law

Home/Tag: law

Revenge of the Normals.

So there was a court case going on recently where Oracle sued Google over a API implementations in Android and… something. Look, the details of the case basically don’t matter, solely because the whole pageantry of a bunch of Silicon Valley nerd-kings having to explain themselves to old men in robes who can’t use computers is too much fun.

I mean, “fun” in an “oh gods this is going to set terrible precedent we’re going to have to live with for a hundred years” sort of way. But… yanno.

2019-07-31T09:36:59+11:008th September, 2016|Tags: law, tech|

Abortion and marriage equality are privacy issues.

This, incidentally, is the classical liberal (a.k.a. small government) rationale behind allowing reproductive and gay rights, amongst other things, and why you’ll occasionally see small-c conservative types1 supporting these issues. As the article points out, however, pro-choice/pro-gay arguments based on privacy tend to be less resilient over time than arguments based on straight-up equality. Which is perhaps why gay rights, with the queer community’s focus on being “out and proud” and yet still demanding equality, has more traction than reproductive rights, which still focuses very heavily on privacy-based arguments.

  1. Also known as “small-l Liberals” or “wets” in Australia. []
2017-09-28T13:45:49+11:0023rd July, 2015|Tags: culture, law|

Amazon vs. Apple vs. the DoJ.

A good 101 breakdown of the court case between Apple and Amazon. Sorry, I mean Apple and the Department of Justice, obviously, because what use is government if it’s not for spending public tax dollars on maintaining a private corporate monopoly. Bias? What, me? No. I’m sure an article about this issue from a site called “Mac Observer” would also be entirely neutral and even-handed.

That aside, the argument here is pretty interesting, as it’s essentially asking the courts to weigh up the question of what is worse for consumers: collusion and price fixing, or a (be)low-cost monopoly. Apple’s argument is essentially that Amazon is operating so far under cost in the ebook market, that it prevents other entrants from even starting the race, meaning Apple “had” to take drastic measures to do so. Amazon’s/the DOJ’s argument is that Apple and the major publishers colluded in a price fixing scheme, which is illegal.1 Apple’s retort is that Amazon’s ebook strategy amounts to price dumping, which is also illegal.

In short, this is a bunch of large corporations, plus the government, getting together in the US courts for a giant game of NO U: Antitrust Edition.

What’s better for consumers, you ask? Oh you silly summer child. This isn’t about consumers. Whatever gave you that quaint little notion?

  1. Unless it’s deemed to be used in the purpose of breaking up a monopoly. I think you can see where this is going, yes? []
2016-11-17T20:13:28+11:0012th February, 2015|Tags: amazon, apple, law|

The EFF misses the point on DMCAs.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation does a little scorecard thing on which online services “have your back” in regards to the filing of DMCA notices. Which is very sweet and all, but it omits one salient fact:

It is completely irrelevant bullshit if you live outside of the US.

I’ve been through this. A few years back I nearly got kicked off my then web hosting provider when I got served a bunch of DMCA notices from an Unnamed Video Game Company for hosting images from the NDA’d beta of its game. The irony here was that I’d never signed the NDA (so wasn’t bound by its terms of non-release of content), and was using said images in a way that would most likely be considered fair use under US law. I could have filed a DMCA counter notice in order to get my content–and good standing with my provider–restored, and investigated the process for doing so. Only problem? Included in the filing of a counter-notice is the agreement to be subject to prosecution under US law. If you actually are a US citizen this is NBD, but if, like me, you’re not?

Yeah. Fuck that shit.

What this essentially means–and what the EFF conveniently forgets to mention–is that there is basically no way to fairly contest a DMCA notice if you’re a non-US citizen. All the “transparent processes” of providers become pretty irrelevant in the face of that one fact.

This, incidentally, is why I no longer host my website in the US.

The reality is that the DMCA process is inherently designed to punish individuals at the expense of copyright holders, almost all of which are (nowadays) large corporations. Which is great… if you’re a large copyright holder.1 All its safe harbour provisions are designed to do is get hosting providers out of the firing line, because hosting providers–the Googles of the world–are potentially the only organisations large enough to be able to actually contest the DMCA process itself. If there’d been no get-out-of-jail-free card for them, in other words, the system would never have gone into operation in its current form. That means no hosting provider “has your back” with regards to the DMCA; they are all complicit in it.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a criticism of the providers per se; what they did makes commercial and legal sense for them. But what is is doing is critiscising the EFF for their bullshit “report”.

Implementing a corrupt process “well” is still implementing a corrupt process.

  1. Fair disclaimer: I have, in fact, invoked the DMCA on occasion. Well, I’ve had my publisher invoke it, to remove copies of Liesmith from fake ebook stores, i.e. ones that charge money for pirated works. That one I don’t feel particularly conflicted about, personal dislike of the DMCA or not. []
2014-11-03T08:55:49+11:0025th December, 2014|Tags: dmca, law|

Courtney Milan and the exciting word of TROs.

So Courtney Milan is an author of fine historical romances, but she’s also a trained lawyer. This post is technically about a TRO (temporary restraining order) failing publisher Ellora’s Cave took out against blogger Jane Litte of Dear Author. That’s kind of a bit inside baseball, but what’s really interesting about Milan’s analysis is the ready and accessible way she breaks down quite complex legal arguments around free speech and public interest.

Basically, if you’re even mildly interested in those topics–or just how the law works in general–it’s worth taking a few minutes to have a read.

2014-10-27T08:34:56+11:0017th December, 2014|Tags: law, publishing|

ToS;DR.

This new site reviews and evaluates the Terms of Service, so you don’t have to.

I doubt this is going to make many people think twice about signing up to, say, Facebook or whatever, but it is an interesting look at what legal rights various companies reserve over you and your data.

2014-10-10T08:01:00+11:0024th November, 2014|Tags: internet, law|

Publisher sued over DRM.

This is interesting. The basic argument is that a DRM’d product is inferior to a non-DRM’d product, and thus publishers forcing some booksellers to provide DRM’d ebooks while the publisher directly sells those same books non-DRM’d is “putting booksellers at a disadvantage”.

2018-02-08T08:08:54+11:008th August, 2014|Tags: books, drm, law, publishing, tech|