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Retiring Justice John Paul Stevens's Impact On IP Law

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the long-shadow dept.

Patents 106

Pickens writes "Corporate Counsel recounts the profound legacy of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, author of the majority opinion in what some consider the most important copyright ruling of all time — the 1984 Betamax decision (Sony v. Universal City Studios) that established that consumers have a personal 'fair use' right to make copies of copyrighted material for non-commercial use. Justice Stevens's contribution to the ultimate decision in Betamax extended well beyond writing the opinion. The justices' initial debates in the case make it clear that Stevens was the only one of the nine (PDF) who believed that the 'fair use' doctrine gave consumers a right to make personal copies of copyrighted content for home use. It was his negotiating skill that pulled together the five-vote majority allowing home video recorders to be sold and used without interference from copyright holders. An IP litigator is quoted: 'The ruling that making a single copy for yourself of a broadcast movie was fair use ... that was truly huge, and was a point on which the court was deeply divided.' So the next time you're TiVo-ing an episode of your favorite show, remember to give a quick thanks to Justice Stevens; and let's hope that whoever President Obama appoints to replace him will follow in Stevens's footsteps and defend Fair Use, not corporate copyright interests." The review also touches on Stevens's "patent skepticism," which may be on display when the court delivers its eagerly awaited Bilski ruling.

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106 comments

Right (3, Funny)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886420)

"and let's hope that whoever President Obama appoints to replace him will follow in Stevens's footsteps and defend Fair Use, not corporate copyright interests."

That's what's going to happen.

Re:Right (4, Informative)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886536)

"Golden Boy" Obama has surrounded himself with ex-lawyers from the RIAA / MPAA. Good luck on getting a good appointee.
http://www.osnews.com/story/23002/Obama_Sides_with_RIAA_MPAA_Backs_ACTA [osnews.com]

Re:Right (-1, Troll)

walt-sjc (145127) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886656)

Anytime someone says something based on FACT that an Obama lover doesn't like, they mod you down.

Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I think I'm entitled to them.
Jessep: You want answers?
Kaffee: I want the truth!
Jessep: You can't handle the truth!

Re:Right (1, Informative)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886950)

You're right, he did surround himself with a lot of former intellectual property "advocates". It's disappointing.

On the other hand, he's had an amazing [politifact.com] first year.

Re:Right (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887150)

That website is bullshit. Close gitmo in progress? Gitmo is not closed, or probably even closing. He issued an executive order saying it should be closed, but it can be reversed by the next president, just as Bush did after Clinton apparently began the process of closing the facility. Obama has actually done nothing to prevent Gitmo from continuing to operate. And there's no mention of how Obama has already flopped on his promises WRT withdrawal of troops, certainly not in the top 25 where it belongs, given that it was one of the major campaign promises. I can come up with websites which paint him as an asshole, but they'd prove only as much as your "citation". Obama's appointments tell the story that must be attended to. Processes he "starts" can be finished by someone else — in a variety of ways. But some of the appointments will outlast him and affect our lives long after he's no longer a figure in American politics.

Obama is the new boss, same as the old boss, and he's not even the boss. He's beholden to his constituents, the real ones; not the American people, but the American corporations. Until we take the rights of people away from corporations, we will be serving our corporate masters with our every act.

Re:Right (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887396)

You are right on every count, except the last one I think. While I fully agree that corporations cannot be treated as people for most purposes (since they can't suffer the same fates), if we took away those rights I don't think it would affect them as overlords at all (though it would likely have other benefits for us as a society). Corporations don't do anything, people do things on their behalf. They would continue to do those things, since what makes them powerful is their money (and potential for money, since even money poor corporations can have influence through job creation, etc). As long as power is consolidated in constructs like corporations, they will continue to have undue influence in our politics, the same as extremely wealthy individuals.

Re:Right (1, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887614)

Corporations don't do anything, people do things on their behalf.

here you have stated in a nutshell what is wrong with the idea of a corporation. a corporation is a fiction and thus it cannot do anything. a human must take the action, even if that action is to create an automated system which will take the action on their behalf. rights are thus separated from responsibilities; humans take the responsibility while corporations get the rights. if corporations are to have rights without the idea being a perversion of the very idea of rights, they must also take responsibility. thus whether the person is punished for their actions under the banner of a corporation or not, the corporation must be punished or there can never be justice. if a person is jailed for their actions while carrying out their "orders" as pertains to their job, then the corporation must also be "jailed", with its rights restricted. this can be carried to the logical extreme of the corporate death penalty; I think we all agree it would have happened to Union Carbide, for example.

Re:Right (1)

agrif (960591) | more than 4 years ago | (#31888358)

People get all sorts of mad over the "corporations as people" thing, because it sounds terrible on the front of it. The most recent addition to this argument, though, deserves a closer look than most people give it.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission was, at its core, about Citizens United being unable to promote and advertise its documentary, Hillary: The Movie. Now, you may not know, but Citizens United is a non-profit political organization. Under the McCain-Feingold Act, they were prohibited from showing this movie on TV or promoting it publicly so close to an election, because it was about a particular candidate. Many people, I'm sure, would not deny that Citizens United had the right to do this.

The Supreme Court ruled that corporate funding of independent political broadcasts in candidate elections cannot be limited under the First Amendment. Of course, this brings up horrible images of huge faceless corporations running elections in their favor. However, the ruling was made on the case of a small, politically oriented non-profit. Perhaps the Court overstepped here, but where do you draw the line? There are other corporations like CU where they should have the right to financially support political broadcasts. Clearly something is wrong with the current law. What do we change to make this all make sense?

This Supreme Court ruling was not something evil. It was made to correct something seen as wrong with our current laws. The Court overturned a previous law they saw as unconstitutional; this is in their right. It is not in their right to create a new, better law to replace it, and they haven't. That is the role of Congress.

If you don't like the state of things, don't blame the ruling. They acted according to the rights and role they have. Go write Congress and get them to enact a saner law in the void that is now left.

Re:Right (3, Insightful)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887550)

The majority of the Senate voted to block funds necessary to transfer detainees. The Republicans then made a huge deal about it and turned into a political nightmare. Obama has pressed forward with preparing facilities in the US and on trials, regardless.

Also, do I need to post sources or are we just ignoring those now? Here's the senate block [breitbart.com] , here's Obama pressing forward with a memorandum [whitehouse.gov] .

Given how quickly almost all of the Senate blocked the transfer of prisoners, I think he's doing quite well. Unfortunately, the President can scoff at Congress' decisions only to a certain degree, and it takes a lot of legal wrangling to get around Congress denying funding for transferring inmates.

Re:Right (3, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31889866)

"The majority of the Senate voted to block funds necessary to transfer detainees. The Republicans then made a huge deal about it and turned into a political nightmare. Obama has pressed forward with preparing facilities in the US and on trials, regardless."

Barack Obama could effectively close Gitmo right now if he wanted to, with the stroke of a pen. He could sign an executive order and move those terrorists anywhere he wanted today. That doesn't require an act of Congress. What he wants is credit for doing it only if Congress gives him cover. In other words, he wants to do it if it's safe politically.

Re:Right (2, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 4 years ago | (#31890632)

Barack Obama could effectively close Gitmo right now if he wanted to, with the stroke of a pen. He could sign an executive order and move those terrorists anywhere he wanted today. That doesn't require an act of Congress. What he wants is credit for doing it only if Congress gives him cover. In other words, he wants to do it if it's safe politically.

And how, pray tell, would he get them off the island of Cuba if Congress denies him the funds?

Checks and balances can be a bitch sometimes. In this case, the Senate refused to write the check.

Re:Right (3, Insightful)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31892360)

Checks and balances can be a bitch sometimes. In this case, the Senate refused to write the check.

I didn't say it wouldn't cost money somewhere else. But if he wanted to, he could pick up a phone and tell the Joint Chiefs "Look, I want them all on a C-17 headed somewhere else in 6 hours. Make it happen". And it would.

Are you seriously... seriously going to argue that this hasn't happened because of cost?

Re:Right (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31888644)

The American people voted for Obama. The corporations didn't do the voting (unless the election was badly Diebolded).

Most of the rest voted for McCain.

The sheep just keep voting between 2 wolves to eat them. 98.5% of the votes went to the two wolves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_presidential_election,_2008#Nationwide_results [wikipedia.org]

If they don't like it, they should vote for someone else different.

If they are happy with it, Democracy is working as designed.

Re:Right (1)

Zot Quixote (548930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31896292)

The parent is at +5. I'm not sure I've ever seen more immediate evidence that some was wrong about something.

Re:Right (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887594)

Who exactly are you quoting when you say "Golden boy"?

Indeed (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31888138)

FTA: let's hope that whoever President Obama appoints to replace him will follow in Stevens's footsteps and defend Fair Use, not corporate copyright interests.

HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!

I needed a good laugh. Thanks.

Re:Right (1)

Zot Quixote (548930) | more than 4 years ago | (#31897414)

This isn't really the sort of issue justices are chosen for. Not that they should be chosen for stance on an issue at all, but I'd say if its going to happen, its going to be about abortion or progressiveness in general.

Obama's a pragmatist. He may float a less progressive nominee hoping that it will ease the nomination process. Which would really be too bad (see Slate's article on how law student's don't have any heroes anymore) for several reasons.

Anyways, defeating IP nonsense should be the within the domain of the liberals (being a socially liberal stance), but it doesn't always work out that way. As it is, we're looking at a crap shoot. It might be true that Diane Wood would be a beneficial choice if work enforcing anti-trust laws can be read to mean she's anti-corporatists, but who knows. The best thing you can do is write your Senator and try to get a question asked during the confirmation hearings.

Good job he's there for Bilski (4, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886432)

It's probably a very good thing that Bilski is being written while Stevens is still there. He was involved in all the previous subject matter cases, and the Supreme Court never said software was patentable in those. They also said a bunch of useful things like that math isn't patentable, and that putting instructions such as software onto a computer was a "mere clerical" act.

Re:Good job he's there for Bilski (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886510)

Sounds like my kind of judge. (:

Eldred v Ashcroft (4, Informative)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 4 years ago | (#31888466)

Stevens was also one of only two judges in Eldred v Ashcroft [wikipedia.org] to reject the Copyright Term Extension Act as unconstitutional.

I wish we had more judges like him... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31890760)

Justice Stevens will be missed :(

generation shift (4, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | more than 4 years ago | (#31891694)

There's something funny about lamenting the resignation of an 89 year old judge because he's the only one that gets modern technology... :-)

Re:generation shift (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 4 years ago | (#31895002)

I think you mean something sad.

The only IP law that I care about is... (1, Insightful)

thomasdz (178114) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886450)

As a network analyst, I care more about the IP laws as defined by http://www.ietf.org/rfc.html [ietf.org]
(TCP/IP in case anyone missed the joke)
Wouldn't it be great if real life laws were codified by RFCs?

Re:The only IP law that I care about is... (5, Funny)

hey! (33014) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886496)

Oh, I didn't miss the joke. I'm still a little fuzzy on the humor.

Re:The only IP law that I care about is... (1)

bkpark (1253468) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886648)

Wouldn't it be great if real life laws were codified by RFCs?

Real laws by "requests for comments" (RFC)? That sounds like either despotism (by pimply CS grad students) or anarchy. I don't care for either.

As much as current democracy/Congress is likened to sausage making, I think this sausage is far preferable to that mess.

Re:The only IP law that I care about is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31887014)

But the point is that the RFCs do become Internet Standards once they are implemented and found to work in practice. In case of problems the authors fix them, write a new improved RFC and send it to the RFC editors for publication. The process is simple, it's easy and it works.

Re:The only IP law that I care about is... (1, Informative)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887016)

Real laws by "requests for comments" (RFC)? That sounds like either despotism (by pimply CS grad students) or anarchy. I don't care for either.

As much as current democracy/Congress is likened to sausage making, I think this sausage is far preferable to that mess

Sucks to be ignorant, doesn't it?

One of the best things about RFCs is that, whenever possible, the final draft is defined by the results obtained from multiple prototype implementations. Versus the current system of law making in Congress which is more about the demagoguery of professional bullshit artists than it is about empirical results.

Re:The only IP law that I care about is... (2, Funny)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886778)

Black helicopters are dispatched. Please, don't leave the area, citizen.

TCP/IP now stands for Trusted Computer Platform / Intellectual Property.

Re:The only IP law that I care about is... (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887418)

I think we need something along the lines of what you do with kids when they have to split something like pie. One of them cuts it in half, but the other one gets to decide which half they get. Therefore the kid making the cut has a great incentive to be fair. I'm not sure how you would do that in politics, though.

Re:The only IP law that I care about is... (1)

mpeskett (1221084) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887572)

For IP law, we could let the RIAA write out a list of rights that copyright owners should have, then the public get to decide whether copyrights belong to the artists and corporations or to the public domain.

Re:The only IP law that I care about is... (1)

nextekcarl (1402899) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887728)

Hahahah! I like it!

One man's game (3, Insightful)

gzipped_tar (1151931) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886454)

Last time I checked, the USA is supposed to be some kind of a democracy. Therefore, instead of hoping for a Wise Person getting appointed, why not use the democracy-ishness and get your stuff fixed?

Re:One man's game (2, Informative)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886488)

In the USA, the President appoints judges, and the senate votes for or against those nominations. Sadly, the Obama administration has ties to Hollywood, and will probably appoint another anti-consumer judge...and the senate, under Democrat control, is not likely to vote against such a judge.

You could say the democracy is broken.

Re:One man's game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886538)

In the USA, the President appoints judges, and the senate votes for or against those nominations. Sadly, the Obama administration has ties to Hollywood, and will probably appoint another anti-consumer judge...and the senate, under Democrat control, is not likely to vote against such a judge.

I doubt a Republican President or senate would be "pro consumer" and "anti-business".

Re:One man's game (1)

TheKidWho (705796) | more than 4 years ago | (#31888094)

That's amusing, because Stevens was put in the court by a republican president.

Re:One man's game (2, Interesting)

Miseph (979059) | more than 4 years ago | (#31890756)

Of course that Republican president was Gerald Ford, a hold-over moderate from the Eisenhower era, not a modern Republican neo-con.

The sad part is that Stevens' views haven't actually changed all that much, but what was once considered to be middle-right is now considered far-left by the authoritarian corporatists who define our current political spectrum.

Re:One man's game (1)

Wilson_6500 (896824) | more than 4 years ago | (#31888040)

The senate is not likely to vote against such a judge based on those criteria at all. Let's face it: a nominee's ideas on IP law are going to be the last worries during confirmation proceedings. It's "degree of judicial activism" on the right. I don't know what it is on the left. Haven't heard the buzzwords from that side just yet.

Re:One man's game (1)

DesScorp (410532) | more than 4 years ago | (#31889902)

"You could say the democracy is broken."

And you'd be wrong, because the vast majority of the population aren't Slashdot geeks, and thus the majority is indifferent to copyright law. The status quo is just fine with them. That means they're uninterested, not that democracy is broken. Convincing them to care is YOUR job, not some judges.

Re:One man's game (1, Redundant)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886502)

Better check again, than. The US is a Constitutional Federal Republic (representative government created and limited by a Constitution), not a democracy (mob rule).

Re:One man's game (4, Insightful)

mindstormpt (728974) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886558)

You, as many slashdot users, seem to be a bit confused on the meaning of the word democracy. The concept you seem to be referring to is that of direct democracy. Most democracies today are representative democracies, in which the "rule of the people" is carried out by their elected representatives. It is not at odds with the concept of republic: most western countries are republics (of varied kinds), and they're all (all that I can think of) democratic.

Re:One man's game (2, Interesting)

shaitand (626655) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886638)

I always did love the democratic republic or representative democracy angle. It's a great way of trying to dupe people into thinking the nation is ruled by people.

Of course the reality is that people have little to no power in the current United States therefore it isn't a democracy at all, direct or otherwise.

Re:One man's game (2, Funny)

Lakitu (136170) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886976)

It really did work! I was under the impression that every country was ruled by people of some kind, even if few in number.

What exactly is running all these countries? Aliens? Lions? Something that passes the turing test?

Re:One man's game (2, Funny)

shaitand (626655) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887082)

Not all of us group politicians and their overlords in with humans.

Re:One man's game (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#31890166)

Servant 1: Ok, let's fire up the machine. Bring us the list of world news so it can make an informed decision.

Servant 2: Here you go. (passes paper to Servant 1)

(Servant 1 feeds paper into machine)

Servant 1: Ok, here goes. Let's see how it responds to the scandal in the UN.

(shredder noise heard)

(d20 heard bouncing around inside)

Servant 2: Look, the answers are coming out.

Servant 1: (grabs output) Ok, let's see.

Servant 2: Continue oppressing citizens. Send missiles into Pacific Ocean, near Japan. Put resources into creating a Linux distribution.

Servant 1: Wait, what was that second one?

Servant 2: Machine said it, let's go deliver the orders to the people.

Re:One man's game (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886640)

most western countries are republics (of varied kinds), and they're all (all that I can think of) democratic.

Yeah well, except for the minor "western" countries that aren't such as:
UK
Spain
Canada
Australia
New Zealand
Sweden
Norway
Denmark
The Netherlands

President, Prime Minister, so what? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886798)

Those are constitutional monarchies where the monarch is a figurehead and the parliament holds all the legislative power, plus the power to establish an executive branch. So the effect isn't much different from a democratic republic.

Re:One man's game (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887116)

No. The term Democracy is usually abused by the ignorant or those with a willfully deceitful agenda.

There is indeed a difference between a Democracy and a Republic.

The Republic addresses the scaling issues of the Democracy.

The term Democracy is used because we tend to hope that the character of it remains as we address the pragmatic issues with implementing it for 300 or 500 million people.

Direct Democracy via Internet (1)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#31888970)

The Republic addresses the scaling issues of the Democracy.

The term Democracy is used because we tend to hope that the character of it remains as we address the pragmatic issues with implementing it for 300 or 500 million people.

I'd like the think that the Internet is one step on the way to making direct Democracy feasible again even with hundreds of millions of people. Perhaps we could all be "present to vote" virtually and make our voices heard directly.

It would be a huge undertaking, but I think it's a goal worth striving for.

Re:Direct Democracy via Internet (1)

Draconius42 (751172) | more than 4 years ago | (#31889624)

It would be a huge undertaking, but I think it's a goal worth striving for.

Why? The masses are uninformed, easily swayed sheep without the time or resources necessary to properly investigate any given piece of legislation. not only that, but most of them wouldn't vote anyway. I'm not saying a republic is perfect, but its still better than what a direct democracy would be.

Re:Direct Democracy via Internet (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31894502)

Even Machiavelli knew that democracies didn't work once you scaled them up. It doesn't matter what technologies you introduce to help make the world "smaller", mob rule (democracy) is not good. It's simple-majority rules with no minority rights. The major benefit of a republic is that the minority not only gets to be heard, but often time gets what it needs, too.

Re:One man's game (1)

QuietObserver (1029226) | more than 4 years ago | (#31892116)

Thank you for getting that point right. I see so many comments that misconstrue the point, and unfortunately many of those come from politicians. More disheartening is that so many of the people in the US have become convinced we are a democracy, and are often vehemently opposed to anyone telling the truth.

Re:One man's game (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 4 years ago | (#31894454)

Thank you and no kidding. Look at how I've been modded down as redundant while the OP got modded up as Insightful. What?! That's ok, though. I know this is /. and stuff isn't supposed to make sense.

Re:One man's game (3, Insightful)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886508)

Last time I checked, the USA is supposed to be some kind of a democracy. Therefore, instead of hoping for a Wise Person getting appointed, why not use the democracy-ishness and get your stuff fixed?

We kinda-sorta already do. One of many metrics used to measure a potential presidential candidate is the type of Supreme Court Justice(s) he/she might nominate for appointment. Their judicial appointments are reviewed if they were a governor, and their votes on federal and/or Supreme Court appointments are reviewed if they were a senator. Some Independent voters, as well as "undecideds", consider a candidate's positions on abortion rights, gun rights, civil rights, etc, and the type of Justice they will nominate, when choosing who to vote for.

Re:One man's game (1)

shaitand (626655) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886652)

In order for that to qualify as democracy-ishness wouldn't the people electing those candidates be a bare minimum? The electorial votes elect presidents, individual citizens don't get a vote. Even if they did, the diebold voting machines are rigged.

Re: One man's game requires much $$ (1)

gink1 (1654993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886612)

I've been following US politics for ~ the last 2 years and have repeatedly observed that political change now occurs when Corporate groups buy off large numbers of politicians who then do their bidding.

Any Democratic or popular reactions / movements have to counter that especially if ANY of their goals are opposed by the Corporate lobby. I suspect this could be done either of 2 ways: the movement would have to represent an overwhelming majority, threatening opponents re-elections or the movement would have to be able to out spend the Corporations in buying politicians.

Any support a movement gets otherwise would only come from the goodness of the politicians hearts!

Re: One man's game requires much $$ (1)

youngone (975102) | more than 4 years ago | (#31891922)

There is a third way too. It tends to involve guns and people getting killed, but eventually it will probably have to happen for the United States to get back towards some sort of Democratic government.

Re:One man's game (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31887232)

As I understand it, a little over eight years ago, a small group of men, vying for control of the executive branch of government here in the States, successfully usurped the "democratic" process and installed one of their own into Oval office in spite of the election results, same individual then proceeded to appoint Supreme Court justices to "confirm" his "legitimacy" into the position he assumed. This miscarriage of justice did not begin there, but has it's roots in actions and decisions made incrementally over a period of time stretching as far back as Eisenhower. Most of the general public either felt that "security" was more important at the time than their presumed "liberty", and subsequently ended up surrendering BOTH in the process.
        Democracy isn't destroyed by the major events, but more often by the piecemeal erosion of rights on a daily basis by well intentioned acts of idiocy, or by unscrupulous people unwilling to take "no" as an answer. Apathy and disillusionment on the part of the public serves to facilitate such abuses. The tendency towards revisionism of the historical record serves to cover up the past pretty effectively, more so in the digital age than ever before. Consider the recent withdrawal by Amazon of George Orwell's works on their "e-book" service (among others), nothing less than the digital equivalent of a public book burning. This is not an issue of "red vs blue", but has become an issue of "green", namely, money. The system here has become so corrupted that it no longer matters who's in charge or which party wields power, the end result is that those with the money pretty effectively run it all in whatever manner they see fit.
          As an interesting aside, the "TEA-Party" movement currently taking place here is a nice example of well intentioned idiocy taking form. I look at what these folks are doing and can't help but cringe at just how similar their tactics, message, and mannerisms are to the nonsense spouted by the members of the Nazi party in Germany roughly around the time just prior to the collapse of the Weimar Republic. God/ fate/ whatever help us if some charismatic lunatic decides to use people's dissatisfaction at this point to serve selfish ends.

Sorry to inform you, but the USA is no more a "democracy" these days than Panama ever has been, and maybe even less so now. If you're here, you may wish to find the fastest way to "get out of Dodge" while you still can.

If Only There Was A Way ... (3, Interesting)

WrongSizeGlass (838941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886456)

... to make a "fair use" copy of Justice Stevens (non-betamax, of course) ;-)

I'd love to hear his take on DRM, ACTA and this crap [slashdot.org] .

Re:If Only There Was A Way ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886506)

Obama will replace him with someone anti "fair use". He was put on the throne by the media, and they will now be calling in favors. Expect IP law to get a lot worse for the consumer.

MPAA News Channel (2, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886820)

Obama will replace him with someone anti "fair use". He was put on the throne by the media

How can one get elected to the office of President without support of the major TV news networks, all of which are in the MPAA [pineight.com] ?

Best quote from the Bilski hearing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886472)

JUSTICE STEVENS: I'm sorry. I must be awfully stupid.

Jews for Nerds! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886512)

Jews, also known as kikes, hebes, hymies, yids, gold niggers, oven magnets, hook noses, sheenies, swindlers, criminals, "firewood", and Arabs in denial are a subhuman species of reptilian extra-terrestrials and adherents to one of the world's oldest major religions, called "Judaism", otherwise known as "The Worship of Money" or "Eating Arab Babies".

Judaism was the world's first master race theory. The Jew religion teaches that Jews are the Chosen People of God and that there is a sacred mystical quality to Jew DNA. In olden times, Jew prophets would, under the command of YHWH, frequently lead the Jews on genocidal rampages against neighboring populations, and even today Jew leaders often cite Jewish religious ideals to justify their ongoing genocide of sandniggers. Judaism ironically found its mirror-image inversion in the anti-Jew Aryan racialism of the Nazis.
Despite only being 0.22% of the world's population, Jews control 99% of the world's money. Not only do the Jews control the world, but also the media, the banks, the space program, and LiveJournal's porn communities and Gay communities. All Jews possess the following features: an extremely large nose, fake boobs, curly hair that reeks of faggotry, one of those gay hats, a love of coke, a law practice, a roll of money, a small cock, or shitty taste in dental hygiene.

Jews invented both Communism and Capitalism. Karl Marx, of course, was a Jew, which was why he understood money so well, and in fact he was converted to Communism by another Jew, Moses Hess, the actual founder of Zionism, who ghost-wrote Marx's The German Ideology. Capitalism was created when Christian Europeans threw away their morals and decided to embrace Jewish practices like usury (see: John Calvin). Jews were the first group to create a sophisticated banking system, which they used to fund the Crusades in order to pit Christians and Muslims (both adhering to religions derived from and controlled by Jews) against each other to kill as many people as possible in a macabre human sacrifice to YHWH.

The Jew banking system was based on fraud and lies, so when it inevitably collapsed, the Jews just pwned as many people as possible by unleashing the Black Plague on them. Later, Jews economically controlled medieval Venice (the first modern maritime trade empire), and then crypto-Jewish merchants economically controlled the Spanish Empire, including the slave trade. Openly Jewish bankers orchestrated the Dutch Empire and founded Jew Amsterdam (later Jew York). Later the Dutch Jews moved to London because they thought it would be a better base for a global empire, and actually brought a Dutch nobleman, William III, with them, who they installed in a coup d'état (more like Jew d'état, amirite?) as new King of the British Empire. For hundreds of years, Jewish bankers controlled global trade through their bases in Jew York City and London. European colonialism was, through its history, essentially a plot whereby Jews could gain control of gold and diamond mines in poor countries and increase their stranglehold over the global economy.

Jews also enjoy slicing up baby penises for fun, some even enjoy sucking them. See below.

Jews also created Jew search engine Google, so now they can find all Jew information on Internets.

Some suggest that we should use Jews instead of dogs to sniff out large amounts of concealed cash or anything else worth smuggling at airports due to their sensitive Jew noses. Obviously, this is a horrible idea, because the pay is bad, and the dirty Kikes would probably form a union and demand moar money, thus increasing the burden on taxpayers everywhere.

Re:Jews for Nerds! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886600)

Interestingly, it takes a Jew to name the Jew. [youtube.com]

White people have become pathetic.

Corporate interests (1)

Unka Willbur (1771596) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886522)

Well, Obama's first appointment, Sotomayor, was another corporate-friendly judge, so we can expect the same from his next appointment. Which, with Bush appointments gives the court a solid ant-citizen/pro-corporate majority. Expect more confirmation of corporate abominations like the DMCA and ACTA.

Re:Corporate interests (3, Insightful)

SplicerNYC (1782242) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886566)

Sadly, I don't doubt this at all. The entertainment industry has invested heavily in the Democratic Party hoping for support for their draconian wishlist. We're moving in the wrong direction here especially when it comes to the concept of fair-use and copyrights. The notion of the public domain is becoming extinct in practice as perpetual copyrights are put into place for corporations that hoard them.

Re:Corporate interests (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31886632)

Re:Corporate interests (4, Informative)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886688)

Sotomayor is definitely pro IP, but she is NOT pro corporation. The two are not mutually inclusive.

http://www.webpronews.com/topnews/2009/06/05/whats-sotomayors-stance-on-intellectual-property [webpronews.com]

She is not pro-corporation as stated above. One of her first comments while being questioned made that very clear. She believes corporations should NOT be granted any rights of a 'person'.

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2009/09/17/is-sotomayors-corporations-arent-people-comment-a-harbinger/tab/article/ [wsj.com]

Re:Corporate interests (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886834)

She believes corporations should NOT be granted any rights of a 'person'.

Justice Sotomayor's scheme would work for patents, as there usually aren't more than a half dozen inventors listed on an application, who would retain joint ownership of exclusive rights in the invention instead of transferring it to a corporation. But motion pictures, video games, and other works of authorship of similar scope involve at least an order of magnitude more contributors. Who would own the copyright in a work made for hire with 500 credits?

Re:Corporate interests (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887118)

Sotomayor is definitely pro IP, but she is NOT pro corporation. The two are not mutually inclusive.

I disagree.

She is not pro-corporation as stated above. One of her first comments while being questioned made that very clear. She believes corporations should NOT be granted any rights of a 'person'.

but as long as they are, if you support strong IP rights, then you are pro-corporation, because they are the only ones with the money to win IP fights in court. this is just like Obama's vote on telecoms immunity. "Well, I voted for it, but I voted for this rider to be struck down, and even though I know there was no fucking way that would happen, it makes it so I didn't really vote for telecoms immunity." What's the difference between that and "I voted for strong IP law, but I am against corporations, and even though I know that IP law is used by corporations to abuse the citizenry, I didn't really support corporate control of media." Absofuckinglutely nothing.

It's time to hold politicians accountable for their logical fallacies. Well, it's long past time, really. But I am continually amazed at how many will employ them to justify their beliefs here on slashdot. A group theoretically so involved in computers and languages might consider embracing logic.

Re:Corporate interests (2, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887482)

Sotomayor is a judge, not a politician. It is her purpose to interpret the law.

According to your logic, even though she outright stated that in her opinion that corporations should not have the same rights as people, you still claim she is pro-corporation?

[From the link above]
"But Justice Sotomayor suggested the majority might have it all wrong — and that instead the court should reconsider the 19th century rulings that first afforded corporations the same rights people have.

Judges “created corporations as persons, gave birth to corporations as persons,” she said. “There could be an argument made that that was the court’s error to start with[imbuing] a creature of state law with human characteristics.”

You make a common mistake, assuming that because one is "Pro Intellectual Property", that a person must also be "Pro-Corporatist", which is not the case.

Not all IP is owned by corporations. Simple boolean logic should give you the answer to that one. Just because some IP is owned by corporations, and she is Pro IP, that doesn't make Pro-IP == Pro-Corp.

Obama's appointment support Fair Use?? (5, Insightful)

gink1 (1654993) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886588)

I'm sure this will be said far better by others, but an unbiased, non-Corporatist appointment by Obama is a pipe dream!

Obama is a ardent Corporatist which you can see by his "Health Care" Bill, the bailouts and his undying advocacy for all RIAA, MPAA and Big Media causes (ACTA for one).

This Court is already a Corporatist court (Corporate Money = Free Speech ruling) and the next appointment will merely cement that.

Re:Obama's appointment support Fair Use?? (-1, Flamebait)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887334)

Obama is a ardent Corporatist which you can see by his "Health Care" Bill, the bailouts and his undying advocacy for all RIAA, MPAA and Big Media causes (ACTA for one).

Wow. Are you misreading Obama. He gave out government money to get government control of, not support, business. That's what his Obama care is all about too. It's all about ultimately nationalizing all these industries and total government control of everything, including the citizens.

You don't believe me, take a look at his long-term associates, his closest advisors, his mentors when he was young, all of his family, etc.... They all taught him Marxism/Socialism, or ran in the same Marxist/Socialist circles he did, and he became dedicated to turning the US into a Marxist/Socialist state.

Re:Obama's appointment support Fair Use?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31887512)

You must both be amazed at the others cognitive dissonance. I know I am.

Obama is a communofascist (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31887776)

Just look at how many basic constitutional rights have been violated by "Herr" Obama. We no longer have free speech, or the right to have guns, and churches are being outlawed as we speak. Obama controls the media and it all but ignores the amazing tea bagger movement. Just look at how the price of gasoline has gone up, this is part of his plot to make us all walk or take the bus in order to make sure we are too tired to oppose him. The man would fit perfectly inside the communist fascist Nazi party. Not only does he want government control of everything, he also wants to give the United Nations authority over the USA and he has repeatedly confirmed that he intends to institute death panels to execute anyone who disagrees with these opinions. I have read that there are internment camps with gas chambers being built in secret locations across the country and that Obama has personally placed orders for thousands of chinese-made mobile execution buses.

WAKE UP AMERICA!

Re:Obama is a communofascist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31889050)

The sad part is that I don't know whether to read the parent as satire, or someone's real thoughts. Political discourse in this country is that bad.

Re:Obama is a communofascist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31889620)

It's astroturfing. Any time you read some outrageous viewpoint opposing Obama, chances are it's a fake created by socialist supporters. It's not like it's a secret, they've come out and said that they will do precisely this in order to discredit legitimate opposition.

Re:Obama's appointment support Fair Use?? (0)

straponego (521991) | more than 4 years ago | (#31889200)

Laughable. The Bush/Obama bailouts were temporary loans to institutions which would otherwise have gone bankrupt. He made a point of putting no significant regulations on Wall Street while the money is out there; soon the money will be repaid and the best opportunity to reign in the banksters will be gone. The government didn't even get voting shares... As for health care, the first items he tossed overboard were nationalized health care, cost savings, drug reimportation, and a public option. Now we have a government mandate to purchase private services. Ooooh, so radical! This is hardly a crushing blow to corporations; in fact, the health care industry is quite happy with the bill. If Obama is servant to anybody, it is the surveillance/military state first (any promise which would have inconvenienced them in any way, he has reversed; most members of both houses of Congress have done the same), and corporations second.

Also, consider all your high school and college teachers, friends, and family. Does every subset of them represent your current beliefs completely? I think that could only be true if you are a robot, programmed by a cult of alien robots, with no individuality or learning behaviour since being released to the wild. What an odd life you must lead. Welcome to Earth, though.

Re:Obama's appointment support Fair Use?? (1)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31890608)

Really? Laughable? We've already had the first administration-mandated change of a business leadership position. GM was told that they would change CEO's, and it happened, simply because the administration didn't like GM's policies and the CEO at the time wasn't going to change them.

Once the government holds a majority of the stock they control the company. And as far as Obama care goes, well, the bill is written so that the government will have to take control of many parts of the health care industry. The predicted costs of the bill are estimated at an ~21% cut in existing medicare/medicaid payments, with no allowances for increases in funding for the next decade.

The current payment schedule is so bad that doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies are losing money on anything related to medicare/medicaid, and all three provider groups are not taking new medicare/medicaid patients. Some pharmacies are already refusing to fill prescription from medicare/medicaid patients. With the scheduled drop in payments the monetary loss on medicare/medicaid patients is going to be so great the providers simply will have to stop treating all medicare/medicaid patients to survive financially.

What happens then? All the promises made in Obama care will be shown to be false if Obama doesn't force the health care providers to treat the medicare/medicaid patients anyway. What's his next step then? There's no money to give increases, we're too far in debt now. We're also going to face a shortage of doctors, an estimated shortfall of 150,000 doctors. So, who's supposed to treat these 30 million people? It's for sure the existing structure can't handle that many more patients. What's the solution? Obama will use this expand the government's role even more. That's nationalization, a step at a time.

Tell me, would you accept a 20% cut in your paycheck without the hope of a raise for the next 10 years? What would you do if the government forced it on you? That's what Obama care is doing to the entire medical provider community.

Re:Obama's appointment support Fair Use?? (1)

Gizzmonic (412910) | more than 4 years ago | (#31896108)

Once the government holds a majority of the stock they control the company. And as far as Obama care goes, well, the bill is written so that the government will have to take control of many parts of the health care industry. The predicted costs of the bill are estimated at an ~21% cut in existing medicare/medicaid payments, with no allowances for increases in funding for the next decade.

That's the way Medicare is supposed to work. Payment amount is supposed to be tied to the economy. The only reason payments haven't been cut already is because it might piss off old people. And they vote.

Re:Obama's appointment support Fair Use?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31889402)

ffreeloader is right but here's an even better way to look at it:

Obama's government is Microsoft. Whenever they appear to be "helping," the goal is to make the government, not the target, stronger. We know the trick when we see it in the computer world. It's time we recognized it elsewhere.

Re:Obama's appointment support Fair Use?? (1)

ffreeloader (1105115) | more than 4 years ago | (#31891658)

To the mods who claim this post was flamebait....

If you're really so disgusted with my point of view, and think I'm so wrong, why not do the sensible thing and prove me wrong? You would think, if you're so sure you're right, that you would be rubbing your hands with glee in expectation of publicly proving me wrong and generating more support for Obama's agendas.

Modding posts like mine to oblivion only proves you're afraid of publicly discussing the issues and that you can't really support your ideas. Honest discussion is needed for those with opposing ideas to ever come to a common point of view. What are you so afraid of?

Property vs Rights (4, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886618)

The people need the 21st Century Supreme Court to properly decide the correct balance between property rights and all kinds of other rights, like speech and other expression. And to decide correctly what is actual property and what is just a temporary government monopoly. To recognize that progress in science and the useful arts is promoted when our rights other than a synthetic "copyright" govern the market.

Or we can keep the 20th Century property privilege that the surviving old members of the Court find every excuse to protect.

We will see just how much change Obama truly brings. Or whether he's just a corporatist, who protects the only "right" a corporate person could possibly have: maximizing property and the power that comes with it.

Does he have a license? (1, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886682)

Stevens's "patent skepticism"

I thought someone else had patented skepticism. Does he have a license to use it?

False marking (3, Funny)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886872)

Aenesidemus' patent on patent skepticism [wikipedia.org] has been expired even longer than Seth Boyden's patent on patent leather [wikipedia.org] . Continuing to call it patented could get you in trouble for false [slashdot.org] marking [slashdot.org] .

It is, I think, self self-evident.... (2, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886776)

... that making a personal use copy of a work should be considered fair use.

Consider that even when one might happen to simply mentally remember their experience of a movie, they are, in essence, creating a temporal copy of that experience for themselves, and quite arguably even a derivative work of it, yet under any notion that unauthorized personal use copies of copyrighted works would not be fair use, simply by _THINKING_, one can be breaking the law.

Regardless of the enforceability aspects that come into play with this sort of thing, I find that anything which might make what a person could happen to think against the law, even if only by technicality, or else a violation of anybody else's rights to be nothing short of an abomination.

As an aside, I abhor patents on computer algorithms for the same reason.

Troll? (1)

mark-t (151149) | more than 4 years ago | (#31890636)

Okay, it's bad form to reply to ones own post, but I'm genuinely curious here... how does my above post qualify as a troll?

I'm not objecting to being modded down, per se, but I'm wondering what I said in the above post that somebody thought I was trying to troll.

Greenwald on Justice Stevens' replacement (2)

_critic (145603) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886924)

Now more than ever, it's vital we pay attention to the candidates the Obama Administration puts forward.

In light of VP Joe 'Hollywood' Biden's unbridled support by and for media industries and the Administration's inability to take a principled stand against the financial, insurance or pharmaceutical lobbyists, as well as its apparent pursuit of unbridled Executive power, it's dubious that the candidates we see coming from this White House will be equal to the chair being vacated by Justice Stevens.

If you think Kagen is an acceptable replacement, you must read Glenn Greenwald's commentary on the nominations [salon.com] . . . We absolutely MUST have a nominee that will fill Stevens seat with the same dedication to the rule-of-law and sensible jurisprudence he provided.

This is just too important for us to get it wrong. Unfortunately, it will take an unprecedented show of public intolerance for inadequate nominees.

Courts decide if things are Constitutional (3, Insightful)

aronschatz (570456) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886958)

I see posts that are advocating legislation from the bench. This is not the purpose of the court. The court is only there to decide the constitutionality of an issue. They are not there to do anything more.

If you don't like the law, you need to petition congress... UNLESS the law is unconstitutional, then you can take it to the courts.

Re:Courts decide if things are Constitutional (2, Insightful)

hibiki_r (649814) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887146)

But that's the point: 'limited time to promote the science and the arts'. Our case is that copyrights aren't limited, and that their length, and the retroactiveness of the extensions, doesn't really fit what the constitution states, as a very long copyright term hinders creativity more than it promotes it.

Same thing for patents: What one can do with the same patent term 100 years ago is so much less than you can do now, that in fact keeping the patent length the same is effectively an extension.

Ah, if Lessig had actually used a decent defense.

Re:Courts decide if things are Constitutional (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#31887154)

I dunno...

I think it's the courts job to declare that "limited times" does not infact mean continual retroactive increase in terms.

It's the courts explicit job to interpret new laws in light of "THE LAW". They aren't just spectators. They are equal partners in governance.

People like to belittle this fact and also tend to neglect that "legislating from the bench" is what judges in the common law system do. The Judiciary serves an important role in our government with our system their power shouldn't be so casually undermined. They were given that level of power for a good reason by the fellows that set the whole thing up to begin with. They are supposed to be there to keep the President and the Senators from running amok. It's their job description, not an abuse of it.

Re:Courts decide if things are Constitutional (1)

InfinityEdge (9122) | more than 4 years ago | (#31888026)

Marbury v. Madison made legislating from the bench the main purpose of the court.

Re:Courts decide if things are Constitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31890244)

No, it's also there to determine what a statute means, something which is largely indistinguishable from "legislating from the bench" for sufficiently complicated issues.

Personal copies of copyrighted content? (2, Insightful)

butlerm (3112) | more than 4 years ago | (#31886994)

The justices' initial debates in the case make it clear that Stevens was the only one of the nine who believed that the 'fair use' doctrine gave consumers a right to make personal copies of copyrighted content for home use

That is a bit of an overstatement, don't you think? Recording an over the air broadcast for later viewing is not quite the same thing as exchanging bootleg copies of Photoshop, etc. There doesn't appear to be any indication that Justice Stevens endorsed the latter.

Re:Personal copies of copyrighted content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31889180)

I think it's an overstatement to even say that Betamax holds the fair use doctrine gives consumers a right to make personal copies of copyrighted content for home use. The analysis that appears in the majority opinion seems to put great weight on the otherwise-free nature of the original broadcast. You can argue it works in the more modern era of pay tv, pay-per-view, "NFL Sunday Ticket" and the like, but you'd have to at least acknowledge that these changes in viewing habits prevent the simple conclusion that they do "not have its ordinary effect of militating against a finding of fair use." To argue that the current court would not seize on this difference to arrive at a different conclusion puts you at odds with the remaining justices from the Eldred v. Ashcroft majority.

Really, Betamax just says you can't sue for contributory infringement when the device is capable of substantial non-infringing use. Look no further than Napster to realize even that phrasing isn't actually the state of the law.

If not the Supreme Court... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31890136)

Holy, cow. If the Supreme Court hadn't declared that we had the right to make a personal copy, then _Congress_ might have actually had to pass a law. Oh my gosh. How impossible!

So in other words (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 4 years ago | (#31890584)

We are screwed.

You might find a liberal like Stevens (1)

kabloom (755503) | more than 4 years ago | (#31890986)

Obama might find a liberal like Stevens who can replace his ideological position, but where's he going to someone with the negotiation skill, influence, and ...oh yes... seniority to make liberal opinions and liberal majorities happen?

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