity of the system breaks down. That's the context that Fifth Amendment lives in and that's the context within which Courts will evaluate it. It is not a "technicality" that gets you out of cooperating with warrants. So, while the law cannot force you to say something is true or false against your will, it *can* compel your cooperation in unlocking the filing cabinet containing the evidence that implies the same thing. That's the difference, evidence is different from testimony.

There is a bit of a grey area around combinations / passwords. This is largely due to prosecutors abusing your unwillingness to give them unfettered access to something as being parleyed into some kind of claim of guilt. That's what the Fifth Amendment addresses--your lack of a statement cannot be construed as a claim of guilt. This started with a dissent from the Supreme Court that mentioned that giving up the combination to a lock amounted to testimony that you had access to what it protects. It's similar to a different case where the prosecution subpoenaed "all of the papers that apply to " and the 5th was upheld as saying evaluating which papers were submitted papers would be tantamount to asking for testimony that some of the stuff was illegal. That fine line between testimony and your duty to comply with the collection of evidence by authorities is something best discussed with a lawyer, because it is not a silver bullet.

I believe that your unconventional take on copyright law isn't likely to get you anywhere. You're effectively claiming that Copyright Law puts you in a 'guilty until proven innocent' which is, more precisely, claiming a violation of due process. This blanket claim has never been supported by a court, mostly because Courts don't share your interpretation of Due Process or Property Law in general.

Consider by analogy that you're found in possession of someone else's car. It's legally registered to them. You're found in possession of it. You're allowed a defense. If you don't make the case, you're guilty. How is the copyright case any different? While I'm quite sympathetic that possession of a car is different because you can't flawlessly duplicate a car, I don't know that it addresses the fundamental fact that you possess it and you can't substantiate permission to have it. That's not so much a claim that the possession didn't happen but rather that it's so easy to do that the concept of possession is meaningless.

Less abstractly, a real case comes with real context that often prevents it from hinging on anything even half that abstract. Your claim that you can't prove purchase exists among a sea of verifiable facts. How much other possibly pirated software lives along with it? How is it packaged? Is there any evidence that you downloaded it from a site that pirates software? Can you show bank records of a purchase that's roughly the right amount? None of this stuff lives in a vacuum. There comes a point where there's enough context to convict you.

Circumstantial evidence isn't, by itself, prohibited. Judges largely exist to navigate this sort of thing. Outright defying otherwise legal warrants to gather the evidence to convict or exonerate you harms your case. Compelling you to say "I stole software" is illegal. Compelling you to allow search of your garage containing a half-a-dozen cars that aren't registered to you is not.

The simplest legal defenses are often the best. I think you'd get more traction out of the Fifth Amendment defense by itself than trolling Copyright Law. As a matter of law, I'd expect a judge to just blink a few times and call that defense irrelevant. More precisely, your opinions about Copyright Law aside, trolling the judge is always a bad idea, because (other than your lawyer) the judge is the only other person in the Court room who has a duty to protect you--and they're the last line of defense at that.

Comment Write-up is exactly right. It's a good thing. (Score 5, Interesting) 197

I said much the same thing on TeleRead. There are many, many devices and things that haven't "advanced" in decades but are a such a quiet everyday part of our lives that we couldn't imagine doing without them. Smartphones (and their close relations tablets and e-readers) are becoming just like that. Not everything in our lives has to be replaced by something shiny and new every couple of years.

Comment Re:Android 4? Really? (Score 1) 195

It's going to be open-source, and letting people who buy it upgrade to a later version of Android is explicitly given as a reason for that on the Indiegogo page.

In any event, for the kinds of simple e-reading tasks the device is meant for, 4.0.4 should still run pretty much any e-reading app on the market. With only 4 GB of internal storage and a slow-updating e-ink screen, it's not really meant to be a media tablet.

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