Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
DEAL: For $25 - Add A Second Phone Number To Your Smartphone for life! Use promo code SLASHDOT25. Also, Slashdot's Facebook page has a chat bot now. Message it for stories and more. Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! ×

Lawrence Lessig Reviews The Social Network 223

Hugh Pickens writes "Lawrence Lessig — author, Harvard law professor, co-founder of Creative Commons — reviews The Social Network in The New Republic. Although Lessig says the movie is an 'intelligent, beautiful, and compelling film,' he adds that as a story about Facebook, it is deeply, deeply flawed because the movie fails to even mention the real magic behind the Facebook story, and while everyone walking out out of the movie will think they understand the genius of the internet, almost none of them will have seen the real ethic of internet creativity that makes success stories like Facebook possible. 'Because the platform of the Internet is open and free, or in the language of the day, because it is a "neutral network," a billion Mark Zuckerbergs have the opportunity to invent for the platform,' writes Lessig. 'And that is tragedy because just at the moment when we celebrate the product of these two wonders — Zuckerberg and the Internet — working together, policymakers are conspiring ferociously with old world powers to remove the conditions for this success. As "network neutrality" gets bargained away — to add insult to injury, by an administration that was elected with the promise to defend it — the opportunities for the Zuckerbergs of tomorrow will shrink.' Lessig laments that the creators of the movie didn't understand the ethic of Internet creativity and thought that the real story was the invention of Facebook not the platform that made such democratic innovation possible. 'Zuckerberg is a rightful hero of our time,' concludes Lessig. 'As I looked around at the packed theater of teens and twenty-somethings, there was no doubt who was in the right, however geeky and clumsy and sad. That generation will judge this new world. If, that is, we allow that new world to continue to flourish.'"

Submission + - Being sued by the MPAA 2

thawrecker writes: A friend of mine is being sued by the MPAA for allegedly infringing on the copyright of a movie. Her identity was obtained from Verizon, under due process so there was no reason to fight this. I contacted the EFF on behalf of my friend, who were not at all interested, even advising that my friend should just pay the protection money that is being asked for, as it would be cheaper than hiring an attorney to defend herself. I actually feel that no case can possibly be made against my friend for the following reasons:

1) The file was never downloaded by her.
2) There is no harddrive evidence. She took her computer in to be formatted and reinstalled before ever receiving any notice of a claim of infringing on copyright, and has receipts and evidence to show for this. This was because of a problem with Windows refusing to start, and she needed it fixed.
3) She regularly has guests at least once a month from many different countries, all who use her internet connection. From what I understand having the internet connection in your name does not make you responsible for what people do on your connection. As she has guests, there is no reasonable expectation for her to police their behaviour and invade their privacy. Right?
4) She ran an unsecured wifi connection for some time as there were problems with an older computer signing on with any kind of security.

With no proof and any number of possible people who could have downloaded the file, surely they have no case?

I am familiar with Australian and UK law, not so much US law. The principles are largely the same however, and I would like to try and fight my friends case (just with wording motions and such, not actually representing her), but I am desperate as to where I could get some free advice to enable me to do so. I have very specific questions, and am not looking for free representation. Does the slashdot community have any suggestions on where I may find such advice, or opinions on if I can simply apply to have the case dismissed?

Submission + - Mandriva: Financial Woes Mean Sale or Breakup?

Freshly Exhumed writes: With Google Translate we can see that the MLO site is reporting that Mandriva, the French/Brazilian Linux distribution publisher, is in financial trouble again and soon may not be able to meet payroll. It's corporate predecessor, Mandrake, once came close to ruin but merged with Connectiva and seemed stable for a few years, putting out an excellent set of Linux distribution versions. Two potential buyers (LightApp from the UK, Linagora from France) have apparently stepped forward to look at buying the entire company or parts of it:

To me it would be a pity if Mandriva ceased to exist as we know it. The distribution is one of the best out there for polish and attention to detail, and would be a good corporate buy based on that alone. I've always felt that it would be a great "house" Linux version for a big player like Dell, HP, etc. but clearly there are factors stopping such computer companies or other Linux distributors from buying it.

Oh well, if they cannot make it then that's the way it goes...

Submission + - 13 Open Source Hardware Companies Make $1 Million+ (

kkleiner writes: Selling products whose design anyone can access, edit, or use on their own is pretty crazy. It’s also good business. At the annual hacker conference Foo Camp East this year, Phillip Torrone and Limor Fried from Adafruit Industries gave a rapid fire five minute presentation on thirteen companies with million dollar revenues or more from open source hardware. While this business model is counter-intuitive for those used to our patent and copyright loving system, Torrone and Fried estimate that the industry will reach a billion dollars by 2015.
GNU is Not Unix

Submission + - Can Employer Usurp Copyright On GPL-derived Work? 4

An anonymous reader writes: I am a recent graduate, and I've been working on my own on a project that uses GPL-licensed libraries. Later a university department hired me to develop this project into a solution that they needed, on a part-time basis. The project's size increased over time and soliciting help from the open source community seemed like the natural way to go, however when I suggested this, my boss was not interested, and it was made clear to me that the department's position was that copyright of the whole thing belonged to them. Indeed by default work created for an employer belongs to the employer, so I may have found myself in the same trap as described in this story: "". Even though I want to release my code to the public I don't know whether I have the legal right to do so, and many people are likely in the same position, working for a university without realizing that their work may not belong to them.

I am wondering whether there is room for hope, since
(1) I started the project on my own, and since no written or verbal agreement was ever made to transfer copyright over to my employer I question whether they can claim that they now own the extended version of the project.
(2) The whole project relies on GPL libraries, since from the start I intended to release it under GPL, and without those libraries it would be useless. Can they still claim copyright and prevent me from publishing the source code even though it is derived from GPL software?

Comment Re:Tools (Score 1) 421

So your point is that maybe he's just afraid of being rich, for a reason? But it's too late! The money is already his, and half of the stuff you described is already happening.

He needs to accept that there's a world full of people out there, and guess what, he's in it. And however sad that may be, saying "leave me alone" is sometimes not enough. People sometimes get to you anyway. Of course, publishing a life-changing mathematical proof doesn't help.

Now that he's already in the spotlight, and especially if he wants to be left alone, he needs to take a stand regarding the prize. Either he takes it, or he calls Millennium and get them to withdraw/donate/whatever, or he refuses and tells the media why... something. The money is already in his porch, and he needs to deal with it. Doing nothing is only making it worse.

Comment Oblig. Good Will Hunting quote (Score 4, Insightful) 421

Will: Oh, come on! What? Why is it always this? I mean, I fuckin' owe it to myself to do this or that. What if I don't want to?
Chuckie: No. No, no no no. Fuck you, you don't owe it to yourself man, you owe it to me. Cuz tomorrow I'm gonna wake up and I'll be 50, and I'll still be doin' this shit. And that's all right. That's fine. I mean, you're sittin' on a winnin' lottery ticket. And you're too much of a pussy to cash it in, and that's bullshit. 'Cause I'd do fuckin' anything to have what you got. So would any of these fuckin' guys. It'd be an insult to us if you're still here in 20 years. Hangin' around here is a fuckin' waste of your time.

<b> mine.

Comment Not Good Enough (Score 1) 419

Correct me if I'm wrong, but TFA only shows that:

- BEFORE the merger, Youtube was intentionally lax about video copyright;
- Google knew it.

That can be easily downplayed in court by Google, by saying "yes we knew but that's why we bought it, so we could fix that part". Plus, Google's got plenty of evidence of their effort to remove copyrighted stuff AFTER the merger.

Now, about countering "your evidence of infringement was uploaded by yourself"...


Can You Fight DRM With Patience? 309

As modern DRM schemes get more annoying and invasive, the common wisdom is to vote with your wallet and avoid supporting developers and publishers who include such schemes with their games. Or, if you simply must play it, wait a while until outcry and complaints have caused the DRM restrictions to be loosened. But will any of that make game creators rethink their stance? An article at CNet argues that gamers are, in general, an impatient bunch, and that trait combined with the nature of the games industry means that progress fighting DRM will be slow or nonexistent. Quoting: "Increasingly so, the joke seems to be on the customers who end up buying this software when it first comes out. A simple look back at some controversial titles has shown us that after the initial sales come, the publisher later removes the vast majority of the DRM, leaving gamers to enjoy the software with fewer restrictions. ... Still, [waiting until later to purchase the game] isn't a good long-term solution. Early sales are often one of the big quantifiers in whether a studio will start working on a sequel, and if everyone were to wait to buy games once they hit the bargain price, publishers would simply stop making PC versions. There's also no promise that the really heavy bits of DRM will be stripped out at a later date, except for the fact that most publishers are unlikely to want to maintain the cost of running the activation, and/or online verification servers for older software."

Comment Re:This was not censorship. (Score 1) 414

2. You don't have the right to know all indisputable facts. I don't have the right to know your sexual orientation, what medication you may or may not use, who you voted for in the presidential election, where you live, your social security number or your bank account PIN.

True, but while no one's claiming to have the right to know, Wikipedia is claiming to be unbiased. And bias towards noble intentions is still bias. WP should have stuck to its encyclopedia roots, and allowed any edit backed by reliable sources. Of which there were a few.

And on that "noble intentions" bit, there was no way to be absolutely sure that suppressing the news about the kidnapping would help. Maybe that could have caused the guy to die. And WP, by taking the same side of other media outlets who complied with the blackout, would be accountable. Instead, if they had just reflected what's been reported elsewhere, they could have kept their distance from whatever outcome.


Google To Promote Web Speed On New Dev Site 106

CWmike writes "Google has created a Web site for developers that is focused exclusively on making Web applications, sites and browsers faster. The site will allow developers to submit ideas, suggestions and questions via a discussion forum and by using Google's Moderator tool. Google hopes developers will join it in improving core online technologies such as HTML and TCP/IP. For Google, a prime example of how Web performance can be enhanced is the development of HTML 5, which provides a major improvement in how Web applications process Javascript, Google believes. 'We're hoping the community will spend some time on the basic protocols of the Internet,' Google product manager Richard Rabbat said. 'There's quite a bit of optimization that can be done [in that area].'"

An Experiment In BlackBerry Development 207

ballwall writes "We've all read the stories about how lucrative selling apps on the iPhone can be (or not), but what about other platforms? BlackBerry accounts for twice as many handsets shipped as Apple, according to Gartner, so I decided to find out. I wrote about my experiences developing my first BlackBerry application including sales, platform issues, and a bunch of other things I thought new mobile developers might want to know about."

Comment Hanging on to the old ways (Score 1) 355

ESPN is just trying to stick to their classic business model.

When the only way to get ESPN was cable TV, they lobbied the cable companies to make sure ESPN was included on as many channel packages as possible, even if it meant ignoring consumer requests. That way more people paid their fee, even if they were not watching the shows. And they made money off people who never watched their channel.

This is just an attempt to repeat that model. Now cable TV is the net, cable companies are ISPs, but even though ESPN is on all packages by default, they're not making money off non-watchers anymore.

Guess what ESPN, proxies and offshore ISPs will not go away. So I guess you're gonna have to depend on the quality of your shows in order to make money. Bummer...

Slashdot Top Deals

It is better to live rich than to die rich. -- Samuel Johnson