June 2, 2023

Archives for October 2002

Fritz's Hit List #11

Today on Fritz’s Hit List: <a href="Today on Fritz's Hit List: recordable talking picture frames.

These picture frames record a short message, to be replayed later on demand. Because the messages are stored in digital form, these picture frames qualify for regulation as “digital media devices” under the Hollings CBDTPA. If the CBDTPA passes, any newly manufactured talking picture frames will have to incorporate government-approved copy restriction technology.

Fight piracy – regulate picture frames!

Postings Resume This Afternoon

I’m back from an interesting trip, which gave me lots of material for posting but not much time to actually post. Regular postings will resume this afternoon, including a double dose of Fritz’s Hit List.

LawMeme's "Law School in a Nutshell"

LawMeme is running a wonderful continuing feature, written by James Grimmelmann, to teach non-lawyers, and especially techies, how to read a legal brief:

Future lawyers spend three years in law school learning how to read and write legalese, but what serious geek has that kind of time to spare? This series will cover the basics of Legal; by the end of it, you should be ready to pick up a legal brief and know what’s going on and how to find out more.

To keep things close to reality, we’ll use as a case study a particularly important piece of recent legal writing: the good guys’ brief in Eldred v. Ashcroft. We’ll walk through the brief, seeing how the conventions of legal writing interact with the arguments Lessig and company are making.

If you’re at all interested in the topic, it’s well worth reading. (Part I; Part II; and more to come)

Garfinkel on Wireless Tags

Simson Garfinkel has an interesting short article in Technology Review about wireless tags. He advocates a sort of consumers’ bill of rights, that would protect people against being observed or tracked against their will.

Wireless tags are an important and potentially scary technology. As I’ve written before, I think we need more discussion of their implications.

Fritz's Hit List #10

Today on Fritz’s Hit List: the remote controlled fart machine.

When a remote control is pressed, this device emits one of five prerecorded fart noises. Because these noises are stored in digital form, the device qualifies for regulation as a “digital media device” under the Hollings CBDTPA. If the CBDTPA passes, any newly manufactured fart machines will have to incorporate government-approved copy restriction technology.

Fight piracy – regulate electronic whoopee cushions!

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I’m assuming here that the fart noises are copyrighted. If the noises have been engineered or chosen for their humor value, then they are probably copyrighted, whether or not the owner explicitly says so. Let’s pause for a moment to meditate on the sublimity of a legal system that can treat fart noises as intellectual property. Take your time; I’ll wait.

Welcome back! One more item of business: Thanks for suggesting this item go to brilliant reader Philip Cuff, who says he now regrets having released all of his farts into the public domain.