Jan 09, 2001

Supreme Court Lets Stand Computer Anti-porn Law
Free Speech1/9/2001; 12:30:28 PM 'The U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) rejected on Monday a free-speech challenge by six university professors to a Virginia law that bars public employees from using state computers to access sexually explicit material on the Internet....''The professors argued the law violated the constitutional First Amendment-based academic freedom rights of university scholars and the rights of other public employees engaged in legitimate, work-related, intellectual inquiry....''Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley defended the law.... He said state employees did not have a First Amendment right to disregard the law and decide for themselves whether sexually explicit material was required for their professional, employment-related research and writing needs.'This is really the old employee-employer issue, not necessarily a "first amendment" issue. That said, it is disturbing that AG Mark Early believed that this was about "disregarding" the law. This was about whether the law was Constitutional, which is a perfectly acceptable concern, not merely "disregarding" the law. I refuse to simply accept that a law is consitutional because an AG or a legislature says it is; they have no right to say that.

Jan 03, 2001

Pirates Beware: We're Watching
General IP Issues
1/3/2001; 9:31:53 PM

'Content companies are slowly coming to realize that digital rights management solutions can't stop the file-trading frenzy that has gripped the Internet.

'So while continuing to work with encryption companies like Liquid Audio and Supertracks to come up with a solution that will protect their content, music and movie companies are doing what they can. New monitoring applications allow them to attack piracy not at the user level, but by going directly to the service provider.'

Aside: Am I the only person who doesn't think software should be called "technology"?  Hardware is technology, software is, well, software.  Anyhow...

''Unfortunately for the music and movie companies, life ain't that simple. Any "Jabroni" with half a brain (to use lingo coined by WWF wrestler The Rock) can circumvent it....

'"If you flip every bit in the MP3 (just invert it), then they wouldn't be able to recognize it. On the other end, just flip 'em back. Piece of cake to do; they'd have to update their software to check for the flipped bits."'

I hereby charge Wired with a violation of the DMCA for distributing a circumvention technique. (What am I circumventing? Why, the digital rights management technology! It's only a matter of time before a court finds that illegal to circumvent under the DMCA...)

'The system has three series of machines. The first houses a database of media which has been provided by content companies. The second brings content in from the Web. The third samples the incoming media and compares it with the database.'

Do they really pull it in from the web, or is this another example of "The Web Is The Internet Is The Web" error? If so, then I wouldn't worry much... who gets MP3's off of the web, anyhow?

Jan 03, 2001

Yahoo To Reject Hate Items, Charge For Auctions
Free Speech
1/3/2001; 5:14:57 PM 'Human rights activists on Wednesday hailed a decision by Yahoo to stamp out online auctions of Nazi artifacts following a lengthy legal battle.

'Yahoo Inc. (stock: YHOO) on Tuesday announced two big changes to its auction service: a first-ever listing fee and a much tougher policy against the sale of hate material.

'After vigorously defending a policy under which it allowed the sale of Nazi memorabilia deemed to have some historic value, Yahoo will now ban more of these items, and will add a monitoring program that automatically screens new listings for offensive content and will kick back potentially banned material for closer review. Although the stricter listing policy encompasses a broad range of items associated with groups that promote or glorify hatred and violence, Yahoo specified Nazi militaria and Ku Klux Klan memorabilia as items that would now be banned.'

So Yahoo is now going beyond the strict limits of the French ban and moving to block more "offensive" content.  I suppose you could say they are rolling with the punches.

Interesting that they are now charging.  This gives them a lot more legitimacy to make this sort of decisions... they don't have to take your money.

Jan 02, 2001

The Last Great LinkBack Feature: Implemented!
1/3/2001; 12:45:04 AM

I've finally implemented the Last Great LinkBack Feature: The Top (N) List of 'Logs. (N is currently set to 5, I hope to move it up to 10 later.)  The 5 weblogs with the most current links to them are now displayed on both the main weblog page, and iRights.

Unlike many "Top N" lists of 'logs floating around, automatically generated or otherwise, anybody can be on the top of this list. There have been a number of other popularity measures for the weblog community, but I believe that none of them are as fluid and current as this one. Many of the other measures have a very static top, where the same 10-20 'logs are always the highest, and will be for the forseeable future. With this measure, anybody can be on top, and those on top will truly be the most interesting blogs, not just the most popular. (Everybody may give perma-links to the standard "top" 'logs, but you actually have to be linked to on a daily basis to win this measure.)

By the way... now's a great time to join the program! You can have the results uploaded to your own 'log, you can help 'vote' for the Top 5 LinkBack'ed Logs, and if you are interesting enough, perhaps even be one of them!  The more weblogs who join, the more useful the system is!

Dec 31, 2000

Happy New Millenium!
Personal Notes
12/31/2000; 9:52:22 PM

Happy New Millenium from iRights!  May it be a great one for humanity!

(FYI, I'm of the "party every chance you get!" "The Real New Millenium" and "Three Zeros" are both great reasons to party!)

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