May 13 roundup


  • Thanks for letting people know about the proposed Bureau of Indian Affairs regulations on the Indian Child Welfare Act. It appears to be a direct result of SCOTUS’ ruling in Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl. BIA didn’t like the outcome, so they’ll just pass regs to negate it!It’s hard to believe a federal agency would attempt to pass regulations that will negate 37 years of state and federal law, but that’s their plan.

  • I have been expecting this for some time. My entire career has been computer-based. While I had no formal computer classes (started engineering school in 1971 and used a slide rule, it would have been “unfair” to have changed the curriculum mid-stream) all my jobs have involved use of a computer. First job, automated data acquisition with Hewlett-Packard BASIC. Later jobs working for CAD and FEA vendors. At another job, the product was embedded systems compilers for real-time computing. Now I am using a few flavors of CAD software for a manufacturer. For all these tasks, it is impossible to separate “your data” from content that is “owned” by the CAD/analysis vendor. You need THEIR tools to even look at, let alone MANIPULATE your data. Open source helps, but unless you can duplicate the intricate linkages, the data stream is pretty useless. In a current CAD systems, you can create an assembly and define how THIS is attached to THAT. If you change THAT, how can you be certain that your changes will flow through and everything gets properly updated? Imagine changing ONE bolt name that affects thousands in one building and every other structure you have made. This is far from a simple tinker..

  • Re: fees

    This is the problem with fee shifting statutes. The winner gets to choose its firm and the amount that will be paid. For example, in bankruptcy, the estate may pay fees for creditor attorneys, but the creditor hires the attorney. In a forclosure, the debtor pays the attorney fees, but the lender chooses the attorney. Simply put, the client has no incentive to hire an attorney based on rates.

    I can be all for fee shifting. However, there should be some way to insure that the rates charged by the winning side are actually reasonable.

    I think that this could be described as a moral hazard.

  • I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in having fond feelings toward John Deere. The first motor vehicle I ever drove was a classic John Deere tractor (model 1929), the kind you started by manually spinning the flywheel, with the power take-off on the other end of the flywheel shaft. Their insane position on software copyright is eroding my affection for John Deere. They don’t seem like good guys anymore.

  • but automakers remain concerned with their liability if third parties make changes that could result in physical or financial harm. They noted unsavory mechanics could easily manipulate odometers,

    And all of that has nothing to do with copyright. Rolling back odometers is illegal regardless, and you can make tons of dangerous changes to a car without touching the software – or you could simply start from scratch on the software and ignore everything the dealer put in.

    The real problem here is that copyright applies at all to behind-the-scenes code. There’s nothing “creative” about code that sends power to an engine. Nobody buys a car because of what the guy writing the software named his variables. If you have something like a computer game, at least the end product is a creative work. In car software, the end product is just the car working.