opinions, everybody's got one...
Saturday, April 05, 2003
the popular death penalty
A New York Review of Books essay on Scott Banner's The Death Penalty: An American History discusses the history of the penalty and legislative, executive, and judicial responses to it. If you find yourself interested in the use of this penalty during America's history, this article is a good starting point.
file sharing on campus
Some serious firepower was leveled against college students this past week by the recording industry. Law suits were initiated against 4 students who had songs available to share with others. The music was stored on computers connected to the college networks. The plaintiff record companies stated that they would drop the suits if the file sharing services were shut down.
online music agreement
It appears that a new agreement has been reached between web casters and the record industry regarding royalties rates for songs online. This new meeting of the minds was focused more upon rates for some of the larger web music groups, who seemed to have been left out of the last agreement.
Thursday, April 03, 2003
port of wilmington to go high tech
Security is coming to longshoremen and stevedores along the Port of Wilmington this summer. That's big time, high tech, super large budget security. The Transportation Security Administration is going wild on Delaware's secured positions.
Tuesday, April 01, 2003
in defense of squatters
Larry's post about domain name squatting had me thinking about actual squatters of the off-line variety. I came across a compelling piece of literature called Squatting: the real story. With very readable chapters like The erosion of squatters rights, it's some interesting material that explains as much about society as it does about those who move into abandoned buildings. While its focus is upon squatting in the UK, it's worth looking over regardless. The book is brought to us by the Advisory Service for Squatters.
squatters must get off the pot
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a lower Court interpretation of the Anti-cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1129 (2002), in Schmidheiny v. Weber, (3d Cir. Feb. 11, 2003) Nygaard, J.. Score one for the good guys!
The lower court had said that the statute prohibited "registering" a domain name that was someone else's name, for profit, but that it didn't prohibit "re-registering" it. The Circuit Court said, phooey, a skunk is a skunk is a skunk.
Denise Howell Rocks!
Thank you, Denise. :-)
Law Clerk's Notes
U.S. District Judge Sue L. Robinson has ruled, in an order made public March 31, 2003, that prison mattresses on the floor is not cruel and unusual punishment. Due to overcrowding at Delaware's Gander Hill prison, some inmates were forced to sleep on a mattress on the floor. The U.S. District Court has ruled that forcing an inmate to sleep on a mattress on the floor does not violate inmates' constitutional protection to be free from cruel and unusual punishment.
By Kevin Mann
Monday, March 31, 2003
ExxonMobil Corp. v. Saudi Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic)
A dispute over licensing fees resulted in a verdict in a Delaware Superior Court case between the world's largest publically traded oil company and the biggest oil producer in the Middle East. The $416.8M verdict is one of the largest in the US this year.
Sunday, March 30, 2003
what's wrong with firewalls?
It's been a long, fun-filled weekend, and my eyelids are a little heavy. Maybe that's why a Freedom to Tinker article from Princeton Professor Edward Felton doesn't seem to make any sense to me. It's entitled Use a Firewall, Go to Jail. It appears to be about potential state laws which exhibit a distinct lack of knowledge of how the internet works. But that couldn't be true. Oh, wait. It could. I must be really tired.
I haven't seen a bill like this from Delaware, but I also haven't checked the legislative updates/announcements since Wednesday. Maybe I should make that a priority tomorrow morning. If a Delaware legislator saw someone from outside the State doing this, and thought it would be a good idea, I'd have to volunteer my time to run spybot or Ad Aware on their computers for them, so that they can see how easy it is for people to load software on their computers that they aren't aware of. And yes, some of that software "phones home" without the computer owner's knowledge either.
I'd also want to point them to some of the personal firewall programs out there that are not only legal and respectable programs, but are also highly recommended, such as Zone Lab's ZoneAlarm, or Norton's Personal firewall, or McAfee's personal firewall. I don't think that States would want to make these lawful and legitimate programs illegal.
Then again, those laws may not mean these particular programs are prohibited. But it's difficult to tell that from the language -- from the Massachusett's proposed law:
"Unlawful access device." Any type of instrument, device, machine, equipment, technology or software which is primarily designed, developed, assembled, manufactured, sold, distributed, possessed, used or offered, promoted or advertised, for the purpose of defeating or circumventing any technology, device or software, or any component or part thereof, used by the provider, owner or licensee of any communication service or of any data, audio or video programs or transmissions, to protect any such communication, data, audio or video services, programs or transmissions from unauthorized receipt, acquisition, interception, access, decryption, disclosure, communication, transmission or re-transmission.That does sound like it would include as "unlawful" a personal computer connected to the net running a personal firewall, since the sole purpose of running the firewall is to circumvent technology meant to detect the computer's presence.