Oct 25, 2000

'Hacking' To Be Declared Illegal
Programmer's Rights
10/25/2000; 9:19:54 AM

This is slashdot article about the international cybercrime treaty, as mentioned before here.  I'm posting this because I think it's a good bet there will be some insightful comments posted there. Browse with "Highest Scores First".

Whatever else you can say about the theory, I think it's quite clear that some bureaucrats who got delusions of grandeur into their heads, started writing legislation, and just ignored all technical input they receieved because they thought they knew better. I can't find a link, but I seem to recall some recent study showing that one's claimed knowlege on a subject is almost perfectly inversely proportional to actual knowlege.  Unfortunately, this means a lot of bureaucrats think they know everything there is to know about computers and they can just start legislating.

Oct 24, 2000

Abandoned Intellectual Property
General IP Issues
10/24/2000; 9:58:08 PM 'Most states have laws governing what is to be done with property that has been abandoned. In one state the amount of time before something is considered abandoned ranges from a mere 2 years up to 15 years. After that maximum -- depending on the type of property -- the property can be put up for auction, absorbed by the holder of the property, or possibly revert to the state, again depending on the property in question. The laws vary between states, but the principle is there. Property that is not claimed after a reasonable amount of time ceases to belong to the owner.

'Think of how this might apply to intellectual property. Copyright law allows an inordinate amount of time before works revert to the public domain -- author's life plus 70 years, and 95 years on corporate copyright. But, what if the owner of this property had to make sure it was kept available in order to keep the copyright?'

Oct 24, 2000

'Works for Hire' on Firing Line
Music & MP3
10/24/2000; 12:49:46 PM

''s legal challenge of the validity of music copyrights, which is forcing a U.S. district court to focus on ownership of music, could have serious implications for the music industry.

'On Nov. 2, lawyers representing in the damages portion of its lawsuit will argue that the Universal Music Group incorrectly classified its 4,700 copyrights as "works for hire."

'If that argument is successful, it could negate U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff's $118 million judgement against for willful infringement of copyright with the creation of the database.

'And if the works-for-hire issue is found to be invalid, artists will eventually be able to get back the rights to their works.'

Cynical interpretation: is playing for artist support in their lawsuit, which the music companies hypothetically represent.  As a legal challenge, this is kinda out in left field.

Oct 24, 2000
Personal Notes
10/24/2000; 10:01:09 AM I don't think I've seen this announced publicly, but there is a site that is just a fast mirror of the main site. In my experience, it comes up significantly faster in IE too, though it says it's meant to be a "netscape 4" friendly version.

At any rate, a lot of people already know about it and maybe I missed the scripting news announcement, but its there and you might want to try it.

Oct 23, 2000

Study of Average Error Rates for Censorware Programs
Free Speech
10/23/2000; 5:45:21 PM

'Using "zone files" from Network Solutions (which list all .com domains in existence), we obtained a list of the first 1,000 active .com domains on the Internet as of June 14, 2000. We tested this list of 1,000 domains using five popular blocking programs: Cyber Patrol, SurfWatch, Bess, AOL Parental Controls, and SafeServer, to see how many sites each program blocked as "pornography", and of those sites, how many were actually pornographic.'

Let's just say that they didn't do well...

See also Internet Filter Plan Hits Snag:

'``Things that mandate specific technologies probably aren't the best solution here. Let the free market decide, and let us improve these products all the time,'' said Susan Getgood, a SurfCONTROL vice president.

'SurfCONTROL owns the two most-used filtering tools, CyberPatrol and SurfWatch. Its technology also powers America Online's Web filter.'

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