A Moral Argument for File Sharing, Considering Real Copyright Reform, and More

  • How complex systems fail
    Carey sent me a link to this short paper out of U of Chicago. This meshes well with my experience support complex software over time. I think this should be required reading for any software firm, really, as it says a lot not just about how such systems fail but even worse failures in how organizations often respond incorrectly.
  • Vint Cerf defends Google on privacy
    I think The Register has the right of it here, a healthy dose of skepticism. As much as I respect Cerf’s work, at Google and before, the fact that he ended up at an unrelated discuss expending so much effort to disclaiming Google’s ability to identify users says something by itself. I also tend to agree with The Register’s assessment of just how thin the reasoning is here, especially in the wake of recent research on how little is required to correlate identity across the web at large.
  • A moral argument for file sharing
    As well argued as the case made to Techdirt’s Mike Masnick is, he doesn’t really concede the point that there is a viable moral stance for file sharing. I think he’s put his finger exactly on it, that there is a clear and important difference between a creator sharing their work and anyone else further distributing it. It’s basically the difference between contributing into a commons model and piracy. Abundance is only part of the equation, the creators intent, even their business model, has to align with that sharing ethic, otherwise file sharing is little better than a form of intellectual violence against the creator’s wishes.
  • Considering real copyright reform
    Mike Masnick at Techdirt points to a recent paper by Jessic Litman that highlights the challenges as well as the potential goals of a genuine reform effort. Should be required reading for anyone with a complaint about the current system to provoke thought about how best to improve it, practically. I just wish Litman had drawn a bit more on Samuelson’s ongoing discussions around damages as I think that is a significant part of the picture, at least in adjudication.
  • Microsoft may have misappropriated some GPLed code
    The utility in question is one for copying setup files to removable media and seems to bear more than coincidental similarity to the ImageMaster project. The initial evidence is circumstantial but at least seems to warrant a much deeper investigation to see if some sort of action is warranted.
  • Mozilla JetPack add-on to run code on a GPU
    John Resig, creator of jQuery, tweeted this, look down the page for the JetPack 0.5 Content heading. There you can read about a clever add-on that lets you run code from your browser on your GPU. This exceeds what I thought would be possible with JetPack since I’ve seen it described as a lightweight extension system.

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