Billionaire Sheldon Adelson secretly bought newspaper, ordered all hands to investigate judges he hated

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No one knew who the mystery buyer of the Las Vegas Review-Journal was, just that $140m had changed hands under mysterious circumstances. But every reporter on the paper was ordered to drop everything and try to dig up dirt on three Clark County judges. Read the rest

Cops have way more rights than you do

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When you get arrested, what happens next depends on the law and the Constitution, but when a cop arrests their co-worker, what happens next is determined by a cushy contract between the police union and the city that gives suspected crooked law enforcement officers every benefit of the doubt, and lots of ways to walk away free, regardless of the facts. Read the rest

Obama commutes sentences of 95 prisoners and pardons two

President Obama holds his end of 2015 news conference at the White House, Dec. 18, 2015.    REUTERS

President Barack Obama today announced he has commuted the sentences of 95 federal prisoners, and granted two prisoners pardons. Most of them are nonviolent drug offenders.

This is the most he has done at one time, and more than doubles the number of clemency orders he has granted since taking office. His signature today sets free 40 prisoners who are serving life sentences.

Read the rest

A win for copyright trolls: Cox must pay $25M for not disconnecting users

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BMG hired Rightscorp, a publicly traded blackmail company, to send threatening letters to Cox Cable subscribers it accused of infringing its copyrights, demanding cash payments to stay out of court. Read the rest

Lawsuit: California's county jails put inmates in solitary for cruel, arbitrary, illegal periods

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There have been plenty of lawsuits challenging America's prisons' use of solitary confinement as a form of torture; but the situation is no better in the jails where prisoners await arraignment, trial and sentencing, and can spend years in solitary. Read the rest

New EU rules would ban under-16s from social media

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A last-minute change to pending EU data-protection rules will ban under-16s from using social media without explicit parental consent -- the rules are up for a vote on Tuesday. Read the rest

CALL NOW: Paul Ryan is trying to sneak mass surveillance into the budget bill!

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Evan from Fight for the Future writes, "Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is trying to use a Congressional loophole to push through two attacks on our Internet freedom in the 'omnibus' must-pass budget bill that Congress is expected to file tonight. He wants to include the final version of CISA which has been completely stripped of privacy protections. And he wants to include a rider that would undermine the FCC's ability to enforce the net neutrality protections we fought so hard to win this year. There's still time to stop this sneak attack, go to BattleForTheNet.com or call 1-832-YOUR-NET to call Congress now! Read the rest

DEA ignored prosecutor's warning about illegal wiretap warrants, now it's losing big

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For years, the DEA relied on a Riverside, California magistrate judge, Helios Hernandez, to write illegal wiretap warrants, making Hernandez the national champion of wiretapping warrants, signing off on five times more than any other judge in America. Read the rest

Gentleman rams hotel lobby with truck after credit card declined

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John Edward Parsley, 62, of Gonzalez, Texas, was charged with assault and battery Monday after ramming a hotel lobby with his truck. Taking aim at two women staff at the Alva Comfort Inn in Oklahoma, he plowed into their reception desk as they dive away in the nick of time.

Why? Because his credit card had been declined, forcing him to pay cash.

Parsley was also charged with malicious injury to property and is being held on $1m bond.

MSNBC:

Alva police didn't immediately respond to requests for comment details, but according to an incident report obtained late Monday by the Enid News & Eagle, police said Parsley told them he drove into the hotel because "they thought he was bluffing, and he proved he wasn't."…

Christian, the manager, told investigators that "Parsley stated it wasn't his first bad experience with a hotel manager who was also Indian," according to the incident report. It said Parsley then told the staff that he was going to "run his truck over them and the property."

Read the rest

EFF and Human Rights Watch force DEA to destroy its mass surveillance database

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The EFF has just settled a case against the Drug Enforcement Agency on behalf of its client, Human Rights Watch, which sued the Agency over its decades-long program of illegal mass surveillance. Read the rest

Britons will need copyright licenses to post photos of their own furniture

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The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 is set to kick in, and with it will come an extended term of copyright for designer objects, such as furniture, which will endure for 70 years after the creator's death -- meaning that you'll need a license to post photographs of your own belongings. Read the rest

What will it take to get MIT to stand up for its own students and researchers?

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In 2007, 19-year-old MIT Media Lab student named Star Simpson went to Boston's Logan Airport to meet a friend wearing a sweater she'd decorated with LEDs in the shape of a star; the Logan police responded (with machine guns) to a call about a "dark-skinned man" with a suspicious device. Read the rest

Happy Birthday's copyright status is finally, mysteriously settled

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September's court ruling that Warner Chapell Music didn't hold the copyright to "Happy Birthday" was swiftly followed by a claim from the Association for Childhood Education International, a nonprofit established to administer the money that Warner Chapell extorted through its fraudulent claims. Read the rest

Undisclosed: the story of Adnan Syed, after Serial

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The blockbuster podcast Serial starts a long-awaited second season today, looking at a different case, but if you are still interested in the story of Adnan Syed, there's "Undisclosed." Read the rest

European Commission resurrects an unkillable stupid: the link tax

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Meghan writes, "You've probably never been kept awake at night worrying about a European Commission communication. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't be. Today the Commission published its roadmap for EU copyright reform, and despite the fanfare around portability of Netflix, it's clear that the bad idea known as 'ancillary copyright' has come back -- from the dead! -- to haunt us." Read the rest

US immigration law: so f'ed up that Trump's no-Muslim plan would be constitutional

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For more than a century, the US judiciary has been handing down rulings that affirm that non-US citizens, including those seeking entry into the USA, have no rights under the US Constitution -- rulings that also grant the President the power to exclude people based on race, marital status and other biased grounds. Read the rest

Ecuador's draft copyright law: legal to break DRM to achieve fair use

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All over the world, laws promulgated by the US Trade Representative ban breaking digital locks -- the "Digital Rights Management" technologies that lock up our TVs, tablets, phones, games consoles, cars, insulin pumps, tractors, coffee makers, etc -- even if you're breaking them to do something legal, for example, making "fair use" (like parodies, critiques, and new, transformative works like mashups). Read the rest

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