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August 06, 2002

Tech Tuesday (8-6)

  • HP uses copyright law to suppress research exposing flaws in its software's computer security. This is the chilling endproduct of the law, where users cannot even tell one another about defects in a company's product.
  • One problem in software is that developers are largely not held legally liable for the damages suffered by users of defective products. This legal problem is being made worse by passage by state governments of the model Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) which further erodes consumer rights. See the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility fact sheet.
  • As the joke goes when computers are praised for their rapid innovation compared to cars, for example, the head of General Motors just says "Yeah, but would you really want to drive a car that crashes twice a day." Another version.
  • On a more serious level, the City of Los Angeles is trying to use trademark law to force cop shows set in the city to pay the city license fees. The show The Shield, based on LA's Ramparts police brutality and corruption scandal, largely removed all references to the city by name to avoid the hassle. Some day, any protester will have to pay a license fee to the corporate or government official they want to criticize.

    Posted by Nathan at August 6, 2002 08:45 AM

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    I cannot find the link, but it appears that a storm of protest from inside HP has caused them to back away.

    Posted by: kevin at August 6, 2002 08:14 PM

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