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Techdirt Gear: Black Friday Weekend Sale Starts Tomorrow!

Our Black Friday weekend gear sale starts tomorrow in theTechdirtstoreonThreadless Ever since Teespring took down our Copying Is Not Theft gear and refused to offer an explanation last December, we‘ve been launching our new designs (and gradually moving over old favorites) on Threadless - and now, it‘s time for our first storewide sale! Starting tomorrow, we‘re taking 5 off all t-shirts, hoodies, and sweatshirts and selling

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Good News: Academics Can Make Their Articles Published In Top Journal Nature Freely Available As Open Access. Bad News: They Must Pay 11,000 For Each One

Two years ago, Techdirt wrote about Plan S, an initiative from top research funders that requires all work they support to be published as open access. It‘s one of the most important moves to get publicly-funded work made freely available, and as such has been widely welcomed. Except by publishers, of course, who have enjoyed profit margins of 35-40% under the current system, which sees libraries and others pay for subscriptions in order t

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Fifth Circuit Denies Immunity To Cops Who Beat And Tased An Unresisting Man To Death

The Fifth Circuit is a bit infamous for allowing law enforcement to do what it wants without worrying about too much pushback from judges. This is due in part to the Supreme Court‘s increasing insistence lower courts take a hands off approach to qualified immunity by encouraging them to avoid determining whether any rights violation has occurred. Instead, the Supreme Court has pushed lower courts to only determine whether or not a similar

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Trump‘s FCC Nominee Asked Fox News To Help Destroy Section 230 To Help Elect More Republicans

We‘ve written a few times about Nathan Simington, who is currently nominated to take over Michael O‘Rielly‘s seat at the FCC. As you‘ll recall, O‘Rielly‘s renomination was withdrawn after he dared to give a talk in which he noted, accurately, that the 1st Amendment means that the government cannot regulate how private companies handle content moderation. Simington, in contrast to O‘Rielly, has been at th

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Disappointing: Netflix Decides To Settle With Chooseco LLC Over ‘Bandersnatch‘ Lawsuit

Well, it‘s been quite a stupid and frustrating run in the trademark lawsuit between Netflix and Chooseco LLC, the folks behind Choose Your Own Adventure books from our youth. At issue was the Black Mirror production Bandersnatch, in which the viewer takes part in an interactive film where they help decide the outcome. The main character is creating a book he refers to as a "choose your own adventure" book. Chooseco also complained that the

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Cryptocurrency Giant Binance Sues Forbes, Driving New Attention To Article About Binance‘s Corporate Structuring

Binance is one of, if not the, biggest cryptocurrency exchanges around. Its famously vocal CEO Changpeng Zhao (known as CZ) has positioned himself as a supporter of free speech, and even sees cryptocurrency/blockchain as a key element in that. Frankly, Binance is a fascinating company that I think is working on a some very interesting projects. And that‘s why it‘s incredibly disappointing to see the company sue Forbes over an article

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Ajit Pai‘s FCC Does Something Good, Frees Wireless Spectrum The Auto Industry Had Done Little With

While we‘ve had no shortage of criticism for Ajit Pai‘s facts-optional, relentless ass kissing of entrenched telecom monopolies, or his wholesale demolition of U.S. consumer protection, his agency has done a good job bringing more wireless spectrum to market. Doing so wasn‘t particularly controversial, since everybody, consumers to big carriers alike, benefit from having access to more spectrum -- especially valuable middleband

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Kentucky Judges Reject Proposal For More Warrant Approval Transparency

Scrutiny of warrants and the judges who approve them has stepped up in Louisville, Kentucky after a no-knock raid ended in the killing of an innocent resident by police officers. The shooting of Breonna Taylor sparked protests, reform efforts, and at least one judge‘s personal moratorium on no-knock warrants. Cops don‘t like to talk about their warrants. Affidavits are often filed under seal. Sometimes the seal is lifted once the w

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Mine, Mine, Mine! Nintendo Neuters The Cool Ways People, Groups Are Using ‘Animal Crossing‘

To be honest, Animal Crossing was always going to be a hit. It‘s just the perfect distillation of the Nintendo experience: a cutesy social experience couched in harmless video game fun. Still, one unanticipated side effect of the global COVID-19 pandemic was how plenty of people and groups turned to the game for new and innovative ways of connecting with others. Examples abound, including players building a real-world economy around the ga

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Another Drug Lab Scandal -- One That Took Kids From Their Parents -- Ends In Prison Time

Another horror story involving the government and a drug-testing lab is finally coming to a close. And the owner of the drug lab is going to jail. Unlike others we‘ve covered, this drug lab didn‘t contain employees who falsified drug tests that landed people in jail. But the outcome for the innocent was nearly as miserable. Faked drug tests performed by Brandy Murrah, the owner of A J Lab Collections, resulted in parents losing th

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Will Parler Users Treat Its ‘Glitch‘ That Hid Georgia Election Content The Same Way They Treated A Twitter Glitch?

It‘s been absolutely fascinating -- though not at all surprising -- to watch a ton of Trumpists mentally struggling with the process of understanding the nature, importance, and necessity of content moderation online over the last few months via Parler. As you may recall, after whining about being moderated on sites like Twitter and Facebook, a bunch of Trump fans started using Parler, a site that was only recently revealed to have been co

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FBI Asks To Perform An Intrusive Search Of A Phone For Evidence It Doesn‘t Need From A Device That Probably Doesn‘t Belong To The Suspect

It looks like the FBI believes it should be able to pull pretty much anything from someone‘s phone for pretty much any reason. A recent warrant affidavit [PDF] submitted by Special Agent Brian De Jesus requests access to nearly everything contained on a cellphone abandoned in a car, supposedly by the suspect now being charged for being a felon in possession of a handgun. The first three pages list everything the FBI potentially wants to

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Inconceivable: TikToker Who Made Paint Mixing Very, Very Cool... Is Fired From Sherwin-Williams For Doing So

TikTok remains a somewhat fascinating service to me, as different people experiment with using it to express all sorts of things in ways that are unexpected and often delightful. A couple months ago I discovered that there appears to be an entire genre of TikTokers creating videos about... mixing paint colors. I know... I know. At first that sounds insane. Who could possibly want to watch that? But some of them are truly amazing, as first noted

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Comcast Expands Its Bullshit Usage Caps...In The Middle Of A Pandemic

Contrary to what some try to claim, broadband usage caps have always been bullshit. They serve absolutely no technical function, do not help manage congestion, and exist exclusively to nickel-and-dime captive customers in monopolized U.S. markets. Worse, they can be used by incumbent ISPs anticompetitively to hamstring competitors in the streaming video and other markets. Comcast, for years, has been slowly expanding these unnecessary and cost

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Seattle PD Detective Took Clearview Facial Recognition Tech For A Spin, Possibly Violating Local Laws

It looks like some members of the Seattle Police Department have taken an interest in Clearview. Clearview scrapes photos and data from the open web and sells access to its untested facial recognition AI to government agencies, private companies, and the odd billionaire. According to Clearview, it has 4 billion scraped records in its database. What it doesn‘t have is a proven law enforcement track record for solving crimes, despite making

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Despite Not Finding Drugs Nearly 95 Percent Of The Time, Judges Keep Approving Drug Warrants For Chicago Cops

The Chicago Police Department has firmly established itself as one of the worst police forces in America. From running an off-the-books, Constitution-evading "black site" to interrogate detainees without bringing in their lawyers or rights to loading up its gang database with thousands of non-gang members, the department is a horrific mess. The basic duty of warrant service is similarly infected by the PD‘s lackadaisical attitude towards

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Portland, Maine Passes Facial Recognition Ban That Says The City Can Fire Employees For Violating It

Another facial recognition ban has been passed, bringing a bit more enforceable privacy to the eastern side of the nation. Most of the ban action to date has been on the West Coast, with small pockets of resistance popping up elsewhere. Well, mainly just Massachusetts. The latest ban passed during the most recent election, gives Portland, Maine residents the freedom to live their lives with a little less panopticon. In Maine, voters in the st

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Senator Tillis Plans Major Copyright Overhaul: Recognizes Legit Problems, But Current Solutions Are Lacking

We‘ve criticized Senator Thom Tillis for his patent and copyright reform ideas that seemed to take a strong "maximalist" line in its approach. He‘s also taken the Hollywood line on things like the Internet Archive that was troubling. He‘s been promising a copyright reform bill for a while, and many thought it wasn‘t going to matter much, since polls indicated that he was very, very likely to lose his re-election campaign

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Florida Sheriff‘s Pre-Crime Software Says D-Students And Victims Of Domestic Violence Are Potential Criminals

Predictive policing is coming for your children. That‘s what‘s happening in Florida, where the Pasco County Sheriff‘s Office has taken an inappropriate interest in minors. It all begins with some questionable access to sensitive records and ends with the Sheriff deciding some students are destined for a life of crime. (h/t WarOnPrivacy) The Pasco Sheriff‘s Office keeps a secret list of kids it thinks could ‘fall

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Ridiculous: ‘Cyberpunk 2077‘ Will Ship With A Mode Just To Help Streamers Avoid DMCA Notices

You will likely have been following along with us as we have steadily commented on the ongoing controversy at Twitch. But if you‘re not read up on the topic, Twitch suddenly nuked zillions of hours of recorded content made by Twitch streamers in response to RIAA and game publisher DMCA notices, all without warning and all without a way to counternotice or get any of that content back. As the community went into revolt, Twitch continued tak

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FBI Turns A Man With Mental Health Issues Into A ‘Terrorist,‘ Busts Him For Using The Internet

Another FBI counterterrorism "investigation" has turned someone with mental health issues into a potential long term tenant of the federal prison system. The arrest happened in August, but the documents related to the arrest weren‘t unsealed until earlier this month. This summation of events shows how little the FBI needs to do to get someone charged with a federal crime: A Clarksville man has been arrested following an investigation

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