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Entries Tagged as 'Law'

A First Sale Legal Hack?

July 17th, 2012 · 8 Comments

Here’s a little puzzle for the lawyers out there. It’s pretty obviously copyright infringement to buy a legitimate copy of a CD, make a copy, and then give away or sell the copy. But how about the reverse? Millions of people in their 20s and late-30s have large CD collections acquired back in Ye Olden […]

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Tags: Law

Everything Is a Bulletin Board!

April 6th, 2012 · 58 Comments

An Arizona man named William Hall is headed back to prison for violating the terms of his parole, which apparently included the following rather dated language: I will not use an electronic bulletin board system, Internet relay chat channel, DCC chat channel, instant messaging, newsgroup, user group, peer to peer (e.g.Napster, Gnutella, Freenet, etc). Hall […]

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Tags: Law · Tech and Tech Policy

Trayvon Martin and the Moral Clarity Hypothesis

March 27th, 2012 · 16 Comments

Sanford police are pushing back in the face of public criticism, saying that witnesses have corroborated George Zimmerman’s account of his fatal encounter with Trayvon Martin. Given how many salient facts about the case seem to have been missed in the initial investigation—Zimmerman’s history of arrests for violence, the failure to test the admitted shooter […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media · Law · Sociology

Tragic Scenarios

March 22nd, 2012 · 98 Comments

I think it’s fairly clear, at this point, that the initial police investigation into the killing of Trayvon Martin was shamefully slipshod, and that George Zimmerman’s shaky story needs to be heard and evaluated by a jury, not accepted on faith by sympathetic law enforcement. But I’ve also been mulling the facts that have been […]

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Tags: Law

Fearing for Your Life

March 21st, 2012 · 141 Comments

Most of the commentary on the Trayvon Martin case has focused on the growing mountain of evidence suggesting that shooter George Zimmerman, far from acting in “self defense,” was the instigator of the confrontation between the two late last month. But I keep coming back to a slightly different question: Are we really supposed to […]

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Tags: Journalism & the Media · Law · Personal

On the Enforcement Fantasy

January 25th, 2012 · 14 Comments

This is probably the least interesting (because it should be so self-evident) and yet most important paragraph in a must-read Cory Doctorow essay: In short, [proponents of more aggressive copyright enforcement] made unrealistic demands on reality and reality did not oblige them. Copying only got easier following the passage of these laws—copying will only ever […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Economics · Law · Tech and Tech Policy

Real Intellectual Property Theft

December 19th, 2011 · 9 Comments

Proponents of ever stronger and longer copyrights, supported by ever more draconian enforcement mechanisms, like to toss around terms like “piracy” and “theft” for the emotional reactions they provoke. This is not, as Matt Yglesias notes, an aid to clear thinking: Copyright infringement and theft are both illegal—along with jaywalking, murder, and speeding—but they’re otherwise […]

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Tags: Law · Tech and Tech Policy

When Are Patents Obvious?

August 15th, 2011 · 19 Comments

I recently did a diavlog with my friend Tim Lee on the new BloggingHeads spinoff site TechHeads, during which I had a thought that seems like it might be worth spinning out. We’re all accustomed to seeing horror stories about ludicrously broad, bad technology patents that have given rise to a wasteful arms race between […]

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Tags: Economics · Law · Tech and Tech Policy

Good Defensive Patents Are Bad Patents

July 28th, 2011 · 35 Comments

Ron Bailey writes about last weekend’s excellent Planet Money story “When Patents Attack,” which focuses on the enormous market in “defensive” patents, purchased as a kind of retaliatory hedge against lawsuits from other technology companies: In early July, the bankrupt tech company Nortel put its 6,000 patents up for auction as part of a liquidation. […]

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Tags: Economics · Law · Tech and Tech Policy

The Teleporter Library: A Copyright Thought Experiment

July 11th, 2011 · 20 Comments

Suppose that, back in the 70s, DARPA had developed two revolutionary networks. In addition to the precursor to the Internet we all know and love, they had also developed a teleportation network enabling small, inorganic objects to be instantly transmitted via miniature wormholes from any point on the network to any other point. The effect […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Economics · Law