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OpenMarket: Law and Constitution

  • Assessing the Content of Google's Character

    October 10, 2006
    To continue the Google-YouTube discussion begun by Peter, take a look at what some /. folks are saying about Google's potential exposure to copyright infringement lawsuits. YouTube, of course, has already signed deals with some very large content companies, and more of the same can be expected now that they've got Google's corporate clout (and cash) on their side. It only takes one company with a valid copyright claim, however, to seriously gum up the works. Hopefully the today's content creators will realize (as our own Jamie Plummer had explained) that the best path to protecting their rights...
  • Free Government Cash: Mixed News From Germany

    October 6, 2006

    It seems that German welfare queens have been enraging their hard working fellow citizens by driving expensive cars while on the dole. The Christinan Democrats in parliament, however, have come up with a solution - force those receiving benefits to sell their cars (above a certain value) in order to contribute to their own upkeep. The plan has been thwarted in the past, but appears to be moving forward.

    On the minus side of the ledger, German attorney Jens Lorek is encouraging citizens who believe they've been abducted by aliens to...

  • Lockyer: SUVs Don't Kill People, Car Companies Kill People

    September 21, 2006
    California's attorney general has sued carmakers DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Ford and subsidiaries of Honda, Nissan and Toyota for global warming impacts on the state. Interesting that the state isn't trying to hold individual car owners — the ones who actually drive and produce the emissions at issue — liable for the alleged damage. This suit seems rather reminiscent of the lawsuits first filed by U.S. cities against gun manufacturers in the late 1990s. Critics at the time pointed out, of course, that it's the people who actually shoot the guns who should be held liable for any damage caused by them. Congress was sufficiently alarmed by the prospects, however, to pass the...
  • Liberty stands up to Spitzer

    September 14, 2006
    Sometimes — but not often -- some companies hang in there if they're convinced they are right. That seems to be the case with Liberty Mutual Insurance, which is standing up to — can it be — New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. Spitzer, as we know, has brought CEOs and boards of Fortune 100 companies to their knees to grovel. They have begged to sign huge settlements, thrown respected company executives to the jackals at Justice, and whispered non-“mea culpas” to the media, only to see their stock prices plummet or their companies left in threads. Now, Liberty Mutual, “...
  • The Dwarfs Beat the Justices

    August 15, 2006
    Guess what — a new poll shows that the Seven Dwarfs are better known in the U.S. than the Supreme Court Justices. According to the Reuters article, “Three quarters of Americans can correctly identify two of Show White's seven dwarfs while only a quarter can name two Supreme Court Justices.” The poll, conducted by Zogby International, also showed that 57 percent of Americans could name Harry Potter as the hero of J.K. Rowling's novels, but only 50 percent could identify the UK's prime minister as Tony Blair. Is this a case of “rational ignorance,” as CEI's president Fred Smith describes it?
    “People have few reasons to spend their time...

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