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Edward Snowden's New Job: Tech Support

Christoph Re:permissions (328 comments)

Caring / avoiding harm, and equity/justice are universal morals (care about others, don't hurt them, and be just and equitable to others).

Humans and primates have these values ingrained in them. When people violate them, they feel guilty (sociopaths are pathological because they violate them without guilt).

Other universal morals, like group loyalty, are usually subordinate to these main two. That is, you should not harm lots of outsiders unfairly out of blind loyalty to your own group.

"Do unto others" is much too simple, but I think it's intended to suggest care/avoid harm and equity/justice.

about a year ago
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9th Circuit Affirms IsoHunt Decision; No DMCA Safe Harbor

Christoph Re:The law is an ass (211 comments)

Those mistakes I think any judge has made are due to arbitrary personal bias, not bribes or even systemic bias. The exception might be bias in favor of attorney-defendants, or protecting the system.

Judicial reform appeals to me, but the immediate problem is where do you get "better" judges? You would have to offer more pay and/or a reduced workload, which means an increase in taxes (virtually if not literally impossible). Our current judges reflect our current society, they have merit but also flaws. They care and do their best, but some are misguided. I am not happy with some of them, but respect others very much.

about a year and a half ago
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Al Franken Calls for Tight Rules on Facial Recognition Software

Christoph Re:I need this (158 comments)

I would be willing to "opt in". Anyone else who opts-in (allowing me to know their basic info on sight) can also know mine.

I would be OK with a stranger approaching me to ask for help/to discuss something I have experience in. Others might know to not to bother me (maybe put "no solicitors" in my basic info).

The only obvious downside, to me, would be if others know my basic personal info, and I don't know that they know it, and I do not know theirs.

more than 2 years ago
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Behind the Scenes: How Conflict Photographs Come To Be

Christoph Re:Says virtually nothing. (178 comments)

Agreed. Any critics should take their camera and fly to the next hot spot and take their own photos...nothing to stop you, other than not wanting to risk your own blood and treasure, and probably come home empty handed because it's damn hard work, including getting access to timely shots.

Would you like pictures of the rebels when they grab Gaddafi? It would make a great photo. Should you be a cold, dismissive jerk to the rebels and then ask them to take you with when they go to grab him?

When a photographer alters or stages their photos, they get fired. They compete for who gets access to the most timely, dangerous, subjects. War photographers DIE doing their job. Tim Hetherington (who directed the documentary "Restrepo") was killed in Libya recently. Kevin Carter, famous for the famine photo of starving toddler with a vulture landed nearby, committed suicide at age 33, leaving a note that said:

"I am depressed ... without phone ... money for rent ... I am haunted by the vivid memories of killings and corpses and anger and pain ... of starving or wounded children, of trigger-happy madmen, often police, of killer executioners ..."

A convoy of journalist-observers with a candidate en route to register for an election was massacred by the local warlord in the Philippines in 2009. The details are despicable. The Magindanao victims able to be identified are:
Alejandro "Bong" Reblando
Henry Araneta,
Napoleon “Nap” Salaysay
Bartolome “Bart” Maravilla
Jhoy Dojay
Andy Teodoro
Ian Subang
Leah Dalmacio
Gina Dela Cruz
Maritess Cablitas
Neneng Montano
Victor Nuñez
McDelbert "Macmac" Arriola
Jolito Evardo
Daniel Tiamson
Reynaldo Momay
Rey Merisco
Ronnie Perante
Jun Legarta
Val Cachuela
Santos "Jun" Gatchalian
Joel Parcon
Noel Decena
John Caniba
Art Betia
Ranie Razon
Archie Ace David
Fernanado "Ferdz" Mendoza

To deride conflict photographers takes a lot of nerve if you haven't done it yourself.

more than 3 years ago
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Facebook's New Privacy Controls: Still Broken

Christoph Re:The Unsationalized Truth (142 comments)

That makes sense.

I would also agree with the logic further up; even if the article is correct, this is the same as a malicious lie about you being circulated, behind your back, before the internet. At least now, you can use the same internet to check the credibility/reputation of the source of the lie versus the subject of the lie.

I was told a judge once instructed a jury as follows: when an attorney is grilling a witness, you get to decide if the attorney impeached the witness, or impeached themselves (by making baseless insinuations).

more than 3 years ago
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Electronic Health Records Now In All US Military Hospitals

Christoph Re:Privacy Vs Saving Lives (86 comments)

Bravo. There are public health implications to sharing medical data that so clearly outweigh privacy concerns. The difference is a factor of possibly a million lives saved by collecting, sharing, and analyzing medical data versus embarrassing moments and unfair prejudice when data is mishandled (unfair prejudice sucks but it can be and is dealt with by methods other than privacy).

Here's a thought experiment: Imagine an opt-in system that eventually allows a huge meta-analysis of data that discovers the cause (and cure) of autism. Then, a parent's child is newly diagnosed with autism, but the parent (and child) have not opted-in to share THEIR medical data. They are given the option: we will cure your child, but since you are benefiting from the shared data of others, you would be required to also opt-in and share your medical information.

I can't image a significant number of people would say "No thanks. My child being cured of a disabling illness is not as important as keeping our medical information private. We will keep our privacy, and you can keep your cure for this illness."

I will also say "Me, too" on your other point: I do not spend time wishing I knew about other people's foot fungus, back pain, or whatever other medical conditions. No matter how embarrassing or stigmatizing your medical info, unless I know you personally and you come to me for help with your illness, it's just not on my radar.

more than 3 years ago
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New Imaging Technique Helps Explain Unconsciousness

Christoph Re:Yes, the Cat Has My Tongue (78 comments)

The distinction is between consciousness (or awareness) versus "conscious awareness", which is the awareness that one IS conscious.

My garage door opener has an electric eye that makes it "aware" whether anything is blocking the path of the closing door. It is not aware that it is aware of this. I, on the other hand, am both aware if the path is blocked, and I am AWARE that I am aware of it.

A toaster with a microprocessor could be called "aware" of specific info, but it's now aware that it's aware of it.

Conscious awareness is akin to being "sentient", in that it's immoral/illegal to brutalize a sentient being. You can brutalize your toaster, but not a person or animal. We take it on faith that others have conscious awareness...for all I know, I'm the only person who is AWARE of his consciousness, and everyone else is a biological robot that's not actually sentient.

I don't think biology can explain conscious awareness. We can't even prove it exists, despite everyone having the direct, personal experience of it.

more than 3 years ago
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35 Million Google Profiles Collected

Christoph There are advantages (151 comments)

In 2003, Arlene Corpuz did a Google search for "microsoft word class handout". She found my website where I had teaching handouts I wrote. Arlene was in the Philippines, emailed me, and I provided the documents she wanted.

She had a Geocities homepage in her signature. I read it, and we corresponded.

In September of 2004, I landed in Manila. In June of 2005, Arlene and I were married in the USA. In March of 2008, our daughter, Athena Corpuz Gregerson was born.

This was the advantage, for us, of sharing information about ourselves online. We have not experienced any disadvantages yet.

more than 3 years ago
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Doctors Are Creating Too Many Patients

Christoph Re:This is just stupid (566 comments)

Well, malignant lymph nodes grow. Having naturally large lymph nodes are not "growing". My brother's lymph nodes tripled in size in a few weeks.

That's supposed to be why we have doctors -- to figure out complicated things (decision trees), not dismiss a change in your condition with a cursory evaluation.

more than 3 years ago
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Doctors Are Creating Too Many Patients

Christoph Re:This is just stupid (566 comments)

I agree.

My late brother's doctor told him his swollen lymph nodes were nothing -- he had no symptoms, and a routine white count showed no infection.

That's how lymphoma presents. The next year he was in the ER due to wheezing, and was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin's lymphoma, which eventually killed him (photos of his last years). He had a bone marrow and stem cell transplant...not looking for lymphoma in someone asymptomatic turned out to be pretty expensive as well as fatal for the patient.

This story is not rare, either. After speaking to a handful of other Hodgkin's patients, they all had similar experiences. And those were the survivors.

more than 3 years ago
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Robots 'Evolve' Altruism

Christoph Re:Robots Randroids? (360 comments)

Yeah. Survival of the fittest is about the fittest species, not the fittest individual.

Any species that makes selfless sacrifices for others in the species will out-compete the species in which members only look out for no. 1.

Being a social animal (caring what others think of you) and being altruistic is a huge competitive advantage in terms of survival...of your species as a whole, not necessarily you personally. This could explain why people generally feel satisfaction and self-esteem when they help other people, and ashamed when they exploit others. People without these traits are considered deviant, and often end up in prison.

The ideals we hold as truly noble, it turns out, help the species (if at the expense of the individual).

more than 3 years ago
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Court Rules It's Ok To Tag Pics On Facebook Without Permission

Christoph Re:Victory for photographers (201 comments)

Yeah.

I was sued in federal court for posting the photo of a man who had sued me for defamation. He sued me because I was causing negative publicity, but my statements were true/opinion and protected speech. I defended myself and prevailed.

I have also licensed photos I've taken of people for commercial use in advertisements. The law is not clear in all jurisdictions on the duty to obtain permission (CA and NY have statutes, some other states don't have a single case dealing with the issue). Also, permission is the duty of the publisher of an advertisement, not the photographer.

I photographed a parade many years ago, then a customer wanted to license a marching band photo for billboard use. The client correctly wanted a model release for a recognizable band member. I tracked down the school, then the student, got a release and paid the student. There would have been no way to get hundreds of releases when the parade occurred (and paid each person).

I just licensed a photo of an elementary school student for advertising use. I offered to get a model release, but the client was not interested. I am trying to locate the student anyway to pay her a modeling fee. The student is overseas in a developing country. I took the photo six years ago, but I know her first name, volunteered at her school, and donated a construction project. I can say from experience she will probably be happy the photo was used in this ad, and be thrilled to get paid. If I cancelled the deal out of concern she might object, she would probably be very disappointed and confused.

The above does not apply to "sensitive subjects" that the average person might be expected to object to being associated with (subjects like illness, teen pregnancy, abortion, smoking, criminal activity, etc).

As a footnote, my photo (when I was a child) was often used in advertisements. One had me appearing as a criminal. I was paid and liked seeing the ads.

That's my experience with this issue.

more than 3 years ago
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After Online Defamation Suit, Dismissal of Malicious Prosecution Claim Upheld

Christoph Re:Cry some more please (267 comments)

I appreciate your point of view and maybe I won't change your mind, but will provide more about Hoppe v Klapperich:

“If the attorney proceeds upon facts stated to him by his client, believing those facts to be true, and if those facts, if true, would constitute probable cause for instituting such a prosecution, then the attorney is exonerated.”

Hoppe v. Klapperich, 224 Minn. 224, 242, 28 N.W.2d 780, 792 (1947).

If the client's claim was true, he paid a stranger in a sauna $850 in cash for a photo to use in advertising. He admits having no personal knowledge if the stranger actually owned the rights to the photo. I said was my photo, and was used without permission. They initially agreed with me...until I posted a web page. Then they reversed positions, said the stranger was the true photographer, and sued for defamation.

I had a certifcate of copyright registration, proof of prior publication, out-takes, the high-resolution file. I offered this evidence, they said they didn't want it.

Not wanting to pay the rightful owner when you are using stolen property is not probable cause to sue the rightful owner for defamation. That means the attorney is liable (under Hoppe) because the litigation lacked probable cause.

It might be akin to suing someone for defamation because they claim to own the house you are squatting in. They have title to the house, all the neighbors agree they have lived there for years, but you claim "I paid a stranger in a sauna $850 to live in this house". Probable cause does not allow for the absurd, and I believe such a claim is absurd.

more than 4 years ago
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After Online Defamation Suit, Dismissal of Malicious Prosecution Claim Upheld

Christoph Re:Cry some more please (267 comments)

The first element of malicious prosecution is legally defined in Minnesota as follows:

(1) an action is brought without probable cause or reasonable belief that the plaintiff will ultimately prevail on the merits

See Stead-Bowers v. Langley, 636 N.W.2d 334, 338 (Minn. App. 2001).

Showing the lawyer knew the client was lying is one, but not the only way, of showing lack of probable cause for the underlying action. And there really shouldn't be cases brought that lack probable cause under any standard, without having to pay the other parties costs.

more than 4 years ago
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After Online Defamation Suit, Dismissal of Malicious Prosecution Claim Upheld

Christoph Re:Okay. (267 comments)

I agree completely with your premise. But you can only require another person to stop damaging, false speech -- not demand they refrain from expressing opinion or saying things that are true.

In this particular case, they were demanding I remove information even if it was true (they wanted me to stop pointing out, accurately, the other side published photos of mine without permission). You also cannot sue over opinion ("there are no false opinions"). As the first judge on the case wrote, they can only demand I remove what they (allege) to be false, but they demanded I make "no speech" about their client...true, false, or opinion. The Court of Appeals has said that's not an abuse of process.

Under that standard, a politician can sue his opponent for saying he is the better candidate, and face no repercussions for abuse of process.

more than 4 years ago
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After Online Defamation Suit, Dismissal of Malicious Prosecution Claim Upheld

Christoph Re:Okay [sounds like a decent result] (267 comments)

The other party allegedly gave "Zubitskiy" his phone number when they met in a sauna. I asked at trial to explain how he did so, since people don't usually bring either a cell phone or pen and paper into a sauna. "My phone number is easy to memorize". The phone number had no pattern to it, and the judge ruled this story to be a lie.

more than 4 years ago
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After Online Defamation Suit, Dismissal of Malicious Prosecution Claim Upheld

Christoph Re:Okay [sounds like a decent result] (267 comments)

How did I show "Michael Zubitskiy" didn't exist?

  1. Skip-trace background check -- no records anywhere in the US (phone, utility, driver's license, credit records, etc.).
  2. West-Law People Search -- no trace of anyone by that name in the USA (this is the search used by law firms)
  3. Subpoena of phone company, welfare records -- nobody by that name, or any similar name.
  4. This alleged "web designer"'s name did not appear anywhere on the web.

They explained he simply lives underground and is impossible to find (yet is a working digital photographer who was able to produce ID to have his signature notarized).

At trial, only a fraction of this evidence was admitted before the judge put a stop to it, calling it "cumulative". In other words, it's beyond any doubt.

more than 4 years ago
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After Online Defamation Suit, Dismissal of Malicious Prosecution Claim Upheld

Christoph Re:Cry some more please (267 comments)

The attorney's client stated, under oath, he had no evidence to back up his version of events, and no personal knowledge (as to who created the photo). See Appellant's brief, p. 9. They ignored his admission to having no evidence and proceeded with the case. This is not because they "believed him", but if anything they didn't believe him.

Before trial, they even admitted they were not challenging the truthfulness of anything on my website, but still proceeded to trial (and were allowed to do so). Same brief, p. 15.

One of the claims against me was ruled to be "purely speculative" and was dismissed (Id. p. 13). Yet I can't go to trial because there is no hope of showing a "purely speculative" claim lacked probable cause. That's not most people's definition of probable cause.

more than 4 years ago

Submissions

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Dismissal of Malicious Prosecution Claim Upheld

Christoph Christoph writes  |  more than 4 years ago

Christoph (17845) writes "I'm the Slashdot user who was sued for defamation (and six other claims) by a corporation over negative statements on my website. I prevailed (pro-se) in 2008. The court found the other side forged evidence and lied. In 2009, I sued the other party's lawyers for malicious prosecution/abuse of process (the corporation itself is dissolved/broke). One defendant had stated in writing their client was lying, but the trial court dismissed my claim for lack of evidence. I appealed, and this Tuesday the Minnesota Court of Appeals upheld the dismissal, completely ignoring the defendant's written admission (and other evidence). They further found it was not an abuse of process to sue to "stop the publication of negative information and opinion"."
Link to Original Source
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Successfully defended gripe website, now suing law

Christoph Christoph writes  |  more than 5 years ago

Christoph writes "Last year, I won a federal lawsuit against a corporation who sued me over a grip page that publicized their unauthorized use of my photos. I showed the other party's alleged source for the photos, Michael Zubitskiy, did not exist, and I held a valid, registered copyright. I was awarded (and collected) damages for copyright infringement, but I had been forced to defend my free speech rights for two years when there was no real evidence against me. The corporation is now broke, but I've sued it's former attorneys for malicious prosecution and abuse of process, alleging they used the courts to try to silence comments they knew were true. How will the Minnesota courts handle a claim that attorneys knowingly brought a baseless lawsuit to silence criticism of their client, as opposed to being zealous advocates who reasonably believed their client's implausible story? I've set up a page to follow the case (Minn. 4th District No. 27-cv-09-13489), which includes an online docket. A jury trial is scheduled for April, 2010."
Link to Original Source
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Geek wins copyright lawsuit against a corporation

Christoph Christoph writes  |  more than 6 years ago

Chris Gregerson writes "I work as a stock photographer/web developer. I saw a photo of mine used in Vilana Financial's full-page phone book ad. They wouldn't pay the licensing fee, and I wrote about it online (mirror). They sued me for defamation, producing a sales agreement signed by "Michael Zubitskiy" (who they said took the photo and sold the rights to them). I sued them for copyright infringement, and they added claims against me for trademark infringement, deceptive trade practices, and tortuous interference. There was a trial I'll remember on the 5th of November, and the judge recently issued her verdict (mirror). She ruled Vilana Financial forged the sales agreement, willfully infringed my photos, and awarded me $19,462. All claims against me were denied. I represented myself during the litigation."
Link to Original Source
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Christoph Christoph writes  |  more than 8 years ago

Christoph writes "Dear Slashdot,

I was sued for defamation over a gripe website (cgstock.com/vilana.html) against a local mortgage company, Vilana Financial. I never did business with them, my gripe is that they took a photo from my website (I'm a photographer), published it in their full-page phone book ad, and have refused to pay the licensing fee. They argue they did nothing wrong, they bought the photo from the real photographer, a man named "Michael Zubitskiy". I am the only party with the high-res file for the photo, I have the certificate of copyright registration for the photo, and there is nobody by the name "Michael Zubitskiy" in the USA (just check google).

Open and shut case, right? No — it's now entering it's second year, and was recently moved from state to federal court. Vilana produced a sales agreement signed by Zubitskiy and notarized by one of their staff, and have suggested that Zubitskiy is an illegal Russian immigrant who is living "underground"; they paid him in cash so there is no cancelled check, and they lost the original photo they got from him. They have no contact info for him, of course.

My investigator (and theirs) found nothing when doing a background check on "Zubitskiy" — no current or past phone number, address, driver's license, or credit record. An anonymous caller informed me the sales agreement was forged, so I sent it to a handwriting expert — he said the signature of the notary public appeared to matched the signature of Zubitskiy, but this is not 100%. When I deposed the notary public, he said he doesn't remember what Zubitskiy looks like but but maintains he is real.

I gathered all the above evidence into a motion against the other party for forging evidence. The Minnesota state court judge, rather than being upset with Vilana, refused to hear my motion, saying it was "premature" and should wait until after the trial is over (note: that's not actually how motions for sanctions are supposed to work).

I've since sued Vilana for copyright infringement and reported them to the state (as they are a licensed mortgage originator, they are not supposed to be forging documents). The state will not take any action until the outcome of this case, so it's especially important I prove they forged this sales agreement (and lied). There is no precedent on what the legal standard of proof should be, and I only get one crack at it, after which it can't be re-litigated. The fraud experts I've spoken to say this case is a first and they don't know what would prove the non-existance of a person.

I will argue I only have to prove Michael Zubitskiy does not exist in the normal, ordinary sense, after which Vilana must then show he exists in some extra-ordinary way (e.g. he's invisible..."extordinary claims require extrordinary proof"). But how do you prove a person doesn't exist? Cost is an issue.

Thanks,

Chris Gregerson
*Further legal details are on the original gripe page:
http://www.cgstock.com/vilana.html
(I'm a Pro-se defendant in the defemation lawsuit against me and now also a pro-se plaintiff against the same company, Vilana Financial, over their violation of my photograph copyright)."

Journals

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Back from the Philippines

Christoph Christoph writes  |  more than 7 years ago

Back from the Philippines as of April. Took video of the trip for the first time, will have something to share around July.

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Leaving for the Philippines, still in court

Christoph Christoph writes  |  more than 7 years ago

I am leaving the U.S., with my wife Arlene, in two weeks. It will be our first trip back to her province in the Philippines since she and I left there two years ago.

It will be my own longest stay in Badoc, her town in Ilocos Norte. It's a great, green and lush rural placid place. But there are NPA (communist guerillas), and corruption. I'll be in Bacoc for two weeks.

I should come back with some good photos and video.

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