Linking Is Not Copyright Infringement, Boing Boing Tells Court

Found on Torrentfreak on Friday, 19 January 2018
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With help from the EFF, Boing Boing argues that its article linking to an archive of hundreds of centerfold playmates is clearly fair use. Or else it will be "the end of the web as we know it," the blog warns.

“We’re asking the court to dismiss this deeply flawed lawsuit. Journalists, scientists, researchers, and everyday people on the web have the right to link to material, even copyrighted material, without having to worry about getting sued.”

Links are the basis of the Internet; if you are not happy with what they are pointing at, talk to the one hosting the target, not to whoever is just linking to it.

2018 Is the Last Year of America's Public Domain Drought

Found on Motherboard on Tuesday, 02 January 2018
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American copyrights now stretch for 95 years. Since 1998, we've been frozen with a public domain that only applies to works from before 1923 (and government works).

“Until 1978, the maximum copyright term was 56 years from the date of publication—an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years,” she wrote. “In 1998, Congress added 20 years to the copyright term, extending it to the author’s lifetime plus 70 years, or 95 years after publication for corporate 'works made for hire.'”

Expect heavy lobbying work to make sure that copyright will be extended once again to "protect the creators" who are long dead so those who never created anything can profit from the rights they are holding onto.

That was fast... unlike old iPhones: Apple sued for slowing down mobes

Found on The Register on Friday, 22 December 2017
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The court filing contends that Apple deliberately kept quiet about its CPU limitation scheme to fraudulently maintain or drive up sales.

And while that slowdown avoids previous-generation iPhones unexpectedly shutting off, due to exhausting their weary batteries, it also means apps run sluggishly. There is no on-screen warning this is happening, so iPhone owners were left wondering why their handhelds were performing so poorly.

The complaint recounted how the various plaintiffs, frustrated by iPhone slowdowns, bought the latest models, unaware they could have just paid Apple US$79 for a $4.45 replacement battery to resuscitate their hobbled handset.

Hopefully Apple gets slapped for this. Important or not, you don't secretly slow down the products of comsumers without at least giving a good explanation and an opt-out option (while explaining the consequences). Claiming that it's for a "better exerience" is such an obvious lie it's ridiculous; if you want to forcefully drive up sales, admit it.

Facebook's collection and use of data from third-party sources is abusive

Found on Bundeskartellamt on Thursday, 21 December 2017
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The authority holds the view that Facebook is abusing this dominant position by making the use of its social network conditional on its being allowed to limitlessly amass every kind of data generated by using third-party websites and merge it with the user's Facebook account. These third-party sites include firstly services owned by Facebook such as WhatsApp or Instagram, and secondly websites and apps of other operators with embedded Facebook APIs.

Users cannot expect data which is generated when they use services other than Facebook to be added to their Facebook account to this extent. Data are already transmitted from websites and apps to Facebook when a user calls them up or installs them, provided they have an embedded API.

It's sadly very rare to see that the government takes steps to show companies that they cannot collect everything about users for marketing and sales to increase their profits.

FBI appears to have investigated - and considered prosecuting - FOIA requesters

Found on Muckrock on Friday, 15 December 2017
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A new FOIA release shows the FBI Director’s Office responded to FOIA requests for known files on deceased FBI officials by presenting options that seemingly included a law enforcement investigation/proceeding against the requesters, with one email calling the requests “SUSPICIOUS.”

According to the Bureau, fulfilling the FOIA requests would have prevented the FBI from fulfilling FOIA requests. Their letter stated that the “manner of submission interfered with the FBI’s ability to perform its FOIA and PA statutory responsibilities as an agency.

Agencies don't like the people. No big news.

Maker of sneaky Mac adware sends security researcher cease-and-desist letters

Found on ZDNet on Wednesday, 13 December 2017
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The short version is that the adware, built by Israeli ad-tech firm TargetingEdge, poses as a legitimate installer, like a video player or document reader. Like other software, the installer asks for the user's password to install, tricking the user into turning over root privileges to the installer. Once it's hooked into the system, the installer uses a script to download further components from the adware's command and control server.

TargetingEdge sent cease-and-desist letters to try to prevent Serper from publishing his research.

That would make an interesting lawsuit.

Judge Hands Back $92,000 Taken From Musician By Cops For Failing To Buckle His Seatbelt

Found on Techdirt on Monday, 04 December 2017
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Musician Phil Parhamovich made the mistake of driving in Wyoming without his seatbelt buckled. A click-it ticket in Wyoming usually runs about $25. In Parhamovich's case, it cost him nearly $92,000.

Most Americans aren't aware law enforcement officers regularly engage in pretextual traffic stops for the sole purpose of warrantless searches and seizures. According to the musician, the cops made

Good to see not all cases of highway robbery are successful.

Sheriff's Office To Pay $3 Million For Invasive Searches Of 850 High School Students

Found on Techdirt on Monday, 20 November 2017
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Over 800 students were searched without a warrant, subjected to invasive pat downs that included breasts and genitals by Sheriff Jeff Hobby and his deputies.

In October, Sheriff Hobby and two of his deputies were indicted for sexual battery and false imprisonment.

That number has nothing to do with the severity of the violations, but rather is the limit of the sheriff department's insurance policy.

Fair enough for an abuse of law at that scale.

Paradise Papers: Apple's secret tax bolthole revealed

Found on BBC News on Monday, 06 November 2017
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The world's most profitable firm has a secretive new structure that would enable it to continue avoiding billions in taxes, the Paradise Papers show.

One email sent between senior partners at Appleby says: "For those of you who are not aware, Apple [officials] are extremely sensitive concerning publicity. They also expect the work that is being done for them only to be discussed amongst personnel who need to know."

The papers are a huge batch of leaked documents mostly from offshore law firm Appleby, along with corporate registries in 19 tax jurisdictions, which reveal the financial dealings of politicians, celebrities, corporate giants and business leaders.

Remember the Panama Papers? Remember how politicians promised to do something about all these tax evasions? Remember the big changes that followed these announcements? No? Nobody else remembers them either because they never happened.

EA shuts down fan-run servers for older Battlefield games

Found on Ars Technica on Saturday, 28 October 2017
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Since 2014, a group of volunteers going by the name Revive Network have been working to keep online game servers running for Battlefield 2, Battlefield 2142, and Battlefield Heroes. As of this week, the team is shutting down that effort thanks to a legal request from publisher Electronic Arts.

EA's older Battlefield titles were a victim of the 2014 GameSpy shutdown, which disabled the online infrastructure for plenty of classic PC and console games.

The move is more reminiscent of Blizzard, which has recently shut down numerous fan servers devoted to restoring classic versions of World of Warcraft as it existed a decade ago.

That's what you get for buying games which rely on servers provided by companies: a shutdown whenever they want it, leaving the product you paid for useless.