Copyright shakedown company Rightscorp, which threatens suspected music sharers with lawsuits unless they give Rightscorp money, has agreed to pay $450,000 to settle claims it illegally targeted thousands of people with recorded messages.
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Morgan Pietz, an attorney who played a key role in bringing down Prenda Law, sued Rightscorp in 2014, saying that the company's efforts to get settlements from alleged pirates went too far. Rightscorp's illegal "robocalls" violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), a 1991 law that limits how automated calling devices are used. The class-action lawsuit claimed that some Rightscorp targets were receiving one robocall on their cell phone per day. It's generally illegal to have automated devices call cell phones.
Earlier this week, Pietz and his co-counsel filed court papers outlining the settlement. Rightscorp will pay $450,000 into a settlement fund, which will be paid out to the 2,059 identified class members who received the allegedly illegal calls. Each class member who fills out an "affidavit of noninfringement" will receive up to $100. The rest of the fund will pay for costs of notice and claim administration (about $25,000) and attorneys' fees and costs, which cannot exceed $330,000. Rightscorp will also "release any and all alleged claims" against the class members. The company had accused the 2,059 class members of committing 126,409 acts of copyright infringement.
The latest FAA rules on UAVs are so broad that they class adorable toy quadcopters as drones and require special permits to operate them. Meanwhile, hot air balloons and unpiloted model aircraft are fair game for unlicensed play. The drone hobbyists are pissed:
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There will be no bacon on Elon Musk's Mars
Elon Musk would like you to know that he is not trying to be the Emperor of Mars
and has no authority to ban meat there. (Thanks Carl Franzen!) Read the rest
Famed Czech radical Josef Skvorecky recently died at 87 in his adopted land of Canada. In the Atlantic, JJ Gould remembers Skvorecky through his memoirs, including a detailed list of the rules for jazz performers during the Nazi occupation. The Reich's Gauleiter for the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia issued a 10-point regulation that Gould calls "the single most remarkable example of 20th-century totalitarian invective against jazz."
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1 Pieces in foxtrot rhythm (so-called swing) are not to exceed 20% of the repertoires of light orchestras and dance bands;
2 in this so-called jazz type repertoire, preference is to be given to compositions in a major key and to lyrics expressing joy in life rather than Jewishly gloomy lyrics;
3 As to tempo, preference is also to be given to brisk compositions over slow ones so-called blues); however, the pace must not exceed a certain degree of allegro, commensurate with the Aryan sense of discipline and moderation. On no account will Negroid excesses in tempo (so-called hot jazz) or in solo performances (so-called breaks) be tolerated;
4 so-called jazz compositions may contain at most 10% syncopation; the remainder must consist of a natural legato movement devoid of the hysterical rhythmic reverses characteristic of the barbarian races and conductive to dark instincts alien to the German people (so-called riffs);
5 strictly prohibited is the use of instruments alien to the German spirit (so-called cowbells, flexatone, brushes, etc.) as well as all mutes which turn the noble sound of wind and brass instruments into a Jewish-Freemasonic yowl (so-called wa-wa, hat, etc.);
Salon's "Ask the Pilot" column has a nicely nuanced take on why airlines have you shut off and stow electronic devices during takeoff and landing
. In a way, this reminds me of the way doctors tell pregnant women to not drink any alcohol at all, when what they really mean is, "It's not totally clear where the line is between a safe amount and a not safe amount." Read the rest