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Ashley Homestore

Judge Halts Copyright Troll's Lawsuit Against A Now-Deceased Elderly Man With Dementia And An IP Address

Stories about copyright trolls issuing questionable settlement demands and lawsuits using laughably flimsy evidence with no regard to mitigating circumstances are somewhat common around here. The most egregious cases range from trolls sending threat letters to the elderly to flat out suing the innocent . This sort of thing is essentially inherent in a business model that closely apes an extortion ring, and here's another quintessential exam...
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FBI Acts Like It's Still 1960 With Its Report On 'Black Identity Extremists'

We already knew Jeff Sessions was a throwback . The new head of the DOJ rolled back civil rights investigations by the agency while calling for harsher penalties and longer jail terms for drug-related crimes, while re-opening the door for asset forfeiture abuse with his rollback of Obama-era policy changes. But it's more than just the new old-school DOJ. The FBI is just as regressive. Under its new DOJ leadership, the FBI (inadvertently) pu...
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Ninth Circuit Lets Us See Its Glassdoor Ruling, And It's Terrible

Well, I was wrong: last week I lamented that we might never know how the Ninth Circuit ruled on Glassdoor's attempt to quash a federal grand jury subpoena served upon it demanding it identify users. Turns out, now we do know: two days after the post ran the court publicly released its decision refusing to quash the subpoena. It's a decision that doubles-down on everything wrong with the original district court decision that also refused to ...
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Investigation Shows Chicago PD Has Zero Interest In Holding Its Officers Accountable

Why Chicago's Police Force Is A Godawful Train Wreck, Part 192 : A Staggering Lack of Accountability. Even after a Chicago Tribune investigation in March revealed faults with the disciplinary system that had caused officials to lose cases — and after they pledged to track down and finalize those cases — some punishments remain pending. ProPublica Illinois and the Tribune, collaborating on this story, discovered Levigne's case as reporters t...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, in response to our post about Playboy suing BoingBoing for linking to a collection of centerfold pictures, one commenter suggested they should have known they crossed a "proverbial line in the sand" that would draw legal attention, leading an anonymous responder to win first place on the insightful side by pointing out why that, in and of itself, is the problem : You’ve just described the “chilling effect” you get a silver star. ...
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And Another Thing: Those Dumb Social Media Guidelines For Journalists Are Going To Paint A Target On Their Backs

Just last week we discussed the alarming trend in media companies for putting in place restrictive social media policies for their employees, including their opinion commentators. In that post, we focused on how this move is both dumb and bad for two reasons. First, restricting the opinions of those followed by the public for their opinions is flatly nonsensical. Second, the goal of these policies -- to have the public view companies as non...
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Algorithmic Videos Are Making YouTube Unsuitable For Young Children, And Google's 'Revenue Architecture' Is To Blame

There's an interesting article on Medium by James Bridle that's generating plenty of discussion at the moment. It has the title " Something is wrong on the internet ", which is certainly true. Specifically, what the article is concerned about is the following: Someone or something or some combination of people and things is using YouTube to systematically frighten, traumatise, and abuse children, automatically and at scale, and it forces me...
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SLAPP Alert: Professor Sues Another For Defamation Over Competing Academic Papers

One of the important elements of the First Amendment, and its protections of opinion, is that it opens up all kinds of debates -- from the political to the scientific. Indeed, the very nature of scientific research in academia is one of constant debate between researchers with different viewpoints. This has gone on for centuries. And, yet, it appears that at least one scientist has apparently decided that the standard nature of scientific d...
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Village Hotels Bullies Small Pub Into Changing Its Name By Brandishing Its 'Village' Trademark

Seeing trademark bullies in operation, particularly when a large entity bullies a small business, will never cease being a source of frustration for me. That said, my frustration gets supercharged when the trademark being wielded as a bullying weapon is laughably generic and clearly should never have been granted in the first place. And when the bully is attacking a company that it doesn't even compete with, that's the anger-cherry on top o...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place comment on the insightful side comes from Cdaragorn , offering some perspective on the field drug test that identified donut crumbs as methamphetamine : How everyone looks at these tests really gets to me. The test didn't fail. That's not the problem. It tested positive for exactly what it was supposed to test positive for: sugar. That's the problem with these tests. They are being run by people who have no idea h...
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Oversight Board Report On DC Police Cameras Contradicts Earlier Report's Claims

Less than a month after a first report was delivered on Washington, DC police body camera use, a second one has arrived. And it seems to contradict some assertions made in the first report. The first report was put together by an extension of DC's government called the Lab@DC. It showed body camera use doing almost nothing to curtail use of force by officers. This seemed to undercut the notion body cameras can be a tool of accountability. B...
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Another Stash House Sting Criticized By The Court... But Lengthy Sentences Left Untouched

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has let some more stash house sting convictions stand. But not without considerable discussion of the government's tactics . And not without one judge appending a long rebuke to her reluctant concurrence. Once again, the ATF has managed to secure multiple convictions predicated on nonexistent evidence. The sting, helmed by veteran ATF agent Richard Zayas, involved a made-up drug stash house "containing" at...
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Dead People Mysteriously Support The FCC's Attack On Net Neutrality

We've noted for months how an unknown party has been using bots to bombard the FCC website with entirely bogus support for the agency's planned attack on net neutrality. Inquiries so far have indicated that whatever group or individual is behind the fake support used a bot that automatically pulled names -- in alphabetical order -- from a compromised database of some kind. Earlier this year one reporter actually managed to track down some o...
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Move By Top Chinese University Could Mean Journal Impact Factors Begin To Lose Their Influence

The so-called "impact factors" of journals play a major role in the academic world. And yet people have been warning about their deep flaws for many years. Here, for example, is Professor Stephen Curry, a leading advocate of open access , writing on the topic back in 2012 : I am sick of impact factors and so is science. The impact factor might have started out as a good idea, but its time has come and gone. Conceived by Eugene Garfield in t...
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This Week In Techdirt History: October 22nd - 28th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, we noted that the US was remaining steadfast in its opposition to a treaty promoting access to creative works for the disabled , and it was beginning to become clear that negotiators were holding it hostage in order to demand a new ACTA or SOPA-like regime . Meanwhile, the Librarian of Copyright announced the new anti-circumvention exceptions... and denied DVD ripping rights, and knocked phone unlocking off...
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NY Times Uncritically Says Fake News Debate Supports Chinese Style Censorship

It used to be a laughable claim: that the US should emulate the Great Firewall of China and support much greater internet censorship. Sure, you'd have people like the MPAA's Chris Dodd or U2 frontman Bono cheer on Chinese censorship as a good example of how to censor the internet (in their cases, to block infringing content), but most people still remained rightly horrified by the idea that the answer to "bad" content online is a massive ce...
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San Francisco, Seattle Tire of Comcast, Mull Building Citywide Fiber Networks

It probably goes without saying that while improving in spots, American broadband isn't much to write home about. Americans pay more money for slower service and worse customer support than a long list of developed countries. Some of that's thanks to geography, but more of it's due to a lack of competition. That lack of competition is, by proxy, thanks to our refusal to address the stranglehold these giant companies have over our federal an...
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Google, Facebook & Comcast Jointly Lied to California Lawmakers To Scuttle Broadband Privacy Bill

Earlier this year the GOP and Trump administration rushed to kill consumer broadband privacy rules. While the broadband industry cried like a colicky toddler when the rules were originally proposed, they were relatively modest -- simply requiring that ISPs clearly disclose what they're selling, who they're selling it to, and provide working opt out tools. The rules were proposed after ISPs repeatedly showed they were incapable of self-regul...
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Long Trail Brewing Sues East Coast Apparel Company Over 'Take A Hike' T-Shirt

The last time we checked in with Long Trail Brewing, the Vermont brewery was busy fighting a Minnesota brewer that had dared to put a stick figure of a hiker on its beer can. It seems that rather than basing its trademark legal expeditions on any real or potential customer confusion, Long Trail views trademark law as a vehicle for monopoly and lawsuit-driven income. Long Trail is certainly not alone in this view, unfortunately, but it does ...
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180 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: October 15th - 21st

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, we saw more copyright nonsense as South Park was sued over a character design and textbook publisher Pearson managed to take down 15-million student and teacher blogs with a single DMCA notice — but of course, being punished for a bad DMCA notice was and is almost impossible . As we approached the 30-year anniversary of the CD, we lamented the lack of music industry innovation , while the numbers continued ...
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NYPD Tells Judge Its $25 Million Forfeiture Database Has No Backup

The NYPD is actively opposed to transparency . It does all it can to thwart outsiders from accessing any info about the department's inner workings. This has led to numerous lawsuits from public records requesters. It has also led to a long-running lawsuit featuring the Bronx Defenders, which has been trying to gain access to civil forfeiture documents for years. The NYPD has repeatedly claimed it simply cannot provide the records the Bronx...
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New Whistleblowers Highlight How Russia's Information War On U.S. Was Larger Than Initially Reported

A few years ago, Russian whistleblowers like Lyudmila Savchuk began to reveal that Vladimir Putin had built a massive new internet propaganda machine. At the heart of this machine sat the "Internet Research Agency," a Russian government front company tasked with operating warehouses filled with employees paid 40,000 to 50,000 rubles ($800 to $1,000) a month to create proxied, viable fake personas -- specifically tasked with pumping the inte...
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183 Hits

New Copyright Trolling Operation Lowers The Settlement Demands And Calls Them Fines To Improve Conversion Rate

As much more attention has been brought to copyright trolls and the unethical manner in which they operate, it was inevitable that the tactics of the trolls would begin to shift. For some of us, it was immediately obvious what a PR problem these trolling operations faced. It all comes down to the "settlements" offered in a copyright troll's letters. The amounts, while designed to look small compared with the threat of a lawsuit, still tend ...
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210 Hits

Neighbor Sues For $2.5 Million After Renovation Looks Too Much Like Their Own House

Copyright on home design has always been a really sketchy idea. Earlier this year, we wrote about a disturbing trend of housing copyright trolls and have had some other similar stories over time. For reasons that are beyond me, the Berne Convention requires copyright on architecture, and that creates silly situations, such as the one in Australia, where a homeowner was forced to modify their home due to "infringement." And this nonsense has...
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254 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: October 8th - 14th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, while Hollywood was wining and dining New Zealand politicians to help get their copyright demands into the TPP , the similarly bad provisions from the dead ACTA were unsurprisingly appearing in CETA . The RIAA was continuing to share bogus math, this time about the supposed decline in musicians , Microsoft was caught sending an especially amusing takedown to Google over a link to... Bing , and copyright max...
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176 Hits

Google Fiber Gives Up On Traditional TV, And Won't Be The Last Company To Do So

While Google Fiber was initially hailed as the be-all-end-all of broadband disruption, the bloom has come off the rose in recent months. Last fall, Google executives began to have doubts about the high cost and slow pace of the project, resulting in a not-yet cooked pivot to wireless and the departure of two CEOs in less than a year. Company PR reps seem unable to answer basic questions about cancelled installations and the unsteady directi...
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Australian Government Claims That Facial Recognition Systems Increase Privacy...

Via Josh Taylor , we learn of the recently released "Intergovernmental Agreement on Identity Matching Services" , which is a fancy way of saying that the federal government and Australian state and territory governments had agreed to work together on a big face recognition surveillance system. But the truly incredible thing is that these Australian governments have decided to try to out-Orwell Orwell, by arguing that pervasive facial recogn...
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Three Energy Bills Look To Increase Fourth Amendment Protections For Americans

Senator Ron Wyden has introduced a trio of energy bills for the Senate's consideration. The three bills each have their own area of focus. One bill [PDF] would direct the Department of Energy -- along with state entities -- to upgrade the flexibility and reliability of energy grids, thus limiting disruption during natural disasters. The second bill [PDF] creates grant programs for consumer-level renewable energy, providing incentives for pu...
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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side comes from all the way back on last week's comment post, where an anonymous commenter took a moment to thank us for the openness of our comments : tiny bit off topic, but since this article is about comments this still seems fitting: I wanted to say thanks for having a site that makes it easy to post comments. There have been several sites that I've felt inclined to comment on (or fil...
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172 Hits

This Week In Techdirt History: October 1st - 7th

Five Years Ago This week in 2012, as copyright trolls continued their war on open wi-fi , rightsholders in the EU sought new storage media levies for the cloud and US ISPs were gearing up to enact their "six strikes" plan , we were trying to kill the myth that the constitution guarantees copyright . Some people at least seemed to get it, with a high-profile EU Parliament Committee proposing the ability to create non-copyrighted content , a ...
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