After repeated budget cuts, Missouri's underfunded Public Defender drafts the Governor to work for him

Brother Phil writes, "The Public Defender's Office in Missouri is chronically underfunded by a governor who can always find money for his pet projects. However, they do have the power to draft any lawyer to serve as the defense in a case if they don't have one spare.Guess who just happens to be a lawyer..." Read the rest

Someone built a wall around Donald Trump's Walk of Fame Star

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RidleyScotch/Reddit (via Mitch Wagner) Read the rest

Surprise: Copyright trolls rip off the rightsholders they supposedly "represent"

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The copyright troll business-model: a sleazy lawyer gets copyright holders to one or more films (often, but not always, porn) to deputize them to police those rights; then the lawyer's company uses sloppy investigative techniques to accuse internet users of violating those copyrights; they use deceptive notices to get ISPs to give them contact details for those users (or to get the ISPs to pass notices on to the users); then they send "speculative invoices" to their victims, demanding money not to sue -- usually a sum that's calculated to be less than it would cost to ask a lawyer whether it's worth paying. Read the rest

A law prof responds to students who anonymously complained about #blacklivesmatter tee

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This redacted pair of letters surfaced two months ago: the first one is a letter from an anonymous law student (or group of students) who wrote to a prof to object to their choice to wear a Black Lives Matter t-shirt in class; the second, a devastating takedown from the prof, is a tiny masterclass in legal thinking, persuasive writing, and the nature and character of a legal education. Read the rest

One of the copyright's scummiest trolls loses his law license

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For more than four years, we've chronicled the sleazy story of Prenda Law, a copyright troll whose extortion racket included genuinely bizarre acts of identity theft, even weirder random homophobic dog-whistles, and uploading their own porn movies to entrap new victims, and, naturally, an FBI investigation into the firm's partners' illegal conduct. Read the rest

Class action: publishers paid writers "sale" royalties on ebooks whose fine-print says they're "licensed"

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When you sign a publishing deal, the contract spells out different royalty rates for different kinds of commercial activity; you get so much every time a copy is sold, and significantly more from every licensing deal for the book. Read the rest

Xenophobic UK politician ranting about "political correctness" gets a public spanking from an historian

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Chris Wood is a councillor from the UK Independence Party (UKIP), a xenophobic party known for its leader and lawmakers' racist and sexist gaffes; this week, he added to the annals of UKIP inanity when he took to Twitter to complain that the BBC had cast a person of color as Margaret of Anjou, wife of King Henry VI. Read the rest

Copyright trolls Rightscorp are teetering on the verge of bankruptcy

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Rightscorp, the copyright trolls whose business-model was convincing ISPs to freeze their customers' Internet access in response to unsubstantiated copyright accusations, and then ransom those connections back for $20 each, will be out of money by the end of this quarter. Read the rest

German publishers owe writers €100M in misappropriated royalties

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In Germany, media that can make or store copies (drives, copiers, blank optical discs) is subject to a "private copying levy" that is meant to compensate rightsholders for the works that will be copied to it (in return, the levy confers a limited right to make those copies to the purchaser). Read the rest

Weird porn author who was dragged into Hugo Awards mess pulls off epic troll

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For the second year in a row, a bunch of disgruntled "conservative" sf readers and writers are attempting to destroy science fiction's Hugo Awards by nominating slates of works that are, variously: rabid racist tracts; works by their ideological opponents; tepid military sf; works by bystanders; and weird porn by Chuck Tingle, a master of the form, who has nothing to do with any of this. Read the rest

Campaigners search Londoners' phones to help them understand the Snoopers Charter

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Campaigners from Liberty, a civil liberties group, took to the streets of London (and the lobby of the Home Office!) and grabbed peoples' phones, browsing them while explaining that they just wanted to build a detailed dossier of their lives by looking at their communications, browsing history and location data -- mirroring the way that the Snoopers Charter, pending mass surveillance legislation, will allow UK government agencies to harvest "bulk data" and store and search it, without suspicion or warrant. (via B2FXXX) Read the rest

Hacking Team supplied cyber-weapons to corrupt Latin American governments for human rights abuses

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In Hacking Team Malware Para La Vigilancia en América Latina, a new report from Derechos Digitales, we learn how Hacking Team, the hacked-and-disgraced cyber-arms dealer (previously) supplied weapons to corrupt state actors in latinamerica who used them to spy on political opposition, journalists and academics. Read the rest

Judge says Citibank's law-school loan isn't "student debt" and can be discharged in bankruptcy

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The most toxic debt in America is student debt: your student loans (originated by universities, backed by the federal government, and handed off to banks, who securitize them) are subject to virtually unlimited (and uncontestable) penalties and fees, and are immune to bankruptcy, and are the only form of debt that can be taken out of your Social Security. Read the rest

CNBC's secure password tutorial sent your password in the clear to 30 advertisers

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CNBC's Big Crunch blog put up a well-intentioned, but disastrously designed tutorial on secure password creation, which invited users to paste their passwords into a field to have them graded on how difficult it would be to guess them. Read the rest

GOP's anti-abortion strategy could establish precedent for massive, corrupt regulation

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The US Republican Party welds together two separate and sometimes conflicting ideologies: dogwhistles to Christian conservatives on abortion, LGBTQ issues, etc; and a doctrinaire commitment to "free markets" and deregulation, often at the expense of the working class Christian conservatives whose votes are coaxed forth with the campaign dollars funded by the one percenter beneficiaries of the deregulation movement. Read the rest

Uber uses customer service reps to push anti-union message to drivers

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Once Seattle became the first city where Uber drivers were allowed to unionize, the drivers started getting "customer service" calls that polled them on their satisfaction with the company, while ham-handedly pushing anti-union messages. Read the rest

Politician given green-light to name developer's new streets with synonyms for greed and deceit

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A New York State Supreme Court judge has confirmed that Staten Island Borough President James Oddo can name three streets in a new property development with words that imply greediness and deceitfulness on the part of the developers. Read the rest

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