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Comment Re:Legitimate concerns (Score 0) 282

The RL identities of most bullies are already known to those being bullied, yet the bullying persists.

You don't always know the bullie. I remember a situation many years ago about a woman who graduated law school, passed the bar and couldn't find work because an anonymous coward posted rumors about her exchanging favors for grades (I tried to find the story but couldn't. Maybe someone else can). I did find this one about a couple who were accused of being sexual predators, on online forums ( There are hundreds more, some where the accuser remains unknown and others where they were discovered.

It is important to protect free speech, I also believe in our obligation to the truth. We also must protect the right of an individual to face their accuser (in the US at least). You should be safe, from persecution or harassment, for posting a bad review or for whistle blowing but you should also be safe from someone ruining your career/life by posting total fabrications about you. Somehow, we need to find a balance.

Comment Re:Short answer: (Score 1) 686

There is. Just not one as catchy. Copyright infringement, subreption, fraud and others, depending on what exactly you are doing.

Everything the content industry whines about is already handled by the law. They just create the impression that it isn't so they can lobby for more laws to "close loopholes" that don't really exist. They call it "theft" so you have a mental image.

Words are important. Aldous Huxley believed that if you could control language, you could control the people (and he feared they would try). But more important than words are the ideas that they convey. None of the words you listed above describe the topic.

You keep assuming that theft only applies to tangible objects. That is why you're satisfied that it's not wrong to use a ad blocker. One of the sub definitions of theft is to deny a person the use or benefit of their property.
... the Supreme Court of Canada has construed "anything" very broadly, stating that it is not restricted to tangibles, but includes intangibles. To be the subject of theft it must, however:
be property of some sort;
be property capable of being
taken (therefore intangibles are excluded); or
converted (and may be an intangible);
taken or converted in a way that deprives the owner of his/her proprietary interest in some way.

The owner of the material's copyright has the right to garner income from that content. When you block ads, you deny the owner of the web site the ability to convert their property into income. You don't know if it is a hobby or the owner's livelihood and that should't matter. Your like or dislike of ads is equally irreverent. It is the right of the owner of the content to place ads or not place ads.

It is a simple moral issue. If you use shareware (or commercial software), you should pay for it or not use it. If you don't like the ads on a web site, you shouldn't visit it.

Regardless of what some people would like to believe, it is commerce that built the World Wide Web as we know it. And it is the continued interest of commercial entities that will keep the web alive.

Comment Re:Short answer: (Score 1) 686

Maybe theft isn't the right word. Maybe there isn't a legal definition that covers it. Maybe there shouldn't be. Maybe we should leave it as an ethical issue.

We agree that many sites are over the top obnoxious when it comes to showing ads (flash, pop-ups, etc.). Some sites are nothing but ad pages with small bits of content just for show. One tech site (that shall remain nameless here) sells words in their articles. If you hover your mouse over one of those words, the ad pops up. Damn annoying.

My argument is that when you use a service (i.e. read an article on a web site), it is wrong to deny the provider of that service the means to cover their expenses and possibly profit from providing that service. It's obvious that you went there because there was something on the site that you felt would have some value. We work at our jobs and expect to be paid for our work. Why should we deny the website owner? The alternative would be some sort of pay as you go system. Or worse yet, the end of the small internet media outlets.

Comment Re:Short answer: (Score 1) 686

I wish you had included the source of your definition. Merriam-Webster defines theft as:
the act of stealing; specifically the felonious taking and removing of personal property with intent to deprive the rightful owner of it

Further down the page they expand a bit by stating:
In law, the crime of taking the property or services of another without consent.

Because you aren't physically taking something doesn't mean it's not theft. When you are talking about the internet, it is all about services, ISP, cell phone data plan, content, etc. What happens if you go to the cable supply box outside your house and wire it so you can get your cable service without paying. You are not taking anything physical but if you get caught, you will stand before the judge and pay hefty fines and or go to jail for theft of services. If you go to the doctor's office and he gives you a full exam. Do you leave without paying? You didn't take anything physical?

Most sites on the web allow you to view the content without demanding payment. All they ask is that you allow them the revenue stream from display ads. To use their services, while denying them the revenue is the moral and ethical equivalent of theft. You are deriving a benefit from the services they offer while denying them any benefit from providing you with those services.

On a personal note. Thanks for keeping this an intelligent discussion rather than the "I'm right, your wrong so go F- yourself" arguments of some of the others here.

Comment Re:Short answer: (Score 1) 686

Slashdot has ads, if you don't want to see them, how much are you willing to pay?

If you increase your karma by getting plenty of points, Slashdot give you a button to disable ads.

That is part of the agreement between you and Slashdot. If you don't want to see ads in these pages, increase your karma. Thoughtful content in the forum makes the forum more meaningful to others and increases the number of people, with lower karma, who visit the site and do see ads. Both sides win.

$120-360 per year seems to be the price point for digital content. . Or would you prefer to see the ads (no flashing lights or florescent dancing monkeys please) at the top and side of the page?

There is an old saying: "God created man. Samuel Colt made them equal." I think the internet makes us all much more equal. Our thoughts and opinions are not being molded solely by the News Corps and CNN. We have a much wider range of resources for news and opinion than just big business news. Unless the small guy can afford to stay online, we loose that alternative source. What price do we pay to keep it that way?

Comment Re:Short answer: (Score -1) 686

you damn well do not get to open your doors to the public and then claim that if they come in and look at your wares without buying they are somehow "stealing".

The rationalization that most people make is that it can't be theft if it is still there to be used by others. To use the service and deny the operators their means of income is the ethical equivalent of theft. Business success is not guaranteed but it is every business' right' to be able to work towards profitability. To deny them the ability to make money is to deny them that right. The ads are presented to offset the cost of running the site. The alternative would be to have every site a subscription or pay per page business model. How many different sites do you go to in a given week?

You don't walk into a restaurant, eat the 'complementary' rolls on the table and walk out. There is an agreement between you and the restaurant that the rolls are free when you order a meal. When you enter a web site, there is an implied contract between you and the site operators (whether you want to admit it or not), that you are allowed to view the content. It is not free! You are not free to take it and use it as if it were yours. If you view it you should help support its production. Non-invasive ads are an easy and small price to pay.

I do agree with you about the obnoxious ads. I don't like ads that are more prominent than the content that they are supporting.

Comment Re:Short answer: (Score 0) 686

Just for a day, count how many pages you view. Multiply that by $0.10. Are you willing to pay that much to view the content? We want to cruise the internet unfettered by things like subscription pay walls.

It's not the same as the guy on the street corner. It cost nothing to stand on a corner and sing. It costs money to run a web site. You say people will pay for it if they think it's worth it. Time and again, that model has failed. Consumer Reports and porn sites are the only ones that seem to make a subscription service work.

Look at freeware applications. How may people download and use them? How many of those people have hit the contribute button? Again, most people don't.

Unfortunately, the music industry went heavy handed to protect their product but if we ignore the RIAA for a minute and simplify the equation. A band records a song. A fan downloads the song. According to you, the band will make money when fans pay for the song. Facts are as many people (maybe more) download and don't pay than pay for the downloads.

You claim that if everyone was on a pay as you go plan, only the good content will survive. Sounds good, in theory, but reality is that only the deep pockets will survive. The small independent voices will be squashed and drowned out by the corporate interests. Ad revenue is a small thing but it keeps them alive. Ad blocking software threatens that existence.

Comment Re:Short answer: (Score -1, Troll) 686

How many of the people using ad blocking technology will be willing the open up their wallets and pay for content each time they click on a link? Slashdot has ads, if you don't want to see them, how much are you willing to pay?

I have built and run sites that rely on ad revenue. If you don't want to see the ads, you shouldn't view the content. It is stealing because you are denying the revenue stream. If I could block ad blocking content, I would.

I hate the flashing florescent flying monkey ads as much as the next guy but, simple ads, with nice artwork don't hurt anyone. Hey you may even learn about a product or service you didn't know about before.

Comment Re:Google's motivation (Score 1) 219

The license says When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with).... This is not limiting them to documents designated, by the owner, to be public. Offering features to me and persons I decide to share with (thumbnails, etc.) is part of the service and not required to be allowed in the licensing agreement. They are giving themselves the right to publicly display and distribute everything. Translating, thumbnails, etc. are not modifying. Why would they need that right, in any of the services that they offer?

Comment Re:New classification needed (Score 1) 671

Protects whites from blacks, straights from gays, Christians from Muslims?

That's how it is supposed to work. The cases that I have seen show a pattern of hatred leading up to the attack. Two guys aren't charged with a hate crime simply because they were in a bar fight.

When we start demonizing and dehumanizing a group, it makes it easier to deny them the basic freedoms that we cherish and it also makes it easier to shoot them just for sport. Hate speech is fashionable and contagious. Anti-Semitic, anti-Islamic, anti-gay, anti-Catholic, anti-whatever has not only become accepted but in some circles it is expected. I'm not advocating limits on free speech. I am advocating holding people responsible for the results of their vehement rhetoric. That is why hate crimes, committed by anyone against any group, have to be singled out and more severely punished (IMHO).

I'll step off of my soapbox now. Thank you.

Comment Re:New classification needed (Score 3, Informative) 671

Hate crimes are a specific class of criminal action. It deals with the motivation for the act as well as the act. You are not prosecuted for the act of hating but rather for the criminal acts that result from that hate. This is not pandering to special interests. It protects everyone from being targeted based on religion, politics, race, sexual orientation, etc.

We punish accidental death differently from premeditated murder. Biblical law would require the death penalty regardless of the circumstances, so we've refined it a bit in the past 2000 years. This is just another level of differentiation in the criminal code.

If this tragedy was the result of accidentally outing a friend it would be different. Before the hate crime statute was applied, he was trying to pass the whole thing off as a "prank" that got out of hand. There are e-mails and text messages that show that Dharun Ravi was actively trying to force his roommate to move out because he didn't want a gay roommate (why didn't he leave instead is another question). His hatred pushed him to act beyond the limits of reason. That makes it a hate crime.

Comment Re:welleee (Score 5, Insightful) 888

The internet never forgets. The offending material will always be there. The best thing to do is to bury it. Become an active participant on multiple forums, everything from albacore tuna fishing to zoology (avoid politics and religion). Use your real, full name. Post as much as you can type. In about a year, a search for you will turn up 20 pages of friendly links, most people will stop after page 3. The offending articles will be stale dated and buried at the bottom of the pile. Post to professional forums the most but also non-professional forums so they see that you have a real life as well. You could also try to publish some articles in professional journals (online and dead tree), they should score higher than forum posts. Good Luck.

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