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News Roundup

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A large DVD and CD counterfieting ring is broken up; Woman hires hit man over MySpace trist; 'Dog' the bounty hunter is dogged by the Feds; John Kerry says he is going to eat the Swift Boat Vets for breakfast; and finally a GPL lawsuit over a chess program is doomed to fail.
Businessweek says that a large DVD and CD counterfeiting operation in New York has been busted.
"What they uncovered was the second-largest CD burning lab in the United States and one of the largest movie pirating labs in the country, said the Recording Industry Association of America and the Motion Picture Association of America, whose staffs helped local police."
They found over 16,000 bootleg DVD's in an office, and a ton of burning equipment in a garage in the Bronx. I'm no fan of the RIAA because of their strong-arm legal tactics that amount to extortion for any other company that isn't an industry giant, but I'm firmly behind the MPAA. Wholesale copying of DVD's for sale on the street is just wrong, because they are actually profiting from the infringement -- I really want to see some serious prison time for these guys, they've earned it.
* * *

The AP has a story that shouldn't really surprise anyone -- a woman tried to hire a hit man to kill another woman whose picture appeared on her boyfriends MySpace page. She met with the hit man, told him who to kill, paid him $400 while promising another $100 after the deed was done, provided to him pictures of the target (from MySpace) and demanded pictures of the corpse afterwards.

The only problem was the hit man was actually a cop.

This isn't surprising because it happens all the time. Sadly, there are quite a few people out there that simply do not value human life, and that will be expressed in any and every way possible in a given society. I have no doubt that this would have happened with these exact same people a decade ago, absent MySpace, because MySpace didn't make this woman a nutjob in the first place.
* * *

'Dog' the bounty hunter has been arrested in Honolulu by United States Federal Marshals, due to an extradition request by the Mexican government. Chapman entered Mexico under false pretenses a few years ago hunting fugitive Andrew Luster. Though he actually found him and detained him, the Mexican authorities got wind of it before they could leave the country, and arrested Chapman after he refused to surrender custody of Luster to Mexican police

Chapman was released on bond pending a hearing in Mexico, and promptly fled to the U.S. He has been wanted in Mexico ever since -- ironically -- as a fugitive on the run from justice. Bounty hunting is illegal in Mexico (and should be here as well), and it is very likely that Chapman will end up serving prison time in Mexico for kidnapping and flight to avoid prosecution.
* * *

John Kerry took a swing at the Swift Boat cowards recently, saying he intended to kick their asses all across the country, presumably during the 2008 elections. The thing that burns me about these jerks is that they attacked Kerry at his strongest point -- being a war veteran -- and came out on top, just because Kerry wouldn't sink to their level of mud slinging. He didn't believe vets should be saying nasty thing about other vets to score political points; he was the good guy and still paid a price, while a draft dodging drunk lying coward of all people resumed his reign of terror over the U.S. Go figure.

The future looks to be a much different landscape than it was two years ago. The war in Iraq has become such a disaster that nobody would tolerate those Swifties today. They simply have no ammo left. John Kerry and the Democrats were right, and they were wrong. It's fact, and they need to get over it. But never one to let the opportunity for cheap shots pass, prominent coward John O'Neill came out to say:
It is a little difficult to imagine Kerry (“I voted for it before I voted against it”) kicking the most decorated living serviceman, Bud Day, a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient, or our salty commander, Adm. Roy Hoffman, anywhere. Perhaps Kerry had in mind using a “Rice Fanny Grenade” as he did by mistake on himself shortly before leaving Vietnam. If so, based on the record, he is in far more danger than anyone else.
Your bullshit doesn't wash anymore, boy. Not only did Kerry serve with honor and distinction in the military, he came home and had the balls to tell the truth about what a horror war really is. But that wasn't enough. Instead of sitting on his ass bitching like you have been ever since, Kerry has been faithfully serving the American public ever since.

It takes stones to give up your life for the military, and it takes dedication to weather the lies and deception of D.C. to be a successful politician, and it takes a hell of a lot more than either of the two to do both in a single life time. You sir, have only achieved half of what John Kerry has for this country, and yet you have the nerve to insult him and every American by making stupid jokes about wounds in combat? What are you, 12? You're lucky he didn't throw that grenade at you instead. You certainly deserve a couple of pieces of shrapnel in your ass to go along with the collection rattling around in your head.

With so many more accomplishments than you could ever dream of O'Neill, Kerry has done his part and then some. In '08, he will continue to serve his country, should he run for the office of the President again, while you will sit at home, bitching and crying, enjoying the rights and benefits garnered for you by people who serve in ways other than at the barrel of a gun. If you think you have the right to speak and to criticize, then to you I say that you are a small measure of a man compared to John Kerry, and you have not earned and will never justify the right to question his ability to lead.
* * *
And finally, there is this:
Alexander Maryanovsky, the developer of Jin, a Java-based chess client, has filed a lawsuit in Israel that alleges multiple violations of the GNU General Public License (GPL). In the suit, Maryanovsky alleges that International Chess University (IChessU), a startup offering online chess tutoring, and Alexander Rabinovitch, its CEO, violated both his copyright and the GPL in its production and distribution of the IChessU client, a piece of software based on Jin. Both sides agree on the general outline of events, but differ in their interpretation of the GPL and its applicability.
While not overwhelming, most people that I've seen discussing the issue seem to believe, as I do, that Alexander is fighting a lost cause. The problem is that Alexanders chess client is written in Java, and in order to skirt the GPL, IChessU wrote their extensions to the GPL'd Java code in a native language library. They changed Jin (the Java program) so that it would call out to the library which contained all of their code, making their only responsibility under the GPL to release the Jin modifications. Presumably, if they were smart, they would allow the chess client to continue to function without the external library.

The GPL clearly states that a third-party library that is not linked to GPL code does not have to itself be GPL'd, but Alexander doesn't (or refuses) to understand that. This suit is going to cost the GPL cause mightily, because if it sees a verdict, then it will be the first court case involving the GPL ever to be adjudicated, establishing legal precedent. This is actually a bad thing because Alexander is going to lose this case, because no violation has occurred.
"He also said," Maryanovsky writes, "that they are planning to wrap Jin in a layer that would allow it to be controlled via a socket. I told [Rabinovitch] that I believe this would still, most likely, be violating the GPL."
The GPL does not cover process communication at all, so this claim is utterly irrelevant. The GPL covers program code that is linked during all stages of compilation (from mixing the source code to joining binary objects, the intermediary step between source code and executable), but does not govern actions at run-time as far as mixing goes. What IChessU has done is absolutely no different than video card manufacturers ATI and NVidia making binary-only drivers for their cards available for Linux. While the Linux kernel is GPL, the binary drivers are not, and are loaded by the GPL'd kernel during run-time, not while the kernel is being compiled.

Alexander cites this from the FAQ to bolster his case:
By contrast, pipes, sockets and command-line arguments are communication mechanisms normally used between two separate programs. So when they are used for communication, the modules normally are separate programs. But if the semantics of the communication are intimate enough, exchanging complex internal data structures, that too could be a basis to consider the two parts as combined into a larger program.
The most obvious problem with this statement is that it is in fact not in the GPL itself, it is the mere opinion of a person that holds no weight at all. The GPL does not make such distinctions, which leads one to believe that it was never intended for programs that communicate over a socket would infect each other as far as the GPL is concerned.

Another later claim about the End User License Agreement prohibiting the creation of derivative works is certainly a violation of the GPL, but is also in direct contradiction with copyright law that allows such derivatives under certain circumstances. Alex could win on this point, but the only result would be IChessU being ordered to change their EULA.

Then there is this gem:
Screenshots of Jin appear on the IChessU site in violation of copyright. Translated from Hebrew, the text of the lawsuit claims that "they were made by running the program in a non-licensed manner."
I'm not sure what Alex was smoking, but that makes no sense at all. Taking a screen shot of a program that is running is not a violation of copyright because there is no such protection anywhere on this planet. If the screen shots were in fact taken by Alex and used by IChessU, he may have a minor case of infringement on the images themselves, but that is not the case, and this claim will be tossed.

I can't comment on the 'bad faith negotiation' claim because those things can get very complicated based on local and federal law, not just of this country, but of any country. He may win on that count, but it is hard to say.

What is not hard to say is that the GPL claims are without merit, and IChessU is going to come out the winner of this fight in a big way.
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