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Another example of absurdity in the law?

The new scenario relates to an argument the RIAA has apparently made in one of their legal cases. Their claim is that merely having a copyrighted file in a shared directory constitutes a violation of the copyright law.

Well, I suppose it would be appropriate to include the primary example if I’m going to discuss another one.

Scenario 1:
Part 1:
You download a particular piece of software, the company who owns the intellectual rights to it requires that you do not distribute the file, although it is freely available and no registration is required. This is legitimate.

Part 2:
Your friend who does not have internet access utilizes your computer to download said file, puts it on a cd to take to their home, and install. This is also legitimate.

Part 3:
You download the file, and put it on a cd, for the friend to take home nad put on their computer. This is technically in violation of the licensing of the file, although it is really not different than Part 2.

The new scenario relates to an argument the RIAA has apparently made in one of their legal cases. Their claim is that merely having a copyrighted file in a shared directory constitutes a violation of the copyright law.

Scenario 2:
Part 1:
You have a copyrighted file that you own a copy of/have a license to possess. It is in your /pub directory on your ftp site, available to the public via l/p anonymous/email login. This constitutes a violation under the above argument.

Part 2:
Same as above, yet the file is encrypted. It is unclear whether this would constitute a violation, but it is likely it would not.*

Part 3:
Same as Part 1, but the file is on a webserver, in a public directory, but one which is unlinked to, and not available through any public directory listing. Example: goes to an index.html file, rather than a directory listing, and the file is in:
This is probably a violation under the argument.*

Part 4:
Same as Part 1, but the file is named something that gives no indication that the file is any sort of meaningful content. Example: file is named The_Bible.txt

*It is an interesting thought experiment to consider what exactly can be considered a barrier/form of encryption.

Anyway, the meat of this post is to get you to consider the reality of the law, and how two actions with no difference in intention, and very little difference in circumstance can result in one of the actions being fine, while the other one is at least technically a violation of the law (either criminal or civil).

Also, as someone kindly pointed out, I had moderation for comments turned on. Damn me. Fixed.

And, I’ll probably scan this rather plain drawing I’ve been working on later today – “so you can see what a waste of time looks like.”


Articles of Impeachment

RESOLVED that George Walker Bush, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:


RESOLVED that George Walker Bush, President of the United States, is impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors, and that the following articles of impeachment be exhibited to the United States Senate:


Article 1: Illegal authorization of espionage by the National Security Agency against citizens of the United States of America.

In his conduct while President of the United States, George Walker Bush, in violation of his constitutional oath faithfully to execute the office of President of the United States and, to the best of his ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States, and in violation of his constitutional duty to take care that the laws be faithfully executed, has willfully corrupted and manipulated the government of the United States, impeding the administration of justice, in that:

On September 30, 2001, George Walker Bush issued an illegal order of authorization to the National Security Agency of the United States. Contrary to the letter of the United States Constitution, George Walker Bush willfully provided the National Security Agency the authority to the following illegal acts:

    (1) intercept electronic mail messages without prior warrants issued;
    (2) tap phone lines and record conversations without prior warrants issued;
    (3) undertake surveillance of properties without prior warrants issued; and
    (4) enter and search properties without prior warrants issued.

In doing this, George Walker Bush has undermined the integrity of his office, has brought disrepute on the Presidency, has betrayed his trust as President, and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice, to the manifest injury of the people of the United States.

Wherefore, George Walker Bush, by such conduct, warrants impeachment and trial, and removal from office and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honor, trust or profit under the United States.

(Subject to approval by the House Judiciary Committee, hearings scheduled January 17, 2006)
(Subject to vote in the House of Representatives, hearings schedule pending House Judiciary Committee findings)


You are hopefully aware of the NYT NSA Spy article published on December 16, 2005 (last Friday). If you’re saying to yourself “Which NSA Spy article from last Friday’s NYT?,” you aren’t.

Well, in response, on Saturday (December 17, 2005), Bush gave it to us in his own words:

As President, I took an oath to defend the Constitution, and I have no greater responsibility than to protect our people, our freedom, and our way of life.


In the weeks following the terrorist attacks on our nation, I authorized the National Security Agency, consistent with U.S. law and the Constitution, to intercept the international communications of people with known links to al Qaeda and related terrorist organizations. Before we intercept these communications, the government must have information that establishes a clear link to these terrorist networks.

This is a highly classified program that is crucial to our national security. Its purpose is to detect and prevent terrorist attacks against the United States, our friends and allies. Yesterday the existence of this secret program was revealed in media reports, after being improperly provided to news organizations. As a result, our enemies have learned information they should not have, and the unauthorized disclosure of this effort damages our national security and puts our citizens at risk. Revealing classified information is illegal, alerts our enemies, and endangers our country.


I have reauthorized this program more than 30 times since the September the 11th attacks, and I intend to do so for as long as our nation faces a continuing threat from al Qaeda and related groups.


The American people expect me to do everything in my power under our laws and Constitution to protect them and their civil liberties.

Any high school student who has paid attention in their government class will tell you this is illegal and unconstitutional. It is an impeachable offense, and a violation of the presidential oath to defend the Constitution.

But is it true? Or could it be this is a classic case of disinformation?

Let’s suppose there is some general threat present in the intelligence we have gathered. There is something planned, but we do not know the who, the where, or the how. The chatter grows louder, but no leads develop. All angles fail to yield anything specific. The US intelligence community fears the worst: a successful attack which they could not directly warn of, or prepare for.

A plan is hatched. Leak to the media a juicy story about a secret executive order authorizing domestic spying. Force the terrorists’ hand. They will either step up their operations in hopes of completing their attacks, or will take to hiding; either case guarantees they must quickly change their behaviors, and opens a window of opportunity for the detection and apprehension of these evil doers. Pinpoint and apprehend. Strike their hearts with fear of detection: we’re listening to you, we know where you are and what you‘re planning. They will be deer in the headlights of our H3.

And if it works, of course, there would come forth no denial that the program was ever fake. There will be the evidence that it paid off, even though it never even existed, and the added benefit of actually being able to enact such a illegal program without fear of backlash, as the people will have already swallowed it.

The bottom line is, our Constitution is very important. If more people understood it, we would have a stronger nation and government. The Constitution itself is very specific about the attitude the citizen is meant to take toward the elected government; it is one of skepticism and leeriness. There is a damned good reason we have that document, and why it is the highest law in the land. There is a damned good reason for the fourth amendment, which guarantees against search (including interception of communication) and seizure (including imprisonment) without warrant. For the guarantee of due process, legal counsel, protection against self-incrimination, and the like.

I thought the whole idea of this war on terrorism was that if we knew someone was directly linked to the terrorists, giving aid and comfort to them, they would be apprehended with the proper warrant, and tried in a court of law. It stands to reason that if there are those who seek to do us harm, they must be brought to justice. That does not mean that we assassinate or murder them in dark alleys, or that we ignore the law. If we do these things, we do not deserve our freedom.

Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” – An Historical Review of the Constitution and Government of Pennsylvania

Fiat justitia, ruat caelum.” [Let justice be done, though the heavens may fall.] – Anonymous

True peace is not merely the absence of tension: it is the presence of justice.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Well, when the President does it, that means that it is not illegal.” – Richard M. Nixon

Those Dirty Democrats!

Is it irresponsible for the democrats to turn around and say they never believed Saddam had such weapons? Yes. Does that clear the horrible record of the republicans? Not on your life.

Well, has a new video showing numerous video clips of Democrats in the past proclaiming what the President from 2002 onward leading up to the war. This line that Saddam Hussein had acquired Weapons of Mass Destruction. And so, now the GOP, on the defensive, is trying to come back on the offensive against the democrats, and call them liars.

Let’s get one thing straight. To date, no weapons of mass destruction have been found. We know that at some point in the past the Iraqi government did indeed have access to horrible weapons. We sold them to Iraq. That goes for the deadly VX nerve gas that Saddam will stand trial for using on civilians during the conflict between Iran and Iraq in the 1980s. It goes for the scuds and other weapons that our own troops faced in the first war.

Is it irresponsible for the democrats to turn around and say they never believed Saddam had such weapons? Yes. Does that clear the horrible record of the republicans? Not on your life.

Let’s face the facts. The democrats have not been saints, or served our interests. The republicans have done worse, but that does not excuse incompetance of democrats. Still, the democrats have every right to turn around and admit their mistakes, their grievous errors, and still hold strong against the republicans. The republicans also have the right to turn around, face down their own mistakes, and change. No points for admitting your wrongs and continuing them. No victory for merely pummelling your political opponents.

You can claim that the intelligence, unpressured, was just wrong. It does not paint you in a better light to say, “we funded these efforts to gather intelligence that failed,” unless you yourself are welling to admit failure. That’s something that the republicans haven’t done. They are trying now to scapegoat the democrats for the same thing.

It doesn’t fly.