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Comment Re:They don't make disasters like they used to (Score 1) 675

One store I go to just enabled chip, processing, I was surprised that I needed to sign for a relatively small transaction, they have a $50 limit without signature with swipe. At least some other stores I use that have started using the chip allow most transactions (e.g. under $25) without a signature.

Comment Re:This disaster is entirely of your own making (Score 1) 675

About 50% of the stores I go to regularly now use the chip, and none of them take more than 5-10 seconds to process once the transaction is rung up. With swipe, yeah, it often only takes 1-2 seconds, and I could swipe and put my card away as soon as we started, but so far all the ones I've used the chip with let me insert the card whenever I want. The only difference is I can't put it away immediately.

Comment Re:Soros? (Score 1) 1145

People will be much more able and willing to pack up and move out of the expensive places when they have the security of having the UBI until they can find a job at the new location. People who aren't willing to move out will benefit as those who do move reduce the demand on lower cost housing, and raise the demand for jobs.

Flat tax combined with fixed payment becomes progressive.

E.g. with $2000/month payment and 30% flat tax, effective tax rate at $80,000 is zero, is negative below that, and increases towards a max of 30% above. At $120,000 it's at an effective rate of 10%, at $480,000 it's 25%, at $1,000,000 it's at 27.6%.

Comment Re:Soros? (Score 1) 1145

You give everyone the UBI because that eliminates any incentive to cheat. You don't need to take money under the table while working at below-market rates in order to retain the payment. The whole point of the UBI is thst it's Universal and Unconditional.

You pay for it through taxes, so the effect of the UBI for you would be to lower your tax burden paying for it. Such a payment turns a regressive flat tax into a progressive tax. A flat tax also reduces the ability to cheat the system, and is much less expensive to administer and comply with. Many UBI proposals are combined with flat tax proposals.

Example, $1000/month, flat tax of 25% (personal, corporate, plus a VAT). You earn $120,000/year, you live with someone who isn't employed, and have two kids. Your take-home pay is reduced from $10,000 to $7,500/month (reducing your other taxes and lowering your tax bracket), but your UBI received is $3333 (dependent children receiving 1/3 the full amount). You'll also be getting Universal Healthcare (though you can pay for more if you want). Prices for things you buy might go up around 25% from the VAT (which would actually be done by taking 20% of the price you pay as a tax through the seller), but unless you spend more than $3000/month on stuff subject to the VAT, you're still ahead (even before taking into account your other taxes going down).

Above figures are rough, based on current GDP, take-home salaries, retail sales figures, and health care costs, but should be fairly close.

Comment Re:Soros? (Score 1) 1145

Actually, with a UBI allowing people to move to less expensive areas, the economies of such small towns will boom, leading to more jobs, which will then be available to those new people. Rather than be stuck at 10k or whatever, they'll be able to afford even more, leading to a growth in housing (leading to more jobs), making way for more jobless people to move there, and so on.

Most people WANT to work, to get more, to improve their life. Few dream of retiring to the luxuriant lifestyle of 10k/year.

A more realistic figure is about $2000/month, get there by starting small ($100/month) and increase it by $100 every 4 months or so. Fund with a flat tax (corporate, personal, and VAT), set to recover exactly the amount required. It should be around 1.8% or so for $100/month. UBI and the flat tax amount would not be reported as income, so your taxable income (and tax bracket) would go down, and of course you'd also be getting the UBI back to offset those additional taxes. Reduce the minimum wage by about $0.50/hr for each $100/month of UBI. Dependent children get 1/3 of the payment for an adult.

Reduce budget for other programs as the need (and eligibility) is reduced, which then lowers the remaining taxes. You'd still want a Universal Healthcare program, including assistance for people who are still unable to manage their lives even with a UBI.

Comment Re: The Republicans want to make everyone work (Score 1) 1145

Your scholarship, the money to pay for your lab work, even the very existence of that college is due in large part to resources provided by society precisely so people could benefit as you have. If you hadn't been able to come to this country, and you were now living in poverty somewhere with no opportunities, would that have been a reflection on your worth? Sure, congratulations, some of what you have now is very much through your own talents and determination, but you also were lucky enough to be in a position where that even mattered. One illness, one missed opportunity, could have prevented you from succeeding.

Unless you survived on your own after being born "naked and afraid" in the wilderness, you are not a self-made person, you are the beneficiary of millions of people before you.

Comment Re:"you’re redistributing income upward" (Score 1) 1145

Many UBI methods are combined with a flat tax. One way of phasing it in (which is almost certainly going to be necessary, as a straight jump to a full UBI would be disruptive) would be to start off small (say, $100/month distributed), funded entirely by a very small flat tax.

The UBI itself would never be taxed itself, nor counted as income for setting tax brackets. The amount that is taken out by the flat tax is also not not reportable as income. The tax rate itself would set to be be exactly what's needed to cover the payments, and would be on corporate profits, personal income, and as an added VAT, all at the same rate.

You could distribute $100/month ($1200/year) for about a 1.8% flat tax/VAT rate while leaving everything else alone, then adjust other spending (and thus the need for other taxes) as the UBI increasingly reduces the need for other services. You can also start to adjust minimum wage rates as the UBI increases (e.g. by around $0.50/hour for each $100/month of UBI being distributed, delayed by a year).

So, at $1,000/month, you'd be at around 18%, $2,000/month ($24,000/year) around 36%. At that rate, if you're making less than $70,000/year, you would be receiving as much in UBI payments as you're paying in salary. You'd also be paying more for purchased items because of the VAT, but that's before taking into account lower additional taxes (that you currently already pay) as the government reduces costs of other programs, reduced prices of good through the reduction in minimum wage, etc. Some of that reduction would be automatic as your reportable income (and tax bracket) go down as the flat tax increases.

I'd like to see the elimination of capital gains tax because the budget of the country shouldn't depend on the whims of the market. You'd also eliminate the primary means of gaming the tax system. Instead, add a very small transaction tax (0.05% - 0.1%, perhaps.

With a flat tax system, you eliminate most deductions. Instead, use direct subsidies for things we want to encourage (e.g. subsidize lower interest rates on home mortgages, but only up to a certain amount for the loan). For charitible contributions, make direct matching funds (e.g. at 20% of total contributions) instead of giving tax deductions, meaning contributions from rich people are no longer being subsidized by everyone else, everyone's contributions are as valuable regardless of how much money you make. The VAT rate could be made lower for food and medicine and other basic necessities. Much more directly subsidizing things would be better than our current indirect subsidy through income tax policy where your subsidy is higher the richer you are.

You'd still need additional mechanisms - Universal Healthcare would still need to exist (and could be the primary solution for almost all circumstances beyond the norm, whether mental or physical needs). You wouldn't eliminate Social Security, you'd phase it out over time (people who have paid into it for their entire lives shouldn't just lose it arbitrarily). Inexpensive education (including online) and communication (computers and internet), affordable housing, public transportation, there are still many things that we'd want to have government doing.

$24,000/year seems to me a reasonable goal. Most people want a significantly higher standard of living than that will provide, so there's still plenty of motivation to do something useful, with no disincentives to making additional money. Rich people don't say "hey, I have plenty, I'm going to stop trying to make more money" - if having $24,000/year was enough to keep people from working, they'd already be doing it, there are plenty of people with a couple million in assets that could just kick back and live the grand dream of surviving on $24,000/year.

Comment Re:Copyrighting APIs (Score 1) 106

You are misunderstanding the fair-use factor 3, the amount copied. That isn't a positive defense, at best it is neutral: Google can say "We copied no more than necessary." But Oracle will try to argue that they did copy more than necessary.

None of them are positive defenses. All are factors that weigh more or less in favor of fair use or against it. They are also not exhaustive, the jury can use other factors as well. Read the jury instructions.

Amount used (in comparison to the infringed work) is an important factor. The amount of copied material compared to the rest of the infringing work is also a factor, it goes to "the purpose and character of use" - if most of your work is just copied material, it weight against fair use. In Sega, the entire ROM was copied many times in it's entirety, even downloaded from the Internet, for an explicitly commercial use, yet they won on fair use with those two factors completely against them. One factor was that none of the protected material actually ended up in the finished product, other than a very small piece of code that was challenged on trademark but not copyright (and Sega lost on that as well). The other factor was the use and purpose of the copying.

The Java API is clearly HIGHLY functional, and Google clearly copied the absolute minimum required to use it. The only copied material is the names and the relationships between the names, and changing a single character of any of those names would cause that portion of the API, and quite possibly the whole system, to completely fail. Hard to get more functional than that.

Indeed, rather than show that the API was "the heart" of Android, Oracle's demonstration served to show how functional it is (especially since ANY section of code removed from Android, whether from the API or anywhere else, would also make it fail).

The "nature of the copyrighted work" is clearly functional. You don't decide you want to replace the API in your project because you're tired of looking at this one and would like something fresh and new. You don't buy a product that uses Java inside for the artfully selected names like java.net.HttpURLConnection.setChunkedStreamingMode(), and if all the names were changed to AAAAA AAAAB AAAAC, etc. it would be just as functional, except it would be hard to write code for (so, again, the names are functional).

It may take creativity to create it, but the work is functional, and the purpose for copying it is for the function.

In brief, when considering merger for copyright protection, you need to consider the options available to Sun when they originally wrote Java: there were plenty of ways they could have written any of those APIs.

The CAFC confused merger with scènes à faire. Merger is independent of point of view, it either is or it isn't.

The API is an abstraction, it is an idea, protection is not supposed to "extend" to it. The expression is indeed copyrighted, but the idea expressed is not protected.

The CAFC said that the "idea" was "an API", but that isn't what is expressed by the source code. The source code expresses a very specific API, the Java API. That is the "idea" that is not protected, whether you call it a process, a system, or a method of operation, 102(b) says the idea is not protected.

Look at Baker v Selden or Bikram, the idea was not "an accounting system" or "a sequence of yoga poses" the way the CAFC would have you believe. In Bikram the Ninth completely rejected that the idea of "the Sequence" could be protected even though there were any number of ways it could have been created. Bikram was just about the idea being used, but once you have the ruling that the idea is not protected, merger can come into play. For example, expressing the Sequence as a simple list of each of the 26 poses by name would not be protected expression, as almost any expression of the Sequence would necessarily infringe on it.

The Ninth ruled that the Sequence was not protected because it was a system. Not because it was too simple, or not creative, or not choreography, but because it was a system and thus any copyright in the written expression of the Sequence does not extend to the Sequence itself because of 102(b).

Merger occurs AFTER you determine that the idea is not protected. Then, any expression that is required to express that idea (given various factors such as efficiency, industry standards, etc) loses protection itself, since otherwise the idea becomes protected, no one can express it. That's what merger is.

So, unless copyright barred Google from using Java the language, once Google chose to use Java, the declarations effectively wrote themselves. There's only one way to write them in Java without changing the function. They can be written by a program, given a description of the Java API in another form (the compiled library) using javap. That's the very essence of merger.

Once you have merger, then it doesn't matter if you recreate the expression from the idea, or if you simply copy/paste from some other expression of the idea. They'll be the same thing, with only minor differences (and those minor differences that can exist did exist in Google's code, they did not just copy/paste, they didn't even copy from Oracle's code).

My point is that even if Google loses, there is plenty of reason that the ruling would not apply to most other open source projects, like Wine or Samba. There are clear differences between what Samba is doing and what Google did.

Wine and Samba (and many other open source projects) duplicate an API without permission. They are infringing, or would be if the CAFC ruling had any weight. They could be sued, and anyone using them could be sued, and whether it would be found to be fair use is anyone's guess.

Comment Re:Copyrighting APIs (Score 1) 106

The size is mostly irrelevant though. In one case (Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises) someone copied 400 words out of a 200,000 word book (the supreme court ruled against them). As one judge said, "you can't escape guilt by showing how much you didn't copy." You have to look at the importance of the copying, and whether they used more than necessary for the purpose.

As a general principle, yes, but all the factors are weighed. It was the same percentage, but it was stand-alone paragraphs and sentences, not scattered individual names that don't stand on their own. They also were a much larger portion of the infringing work, it was not functional, it wasn't yet published, it reduced demand for the original.

That's not really what is meant by transformative. Here Google's approach was to say, "Before we did this, Java couldn't be used on mobile. We created a new work that allowed people to use Java on mobile." Oracle's counter-argument was to show phones that did have J2SE on mobile (SavaJe, Blackberry).

Oracle wouldn't allow Google to license JavaSE for a phone.

It was transformative because they created entirely new implementation code, and used the existing API in new ways. That it wasn't transformative in the same way a parody is transformative is, I submit, entirely due to the highly functional nature of the work.

Oracle's counter to this was to quote Google's own expert witness, Joshua Bloch, who said, "Writing a program is very much a creative process." [...] The appellate court also pointed out that just because cod is functional, that doesn't prevent it from being creative (otherwise basically no code could be copyrighted, since it's all functional).

102(b) doesn't say "unless it's really creative". The actual expression (the source code) doesn't lose protection unless there's merger - which was the case here because any changes to the actual declarations would change the functionality. 97% of the code retained protection, which is why Google had to write their own.

Another way to say it is that, given the API specification, there is no creativity required to turn it into the declaring code. For example, I offer the javap program.

The court is supposed to look at potential income lost here. If your argument were correct, it would mean the GPL is meaningless because anyone could claim the market value was zero. You can't just take code and not follow the license.

No, the GPL has requirements other than money, and no one has ever thought it restricted reimpkementing an API. It works just fine, and many open source projects have reimplemented APIs without license.

OpenJDK was released with the Classpath exception. Oracle had already reduced any potential income with OpenJDK, having two free alternatives with almost identical licensing requirements wouldn't have hurt the market more than having just OpenJDK.

I don't know why you think this. clean room is a technique to ensure that no more was copied than necessary, which would weigh favorably on fair use factor three (or at least prevent it from weighing negatively, since the amount copied is at best a neutral factor).

A clean room requires functional specifications, the Java API itself, to be passed in. That API was ruled to be protected, thus there'd be nothing to pass in that was clean. If they passed it in anyway, they would have produced exactly the same code that was found infringing (except maybe without the rangeCheck oops, which didn't make any difference). It was already the case that no more than was necessary was copied.

Comment Re:Copyrighting APIs (Score 1) 106

True, they did accidentally copy one method, and Oracle agreed to accept $0 in damages.

Clean room is how you avoid infringement entirely, in which case fair use isn't even brought up. In this case, the CAFC made the whole process of clean room implementation impossible anyway.

Google is indeed for profit, however giving away the code (including source code) at no cost isn't particularly indicative of commercial use and exploitation. A company donating money to education can deduct it from their taxes even though it generates commercially valuable good will or even mind share and future customers. Plenty of open source is sold, and even more is used for commercial purposes.

It most certainly was for interoperability, otherwise there was no reason to use it at all. There are plenty of Java libraries that work fine with just those 37 packages, and interoperability with developer's skills is also something a jury might well find relevant - Oracle doesn't own their skills and training.

The reason Google didn't take a license was that Sun would only license JavaME for use on a mobile device (which, by the way, was also not interoperable with JavaSE).

Google's use was also transformative. They selected out a useful subset of the Java API, rewrote all of the actual implementation and documentation (97% of the code), then wrote a whole lot more more new APIs using the old APIs in new ways; together the old APIs and new APIs presented a lot of new capabilities that seem to have done a lot better than JavaME in the smartphone area.

The nature of the copyrighted work was highly functional, a factor strongly in favor of fair use. Oracle even proved it, just change a single name by a single character and the whole thing won't work.

The total amount that was actually used from Oracle's API code was very tiny, less than 0.2%, just the names and relationships between those names, in 37 packages out of 166, so maybe 20% of 3% of 22%. That's 20 (scattered) words out of 10,000.

As for market impact, Oracle had OpenJDK available for free as well, licensed under GPLv2+CE. Anyone who wanted to use JavaSE could already get it for free - and if the additional parts of the API were that important to people in any significant number, OpenJDK would be much more desirable than Google's truncated implementation.

Comment Re:Copyrighting APIs (Score 1) 106

No, clean room wouldn't have made a difference. Google in fact was found to not infringe on any of the "implementation code", it was the declarations that were found by the appeals court to infringe. There is no way to write those declarations another way without changing the API, so a clean room would not give any different result. It was the API itself that was found to be protected, so no matter how you try to do it, the information needed by the clean room is "dirty". A clean room implementation is impossible given the CAFC decision.

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