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Comment Re:Leave. (Score 1) 432

I don't know about law in any of the US, but in the UK: a private letter is considered to be "published", for libel purposes, the moment it is opened (by someone other than the party being libelled, or someone acting as their agent and with their express permission to open it)

Yes. It is roughly the same in the U.S. See HERE, in the section headed "Publication".

Comment Re:Leave. (Score 1) 432

With the intent to cause damage. Look it up. They damaged party has to prove intent. Which is why there are almost never successful; libel or slander cases in the US.

This is not true. At least in most states, intent to harm is not required.

What IS usually required is to show that the accused knew, or reasonably should have known, that the statement was false.

That is not quite the same thing.

Comment Re:This. Libel need not be public, but must be unt (Score 1) 432

It's amazing to me how many people don't get the difference between stating an opinion and stating something as fact. I am thinking of a certain Slashdot frequenter who fits that profile.

There is a great deal of legal precedent in that regard. For example, calling someone "an ass" or similar is pretty definitely an opinion, even if it's stated as though it were fact: "You're an ass."

In college law classes there is a rather famous case study from, I think, the 17th century.

A guest at an inn told the innkeeper: "My horse can pisse better ale than you serve here."

The innkeeper sued the customer for slander. The judge ruled: "The accused did not slander the innkeeper. He complimented his horse."

So, while there are lines as to what is acceptable speech and what is not, it pays to be cognizant of where those lines are. And many people have no clue.

Comment Re:Leave. (Score 4, Informative) 432

This is quite incorrect. I would say dangerously incorrect. At least in most of the U.S.

In general, actionable defamation (of which libel and slander are particular examples) only requires that you express untrue, damaging things to someone other than the party you are referring to. There is NO specific requirement that it be public.

And "damage" is used loosely here. Damage could mean damage to their career, or damage to their public reputation, or even just damage to a single friend's opinion of them.

If you wrote untrue, damaging things in a document to your HR department, that could definitely be considered libel, and would likely be actionable. Specific cases vary, but again in general.

Of course, truth is (again in general... most U.S. states) an absolute defense. So if what you wrote is true and you can demonstrate that it is, by a preponderance of evidence, then you're probably safe. But you'd better have that evidence.

In addition, most corporations have as part of their employment conditions that you can't sue the company or other employees as a result of negative opinions expressed as part of "official" company communications, such as an employee review or exit interview.

Again in the U.S., that is simply not true. "Most" corporations do NOT have such a clause in their contract, and there is a very strong push to stop that practice in those states where it is still allowed. Because in some states such clauses are specifically prohibited by law, and the list of those states is growing.

Comment Will the National Film Registry finally get it? (Score 1) 304

Both the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back were officially added to the National Film Registry when it was created in the late 1980s. However, Lucasfilm never delivered an original, unmodified copy of either movie. George Lucas tried to give the NFR a copy of the "improved" edition, but they refused it; their mandate is to preserve original versions of historic movies.

The article notes that ironically enough, George Lucas argued against colorizing old black-and-white movies, yet he has refused to follow his own arguments with respect to his own movies.

I hope that Disney will deliver a suitable cleaned-up archival copy of the original, completely unmodified movie to the NFR.

P.S. I personally would be happy to have a version that has some hidden wire removal and other very minor cleanups. Probably the perfect way to do it is to release a new slightly-polished cleaned-up original, with bonus disc content of the original, cleaned up but utterly unchanged. Watching the movie over and over on a 4K screen, you will spot wires and other glitches to some extent... but there should be a version where they are perfectly preserved. It's a movie that was made in the 1970's. It was an advance in the state of the art of special effects, but it wasn't perfect and couldn't have been perfect. Sometimes it's instructive or fun to watch things and study how they were made.

Comment Re:I thought they originals were destroyed... (Score 2) 304

When George Lucas announced the "improved" versions of the classic Star Wars movies, he famously claimed that it would be impossible to recreate the original release versions. He said something like he had accidentally "taped over" the originals (for you younglings, that's a video tape analogy).

As this article commented bitingly, it would have been embarrassing for Lucas if the original version had outsold the "improved" version on home video release. So it was sure convenient for him that it was totally impossible to re-create the original version.

The article quotes someone named Bill Hunt saying this: "Even if it's true that Lucas and his staff destroyed all of the original negatives, it's unlikely in the extreme that they also destroyed all of the interpositives, all of the separation masters, and all of the release prints. In fact, we know that they didn't." And lo and behold, once George Lucas sold the rights, it turned out to be possible to recreate the original version, and now there's a 4K cleaned-up version.

Comment Re:Tit for tat (Score 2) 574

I keep talking about this fact and all I seem to get is "so you know more than the CIA and FBI?"

And it hurts my head so much and I need to find a place to do a primal scream.

They're going to talk us into war and there is fuck-all anyone can do about it. Because people are so tech illiterate that they can be led by the nose right into the front lines.

Because"the big E is the Internet!"



Comment Re:This is great news! (Score 2) 116

The next iteration is darknets, encrypted end-to-end file sharing, completely under whatever radar they can come up with. I've been farting around with ZeroNet lately and it seems pretty good. And if all of it shuts down, we'll just go back to the ol' "hard drive fulla goodies" passed around like we did back when half of the people who had Internet access had dialup. Good luck tracking that.

Princess Leia Organa: The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers.


Comment Re:22 years ago... (Score 1) 157


Find a local radio club. Get yourself a Technician class license and do all the packet radio you want, and give the county the finger. You don't need to learn morse code.

A friend of mine went from Novice (when they still had a Novice class with code) to Extra Class in 9 months, which is one step below Radiotelephone Operator license - the kind of license you need to run a commercial broadcast TV or radio station, for example.


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