This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is a simple comment from Mason Wheeler making a straightforward proposal regarding copyright terms on America’s (hopefully last) empty Public Domain Day:
I find 14 years, optionally renewable once to be perfectly reasonable.
In second place, we’ve got a comment from Tanner Andrews about the journalist who was arrested for publishing confidential information a police officer gave to her:
The Case Has Already Been Decided
In Florida Star v. BJF, 491 U.S. 524 (1989), the US Supreme Court said that, if you lawfully obtained what was meant to be non-public information, you could publish it. There, the police dept had unintentionally included a rape victim’s name in the materials they made available to the press. Cub reporter did not know it was illegal to publish that information [Fla. Stat. 794.03, still on books as of 2017].
Vic sued, and the newspaper lost all the way through the state courts. Reversed, resoundingly.
It is possible that the Laredo PD could have a claim against the officer who provided the information, but they cannot plausibly claim that talking to a cop is an unlawful method of obtaining police information.
Legal advice is what you get from the attorney you hire, and you would probably want to hire one licensed in your state.
For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we’ve got a pair of comments about the deeply broken structure of the patent office and the ways it promotes the rushed approval of bad patents. Jason raised an additional interesting point:
Not only did they start approving more patents, but they also raised the fees to challenge a patent. To have a patent undergo an ex-parte reviewed went from about $2,000 to $18,000 and for an intra-parte it went from about $9,000 to about $40,000 (I could be off on the numbers, I was fighting a patent troll back in 2012 because of this nonsense, so just going from memory).
So someone realized they could make even more money, simply by approving bad patents
An anonymous commenter, meanwhile, pointed out the dissonance when it comes to different aspects of IP:
Politicians: “We get so many patents per day it’s not realistically possible to give them each the proper investigation they deserve.”
Also Politicians: “Google needs to police YouTube better.”
Over on the funny side, our first place comment is from Stephen T. Stone making a joke (which I admit I only barely get…) about our most recent mention of the selfie-giant Naruto:
Do we really have to? I mean, the filler arcs were garbage and I still can’t believe they found a way to keep it going after…
…OH YOU MEANT THE MONKEY.
What if Tomczak left his white-noise generator lying around, and a macaque monkey picked up the generator and recorded ~10 hours of white noise?
For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out on our annual end-of-the-year post for 2017, where one anonymous commenter predicted the headlines to come in future years:
2018: There Is Always More, And It Is Always Worse
2019: See What We Mean?
2020: 01000100 01000101 01010011 01010100 01010010 01001111 01011001 00100000 01000001 01001100 01001100 00100000 01001000 01010101 01001101 01000001 01001110 01010011
2025: Found Good Bashing Stick, Will Trade For Rocks To Throw
And finally, because I love a good reworking of an old turn of phrase, we’ve got TheResidentSkeptic responding to Donald Trump hiring Charles Harder to threaten Steve Bannon with a seasonal version of a joke more commonly expressed these days via GIFs of Jon Stewart or Michael Jackson:
I am so happy…
… that I got tins of flavored popcorn for Christmas.
That’s all for this week, folks!