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June 2023
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Likely Trademark Tourism By In-N-Out In South Korea Has The Press Falling For The Trick

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We’ve spent a good deal of time talking about burger chain In-N-Out’s habit for engaging in trademark tourism all over the globe. If you’re not familiar with how this works, the company will apply for a trademark in various countries, all of which typically have use requirements in order to maintain the mark, and then […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 30-Jun-2023
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The Bizarre Case Of Elizabeth Warren's Former Chief Of Staff Slamming FTC's Bedoya For The Crime Of Being Honest

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There are some fairly strict rules about communicating with government agency employees regarding some matter that they're adjudicating, without making those communications public. We want whatever administrative state we have to have any attempts to influence outcomes to be public for all to see. That's why agencies have rules regarding what's known as ex parte […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 30-Jun-2023
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Supreme Court Rejects Genius' Preposterously Stupid Lawsuit Against Google

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Look, we were not kind when Genius first accused Google of copying lyrics from its site. The only interesting bit was the cleverness with which Genius figured out Google had copied the lyrics from its site, by sneakily adding in curved or non-curved apostrophes to see if the same ones showed up in Google's version […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 29-Jun-2023
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Music Streaming Services Sell Musicians Access To Their Fans; SoundCloud Goes A Better Way

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Back in January, Walled Culture wrote about an interesting initiative by the German online audio distribution platform and music sharing service SoundCloud, with its Fan-Powered Royalties (FPR) approach. At the time, we noted that it was a kind of halfway house to the true fans idea this blog has promoted many times. We also pointed out that one […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 29-Jun-2023
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Man Who Sued Over His Tattoo Kinda Appearing On A Cardi B Cover Loses, Pays Legal Fees

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It’s crazy just how many posts we’ve done here on the subject of tattoos. But if you go and review the posts we have done on this topic, you will notice that the majority of them involve tattoo artists as the ones asserting intellectual property rights, not those who got the tattoo on their person. […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 28-Jun-2023
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New York Dept. Of Corrections Bets On Prior Restraint, Adds Shackles To Certain Forms Of Personal Expression

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There have been plenty of laws passed to keep prisoners from profiting from depictions of their crimes, encompassing not only their own recountings, but those put together by others. These so-called “Son of Sam” laws got their name from serial killer David Berkowitz, who authorities speculated was going to sell off the rights to his […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 28-Jun-2023
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Sony Hurts Its Case Against Microsoft Part 1: No Next-Gen Console Information For Activision

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The saga of Microsoft’s purchase of Activision Blizzard continues. The two biggest remaining hurdles over which Microsoft has to jump to get the deal over the finish line at this point are in the UK with the CMA and in America with the FTC. While Microsoft appeals the CMA’s refusal to allow the deal to […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 27-Jun-2023
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West Virginia State Police Sued Over Hidden Cameras Placed In 'Junior Troopers' Locker Room

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Law enforcement officers and sexual assault go hand-in-hand. Give someone enough power and they’re sure to abuse it. That’s just human nature. Only the best people should be trusted with this much power, but this nation tends to believe that only the most law enforcement will do. Consequently, our hiring practices — not to mention […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 27-Jun-2023
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Broadband ISP Customer Satisfaction Ranked Second Worst, Above Only Gas Stations

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We’ve noted for years how the steady, mindless consolidation by telecom monopolies has resulted in patchy broadband access, slow speeds, and high prices. But another longstanding trademark of the industry has been its abysmal customer service, created by mindless growth and a subsequent refusal to scale customer service to match. The latest customer satisfaction rankings […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 24-Jun-2023
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DOJ Releases Report On Minneapolis PD, Says It's No Surprise This Problematic Cop Shop Produced A Murderer

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Any investigative report of any police department in the United States composed by the DOJ’s Civil Rights division can be described as “scathing.” Bad cops doing bad things trigger these investigations, which invariably find evidence of biased policing, excessive force deployment, and a general disregard — if not actual disdain — for the people these […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 24-Jun-2023
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FTC Cites 'Starfield' Exclusivity In Response To Microsoft's Opposition To Injunction Motion

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Actions, as they say, have consequences. Or potential consequences, at least, in the case of Microsoft battling with the FTC. In the ongoing drama that is Microsoft’s attempted purchase of Activision, the FTC filed for a temporary restraining order barring the consummation of the purchase while its lawsuit remains unresolved. The first trial date in […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 23-Jun-2023
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Petty Corruption On Display As Chicago Cop Uses Bogus 'Girlfriend Stole My Car' Excuse To Get Out Of 44 Traffic Tickets

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Some more great reporting based on public records has emerged from ProPublica. This one shows how willing cops are to exploit the system they’re supposed to be protecting and upholding. Now former officer Jeffrey Kriv certainly isn’t one of Chicago’s worst cops. There’s simply too much competition, given the PD’s long history of internal corruption […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 23-Jun-2023
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The Stevens Papers: A Peek Behind The Scenes At The Making Of Lotus, Eldred, And Grokster

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The recently released files of the late Associate Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens reveal interesting details concerning some of the Court's significant copyright decisions, but leave important questions unanswered. Justice Stevens (1920-2019) left his papers to the Library of Congress, which opened them to the public in May 2023. (See here for a blog post on Justice […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 22-Jun-2023
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Deus Ex Machina: Church In Germany Conducts AI Created Mass To Mixed Reviews

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To say that developments in the realm of artificial intelligence are coming fast at this point is a wild understatement. There’s a ton going on in the space, some of it showcasing amazing things we can now do using AI, some of it showing where humans are still very much needed, and much of the […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 22-Jun-2023
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Australian Designer Who Sued Katy Perry Feels 'Personally Attacked' Over Appeal Of Trademark Ruling

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Our posts on Katy Perry in the past have been all over the place. Sometimes Perry is an intellectual property bully. Sometimes she’s more the victim of intellectual property bullying. But what is not in dispute is the Katy Perry is a cultural icon worldwide with an extremely famous, albeit misspelled, name. In Australia, Katie […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Jun-2023
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Seward County, Nebraska's Uniformed Roadside Bandits Are Raking In Millions In Asset Forfeiture Cash

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Seward County is distinguished from Nebraska’s many blink-and-you’ll-miss-it counties by its penchant for seizing cash from motorists. The county’s population checks in at under 18,000 but its overly enthusiastic law enforcement still manages to rake in millions of dollars every year from pretextual traffic stops. The only other thing notable in its Wikipedia article is […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 21-Jun-2023
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White House Wants Your Comments On AI Policy, But Doesn't Want You To Find Out How

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Via Tarah Wheeler (who just destroyed the EARN IT Act recently) we find out that, while the White House has announced that it wants public comment on AI regulation, it hasn't made it at all easy to figure out how to actually comment. I'm smashblogging on a Saturday because I came across this story on […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 17-Jun-2023
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Twitch Rolls Out New Tiered Revenue Splits, Pissing Creators Off Yet Again

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Amazon-owned Twitch appears to be running something of an experiment to see just how much it can piss off its creative community before a mass exodus occurs. Reading back through our posts on the platform, you will be left with the understanding that there are two types of policy rollouts when it comes to Twitch. […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 17-Jun-2023
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The Patent Troll Lobby Set Up An AI-Powered Comment Creator To Support Its Bad Patent Policy

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You may recall that, back during the last net neutrality open comment period, the FCC's comment system was overrun by millions of faked comments, including from many dead people. Not surprisingly, it was eventually determined that legacy broadband companies funded the fake comment submissions, which they felt they needed to do because actual activists were […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 16-Jun-2023
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Open Access Makes Research More Widely Cited, Helping Spread Knowledge

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Open access has been discussed many times here on Techdirt. There are several strands to its story. It's about allowing the public to access research they have paid for through tax-funded grants, without needing to take out often expensive subscriptions to academic titles. It's about saving educational institutions money that they are currently spending on over-priced academic […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 16-Jun-2023
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Music Label Demands Google Delist A Wikipedia Page With Info It Doesn't Like

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In Walled Culture the book (free digital versions available) there's a chapter about the widely-used notice and takedown system, and its many abuses. One indicator of how bad things are, and how they are still getting worse, is the number of requests that Google receives to de-list links from its search results. Last year, Google […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 15-Jun-2023
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Microsoft/Activison TRO Granted, Everyone Says They're Happy About It

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Well, that was fast. In the ongoing saga of Microsoft’s attempt to purchase Activision Blizzard, we just discussed the FTC’s petition to the court to have a temporary restraining order put in place preventing the two companies from finalizing the purchase while regulatory bodies were still doing their thing. Honestly, the most interesting part of […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 15-Jun-2023
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FTC Moves For A Restraining Order Stop Microsoft, Activision Blizzard Merger From Consummating

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We’ve been covering Microsoft’s attempt to acquire Activision Blizzard for months now and it just keeps getting more and more interesting. A very quick primer: Microsoft is seeking to acquire the company for a bonkers amount of money, the EU has already approved the deal, while the UK’s CMA has blocked it, and the FTC […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 14-Jun-2023
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Mass. Begins Enforcing New 'Right To Repair' Law After Automakers Lied It Would Aid Sexual Predators

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In late 2020, Massachusetts lawmakers (with overwhelming public support) passed an expansion of the state's right to repair law. The original law was the first in the nation to be passed in 2013. The update dramatically improved it, requiring that all new vehicles be accessible via a standardized, transparent platform that allows owners and third-party repair shops […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 14-Jun-2023
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State Court Tells Cops Getting A Warrant Two Years After An Illegal Phone Search Doesn't Suddenly Make The Search Legal

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The Supreme Court’s Riley decision has been the law of the land since 2014. If cops want to search seized cell phones, they need a warrant. Nearly a decade on, cops are still violating it. The inability to follow the rules has seen evidence in this criminal case (brought to us by FourthAmendment.com) tossed twice. […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 13-Jun-2023
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Google Finally Restores 'Downloader' App To Store

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A couple of weeks back, we discussed how Google had delisted the app Downloader from the Play Store after a DMCA notice was issued by a firm representing several Israeli TV networks. The problem with all of this is simple: Downloader doesn’t have anything to do with copyright infringement or piracy. All it does is […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 13-Jun-2023
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Twitch Once Again Trips Over Its Own Tongue Messaging Ad Policy Change To Creators

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How does simple communication and the rollout of new polices remain so very, very difficult for Amazon’s Twitch platform? Over the past several years, we have written up many posts of all the ways that Twitch has sucked out loud when it comes to communicating with its creators, particularly when it comes to policy changes […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 10-Jun-2023
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Gigabyte Motherboards Came With Sloppy Backdoor Users Had No Idea About

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It’s always interesting to me to watch and see what gets attention in the security and privacy space. For example, everybody spent the last two years suffering absolute embolisms at the idea that TikTok was a threat to privacy, but nobody much seems to care that an absolute ocean of “smart devices,” from your router […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 10-Jun-2023
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Tennessee Appeals Court Says Vanity License Plates Are Likely Protected Speech

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There have been lots of legal battles fought over proprietary blends of numbers and letters. States collecting a premium for vanity plates claim this is government speech, since it’s a state-issued plate. Or, if it’s not quite government speech, it’s the government’s tacit approval of this speech, even if the vanity plate really only contains […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 09-Jun-2023
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US Patent Office Proposes Rule To Make It Much Harder To Kill Bad Patents

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So, this is bad. Over the last few years, we've written plenty about the so-called inter partes review or IPR that came into being about a decade ago as part of the America Invents Act, which was the first major change to the patent system in decades. For much of the first decade of the […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 09-Jun-2023
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Safety Last: AI Weapons Scanners Sold To US Schools Routinely Fail To Detect Knives

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We’ve done all we can we’re willing to do to make schools safer. We’ve added more cops, something that sounds like safety but just means we’ve offloaded school discipline to people trained in the art of violence. We’ve locked more doors, added more machinery, and opened up our students to all sorts of pervasive surveillance. […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 08-Jun-2023
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Humans Still Needed: 'Firmament' Players Complain About Game's Lore Content Written By AI

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You can’t walk out of your front door these days without tripping over someone ready to tell you about the next great thing in artificial intelligence. And, hey, it’s for good reason. The last few months have seen an explosion of new tools that have come online and are capable of some seriously amazing things. […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 08-Jun-2023
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Techdirt Podcast Episode 353: Moderator Mayhem!

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Last month, in partnership with Engine, we launched our new browser game that puts you in the shoes of a frontline content moderation worker at a growing online platform: Moderator Mayhem. If you haven’t tried it yet, you can play it in your browser on mobile or desktop. The response to the game has been […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Jun-2023
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How to move the needle on innovation

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Fostering innovation in large companies is a perennial challenge for leaders, no matter where employees are located. So how can leaders move the innovation needle? Lorraine Marchand, former general manager of the life sciences division of IBM's Watson Health and author of The Innovation Mindset, offers the following suggestions: adopt a personal mindset of innovation, weave innovation into the business, train employees in problem-solving, and make it safe to fail.

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Jun-2023
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A metaverse that works

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The May issue of s+b explores how businesses are finding real-world value in virtual reality.

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Jun-2023
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Borked KOTOR 2 Switch Release Ends As It Began: A Shit Show

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Almost exactly a year ago, we discussed the train wreck release of Knights of the Old Republic 2 as a port for the Nintendo Switch. How big a screw up was this whole thing from the start? Well, if you’re not familiar with our previous post on it, we can just start with there being […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 07-Jun-2023
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Another Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Gang Member Admits The Department Has Plenty Of Gang Members

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The Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department doesn’t have a great track record. In addition to the usual stuff expected from law enforcement agencies (biased policing, zero accountability, civil rights abuses, excessive force deployment), the LASD has been home to deputy gangs pretty much since its inception. Its recent string of elected sheriffs hasn’t done anything to […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 06-Jun-2023
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Blizzard's 'Diablo 4' Q&A With Fans Got Real Weird, Real Fast

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Usually when we’re talking about companies engaging in astroturfing, it takes the form of companies or industry groups inputting comments supposedly from “the public” to support whatever thing they’re trying to accomplish. Utility groups creating a shell advocate organization to stifle reforms. Telecom companies employing astroturfers to smear an FCC nominee. Amazon cosplaying as a […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 06-Jun-2023
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Turns Out Social Media Is Driving Less And Less Traffic To Media Orgs

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As everyone continues to demand that social media companies pay news orgs for the crime of sending them traffic, it's becoming clear that fewer and fewer people are using social media for news any more, and social media sites simply are not a major driver of traffic to news orgs anyway. The PressGazette has had […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 03-Jun-2023
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City Of Minneapolis Kicks A Bunch Of Pretextual Stops To The Curb In Settlement With State's Department Of Human Rights

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The brightest light in Flyover Country, USA underwent the growing pains of a coastal megatropolis following Minneapolis PD officer Derek Chauvin’s murder of George Floyd — something that began as a response to allegedly fake $20 bill being passed at a local shop, but ended nine minutes later with Floyd lying dead under Chauvin’s unmoving […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 03-Jun-2023
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Activision Appeals CMA Ruling On Its Activision Acquisition, Calling It 'Irrational'

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Microsoft’s acquisition of Activision Blizzard plods along with a drip of news coming out every so often. For those of you with your pencils and scorecards ready, the current state is: the FTC has sued to stop the deal in the States, the EU has given its approval for the purchase to move forward, and […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 02-Jun-2023
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'Right To Repair' Reform Passes CA State Senate, 38-0

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Reform efforts aimed at making it easier and more affordable to repair technology you bought and paid for continue to see progress. California’s SB 244 this week passed in the California State Senate with a vote of 38-0, a notable retort to the lobbyists that had been trying to kill the bill: The bill still […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 02-Jun-2023
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Community-Owned Broadband Network Again Tops List Of Most Popular ISPs

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For two decades, frustrated towns and cities all over the country have responded to telecom monopolies by building their own fiber broadband networks. Data routinely shows that not only do these networks provide faster, better, and cheaper service, the networks are generally more accountable to the public — because they’re directly owned and staffed by […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 01-Jun-2023
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Jack Daniel's Loses Opposition To 'Jack And Victor' Whisky In UKIPO Smackdown

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Jack Daniel’s, the famous whiskey maker out of Tennessee, is not a complete stranger to silly trademark battles. But it appears that the company may be getting into the trademark bullying game, or at least the trademark lack of comprehending the law game, more and more these days. This post will serve as another example […]

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posted at: 12:00am on 01-Jun-2023
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