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Sunday, December 21

There Are Things That Amuse Even Me

The Blogdex usually finds them for me.

Today's (tonight's?) offering is the following link. It takes you to a bill currently before US Congress outlawing the use of certain words in media broadcasting. Scroll to the bottom for the list. It makes me chuckle to think how these old fuddy-duddies must have debated which words were worse than others. I want to see the full list where they were rated...

And good news, for once, concerning file-swapping and p2p. It seems that the recent spate of lawsuits by the RIAA against the biggest sharers of mp3s have been declared unconstitutional in the States. Hurrah! Now it seems that us "leftie wannabe anti-globalists" (go check the Politics forum at RAGE) are being viewed as in the right.

However, on a closer inspection of the case (i.e actually reading it before posting the wonderful news), the court in question expressly distances itself from making a judgment based on the argument by Verizon, an ISP in the US that was being sued by the RIAA, that the RIAA's lawsuits are unconstitutional. From what I can gather, the RIAA successfully sued Verizon at first instance in order to force Verizon to release the details of two of its subscribers whom the RIAA intended to sue for various copyright infringements.

One of Verizon's grounds for appeal was that the law in question (some random sub-clause of a random ISP-based statute) was unconstitutional because it forced them to reveal the identity of these subscribers. This was because it lacks "sufficient safeguards to protect an internet userís ability to speak and to associate anonymously." Apparently this is in violation of the First Amendment to the US Constitution. I'm no expert on the Constitution, but I believe that the First Amendment is the right to privacy or something similar. Someone please correct me on that point.

Anyway, there is a lot of fuss, from what I've read this evening, that the RIAA's lawsuits have been declared unconstitutional. This is simply not the case. Read the actual words of the judgment, and you will see that this point was not the ratio decidendi (deciding factor) of the case. Yet again, the media is blowing a case out of proportion, and not fully reporting it. Stupid media. Stupid bloggers for believing it.

Am I anal? When it comes to law, and it comes to file-sharing, yes, yes I am. And proud of it.

And boring too, don't forget that.


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