'Wyoming Gov. Jim Geringer is urging Congress to allow states to tax e-commerce to replenish state coffers. Geringer, speaking on the opening day of the National Governors Association summer meeting Saturday, warned that without such a tax, states stand to lose annual revenues topping $30 billion by 2003.'
A fair sales tax scheme on the Internet doesn't bother, just makes me generally nervous as any power grab does. I do have a huge problem with this "$30 billion" loss bit, though... as a general rule of thumb, you can't lose what you don't have. (That statement applies in a lot more places then you might expect.)
'Rob Rosenberger is determined to shine the bright light of sarcasm into every dark corner of the computer security industry. His website, Vmyths, focuses on presenting the facts -- as Rosenberger sees them -- about computer viruses, dispelling any media-fueled hysteria about computer security and disputing the smallest shred of misinformation from the security industry itself.'
'Rosenberger carefully reviews the press coverage of every virus alert and rips into reporters who mindlessly repeat whatever "facts" they may have been fed by their sources.'
VMyths is required reading for anybody who recieves email. The other site I'd call required reading is SNOPES, who catalogs and researches major urban legends and e-mail hoaxes, including the non-virus ones. Both are outstanding sites. Both have search engines. Before believing anything e-mailed to you, check it out on these sites. I also suggest telling people you know about these sites.
Custom Weblog Post
The Custom Weblog Post tool allows the user to create (sub-)templates that have more structure then RU's default flat text box. It ships with a template that matches the behavior of Manila's News Items, using the RU 'blogs categories as the choosable categories. Thus, for people who are used to posting with Manila's News Items, this provides a nice migration path to the RU 'blog.
It also provides scriptlets which can be used in a similar fashion to Manila Express, allowing the user to highlight some text, and hit a bookmark/link on the link bar, and have RU fill out the page title, link, and selected text in a textarea, ready for editting. These scriptlets work in Mozilla and IE, and may or may not work in other browsers.
This post was posted with that tool, using a personalized template similar to the provided NewsItemLike. If you're used to News Items in Manila and considering moving to RU's weblog, this may help ease the transition. On that note, I'd expect to see more postings here on iRights, now that I have this. :-)
Ars Technica: Intellectual Property and the Good Society
General IP Issues
[Some people have a hard time committing to an opinion on current IP law.] 'There's a reason why so many of us are caught in the middle. It's because the morally absolute language of rights leaves us too little wiggle room for holding a useful dialogue about the ways a fair intellectual property system should look and function. What I intend to do in the following editorial is argue for a new type of discussion, one focused more on larger systems and structures than on the rights of the individual actors governed by those structures. To that end, I'll describe the way that the existing intellectual property structures are developing, and I'll then talk about how we can visualize some alternatives to them.'
'The language of rights--the rights of creators, consumers, third parties who've invested in the creation and/or distribution process, etc.--while historically quite effective in bringing about change for the better, also has some severe shortcomings....'
Interesting article that parallels some of the thoughts I've had.
Lawmakers prepare digital music bill
Music & MP3
'Long live Napster. Or its idea, anyway. Two Capitol Hill lawmakers are getting ready to introduce legislation that would loosen copyright laws to help legitimate, Internet-based music services get up and running without the threat of being shut down by the courts for infringement.'
I could have sworn that somebody had already introduced this bill (or a similar bill). In fact I wrote about it, but now I can't find it. At any rate, if this could pass (ha ha!), it would certainly crack open the debate, which (at least in Congress) has been so blatently corporate that you'd think that even Congresscritters would start to get queasy.
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