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Comment Damages before sales? (Score 1) 192

These theoretical damages were clearly based on pre-release speculation. However, most charges are also based on theoretical damages long before any evidence of actual damage. The video game went on to do better than its prequel which suggests damages were minimal. Why can prosecutions in America occur faster than the actual production of evidence (sales numbers)? It is like a prosecution finalizing its arguments before the DNA can be sequenced so it can be excluded.

Comment Re:Academic plagiarism (Score 1) 396

While I agree with everything you stated in regards to faculty level conflicts, I think the (UG and MS) student factors are understated because they are less likely to sue. Below is an excerpt from a manual on IP issues in technology transfer practice written by the Association of University Technology Managers:

While the main purpose of a university’s interaction with students is in the delivery of
education, there are times when these students develop intellectual property. These
inventions can occur, for example, when students are working on entrepreneurship
projects, when they are working in the lab as part of a research experience, or during
industry-sponsored Capstone projects. In some cases these inventions have real value,
and there are many examples of student activity—including that of undergraduates—
resulting in the formation of viable businesses. Unlike faculty and graduate researchers
whose contractual relationship with an institution tends be quite formalized, under-
graduates and masters students are not generally regarded as being employed by
their university in the traditional sense. Accordingly, student-generated IP lies outside of
the clear-cut employment context and raises a unique set of issues concerning ownership
and other IP-related rights.

Depending on the policy of the university, newly generated student IP may be construed
as belonging to either the institution or the student. In general, IP laws in each country—
particularly those whose legal systems are rooted in English Common Law—grant
default IP ownership rights to the inventor or author unless he or she knowingly agreed
otherwise. For there to be a legally binding contract, there must also be consideration.
That is, the university must give something in exchange for the student’s rights to his or
her invention. Thus university IP policy, when it comes to students, needs to be carefully
thought out, clearly worded, widely disseminated, and fair.

Comment Academic plagiarism (Score 3, Insightful) 396

Academic plagiarism is a huge issue and very common. I have even seen different academic departments (e.g. math vs physics) fight each other over these issues. When undergrad students and graduate students do work for a professor and are not named in the paper or the work is given to another student for use and publication, students have no recourse. It is important to understand that many grad students have no grant or employment contract which cedes IP rights to the university/professor. University in-house counsel and IP departments have no oversight of publication or assignment of credit. I would only perform work for a professor (for free without an employment contract) if I could demand a contract outlining ownership.

Submission + - Employers Struggle to Find Workers Who Can Pass a Drug Test writes: Jackie Calmes writes in the NYT that all over the country, employers say they see a disturbing downside of tighter labor markets as they try to rebuild from the worst recession since the Depression: the struggle to find workers who can pass a pre-employment drug test. The hurdle partly stems from the growing ubiquity of drug testing, at corporations with big human resources departments, in industries like trucking where testing is mandated by federal law for safety reasons, and increasingly at smaller companies. But data suggest employers’ difficulties also reflect an increase in the use of drugs, especially marijuana — employers’ main gripe — and also heroin and other opioid drugs much in the news. Data on the scope of the problem is sketchy because figures on job applicants who test positive for drugs miss the many people who simply skip tests they cannot pass. But Quest Diagnostics, which has compiled employer-testing data since 1988, documented a 10% increase in one year in the percentage of American workers who tested positive for illicit drugs — up to 4.7 percent in 2014 from 4.3 percent in 2013.

With the software industry already plagued by a shortage of skilled workers, especially female programmers, some software companies think now would be the wrong time to institute drug testing for new employees, a move that would further limit the available talent pool. “The acceptability of at least marijuana has shifted dramatically over the last 20 years,” says Carl Erickson. “If the standard limits those that have used marijuana in the last week, you’re surely going to be limiting your pool of applicants.” Erickson’s decision not to drug test stems from a low risk of workplace injury for his workers combined with an unwillingness to pry into the personal lives of his employees. "My perspective on this is if they want to share their recreational habits with me, that’s their prerogative, but I’m sure as hell not going to put them in a position to have to do it."

Submission + - Open Access Journal SSRN Acquired by Elsevier

OccamsRazorTime writes: SSRN announced today that it has changed ownership. SSRN is joining Mendeley and Elsevier to coordinate development and delivery of new products and services. The deal provides new access to data, products, and additional resources for SSRN users. However, going forward the copyright and openness of SSRN and future papers is certainly in question.

Submission + - Theoretical Breakthrough Made in Random Number Generation (

msm1267 writes: Two University of Texas academics have made what some experts believe is a breakthrough in random number generation that could have longstanding implications for cryptography and computer security.

David Zuckerman, a computer science professor, and Eshan Chattopadhyay, a graduate student, published a paper in March that will be presented in June at the Symposium on Theory of Computing. The paper describes how the academics devised a method for the generation of high quality random numbers. The work is theoretical, but Zuckerman said down the road it could lead to a number of practical advances in cryptography, scientific polling, and the study of other complex environments such as the climate.

“We show that if you have two low-quality random sources—lower quality sources are much easier to come by—two sources that are independent and have no correlations between them, you can combine them in a way to produce a high-quality random number,” Zuckerman said. “People have been trying to do this for quite some time. Previous methods required the low-quality sources to be not that low, but more moderately high quality. We improved it dramatically."

Submission + - Airlines Taunted by Amazon and Alec Baldwin

An anonymous reader writes: Amazon once loaded an airplane with Kindles — all of them turned on — to prove the devices posed no threat to an airplane's communication system during take-offs and landings, according to the Washington Post, which also notes an Amazon employee ultimately chaired the FAA technical committee investigating the issue. "We've been fighting for our customers on this issue for years," one Amazon executive announced in a press release, " adding that to celebrate the FAA's new change in policy, they're offering a 15% discount today on most Kindles. The Post notes that "it's still eyebrow-raising that a company with the most commercial interest in the outcome of a panel's report would directly oversee the scientific content of that report." But the biggest winner is probably Alec Baldwin, who two years ago appeared on Saturday Night Live as a pilot who argued that the policy was "just a cruel joke perpetrated by the airline industry... and we would’ve gotten away with it, but Alec Baldwin was just too smart for us.!

Comment Do you mean problem solvers? (Score 1) 356

The problem that makes "rockstar" devs unmanageable is lack of hierarchical development groups. There is the project manager who is hands off coding and the coders. Somewhere in between there should be a system architect. That is the role for the genius "rockstar" dev. If you put the rockstar on the same level as everyone else of course everyone will hate him (either because he will be correcting their small errors or finishing his work weeks ahead of timeline).

Let the rockstar solve the algorithmic problems, the efficiency logjams, etc and everyone else code. Everyone will be happier. Sadly management of coding projects is never very well thought out.
Electronic Frontier Foundation

DOJ Often Used Cell Tower Impersonating Devices Without Explicit Warrants 146

Via the EFF comes news that, during a case involving the use of a Stingray device, the DOJ revealed that it was standard practice to use the devices without explicitly requesting permission in warrants. "When Rigmaiden filed a motion to suppress the Stingray evidence as a warrantless search in violation of the Fourth Amendment, the government responded that this order was a search warrant that authorized the government to use the Stingray. Together with the ACLU of Northern California and the ACLU, we filed an amicus brief in support of Rigmaiden, noting that this 'order' wasn't a search warrant because it was directed towards Verizon, made no mention of an IMSI catcher or Stingray and didn't authorize the government — rather than Verizon — to do anything. Plus to the extent it captured loads of information from other people not suspected of criminal activity it was a 'general warrant,' the precise evil the Fourth Amendment was designed to prevent. ... The emails make clear that U.S. Attorneys in the Northern California were using Stingrays but not informing magistrates of what exactly they were doing. And once the judges got wind of what was actually going on, they were none too pleased:"

Misconfigured Open DNS Resolvers Key To Massive DDoS Attacks 179

msm1267 writes with an excerpt From Threat Post: "While the big traffic numbers and the spat between Spamhaus and illicit webhost Cyberbunker are grabbing big headlines, the underlying and percolating issue at play here has to do with the open DNS resolvers being used to DDoS the spam-fighters from Switzerland. Open resolvers do not authenticate a packet-sender's IP address before a DNS reply is sent back. Therefore, an attacker that is able to spoof a victim's IP address can have a DNS request bombard the victim with a 100-to-1 ratio of traffic coming back to them versus what was requested. DNS amplification attacks such as these have been used lately by hacktivists, extortionists and blacklisted webhosts to great success." Running an open DNS resolver isn't itself always a problem, but it looks like people are enabling neither source address verification nor rate limiting.

Google Pledges Not To Sue Any Open Source Projects Using Their Patents 153

sfcrazy writes "Google has announced the Open Patent Non-Assertion (OPN) Pledge. In the pledge Google says that they will not sue any user, distributor, or developer of Open Source software on specified patents, unless first attacked. Under this pledge, Google is starting off with 10 patents relating to MapReduce, a computing model for processing large data sets first developed at Google. Google says that over time they intend to expand the set of Google's patents covered by the pledge to other technologies." This is in addition to the Open Invention Network, and their general work toward reforming the patent system. The patents covered in the OPN will be free to use in Free/Open Source software for the life of the patent, even if Google should transfer ownership to another party. Read the text of the pledge. It appears that interaction with non-copyleft licenses (MIT/BSD/Apache) is a bit weird: if you create a non-free fork it appears you are no longer covered under the pledge.

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