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The League of Extraordinary Copyrights

Hollywood hoist with its own petard:

One of the film’s problems, and the comic book’s strengths, is enormously relevant in an age of rampant online file-sharing and courtroom wars over extension of the copyright term. In the comic book, Moore shows the benefit of having a rich public domain. He plucks old characters from obscurity, brings them together and makes them dance. The public domain works the way it’s supposed to. New creators enliven old works and send interested readers scurrying back to the original texts.

At the same time, the film illustrates how modern copyrights restrict the use of established cultural texts that should be in the public domain. For American audiences, Tom Sawyer is added to the mix, but evidently Fox couldn’t clear his film rights, so he’s referred to only as “agent Sawyer.” A friend of mine walked out of the movie having no idea Mark Twain’s rambunctious kid was all grown up and inexplicably sneaking about London with a shotgun.

[Full story at MSNBC]

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Apple to RIAA: Get a clue!

"The way to go after illegal file sharing services is to compete with them, says Peter Lowe, Apple's Director of Marketing for Applications and Services. This can be done by offering quality and speed that is greater than that of file-swapping services, Lowe says."

[Full article at MacNN ]

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Good news: Conservatives are not psychopaths!

[...] conservative ideologies, like virtually all belief systems, develop in part because they satisfy some psychological needs, but that "does not mean that conservatism is pathological or that conservative beliefs are necessarily false, irrational, or unprincipled."

[Full article at UC Berkeley]

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... so many to choose from

What if you gave a standard and nobody came?

Standards are a good thing, and open standards are even better, but do I really have a standard just because I say so? Some of the most successful standards are de facto standards — standards that have become so because a product has been accepted by the market and become the paragon against which others are judged. Linux could not exist without Unix having first established a de facto standard.

On the other hand, proprietary standards can fail to take hold because the market does not accept them. The classic example here is Beta vs. VHS — it is widely accepted that despite Beta being a better quality format, Sony's refusal to open (even license) its standard, let VHS dominate in the marketplace.

Postscript and Java are interesting standards to compare. Adobe has retained control of the Postscript standard, but because Postscript has to have an interface to page layout programs that is well-specified, third parties have been able to create Postscript emulators, competing with Adobe's proprietary implementation. Adobe has retained market share by continuing to provide value — Adobe's engine remains the touchstone against which all other emulators are judged.

Sun has waffled on whether to relinquish control of Java to ECMA in an attempt to gain greater acceptance while preventing the divergence that plagued Lisp and Unix in the early 70's. Sun has had less success than Adobe in licensing "true" Java, perhaps because the value is less clear.

The question is: when developing a new product, at what point do I want to standardize it?

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The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is campaining to reform the way music is paid for, and 'decriminalizing' music sharing.

Free the Tunes!

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Safar-as-I's concerned

Safari bugs that are impeding me:

Setting location.href on a frame won't update the frame. In some cases, it will update it once, but not again. In other cases, it won't update it at all.

Here is a simple example that works as expected in Camino (Mozilla).

Web Ring is an actual application that I am working on that demonstrates the 'only loads once' effect.

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College education

"Boston College and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, citing concerns about student privacy, moved yesterday to quash subpoenas issued by the recording industry to discover the identities of students the industry says are illegally distributing copyrighted music."

[Thank goodness someone is showing sense. How can subpoenas issued without judicial review be honored over constitutional rights?

Full story by James Collins in The Boston Globe]

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Royale FUD1

Macromedia's Royale promises to be, someday, everything that Laszlo Systems2 is today.

LZX is an object-oriented programming language expressed in XML and Javascript. Application source files are text-based, meaning they can be managed by any IDE and source control system, and projects can easily be developed by teams.

The Laszlo foundation classes are a suite of UI objects and behaviors providing a substrate for rich internet apps, including back-end database connectivity.

The Laszlo presentation server is a JRE servlet that is deployed on a J2EE application server. The presentation server compiles your LZX source to SWF so your application can be delivered to any platform where the Flash player is present (5.0 player or better).

Laszlo lets you build desktop-level power into applications that can run in any web browser.

1. FUD: Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt. A Marketing technique originated by IBM, perfected by Microsoft, and now employed widely to stifle innovation by sowing rumors when you don't have a competitive product.

2. Yes, I work for Laszlo, so I might be a little bit biased. Decide for yourself. Check out the demos, download the free developer version. Give it a try.

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Left your windows open?

Microsoft admits critical flaw in nearly all Windows software

[Full article at Security Focus]

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"The music industry has issued at least 871 federal subpoenas against computer users this month suspected of illegally sharing music files on the Internet, with roughly 75 new subpoenas being approved each day, U.S. court officials said Friday."

[Full article in Salon]

1. jackboot the spirit or policy of militarism or totalitarianism

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Would you like spam with that?

With all of Europe set to implement Opt-in legislation by October, Europe has taken the lead in banning spam and is no longer waiting for the United States to stop the huge American spam problem, problem that most of Europe suffers from with over 90% of all spam hitting Europe being sent by American (mostly Florida-based) spammers.

But the United States is going in the opposite direction to Europe and is now set to explode the spam problem far worse than it is today, incredibly by actually legalizing Unsolicited Bulk Email instead of banning it.


[Full article at Spamhaus]

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Download a file, go to jail

Latest round in the RIAA's attempt to get Congress to force us to buy a product we don't find value in.

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Is it a sign?

Walking to my train today, stopped to drop my spare change in a coffee cup. The holder is wearing a Macromedia polo shirt. What does it mean?

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Pods Unite

For a limited time, buyers of new Volkswagen Beetles will receive a free 15 GB Apple iPod.

Continue reading "Pods Unite"
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The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies In CONGRESS, July 4, 1776

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen United States of America,

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Continue reading "Independence"
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"Horses sweat, Men perspire, Ladies glow."


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EFF Launches "Let the Music Play" Campaign

Urges 60 Million Music Lovers in U.S. to Demand Legal Rights

San Francisco - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on Monday, June 30, launched a "Let the Music Play" campaign urging the more than 60 million U.S. citizens who use file-sharing software to demand changes in copyright law to get artists paid and make file- sharing legal.

The EFF Let the Music Play campaign counters the Recording Industry Association of America's (RIAA) announcement that it will file thousands of lawsuits against individuals who use file- sharing software like Kazaa, Grokster, and Morpheus.

"Copyright law is out of step with the views of the American public and the reality of music distribution online," said EFF Executive Director Shari Steele. "Rather than trying to sue people into submission, we need to find a better alternative that gets artists paid while making file sharing legal."

EFF's Let the Music Play campaign provides alternatives to the RIAA's litigation barrage, details EFF's efforts to defend peer- to-peer file sharing, and makes it easy for individuals to write members of Congress. EFF will also place advertisements about the Right to Share campaign in magazines such as Spin, Blender, Computer Gaming World, and PC Gamer.

"Today, more U.S. citizens use file-sharing software than voted for President Bush," said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Fred von Lohmann. "Congress needs to spend less time listening to record industry lobbyists and more time listening to the more than 60 million Americans who use file-sharing software today."

According to online media analyst Big Champagne, more than 60 million Americans are using file-sharing software.

For this release:

EFF file-sharing campaign site:

EFF file-sharing ad:

How to not get sued for file sharing:

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