aTypical Joe: a gay New Yorker living in the rural South
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Working to end RIAA lawsuits against defenseless people
Defective by Design had an RIAA Lawsuit Conference Call with Ray Beckerman yesterday. In it Ray said the Electro vs. Barker case is one to watch:
Now, there’s a case called Electro vs. Barker which has become very important. This is a nursing student who was sued in her name. We made a motion to dismiss the complaint because doesn’t specify any acts or dates or times of copyright infringement as the law normally requires. We’ve made several arguments like that before this motion and the RIAA put in an argument which basically fudged it. However, in this case they basically decided to go for the gold and they made a bold argument claiming that merely making files available on the internet is in and of itself a copyright infringement. It was a shocking argument because if it were accepted it would probably shut down the entire internet.
As a result of that bold argument, certain organizations came in putting in an amicus curiae brief to support Miss Barker’s motion to dismiss. In reaction to that the Motion Picture Association and the United States Government put in briefs supporting the RIAA trying to… Well, the Motion Picture Association directly supported that extreme argument. The US government didn’t quite go that far but it tried to support the RIAA by attacking another argument that had been made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Meanwhile, Miss Barker is a nursing student. She has no money. She lives in the housing projects, and she has to have lawyers reviewing all these briefs, writing briefs for her etc. Now, this case is pending and the judge may call for oral argument or he may render a decision.
But if our motion to dismiss is granted and sustained on appeal it would mean the end of the RIAA juggernaut against innocent people not known to have committed a copyright infringement. And yet we’ve received no support of any kind from anywhere, and Miss Barker has no resources to defend this case.
YouTube’s new Terms & Conditions
I’m inclined not to worry much about the new YouTube Terms and Conditions which include this:
...by submitting the User Submissions to YouTube, you hereby grant YouTube a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sublicenseable and transferable license to use, reproduce, distribute, prepare derivative works of, display, and perform the User Submissions in connection with the YouTube Website and YouTube’s (and its successor’s) business, including without limitation for promoting and redistributing part or all of the YouTube Website (and derivative works thereof) in any media formats and through any media channels.
I asked Jason Schultz of the EFF what he thought of the news, and he tells BB:
Your commenters are pretty much correct. YouTube wants to CYA itself in case it flows into new formats with old videos, e.g., cell phone downloads. They don’t want to have to go back and relicense all the content in new mediums. And its also true that simply yanking the video will cut off all their rights, which is a powerful weapon to keep them in check.
When the Billy Bragg folks complained about MySpace, it was basically over the same issue, so now that MySpace has responded with some clarity, it might behoove YouTube to do the same.
One thing they could say is that any reproductions, distributions, derivatives, etc. that they make of your work would not be sold separately as a distinct product. This would keep them from burning CDs or DVDs and the like.
Georgia puritans know not what they do
My daughter is an 18 gay person with attention deficit disorder who had consentual sex with a 14 year old on a trip which passed through Georgia. Her crime was labelled as a level one offense. She was encarcerated for 5-years. Now she is being labelled, humiliated and forgetting the fact that she has not repeated her offence by the PURITANS in Georgia who do not understand that there are levels and not all are created equal. Why is Georgia bundling these offenders as a total unit? There are levels of crime and not all of these labelled sex offenders have molested a child?
What does it say about Georgia that it wants to require photo IDs but it doesn’t care one whit that there is no paper/audit trail from our voting machines???
White T-shirts are a significant departure from the standard dress code in the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill. So when a couple dozen activists walked into a joint meeting of the Science and Administration committees Wednesday wearing bleached cotton instead of the typical pantsuits and striped ties, it was not surprising that someone dispatched a Capitol Police officer to stand guard in case things got out of hand.
The T-shirts were imprinted with bold black letters that read “Got Paper?” or “Got Audits?”—coded, chest-high messages that were directed at lawmakers to express the widespread concern that new computerized voting machines can be tampered with to swing elections. The activists had come to Washington to push legislation that would mandate voter-verifiable paper records for every ballot cast in the nation, a reversal of a recent trend toward touch-screen computers that only tally votes electronically. It didn’t matter that the House committees did not plan to discuss the issue of ballot paper trails. “Hearings are all about theater,” explained Susannah Goodman of the liberal election reform group Common Cause, in a pre-hearing meeting with the activists. “We’re hijacking it.”
As it turned out, the activists’ point came across loud and clear to both Republicans and Democrats without hardly a peep from the gallery. The Administration Committee chairman, Vernon J. Ehlers, a Michigan Republican, opened the hearing by addressing the casually dressed crowd in the back of the room. “I notice a number of members in the audience wearing T-shirts showing their support for the paper trial,” Ehlers said after his opening statement. “I am trying to arrange a separate hearing on the paper trail.” This hearing, he explained, would focus on existing voting machine standards and testing guidelines.
But one by one, Ehlers’ Republican and Democratic colleagues disobeyed his instructions… (READ ON and watch the ad.)
Lesbian elected in Alabama
Friends are moving to Montgomery in the next few weeks. There they are about to elect their first openly lesbian legislator:
Patricia Todd made history Tuesday when voters in Alabama’s 54th legislative district voted to send the Democrat to the State House, marking the first time ever that legislature will include an openly gay Representative. The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, the nation’s largest gay and lesbian political action committee, endorsed Todd and helped raise tens of thousands of dollars from its national network of donors to help fund her campaign. Todd has no Republican opponent in the general election in November.
While political corruption has failed so far to take root as a national issue, the defeat of scandal-stained Ralph Reed in Georgia on Tuesday showed that federal investigators could tip some key House and Senate races this fall, according to party strategists.
Reed, a former top campaign official for President Bush and executive director of the Christian Coalition, lost the Republican primary for lieutenant governor after getting pounded by his opponent for his close and profitable relationship with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff, the central figure in an unfolding money-for-favors scandal. Reed was the first electoral victim of political corruption probes—but officials in both parties said he probably won’t be the last.