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06 Apr 2021

The Supreme Court Decides that Compatible Software is Still Legal Copyright Law

Back in the 1980s, everyone used the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet on their PCs. In 1989, Borland released a competitor, Quattro Pro. It used the same menu commands as 1-2-3 so that users could import their 1-2-3 spreadsheets with keyboard macros. Lotus sued Borland, and after a loss in the district court, Borland won on appeal, arguing that the keyboard commands are a "method of operation" and not subject to copyright. Lotus appealed to the Supreme Court, which deadlocked 4-4 (one justice was recused) in 1996. That meant the appeals court decision was affirmed but it did not set a formal precedent. Since then everyone assumed that settled the matter, you can't copyright the way a program works or its interfaces.

Well, everyone except one guy in Hawaii.

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  posted at: 21:43 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is https://jl.ly/Copyright_Law/oragoog.html

18 Jan 2021

Why the Internet is Not Like a Railroad Internet

When one person transmits the speech of another, we have had three legal models which I would characterize as Magazine, Bookstore, and Railroad.

The Magazine model makes the transmitting party a publisher who is entirely responsible for whatever the material says. The publisher selects and reviews all the material it published. If users contribute content such as letters to the editor, the publisher reviews them and decides which to publish. The publishing process usually involves some kind of broadcast, so that many copies of the material go to different people.

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  posted at: 22:03 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is https://jl.ly/Internet/commoncast.html

23 Oct 2020

The good old days in the cryptography wars Internet
The 20th century was the golden age of surveillance.

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  posted at: 17:55 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is https://jl.ly/Internet/goodold.html

14 Oct 2020

My, that's a lot of mail Email

I get a lot of mail from political campaigns. I expect a lot of us do.

In my case, each campaign gets a separate e-mail address so I can track how much they pass the addresses around. (Nothing surprising, local passes them to national for the same party, stuff like that.) While I was supposed to be doing something else, I wrote some scripts to track the mail, per campaign.

You can see the results, updated daily, at https://www.taugh.com/polispam.php. If it looks like one day the Republican presidential campaign sent me 15 separate messages, yup, they did. It's not entirely clear what their strategy is because they keep telling me that I am one of their TOP 100 SUPPORTERS even though I've never sent them a dime.


  posted at: 14:21 :: permanent link to this entry :: 1 comments
Stable link is https://jl.ly/Email/polispam.html

14 Sep 2020

Brewster and Ed Copyright Law

The Internet Archive scans paper books and lets people borrow the scans. In what they call Controlled Digital Lending (CDL), scans of books still in copyright are limited to one person at a time per physical copy, analogous to the one person at a time who can borrow a physical book from a library. For books not in copyright, there's no limit on how many people can use the scans at once. Earlier this year in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they turned CDL into a National Emergency Library that let multiple people borrow the in-copyright scans as well, saying this was a temporary replacement while local libraries were closed, and indeed they want back to the one-borrower CDL policy in mid-June.

The publishing industry has never liked CDL, and the expanded access was for them the last straw, leading four large publishers to sue the Archive in early June to make them stop. The suit is moving very slowly, with the current schedule running through at least September 2021 before a trial could start, but in the meantime, lots of people have opinions about the suit, such as a recent article in The Nation.

The public face of the Archive's CDL is Brewster Kahle, who started the Archive and still leads it. Since those publishers are pretty faceless, the most visible public face of opposition to the CDL has been Ed Hasbrouck, one of the leaders of the National Writers Union (to which I belong so he's sort of my shop steward.) Ed's written a lot about CDL, such as this FAQ on the NWU web site.

I happen to know and like both Brewster and Ed, each of whom has been kind enough to invite me to dinner at their respective houses when I was in town. So which one is right?

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  posted at: 15:11 :: permanent link to this entry :: 0 comments
Stable link is https://jl.ly/Copyright_Law/cdl.html

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My other sites

Who is this guy?

Airline ticket info

Taughannock Networks

Other blogs

CAUCE
Phishing Landscape 2020: A Study of the Scope and Distribution of Phishing
209 days ago

A keen grasp of the obvious
New Hope for the Dead
52 days ago

Related sites

Coalition Against Unsolicited Commercial E-mail

Network Abuse Clearinghouse



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