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Comment Re:What happened to personal choice? (Score 1) 104

... there are certain laws that Uber is required to comply with if it wishes to hire workers, whether they be contractors or actual employees ... they should not be able to require private arbitration against drivers who are trying to force Uber to live up to their legal obligations as an employer ... I believe that binding arbitration clauses are decidedly unfair and biased in favor of the company demanding the contract at the expense of the person who is forced to accept that contract

I don't doubt that you believe that the arbitration clause is unfair and biased -- but what you (or I) believe is irrelevant here, since it is the drivers who signed the contract. They evidently didn't believe the clause was unfair or biased -- after all they signed a the contract. We should respect their judgement.

Comment What happened to personal choice? (Score 2) 104

As far as I know, drivers aren't forced (by operation of law or against the law) to drive for Uber. Anyone who drivers for Uber has freely signed the contract, judging that the benefits of driving for Uber outweighed the costs -- including all the obligations imposed by the contract such as the arbitration clause.

If the drivers didn't like the terms of the contract, they had a simple remedy: they could have found a different job. We should respect their choice.

More so if it is us (society at large and the legal system) who think that the drivers made a bad bargain, in that we believe giving up access to the courts isn't worth the money you get by driving for Uber. Then our solution is to speak out and convince the drivers to quit -- it's not to retroactively negate the free choice the drivers made.

Comment News reporting creates cognitive biases (Score 5, Insightful) 243

We have a fundamental problem: our brains tend to confuse the availability and prevalence of information about something with the prevalence of the underlying event.

Here, the news is reporting on every serious Tesla crash, creating the false impression that these are dangerous cars -- we aren't seeing a report on every Corolla crash, say.

I think the same bias plays into current panic over child abductions, which is distorting evaluation of common parenting strategies like letting kids play by themselves: it's not that abductions today are more common in the past, but that today's media is much better equipped to discover and wildly and rapidly disseminate information about them.

Comment Re:Your logic would seem to make sense but for... (Score 2) 238

The EULA that comes with Windows specifically allows customers to return it for a refund

NO. The EULA specifically refers customers to the OEM to get a refund based on the OEM's return/refund policy. That policy could be that they can get a separate refund for Windows but keep the device, but it doesn't have to be. Here Sony's refund policy is that you can return the whole device and get all of your money back.

Comment Bundling is perfectly normal (Score 5, Insightful) 238

Just because you may want the company to offer different products, doesn't mean they have to. My electric razor came with all kinds of useless attachments, but it would be silly to ask for a refund for those I don't use. The seller offers the product for sale, the buyer decides whether to buy it, they negotiate the price, and if both are satisfied the sale takes place.

Asking about "the price of each piece of preinstalled software" is even worse nonsense. We don't obliged sellers to disclose their costs of assembling their products (that's their private information!). And the retail price of the components is utterly irrelevant.

In the specific case of MS-Windows on laptops there is a question of abuse of monopoly power (the ruling does have an exception for when the bundling distorts the market) -- but as long as Sony's policy of not offering component refunds is due to Sony (rather than a contractual obligation between Sony and Microsoft) I don't see how that could be a cause for complaint either. I remember situations where MS insisted that to get an OEM license vendors had to promise to only sell machines with preinstalled OS -- but even then I don't think it had to be MS-Windows that was preinstalled, and this is not similar to what's in the complaint.

Submission + - Malibu Media stay lifted, motion to quash denied

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In the federal court for the Eastern District of New York, where all Malibu Media cases have been stayed for the past year, the Court has lifted the stay and denied the motion to quash in the lead case, thus permitting all 84 cases to move forward. In his 28-page decision (PDF), Magistrate Judge Steven I. Locke accepted the representations of Malibu's expert, one Michael Patzer from a company called Excipio, that in detecting BitTorrent infringement he relies on "direct detection" rather than "indirect detection", and that it is "not possible" for there to be misidentification.

Comment This isn't about new hardware (Score 4, Insightful) 378

The problem is not newly-bought consumer electronics or legacy software. The problem is legacy hardware. I'm still using the Thinkpad I bought in 2006 (4:3 aspect ratio display). Luckily it's a 64-bit processor, but others have older 32-bit machines.

It's also not about the kernel -- Linux itself will support 32-bit architecture for a long while more, and most software will compile correctly on both 32-bit and 64-bit, though it will be less and less true as distributions stop their QA and you are left with only the upstream development team.

Of course, these old machines are pretty few, so it probably does make sense for Ubuntu to drop 32-bit packages. Other more enthusiast-targeted distributions will probably keep 32-bit support. In particular Gentoo compiles everything locally.

Comment Re:Actually 3rd point was agreement with trial jud (Score 1) 23

Actually whoever the new guy is, I don't find the site to be "improved" at all; seems a little crummy. The story was butchered and incorrectly interpreted, and the all important software for interaction seems less interactive.

But what do I know?

As to my absence I've been a bit overwhelmed by work stuff, sorry about that, it's no excuse :)

Comment Actually 3rd point was agreement with trial judge (Score 4, Informative) 23

The story as published implies that the ruling overruled the lower court on the 3 issues. In fact, it was agreeing with the trial court on the third issue -- that the sporadic instances of Vimeo employees making light of copyright law did not amount to adopting a "policy of willful blindness".

Submission + - Appeals court slams record companies on DMCA in Vimeo case

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes: In the long-simmering appeal in Capitol Records v. Vimeo, the US Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit upheld Vimeo's positions on many points regarding the Digital Millenium Copyright Act. In its 55 page decision (PDF) the Court ruled that (a) the Copyright Office was dead wrong in concluding that pre-1972 sound recordings aren't covered by the DMCA, (b) the judge was wrong to think that Vimeo employees' merely viewing infringing videos was sufficient evidence of "red flag knowledge", and (c) a few sporadic instances of employees being cavalier about copyright law did not amount to a "policy of willful blindness" on the part of the company. The Court seemed to take particular pleasure in eviscerating the Copyright Office's rationales. Amicus curiae briefs in support of Vimeo had been submitted by a host of companies and organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Computer & Communications Industry Association, Public Knowledge, Google, Yahoo!, Facebook, Microsoft, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter.

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