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Comment Re:Simon Singh (Score 3, Insightful) 507

The point of the libel case is that Simon's decision to make the argument that promoting and selling remedies without scientific backing is disingenuous is being classified as a smear --- and the relation to this article is that that's almost exactly what the MPs are saying about homeopaths.

There is nothing wrong with the ideal of disallowing libel, but it is the way in which that ideal is implemented in British law that is what causes most people to "bitch". For example, in the chiropractic case, the courts have essentially asked Simon to defend against the worst possible allegation that one could possibly read in to his case --- he now essentially needs to prove dishonest intent on the part of the chiropractors, which is even more unfair by the fact that *his* intent to make that claim dishonestly was assumed with little opportunity for him to defend it.

Specifically, his statement was "despite a lack of evidence, the BCA happily promote these remedies ..." and the judge decided that the claim of dishonest conduct was implied by the use of the word happy. I don't know how you feel, but I'd say that any fair reading of that statement is not going to assume that that claim was made. The upshot of all of this is that Simon Singh has to prove that chiropractors are intentionally dishonest or pay up around half a million pounds. He can't just argue that reasonable people should have some reason to believe a remedy works before they sell it! He's clearly being sued for making a statement which was an expression of his opinion.

A law is judged by the way it is implemented, and the effect of the British libel laws (in this case and many others) has been to chill criticisms. I disagree with you --- I think the American system, which also allows people to sue for Libel, but asks the plaintiff to prove that the defendant stated something specifically untrue as fact, is far more ideal. There may be a lot more "noise" on the news, but at least no one's being censored.

Comment This is shameful (Score 5, Insightful) 506

The people on whom the connection is not lost, would see this as a tribute from Google to Philip K. Dick. It would be sad if this sort of unbridled greed on the part of some discourages companies and people from expressing their admiration for the contributions of others.

I do not have a problem with an author's children trying to assert their legal rights --- but this would've been as wrong if the author himself had talked about suing. There is really no reason, legal or otherwise, for Google to be paying money to the Dick foundation. Trademark laws do not apply here. And, does anyone think the name is going to "help" Nexus / Android sales ? Or that there will be people who will buy the nexus thinking it is a Dick novel ? Is Google really profiting or abusing Dick's IP ? Are book sales going to be affected ?

Comment Re:Hope he never gets funded again (Score 5, Informative) 79

Or perhaps,

Intel: The work you do has had an immense impact on the field, and helped us a lot. Thank you, and here's some money so that you keep working on this.
Sohi: Thanks man!
(After research)
Intel: Hey, we own everything you make!

Or even,

WARF: Here's $$$$$$ so that you can set up your lab, hire graduate students, buy equipment. As a condition for the money, we would like to explicitly state that we should own patent rights to your inventions.
Sohi: Sounds good.
Intel: Here's $$ -- consider it a gift.
Sohi: Thanks man. .. sohi invents something ..
WARF: Nice job, we'll patent that now.
Intel: Hey, no fair, we paid some money too, we own the rights.
Judge: (to intel) No you don't!


I'm a graduate student, and I can tell you that it is quite common for companies to fund faculty members via gifts --- that come with no strings attached. Why, you ask ? Altruism -- not really. It is often in a company's interest to have a good relationship with a faculty member / university lab. It means that the faculty member is more likely to work at solving problems that the company would like solved. It is often understood that if the problem is solved, the solution may be in the public domain or that they may have to license it from the university --- but that's better than not having a solution at all. The money that the company pays is often peanuts compared to what they'd have to spend to build a similar research environment themselves.

Comment Re:Windows Mobile (Score 2, Interesting) 332

Actually, getting certified is not essential for Symbian platforms --- it is possible to disable/ignore "not certified" warnings when installing an app. This seems like a good trade-off to me: Nokia's providing users the option of only installing vetted software, but if someone believes that they know what they're doing and are able to spot malware, then these certificates aren't binding.

This is true of only unlocked phones though --- don't know about the AT&T branded ones.

Comment Re:Copyright law applies to internal distribution (Score 1) 306

Yes. For instance, you can accept a contract to develop changes and agree not to release your changes until the client says ok. This is permitted because in this case no GPL-covered code is being distributed under an NDA. You can also release your changes to the client under the GPL, but agree not to release them to anyone else unless the client says ok. In this case, too, no GPL-covered code is being distributed under an NDA, or under any additional restrictions.

I think that would cover it.

Comment Re:Copyright law applies to internal distribution (Score 3, Informative) 306

That analogy is, unfortunately, wholly incorrect.

The GPL requires you to distribute the source code to everyone you give the binary. If you do not distribute the binary but keep it in house, there is nothing that forces you to hand out any changes you've made to the source.

This isn't even a loophole in the GPL, this is in there by design --- if I "buy" GPL software from someone, I own it --- I am free to modify it in any way I see fit, and unless I'm seeking to profit by re-selling it, I have no further obligations to the person gave or sold me that software.

Comment Re:In other votes. (Score 1) 176

And this move by the newspaper formalizes the notion that the primary criterion for whether a story is reported is if it will increase sales. Perhaps there's nothing wrong with it, after all a newspaper is a business too - and many are in danger of going bankrupt. But somehow, "yelp"-ifying journalism sounds a little disconcerting.

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