1. Tech

    GoldieBlox Thinks You Need a License To Link To Its Site, Might Need To Hire Some New Lawyers

    After the news came out that Goldieblox actually sued the Beastie Boys first (which we'll admit we initially got wrong), things for the start-up have been getting progressively hairier. Now someone's found an unusual clause in their Terms of Service, which has some preposterous claims about who can and can't link to their site. Yikes.

    Read on...
  2. Tech

    Bradley Manning Acquitted on Charges of Aiding the Enemy, Found Guilty of 19 Other Counts

    The verdict for the Bradley Manning trial has finally been delivered down from Colonel Denise Lind in Fort Meade, Maryland. As to be expected, it's a mixed bag of results, but most importantly, Manning has been found not guilty of aiding the enemy -- a charge that would have landed him life in prison.

    Read on...
  3. Tech

    Here’s What U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz Has to Say About the Prosecution of Aaron Swartz

    Aaron Swartz's suicide last week was just the beginning. The public outcry from the tech community has been massive, with a petition to remove the prosecuting attorney for Aaron's case, one Carmen Ortiz, from office hitting the required number of signatures for an official White House response relatively quickly. In large part, a majority of these complaints center around the opinion that the prosecution was overzealous at best. Ortiz, for her part, has remained mum on the subject. Until last night, that is. Her office has released an official statement on the matter of Swartz's prosecution and, uh, it's... definitely something.

    Read on...
  4. Weird

    Idiocracy Later: Minnesota Drops Controversial Online Education Stance

    As you may recall, Minnesota took a bold stance against free online education last week. The gist of the situation was that the state wanted to somehow curtail free online education outlets because they hadn't been given permission to operate within Minnesota's borders. This reasoning traced back to a decades-old law that was meant to apply to degree-granting institutions. After a day worth of Internet backlash, Minnesota's Office of Higher Education performed a quick 180 and now supports the use of websites like Coursera.

    Read on...
  5. Weird

    Idiocracy Now: Free Online Education Deemed Illegal in Minnesota

    One might think that free online education is one of the very few things that's looking positive in the entire education scene. The quality varies wildly, but even the basics being entirely free to peruse is a relatively new, and helpful, concept. Allowing folks the ability to educate themselves is a basic tenet of progress. That's not how Minnesota sees it, however. The state is enforcing a law mainly meant to apply degree-granting institutions to try and curtail free online courses, because they never got permission to operate in Minnesota. Seriously.

    Read on...
  6. Weird

    Woman Loses License Over Red-Light Camera Ticket, Hadn’t Been There in Over a Year

    Red-light cameras are the bane of law-abiding citizens across the United States. In theory, the cameras should catch criminals looking to take advantage of the fact that the police can't be everywhere at all times. In reality, the process is automated and can fail spectacularly when it does. Case in point: Lauren Morosoff had her driving privileges revoked over a ticket issued by a red-light camera in New Jersey a year and a half after she left the state.

    Read on...
  7. Tech

    Starting Now, Downloading Copyrighted Material in Japan Could Land You Two Years in Jail

    Back in June, Japan forced through a rather stringent copyright amendment that included some odd provisions for those caught downloading copyrighted material. Most anti-piracy legislation deals with those caught uploading content that infringes, but Japan's apparently going after the other end of the spectrum as well. As of today, those individuals that are caught downloading could face a fine of 2 million yen -- about $25,680 -- or even two years in jail. Meanwhile, in the United States, being charged with assault could get you less time.

    Read on...
  8. Tech

    Google’s Self-Driving Cars Now Legal in California, Robot Apocalypse Obviously Impending

    Google's been testing self-driving cars for some time now. It is known. Most of this has been private tests, conducted on approved courses. Following in the footsteps of Nevada, however, California has now approved Google's autonomous cars for their roadways -- in a trial capacity, anyway. Google will still be required to have a human handler present to take over if needed, but all the heavy lifting will be accomplished by the car itself. Obviously, Skynet has already won.

    Read on...
  9. Entertainment

    Japan Sneaks In Strict Copyright Law, Only Otakus Outraged

    While most of its citizens were busy watching the arrest of a cult terrorist who tried to gas the Tokyo subway, Japan's House of Representatives quietly passed a much stricter revision of its copyright law. And nobody noticed except the inhabitants of 2 chan.

    Read on...
  10. Tech

    The Disclaimers Companies Put in Their Email Signatures Are Often Legally Meaningless

    Anyone who has gotten any volume of email from corporate sources has probably encountered a range of severe and important-sounding disclaimers in email signatures, ranging from those that tell the reader not to act on the email if it was received in error to those saying that its contents are off the record to those saying that the email is not legal or professional advice. A British government website provides the following template, some variation of which you may well have come across: "This email and any attachments to it may be confidential and are intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of [business name]. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you must neither take any action based upon its contents, nor copy or show it to anyone. Please contact the sender if you believe you have received this email in error." Obviously, this sort of disclaimer is meant to impose an agreement or understanding upon the reader, and it may well be successful in this by virtue of looking so official. But how much legal meaning does it have, really? Generally, not much.

    Read on...
  11. Tech

    LimeWire is Being Sued for Up to $75 Trillion, Judge Thinks It’s “Absurd”

    Thirteen record companies are suing LimeWire LLC, makers of the file-sharing program LimeWire, for as many as $75 trillion, a hilarious sum of money that quite possibly doesn't even exist. When the companies won a ruling against Lime Wire last May, they requested damages that could now end up totaling the aforementioned ridiculous amount, which is five times our national debt.

    The plaintiffs requested damages from $400 billion to $75 trillion and argued that Section 504(c)(1) of the Copyright Act "provided for damages for each instance of infringement where two or more parties were liable," which could explain how the total could somehow rise to the $75 trillion, because each "instance of infringement" could technically be counted as each and every separate download.

    Read on...
  12. Tech

    FCC Asks Court to Throw Out ISP Anti-Net Neutrality Lawsuits

    Earlier this week Verizon and MetroPCS filed suits contesting the FCC's new net neutrality statues, the ones that aren't even as firm as most internet users would hope. The FCC is now requesting that the DC appeals court in which the suits were filed throw them out, on some solid but incredibly procedural grounds. In as nutty a nutshell as we can get, people aren't allowed to sue part of the government in front of the DC circuit court before the thing that they are suing about is published in the Federal Register by that part of the government.  The FCC's new rules have only been announced. Verizon countered by saying that since the new laws would affect their licenses, the suits fall under a law about licensing, which says that you can sue as soon as the law is announced. But it doesn't stop there.

    Read on...
  13. Weird

    Impersonating Someone On the Internet Is Now A Misdemeanor in California

    California Senate Bill 1411 went into effect yesterday, adding criminal and civil penalties to the act of impersonating a person online.  Specifically,
    to knowingly and without consent credibly impersonate another person through or on an Internet Web site or by other electronic means with the intent to harm, intimidate, threaten or defraud another person.
    Sounds great for identity theft.  But, as TechCrunch points out, the bill does not address satiric or parodic impersonations a la Fake Steve Jobs.

    Read on...
  14. Tech

    Italy Says: YouTube is a TV Channel and Therefore Responsible for its Content

    Italian newspaper La Repubblica reports (in translation, original here) that the Italian Authority for Communications Guarantees has passed two resolutions on internet video and internet radio respectively, that classify YouTube, Vimeo and other sites whose content is entirely user generated as television stations. The reasoning is that if a site in any way curates their user generated content, even with automatic algorithms, "this amounts to editorial control," and the site should be held to the same rules that apply to Italy's broadcast television stations.  This would subject these sites to a small tax, would require them to take down videos within 48 hours of the request of anyone who feels they have been slandered, and to not broadcast videos unsuitable for children at certain times of day (whatever that would actually mean for a completely online service). Most importantly, however, the new resolutions would make YouTube and other sites legally responsible for all of their content.

    Read on...
  15. Tech

    Federal Court Ruling: Your E-mail is Protected by the Fourth Amendment

    In a decision ruled only yesterday, the United States Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has stated that e-mail should be treated like other private forms of communication when it comes to search and seizure. That is, the authorities have no more right to ask an internet service provider to turn over your e-mail records than they do to ask the post office to give them your physical mail, ask a phone service provider to tap your phones, or to enter your house without permission. In every case, they've got to get a warrant. From the decision:
    It only stands to reason that, if government agents compel an ISP to surrender the contents of a subscriber's emails, those agents have thereby conducted a Fourth Amendment search, which necessitates compliance with the warrant requirement.

    Read on...
© 2014 Geekosystem, LLC   |   About UsAdvertiseNewsletterJobsPrivacyUser AgreementDisclaimerContactArchives RSS

Dan Abrams, Founder