Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 26/7/2010: Library of Congress Still GNU/Linux Hostile, Misc. News That Matters

GNOME bluefish



  • Librarian of Congress Still Clueless About Linux
    So. They tell us to buy another operating system. Thou shalt use proprietary software. Is that the government's role? If we want to use Netflix, we have to have two operating systems, one just for that? I wonder if a different legal argument were made if it might be successful, namely that the government should not be in the position of forcing citizens to spend money to have two operating systems just to be legal. Nor should a government aid certain vendors to make money by such compelling of citizens to buy their products. Nor should the government endorse products or enable certain companies to make competing products less desirable in the market.

    I mean, to think about how silly this is, turn it around. Let's say the US Copyright Office said you could only view movies and DVDs on Linux. Imagine if they told protesters using Microsoft and Apple that Linux is free, so they can just download it and dual boot, so there's no problem? Can you imagine the uproar? From Microsoft, for starters. They fight like pit bulls when any government suggests using Linux too, and when they say they will only use Linux, what does Microsoft do? Well, legally they argue it's prejudicial. Why isn't this similarly prejudicial?

    Of course, Netflix and Hollywood could do the right thing and solve this in the marketplace by making their works available to Linux users. Hollywood seriously needs to think about its use of Linux while making it impossible for Linux users to enjoy the resulting works. They use Linux because it's the best tool they can find. So do we.

  • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)


  • This isn't the first time Seed has sacrificed editorial independence
    Journalist Gaia Vince recalls how Seed magazine, owner of ScienceBlogs, spiked one of her articles because it was critical of a potential advertiser

    While the science community reacted with indignation and shock this week over ScienceBlogs' decision to publish a blog on nutrition written by food giant PepsiCo, I was unsurprised. I've been here before with Seed magazine, owners of the ScienceBlogs network.

  • Judge Says Constitution Protects Right to Lie About Purple Heart
    A federal judge has declared unconstitutional a little-known law making it a crime to falsely claim to have been awarded a military medal.

  • Internet will soon be running on IPv4 address fumes

  • Science

  • Environment

    • 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells in Gulf of Mexico ignored by government, industry
      More than 27,000 abandoned oil and gas wells lurk in the hard rock beneath the Gulf of Mexico, an environmental minefield that has been ignored for decades. No one -- not industry, not government -- is checking to see if they are leaking, an Associated Press investigation shows.

    • Photographer detained by police, BP employee near refinery
      A photographer taking pictures of a BP refinery in Texas was detained by a BP security official, local police and a man who said he was from the Department of Homeland Security, according to ProPublica, a non-profit news organization in the U.S.

    • Africa's national parks failing to conserve large mammals, study shows

    • BP whistleblower: oil clean-up effort is in disarray
      Former BP contractor Adam Dillon went public last Friday, telling a local news station in New Orleans that he was fed up with BP's handling of the spill response, not least of all its information clampdown. In an interview with Mother Jones this week, Dillon, who claims he was fired for raising concerns about the cleanup with his bosses, elaborated on his experiences in the Gulf and vented his frustrations with BP.

    • Gulf Oil Spill Mapping
      We’re helping citizens to use balloons, kites, and other simple and inexpensive tools to produce their own aerial imagery of the spill… documentation that will be essential for environmental and legal use in coming years.

    • 10 ways vegetarianism can help save the planet
      The average British carnivore eats more than 11,000 animals in their lifetime, each requiring vast amounts of land, fuel and water to reach the plate. It's time to think of waste as well as taste

  • Finance

    • Deficits of Mass Destruction
      If you've been paying attention this past decade, it won't surprise you to learn that the country's policy elites are in the midst of a destructive, well-nigh unhinged discussion about the future of the nation. But even by the degraded standards of the Washington establishment, the growing panic over government debt is shocking.

    • IMF warns against budget cuts
      International Monetary Fund says only western countries in the most severe difficulty should try to reduce their deficits, appearing to back former Labour government's policy


      By contrast, the IMF reckoned the world economy was recovering faster than expected, although it warned that Europe's debt troubles posed a big risk.

    • Keiser Declares Goldman Sachs "An Undeclared National Enemy"
      I have often maintained that any action by any company, individual or group of individuals, that has a mass negative affect on the people should be considered an enemy of the state. In fact, some actions taken by these individuals may even be considered treasonous. I believe that some high ranking government officials have commited treason but their actions, by virtue of who they are, are not dealt with as they would if it were you or I doing the same things.

    • Helping homeowners – or the banks?
      Through May, the treasury department reported that 340,000 of the 1.5 million homeowners who been offered trial modifications had received permanent modifications. Almost as many, 300,000 homeowners, never even started on the trial after it was offered. Roughly the same number of homeowners had their trial modifications cancelled before being offered a permanent modification.


      Unfortunately, almost no one in Washington talks about this route either. They are concerned about interfering with the Fed's independence. After all, Greenspan and Bernanke have done such great things for the economy how can anyone suggest changes?

      For now at least, we can only talk about helping homeowners if most of the money goes to the banks. Since we aren't actually helping homeowners with current policy, maybe we should just end the discussion and make the banks work for their money instead of relying on taxpayer handouts.

  • Health

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Net neutrality will die in the US
      INTERNET DEMOCRACY is set to be crushed and hopes for an Internet that is fair and open to all look doomed as Republican senators push legislation that will force antitrust like laws on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Facebook & WNY man square off in Buffalo court
      Facebook will try to get a New York man's claim for majority ownership of the website thrown out of court, attorneys for the social networking site said Tuesday.

      A complaint by Paul Ceglia of Wellsville claims that a 7-year-old contract he signed with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg for software development entitles him to 84 percent of the company.

    • Copyrights

      • Chaplin song silences U.K. charity girl
        Silence isn't always golden after all — at least not for Bethany Hare.

        The 10-year-old budding actress' effort to raise money for a U.K. children's hospice through a homemade video has been dealt a setback by a copyright dispute with a New York-based publishing company that owns the rights to a song from a Charlie Chaplin movie.

      • While We’re Ranting, It’s Time For the “Bamboo Fly Rod Builder vs Corporate Legal Department” Show
        While we’re on the subject of rants (a real rarity here at the Underground), we’d like to point out it’s not exactly been a great decade for the PR departments of most corporations (the financial industry recently brought the world economy to its knees, and if you haven’t looked to the Southeast USA lately, you’ve missed the specter of BP work crews burning oil-covered sea turtles alive).

      • Canadian Court Lets Perfect 10 Case Against Google Move Forward
        Over the years, we've written many, many, many times about Perfect 10, the former publisher of a porn magazine who has spent the last decade making ridiculously laughable arguments about how every search engine on the planet is infringing on its copyrights for pointing people to images that people had scanned from Perfect 10's magazines and put online. For the most part, these lawsuits have gone nowhere, but Perfect 10 is incredibly persistent. Last month, we wrote about a countersuit by Rapidshare, which detailed how Perfect 10 is now a "copyright troll," that (according to Rapidshare's claims) purposely tries to spread its works online in order to have more companies to sue. Obviously, a key target of Perfect 10 has been Google, though Perfect 10 keeps losing (and then continues to come up with ridiculous reasons to keep the lawsuit alive).

      • More Porn Companies Filing Mass Lawsuits Against File Sharers
        The complaint reads like most of the other, similar complaints we've seen, explaining the basics of BitTorrent to establish the claim that these "Does" infringed on the copyright. Once again, it seems like an open question as to whether or not it's actually legal to include all of these defendants in a single lawsuit. It's also not clear if the goal here is to send similar pre-settlement letters, but that sure seems likely.

      • IP czar targets overseas pirate sites
        U.S. President Barack Obama isn't the only government official who wants to smack down copyright infringement and counterfeiting.

      • Court reverses Rapidshare filesharing verdict
        WEB HOST Rapidshare has won an appeal against film distributor Capelight Pictures that absolves it of blame for the dissemination of a film through its network.

        Capelight Pictures, known for peddling such motion picture marvels as Cherrybomb, Dood Eind and Fanboy, had accused Rapidshare of not undertaking "all reasonable measures" to stop the spread of a title through its network. Capelight had initially won an injunction against Rapidshare, however the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf has reversed that decision.

      • Copycats: A Tale of Two Jackets

      • Pissing Off A Movie Critic By Claiming Copyright Over A Video Review... Probably Not Smart
        On that first one. Just saying it's a "review" doesn't automatically give you fair use rights. And there's no fair use for "satire," only parody -- and it's not clear that the review is actually a parody (or, for that matter, satire). Going through the four factors for fair use... you could make an argument either way as to whether or not it currently is fair use. It would really depend on the judge, and I'd actually guess that the sheer amount of the movie that is used would probably tilt the scales against fair use.

      • What is a £1m record deal?
        News of an act being given a £1m record contract by a major label conjures up images of a big cheque and instant riches. But what does a £1m record contract actually mean?

      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • UK regulator turns over Internet policing standards to movie and record industries
          When the last UK Parliament rushed the Digital Economy Act into law without debate, hours before it dissolved for the election, it appointed Ofcom, the telcoms regulator, to work out the details. Specifically, it charged Ofcom with sorting out some high standards for what evidence a rightsholder would have to produce in order to finger an online infringer (the DEA gives these rightsholders the power to eventually disconnect entire families from the internet on the strength of these accusations).

          Now Ofcom has abrogated its duty to the public and announced that the record and film industry can "self-regulate" their evidence-gathering procedures; in other words, anything that the MPA or BPI say counts as proof that you've violated copyright goes. Since these are the same companies that have mistakenly accused dead people, inanimate objects (laser printers), and people who don't own computers of file-sharing, this doesn't bode well.

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