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Pay the Fine and Get on with your Life.

mandelbr0t (1015855) writes | more than 7 years ago

User Journal 0

I've gone after a lot of people for a lot of different reasons lately. Of course, most of that is just normal Slashdot, but this is a little different. It's kind of personal.

I've gone after a lot of people for a lot of different reasons lately. Of course, most of that is just normal Slashdot, but this is a little different. It's kind of personal.

Justice has become perverted in North America, and especially in the United States. There's a disturbing trend toward pay-as-you-go justice. I've had a lot of unfair things happen to me, but that's just life. But when someone makes a quarter million dollars (and gains 2 years experience to boot) off work you wrote, then foolishly put into his filthy little hands, that starts feeling like criminal behaviour.

So I did what most victims would do: I called the police. In fact, I called the police in two different cities (a second opinion, as it were). I asked commercial crimes to investigate what I thought was a clear case of plagiarism for profit. They didn't even bother sending an officer to take my statement. That's where so-called "Intellectual Property Law" is today. The police are utterly helpless to do anything, because what was stolen from me is only virtual.

If I were a large corporation, I could infiltrate with my agents, build a case, and one day win a large settlement. I suppose if I were capable of this, I might feel a sense of justice. But it's too unbalanced now. My good work gets stolen due to my ignorance of what could be done with it. In all fairness, I was only 21 when this happens, so you'll have to excuse a bit of naivity. It turns out my only real legal recourse is to sue. At best, I could represent myself (and almost surely lose as my very rich opponent could certainly afford a lawyer), pay a considerable amount in legal fees up front, and win my case. The odds are incredibly against me, however, and the cost is very high, well into the millions (which is of course the amount named in this hypothetical lawsuit). I'd rather see him go to jail, anyhow.

Thus, we have pay-as-you-go justice. A corporation willingly takes a stance which is surely in civil breach, but there's no real laws to prosecute. So when they get caught, they only pay a fine. In most cases, the fine is not even close to the illicit gains for when they weren't caught. We even have a price on murder these days: $33M US (O.J. Simpson, for those of you who have been sleeping under a rock). In Canada, many financial institutions avoid expensive security implementations simply by paying the Interac fines for the machines that aren't in compliance. The public is never made aware of these uncompliant machines. Sarbanes-Oxley IS: same gig. There's no legal precedent for anything, so to paraphrase someone on the subject: you just don't want to have the worst implementation. Luckily, it seems that nobody is too keen on really implementing a strict Sarbanes-Oxley implementations, so there will always be work-arounds. At least there were where I was working. (Hint: generic user accounts). Besides, the worst case scenario is that multi-million dollar fines need to be paid. It's not like anyone can go to jail or anything.

Someone really do need to go to jail about this. Just look at Enron. The really guilty people didn't get punished, they got rich. It's illegal to bribe a police officer. Pay-as-you-go justice is basically the same thing, except that the money ends up in a lawyer's pocket instead of a dirty cop's.

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