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Who Owns The Facts?

timothy posted more than 10 years ago | from the mere-aggregation dept.

Censorship 490

windowpain writes "With all of the furor over the Patriot Act a truly scary bill that expands the rights of corporations at the expense of individuals was quietly introduced into congress in October. In Feist v. Rural Tel. Serv. Co. the Supreme Court ruled that a mere collection of facts can't be copyrighted. But H.R. 3261, the Database and Collections of Information Misappropriation Act neatly sidesteps the copyright question and allows treble damages to be levied against anyone who uses information that's in a database that a corporation asserts it owns. This is an issue that crosses the political spectrum. Left-leaning organizations like the American Library Association oppose the bill and so do arch-conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly, who wrote an impassioned column exposing the bill for what it is the week after it was introduced."

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Who owns the facts? (4, Interesting)

grub (11606) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605534)


[T]he Supreme Court ruled that a mere collection of facts can't be copyrighted.

Would the Linux people, then, be able to assert that their C code is merely programmable facts which generates certain (MD5|MD4|SHA1|etc) hashes? Chew on that one, SCO.

In that case (4, Insightful)

boobsea (728173) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605566)

You can say goodbye to the GPL being enforceable.

If it goes one way, it can go the other in this situation.

Re:In that case (0)

Azadre (632442) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605583)

That's true, but when you intend to release something under the GPL, you are still providing the source. I don't really care if some company takes the source then after, as long as it's there, why worry?

Re:In that case (3, Insightful)

boobsea (728173) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605602)

The OP said that if Linux devs can get code to be judically consdidered as a "mere collection of facts" then they can use that to nullify SCO's code copying claim.

Conversely, some company can come in and take your source, change it, use it in a commercial product and use this doctorine to justify not releasing the code.

Be careful what you wish for (to OP).

Re:In that case (2, Insightful)

boobsea (728173) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605615)

As an addendum to my previous post, if you are OK with someone taking your code, making changes, and using that in their product sold commercialy, why didn't you use the BSD license in the first place?

Re:Who owns the facts? (3, Insightful)

benna (614220) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605567)

This would not be a good thing at all. GPL require copyright. This would open linux up to being incorperated into closed source derived work without distributing the linux source.

MODS ON CRACK? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605604)

How is this off topic?

Re:Who owns the facts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605588)

Cant Copyright:
A peice of paper with my name, birthday, and current year on it.

Can Copyright:
A peice of paper with your opinion of my name, birthday, and current year.

So, as long as you express yourself creatively, then its copyrightable. Unless you copy someone else.

Re:Who owns the facts? (4, Informative)

Peyna (14792) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605664)

From the bill:

(1) PROTECTION NOT EXTENDED- Subject to paragraph (2), protection under section 3 shall not extend to computer programs, including any computer program used in the manufacture, production, operation, or maintenance of a database, or to any element of a computer program necessary to its operation.

RTFA (1)

Meridun (120516) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605693)

From the Bill:

SEC. 5. EXCLUSIONS.

(stuff deleted)

(b) COMPUTER PROGRAMS-

(1) PROTECTION NOT EXTENDED- Subject to paragraph (2), protection under section 3 shall not extend to computer programs, including any computer program used in the manufacture, production, operation, or maintenance of a database, or to any element of a computer program necessary to its operation.

Re:Who owns the facts? (4, Informative)

KrispyKringle (672903) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605758)

A number of people pointed out that code is excluded from the bill, but they miss the point. The court ruled that they can't be copyrighted prior to the proposed bill. The bill has nothing to do with it. grub's point is that copyright law would, in this case, not extend to code. But that's still a tough sell.

C code is no more a set of facts than poetry is a set of facts. C does more than generate hashes, for one thing (at least the Linux code does more than that, else there'd be a lot of coders who've wasted a lot of time). Code is a set of instructions, which are together part of a process. It's creative, in the sense that you put together programs in a language the same way a writer puts together a book. A collection of, say, reserved names in Java may be merely a collection of facts; an original creation is not. It's also inventive, in the patentable sense (`look-and-feel' patents, of course, raise some big controversy). But it's not simply a collection of facts.

Sigh... (1, Interesting)

i_am_syco (694486) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605539)

Don't corporations own enough without owning random bits on some LaCie hard drive somewhere? Information is universal and it should be free. End of story.

Re:Sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605581)

Information is universal and it should be free. End of story.

Yet somehow, I have never been convinced by an argument consisting entirely of empty slogans.

Re:Sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605606)

I dont know...

I'm lovin it.

Re:Sigh... (2, Funny)

vwjeff (709903) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605634)

Not all information can be released to the public. I point to nuclear weapons as an example. If the plans for nuclear weapons ever got on the internet...bad example.

Re:Sigh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605739)

Nuclear weaponry is a bad example... It's relatively easy to construct a nuclear bomb. Obtaining the weapons-grade fuel to power it is the hard part. The basic plans have been part of physics textbooks for years now.

Re:Sigh... (4, Insightful)

DShard (159067) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605640)

No, information is not universal. Information is contributed by individuals whether paid for by corporations, or devised through his/her own means.

The free-market system depends on scarcity of information. You cannot profit from something that everyone has a right to. FreeSoftware companies are not an example of this. They profit from service (i.e. a collection of information services provided by said company to an customer.) or proprietary innovation (MS is an example of expanding public information).

Without resources you interests have no value to society in this context. The correlary is that only things that interest society get the most attention. That is why counting cow farts can only get supported by the government.

in that case... (-1)

Bitter Old Man (572131) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605653)

Please post your full name, home address, home phone, social security number and a couple credit card numbers (if you are indeed not a 15 year-old kid). They want to be free, after all.

GNAA ACCEPTS GEORGE W BUSH AS SEX TOY! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605542)

Hey nobody else wants him!

Mississippi Ghostse (-1)

GhostseTroll (582659) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605545)

A professor at the University of Mississippi is giving a
lecture on the supernatural. To get a feel for his
audience, he asks: "How many people here believe in
ghostses?" About 90 students raise their hands.

"Well, that's a good start. Out of those of you who
believe in ghostses, do any of you think you've ever seen
a ghostse?" About 40 students raise their hands.

"That's really good. Has anyone here ever talked to a
ghostse?" 15 students raise their hands.

"That's great. Has anyone here ever touched a ghostse?" 3
students raise their hands.

"That's fantastic. But let me ask you one question
further... Have any of you ever made love to a ghostse?"
One student way in the back raises his hand.

The professor is astonished and says, "Son, in all the
years I've been giving this lecture, no one has ever
claimed to have slept with a ghostse. You've got to come
up here and tell us about your experience."

The redneck student replies with a nod and a grin, and
begins to make his way up to the podium. The professor
says, "Well, tell us what it's like to have sex with a
ghostse."

The student replies, "Ghostse?!? From ah-way back there ah
thought yuh said "goatse." [goatse.cx]

Re:Mississippi Ghostse (0, Offtopic)

i_am_syco (694486) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605561)

Man...go AC or something before you go and make yourself look like an ass like that. Tha's not coo', j0.

Re:Mississippi Ghostse (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605582)

Ah, thank you for reminding me to check Megatokyo.

GLAD TO SEE YOU BACK! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605796)

i missed the tales of ghostse :(

Wild mares or those that have been artificially in (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605548)

Wild mares or those that have been artificially inseminated are usually reluctant to have sex. The wild ones are used to violent horsecock and the others have had peoples arms in their cunts so they can be apprehensive about sexual events.

I'm guessing... (4, Funny)

plnrtrvlr (557800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605555)

...that most of the people who post to slashdot don't need to worry about being in violation if this bill passes. Facts have never stopped anyone here yet!

Re:I'm guessing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605622)

40% of your post was opinion!

Re:I'm guessing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605735)

Is that a fact?

His true calling? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605556)

"arch-conservatives like Phyllis Schlafly"

Sound's like MC Frontalot's little brother.

Re:His true calling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605636)

How is sound like MC Frontalot's little brother?

Question.... (2, Interesting)

herrvinny (698679) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605557)

Then nobody can copy the yellow/white pages either.

Quick question: does it have to be a corporation owning the database, or can it be a private individual?

Re:Question.... (4, Interesting)

s20451 (410424) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605620)

In particular, what if I copyright all facts concerning myself and refuse to grant any company a license? Surely no entity could have a better claim to their "authorship". Say hello to free unlisted telephone numbers.

Re:Question.... (3, Insightful)

sysopd (617656) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605687)

If you can prove...

(1) the database was generated, gathered, or maintained through a substantial expenditure of financial resources or time;

...then you might have a case. This is meant to protect big business.

Re:Question.... (4, Interesting)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605711)

I've spent all my life generating, gathering, and/or maintaining every fact about it; it has taken all my money, and all my time.

Re:Question.... (2, Insightful)

shivianzealot (621339) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605661)

Quick question: does it have to be a corporation owning the database, or can it be a private individual?

Why worry about it? If you feel strongly enough about this, and want to illustrate your point, incorporation is well within the means of the "private individual."

my db (4, Funny)

erikdotla (609033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605569)

insert into facts (object,property) values ('sky','blue')

There we go.

Oooo... I'm breaking the law. (1)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605810)

INSERT INTO
DontLetCongressSee
(object,
property)
SEL ECT
object,
property
FROM
facts;

What's onerous? (2, Informative)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605571)

From the text:

(a) LIABILITY- Any person who makes available in commerce to others a quantitatively substantial part of the information in a database generated, gathered, or maintained by another person, knowing that such making available in commerce is without the authorization of that person (including a successor in interest) or that person's licensee, when acting within the scope of its license, shall be liable for the remedies set forth in section 7 if--

(1) the database was generated, gathered, or maintained through a substantial expenditure of financial resources or time;

(2) the unauthorized making available in commerce occurs in a time sensitive manner and inflicts injury on the database or a product or service offering access to multiple databases; and

(3) the ability of other parties to free ride on the efforts of the plaintiff would so reduce the incentive to produce the product or service that its existence or quality would be substantially threatened.

(b) INJURY- For purposes of subsection (a), the term `inflicts an injury' means serving as a functional equivalent in the same market as the database in a manner that causes the displacement, or the disruption of the sources, of sales, licenses, advertising, or other revenue.

(c) TIME SENSITIVE- In determining whether an unauthorized making available in commerce occurs in a time sensitive manner, the court shall consider the temporal value of the information in the database, within the context of the industry sector involved.

Re:What's onerous? (4, Insightful)

Bagheera (71311) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605662)

Interesting, and thanks for posting part of the text from the bill here. I wonder if this bill isn't being snuck through to give the likes of Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Target, etc., more ammunition in their once and future suits against folks such as fatwallet.com - particualy around this time of year. (Amungtst all the other "Corporate entitities" who'd love to see something like this)

If they can successfuly claim the publication of their price lists ("facts" in anyone's book) is somehow part of a " database (that) was generated, gathered, or maintained through a substantial expenditure of financial resources or time;" it'll just be more ammunition for them to keep simple facts "secret."

Of course, considering how much influence large corporations have over the legislature in protecting their interests at the expense of the Public Good, is a bill like this any real surprise?

From Permitted Acts (2, Informative)

ObviousGuy (578567) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605703)

(c) HYPERLINKING- Nothing in this Act shall restrict the act of hyperlinking of one online location to another or the providing of a reference or pointer (including such reference or pointer in a directory or index) to a database.

So presenting the data via a reference to the original data is still allowed.

Re:What's onerous? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605779)

Copyright in the US is not based on "sweat of the brow" as it is in other countries, but on creative content. The intent of copyright is to encourage the creation of creative works, by providing an incentive. (That incentive has become rediculously larger than necessary, but that's another discussion.) The white pages are not copyrightable because anyone who collects the same data will have the same result - you have done work to compile them, but no creativity is involved. With this law, any arbitrary collection of data would have restrictions similar to those of copyright, but without any protections for the general public such as fair use, and without a strict time limit. This law seems to protect a data set as long as releasing the data would harm the companies business model - in other words, it is yet another "Bad Business Model Protection Act", just like the DMCA and the Broadcast Flag.

The most important question to ask for any law is:
"Will this benefit the general public?"
If the answer is no (which it is for this law, since large data sets are already produced without such restrictions in place), then the law should not be passed. Unfortunately, Congress will ask one of three completely different questions, depending on if the congresscritter in question is corrupt, gullible, or simply moronic:
"Will this benefit those who pay me?" (corrupt)
"Is this what the nice lobbyist told me was a good idea?" (gullible)
"Will this benefit big corporations, and therefore benefit the general public?" (moronic)

the copywrite laws... (1, Funny)

maxdamage (615250) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605586)

are starting to make me seriosly consider living inside a cardboard box... unless ofcouse it would be a copywire violation to use the word cardboard or box, maybe a coragated cube... then again apple could sue me for using the word cube...

Re:the copywrite laws... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605668)

you need to be sued for not knowing how to fucking spell

Re:the copywrite laws... (1)

maxdamage (615250) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605737)

Yes, your right... someone MUST of copywrited all those commonly misspelled words!

tsarkon reports i think this is a serious argumnt (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605589)

i man the corporation are evil because nobody really works there.unless you happen to work at a coporation, the it isnt evil anymore.

owning facts is impossible. RIAA and MPAA and US DOJ can try, but they cant stop everyone and the certainlyu cant stop the asians from doing it.

and with that i give the floor to yoda

9 steps to greasing your anus for Yoda Doll Insertion!
v 3.95.0
$YodaBSD: src/release/doc/en_US.ISO8859-1/yodanotes/9steppro cess.sgml,v 3.95.0 2003/12/01 13:25:25 tsarkon Exp $

  1. Defecate. Preferably after eating senna, ex lax, prunes, cabbage, pickled eggs, and Vietnamese chili garlic sauce. Defecation could be performed in the Return of the Jedi wastebasket for added pleasure. [homestead.com]
  2. Wipe ass with witch hazel, soothes horrific burns. (Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda can use witch-hazel on mouth to soothe the horrific burns from performing so much analingus.)
  3. Prime anus with anal ease. [dimout.com] (Now Cherry Flavored for those butthole lick-o-phillic amongst you - very popular with 99% of the Slashdotting public!)
  4. Slather richly a considerable amount of Vaseline and/or other anal lubricants into your rectum at least until the bend and also take your Yoda Doll [starwars-rpg.net] , Yoda Shampoo bottle [homestead.com] or Yoda soap-on-a-rope [homestead.com] and liberally apply the lubricants to the Doll/Shampoo/Soap-on-a-rope.
  5. Pucker your balloon knot several times actuating the sphincter muscle in order to work it in.
  6. Put a nigger do-rag [firstlinemfg.com] on Yoda's head so the ears don't stick out like daggers!
  7. Make sure to have a mechanism by which to fish Yoda out of your rectum, the soap on the rope is especially useful because the retrieval mechanism is built in. [homestead.com]
  8. Slowly rest yourself onto your Yoda figurine. Be careful, he's big! [starwars-rpg.net]
  9. Gyrate gleefully in your computer chair while your fat sexless geek nerd loser fat shit self enjoys the prostate massage you'll be getting. Think about snoodling [urbandictionary.com] with the Sarlaac pit. Read Slashdot. Masturbate to anime. Email one of the editors hoping they will honor you with a reply. Join several more dating services - this time, you don't check the (desired - speaks English) and (desired - literate). You figure you might get a chance then. Order some fucking crap from Think Geek. Get Linux to boot on a Black and Decker Appliance. Wish you could afford a new computer. Argue that IDE is better than SCSI because you can't afford SCSI. Make claims about how Linux rules. Compile a kernel on your 486SX. Claim to hate Windows but use it for Everquest. Admire Ghyslain's courage in making that wonderful star wars movie. Officially convert to the Jedi religion. Talk about how cool Mega Tokyo is. Try and make sure you do your regular 50 story submissions to Slashdot, all of which get rejected because people who aren't fatter than CowboyNeal can't submit. Fondle shrimpy penis while making a Yoda voice and saying, use the force [toysrgus.com] , padawan, feeel the foooorce [toysrgus.com] , hurgm. Yes. Yes. When 900 years you reach [lemonparty.org] , a dick half as big you will not have. [toysrgus.com]
All in a days work with a Yoda figurine rammed up your ass.

I HAVE A GREASED UP YODA DOLL SHOVED UP MY ASS!

GO LINUX!!

Tux is the result after trimming Yoda's ears off so that Lunix people don't rip themselves a new Asshole

What you can do with you ass after sitting on a GREASED UP YODA DOLL. [theadultpress.com]

y______________________________YODA_ANUS [goatse.cx]
o_________________.'_:__`.________________y
d____________.-.'`.__;___.'`.-.___________o
a___________/_:____\_;__/____;_\__________d
s_,'__""--.:__;".-.";:_:".-.":__;.--""__`,a
e_:'_`.t""--.._'/@.`;___',@\`_..--""j.'_`;s
x______`:-.._J_'-.-'L___`--_'_L_..-;'_____e
________"-.___;__.-"__"-.__:___.-"________x
y____________L_'_/.------.\_'_J___________y
o_____________"-.___"--"___.-"____________o
d______________.l"-:_TR_;-";._____________d
a_________.-j/'.;__;""""__/_.'\"-.________a
s_______v.'_/:`._"-.:_____.-"_.';__`.v____s
e____.-"__/_;__"-._"-..-"_.-"__:____"-.___e
x_.+"-.__:_:______"-.__.-"______;-.____\__x
_v;_\__`.;_; I Yoda Have A _____:_:_"+._;_
y_:__;___;_;_Greased Up ME In __:_;__:_\:_y
o_;__:___;_:_MY ASS! This Goes__;:___;__:_o
d:_\__;__:__; On FOREVER!______:_;__/__::_d

- Ground Control to Yoda Doll - Ground Control to Yoda Doll - Take your ass grease pills and put your helmet on - Ground Control to Yoda Doll - Commencing countdown, engines on - Check ignition and may God's love shove up you - Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Shove Up - This is Ground Control to Yoda Doll - You've really made the grade - And the papers want to know whose butts you tear - Now it's time to leave the suppository if you dare - This is Yoda Doll to Ground Control - I'm stepping through the door - And I'm stinking in a most peculiar way - And the ass look very different today - For here am I sitting in an ass can - Far inside the butt - My face is turning blue - And there's nothing I can do - Though I'm past one hundred thousand bowels - I'm feeling very still - And I think my buttship knows which way to go - Tell my wife I ream her very much, she knows" - Ground Control to Yoda Doll - Your circuit's dead, there's something wrong - Can you hear me, Yoda Doll? - Can you hear me, Yoda Doll? - Can you hear me, Yoda Doll? - Can you....- Here am I floating in my ass can - Far inside his Moon - My face is turning blue - And there's nothing I can do.

I pledge Allegiance to the Doll
of the Greased Up States of Yodarica
and to the Republic for which it shoves,
one nation under Yoda, rectal intrusion,
with anal lube and ass grease for all.


hello.mpeg lyrics.
I'm doin' this tonight ,
You're probably gonna start a fight .
I know this can't be right .
Hey baby come on,
I loved you endlessly ,
When you weren't there for me.
So now it's time to leave and make it alone .
I know that I can't take no more
It ain't no lie
I wanna see you out that door
Baby , bye, bye, bye...

A picture of your ass after YODA. [bmezine.com]

Well then Webster owns the world already then (4, Interesting)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605592)

If it only has to be in a database somewhere then the dictionary would be considered a database so by that logic Webster ownes the rights to pretty much anything done in the English language.

Too bad guys (greedy corps and stupid politians) they beat you too it!

Re:Well then Webster owns the world already then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605801)

Actually, dictionaries are copyrightable, since they require creative effort to generate. So is any abridged word list, since choosing the words to include is creative. An unabridged word list would not be copyrightable, since there is no creativity involved.

Who does not own the facts? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605595)

Slashbots.

bibliographies (1)

potpie (706881) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605607)

"Using facts" seems a little vague to me... but what about bibliographies? "These data were obtained from....." This is already how we do it when getting facts from books; isn't that good enough?

When I remember Poland... (1, Insightful)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605614)

...in times of "communism", there was far more freedom than it gets to be in the US. It's sad that a country that boasts to be the most 'free' in the world, slowly becomes another empire of evil, democracy no longer fulfilling its purpose, law in hands of corporations, money being the highest value, crime and violence becoming leading powers driving the economy.
It's just sad.

Re:When I remember Poland... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605643)

You know, if you're going to burn your karma, you might as well bring some facts to the table to back it up. Heck, just post in Polish, Im sure we could Babel fish a translation from ya.

Re:When I remember Poland... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605659)

fucking idiot liar. you are so fucking deluded its funny. you think the US corruption holds a candle to the shit going on in other places? give me a fucking break. you would "rather live in communist poland than in the USA" hahahahaha. bwahahahha. good one lunatic.

empire of evil? no that was USSR and is currently Islam. get your facts right. and when money is the religion, at least everyone can be fucking honest. what motivates you to work, fuckhead?

Hasavoosavah?!?!? (5, Insightful)

OrthodonticJake (624565) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605617)

What, so now I can't talk about something that a company thinks it owns? The question of whether or not people can own ideas or material has been pervasive for a long time (i.e., RIAA lawsuits with intellectual music property, DMCA restrictions on undermining copy protection), and I have to wonder where it's taking us. With the computer, we've seen a mass 'liberation' of thought and media, and a while ago it was considered a good thing that people could have access to culture so easily. But there have been major arguements as to what should count as a marketable product. Companies are insisting that they should be paid for their wares, and I guess from that viewpoint I agree. They should be paid for what they do. However, if what they do is think of an idea, and then if they tell everybody about that idea, I expect them to not charge me for thinking about it. I think our culture will go down the drain if it doesn't accept that some things are not private property.

Who's really looses out here? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605621)

"...expands the rights of corporations at the expense of individuals."

Wrong. It limits the rights of everyone, period. Why do people so consistently miss the fact that less government involvement neatly solves problems like these?

Re:Who's really looses out here? (2, Insightful)

goodie3shoes (573521) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605741)

Government, and laws, are neither good nor bad per se. Good laws protect people from being screwed, and bad laws, like this one, enable the screwing of people.

Not Everyone... (1)

dbCooper0 (398528) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605757)

f) ACTIONS AGAINST UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT- Subsections (b) and (d) shall not apply to any action against the United States Government.

And that's not the only place in the text that precludes any liability on the part of Government.

Seems that this is being "snaked" through with clauses of immunity for the "skull and bones" people...Disgusting...

Re:Who's really looses out here? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605775)

friggin libertarian, go smoke some weed

Nice (-1, Troll)

strike2867 (658030) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605627)

Isnt it sweet how they seperate individuals from corporations. Give Bush 4 more years and he will let corporations vote. But even better, with Cheney in office black people wont be able to own gun pretty soon. And then we will all be safe, as boys like the ones in Columbine kill us all. Good Luck Bush!!!!!

Re:Nice (-1, Troll)

operagost (62405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605742)

At first I thought you were trolling all in fun there. But I see by your previous posts that you're a mindless left wing cretin who might actually believe his own bizarre mental sewage.

fuckedcompany? no.. fuckedrepublic (3, Interesting)

1nt3lx (124618) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605629)

Someone should make a fuckedrepublic website so that we can predict when our rights are revoked and for which reasons.

Illegal search and seizure, May 8, 2005: Homeland Defense.

Right to Private Property, September 19, 2006: Corporate Bottom Lines.

Freedom of Speech, December 2, 2003: This post.

Re:fuckedcompany? no.. fuckedrepublic (1)

strike2867 (658030) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605681)

Personally I cant wait for:

Public right to search suspected opposite sex, February 28,2007.

How does this affect acadmic research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605631)

What if the database contains genomic data, physic constants, scientific observations, historical facts, etc?

Read the fucking bill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605645)

RTFB.

Then you don't have to ask such silly questions.

Joe Friday (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605655)

"I'd like to cooperate, Detective. But... you see... there's the issue of copyright..."

I don't get it... (2, Funny)

ninejaguar (517729) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605656)

If the Left is against this, and the Right is against this, who's pushing it? The Middle?

= 9J =

Re:I don't get it... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605759)

The Corrupt and Evil. Whoever finds it to their advantage. Greed is bipartisan.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605769)

Something far more powerful than either. The Inertia party.

Re:I don't get it... (1)

KillerHamster (645942) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605812)

Greed. Money knows no political ideology.

Loophole (2, Informative)

sysopd (617656) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605665)

(c) HYPERLINKING- Nothing in this Act shall restrict the act of hyperlinking of one online location to another or the providing of a reference or pointer (including such reference or pointer in a directory or index) to a database.

PHP db hook and you're home free

Connections (4, Insightful)

plnrtrvlr (557800) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605670)

Innovation and invention rely on the exchange of ideas in order to happen. The more freely ideas are echanged, the greater the pace of innovation and invention. There used to be a wonderful show on TLC that illustrated this idea called "Connections", back in the day when TLC still carried original and interesting programming... It would seem to me that political interests -being wholly owned subsidiaries of corporate interests- are trying to legislate innovation and invention out of existance. Furthermore, this isn't a partisan problem: Dems and Repubs alike are more interested in serving the corporate dollars that have elected them than they are interested in serving their constituents. While we all yell about Bush, Haliburton and Diebold we are ingnoring the real problem of election reform, and if and when the Dems ever regain the high office, the problem will be as negleted as it is under the current administration. If we are to restore the free exchange of ideas to stimulate invention and innovation, we need to sperate the politicians from the corporate dollar.

Re:Connections (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605743)

"Connections" came before TLC. The original was carried on PBS in 1979. (Burke wore a brown leisure suit, even.)

And that show was generally far better than Connections 2 and Connections 3. Much more depth, and many of the later shows were just rehashed of topics previously covered.

Try "The Day the Universe Changed" for more James Burke.

Re:Connections (1)

UpLateDrinkingCoffee (605179) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605790)

Definitely a great show, as many from the BBC are (I think this was). James Burke is the creator and host

What? (4, Insightful)

/dev/trash (182850) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605671)

quietly introduced into congress



99% of bills introduced into Congress are quiet ( unless you watch C-SPAN. No where in the Constitution does it say that a loud proclamation of all bills must be made.

Re:What? (1)

benna (614220) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605705)

I DO watch c-span you insensative clod!

Re:What? (1)

DShard (159067) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605708)

Makes me wonder if there is a good congress agenda tracking site out there. Of course if I had that much time to pay attention to issues I'd be an activist.

Re:What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605771)

opengov.us was going to have some of this stuff but they still don't have their p2p thing set up so I don't know whats going on with them.

I don't see what's wrong here (4, Informative)

Meridun (120516) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605676)

Ok, I was all ready to go ballistic over this one, but after reading the text of the bill, I'm not really seeing the issue.

A few quick notes:
SEC. 4. PERMITTED ACTS.


(a) INDEPENDENTLY GENERATED OR GATHERED INFORMATION- This Act shall not restrict any person from independently generating or gathering information obtained by means other than extracting it from a database generated, gathered, or maintained by another person and making that information available in commerce.

(b) ACTS OF MAKING AVAILABLE IN COMMERCE BY NONPROFIT EDUCATIONAL, SCIENTIFIC, OR RESEARCH INSTITUTIONS- The making available in commerce of a substantial part of a database by a nonprofit educational, scientific, and research institution, including an employee or agent of such institution acting within the scope of such employment or agency, for nonprofit educational, scientific, and research purposes shall not be prohibited by section 3 if the court determines that the making available in commerce of the information in the database is reasonable under the circumstances, taking into consideration the customary practices associated with such uses of such database by nonprofit educational, scientific, or research institutions and other factors that the court determines relevant.

(c) HYPERLINKING- Nothing in this Act shall restrict the act of hyperlinking of one online location to another or the providing of a reference or pointer (including such reference or pointer in a directory or index) to a database.

(d) NEWS REPORTING- Nothing in this Act shall restrict any person from making available in commerce information for the primary purpose of news reporting, including news and sports gathering, dissemination, and comment, unless the information is time sensitive and has been gathered by a news reporting entity, and making available in commerce the information is part of a consistent pattern engaged in for the purpose of direct competition.


I won't annoy all of you by requote the whole text of the bill (which I highly recommend you read before flaming). However, from my reading of it, all it seems to prohibit is for someone to make available significant amounts of a commercial database for their own profit. Basically, you can't spider Lexis-Nexis or the like and sell the info, but you CAN independently collect that data from direct sources and compete with them.

If I'm missing something here, PLEASE tell me. Again, read the bill first though, before you spew fire.

Re:I don't see what's wrong here (2, Interesting)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605740)

One recent example is a store's sale prices.

If I know them before hand, I can't tell anyone unless I am a news organization.

Why should I be prevented from telling anyone? Aren't I just saying facts?

Re:I don't see what's wrong here (1)

Meridun (120516) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605787)

Unless you're ripping these prices off of the store's own database, then you have no issue. If you somehow collect these prices independently, then go for it.

If you ARE ripping this data directly out of their database, then yes, you are liable. But then again, they've spent time and money preparing such a list of prices, so they have a case about not wanting people to republish them in bulk.

However, note the provision allowing for hyperlinking (and specifically, deep-linking). If you were to give a list of hyperlinks that showed pages for identical items from Best Buy and Circuit City, that would be permitted.

Finally, the intent to which you use that price data would also probably be significant. If you were using them specifically to show price comparisons in a non-biased manner, you might be able to make a convincing argument that you were reporting news.

Open them eyes... (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605782)

You need to read the case about the building codes. I suggest you go to the guy's site where he tried to publish the building codes, and the case went all the way to SCOTUS.

Last time I checked (few months ago) the codes still weren't published even though he won.

I've tried getting the codes myself, for my state. They're over $70. Think about it for a minute. These aren't just a collection of facts. These codes are the LAW. So I have to pay a private company to find out what the law is.

What did the guy do? After searching through various retail locations and coming up empty, he decided to publish THE LAW of building codes for the particular town he was interested in, and he was taken to court by a private company.

I thought I could search my state/city's web site to find out what the codes were, but thanks to the private company, virtually all states/cities/towns in the US "adopt by reference", and don't publish what the actual codes are, therefore you are forced to pay if you want to know what the law is.

To make it simple, codes are necessarily published in a certain order, in a certain format. Changing the format wouldn't work. So if the private company publishes a book of codes (they do), you can't copy the book and put it on a web site, according to the proposed law. If the company also publishes the codes online, you can't do the same. So you'll go to their site you say? They don't publish all the codes. And the ones they do publish, you have to go through multiple directory trees, or they make it exceedingly and annoyingly difficult to get more than one or two sub sections at a time. If you are familiar with building codes, this is a non-starter.

The other option is 1. going to the library (it's a reference book, you can't take it out. or 2. going to the county clerk (a major pita in most cities, and it's a reference, you can't take it home).

Can you see it now?

Horse cum has a nice flat taste to it...not at all (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605813)

Horse cum has a nice flat taste to it...not at all bitter like man's cum. You can easily drink cups of it with no discomfort.

Set time limit on First Amendment? (1)

anti-tech (724667) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605678)

From the bill: (b) TERMINATION- Subsection (a) shall cease to be effective at the end of the 10-year period beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act. Subsection (a) give the Supreme Court the right to declare the law unconstitutional, so in other words, the Supreme Court has 10 years to rule the law unconstititional. Otherwise, it sets aside the First Amendment and then can't be reviewed.

Re:Set time limit on First Amendment? (1)

shiffman (118484) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605704)

Nope, Congress can't do that. The whole section you quote makes no sense. Congress doesn't give the Supreme Court the right to declare a law unconstitutional; the Constitution does. And Congress can't take it away; that requires an Amendment, which has to be passed by Congress and then ratified by a super-majority of the states.

So if what you quote is indeed in the act, it's somebody writing something that's unenforceable.

Re:Set time limit on First Amendment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605723)

More like a ten year sunset clause on the law.

After 10 years the law automatically repeals itself unless explicitly extended by Congress.

These sunset clauses are usually written this way in order to clearly delineate the expiration date of the law.

Legislation so bad and so unpopular.. (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605685)

You just know it'll pass.

ownership in general (1)

potpie (706881) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605707)

It seems that the more people argue over intellectual property and now simple collections of facts, the more I find myself questioning property in a more general sense. What exactly is property? All these litigations are attempting to define it's edges, but to their own ends. There needs to be a distinction between what a person owns (house, car, dental floss, etc) and what a person has creditied to him/her (a book, music, anything reproducable really). From there, perhaps it will be easier to decide how the ownerships and credits of such things are to be handled... but not before.

I came up with this idea a couple of years ago... (2, Funny)

Parsa (525963) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605709)

Kinda anyway.

I wanted to copyright my demographic information then charge company's to use it to send me junkmail. Now someone else is goign to own my info. I wonder if they would sell me, or license me, the right to use my info.

J

Ownership and Marxism - a thought for 21st century (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605710)

One reason Marxism came to be popular in the 19th century was that, particularly in Europe, most individuals were stripped of the means to own things. Marx point was this rapidly reduced society into two classes, one that was actually lower than the serf or slave, and a much smaller one that was wealthier than even the old aristocracy ever had been. While I dont nessisarly agree with his proposed solutions, I see similar parellels between the power of corporations today to own and use and the ability to restrict ever more individuals from the ability or means of ownership or use, whether it is ideas or physical things (yes, eula-like licenses are being used by some on commercial sale of physical goods already).

Ma Bell has her hands in this one too (4, Funny)

sysopd (617656) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605715)

Sec 6 (c) Nothing in this Act shall [...] restrict any person from making available in commerce or extracting subscriber list information [...]

Yea! Thank God they thought of the poor telemarketers!

More "IP" landgrabbing... (1)

Saeger (456549) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605754)

The megacorps can try and legally grab all the "IP realestate" they want, but in the end it's the people that have to respect that "ownership" for it to be recognized. The balance between the benefit of the private few and the public good has been way out of whack for way too long, and claiming ownership of simple facts is yet another backwards step!

Information wants to be free, but there's still big bucks to be made from plundering the commons and attempting to enforce more artificial scarcity.

--

Well, we the people can always Incorporate! (1)

caveat (26803) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605756)

Crazy idea - /. incorporates, with all current users listed as directors, and all our personal info goes in a giant DB. Now, when any other corp. uses our name/address/telephone no./email/DOB/hair color/eye color/etc, we can just sue the living daylights out of them! Or maybe incorporate with your family, or your roommates, or whatever...the sky's the limit! Screw the DNC list, you can get TRIPLE damages for those annoying telemarketing calls...and just IMAGINE what we can do to spammers!

GPL for Data (1)

dfn5 (524972) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605764)

If facts currently can't be copyrighted then does this mean that a GPL like license for data also can not exist, such as the opencontent [opencontent.org] license?

A previous article [slashdot.org] about how maptech obtains their map data prompted a reader [slashdot.org] to propose an opensource type map data clearing house with the data being submitted by volunteers. I am working on trying to create just such a thing and I am looking for some kind of protection for the data to keep what happened to CDDB by Gracenote [gracenote.com] from happening to it.

Now it sounds like if something is a fact, such as the location of something by lat/long, the titles of tracks on an album by some artist, or the square root of 144, it is in the public domain by default, assuming this bill doesn't go through. Am I interpretting this correctly?

Significant damages (0)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605767)

...neatly sidesteps the copyright question and allows treble damages to be levied against anyone who uses information that's in a database that a corporation asserts it owns. This is an issue that crosses the political spectrum.

Those kind of damages could hurt your ears! Most laws are limited to triple damages. (In Timothy's defense, Slashdot topic misspellings are at an all time low.)

Re:Significant damages (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605794)

Look up the definition of treble. At dictionary.com [yourdictionary.com] the first definition is "triple."

The problem isn't that that the poster misspelled it. It's that you have a limited vocabulary.

Re:Significant damages (3, Informative)

sysopd (617656) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605795)

Most laws are limited to triple damages. (In Timothy's defense, Slashdot topic misspellings are at an all time low.)

Check the dictionary sometime, treble is a synonym for triple. Also, look at the law-specific lingo [cornell.edu] .

This is a call to art (1)

Nadsat (652200) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605774)

As an experiment in thought or action....

So your name, address and telephone number are facts that cannot be copyrighted? No one can copyright the telephone book?

Truth is relative. We all know this. In this specific legal context, facts are the things defined outside of self, by an established authority, usually government or corporate. The name of a street is a fact, because it is named by government zoning committees. A phone number is a fact because Bell says so.

What we need is ART and imagination to illustrate how what we believe to be facts are not facts. How facts are internal imaginative motions crystallized into The Other.

A call to ART that mixes and redefines telephone numbers, streets, names, numbers, vital statistics. Replace one fact with another to show its arbitrariness--perhaps define your web domain name as your personal ultimate fact. Or network with others to create a new authority which renames all street names by some agreed upon code... and then send mail to that code and not the law's (even rejection will be interesting as it swells in numbers)

Creative juices are flowing. And so on. Show these fascists that life isn't so binary.

this is already happening (1)

Nick haflinger (693368) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605784)

Biologists can already copyright dna and protien sequences w/o knowing what they are thats basically just a fact. IP thought truly requires complete destruction/reconstruction to focus things properly before we decide to throw out the bill of rights.

Clause 8: To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Its is important to note that this statement is basically greedy on the part of the public. The reason for USPTO is to benefit those of us without patents by making the technology curve keep going up. If the tech curve goes up with a one year monopoly, mission accomplished. What is not here even by implication is that the creator of an idea has any right to the profit from it. Those techies who disagree are free to send every scrap of everything you will ever have to the estates of either Turing or Plank depending on your hard/software affilliation. Anyway if corporations want real security they should use peer reviewed crypto like everyone else has to rather than try to outlaw knowledge.

In Soviet Russia... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#7605792)

In Soviet Russia the Patriot Act owns YOU.

Wait, my bad. I meant in the United States...

WTF? Something else is driving this (1)

beacher (82033) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605793)

Okay here's the RIAA/MPAA Spin on it. Take i360, have them harvest p2p users and IP addresses and viola - something that's Excluded! [loc.gov] -
(B) EXCLUSIONS- The term database does not include any of the following:
(i) A work of authorship, other than a compilation or a collective work.
(ii) A collection of information that principally performs the function of addressing, routing, forwarding, transmitting, or storing digital online communications or receiving access to connections for digital communications, except that the fact that a collection of information includes or consists of online location designations shall not by itself be the basis for applying this clause.

Hmmm.. what kind of subscriber lists are excluded?
Damn this pisses me off.. time to read up...

Is this bill really so bad? (4, Insightful)

belmolis (702863) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605811)

While I am still concerned to some extent about this bill, as I read it the situation is not nearly as dire as the posting suggests. To begin with, the claim that the bill

...allows treble damages to be levied against anyone who uses information that's in a database that a corporation asserts it owns.

is untrue. It imposes no liability on users of a database. It deals only with people who

...make[s] available in commerce to others a quantitatively substantial part of the information in a database...

Unless I have missed something, you can make use of any data you can get your hands on. What you can't do is distribute to others the whole database or substantial chunks of it. Furthermore, the owner of the database can't just claim to own it; it has the burden of showing that it generated the database through a substantial investment of money or time.

The bill is fairly restrictive. It exempts government databases, explicitly permits hyperlinking, and contains exceptions for news reporting and educational and research uses. Furthermore, the restriction only applies if the unauthorized redistribution "inflicts an injury", where this is defined as follows:

For purposes of subsection (a), the term `inflicts an injury' means serving as a functional equivalent in the same market as the database...

I'm not sure how this is to be interpreted, but it seems to me that it may permit derivative works insofar as they are not functionally equivalent to the original. In sum, I'm nervous about restrictions on databases too, but this bill seems to be pretty narrow. Its possible it prohibits things I wouldn't want to see prohibited, but it doesn't seem to be nearly as awful as suggested. I'd like to see a proper analysis of the intent and legal interpretation of this bill.

Incorporate! (1, Funny)

cspenn (689387) | more than 10 years ago | (#7605817)

Here's an idea - why not incorporate yourself? Filing fees aren't that terrible - at least not if you file in the state of Delaware - and then you can enjoy all the rights and privileges of fellow corporations like Enron, Worldcom, and SCO! File abhorrently incorrect taxes! "Restate" your earnings to the IRS!

In all seriousness... if you're not a corporation or affiliated with one, you might be in a bit of trouble as the current pro-business administration continues its legislative agendae.

Chris Inc. [slconsolidation.com]
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