You Want Fries With That?

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It’s being reported that a child was left in a local McDonalds restaurant restroom this morning here in Charlotte.  Go read the article first and then come back.

Finished?  Here’s my problem with the story.  In North Carolina, it’s legal for the mother to hand over her newborn  child, up to 7 days old to any complete stranger who’s responsible and walk away.

Any complete stranger.

Think about that for just a second.  Now I don’t mind having this law and to some extent think it’s a good idea.  Wouldn’t it be a better idea though for them to hand the kid over to, or, oh I don’t know, maybe a hospital or a police officer or maybe even walk over to the local fire station and hand the child off there?  How about a church?  Or a school?  Or heck how about a bank branch since we’re here in Charlotte?

Nope, not here in North Carolina.  It’s legal to drop the kid off at a pool hall with the bartender or the stripper working the table dances.  Or the homeless guy sleeping on the bench?  Or how about the parking attendant working the booth?  Or the McDonalds store manager who’s trying to get folks through the drive thru first thing in the morning?  Or how about the bus driver? (Actually that’s legal here in North Carolina as well.) The baggage clerk at the Greyhound station?  Heck, Bush is a responsible adult under North Carolina law.

Look, I’m glad the child’s being taken care of or hopefully will be but I have a problem with a wide open loophole like that.  Sure, there are a lot of responsible people out there who would do anything for that kid or any other child dropped into their lap.  But let’s make sure about it, OK?  I would think that would be a better idea.

Image from Calm Your Screaming Baby.

What’s in a name?

From here

A Rhode Island public school has decided the Easter bunny is too Christian and renamed him Peter Rabbit, and a state legislator is so hopping mad he has introduced an “Easter Bunny Act” to save the bunny’s good name.

So instead of worrying about more important things like Taxes, Iraq, Racism, Global Warming, The Idiot known as Bush, etc, Rhode Island State Rep. Richard Singleton is worried about the name of the Easter Bunny.

I can see where the schol is coming from but I doubt if the district’s Superintendent William Rearick is going to change the name of Santa come Christmas time.

Apple pays $700,000 for bloggers’ legal fees

Link

Bloggers and online journalists have completed their final victory lap in a protracted fight against Apple. Earlier this month, a Santa Clara County Court ordered Apple to pay the legal fees associated with the defense of subpoenas issued to online journalists (and other related entities) in response to online reports about a confidential audio/video product — code-named “Asteroid” — under development at the Cupertino-based company. The “Asteroid” product was never released, but Apple claimed the news reports violated California state trade secret law and that the journalists were not entitled to First Amendment protections. However, following an appeals decision last year that strongly sided with the journalists, the Court ordered Apple to pay all legal costs associated with the defense, including a 2.2 times multiplier of the actual fees.

Youtube sued over domain name

YouTube is being sued by an industrial equipment maker whose domain name is Utube.com. Universal Tube and Rollform Equipment said it has been deluged by confused video searchers causing numerous crashes of its site and costing it business. The company’s site once drew a steady 1,500 unique users monthly, Utube said, but that figure has soared to some 2 million per month in recent weeks.

AT&T claims MPEG-4 patent infringement, wants Apple to pay up

From here: AT&T claims MPEG-4 patent infringement, wants Apple to pay up – Engadget

We already knew that between MPEG-LA, Via Licensing and others, MPEG-4 and the H.264 codec were already awash with patent holders and complicated royalty systems, but it looks like there’s a new kid on the block that wants its share of Apple, CyberLink, DivX, InterVideo and Sonic Solutions pie. Fresh from its SBC merger, AT&T is going after the big iPod bucks claiming that the device infringes on their patents which they claim are “a core component of MPEG-4.” AT&T claims that they’re not just after the money and that they’re looking to “make sure others are able to take advantage of this technology,” but they also state: “what we’re doing is pretty common among intellectual property holders,” which isn’t exactly comforting given the tech industry’s history with such things.

Can’t we all get along?

High Court (UK) approves service of a lawsuit by email

“Emails that initiated legal proceedings were ignored as spam by a shipping firm. It was a costly oversight: the firm lost the case without taking part and an English judge has rejected a late challenge, ruling that service by email is just as valid as post or fax.

The significance of the case, decided 21st December, is limited: this was a maritime arbitration, not an English court action. That would be subject to different rules, rules that generally do not permit the service of writs by email.”

Read more about it here.

Canadian music giant funds battle against RIAA

From here:

Canada’s biggest record label, publisher and management company is helping out a family sued by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA)for copyright infringement.

The privately-owned Nettwerk Music Group is intervening, it says, because the songs downloaded by the Gruebel family include Avril Lavigne, a Nettwerk management client. Nettwerk will fund the Gruebel’s defense.

“The current actions of the RIAA are not in my artists’ best interests,” said Nettwerk chief executive Terry McBride in a statement.

“Litigation is not `artist development’. Litigation is a deterrent to creativity and passion and it is hurting the business I love.”

Chicago lawyer Charles Lee Mudd will defend the Gruebels.

Mudd said the RIAA has “misapplied” the law and that lawsuits should be a “shield, not a sword”.

The RIAA has demanded the family pay a $9,000 penalty, reduced to $4,500 if they pay up promptly. Nettwerk has vowed to foot the legal bill if it loses the case.

AOL Wins $5M Judgment Against Spammer

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A man who sent billions of junk e-mails hawking online college degrees, sexually explicit Web sites and “generic Viagra” must pay more than $5 million in penalties to America Online Inc., a federal judge ruled. Christopher William Smith, of Prior Lake, Minn., was considered one of the world’s worst spammers, operating under the name Rizler. He is now in a Minnesota jail awaiting trial on criminal charges that he violated federal drug laws while operating an online pharmacy.

Read about it here.