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From User: Decius

Current Topic: Intellectual Property

Wikipedia adopts Text Coloring for Trust Idea that Decius helped develop
Topic: Intellectual Property 10:44 am EDT, Aug 31, 2009

Hadley Leggett:

Starting this fall, you'll have a new reason to trust the information you find on Wikipedia: An optional feature called "WikiTrust" will color code every word of the encyclopedia based on the reliability of its author and the length of time it has persisted on the page.

Called WikiTrust, the program assigns a color code to newly edited text using an algorithm that calculates author reputation from the lifespan of their past contributions. It's based on a simple concept: The longer information persists on the page, the more accurate it's likely to be.

"They've hit on the fundamentally Darwinian nature of Wikipedia," said Wikipedia software developer and neuroscientist Virgil Griffith of the California Institute of Technology, who was not involved in the project.

Noteworthy writes: It's pretty egregious that neither Wired nor the WikiTrust folks bothered to mention the Puppy Smoothies paper, which was published in 2006, a year before the earliest citations on the WikiTrust site. (Why didn't Virgil mention this?)

The reliability of information collected from at large Internet users by open collaborative wikis such as Wikipedia has been a subject of widespread debate. This paper provides a practical proposal for improving user confidence in wiki information by coloring the text of a wiki article based on the venerability of the text. This proposal relies on the philosophy that bad information is less likely to survive a collaborative editing process over large numbers of edits. Colorization would provide users with a clear visual cue as to the level of confidence that they can place in particular assertions made within a wiki article.

Decius: Noteworthy later points out that the Wikitrust people did reference my paper in their first paper. I'm really happy to see these ideas making it into practice regardless of how much credit I'm getting. I pushed the ball a little bit forward but these guys have taken it all the way and thats awesome. Congrats Wikitrust!

Wikipedia adopts Text Coloring for Trust Idea that Decius helped develop

Response to Texas Instruments DMCA Notice
Topic: Intellectual Property 5:27 pm EDT, Aug 30, 2009

Quoted below is Tom's reply to the DMCA take-down notice that Texas Instruments sent:

Mr. Foster,

This afternoon I received an email from you, attached below, which orders me to remove a post from my blog at about the cracking of the TI-83 OS Signing Key. Upon receiving your email I removed the post you reference from MemeStreams. However, I do not think that the post you referenced on MemeStreams violates Texas Instruments' intellectual property. Your email does not make clear what aspect of my post you object to, and because it was so vague I suspect you may have emailed me without taking the time to properly digest the context and purpose of my post.

I am a professional computer security researcher. My personal blog on MemeStreams is a place were I regularly comment on matters relevant to computer security in both the technical and policy realm. The purpose of my post about the TI-83 signing key was to report the fact that the key had been cracked, to explain why I felt that event was important and unprecedented, to discuss the implications of that event for the practice of computer security, and to consider potential events that might follow in the future.

Absolutely nothing about my post was intended to encourage or facilitate the violation of Texas Instrument's Intellectual Property. I did not include specific information, such as the numeric keys, which might have facilitated that. Frankly, I don't care about calculator operating systems and neither does anyone else who reads my blog. My interest in the subject is purely academic - its about the implications that this event has for the greater practice of computer security.

I did provide hyperlinks to the forums where the crack was discussed, but I did so only because those are the primary sources that demonstrate that the event that I was reporting on did, in fact, actually happen. While the DMCA has been used to prohibit people from providing hyperlinks in the past, this has only been done in the context where the purpose of providing those hyperlinks was to facilitate infringement. Nothing about my post encourages infringement. In my case the purpose of providing the links was to accurately report the news.

I have a constitutional right to report the news. I have a right to report that this event occurred, to explain what web forums it occurred in, and explain what implications I think it has. This is no different from a newspaper reporting that a murder occurred, reporting what street it occurred on, and explaining why their readers should care. The DMCA does not curtail these fundamental constitutional rights.

I sympathize with your position Mr. Foster. In fact, the post you asked me to remove predicted that Texas Instruments might pursue legal action against the people who are attempting to violate their intellectual property. However, I am not one of those people and I ever expected to receive a legal threat from you. As your email does not make clear what aspect of my post you object to, I've been forced to remove the post in its entirety. I feel this is a significant trespass upon my First Amendment rights and I presume that it could only have happened in error.

Please take a moment to carefully reconsider the position you've taken here.

Thank you,
Tom Cross

TI is seriously overreaching. Their actions in regard to Tom should not be (and may not be) legal.

TI just kicked the hornet's nest.

Response to Texas Instruments DMCA Notice

Copyfighters beat down Tennessee bill - Boing Boing
Topic: Intellectual Property 1:21 pm EDT, Mar 21, 2008

Copyfighters in Tennessee have scored a massive win, defanging a crappy, RIAA-written state bill:

Kudos to the Tennessee crew.

Copyfighters beat down Tennessee bill - Boing Boing

Copyright protest in Nashville March 5th - COPYFIGHT NOW!
Topic: Intellectual Property 2:28 pm EST, Feb 28, 2008

[1] Meet up with us next Wednesday (March 5th) to go to Nashville and protest! (5:00 AM - March 5th) we will have a bus - we will leave at 5AM in Knoxville (meet at COPYSHOP).

Gather at 8AM (if you can get there by yourself)
on the corner of 6th and Union St in Nashville!

The primary broken thing about the rule being protested here is that it would require Universities to institute a surveillance system that watched network traffic and identified transfers of copyrighted content.

Copyright protest in Nashville March 5th - COPYFIGHT NOW!

YouTube’s Favorite Clips Aren't Copyrighted - New York Times
Topic: Intellectual Property 10:45 am EDT, Apr  9, 2007

Vidmeter, which tracks the online video business, determined that the clips that were removed for copyright violations — most of them copyrighted by big media companies — comprise just 9 percent of all videos on the site. Even more surprising, the videos that have been removed make up just 6 percent of the total views (

YouTube’s Favorite Clips Aren't Copyrighted - New York Times

©opyBites: Copyright Law Blog: Orphan Works Legislation
Topic: Intellectual Property 11:10 pm EDT, May 24, 2006

Lamar Smith has a nack for writing bills that I hate, but this rule change is baddly needed and I support it.

Chairman Lamar Smith (TX-21) today introduced the “Orphan Works Act of 2006” (H.R. 5439), which creates new guidelines for use of copyrighted material when the original owner cannot be located.

©opyBites: Copyright Law Blog: Orphan Works Legislation

Congress readies DMCA ][
Topic: Intellectual Property 10:18 pm EDT, Apr 24, 2006

New technology is "encouraging large-scale criminal enterprises to get involved in intellectual-property theft," Gonzales said, adding that proceeds from the illicit businesses are used, "quite frankly, to fund terrorism activities."

Willful attempts at piracy, even if they fail, could be punished by up to 10 years in prison.

But one of the more controversial sections may be the changes to the DMCA. Under current law, Section 1201 of the law generally prohibits distributing or trafficking in any software or hardware that can be used to bypass copy-protection devices. (That section already has been used against a Princeton computer science professor, Russian programmer Dmitry Sklyarov and a toner cartridge remanufacturer.)

Smith's measure would expand those civil and criminal restrictions. Instead of merely targeting distribution, the new language says nobody may "make, import, export, obtain control of, or possess" such anticircumvention tools if they may be redistributed to someone else.

When the Attorney General raises the specter of terrorism in the context of laws which primarily related to p2p file trading networks, its time to stop taking the Attorney General seriously. He is obviously not a serious person.

As for Lamar Smith, he is responsible for 2004's round of rock stupid DNS WHOIS legislation.

Congress readies DMCA ][

Dennis Forbes - DNS is full. Go home.
Topic: Intellectual Property 8:08 am EDT, Apr  4, 2006

Given that there are approximately 50 million .COM domains registered, it is indeed true that the low-hanging fruit domain names are overwhelming taken, and your chances of lucking upon an unnoticed available three-letter acronym (TLA) are close to zero, and your only recourse would be to haggle with domain speculators.

Some interesting data about the state of available domains.

Dennis Forbes - DNS is full. Go home.

Keeper of Expired Web Pages Is Sued Because Archive Was Used in Another Suit - New York Times
Topic: Intellectual Property 4:58 pm EDT, Jul 13, 2005

Last week Healthcare Advocates sued both the Harding Earley firm and the Internet Archive, saying the access to its old Web pages, stored in the Internet Archive's database, was unauthorized and illegal.

Keeper of Expired Web Pages Is Sued Because Archive Was Used in Another Suit - New York Times

Slashdot | We Don't Need the GPL Anymore
Topic: Intellectual Property 11:09 am EDT, Jul  1, 2005

"Open source would be succeeding faster if the GPL didn't make lots of people nervous about adopting it." From the article: "I don't think the GPL is the principal reason for Linux's success. Rather, I believe it's because in 1991 Linus was the first person to find the right social architecture for distributed software development."

In fact, it's political considerations that kept me quiet for a while. For a long time, I judged that any harm the GPL might be doing was outweighed by the good. For some time after I stopped believing that, I didn't see quite enough reason to fight with the GPL zealots. I'm speaking up now because a couple of curves have intersected. It has become more apparent how much of an economic advantage open source development has, and my judgment of the utility of the GPL has fallen.

ESR argues that the social model surrounding Open Source Software has proven powerful enough to enforce good practices even without some of the stronger elements of the GPL.

I tend to agree with him, but I don't expect any paradigm shift in licensing strategies. Five more years, we may be using much more liberal licensing, but I don't think its going to happen fast. People are going to be very conservative about this. The "walk the walk if you are going to talk the talk" style of logic ESR uses here can be bent both ways.

Do we need the GPL to keep companies honest when it comes to giving back to open source projects?

Slashdot | We Don't Need the GPL Anymore

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