Downtime by Law
Misc.9/8/2000; 2:21:42 PM 'With almost embarrassing enthusiasm, the American judicial system has recently taken upon itself the task of spanking the Internet, hard and with relish. Each day seems to bring another decision designed to leave the technically savvy sputtering with rage. But as galling as the verdicts have been, the judiciary with every curt dismissal of every nerd-approved argument is doing the plugged-in set an enormous favor. Because if anybody needs a lesson in the way the real world works, it's the geeks.'Too true.I'd love to put money where my mouth is, but I don't have any. I run this site as what I figure is the best I can do.
Quiet after yesterday's burst
Personal Commentary9/7/2000; 6:34:33 PM After yesterday's burst of news, a relatively quiet day. Amazon leaked some addresses to some people; it was attributed to a technical failure and from the description, I find that highly likely. Other then a reminder that there is always failure in human systems, not that big a deal .Carnivore will march on despite criticism... well, who expected anything else? The list of people and organizations the FBI has to answer to is quite short, and "the public" isn't on it, except I suppose in theory.On a more personal note, I'm engaged in what's called the "capstone project" for my undergraduate education. This particular semester, the class was broken into groups of 3 or 4 and dispersed amounst 10 or so local businesses, to do something to prove that we can work in teams and solve real-world problems. We will do this by spending a semester engaged in activities that will bear a striking resemblance to my job... oh well, who really goes to school to learn things anyhow?The prof gathered a number of different types of businesses, including things like Melting Moments (an ice cream shop), the MSU Bootery (a local shoe store, emphasis on boots), and the like. At the last minute, one of these stores dropped out and a law firm was added.Guess who gets to work with the law firm? (No, I did not swing the issue either way, nor did the prof know about this site, as far as I can tell. Still doesn't, as far as I know.)This is the last time I'll mention this (and you'll note the lack of details like names), because I'm sure it would make the law firm uncomfortable. It's just interesting to see how life turns out some times.
Point - Counterpoint: Digital Angel in your Children
Personal Commentary9/6/2000; 10:27:09 PM You may recall the Digital Angel. Dan Gillmore engaged in a point-counterpoint debate with a collegue about whether or not they would put one in their child:
- Mike Langberg: I would do it in a minute as a way to protect my child.
- Dan Gillmor: Electronic leash would undermine our values.
UCITA9/6/2000; 9:34:45 PM
- Contracts between parties in multiple states can specify which state's laws apply to the contract, a necessary ability when you have 50 states.
- UCITA goes online in Maryland in less then a month, and companies will be able to specify that the click-through contract will be under the laws of Maryland, putting it under UCITA.
- The reason click-through contracts are legitimate contracts is that it is an explicit provision of UCITA.
So, my question is, if you are not in Maryland, and you are faced with a click-through contract claiming to be under the laws of Maryland, can this non-contract (in your state) bind you to the laws of the UCITA, or, since it's not really a contract in your state, does it not matter as much as it has not mattered in the past (which is to say, untested water)?Who cares if the contract claims to work under Maryland's law if it's not a contract where you're standing?
Napster and DeCSS: Is it about free speech or free stuff?
General IP Issues9/6/2000; 4:36:07 PM The single most balanced article I've seen on the topic. Sure to be ignored because it's too sane.(No good pull-quote. It's actually a two-in-one essay:
- If you want music to be free, make like the free software people and make some free music and distribute it, don't steal commercial music.
- The content owners shouldn't be cracking down on people making fair use, they should be cracking down on honest-to-goodness pirates.)
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