Four short links: 6 April 2010

Copytheft, Digg UI, HIV Detection, and Facebook Sueage

  1. Thinking Further About Copyright (Confused of Calcutta) — several nice illustrations of the “copying is not theft” distinction. Copying per se is not stealing. After Michael Jackson did his moonwalk, children the world over copied him. They were not stealing. Digital forms of music, film, book and newspapers are cheap to copy and to distribute, because of the internet. The internet is a commons, specifically designed for doing this. For copying and distributing. Throwing that away just to protect the “rightsholders” is questionable in the extreme. Digital assets are nonrival goods, shareable without affecting the rights of anyone else to enjoy the same thing.
  2. DUI: Digg User Library — Javascript UI library from the folks at Digg.
  3. Building a Handheld HIV Detector — gadget the size of an iPod, that detects the T-cells that HIV kills. Prototype cost $250 to make, orders of magnitude less than the typical medical instrument. This is just one of many approaches to the problem, including disposable test kits funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. (via @parc)
  4. How I Got Sued by Facebook (Pete Warden) — he’d previously reported security holes to Facebook’s security team, and that apparently saved him from a full-on lawsuit. Their contention was robots.txt had no legal force and they could sue anyone for accessing their site even if they scrupulously obeyed the instructions it contained. The only legal way to access any web site with a crawler was to obtain prior written permission. Obviously this isn’t the way the web has worked for the last 16 years since robots.txt was introduced, but my lawyer advised me that it had never been tested in court, and the legal costs alone of being a test case would bankrupt me.
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