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Comment Why the lawyers won't let it drop (Score 5, Informative) 380

Something similar happened to me and I knew the lawyers realized they had no case but they wouldn't let it drop as long as their client was paying. My mother was a judge, so I knew how to aproach this. See the lawyers would never bring this to trial because the judge would repremand them when it was so clear they had no case. But that won't stop them from threatening me. So, first, because I wasn't a lawyer, I sent copious letters to the lawyers and their client repeatedly telling them they in as many ways that they had no case. Each letter sent to the lawyer cost the client money. Each letter sent to the client cost the client money when they turned the letter over to the lawyers as they must. Each reply from the lawyer, and they must reply to each letter, cost the client money. You can't wear lawyers down, but you can wear the client down.

Do not have a lawyer send the letters. It is considered unethical for a lawyer to send a letter to the another lawyer's cleint and it is really the client you want to get to.

Comment Re:Only in monopoly markets (Score 2, Interesting) 180

Unfortunately, the US has government backed telecommunication monopolies. E911 is a good example of how it works. In most places in the US, E911 is contracted by the counties with the local telephone monopoly. When the FCC decided that VoIP providers had to provide E911 and gave them only 120 days to invent a method for doing that and putting it into place, the telephone monopolies refused to allow the VoIP providers to connect to E911 because they weren't regulated wireline telephone companies. It took court action to call the FCC off; the court stating that the FCC could not impose a regulation that was impossible to meet and order the phone companies to allow the VoIP carriers to connect to E911. However, there are still many areas of the US where the phone companies are still refusing to allow the VoIP carries to connect to E911 services.

Wiretapping is another example. The monopolies get paid to tap phone lines - averaging about $60,000 per tap. The equipment to do this is expensive, so the government gave the money to the monopolies to implement wiretaping capability years ago. However, the FCC says that not only will they not give money to the VoIP carriers to implement wiretaps, the VoIP companies (unlike the monopolies) must do each wiretap for free or face heavy fines.

On the happy side, Congress exempted from regulation anyone providing VoIP as long as their service doesn't connect to the publicly switch telephone network, PSTN. This means that any one with control of their own DNS can setup a SIP server, sign people up to use their server and it will complete calls to anyone else using SIP. This will break the telephone monoplies once enough people have broadband and realize they don't have to pay to have telephone service (except some tiny charge to the guy with the SIP server, or he may just do it for free). I would suggest an open source SIP server project for Windows because more people would be able to operate a Windows based server and that would speed up the whole process. There is an open source project for Linux, OpenSIP, but it is too difficult for the average enthusiest to setup and operate.

How I see this happening is that there are (soft) SIP phones and SIP PBXs that can select the least cost path to complete a call. This allows the user to use the free route when it is available. As more and more calls are completed by the free routes, people will drop the paid VoIP services. The greatest impact of this will be the phone monopolies PSTN and their very restrictive, high priced VoIP services.

Comment Re:Carrier Status? (Score 5, Insightful) 265

The reason ISP's are not common carriers dates back to dial-up modem Internet. The Telco's wanted to charge ISP's by the minute just like they do long-distance carriers for access to their network. The FCC got involved in this and used AOL as a model. AOL had these huge caching servers so AOL customer's web page requests rarely went out onto the Internet; instead they were served from the caches. So the FCC ruled that ISP's were delivering content and were not themselves carriers.

The Telcos are now (with broadband) satisfied with the content provider status as it saves them a lot of headaches, fees and taxes on their own Internet services. Broadband is far closer to a carrier service than a content service, but I don't see thing changing.

Comment Re:Irrelevant. (Score 1) 94

The whole point of In re Bilski is that this court, which had several years ago expanded the definition of what was patentable and lead to the mess the USPTO is now in, has now stated that they were wrong in doing so and that they were now adhering to an earlier definition that did not expand upon those decissions that SCOTUS had handed down. Software was not originally patentable (believe me, I've been programming since 1968). If they adhere to an earlier definition, it follows that it is not patentable. The exception they make is for firmware or other software necessary to the functioning of a particular machine - such as a milling machine, plotter, etc. Computers simply don't qualify as a particular machine although I know this is being debated. But I think those who believe computers become specific machines just by running a specific program on them are dreaming - it will never pass the courts.

Comment Re:So their real statement is... (Score 2, Interesting) 141

As an ISP, under the DMCA, we receive notices all the time and we call the "offender" and ask them to stop doing whatever. It's just extra work and expense for us that we don't appreciate. The only difference between the letters we had been receiving and this one is that this one is talking to the offender rather than us. I suspect the RIAA hopes it will be scarier than one telling us someone on our network is violating their copyright. I have no problem with forwarding it to the offender as we really hate arguing with them about whether P2P is legal and how did we know what they were doing (violating their privacy, I guess).

Comment Re:3-Strike Law coming soon... (Score 1) 619

"what would entice an ISP to follow the RIAA's 'suggestions'?"

Very simple. ISP's put up with P2P users if they have lots of unused bandwidth because the extra money helps. But when things become congested, cutting of the P2P users increases profits and customer satisfaction. This is because the cost of the bandwidth used by a P2P user exceeds the amount they are paying and satisfied customers reduces churn (and therefore increases profits).

Net neutrallity will probably pass under Obama preventing ISP's from kicking P2P users off, so a more likely response from ISP's will be to use bandwidth quotas and charge for going over the quota. That will turn P2P users into a attractive profit center. It has the added benefit of indirectly making money off high bandwith services like NetFlixs. Most major ISP's are already testing this model in limited areas of the country. It's coming.

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