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Submission + - Using Tor to help defeat oppressive regimes (latentexistence.me.uk)

lga writes: A common feature of oppressive regimes is control of information. In Egypt recently the government not only blocked television signals from the likes of Al Jazeera, but they actually resorted to almost completely shutting down the internet across the whole country in an effort to prevent protesters from organising. In China, Iran, Syria, Cuba, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and many other places, the governments block access to sites that they consider a threat to either the government or to the moral values of the people. This usually includes social networks like Facebook and Twitter and news organisations like the BBC and Al Jazeera.

While a partial connection to the outside world is available, there is a way to get full access – with the Tor project which you can find at www.torproject.org. Tor makes use of a network of volunteers across the world to smuggle information across the borders. Read more about why you should run a Tor relay and the pros and cons.

Star Wars Prequels

George Lucas C&Ds 'Lightsaber Laser' 481

dward90 writes "George Lucas thinks that bulky, handheld lasers shouldn't be produced because they are his intellectual property. From CNN: 'George Lucas wants to force a laser company to stop making a new, high-powered product he says looks too much like the famous lightsaber from his classic sci-fi series. Lucasfilm Ltd. has sent a cease-and-desist letter to Hong Kong-based Wicked Lasers, threatening legal action if it doesn't change its Pro Arctic Laser series or stop selling it altogether.'"

Comment Re:Risk? (Score 1) 568

The trouble with this is they WILL lose supporters for simply making a deal with the conservatives. Its sad, and I wish it wasnt the case because it probably is the only way to bring about a reform right about now. If we let the conservatives get a government in without agreeing to at LEAST a referendum, then thats it. They will do everything to secure their place for the forseeable future. which means reducing the number of MPs and changing constituency sizes - in their favour.

Comment Re:That is very interesting (Score 1) 301

But we know that after a certain critical period it becomes functionally impossible for a human being to learn language.

We do?? Como sabemos eso? I learned Espanol en la edad de 50. Just how long is this periodo critico anyway? Y'all gonna be hard up if you move to Santiago, dood.

(disclaimer: I still can't understand Mexican)

Comment Married ?! (Score 0, Redundant) 456

Sorry but what marriage has to do with it ?

Marriage is not a 100% guarantee that the other person will never ever happen to cheat and be at risk at bringing some nasty bug home.
You may make romantic promises of trust and fidelity on the "Big Day", but we're still animals with deeply rooted instincts and you can't guarantee that nothing will ever go wrong over the course of a whole life.

Doing tests for both (non necessarily married/engaged) partners, trusting enough each other that a partner will openly admit cheating and potential risks of bringing bugs home, that is a slightly more efficient strategy.

Comment Re:They Suck (Score 4, Interesting) 949

It's a civil court where these cases are going.

True, this story is about civil court lawsuits being filed. However I would wager that the "settlement offers" do explicitly raise the threat of criminal charges and prison if you don't give them the money they demand.

Having people think something is crime that can be prosecuted in criminal court when it is demonstrably not so

False. The 1997 NET Act in the US did in fact make most copyright infringement into a felony. In particular the NET Act slipped this cute redefinition into law:

101. The term "financial gain" includes receipt, or expectation of receipt, of anything of value, including the receipt of other copyrighted works.

Any use of Bittorrent or any other P2P pretty much by definition "includes receipt, or expectation of receipt, of anything of value, including the receipt of other copyrighted works". It is also quite easy for offline non-commercial infringement to fall under that definition.

The NET Act adds the following criminal law:

506. Criminal offenses
(a) Criminal Infringement.--Any person who infringes a copyright willfully either--
  1. for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain, or
  2. by the reproduction or distribution, including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of 1 or more copies or phonorecords of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $1,000, shall be punished as provided under section 2319 of title 18. For purposes of this subsection, evidence of reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work, by itself, shall not be sufficient to establish willful infringement.

Note that that is an "or" situation. Under the first clause, even a single minimal infringement is defined as a criminal act if it falls within that crazy redefinition for "financial gain".

The NET act also defines the criminal penalties:

Criminal infringement of a copyright
(a) Whoever violates section 506(a) (relating to criminal offenses) of title 17 shall be punished as provided in subsections (b) and (c) of this section and such penalties shall be in addition to any other provisions of title 17 or any other law.
(b) Any person who commits an offense under section 506(a)(1) of title 17--
    1. shall be imprisoned not more than 5 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution including by electronic means, during any 180-day period, of at least 10 copies or phonorecords, of 1 or more copyrighted works, which have a total retail value of more than $2,500;
    2. shall be imprisoned not more than 10 years, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, if the offense is a second or subsequent offense under paragraph (1); and
    3. shall be imprisoned not more than 1 year, or fined in the amount set forth in this title, or both, in any other case.

So the penalty is up to FIVE YEARS in prison if you have uploaded or downloaded 10 or more infringing files during a half year. The penalty is up to TEN YEARS for a second offense.

Oh, and if it's only a single act of infringement of a single file, then the law is much more generous with you, the crime is merely a felony with up to ONE YEAR in prison.

If you somehow manage not to fall under the "financial gain" definition, 506(a)(2) still makes infringement a felony if the infringement has a total "retail value" of $1,000 within a half year. In that case the prison terms are merely three years if it was ten or more copies with a total retail value of $2,500, six years on a second offense, or merely up to one year in prison for a non "financial-gain" infringement with total claimed retail value under $2,500.

Probably about a quarter of the entire U.S. population are technically unindicted criminal copyright felons subject to one or more years in prison. We would need to build a prison larger than any state, to hold the close to a hundred million felons.

If this law were actually to be enforced the government would be overthrown overnight. The entire population would take to the streets and just toss the entire government our, as virtually everyone would either be a felon or a close friend/family of a felon.

And for those of you outside the U.S., don't be so quick to smugly laugh at crazy American criminal copyright law. The E.U. and many other countries have passed equivalent criminal law. Outside the U.S. the phrase "commercial scale infringement" is often the code words to criminalize essentially any non-commercial copyright infringement that touches the internet.


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