FTL: Faster Than Light is one of the most addictive spaceship simulations you can play — and it turns out it's even better with a touchscreen. First released in 2012 for Windows, Mac, and Linux, FTL tasks you with delivering some very important data to the Galactic Federation headquarters. Standing between you and your goal, though, is a whole lot of space, filled with hostile aliens and treacherous asteroid fields. Your hyperspace drive lets you quickly jump from one star to the next, and along the way you'll do battle with space pirates, barter for fuel, and explore abandoned relics, all while trying to move fast enough to avoid the fleet of rebel ships that's on your tail.
Forget Satoshi Nakamoto — These Are The Names In Bitcoin That Actually Matter
Seattle Post Intelligencer
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Dallas Morning News
Top 10 Pies for Pi Day
A Birthday cake would be appropriate. He'd probably like a pie, because of the symbol π or Pi. Pi is a number that never ends, but it is rounded to the nearest hundredth. This makes Pi 3.14. What is today? March 14! So there is a little math humor to brighten ...
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Happy Pi Day! Here are 15 vegan pie recipes.Eat. Drink. Better.
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I spent over 7 months working on the PONY.MOV finale, SWAG.MOV. Although I’m really proud of the end result, I was never able to monetize on it’s release in any way; on the day it was put out, youtube’s automated copyright software linked it to some random sound effect on a public domain sound library. And so, all 3+ million of it’s views went unmonetized by me.
Recently, there has been some kind of surplus of copyright claims on youtube. A lot of people are very upset about it, but coupled with it came a way to dispute the claims and have them overturned. This means that SWAG.MOV can, at long last, be monetized by me.
I worked very hard for many months on this cartoon and it’ll be nice to finally see some adrev. If you wish to support me or my livelihood, please watch it again and show it to your friends!
Baked some iPhone cookies to trick cops into pulling me over, then I just take a bite and ask if cookies are against the law.
Nelson Mandela, the anti-apartheid icon who emerged as South Africa’s first black President after spending 27 years as a political prisoner, passed away at the age of 95.
While human beings around the planet Earth mourned the loss of a hero, the vile repugnant slime monsters, whom also go by aliases such as "Conservatives," "Republicans," and the "Right Wing" had a different outlook on the passing of a man who changed a nation and inspired a world…
Don’t forget: President Ronald Reagan too thought Nelson Mandela was a terrorist commie. However, as usual, upon realizing history found them on the wrong side at the time, the right wing is now trying to co-opt Nelson Mandela and act as if they were always behind him.
Over on Ted Cruz’s official Facebook page, a post went up in remembrance of Nelson Mandela. However, while the professional right tries to fix their image, the Republican base is more than happy to pull back the curtain and show how true Conservative ‘patriots’ feel about Nelson Mandela…
From the GOP’s official Facebook page, comments left on their Nelson Mandela in memory of post:
On Reason.com’s Facebook post, because don’t let Libertarianism fool you into pretending Libertarians are anything anything but right wingers with a “hipster” look to appeal to younger people:
And of course, how can any good Conservative speak of Nelson Mandela without PRESIDENT BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA coming to mind! Because, as we all know, Nelson Mandela’s death is all about Obama…
Gotta’ hand it to Shelly for the above comment, she managed to invoke Trayvon Martin in her tweet too!
Did you know that Nelson Mandela died to distract us all from the problems with Obamacare?! Why, let these patriots clue you in!…
However, after all you just saw, I think Fox News contributor Todd Starnes' tweet takes the cake. You see, Todd here was livetweeting President Obama's statement on Nelson Mandela's passing. It seems Obama was a little late to addressing the nation. Todd Starnes was PISSED. How dare Obama disrespect the great Nelson Mandela!…
Todd Starnes must really respect Nelson Mandela, right?
lmao. Check out this tweet from just a year ago where Todd Starnes complains about President Obama…SHOWING NELSON MANDELA SOME RESPECT.
Typography and helpful design notes.
While BitTorrent is used by many pirates, the technology itself is neutral and does a lot of good for content creators as well. This is also the message BitTorrent Inc, the parent company of the popular uTorrent client, has tried to communicate over the past year.
On numerous occasions the company has distanced itself from those who download infringing content, including the majority of their 150+ million users.
“We do not endorse piracy. We do not encourage it. We don’t point to piracy sites. We don’t host any infringing content,” BitTorrent’s CEO said previously. In addition, the company launched a website to show the public that BitTorrent does not equal piracy.
BitTorrent is right to stress the legal use of its software, but whether that’s successful is another question. It only draws attention to a connection that they want people to believe is not there, which is the opposite of what they want to achieve.
For example, when we tried to setup uTorrent’s RSS downloader at TorrentFreak headquarters the other day we couldn’t help but notice a list of “pirate” terms that were included.
The RSS feature allows users to add RSS feeds for various torrent sites such as The Pirate Bay, and filter downloads based on search phrases, episode numbers and video quality. This last option includes a dropdown box with several quality options, including DSRip, DVBRip, DVDScr, DVDRip, PDTV, Satrip and WebRip.
Most of these terms originate from piracy release groups and have little or no legal use.
DVDScr, for example, identifies a ripped copy of DVD screeners that are sent out to reviewers and are not intended for public viewing. Likewise, the terms DVBRip/PDTV are used exclusively by TV-piracy groups to identify the source of a recording.
Given BitTorrent’s efforts to distance itself from all things piracy, it was quite a surprise for us to see these references in their most popular software. We can’t think of any RSS feeds with legal content where these filters would come in handy.
To find out why these terms were included TorrentFreak asked the company for clarification a couple of weeks ago, but we have yet to receive a response.
The listing of these “pirate” terms in uTorrent’s RSS downloader is of course not a crime by itself. However, should the company ever run into legal trouble it won’t be hard for outfits such as the MPAA and RIAA to argue that the feature is facilitating illegal downloading.
And that’s exactly what BitTorrent Inc has been trying to avoid with their recent marketing campaigns.
In Japan there are certain jobs that best performed by gaijin, a word that means foreigner, though in practice it nearly always refers to Westerners rather people from nearby Asian countries. Someone playing Santa Claus for Japanese children will have more of an aura of wonder and mystery if he’s a foreigner, and the same is true of the cast members at Disneyland, since having an American or European actress playing Cinderella is just more magical than a Japanese person would be. Near J-List there’s a wedding hall called Georgian House which attempts to recreate the splendor of early 18th century England in its architecture. In addition to having real gaijin ministers to marry couples (though they’re just English conversation teachers making some money on the side, I know a few of them), the photography staff is also made up of foreigners, which lends an extra je ne sais quoi to the atmosphere of the place. Recently Japanese consumer products company Sunstar started running TV commercials for fluoride-enriched mouthwash. The commercial features a foreigner wearing a white lab coat and holding a clipboard, so you know the product must be effective.
A couple of updates ago I wrote about the word 常識 joshiki, meaning ‘common sense,’ and how one of the worst things a company can do is attempt to do business in one country while operating under the joshiki of another. Doing this creates a kind of “perceived schizophrenia” which causes stress among fans, who wonder what in the hell Japanese companies are thinking when in reality they’re just operating by a different set of mental rules. While J-List is loaded with awesome 2014 calendars from Japan, don’t bother looking for AKB48, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu or Johnny’s-kei calendars, as the companies that manage these artists have found it more profitable to force fans to join fee-based fanclubs and sell calendars to them directly. (No, non-residents of Japan are never allowed to join these clubs.) The reason for those $100 Sailor Moon T-shirts is similar: Bandai decided to sell these direct to customers, jacking the price way up and removing distribution to third-party shops like J-List. (It’s not our fault!) I remember hearing that Japanese companies excelled at “long-range thinking” but this is a real knee-slapper: in reality they’re terribly conservative and would rather make too few of a product than risk it sitting around in a warehouse, which is why we encourage fans go get your Sailor Moon preorders in as early as you can, lest the item(s) you want be removed from the site. Other things that can be frustrating to dedicated fans include when Japanese companies sell products via lottery, or when they make limited edition Gundam models or Pokemon 3DS units but make no way for people outside Japan to buy. The Japanese companies aren’t trying to frustrate us on purpose, they’re just handicapped by trying to operate a global business with fans all over the world while maintaining a “common sense” that’s only compatible with the Japan domestic market.
And that's why you should purely vote on policy and look beyond race and other categorizations.
Houston Republican Dave Wilson Pretends He's Black, Wins Race
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My problem with is is whether USPS will leave things on the doorstep like UPS and Fedex. It would not be favorable if they leave me that orange slip instead of my package as always...
Is it possible that last year's disastrous Supreme Court decision affirming the withdrawal of millions of works from the public domain (at least in the U.S.) might set the stage for good constitutional challenges to bad copyright law? That's the argument that copyright scholar Neil Netanel makes in a recent article on the impact of that case on the First Amendment.
According to Netanel, one often-overlooked aspect of the opinion is that the Court explicitly identified fair use as an essential “First Amendment accommodation” that cannot be disturbed if copyright law is to survive First Amendment scrutiny. In the process, the Court may have poked a hole in the already shaky constitutional justifications for anti-user sections of copyright law.
First things first: the opinion in Golan v. Holder, released the same day as the historic anti-SOPA blackout protests, was definitely bad for the public domain. At issue was a law that restored copyright restrictions on millions of non-U.S. works that had already become part of the public domain for a variety of reasons, such as the copyright owner’s failure to comply with various formalities. The petitioner Lawrence Golan, a music professor and conductor adversely affected by that law, argued that by destabilizing the public domain that law impinged on his free speech interest in using those works. In its disagreement, the Court said that fostering the public domain is not a requirement for a copyright law to be constitutional. But, importantly, it also said that fair use is such a requirement.
That may turn out to be a bright spot in the decision. After all, we've seen copyright enforcement that doesn't acknowledge the "safety valve" of fair use, and the result is silenced or chilled speech. Whether it's individuals and organizations abusing the takedown process as the shortest road to censorship, or overzealous algorithmic enforcement that ensnares legitimate expression, a failure to consider fair use has serious consequences for speech.
So it's actually a good thing that, as Netanel argues, the Court's precedent has changed significantly with Golan. Prior to the Golan decision, there was some question as to whether undermining fair use right might raise a constitutional issue. By contrast, Golan explicitly calls out fair use as one of the “traditional contours” of copyright that must be accommodated to bring copyright law into line with the First Amendment.
This point is important, because there are currently copyright laws on the books that do not adequately accommodate fair uses. Chief among them is the Digital Millenium Copyright Act—specifically section 1201, the "anti-circumvention clause" that prohibits users from interfering with "digital rights management" software designed to control access to a copyrighted work, and from distributing tools that could help others get around those software controls. The restrictions in section 1201 of the DMCA apply even if the user's purpose in circumventing the software would otherwise be considered a fair use, leading to all sorts of unintended consequences.
Courts have relied on the earlier Supreme Court precedent to dismiss legitimate concerns about that particular law. In a case concerning the distribution of software that could read DVDs despite their "content scrambling system," a federal judge in New York acknowledged that there is no fair use defense in the DMCA, but dismissed claims that the lack of that defense made the law unconstitutional. Instead, he noted that the "Supreme Court has never held that fair use is constitutionally required."
Netanel makes the compelling argument that Golan changed the rules. Under Golan, laws like the DMCA's anti-circumvention clause may be unconstitutional. Indeed, even the other safeguards found in the DMCA—like the triennial rulemaking procedure for excluding certain forms of circumvention for certain purposes—are too limited to bring the DMCA into line with the First Amendment.
Instead, the law itself should explicit provide for a broad fair use exception. There have been proposals to amend the DMCA to that effect; most recently, Rep. Zoe Lofgren's "Unlocking Technology Act" has been written to do just that. We've set up a tool to allow you to urge your representatives in Congress to support it.
But the argument extends beyond anti-circumvention clauses to other areas of copyright law, too. For example, as Netanel points out, proposals from the copyright lobby to eliminate "safe harbors" and expand liability for Internet service providers may also be problematic. Expanding intermediary copyright liability could result in "censorship by proxy," where risk-averse platforms could refuse to carry First Amendment-protected speech just because it relies on fair use.
Fair use has always been a critical component of copyright law, and if Netanel's argument is correct, that's now got firm constitutional recognition. So what comes next? It's up to us to fix existing copyright law to include those protections for speech, and reject new laws and international agreements that don't.
Meet Pax Dickinson. He’s the Chief Technology Officer at Business Insider, a fast growing tech news website. The CTO is a pretty high-level position. They are pretty much responsible for the technology side of a business.
Along with being the CTO of a large web company, Pax Dickinson just happens to also be a mega sexist asshole.
No, scratch that. Pax Dickinson is a mega sexist asshole, who just happens to be the CTO of a large web company.
Cool shades, tech bro.
At first glance, Pax Dickinson just seems to be your classic straight white male brogrammer. Perhaps he’s casually sexist; come on lighten up and take a joke, ladies; and believes that there is absolutely no gender problem in the tech world. It’s not his fault girls are into girly things and don’t have an interest in learning manly code.
It seems like sometime in the past 24 hours, Pax Dickinson discovered the online outrage over Titstare dot com, the app that was presented at TechCrunch Disrupt yesterday that encourages man to take creepshots of themselves staring at tits. Pax Dickinson did not take kindly to the claims that this app, which he has no connection to whatsoever and one could assume it’s sort of odd someone with no vested interest in the damn thing would take to heart such claims, was sexist and misogynistic.
Look at the grown man say thinks such as it’s OK to “not take a woman seriously” and “enjoy boobies.”
As you can imagine, the rant of a sexist madmen who holds a high position at a growing web company in an industry that runs rampant with misogyny caught the attention of many people on Twitter.
So, while Pax Dickinson was busy being an Internet tough guy, my fingers went ahead and looked through Pax Dickinson’s 4 year plus Twitter history. I thought, there is no way this guy who says acts of sexism and misogyny are not, in fact, acts of sexism and misogyny would actually partake in even more blatant acts of sexism and misogyny. There is NO WAY.
Ooo, look! He’s homophobic and classist too!
Now, you may have seen some of these tweets on Valleywag or on Twitter. But, come on, that’s it? WE HAVE TO GO DEEPER, PEOPLE. Deep, deep into the history of one Pax Dickinson’s Twitter history. And when you do, you find this…
P.S. As you can see from this tweet, and to no surprise whatsoever, our sexist tech bro Pax Dickinson, is also a freedom and liberty (for privileged straight white males) libertarian.
This tweet is especially funny juxtaposed with his tweet about starting a family on minimum wage. The libertarian mind doth not think very much.
As you read this next tweet, remember Pax Dickinson is a CTO at a tech company and the tech industry certainly does not have a gender problem…
And while Business Insider doesn’t seem to care that Pax Dickinson says these things as the CTO of their company, I leave you with this…
Pax Dickinson, perhaps realizing he went too far, followed that tweet with this…
Pax Dickinson: CTO of Businesser Insider, tech bro, and proof that libertarianism is a scourge.
Ok, time to make a brief admission, oh Techdirt faithful. You see, we talk a great deal on this site about intellectual property and, while it certainly isn't a 100% thing, the most common topics in the discussion are movies, music, and books, particularly when it comes to copyright. Here's the problem: I'm not much of a customer for any of those things. I listen to almost no music as a talk radio junkie, my movie-viewing habits amount to seeing perhaps 3 films or so a year, and I write way more than I read these days. Even then, my reading habits tend to be from sources that are either free or in the public domain. So, while I care a great deal about intellectual property laws in this country, I tend not to have much interest in the practical applications as discussed here.
But that doesn't mean I don't still run into an IP law topic that does involve something I love dearly, something for which I could find no replacement in this little life of mine. Something that, were it to find itself suddenly locked up in a way that prevented me easy access, I might just lose my mind. I am speaking, of course, about alcohol. Cocktail recipes, thankfully, are famously not covered by copyright, which is why it's fun to see a legal explanation about how they're flourishing anyway.
If it has been accepted for at least two centuries that – absent state intervention – the fruits of intellectual labor are non-rivalrous and non-excludable, who but “a blockhead” would invest effort in concocting a commendable cocktail? Why, the free-riding barman next door is simply going to pilfer your tipple, put a foolish little umbrella in it and call it his own! Hence, new cocktails ought to be in scarce supply. But the problem is, they’re not. Even after we largely wiped out our collective wisdom of creative imbibing with 14 years of Prohibition, we’re knee-deep in cocktail recipes. Why is this?Part of the answer can be found in Kal Raustiala and Chris Sprigman's wonderful book, The Knockoff Economy, which lawyer Matt Schruers goes into with a nice little nod. It isn't just the absence of copyright that separates the world of cocktails from major media entertainment, the entire culture of alcohol and bartending is like a music and movie bizarro world, where the entire culture depends on freely sharing drink recipes, garnishment strategies, and success rates with different drinks. The result is not only that great drinks find notoriety, new or otherwise, but the other result is industry norms in bartending springing up organically to take the role of what otherwise would be government intrusion.
Like fashion, the industries for both stand-up comedy and culinary art, including cocktails, see considerable development of new ideas. In both cases, industry norms – not laws – govern copying. The formal code of ethics of culinary professionals, Raustiala and Sprigman note, requires attribution. (This has not forestalled the occasional demand for a sort of recipe copyright, designed to overturn the conventional rule that recipes do not qualify for copyright.). A second cause for cocktail innovation is that recipes sell the product. Here, the intellectual labor is undertaken at a loss to promote a spirit. Today, many spirits manufacturers employ “brand ambassadors,” generally bartenders, to evangelize their product by devising and demonstrating new applications for it. Third, cocktails may be developed for reputational gain. A bartender may want his work to spread, because being known for his craft draws patrons to his establishment, and improves his job marketability. Of course, this why in cocktail arts, as in cuisine, attribution norms receive greater emphasis.If any of this is beginning to sound familiar to you, it should be, because this is the exact route the music and movie industries are being pushed into. You could replace "cocktail" above with "recorded music" or "film" and most of the statement would still work without any further edits. Musical sharing and attribution to drive up notoriety, with recordings given away to promote scarce seats at concerts, while creative output is achieved to build up the brand as well. The synergy is quite striking.
China being dicks.
China's Ships Near Islands on Eve of Japan Purchase Anniversary
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The origin of the “shimapan” meme is a show called Stellvia of the Universe. It also helped make kompeito a thing.
Inspired by current events from around the world and Milano’s own philanthropic endeavors, Hacktivist is a fast-paced cyber-thriller about friendship and freedom in a time of war. The story follows Ed Hiccox and Nate Graft, the young founders of the world’s most innovative social media company who moonlight secretly as one of the most notorious black-hat hacker teams on the planet. When the U.S. government discovers their operation, they must face the real world beyond the code and choose between loyalty and what they believe to be is right.Okay. Sure. At SDCC, to promo this, apparently they gave out 500 copies of a limited edition comic previewing some of the content from this upcoming title. The preview content... might not be my cup of tea and feels a bit too much like the hacking dialog in Swordfish (i.e., what Hollywood thinks hacking is) for my taste, but anything that takes the concept of hacktivism more mainstream certainly is a good thing. For what it's worth, I've heard from a few people that Milano is actually fairly up on these things, and the press release description of the inspiration behind the comic is not bad:
“I’m very involved with in global activism and philanthropy. I like the idea of everyday people doing good,” explained Milano. “My inspiration for Hacktivist is actually Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter and Square. I picture him leaving the office at night and going home, where he locks himself in his room and starts hacking to change the world.Okay, I don't generally think of Dorsey as a hacktivist so much, but that's cool. Better than some other folks. Of course, during the SOPA fight, Milano spoke out against SOPA, so it might have been slightly cooler if she'd used someone like Aaron Swartz -- for whom the term is actually accurate -- as an inspiration, but Dorsey's definitely more well known.
HACKTIVIST is © and TM 2013 by Alyssa Milano.Er... considering just how closely hacktivism is associated with fighting back against the abuse of intellectual property like copyright and trademark to wall off the commons, this seems like a bit of a mistake. I'm sure this wasn't done to close off the term on purpose -- it's just "what you do" when you're releasing the comic book. But, you'd think that maybe, just maybe, when putting together a comic book called Hacktivist, you'd be a bit more sensitive to the fact that many hacktivists are fighting situations like this one. Now, to be fair, there doesn't seem to be any registered trademark application on the word yet -- so it could just be that the "trademark" refers to things like the specific logo used (though, then they shouldn't have needed to put that after the word), and the copyright could refer to the specific content (though, given the subject matter, you'd think at least some sort of Creative Commons license might be more appropriate -- but that's their call). But, even if there's no ill intent here, just trying to get that trademark seems potentially questionable -- and it wouldn't be entirely surprising to find out down the road, years from now, that someone coming into possession of the trademark claims much more widespread ownership of the term, and that would be a big problem.
As most people reading this post will be aware, free media of all kinds is just a few clicks away.
No matter what content is required, a quick Google search (or a Bing one if the relentless pace of DMCA notices is spoiling results) is the only thing required to get almost anything without paying.
But just because one can, does it necessarily follow that one should?
Last evening during a barbecue I found myself chatting with the owner of a manufacturing company about some of what I believe to be the driving forces behind piracy. He told me that his business doesn’t suffer from copyright infringement in any meaningful way and it soon became apparent that with his computing ability he wouldn’t know how to share a file even if i’d taken the time to show him.
Nevertheless, we discussed the issue of availability, of how pirated content is readily and simply on tap. This, versus many of the comparatively off-putting and complex solutions offered by entertainment companies.
We chatted about the possibility that many pirates would not have bought the content in the first place and therefore no real damage had been done by them downloading a copy.
The guy, already into his 70s, was also fascinated by the “sharing is caring” idea, where people gift content in order to enrich the lives of others and society as a whole.
And then he dropped the bombshell. Had I heard of Matza and Sykes? No, I responded. Were they coming to the barbecue? “Unlikely,” he said.
Ipad in one hand and a burger in the other, I searched for these gentleman and discovered that they’d come up with an interesting theory in the 1950s.
The duo theorized that people are well aware of their moral obligations to abide by the law so therefore, when those people commit crimes, they have to employ techniques in order to overcome their inbuilt desire to do the “right thing”. They do this, Matza and Sykes said, through denial and by justifying their behavior.
So how does their theory apply to what we’d just been discussing, I asked. Well, it may not, my beer-drinking friend explained, but he gave me his interpretation anyway.
On the first point, that for many years content providers have failed to make media easily available, I was informed that Matza and Sykes may have explained this in two ways:
Denial of responsibility: The offender (in this case a copyright infringer) would justify his actions by stating that he’d been forced into a situation beyond his control (needed content, but stupid movie studio didn’t make it easily available).
Denial of the victim: The offender (file-sharer) believes that the victim (movie studio) deserved an offense to be committed against them – in this case due to their incompetence in making content available.
So what about the notion that many file-sharers would never have bought the content they download? Yep, Matza and Sykes apparently have an explanation for that too.
Denial of injury: The offender justifies his behavior due to a belief that no harm has been caused by their action. These huge companies don’t need any more money, do they?
But Sharing must be Caring, right? Well maybe, but there’s a theory on that too.
Appeal to higher loyalties: The offender believes that their ‘crime’ was actually for the greater good, with positive long-term consequences. Enrichment of society via the sharing of culture, perhaps?
Playing devil’s advocate, I questioned whether a person’s moral obligations in these instances should always be aligned with the law of the land. For example, if a law existed today but was abolished tomorrow, should individuals immediately change their moral values to suit?
In this case, would today’s justification for committing a crime become tomorrow’s straightforward reason for carrying out a legal activity? Are all laws necessarily moral anyway, or do we sometimes have a moral obligation to fight back?
With more than a few beers consumed and definitely no psychology or sociology degree to fall back on, the conversation was already running away from me – but then it struck me. Most people grabbing free content from the Internet aren’t required to justify their behavior to anyone. They click – and obtain – and there’s rarely any subsequent debate over morals.
However, that doesn’t mean that people won’t play fair. At TF earlier this week we were discussing the new ‘Downloaded’ movie which tells the story of Napster. The reviews aren’t very good and none of us here have yet seen it, but perhaps we should. Despite its availability on dozens of torrent sites, Ernesto put his hand in his pocket and tried to buy it from Amazon. He was informed that it wasn’t available in his location. Clearly the makers of the movie haven’t learned very much.
What this shows is that people can and will do the “right thing” but in order to capitalize on that content providers must also do their bit. It’s easy for Matza and Sykes to say that those committing social wrongs are merely trying to ease consciences with their denials, but their ‘excuses’ in the file-sharing space are valuable indicators of where file-sharers’ morals lie.
So maybe if all the soul-easing excuses uttered by file-sharers were taken away – by making content available, by not being a greedy corporation, by not lobbying for aggressive laws that conflict with social norms – perhaps we’d be left with a situation in which many more people would buy content freely.
Whether that would be through guilt or simply because their service requirements (sorry, excuses) had been listened to would be here nor there. Content would be bought and after all, isn’t that what the fight’s all about?
So-called copyright-trolling in the file-sharing space was an activity pioneered in Germany around eight years ago.
Ever since, many hundreds of thousands of Internet users there have been plagued by threats from rightsholders of almost every kind of media, with many settling for amounts up to 1,200 euros a shot.
As we know, these pay-up-or-else schemes also spread to the UK and then to the United States, proving particularly popular with porn companies out to prop up their failing business models. One such outfit, Malibu Media, has filed dozens of lawsuits in the United States and recently made efforts to export their project back to Germany. It didn’t go well.
Last year, Malibu issued complaints in Germany that Internet subscribers had illegally shared eight of their X-Art movies including “Flexible Beauty” and “Young passion”. As a result the company wanted to obtain the identities of Internet subscribers behind the IP addresses it held on file in order to extract settlements from them.
However, as outlined in a recently published ruling by the District Court of Munich, the complaints proved problematic.
Firstly, Malibu claimed to be the creator of the movies but the District Court said that the company’s name was nowhere to be found on the videos in question, only references to the X-Art brand. As a result Malibu were unable to convince the Court that they held the rights.
Next there was the issue of distribution. Although Malibu claimed that the movies had been released worldwide, it failed to demonstrate that they had either been released locally on DVD or via an online platform. On that basis the District Court found that the works had never been released in Germany and were therefore ineligible for protection under the Copyright Act.
Finally, the District Court said that the actual content of the videos raised issues under Germany’s Copyright Act. The Court noted that the videos showed “only sexual processes in a primitive way” and are therefore classified as “pure pornography.” As such, the productions are not a “personal intellectual creation” and are not entitled to protection under Germany’s Copyright Act.
The District Court’s ruling is definitely a setback for Malibu in Germany but it should be noted they have been extremely persistent in the United States following earlier problems. They’ll probably be back after some fine-tunes, there’s simply too much money at stake to give up now.
Sidney Myers, a 20-year-old South Carolina man, had procured a powerful handheld device built in a foreign country, a device which allowed him both to transmit a bomb threat and to create child pornography. The device was an HTC smartphone, and his use of the phone has now branded Myers a lifelong sex offender and landed him an 18 month federal prison sentence. His public defender claims that the “facts of this case have never been seen in our jurisdiction and likely will not be seen again,” but in the smartphone age, perhaps the facts no longer seem as unusual as they once would have.
Problems began when Myers met a young woman in a club. According to Myers’ lawyer, the woman told him that she was 18—though in reality she was just 16. They began dating, which led to sex, which led to videos of sex, all taken on Myers’ smartphone with the woman’s full consent. (Two different government press releases on Myers say he had either five or six such videos on his phone; the exact number is unclear.)
That age difference didn’t matter, legally, when it came to having sex. “It should be noted that under both South Carolina and federal law, the age of consent is 16, so it was legal for them to have sex whether she was 16 or 18,” wrote Myers’ lawyer in a court filing. But the age difference did matter when it came to recording the act. Because the girl was a minor, the images were child pornography under federal law, even though they involved a consensual relationship and someone above the age of consent.