Aug 09, 2001

freedom in fiction
'The general public often wrongly attributes inspiration. It comes from individuals without any company input. But big companies work hard to imply the reverse is so. A premise is employees as zombies running programs. Big companies lay claim to the mythical smart fountain.'

'Something went very wrong somewhere. What to do? Now megacorps herd the intellectual property parade. Every idea has to belong to some corp, never all of us. A bright man is always suspected of being Prometheus. You must have stolen it from the gods. Not your idea!'

An interesting riff on the stunningly incredulous nature of the public with regards to software writers. (Make sure you make it through both sections, down to the Tuesday entry.) I get to post it here because it briefly mentions patents :-) , but it goes deeper then that. It's worth asking yourself whether you think the way the author is talking about.


Aug 09, 2001

Judges: Don't Monitor Our PCs
'Some federal judges are protesting the monitoring of their computers by Washington managers concerned about personal Internet use.'

'The judges of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco claim the practice is illegal. They are pressing to get it stopped, and the Supreme Court chief justice and other judges will consider the request next month.'

'To demonstrate their discontent, judges of the 9th Circuit ordered staff to disable monitoring software in May. The weeklong shutdown affected 10,000 court employees in the Circuit, which covers nine western states and two territories, and two other court districts.'

I {jerf.["#tools"].linkLT("what irights isn't", "empprivacy")}don't usually cover workplace disputes, but this one is particularly interesting. Seems when judges are on the receiving end of some of this stuff, the arguments of the "privacy wonks" suddenly seem a lot more reasonable. :-)


Aug 08, 2001

Slashdot | Pavlovich Jurisdictional Challenge Denied
From Slashdot: 'The Sixth District Court of Appeals has denied Matt Pavlovich's challenge to being sued in California for the act of posting DeCSS on an internet web site.'

Don't miss this comment (#224), which provides a nice counterbalance.


Aug 08, 2001

Slashdot | EU & US Patent "Syncing"
From Slashdot:

Christian Treczoks writes 'Software patents are threatening Europe, too. The EC said 'we want software patents to harmonize with the US', but the public - private persons and small to medium businesses - objected. So they made an 'Analysis' of the replies. Effectively, 91% are against patenting software, but, as the majority of the proponents are important business figures, it's a draw.'

One of the principles I think the legal system has lost track of is that the powerful, virtually by definition, do not need protection. Obviously, you can't take that as %100 gospel, but the powerful can fend for themselves. Microsoft doesn't need patents. Meganational corporations don't need patents. It's only the little guy... and in this arena "little guy" include the majority of software companies who make, say, less then $100 million and could never afford to go to bat against, say, Sun... who needs protection, and that's the last thing the system provides to them. Sure, it's supposed to, but I don't see a lot of little-guy protection and I sure do see a lot of big-guy attacking.

The fact that the "little people", in the vast majority, are screaming about software patents and the entrenched interests love the idea to pieces is itself another argument in favor of not patenting software. Innovation is not encouraged when big companies hold all the cards and can pick and choose who succeeds, and when.


Aug 08, 2001

German's Anti-Hate Push Angers
Country Watch- Germany
'German Interior Minister Otto Schily has not even firmed up plans to visit Washington this fall to talk with U.S. officials about battling neo-Nazi websites through legal channels, and already the plan has generated controversy...'

'This week, the controversy over how to handle the problem of hate content on the Internet kicked up anew when Schily told World on Sunday, a German paper, that he planned to meet "with the responsible officials" in Washington and "examine together the possibilities of using civil laws to sue the creators of right-wing websites based in the USA that have an effect in Germany."'

'But according to experts, legal options to fight hate content have limited usefulness under U.S. law. "We have a First Amendment," said Caryl Stern, chief operating officer for the Anti-Defamation League. "There is nothing that prevents making a website or offering it to a server to make it available."'

Hmmm... Germans trying to enforce German laws on American citizens offering content/services Germany doesn't like? Our government ought to love the idea; it certainly did with Skylarov...

'Hans-Joachim Otto, a Bundestag representative from the opposition Free Democrats and a leader of the party's Internet policy committee, ... said that if one country has laws that protect individual freedom that are stronger than those in another country, and those laws come in contact with those of another country, the stronger protections of individual freedom must trump other concerns. "When in doubt, freedom must win," Otto said.'

I take it I don't need to draw the obvious connections, here.


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