Archive for the ‘law’ Category

a beautiful and “important service announcement”

April 28, 2011

Flattr (or more precisely, the email I received from them today) now seems to say something like, “if you feel you contribute, then let people shower you…even pennies, if they are so generous”. If one (or a corporation of) artist(s) and/or engineer(s) believes they contribute, they’d be wise to allow themselves flattery. Hell, even if you make things you don’t believe contribute, you might as well with this change:

we decided to drop any rules that made the service restrictive or outright complicated

And you want to put him and his helpers in jail?

p.s. I think one more restriction should be waived. Payment. It would be good to be able to flattr things for zero money and/or ideally, with an “appreciate” count (e.g. “like”, “+1”, etc.). What if we can’t afford even pennies at some time of our life, yet want to contribute by showing a way of support by tally?

p.p.s. If you (or “you”) liked this post, you can flattr it here. If you like this (more than 5 years now!) blog in general, you can flattr it here.


a national anthem for Canad-arr!

April 14, 2010

With this news, I thought I’d propose an alternative anthem:

O Canad-arr!
Our rights and Internet
True law reform of patents we shall get
Through peer to peer we seed and leech,
The bandwidth broad and free
From far and wide,
O Canad-arr, share your files with glee
Courts keep our net neutral and free
O Canad-arr, share your files with glee
O Canad-arr, share your files with glee

perhaps an american can explain this to me…?

January 22, 2010

I don’t get how restricting corporate spending on political campaigns violates free speech. This is disgraceful. Implied by the freedom to speak is the freedom to think for oneself. A corporation is incapable of personal thought or speech because it is not a real person. Sure, a corporation can release a statement to the press but a corporate statement is always bound by groupthink.

Every CEO, shareholder, and employee of a corporation is already a citizen granted the right to free speech and the right to put personal dollars toward political use. Therefore, I don’t see how restricting corporate spending violates any person’s right to speak freely. The US has taken the idea of corporate “personhood” way too far.

when DIY shouldn’t cut it

October 28, 2009


The man’s lawyer, Doug Christie, tr[ied] to have the case tossed out on constitutional grounds, saying his religious motive negated any criminal intent.

Thrown out? A legal system has failed if “religious motive” can excuse such an act. I can buy the lack of criminal intent, but that’s only through an insanity defence. At the very least, the man needs to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

On a related but inconsequential note, I don’t understand why (especially in this day and age) some parents have their sons circumcised. I have heard several arguments but don’t find any of them compelling. Perhaps a medical condition could set in necessitating the procedure, but I’m referring to an otherwise healthy child.

decriminalizing drug use

October 8, 2009

The United States’ current version of their War on Drugs fails miserably because the problem of drug abuse is a health issue. Categorizing an illness as a crime makes the situation worse by introducing unnecessary problems. Instead of policy posturing to demonstrate a “get tough” approach on drugs, the US should get smart and reform laws to resemble those in countries like Portugal.

The current administration has indicated they’re open to change. However, simply making arrests a “low priority” doesn’t go nearly far enough. Decriminalization will coax more citizens suffering from addiction to seek treatment. As well, non-enforcement indicates a corruption of the law itself. If enforcement causes problems, the solution isn’t to ignore the law but to change it, so that its existence is just and beneficial to society.

prayer != medical attention

August 2, 2009

Sad news out of Wisconsin as a father allows his 11-year-old daughter to die from an undiagnosed case of diabetes. The core of his defence was as follows:

God promises in the Bible to heal. If I go to the doctor, I am putting the doctor before God. I am not believing what he said he would do.

While I don’t buy Skydaddy stories, I can’t help but wonder why some who do don’t spin that belief in their favor. For instance, God gave us the brains to learn about our bodies and their well-being. With this gift from God, some even become gurus (i.e. doctors) and become the aid we can seek to deal with complex health problems. Silly, but a much more practical and useful outlook.

Unfortunately, Mr. Neumann substituted medical attention with prayer and his Bible – of which he apparently had a warped and literal take on certain passages therein. His defence lawyer says they will appeal the guilty verdict. However, one may wonder why. After all, isn’t going to a lawyer putting the lawyer before God? If there is innocence, won’t God take care of Mr. Neumann and protect him from injustice?

the sting of ‘All Rights Reserved’

May 22, 2009

A) Often, one has an ethical obligation to share


B) One has a legal burden not to

the ethics and legality of torture

May 6, 2009

Daniel Florien asks, “Is torture ever justifiable“? He begins in fantasy-land with a 24-esque “time-bomb” scenario. After several comments pointing out the absurdity of this approach, Daniel “updates” his post – linking to a “real scenario” (yes, the contradiction in terms is amusing) to further push the envelope.

The problems with this case are:

A) That the torture still didn’t help and

B) Even if the boy was saved, definitive proof that it was torture that saved the boy could never be had

Even for the exclusively pragmatic of us without a moral compass, the fact is that one can never prove an efficacy of torture. Even the “second undisputed fact” in the NYT article is that someone was “imagining” that torture might work. Wow. A compelling “fact” indeed.

While others state – “torture may possibly, somehow, whatever small the chance, not be wrong”, the wise in this thread note many times over that this is really a disguise for the argument in favor of vengeance. The vengeful have a standard retort grounded in an emotional fallacy:

If your child was kidnapped and you found yourself in a room with one who had information, would you torture him?

Perhaps. My anger and panic may drive me over the edge. And while a judge may have some degree of mercy on me should I act with such insanity, that should neither provide justice for my action nor sanction it in any moral sense. Arguing the justification of torture (whether moral or legal) on such grounds is simply a last-ditch emotional plea.

the Foos fight McCain

October 9, 2008

MSNBC reports that the McCain campaign is being asked by the Foo Fighters to stop playing “My Hero” at political rallies. The band released a statement claiming:

To have [the song] appropriated without our knowledge and used in a manner that perverts the original sentiment of the lyric just tarnishes the song.

Only property can be “appropriated”, not copyrighted work. Unfortunately, the Foo Fighters mistakenly refer to copyright as “Intellectual Property” which just confuses the issue. However, if we insist on playing the “property” analogy game, the closest action to “appropriation” would be to claim authorship. The McCain camp did not do this.

The only way to “tarnish” a copyrighted work is to change it and distribute or perform the derivative work without notice of the adjustments. Even then, “tarnish” is really in the eye of the beholder. There is no “tarnishing” when using a context (e.g. a rally) in trying to persuade an audience toward an interpretation of an original work left intact.  And while an exception to persuasion would surely be a rally promoting hatred, the McCain campaign is at worst promoting stupidity, not hate. So long as the song’s attribution stays intact, it’s used non-commercially, and is non-derivative in nature, I lean heavily toward laws allowing such uses of published art, regardless of how much I sympathize with the Foo Fighters in this case.

Putting the law aside however, I see it in the best interest of the McCain camp to cease using the song and honor the request of the artist. Politically, they’ve nothing to gain by fighting the Foos on this one.

“our” hub(e)ris

April 5, 2008

Wolfgang Huber:

“It is against the spirit of our ethics, the spirit of our ethical tradition, the spirit of the Christian image of a human person and against the spirit of our law,”

This view relates to similar arguments to criminalize abortion. Rather than advocating that others’ behavior should revolve around a particular “image”, Huber may be advised to promote morally accurate action by conscience and reason alone. Behaving based upon an (oxymoronically prescribed) “ethical tradition” implies meeting the present with a static past rather than looking at the (particular suicidal (or feticidal)) situation anew. Criminalizing either the assistance of suicide or the assistance of abortion (under most circumstances) is societally corrosive. Criminalizing the attempt to commit suicide or a self-performed (or attempt to self-perform) abortion is absurd. Of course, some such situations may reasonably require a psychiatric evaluation, but jail time (or any sort of punishment) is obviously a counterproductive approach.