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Comment Re:Yeah, right... (Score 4, Informative) 173

The language in the case couldn't be more clear that it was not "crucial plot elements" that the case was about, but pure copying:

Defendants have directly copied or paraphrased substantial portions of TPP's teleplays. Much of the book consists of detailed description of the plot, setting, and character development of the first eight episodes of "Twin Peaks." Excerpts from episodes are quoted verbatim. A work that is literally similar may be found to be an infringement of copyright.

This Court further finds that because "Welcome to Twin Peaks" is based on the teleplay and employs direct quotations and paraphrases, it is a derivative work.

Comment Jury Decisions Do Not Create Precedent (Score 1) 243

This is not over in terms of the industry as a whole. A jury decision does not create precedent. Instead, the decision is merely that this specific use, by these specific parties, *with this specific jury*, constitutes fair use. A different jury in a different case may and will find differently. Google was the biggest target, but it's not the only target.

Comment Re:It's simple. (Score 1) 273

There are plenty of places for you to educate yourself on the subject outside of Slashdot. I would strongly recommend that you do your homework in the future.

The Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides, "[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly ...

Demanding a company perform an action which is ILLEGAL in all other circumstances meets and exceeds the definition of abuse of power. If you want to use the common, and somewhat fallacious, argument of a safe: A safe maker may be compelled to produce a key for a safe, and reimbursed for the cost of making said key. If the safe owner modified the lock and the key does not work, the Government can NOT compel the safe maker to blow open the safe.

What the Government is demanding is not just for Apple to blow up the safe, they are requesting a permanent opening be made in ALL safes for their convenience. The only way this would meet probable cause would be to claim that ALL citizens are criminals. That last part is a violation of much more than the 4th amendment.

This is not a Fourth Amendment issue. Instead, this is an issue regarding the All Writs Act, which states in its entirety:
(a) The Supreme Court and all courts established by Act of Congress may issue all writs necessary or appropriate in aid of their respective jurisdictions and agreeable to the usages and principles of law.
Four conditions must be met before a court can order a third-party to do something under the All Writs Act:

  • The absence of alternative remedies—the act is only applicable when other judicial tools are not available.
  • An independent basis for jurisdiction—the act authorizes writs in aid of jurisdiction, but does not in itself create any federal subject-matter jurisdiction.
  • Necessary or appropriate in aid of jurisdiction—the writ must be necessary or appropriate to the particular case.
  • Usages and principles of law—the statute requires courts to issue writs "agreeable to the usages and principles of law."

Apple is challenging all but the second of those requirements, and is also arguing that its First Amendment rights against compelled speech is infringed. There is enough analysis elsewhere on Apple's argument that I won't repeat it.

Why isn't this a Fourth Amendment issue? Being compelled to perform an action, whether it be in the case of a locksmith opening a safe or a telephone company installing pen registers, is not a Fourth Amendment issue. Additionally, a warrant or consent overcomes the protection against searches and seizures. There is no doubt that a judge would issue a warrant to search the phone. Most importantly, the actual owner is the county, not the terrorist, and the county provided consent to search the phone.

Please read the briefs. They are entertaining reads. We need to focus on where our outrage should be targeted, and in this circumstance, it's not the government's abuse of the Fourth Amendment.

Comment Re:But sabotage roof top solar first (Score 1) 156

Distributed power generation could provide a vital back up for such grid failures. So to protect the profit potential of utilities sucking the blood of captive customers we need to sabotage roof top solar first. If grid gets sabotaged, then we can get the feds to cough up money for doing all the maintenance work that were cut back for decades.

The big lesson learned from the 2008 financial collapse is: fail big. Fail small, you need to pay for the cost of failure. Fail big, feds will pay for the cost of failure. So make sure that all failures are catastrophic, so that there is huge public pressure to "do something". The utilities will have contingency plans ready to hold the hat out for federal handout.

Power generation is already distributed across the country and regions in a diverse portfolio mix of technologies most appropriate for the geography. Sure, they're large generators, but it's presently the most cost-effective, safe, and reliable method of generating *and* transmitting energy. The problem is that we have three, huge interconnected grids in the United States in order to move that generated energy at the moment it's generated in precise equilibrium with demand. Failures in transmission, as this Crimea story says, result in cascading failures based on safety. The distributed generation you're speaking of, primarily solar (and I'll throw wind in there too), is intermittent and unreliable, and therefore requires *more* transmission capability in order to move energy from where the sun is shining or the wind is blowing at any given moment to where demand resides. Until energy storage becomes cost effective (and we're nowhere near that), transmission and distribution is the primary problem.

As such, the dependency on the grid is the problem, not renewable distributed generation. The solution is microgrids with small scale nuclear plants that *can* operate independently of the grid when necessary, but that opens up a whole other level of concerns, almost all based on NIMBY fears.

Comment Re:No popcorn yet (Score 5, Interesting) 462

He has to do this in order to allow the document into evidence. Once it is authenticated and otherwise admissible, he can rely on it for any decision he will make. If he decided to go rogue and not follow the Federal Rules of Evidence, then the government could easily prevail on any appeal. In other words, the judge isn't being difficult to be difficult; he is doing it because he does not want to be overturned.

Comment Re:Looks like the AG actually read the law (Score 1) 817

As much as I would like to agree with you, you cannot read the language "to the extent permitted by law" as referring solely to the "treaty law" (sic). If the drafters wanted that limitation, they would have said, "to the extent provided by this Document" or similar. The phrase "to the extent permitted by law" is a nod to the local laws wherever the election is taking place, so that the observers do not interfere with the process. Guess who decides what "interference is": the local legislature.

It does not make sense to say that the only limitations on the observers arise from the Document itself. Can observers hover over local officials? Can they touch and inspect every ballot? These actions are all regulated by local laws. The 100 foot distance is Texas is asinine, but it's the local law.

Comment Re:better not tell him about OpenStreetMap (Score 1) 302

Most of the general information regarding the location of transmission line infrastructure must be made public in order for the local regulatory authority (e.g. state commissions) to approve or deny projects. Furthermore, the existence of RTO/ISOs push more and more data into the hands of the public in the name of market transparency. Data that otherwise would have been internally confidential in a number of (formerly) vertically integrated entities. I am not arguing that such disclosure is bad, but if the public really cared to know how fragile the grids are to things as simply as a raccoon in the wrong place in a transformer, there would be panic in the streets.

Comment Re:Counterfeit or foreign? (Score 1) 208

3. Unauthorized resale: Authentic goods being sold in some manner that makes the manufacturer a sad, sad, panda.
. . .
[T]hey will also bust you for importing authentic Rolexes, legally purchased outside the US, if the trademark holder doesn't want you selling them in the US, despite them being 100% genuine product, with no theft or fraud in the distribution chain

The Supreme Court will decide this issue next term in the context of a student importing legally purchased textbooks in Thailand and reselling them in the US.

Comment Re:So they can own and track ALL your files? (Score 1) 109

Your Content in our Services: When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide licence to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes that we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content

The rights that you grant in this licence are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This licence continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing that you have added to Google Maps).”

Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

The clauses go hand in hand. Yes, you maintain ownership because you are not assigning all of your rights to Google when you upload a file. The problem comes with the overly broad grant of a license from you (as owner) to Google (as licensee). The limiting language used by Google is not enough to ensure that you do not intend to give them permission to make your otherwise private material public in ways you hadn't anticipated.

Google does not need to own your IP to do (almost) anything it wants with your material; all they need is a broad enough license.

Comment Re:Damn unfortunate (Score 1) 714

The Felony Murder Rule applies in the case of the bank robbery example. The concept is very close to "he broke the law and as a result someone is dead." In fact, it extends to almost everyone involved in the felony. For example, the driver-accomplice can be charged with first degree murder, even if he was discovered, arrested, and handcuffed in the back of a police car when one of his other accomplices pulled the trigger.

Comment How to Exclude Yourself (Score 1) 128

From the settlement website: How do I exclude myself from the Settlement Class? If you do not wish to be a Settlement Class Member, you may exclude yourself by writing to the Claims Administrator. You must provide your full name and address, state that you want to opt out of the Settlement, and deliver your request by mail, hand, or overnight delivery service to the P2P Congestion Settlement Claims Administrator, c/o Rust Consulting, P.O. Box 9454, Minneapolis, MN 55440-9454. Your request must be postmarked no later than May 13, 2010.

Submission + - MySpace Censoring Ron Paul Supporters

nexeruza writes: "Rupert Mudoch silencing Ron Paul supporters on MySpace? The subject speaks for itself. Ron Paul has been blatantly censored through the media... MSNBC, CNN, ABC, and even now MySpace on the internet where his support is strongest. Youtube videos have shown us the truth in numbers of hundreds the censorship and hack jobs attacking Ron Paul in an attempt to discredit, blackout, and often blatantly lie about him and his campaign. This is an attack of the First Amendment on the freedom of speech and is un-American to say the least."

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