SOPA – About Copyright & Trademark violations

The author of the original, now nearly dead, SOPA legislation in the US was Congressman Lamar Smith. As word spread about the draconian measures in the bill, someone decided to check Lamar’s website and found that his site used a Creative Commons photo without attribution. That means his site was infringing on copyright. Shortly after the news broke Lamar’s site was taken down. It reappeared later with the images removed from the background and banner.

Legislators in Ireland are under pressure to pass a SOPA like law from the subsidiaries of the same companies that lobbied the US for SOPA. Earlier today, news broke on Twitter that Sean Sherlock’s (the man behind the Irish version of SOPA) site also contained copyright infringement. This site was also taken down today and probably we can safely assume that it will reappear without copyright infringement.

In Canada, there is pressure on parliament to pass Bill C-11 (Canadian version of SOPA). Can you guess what’s coming next?

The party currently in power in Canada is the CPC party. Lo and behold, In the lower right of the CPC website is a fake Youtube Logo:

Youtube does provide a terms of service for using their logo. Youtube also provides the approved logos in downloadable form.

Yes, those three sites only had minor infringements. But, they are infringements nonetheless.

  • How many websites currently have accidental fake logos?
  • How many websites currently have an image downloaded from a photo hosting service (ex. Flickr)?
  • How many websites currently have an icon the developer borrowed from Windows, OSX or an application?

The answer is probably millions. Is there a point at which technically illiterate politicians will clue in that the laws they are proposing will negatively affect millions of existing websites?

The additional irony with the CPC instance is that Youtube might end up being blocked from Canada if C-11 is passed.

SOPA & PIPA Blackout

I wanted to give a brief non-technical explanation of why we participated in the Internet blackout in protest of SOPA & PIPA. To start, here is a great TED talk:

Under current law (DMCA), you & I are allowed to incorporate existing content into our own works so long as it falls within “fair use”. Fair use means you can use short clips from movies, short music clips from other artists, quotes from other written works, etc. without it being copyright infringement. SOPA & PIPA eliminate fair use.

Further to that, the proposed laws also make linking to web sites that contain copyright infringement (under the new definition) illegal (on the grounds of aiding and abetting copyright infringement). What that means in practical terms if SOPA & PIPA pass into law is that most existing blogs both foreign and domestic would fall into the definition of a copyright infringing website and/or intellectual property theft.

A person who has a site offering free yoga videos and instruction is technically taking revenue away from the traditional entertainment and broadcasting industry. However, most like the person running that site is making money from advertising and/or creating a customer base for one on one consultation. From an economic standpoint, the site may be eliminating a job at News Corp or one of the other media conglomerates but it is not costing the economy a job.

The media conglomerates cannot get legislators to shutdown the distribution infrastructure (the Internet), so they drafted legislation that targets the content producers (ie. you & I). If you have not already done so, I encourage you to contact your representatives to let them know that you do not want the Internet to be censored.

Financial Planning – Elsewhere

A bit of a timely post on the Freakonomics Blog. The study looked at American finance but it is probably applicable throughout most of North America and Europe:

The most worrisome finding is that many people do not seem well informed and knowledgeable about their terms of borrowing; a sizable group does not know the terms of their mortgages or the interest rates they pay on their loans. – via Freakonomics

A week ago I wrote about Financial Planning.

Geek of the week

Seems I’m swinging by for my monthly blog post. One of the things I’ve been working on over the last few months is moving our web sites from the VPS we have had for the last few years to a dedicated server. Between the two, we are spending a couple hundred a month and I’m looking forward to eliminating one of them. Server Beach comes highly recommended for dedicated web servers. If you are in the market for one, I have a coupon code which will give you a break on your hosting bill.

A few weeks ago I put my name in to be featured as SB’s geek of the week. I got the message through twitter this morning that I was being featured this week.

About a week ago both Andrea & I were nominated to the WP Rockstar Showcase. We have been sitting in our current position of being on both the highest list and most rated list for the last few days. We wouldn’t object to you stopping by and giving us a boost tho’ 😉

I have also been sharing the writing with Andrea over on the WPMU Tutorials blog which is definitely one of the reasons I’ve been writing less here.

I’m not expecting to be less busy over the next few months. But, Andrea & I are considering a westward bound weekend trip in July. We just have to firm a few things up before we say too much about it.


I saw this somewhere yesterday. I was also sick and cannot remember where I saw it. Thankfully, JoVE posted an entry about it today. The other thing that happened today was that I bought gas. The price has been dropping here over the last few months. It’s price is now less than half of what it was earlier this year.

About 44% of what I paid for the gas today was various taxes. At the high price I paid a few months ago, only 27% was taxes. Removing the taxes from both prices means that the price today was approx 27% of the high price I paid only a few months ago.

A few years ago I read an article which said that one of the big 3 was making an average of $11-12,000 on its top of the line gas guzzling SUV. So, IMO, the place the big 3 need to look for their lost profits & potentially assistance is big oil because once that gas guzzler was driven off the lot, the folks who have been making out like bandits from it have been big oil.


Again, just my opinion, but if the government is interested in bailing out the economy long term then the place where they should be investing is in green technologies. Investing in green technologies would reduce oil demand & consumption. An ongoing investment in that area would stabilize the prices of oil based products. What that should do for the big 3 is increase their sales enough to give them an opportunity to retool themselves to produce economically viable products.


I don’t normally talk about news in the blog. I talk about politics even less. Actually, several years ago we stopped watching the news on TV and buying newspapers since we found them so repetitive and narrowly focused to the point of being annoying and a waste of time. If we are looking for news, we use the internet.

The title of this post is directed to the President of Ecuador, who has asked for permission to set up a military base in Miami. A reasonable request, one would think.

HT: Roy


One of the things I forgot about mentioning over the weekend is that I shared a plane with someone who is (moderately) rich and famous. Now, I expect he is much more famous than he is rich. While politicians make well above average salaries, politics usually doesn’t turn them into millionaires.

At various times, in her blog, Andrea has mentioned I have the knack for running into people I know while I’m travelling. On Friday, when the boarding call came for the flight back to NB, I immediately recognized the person who stepped into line 2 people in front of me. Frank McKenna has most recently held the prestigeous position of Canadian Ambassador to the US. “(Frank) won the largest electoral victory in Canadian history in 1987 when his party won every seat in the (New Brunswick) legislature.” (wikipedia)

Now what made that a somewhat memorable event is that in passing through boarding security you have to show photo id. The airline agent looked at him, then at the photo id and boarding pass and then asked him if he was McKenna. Because my seat was further back in the plane I ended up standing by his seat waiting for the person in front of me. He looked up at me and I asked him (with somewhat of a wry grin), “So, is it a good thing when they do recognize you…or, when they don’t recognize you?” He laughed and nodded assent to the second.

Tonight, Andrea, Emma and I went to do a bit of shopping. We ran into a woman (who is now retired) at the grocery store that I worked with 7 years ago. And there was a second lady shopping there who I met in the same time frame but, so far, I’ve been unable to remember where she worked. (I was doing contract work at the time and probably met 1000 people over a span of 5 years.)

HEM and stuff

The unschooling carnival is being promoted in the HEM Editor’s blog. Thanks Helen and Joanne.

In my little world, I’ve been working on getting Gentoo up and running. It does not come with an installer and it is preconfigured with a minimal configuration. It is bringing back memories from 15 years ago when I first started working with unix. I’ve been using up my evening mental energy on that. I took last night off (mostly) and went on a 2 hour drive to explore the countryside. Tonight I’m trying to catch up.

Next week I will be away from the internet for the week. I’m getting on a plane very early Monday morning and flying to Toronto. I will be there all week. I’m hoping to meet up with at least one homeschooling family while there.

Boycott Graphics

The image below was created by Rebecca. To read more on the boycott click on the image.

The note I would like to add is that TTUAC is not the only parenting book which advocates a judgement (i.e. crime, punishment, shame, humiliation) based parenting approach. I don’t have the info on any others at this time. But I do recall Andrea and I discussing more than one of these books over the years. If you know of others could you drop the info in a comment? TIA

Via: Joanne who has provided additional resource links here.


Sean Paddock

I first read about this on Thursday night at Carlotta’s. If you look on Carlotta’s sidebar, she has a number of posts on the subject of child welfare. They are all worth a read.

Andrea and I briefly discussed the story in a google chat. Andrea told me not to read the linked news story. And I haven’t. If I have time and the heart to do so, I’ll write on this subject sometime. As much as our society pressures us to compartmentalize our selves, I do not for a moment regret that I cannot help but feel an indescribeable amount of sorrow, not only for this young man, but also for the thousands upon thousands of children who are treated in a similar manner.

For now, I’ll borrow the words of Valerie who has written a good post about it:

But one thing that I don’t understand is the insistence of some Christian sects on using the older bits of the Bible — translated from a far more distant time and culture – as t.h.e. guidelines. Those people were neolithic nomads. At least Jesus was a person who lived an urban life. Why not focus on the newer parts with the message of love and acceptance, ’suffering’ children to come unto me, doing good to the ‘least of my brothers?’ How much more ‘least’ can we get than small children. (But that leads to a different can of worms. Why beat children you’ve insisted have a right to be born?)

Good question: Why?