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Comment Re: Wikileaks is a toxic organisation. (Score 1) 277

"I don't care if the information about Hillary's lies are part of some Russian plot or not. If the truth is "destabilizing" well then fuck stability. Hillary admitting to having "public" and "private" positions is a piece of information that I, as a citizen, want to have."

Sure, but here's the question you need to ask yourself, given that, are you willing to completely and utterly disregard it when choosing a political candidate to back, given that you have absolutely no idea whether Trump shares the exact same trait due to a lack of similar leaks on his side of the spectrum?

Therein lies the problem, if you're only receiving one side of facts, and are deciding based on only a half-truth, then you're no better off than if someone had just outright lied to you. You're still exactly as likely to make an incorrect choice when you have half the information, as when you have all the information - Wikileaks is influencing the election with half-truths.

The English legal system originally changed it's court vow from "I promise to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth" to "I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth" precisely because after a few shoddy court cases where the guilty went free it was realised that half-truths can be as misleading as outright lies.

So sure, transparency is great, but unless you're willing to completely disregard everything from transparency leaks that only tell half the story when forming an actual opinion and making a decision then there's a good chance you're actually making yourself more stupid by making decisions based upon those half-truths because you're letting them influence you into making decisions that do not benefit either your personal self-interest, or any hint of altruism you may have. For something like an election there is simply absolutely no benefit in making a decision based on transparency of one candidate over another with no transparency, and that works both ways - you may now believe you know, you have evidence that Hillary is corrupt, but what you don't know is whether Donald is even more corrupt, and that is a problem - you still have the exact same 50-50 chance of guessing which one is more corrupt that you had before you had any of that leaked information.

Comment Re: Wikileaks is a toxic organisation. (Score 1) 277

You say that, but in the UK when libel laws last changed, there were actually papers sat on both sides of the argument. Typically the division was the red tops that libel and ruin people's lives on one side being pissed they wont get away with it anymore, and those who publish factual, well sourced information and that have some actual journalistic integrity and hence no threat of losing a libel suit anyway.

So yeah, even with stuff like that it makes no sense that absolutely every media outlet would oppose someone over it. Some are happy to see the sleezy lie-rags pulled into line and forced to compete on the same level by having to do real actual journalism rather than pedalling outright lies to make sales.

Comment Re:That's, for better or worse, for a court to dec (Score 1) 215

I found a reference for this:

Interestingly, Humphrey Carter, in Tolkien’s official biography, noted that while Tolkien was displeased with the Ace editions, they at least sported covers that resembled their stories; by contrast, Tolkien was distressed at the cover art for the Ballantine editions, to which he noted: “What has it got to do with the story? Where is this place? Why emus? And what is the thing in the foreground with pink bulbs?”

Ace’s editions were a commercial success, selling over 100,000 copies, which angered Tolkien and his publishers. They complained, and as early as May 1965, Tolkien began to urge the fans who wrote to him to inform them that the American copies were pirated: "I am now inserting in every note of acknowledgement to readers in the U.S.A. a brief note informing them that Ace Books is a pirate, and asking them to inform others."

Competition to the Ace copies arrived at the same time, as Ballantine Books released their own ‘authorized’ The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers in October and Return of the King in November of 1966. While Ace’s editions were priced at $0.75 against Ballantine’s $0.95, the tide began to turn as the negative publicity mounted.

It’s interesting to see that Tolkien utilized the fanbase that he so abhorred to fight back against the unauthorized editions. He was also correct: The incredible publicity that the row received, which pulled in efforts from the Science Fiction Writers of America, helped to grow the fervent readership for the tales from Middle Earth. It’s also ironic that while Tolkien had resisted so “ ‘degenerate a form’ as the paperback book,” it was in that format which they first appeared and grew in popularity within the United States.

Bookstores and fans began to boycott the unauthorized edition, and by February 1966, Tolkien reported in a letter that he had reached an agreement with Wollheim to receive some royalties from their publication run, and a promise that they would let the edition sell out, with no further print runs. Ace was under no legal obligation to agree to such a deal, but considerable pressure from their rival publishers and readers forced them to the table. By March, Ace announced that they had reached an agreement with the author, and their edition fell out of print.

Comment Re:Nice analysis, but... (Score 1) 215

I didn't say it would be easy to roll back copyright terms to a sane length. Any serious proposal to do so would be met with the full lobbying force of the entire content industry. Then again, so would any proposal to abolish copyright entirely. Perhaps we could propose abolishing copyright and then "settling" for copyright terms of 28 years?

Comment Re:Why Use Linux? (Score 1) 102

And often it depends on the person behind the keyboard. If you have two computers with the same level of security, the computer with the insecure user will get hacked before (and more frequently than) the computer with the more secure user. Unfortunately, user education can only take you so far.

Comment Re:That's, for better or worse, for a court to dec (Score 1) 215

And they would be if copyright was 14 years + a one-time optional 14 year extension. If this were still the length of copyright, everything from 1988 and earlier would be in the public domain. Everything from 2002 and earlier that wasn't renewed would be in the public domain as well.

Comment Re:Is that all (Score 1) 540

My oldest son has Autism and, after his diagnosis, I realized I have Autism also. I went through a short phase where I blamed myself for "giving" him Autism. I got over it, though, when I realized that I have no control over which genes I pass on to him. It was just luck of the draw. (My youngest son is neurotypical.)

Comment Re:Trump 2016! (Score 1) 540

If not vaccinating only affected the stupid people who didn't vaccinate, I'd agree with you. However, not vaccinating puts people at risk who either can't be vaccinated (due to age or illness) or whose vaccines didn't "take" (vaccines are 99% effective but there's 1% who get vaccinated and aren't protected). Usually, those who can't be vaccinated or whose vaccines didn't prove effective are protected by everyone whose vaccines are working. This is called herd immunity. But if more and more people choose not to vaccinate, they weaken herd immunity and the at risk groups who didn't have a choice in the matter can get sick or die.

Comment Re:That's, for better or worse, for a court to dec (Score 1) 215

That is a good point. Without copyright, not only would you compete against yourself when selling your own book, it would annihilate any control directly related follow on work -- movies, book sequels, etc.

And, just in case people somehow think that individuals or small businesses would prosper without any copyright, who would be the ones to quickly churn out a movie or book sequel based on an authors (instantly copyright-less) book? Big media companies. So I publish my novel (Shameless Plug: The title is "Ghost Thief"). MGM somehow gets wind of it and decides to do a movie based on my book. They don't consult me or compensate me. In fact, they mangle my work entirely. I might be able to sue them, but without copyright protection I'll be an individual bringing a flimsy case against a large media powerhouse's army of high priced attorneys.

On the flip side, if someone made a fan film from a "previously copyrighted" work done by a big media company, the big would likely still threaten a massive lawsuit unless the fan took down his work. The lawsuit threats might be unfounded, but they would be able to bully people into settling out of court and/or taking down their derivative works.

In short, a world without copyright would be one that the big companies exploited even more. What we need is copyright to stick around, but to be limited in term.

Comment Re:That's, for better or worse, for a court to dec (Score 4, Insightful) 215

Lets say we do away with copyright tomorrow and all of my novels have that creator endorsed marking on them. The big question is whether the book buying public would even care. My novel sells for $7.99 (paperback). Suppose HarperCollins decides to publish an edition of my book without my approval. Thanks to copyright going away, there is no legal recourse for me to tell them to stop or to compensate me. Being a bigger publishing house, they might be able to undercut me on price. Now, my $7.99 paperback has to contend with their $4.99 paperback edition. Plus, they are able to get their version of my book into all the bookstores while mine is still limited in scope. (My book is only available from Amazon at the moment.)

The big question is: Would the buying public care that my book has the "Creator Endorsed" logo on it or would they flock to the cheaper copy to save some cash?

As much as I'd like to say people would go with Creator Endorsed, I think they'd go with the saved cash and I'd wind up losing sales. (This is the only time when I'd call "lost sales" an actual thing since the person actually bought a copy of the book but did so from someone who was selling their own version without getting approval/providing compensation.)

Comment Re:Pretty interesting (Score 1) 409

That theory assumes Ecuadorians are stupid.

It's also possible they're just as intelligent as the rest of us, and realising that someone is trying to interfere in the election of the world's largest superpower from their embassy could cause a whole lot of political shit that they don't need beyond that they're already willing to accept having given him refuge was sufficient all by itself.

Really, if my neighbour kicked her husband out and I let him stay at my place next door, but then he started throwing petrol bombs at her out the window every time she walked past, it wouldn't require her to come and threaten me. I'd just tell him to stop it or GTFO simply because I'm not a complete and utter ass. I suspect the same is true of Ecuador.

Comment Re:That's, for better or worse, for a court to dec (Score 5, Insightful) 215

I don't think copyright is totally bad. For example, I recently published my first novel. Without copyright law, someone else could grab my novel and start printing/selling their own copies of it. I'd wind up competing with my own novel. Then there are issues of film studios being able to take anyone's work and make movies based off of it without compensating the author at all. I'd have to spend a lot of time and money filing lawsuits to make them stop and, without copyright law, I might not be successful.

The big problem with copyright law isn't its existence. It's the length. Copyright was originally 14 years plus a one-time 14 year extension. This isn't so bad. The novel I just published would have until 2044 (assuming I renewed the copyright) to make me money. Then, the book transfers to the public domain for others to build on it. Very few works still make money after 28 years - and I'd wager most of the ones that still do (like Star Wars) partly keep making money because of new material being added.

However, over the years, copyright terms lengthened until now it's 70 years after the author's death. If I die at age 90, my novel will be protected by copyright until 2135. At that point, my youngest son (now 9) would be 128 - and likely deceased. If my youngest son had a child at 30, his child would be 98 when my copyright ran out. I don't need copyrights on my works lasting until my great-great-great grandchildren are born. That's not giving me incentive to create new works. 14 years + 14 years would be plenty.

If copyright law was reset back to 14 years plus an optional one-time 14 year extension, a lot of the problems with copyright would go away.

Comment Re:Is there more to this (Score 1) 130

I largely agree with you, but I'm not convinced it's a solveable problem, and you've kind of subconciously noted the problem with enforcing that strictly in your own post - what if someone has strong political views that most people find abhorrent, but the bank has to serve them anyway, but that person is also likely to get them in hot bother because they engage in money laundering, or because they simply cause the bank to take a loss? Can they close the account down?

If no, then what happens when everyone whose causing the bank a loss simply declares they have strong political views and uses that as a shield, causing the bank to collapse?

If yes, then what's to stop them just using that excuse to censor anyway - "Oh they're a fraud risk", or "Oh, they're not profitable enough", or "Oh, they cause reputational damage to the company causing a loss for us".

I absolutely agree with you that financial censorship is scary, whatever one may think of Wikileaks (I don't really like it nowadays, it's become a propaganda organisation rather than a transparency organisation) I thought it was always rather disturbing that the US tried to shut down the Iraq/Afghan war log leaks by strongarming Mastercard, Visa, Paypal et. al. to not work with them to censor them and send them offline. It's definitely a real concern, but on the same note how do you implement that legislation whilst also allowing such organisations to reasonably run their businesses?

Also, should it apply to just banks, all financial organisations, or every organisation? If it's just banks, then that means organisations like Paypal, Visa, and Mastercard can cut them off, if it's all financial organisations that's much more clear cut, but it doesn't change the fact other organisations can still censor - a communications infrastructure company could still choose to cut off their broadcast, so you could apply it to every organisation, but then you're right back to square one where businesses are having to potentially serve people that cause them loss and end up going out of businesses anyway.

Here's a semi-related thought experiment from the UK's recent Brexit vote, in the UK it's illegal to discriminate against employees based on political views, but, if a company is forced to make cuts due to Brexit, then shouldn't a company be allowed to fire those who voted for it first and foremost over those who voted against it? Why should some suffer for other's decisions when it would be fairly trivial to make people accountable for their own actions in this sort of case? Should people really be protected from facing the consequences of their actions, whilst expecting others who aren't responsible for their actions to suffer the consequences instead?

I don't know, or even pretend to know the answer to any of these questions - I'm just making the point that it's massively complex, and I'm not sure there really is a rationally objective answer. I think the answer is always going to be subjective and therein lies the problem - what you may view to be a reasonable approach may not be acceptable to the majority. That is unfortunately the reality of democracy, minority viewpoints often get fucked, and the sad reality is that many people don't actually have too much of a problem with censorship, as long as they're not the ones being censored - they're just too dumb to realise that one day it could be them.

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