Saturday, August 23, 2008

Copyright Sanity

Thank God a judge has recognized there should be reasonable limits on DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) claims:
"A federal judge on Wednesday gave more weight to the concept of "fair use" when he threw a lifeline to a Pennsylvania mother's lawsuit against Universal Music."

To date, corporations had shown little restraint in filing DMCA based copyright infringement claims willy nilly without considering whether they are reasonable or not. They have thrown all sorts of infringement claims at others whether or not they were valid. Most people so threatened have not been able to protect themselves and so simply backed down even though they had not done anything wrong. Corporation with deep pockets were able to get away with being copyright bullies with no adverse consequence if they were wrong.

Now corporations will need to be more careful and considerate. Copyright has distinct limits and it is important for those limits to be better understood, recognized, and enforced.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Identity is Crucial

“On the Internet, no one knows you’re a dog”

Currently this is a mixed blessing. And it needs to be fixed in a way so that we can have both anonymity when we need it as well as identity. At the moment, the identity side of the equation is the one in most critical need of work.

There are many times when we want others to know it is really us and we want to know that others are really who they say they are -- like our friends, our family, and our bank.

We are facing an identity crisis. Most of us are drowning in user IDs and passwords -- hard to track, hard to remember, or often too easily exposed. A recent New York Times article trumpeted Information Cards as the solution and dissed OpenID. The article is worth reading and clearly illustrates the problems with user IDs and passwords but it missed some aspects of the final solution.

The guy who seems to have gotten it fully correct is Kim Cameron in his post at Please read it.

I agree with him that OpenID (allowing multiple providers and relying parties to work together) along with Information Cards will provide a much better identity solution for all of us. I can’t wait.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

McCain's Hypocrisy

Something that gets me very riled up is hypocrisy. Especially when one side tries to nail others for misdeeds that the accuser is more guilty of doing than the accused.

Take John McCain for instance. He accuses others of missing votes and asks them to get to work when he has missed more Senate votes than any other Senator. (!!!!!!!)


Why would we want a President who is absent most of the time? Oh wait, maybe that's why the Republicans support McCain. :-O

Privacy -- Do We Want It Anymore?

Much of the privacy to which we've been accustomed is no more. Scott McNealy said "You have no privacy. Get over it." The former has become true, but should we just get over it?

In the past we have been able to move and live with few knowing where we've gone, who we've visited, what we've purchased, and what we've done

Those days have come to an end. We can find out what "crimes" anyone has had in the past, who all of your relatives are (including your mother's maiden name), your date of birth, your current and historical addresses, your phone numbers, an aerial view of your house, a street view of your house, and much more. Digital still and video cameras monitor us just about wherever we go. Our computer use is tracked, our phone use is tracked, our location based on a cell phone signal is tracked.

In the past, what we've done in "public" was essentially private, but no more. And just about everything we do is visible in "public". What is left that is private? Not much.

How "safe" do we want to be? How much do we need to know? We're living in a brave new world and 1984 has arrived. Everything has a cost.

We are at a tipping point where we must actively decide what privacy we want to have, or lose it. We no longer have the luxury of virtual privacy happening naturally.

What kind of world do we want to live in?

Copyright Voice of Reason Muffled

I was dismayed to learn that William Patry, a well known authority and articulate voice of reason regarding Copyright, has chosen to end his blog at Please read Bill's blog for his reasons. Luckily he has recognized there is value in his past blog posts and is working to make an archive of these available.

My Dad gave me a sign for my desk that says:
"Illegitimus Non Tatum Carborundum"
Translation: "Don't Let the Bastards Wear You Down."

Let us hope the bastards, don't wear the rest of us down.

[Update: Thankfully, as of 8/8/8 the archives of William Patry's most excellent Copyright blog have been restored so others can now read and learn once again.]

Paris Hilton For President?

In response to McCain's attack ad comparing Obama to Paris Hilton, Paris has posted a video of her own that shows she has a sense of humor and some brains in addition to a pretty face. See:

Friday, August 01, 2008

McCain Takes the Low Road

It looks like McCain and the Republicans continue to use pages from Bush's playbook -- repeat untruths many times so others might believe them eventually. Hopefully the American public is more savvy this time. Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me. Do you still believe there were "weapons of mass destruction" in Iraq?

McCain promised to run a "respectful campaign" a few months ago, but is now running disrespectful attack ads. Can you say "flip flop"?

McCain calls Obama "Out of Touch" when it seems that it is really McCain who is out of touch (with reality).

McCain attacks Obama's popularity as a bad thing. But it really shows that more people are paying attention to the real contender to be President. Democracy is about empowering the people to decide. But since it is not going McCain's way, it seems like McCain would like to toss that democracy thing out the window.

McCain likens Obama to Paris Hilton and Britney Spears -- huh??? How is that? Just because many like reading about some people does not make automatically make the popular people similar in other ways. To think it does is very flawed logic. But McCain is desperate to smear as much as possible in the hopes that something will stick.

Yep, McCain is desperate. And it shows.

Here's to Obama in 08 -- a man who is proving day by day that he is THE ONE who is best qualified to be the President of the United States. (Geez, even McCain knows Obama is "The One.")