This week, both our winning comments on the insightful side came from anonymous commenters on our post about the CAFC’s insane ruling overturning Google’s fair use victory against Oracle. In first place, we have some thoughts on whether this goes any further:
I think Google actually might have a good shot at the Supreme court, mainly on procedural grounds. The CAFC explictly ruled that a Jury should determine fair use. A superior court normally shouldn’t disregard the Jury finding, and they have noted no bad jury instructions or other reasons to disregard the Jury findings. That seems, from an outsider, to be a major misstep, the kind of which the Supreme Court has loved to smack around the CAFC for.
In second place, we’ve got a deeper dive into the problems of the case:
This whole argument is being framed over language that is misleading to the extreme. “Declarative code” and “Implementing code” are not industry terms; the terms every CS101 student learns are “code declarations” and “code definitions”. This is important, because the phrase “declarative code” implies that code declares, when in reality, code is declared. This is perhaps the biggest source (and evidence of) confusion in CAFC’s opinions (and that of the Solicitor General in his brief to the Supreme Court in the previous appeal).
Code declarations and implementations are like dictionary entries. Dictionary entries contain two parts: Syntax information (spelling, pronunciation, part of speech, etc) and the definition.
Syntax information allows writers to correctly use a word, as well as allows readers to determine if a word is used correctly. For example, if I tell you that the word feldercrump is a noun, then you can write the following sentences, and see that the sentence “I saw a feldercrump” uses it correctly, whereas “I feldercrump on Sunday” does not.
However, without the Definition, no one can extract any meaning from the sentence. You can’t know what idea backs the word feldercrump. Even still, different dictionaries might contain similar but different definitions for the word, even though the syntax information stays the same.
The former is equivalent to code declarations: they do not instruct computers, but rather, allow compilers, interpreters, and programmers to know how code is to be used, as well as determine whether code is used correctly, but there is no code to run or execute. Implementations, however, are the definition of a function, and consist of actual computer instructions. Any function used to implement a particular interface can be used to give meaning to a use of the interface.
For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with a comment from PaulT on our post about the rise of streaming exclusivity, in response to a commenter noting that it makes piracy the “path of least resistance”:
That’s all it ever is, and all it ever was. The resistance might come in the form of pricing, inconvenience, regional or format windows, language or some other factor. But, piracy usually there as the easy option. It has existed well before the internet, and it will continue to exist.
The biggest problem facing these companies is that in order to fight the problems causing this resistance, they erect more barriers (as you correctly note, DRM is one f the more recent ones). If they could just learn to make the legal routes easier than piracy they will find more success. I mean, literally the selling point for most people I know regarding services like Spotify and Netflix is because they were easier than piracy, and they’re happy to pay for that. Stop trying to make them more difficult again.
Next, we’ve a simple anonymous response to the RIAA’s boasting about all the money being made from streaming subscriptions:
In other words, that thing the RIAA fought tooth and nail to prevent from becoming a thing?
Over on the funny side, we’ve got a pair of anonymous winners again. In first place, it’s a response to Kim Dotcom’s human rights tribunal victory over the New Zealand government:
Well, the only reason New Zealand authorities withheld information from Kim Dotcom was because there was no where to transfer all of the files to.
In all fairness though after collecting years and years worth of legal documents it would have been a mega upload.
In second place, it’s another response to the problem of exclusive streaming services:
With so many walled-off streaming services popping up, there needs to be some kind of initiative to provide customers with access to the difference channels of content. Perhaps said services can come together to provide some universal subscription to all of the difference services under an easy to digest acronym, like for example: Content Aggregate Broadcasting Limitless Entertainment Television or CABLE TV for short.
For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with the story of a school selling out its students first amendment rights by censoring a news article with images of some controversial art. Jeremy Lyman honed in on a different detail, after one teacher apparently apologized “on behalf of 99.9% of the teachers”:
Probably wasn’t a math teacher.
They’ve got at least 1,000 teachers at this school? What are the class sizes like?
Finally, we’ve got a deservedly flippant anonymous response to the accusation that we are ignoring all the arguments in favor of SESTA:
All arguments in support of SESTA, in their entirety:
- fibble dibble bop
- cluck cluck
- shrimp paste
That’s all for this week, folks!
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Author: Leigh Beadon