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Comment Re:Using the law to give himself an unfair advanta (Score 1) 265

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) 112

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) 112

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) 112

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) 112

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?


Curious Tilt of the Sun Traced To Undiscovered Planet ( 218

An anonymous reader writes: Planet Nine - the undiscovered planet at the edge of the solar system that was predicted by the work of Caltech's Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown in January 2016 -- appears to be responsible for the unusual tilt of the Sun, according to a new study. The large and distant planet may be adding a wobble to the solar system, giving the appearance that the Sun is tilted slightly. "Because Planet Nine is so massive and has an orbit tilted compared to the other planets, the solar system has no choice but to slowly twist out of alignment," says Elizabeth Bailey, a graduate student at Caltech and lead author of a study announcing the discovery. All of the planets orbit in a flat plane with respect to the Sun, roughly within a couple degrees of each other. That plane, however, rotates at a six-degree tilt with respect to the Sun -- giving the appearance that the Sun itself is cocked off at an angle. Until now, no one had found a compelling explanation to produce such an effect. "It's such a deep-rooted mystery and so difficult to explain that people just don't talk about it," says Brown, the Richard and Barbara Rosenberg Professor of Planetary Astronomy.

Google Has Quietly Dropped Ban On Personally Identifiable Web Tracking ( 154

Fudge Factor 3000 writes: Google has quietly changed its privacy policy to allow it to associate web tracking, which is supposed to remain anonymous, with personally identifiable user data. This completely reneges its promise to keep a wall between ad tracking and personally identifiable user data, further eroding one's anonymity on the internet. Google's priorities are clear. All they care about is monetizing user information to rake in the big dollars from ad revenue. Think twice before you purchase the premium priced Google Pixel. Google is getting added value from you as its product without giving you part of the revenue it is generating through tracking through lower prices. The crossed-out section in its privacy policy, which discusses the separation of information as mentioned above, has been followed with this statement: "Depending on your account settings, your activity on other sites and apps may be associated with your personal information in order to improve Google's services and the ads delivered by Google." ProPublica reports: "The change is enabled by default for new Google accounts. Existing users were prompted to opt-in to the change this summer. The practical result of the change is that the DoubleClick ads that follow people around on the web may now be customized to them based on your name and other information Google knows about you. It also means that Google could now, if it wished to, build a complete portrait of a user by name, based on everything they write in email, every website they visit and the searches they conduct. The move is a sea change for Google and a further blow to the online ad industry's longstanding contention that web tracking is mostly anonymous. In recent years, Facebook, offline data brokers and others have increasingly sought to combine their troves of web tracking data with people's real names. But until this summer, Google held the line." You can choose to opt in or out of the personalized ads here.

Cisco Develops System To Automatically Cut-Off Pirate Video Streams ( 111

An anonymous reader quotes a report from TorrentFreak: Pirate services obtain content by capturing and restreaming feeds obtained from official sources, often from something as humble as a regular subscriber account. These streams can then be redistributed by thousands of other sites and services, many of which are easily found using a simple search. Dedicated anti-piracy companies track down these streams and send takedown notices to the hosts carrying them. Sometimes this means that streams go down quickly but in other cases hosts can take a while to respond or may not comply at all. Networking company Cisco thinks it has found a solution to these problems. The company's claims center around its Streaming Piracy Prevention (SPP) platform, a system that aims to take down illicit streams in real-time. Perhaps most interestingly, Cisco says SPP functions without needing to send takedown notices to companies hosting illicit streams. "Traditional takedown mechanisms such as sending legal notices (commonly referred to as 'DMCA notices') are ineffective where pirate services have put in place infrastructure capable of delivering video at tens and even hundreds of gigabits per second, as in essence there is nobody to send a notice to," the company explains. "Escalation to infrastructure providers works to an extent, but the process is often slow as the pirate services will likely provide the largest revenue source for many of the platform providers in question." To overcome these problems Cisco says it has partnered with Friend MTS (FMTS), a UK-based company specializing in content-protection. Among its services, FMTS offers Distribution iD, which allows content providers to pinpoint which of their downstream distributors' platforms are a current source of content leaks. "Robust and unique watermarks are embedded into each distributor feed for identification. The code is invisible to the viewer but can be recovered by our specialist detector software," FMTS explains. "Once infringing content has been located, the service automatically extracts the watermark for accurate distributor identification." According to Cisco, FMTS feeds the SPP service with pirate video streams it finds online. These are tracked back to the source of the leak (such as a particular distributor or specific pay TV subscriber account) which can then be shut-down in real time.

Comment Late-Breaking News from the Council: WTF G'RANEE? (Score 2) 244

>K'Breel was deposed and executed after his repeated failures in repelling the Terran aggressor. We don't speak of him. All hail mighty G'Ranee, Supreme Leader for Life!

LATE-BREAKING NEWS FROM THE COUNCIL: VICTORY! The Council of Elders has confirmed the blueworlders' resumption of aggression upon our noble red sands. K'Breel, Speaker for the Council of Elders, addressed the planet thusly: OKAY. Okay, so I'm K'Breel (even though anyone on Slashdot can assume the mantle merely by declaring themselves Speaker for the Council), and I'm late, but I'm merely chronologically late, not as in the Late Second Adjunctant to the Council Formerly Known As G'Ranee.

But domestic politics is beneath us tonight -- just take a glance at the blue world beneath us for a look at how bad that can get -- and let us focus on what's important: over the past sol or so, our Planetary Defense Force has been so good at pre-emptively distracting the blueworlders with tasks like landing comets, grabbing their prospective mates by their genitals, low-planetary orbit missions, and just general tribal infighting that we haven't had to shoot down any robotic invaders in quite some time. But when the opportunity presents itself, we take advantage of it, and so, we did. Hence the trivial elimination of yet another putative invader from elsewhere. We'd do it every day, except that the blueworlders lack the gelsacular fortitude to send us more targets. Now as to gelsacular fortitude, on to Second Adjunctant G'Ranee...

When a junior reporter pointed out that the destroyed invader was merely a technology demonstrator built on the cheap to see if a landing was possible, and that the blueworlders' actual payload was safely in orbit, K'Breel had the reporter's gelsacs launched into orbit alongside those of G'Ranee for a closer look.

Comment Re:Cut full time down to 30-32 hours to start! (Score 1) 909

The entirety of your post is rather selfish. You admit that the average person is marching almost futilely into destitution at the end of their life. But no, let's not do anything about that, that would "ruin the progress of society". The progress enjoyed by only the tiniest sliver of society, riding on the backs of everyone else, for all of history. Who's really selfish here?

Comment Re:Cut full time down to 30-32 hours to start! (Score 1) 909

I make almost exactly the mean personal income / median household income. I still live virtually the same way I did as a poor college student, saving as much as possible as quickly as possible so that someday I will have a chance of securing the most basic bit of security: having a place I'm allowed to sit and (at least) starve to death in peace, without having to bribe someone else every month for the privilege of doing so in their space. That is to say, to own a home (outright) and stop renting. As things are currently trending (including the long-term growth trends in my income, inflating cost of living over time, etc), if I can keep up the breakneck speed I'm saving at right now, I might be able to accomplish that by my 70s, giving me a mere handful of years before I will probably die in which to "save up for retirement" (i.e. food money, etc).

Cutting full time down to 30 hours will merely reduce my income to 75%, which will reduce my rate of progress toward that goal to 25%, which will extend the date that I am free from rent and able to start saving for other retirement expenses to some time near my 200th birthday.

Merely cutting everyone's hours is only going to help those who are unemployed (and not even all of them), at the expense of those who are employed (and a proportionally greater expense for the lower-paid), at not cost to the richest of the rich who are currently siphoning up all the wealth of society. A real solution to poverty has to be at the expense of those who can afford it, not merely dragging the rest of society with barely any hope already down into the same depths of hopelessness as the worst-off of us.

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