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Dept. of Homeland Security Enforces Expired Patent 1006

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the tax-dollars-well-misspent dept.
Fouquet writes "Apparently the Department of Homeland Security does not have enough to do in keeping the US safe, and now is enforcing copyright law as well. The AP reports that a toy store owner in Oregon was requested by Homeland Security officials to remove a potentially copyright-infringing Rubik's cube-like toy from her shelves. The patent for Rubik's cube was issued in 1980, and so it is expired."
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Dept. of Homeland Security Enforces Expired Patent

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  • by MrRTFM (740877) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:43PM (#10660090) Journal
    (and it isnt just thugs from a competing toy chain), then we should be pretty nervous.

    I was going to go for a first post, but now I am too scared to try!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:44PM (#10660096)
    After he created one of the largest unneccessary beuracracies in the history of the US?

    Suuuuuuurrreee... It's just to prevent terrorism. For very wide definitions of 'terrorism'.
  • go figure (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Izago909 (637084) * <tauisgod@@@gmail...com> on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:44PM (#10660097)
    He told her to remove the Magic Cube from her shelves, and he watched to make sure she complied.
    She's lucky that she wasn't declared a terrorist and her all human rights voided on sight.
    "One of the things that our agency's responsible for doing is protecting the integrity of the economy and our nation's financial systems and obviously trademark infringement does have significant economic implications," she said.
    God forbid some terrorists fly some Boeing knock-offs into buildings instead of legitimate ones.
    "Aren't there any terrorists out there?" she said.
    The war is not meant to be won....
  • So which is it? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fossa (212602) <pat7.gmx@net> on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:44PM (#10660099) Journal

    Trademark in the title, copyright in the summary, but a patent on the Rubik's cube. These are all different you know...

  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:46PM (#10660111)
    Dept. of Homeland Security Enforces Expired Trademark
    Apparently the Department of Homeland Security does not have enough to do in keeping the US safe, and now is enforcing copyright law as well.
    The patent for Rubik's cube was issued in 1980, and so it is expired."

    So, are we talking about a copyright, a trademark, or a patent?

  • rUSsiA (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sn0wflake (592745) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:46PM (#10660112) Homepage
    USA seem more and more like a police state. Once I wanted to visit USA but now I wouldn't dream of setting foot in the states. I'd probably be arrested if I said something wrong.
  • by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:53PM (#10660144) Journal
    The American Federal government already has a law enforcement agency, that being the ever-venerated FBI. In addition, the Secret Service also acts in some cases as a law enforcement agency, providing protection for the President, government buildings like the U.S. mints, and, of course, as the chief investigator of counterfeiting schemes.

    Now the DHS seems to see its role as more than a simple anti-terrorist investigative agency. They think of themselves as another arm of Federal law enforcement. To some extent, they are correct. The role they play is vital to American national security, and to reach the goals of the agency it is mandatory that they have the ability to use law enforcement tactics.

    However, to stretch the fairly narrow initial charter of the DHS to include such things as "defending the national economy" is nothing short of stupid and dangerous. When the DHS was formed, their purview only included possible terrorist attacks. Now it is expanded to include just about any crime that someone deems undesirable.

    The government should not have many overlapping law enforcement agencies. Indeed, this is what led to the massive intelligence failure on 9/11 with the lack of communication between the various government agencies. The DHS would be better absorbed into the FBI as a anti-terror division than to continue expanding its powers unabated.
  • But wait... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 77Punker (673758) <spencr04 AT highpoint DOT edu> on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:53PM (#10660145)
    ...expiration violations aside, shouldn't the order be to stop manufacturing them, not to stop selling them? Also, isn't the owner of this (expired) patent responsible for enforcing it instead of Homeland Security just hunting them down?
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld.gmail@com> on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:56PM (#10660167) Homepage
    In normal cases, people will just consult a lawyer (the shop owner did call her supplier, later), or at least ask for supporting documents before they complied to requests from officials. For example, you tend to ask for a search warranty if someone wants to search your house.

    I guess their justification is it was a crime in progress, in a public place, so they didn't need a warrant. What they should do is contact their local congressman and see if they can get him to yell at homeland security for this. Whatever else the average congressperson's deficiencies, they oftentimes are surprisingly good at intimidating bureaucrats, when they have the inclination.
  • Re:Uh huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LardBrattish (703549) on Thursday October 28, 2004 @11:59PM (#10660176) Homepage
    Fahreinheit 911 had a good take on the Patriot act with that Senator going "we don't have enough time to read all the bills" etc. I'm sorry but THAT'S YOUR FUCKING JOB. That's why it's called "a reading" before the law is passed - YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO READ IT. During the "reading" if it turns up late and if it takes a week to read it, fine, that'll teach the legislators to publish the draft bills early enough to get them thouroughly read before the reading.

    Democracy is quietly dying because a buch of lazy people will happily pass the "Happy fluffy bunny (you'd be a nasty pinko liberal for not passing this) bill" without actually reading it and finding out that it disbands senate & congress and leaves all legislative & executive power in the hands of the president who now has an extended (life) term of office.
  • by janneH (720747) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:02AM (#10660189)
    That looks like a misleading article title to me. What happened is that DHS inherited Customs because Customs is responsible for controlling things that cross US - which is not unreasonable. But customs also apparently has some trademark enforcement duties - probably on things that are imported. Also not unreasonable - although it leads to trademark enforcement sitting under DHS which is a little weird. But the article should more rightfully have been about a shop owner who was visited by Customs agents.

    Whether or not trademarks were actually being violated is a another matter.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:05AM (#10660216) Homepage
    Homeland Security raiding toy stores because they've run out of terrorist threats, or the fact that they can't tell the difference between a patent and a copyright. And we're surprised other countries think we're idiots.

    You have a chance to do something about it next Tuesday. Go vote.

    We're going to have to change our name to the country formerly known as the land of the free.

  • Abuse of Power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:05AM (#10660217) Homepage Journal
    Tom Delay, (R-TX), is under indictment in Texas for abusing his power as leader of the majority in the House of Representatives (ie, a powerful man) to sic Homeland Security on a group of Democrats state assemblymembers as part of a bitter redistricting battle. Regardless of the merit of the Democrat strategy, Homeland Security was clearly not appropriate, though Delay was able to use them for his purposes, without any security component.

    If we let these powermad tyrants have power, they will abuse it, and maybe apologize later, after the damage is done. We have to get rid of this unaccountable department immediately, and use our National Security system to protect us. Anyone know what is the difference is between "National" Security and "Homeland" Security? Or the Department of Defense, for that matter? We're turning into squalid East Germany, where every fifth German was a "security" henchman, controlling their neighbors through surveillence and intimidation.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:06AM (#10660227)
    Both the Poster and the AP journo clearly has no clue what is going on, what the various laws are.
    They mix match and mangle various laws and rumors to come up with this story.

    There is nothing to see here, just random rumour and silliness.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:07AM (#10660232)
    Bingo! Someone who reads and thinks. However I should point out that the government should have gone after the supplier, not the purchaser if they had a legitimate complaint. I'm certain her store isn't the only ones selling this particular toy. Were are the visits to these other stores?
  • by EMN13 (11493) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:11AM (#10660255) Homepage
    The slashdot story confuses copyrights, trademarks and patents: at issue is trademark infringement (or so it seems). Copyrights have nothing to do with the story, and the patent on rubiks cubes was only mentioned by the copycat manufacturer to clarify that the patent had expired.

    Specifically, the trademark probably hasn't expired (in principle trademarks don't while you defend them); A rubiks cube (or anything similar) can't infringe upon copyright (unless you're crazy enough to consider it a medium for information).

    I don't like whining about bad slashdot stories; but this really is poorly presented...

    --Eamon
  • by bluekanoodle (672900) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:12AM (#10660264)
    Mod parent up! I think this one poster has summarized the ACTUAL story, not the civil liberties, big-brother-is-watching story that this bad attempt at journalism by the /. editors would have you believe.

    The AP story very clearly states :

    "Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said agents went to Pufferbelly based on a trademark infringement complaint filed in the agency's intellectual property rights center in Washington, D.C."

    These agents, working for Customs enforcement, were doing there job as mandated by the law. Obviously there is a process in place within Customs to investigate intellectual property. If you don't think they should be doing that, then get involved and get the law changed, don't whine about the man trying to keep you down.

    Of course the /. crowds sees DHS and they start jumping the gun about Anti-terrorism squads hunting down subversive Magic Cubes in violation of the PATRIOT Act.

    Please try and apply some critical thinking skills here.

  • by matth1jd (823437) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:12AM (#10660266)
    I wouldn't say the Department of Homeland Security was unnecessary, in fact it in my opinion it was originally a step in the right direction. Create an agency which will be responsible for coordinating the security of the nation without all the interagency mess. It seemed like a good idea, until it was given exactly what the parent said a very large brush to paint the picture of terrorism.
    Obviously this case is asinine, and I'd hate to think how many more instances similiar to this have occured. The real question is how do we fix the problem? Will Kerry if elected be able to do anything to dismantle or at least take some of the edge off the Patriot Act? If Bush is re-elected will the problem just get worse? Or is the problem just too large to fix?


    -JM
  • Re:Huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Loconut1389 (455297) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:13AM (#10660267)
    more a problem with the article than a problem with the government's account of the event...

    Either way, it really bugs me that homeland security is even thinking about anything besides terrorism. Why the hell are we paying agents to fly out to bumsville for a da## rubiks cube.. And if we're paying them to do that, why aren't we paying them to research things first? Perhaps the same researchers that decided there were WMD's in Iraq (though I think there must be somewhere.. still intelligence was bad enough we cant find them if they are there)..
  • Re:rUSsiA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by crashfrog (126007) <crashfrog@noSPAm.gmail.com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:13AM (#10660269) Homepage
    Once I wanted to visit USA but now I wouldn't dream of setting foot in the states. I'd probably be arrested if I said something wrong.

    Oh, for god's sake. It's not that bad. If it were, there's about 200 newspapers that would be shut down already, for endorsing the political opponent of the president. You can still stand on the street corner and hold up a big sign that says what a dickless coward you think the president is; I know, because I see people doing it all the time here in Columbia, Missouri.

    Where are you now, exactly? Germany, looks like, from your URL? Germany is cool. I'd like to visit again. Did a day in Berlin and it was neat. I don't know what we have over here that they don't have in Germany, so I don't know why you'd want to visit. But for god's sake we're still the land of the free (markets). Let's keep a little perspective, people, and stay realistic. Nobody's going to get in the way of a European coming over here to spend their money, after all.

    And I would point out that yours is the country that still restricts free expression, at least if you choose to express yourself in the manner of Nazis. (Can you even read this in Germany if I say "Nazi"?)

    If you want to visit, do so. Now's a great time, in fact - you can see our political circus at full tilt. Call Bush an asshole, if you want. Nobody's going to stop you. We call him worse in our newspapers every day. Yours is a great country. But I love mine, and for all the faults of the past 4 years, I'd rather live in mine than yours. (Not the least of which because I don't speak German.)
  • by kubrick (27291) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:23AM (#10660331)
    Vote Bush for a better, safer America. Vote Kerry for a wealthier Kerry.

    Have you seen the price of oil recently?
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:27AM (#10660354) Homepage Journal
    Even if that's true, and it's somehow OK for customs agents to enter a business to stop their selling an item without a judicial process, and even if they distributor is somehow wrong that they are legally selling this toy, does that really sound like the kind of activity we need Homeland Security doing, when they're supposed to be catching terrorists? While they're screaming about otherwise imaginary terrorist threats to the election? Or is it exactly the kind of unaccountable abuse of government power, without due process, that will be excruciatingly bad when they come for an accused "terrorist" in a store, with the same disregard for due process?
  • Re:Abuse of Power (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Thing 1 (178996) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:34AM (#10660395) Journal
    We're turning into squalid East Germany [...]

    Agreed; I even found the fact that they used "Homeland" which sounds so much like "Fatherland" to be mildly entertaining.

    But they took it from a long US playbook, which includes the late Senator Thomas J. Dodd (D-CT) checking the 1938 Nazi gun control laws out of the Library of Congress immediately prior to writing the US's 1968 gun control laws--which look surprisingly [jpfo.org] like [lewrockwell.com] the 1938 version! (In fact, barring translation issues, they're almost word-for-word according to the second link.)

    I don't know which bothers me more:
    1. That they do these things intentionally;
    2. That we allow them to do it without raising holy hell;
    3. That we keep voting them into office.

  • Re:Confusion (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ron Bennett (14590) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:34AM (#10660397) Homepage
    Speaking of confusion ... why is does the Dept of Homeland Security include numerous functions that have little to nothing to do with homeland security? That's really the crux of the issue.

    DHS should be an organization designed to focus on real terror threats, and leave the rest to other separate agencies - yes, communication can be a problem between agencies, but misallocation of resources by an oversized organization is likekly to be an even greater problem ...

    DHS likely will be split up eventually ... as big corporate mergers have illustrated well, once an organization becomes too large, they nearly always end up going out of business (being acquired, sold off, etc) or spinning off pieces and become more focused, but I digress.

    Ron Bennett
  • Re:Uh huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MalachiConstant (553800) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:35AM (#10660405)
    Fahreinheit 911 had a good take on the Patriot act with that Senator going "we don't have enough time to read all the bills" etc. I'm sorry but THAT'S YOUR FUCKING JOB. That's why it's called "a reading" before the law is passed - YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO READ IT.

    I think this is a bit simplistic. The senate had 735 Bills [state.mo.us]last year according to that site, with language such as:

    "A producer member shall submit to the authority an application for the tax credit authorized by this section on a form provided by the authority. If the producer member meets all criteria prescribed by this section and is approved by the authority, the authority shall issue a tax credit certificate in the appropriate amount."

    Imagine trying to understand 735 documents composed of such language, some of which can be many many pages, or make "small" adjustments to current laws. Some bills, I'm sure, are written and titled to purposely obfuscate their true intentions as well.

    My guess is that's why senators and house members have staffs: to read the bills and tell them what they mean. There's not time enough in the day to read and understand fully all those bills.

    But...

    I certainly agree that each bill should be fully understood before it's voted on, which would mean a LOT more time between introduction and passing, which would mean fewer bills being passed, which is fine with me except in emergency situations (like aid to hurricane victims, etc.).

    Democracy is quietly dying because a buch of lazy people will happily pass the "Happy fluffy bunny (you'd be a nasty pinko liberal for not passing this) bill" without actually reading it...

    No, democracy is dying because of fundamental flaws in large scale republics and american culture, and lack of interest and education of Americans.

    (Disclamer: I'm an American and I dislike both of the major candidates, but I hate Bush more. Remember though, the DMCA was passed under Clinton.)

  • Re:Abuse of Power (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bersl2 (689221) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:41AM (#10660429) Journal
    Homeland? Fatherland?

    Same difference.
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:44AM (#10660445) Homepage
    95% of shipping containers coming into this country aren't being inspected, yet we have law enforcement agents to spare to make sure Pufferbelly Toys pulls those subversive Magic Cubes off their store shelf? Has our government gone completely f'ing insane?

    It's a matter of priorities and if this our current administration's idea of a law enforcement priority, then we need change really, really bad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:49AM (#10660483)
    "An evil exists that threatens every man, woman and child of this great nation. We must take steps to ensure our domestic security and protect our Homeland." -- Adolf Hitler, on the creation of the Gestapo
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:51AM (#10660499)
    Why the hell are you even applying a label (Republican) to yourself then? Does it make you feel like more of a man?

    Strip off the labels people. If you're already thinking for yourself (ie: you said you don't agree with everything Republicans support), then god dammit, take the next step and strip yourself of the damn labels! Tell people you are AMERICAN and be proud of that. Vote based on the issues you support, and leave it at that. The country would be better off if more people stopped playing "who's team am I on" and just cared about the core issues.
  • Re:Abuse of Power (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gad_zuki! (70830) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:52AM (#10660500)
    Here's a list of abuses from just this week alone. [everythingisnt.com]

    >If we let these powermad tyrants have power

    We did. They won a long time ago. Thanks to things like the "culture war," conservative media passing itself off as "fair and balanced," Reaganomics, the marriage of Christian fundies to the GOP, etc. The damage that has been done will take decades to fix, if not generations.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vk2 (753291) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:57AM (#10660534) Journal
    Will the congressperson help when the agents come for the second round with a terrorist assumption and taking you in with PATRIOT laws ?

    Well, I am not sure how much successful Osama (foxnews followers its Usama) and Saddam in spreading terror - but I definitely think that they have successfully brought their kind of governance into "the once free country".

  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bani (467531) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:59AM (#10660548)
    Why are you getting your knickers in a bunch because some federal agents are doing their job?

    Because they weren't doing their job. Their job was to determine the validity of the complaint, which they utterly failed to do. Hence, they failed to do their job.

    If anything, the infringer was the manufacturer -- not the retailer. They did not go after the manufacturer, they went after a retailer. Again, they failed in their duties.
  • by bluekanoodle (672900) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:02AM (#10660560)
    I'm sorry but I'm missing your point. This was a Custom's action, which just happens to be part of DHS. Nobody said the Patriot Act was invoked. It's a pretty far stretch to say this had anything to do with terrorism. The first time Terrorism came up was when the the /. crowd saw the letters DHS and automatically assumed it was a terorism case.

    How do you know the claim is bogus? Nowhere does it even say what the actual claim was. Are you the judge and jury because some slashdot article gave you inaccurate and incomplete infromation, that you can pronounce a claim bogus? For that matter, how do you know they didn't have a warrant? The article doesn't mention it either way.

  • Re:ummm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mindriot (96208) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:07AM (#10660584)
    No. You'd expect him to abstain.

    By the way, maybe there are 735 bills a year. BUT it should be common sense to have some priorities, and it did seem clear to most people that the PATRIOT act was something bigger as, say, the latest bill "recognizing the accomplishments and loyal service of XYZ" (there's quite a bunch of those, check loc.gov). So it is CLEARLY not required for them to read all 735. But it is also obvious that priorities are important.

    But we shouldn't really be arguing too much about this, because even though I like the job Moore is doing, we must recognize that he also knows where to spin facts and exaggerate things to make his overall point.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rjkimble (97437) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:07AM (#10660587) Homepage Journal
    Wrong -- they were doing their job precisely the way they're supposed to do it. And maybe you should learn something about the law. Retailers are just as at fault when they sell infringing goods as are the folks who manufacture and import them.
  • by bluekanoodle (672900) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:09AM (#10660594)
    We used to have the right to speedy trial, by a jury of our peers. Now the patriot act negates that, just ask the folks in holding facilities facing military court."

    Non citizens do not have the right to speedy trial. US citizens do, and that's why I support the US Supreme Court saying the same thing. So no that right has not been taken from you.

    "We used to have a right to face our accuser, now we have annomous tips, they dont leave much for us to face"

    Hyperbole. Name one case where that has happened. "We used to have the right to be secure in our person, property and effects, now, not so much, as evidenced by this story."

    As I and others said in other postings in this story, this was not a Patriot act investigation, it was a Customs act. The article never mentions whether or not a warrant was present, so for us to declare that here rights were taken away is pre speculation. So no, that right has not been taken away from you either.

    Next!

  • Re:Abuse of Power (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:09AM (#10660595) Homepage Journal
    Sure, it's hard to track Delay's crimes without a scorecard. This particular abuse [truthout.org] included not only DHS, but various other police and even antiWMD agencies, unacceptably drafted into a Texas parliamentary procedure. How Delay can stay afloat with all that baggage, and that autosatirical name, is testament mainly to the wisdom of the Texan electorate.
  • Re:Uh huh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LardBrattish (703549) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:10AM (#10660597) Homepage
    I certainly agree that each bill should be fully understood before it's voted on, which would mean a LOT more time between introduction and passing, which would mean fewer bills being passed, which is fine with me except in emergency situations (like aid to hurricane victims, etc.).

    I think part of the problem is that unrelated laws are being passed in the same bill & they're given media friendly names based on only one part of the bundle. A good thing would be to force the unbundling of unrelated acts. That way it would be easier to summarize the meaning of the bill & harder to hide the bad stuff.

    That way a senator/congressman that wanted to vote down the "Give the police the ability to shoot anyone suspected of thinking of doing anything subversive" clause wouldn't be criticised for voting against "providing Hurricane relief to Florida" because the two things happened to be in the same bill.

    If the Hurricane relief bill could legally only contain clauses relating directly to disaster relief in Southern USA people would not have to study the bills to make sure there wasn't any "accidental Fascism" contained within. Or alternatively set up a Disater Relief office with a flexible budget that can come to the aid of areas hit by natural disasters as & when required. Some years they'd be grossly under the projected budget; other years they'd be over but you wouldn't have to get a bill passed every time a hurricane hits.

    Personally I'd be a lot happier to see a slowing down of legislation if it avoids the erosion of fundamental rights.
  • by EnronHaliburton2004 (815366) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:10AM (#10660598) Homepage Journal
    What you need to do is to stop terrorists at their source not after they've gotten their goods into the harbours.

    Yes, we all know that locking your door is pointless. You need to stop the criminals at their source, not after they've walked into your house.

    So, you're saying that scanning containers is impossible, but somehow it is possible to find every single terrorist hiding spot?

  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:12AM (#10660603) Homepage Journal
    I'm pissed off because they stopped this seller from legitimate commerce, based on a complaint, without due process. Because the rest of their organization has similar powers, but a much broader scope of operations. And you would be, too, if you weren't looking for any excuse to let police abuse of power off the hook. You'll feel differently when some DHS division knocks on your door when you're alone.
  • by 1lus10n (586635) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:12AM (#10660604) Journal
    No. What we need to do is make america safer. Not fucking expend resources trying to enforce expired patents/copyrights.

    Pal I have to break you the news, but if we dont start figuring out a way to inspect the containers most of the seaports in this country could be blown to kingdom-come. There wont be any products left to buy.

    The Terrorist threat has been blown way the fuck out of proportion by the bush administration. We were attacked (and also had several failed attempts) several times before 9/11. 9/11 was the most succesful for sure, but what exactly made it seem like all of a sudden the terrorists got more well organized, or more well financed than they were before 9/11 ? Need I also remind everyone that we were aware that 9/11 was being planned ? The intelligence was there. The government however is to bloated and bureaucratic to handle things like this, and hence dropped the ball.

    Want to be secure ? Leave everyone else the fuck alone. You dont see every country in the world being attacked by militant islamic extremist foreigners now do you ? Its because most countries mind their own fucking business.

    Oh ... and regarding this comment in specific:
    "What you need to do is to stop terrorists at their source not after they've gotten their goods into the harbours."
    You think searching the harbours or container ships is a problem ? Take a look at a fucking map, searching and securing the entire globe would be a bit harder. I think you can wait an extra month for your digital camera. The economy will adjust if it has to.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:17AM (#10660620)
    We cannot just ignore any and all lesser crimes/problems just because there's a big one. Terrorism is a big and scary problem, no doubt, but that doesn't mean that DHS should ignore all it's other duties and just concentrate on that. It's like saying that because we still have some murders, no other crimes matter, so the police should never investigate anything but murders until all murders are solved or murders stop happening. Clearly that's a bad idea.

    See the DHS is just another governmental orignization, with many branches and duities. One of their braches is now U.S. Customs (customs.gov if you want info on them). Customs used to be a part of the treasury, but since their work is more relivant ot the new DHS, they were moved over. Well guess what? This is one of the things they do, they check out illegal imports. Now they were wrong in this case, which happens unfortunately, but that's their job. They actually aren't the terrorist finders, not their job, not what they are good at.

    I know it's popular to jerk the knee and cry about the terrorists whenever law enforcement makes a mistake but remember: You are no better than the politicans trying to use it as a scare tactic when you do. It's just as bad to try and use terrorism as some sort of cut out that makes everything else ok and something to be overlooked as it is to use it as this fersome spectre to erode civil rights.

    When I purchaed an amplifier from a private citizen in Canada the DHS, specifically their customs branch, opend the box up, had a good look at it, and packed it back up and sent it on to me. This is not them wasting time instead of finding terrorists, they aren't that group. This is the import package checkers doing their job. I am not going to demand they run to the Middle East and look for terrorists any more than I'm going to demand the cop directing traffic run off and try to solve a murder case.
  • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:23AM (#10660648)
    I'm also incredibly impressed that they were able to show the restraint necessary to keep from smacking this jackass upside his head.

    Ever hear of Volitaire?

    "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

    Despite what you may think, we have (or should I say had) a freedom of speech in this country. Get a clue you moron.
  • by general_re (8883) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:27AM (#10660671) Homepage
    Probably so, but it's really just another day at the office for Customs. Hell, NPR had a story earlier this week about Customs stepping up enforcement of IP laws for imports, so there are about 13 million or so "Morning Edition" listeners who are ahead of the /. curve, whereas here we get the knee-jerk "OMG THOSE FUKKIN BROWNSHIRTS!!!!" reaction from the uninformed shut-in crowd.
  • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:32AM (#10660689)
    They have a hard job: protecting the life of a very important and very well known world leader (they have other jobs too). World leaders are popular to try and off, no matter who they are, there's plenty of people who have a beef with them. They ALL have security details and these are peopel who do not take risks and do not have a sense of humour.

    You can get a secret service visit by sending a threatening e-mail to basicaly any valid e-mail address at whitehouse.gov. They investigate all of it because guess what? People have not only tried to kill presidents, they have succeded on a few occasions. It's serious bussiness.

    Also notice that said blogger is NOT locked up for life, in fact he didn't even get inconvenienced. Right after your little exceprt he goes on to say "as what I said could apparently be misconstrued as a threat to his life. After about ten minutes of talking to me and my family, they quickly came to the conclusion that I was not a threat to national security."

    So, what happened? Well the secret service found out about someone who said they wanted the president dead in a very public venue. Ok so tey need to find out is this just some idiot venting, or is this a wacko who might be a real threat? They go, interview the guy, and in ten minutes decide there's no problem and leave.

    What is the damn problem? They did this before 9/11 too. At the university where I work we get about 1 visit per year from them because some student made a threat. It doesn't end up in an arrest, just a check on the student to make sure they really are just a stupid college student, and an explination to said student that this is a bad idea.

    If you read his blog you notice a lot of inconsistent ranting. He calls them the Sekkrit Service, because I guess it sounds sinister or something and talks about rights violations, yet admits they were nice about it and non threatening.

    This is NOT an exmaple of law enforcement being bad or the PATRIOT act being abused (and there are plenty of examples), it's an example of the opposite. Some kid made a stupid post on his website that could be construed as a threat to the president, which is a serious thing. A couple of agents investiagted, determined he was no threat and just blowing off steam, and that is that.

    If you want to argue abuses of power, pick a real example. It's not like they aren't out there.
  • sorry... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by zogger (617870) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:33AM (#10660698) Homepage Journal
    ...tha's just wrong. Completely absolutely wrong. I distinctly remember when we had a great, viable economy, a GOOD one, BEFORE almost everything was imported. BEFORE. When any random Joe Normal blue collar job was enough for a house and a car and a flock of kids and benefits and vacations and savings. Not even a high paid white collar, just a normal middle of the road blue collar, and yes, it might even have been making inexpensive toys. Just because you don't remember it doesn't mean it didn't exist. They not only could inspect the containers, they could change the laws back to where the bulk of the containers were going OUT like they used to be when we had a REAL economy that wasn't skewed towards the globalist elite millionaire crowd and calling massive debt, deficits and credit a "strong economy".

    That "not be able to inspect" the containers jazz is a load, OF COURSE they could if they wanted to, they don't want to. They manage to "inspect" 80 year old ladies and crippled vets in wheelchairs at the airport. They manage to "inspect" a heap of countries over yonder, to the tune of billions of dollars a WEEK using hundreds of thousands of dudes, some of them making in excess of 600$ a day to just tote a rifle. The "war on terrorism" is a complete fraud. It's war to terrorise americans,oh, that's true, that's really true, but it's being waged by the government, and this article proved it in yet again another small way.

    You had to watch it grow ever since the 60s to see it,but it's been creeping incrementalism, and a lot of folks have been warning about it for years. The past few years they have hit the nitrous button, that's the only difference. And they show no sign of relenting, or rolling anything back for that matter, just ever onward. And people have been eating it and sucking it up every step of the way. Can't look at a news site anymore without seeing more and more evidence of it. A FAN at a baseball game shot and killed by getting hit in ther eye with a riot paintball pellet? Huh? Random "courtesy" checkpoints? Huh? Cameras all over staring at you? Huh? Even that name "Homeland Security" WHAT WW2 B war movie did they drag that from? What is all this crap BUT big brotherism and state terrorism?

    The goons have proven it, the slow boiling frog, most people will just slurp it down, excuse it, make believe they aren't seeing or hearing what they are seeing or hearing, every step of the way.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Krach42 (227798) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:34AM (#10660705) Homepage Journal
    Ah, but has anyone noticed that the Slashdot article contains THREE DIFFERENT IP GROUPS in it?

    First, the title says "expired TRADEMARK", the article takes about the DHS enforcing COPYRIGHTS, then lastly it mentions that the PATENT for the rubik's cube is already expired.

    So, like... did anyone bother to go over this and at least make sure that the article was at least talking consistantly about the specific IP protection being applied here?
  • by Stevyn (691306) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:40AM (#10660727)
    When I said:

    "And no, John Kerry in office isn't going to change anything because you still have Republicans in the house and senate."

    I didn't want to sound like another annoying liberal slashdotter who spews anti-Bush/republican rhetoric just to be modded up at +1 liberal.

    I'd rather people read the post and understand that while I generally side with republicans, I can still disagree with the actions of those who wear the republican label.

    I'm not a politician so I don't consider myself wearing the republican label. I don't feel that saying you're a republican or democrat stifles independent (no pun intended) thought.

    But thanks for questioning me though. I like to be challenged and back up my viewpoints. It makes them stronger and everyone should be questioned so they can ask themselves if they really believe all this stuff or are just following a bandwagon, as you claimed I was.
  • Re:Uh huh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HiThere (15173) * <charleshixsn@ear ... t ['hli' in gap]> on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:43AM (#10660740)
    You have made an excellent argument as to why there should be limitations on both the number and the length of bills presented to the legislators in any one session.

    You are right, if you let in just anything (P.A.T.R.I.O.T.), then garbage will be passes without being read. SO DON'T.

    Not that I can imagine the current politicians taking the job of legislator seriously. The DMCA wasn't read by the legislators of the states that passed it, either. It was 2000 pages long (or more). Nobody can read that. Yet we're supposed to know and obey it. RIGHT!

    It's becoming increasingly likely that the purpose of the laws is to make EVERYONE a felon. (Can you PROVE that you aren't one. Just because you haven't yet been accused doesn't prove anything.)

    Just how much respect do you have for that kind of legislation?
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:46AM (#10660759)
    Wrong - they still blew it. And maybe you should learn something about the law. The trademark infringement complaint, according to the article, was invalid, and DHS failed to verify the complaint prior to scaring the crap out of the small-town toy shop lady.
  • by Cryofan (194126) <cryofan.yahoo@com> on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:52AM (#10660783) Homepage Journal

    This sort of incident is best understood when you look at America's history. The apple don't fall too far from the tree. America was born on the backs of slaves and indentured servants.

    Historically, the power of the state has almost ALWAYS been aligned with the top of the hierarchy. Back in the slave days, the government mainly worked for Master, or "Massa," the slaveowner, the rich plantation owner, or the merchant, or the rich farmer. The government was designed mainly to take care of Massa's property.

    These days the corporation is our "Massa." And it don't really matter whether Massa is right or not. You best obey the Massa, or you get a taste of the whip.

    And if you can afford to take Massa into court, then YOU must be Massa.

    Always, always act first to protect Massa's property, whether it be a runaway slave, an indentured servant on the run, or one who has been stealing food, or a thief in the cornfield, or a shoplifter, or an IP infringer, then, and only then, ask questions, or deal with it in the courts.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Yakko (4996) <eslingc@linuAUDENxmail.org minus poet> on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:53AM (#10660787) Homepage Journal
    No one gives a shit when perception overrules fact.

    It's perceived that Homeland Security's job is to protect the nation from terrorists. That's how the administration billed the agency when it was created. Whether they have additional (or even completely different) duties or not is lost on about 99% of your audience.

    In any event, I think the government has too much time on its hands in some respects, and this incident highlights that.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrwonton (456172) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:53AM (#10660788) Homepage
    So basically you're advocating that their job is to respond to a complaint by immediately forcing whoever the complaint is made upon to stop doing whatever was complained about? Thats an interesting approach. So if my competator sells a competing product line, I should file a complaint and have the Department of Homeland Security come shut them down without first performing even the most cursory research? Even if they were right, which in this case they obviously were NOT, they should be stopping infringing products well before they hit retail shelves.
  • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rallion (711805) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:57AM (#10660806) Journal
    You do realize that this is exactly the type of speech the First Amendment was put in place to protect?
  • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Sinner (3398) on Friday October 29, 2004 @01:58AM (#10660810)
    First of all, this isn't even close to satire. Second, it is supremely stupid.
    It's a joke. A joke. Jesus Christ, in other countries people make jokes about the leadership all the damn time. What is wrong with you people?
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:01AM (#10660825) Homepage Journal
    I noticed it, as did several other posters in these subthreads. It's obvious to any regular Slashdot readers that the "authors" who actually accept submitted stories for publishing apply some cryptic, personal and inconsistent criteria to the selection process, which does not include fact or consistency checking. At least it's not a dup' of another story from a few days ago, which seems fashionable around here.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:08AM (#10660852)
    What we need is a standards committe to come up with a markup language that is more precise and efficient than that archaic style of speech. For example:

    #Define SuspectedTerrorist {
    Posesses {
    Explosives;
    AssaultFirarms;
    WMD; //FIX: Search always returns NULL
    } AND
    Meta {
    ThreatendGovernment;
    ScrewedByUSForeignPolicy;
    }
    }

    //Process Suspected Terrorists
    if (SuspectedTerrorist instanceof entity)
    {
    //Start monitoring but don't do anything
    //with the data until court order is granted
    monitor(entity)
    {
    if (obtainMonitorPermission(entity))
    {
    //Considered to be a terrorist
    hFederalCourt = DueProcessStartup();
    hFederalCourt.process(entity);
    } else {
    //Determined to not be a terrorist
    DestroyMonitorData();
    return;
    }
    }
    }

    Seriously though, the law can't fucking be "interpreted" when you use a language that is explicit (and I don't mean lost of swearing). Stupid politicians. This is why ./'s will inherit the Earth, but it will sure be in shitty condition when we do.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:12AM (#10660865)
    Want to be secure ? Leave everyone else the fuck alone. You dont see every country in the world being attacked by militant islamic extremist foreigners now do you ? Its because most countries mind their own fucking business.


    Tell that to Spain, Australia, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Phillipines, Sudan, etc. What rock have you been hiding under? Islamic extremists don't just hate Americans. They hate anything not ruled by Sharia. You really believe that if we announced "hey guys we're going to become an isolationist country" that they'll stop their bullshit? You are so naive. I really doubt the reason the Islamic militants in the Sudan are murdering African Black Muslims and Christians is because they thought they were towing the Bush line.
  • by bitwiseNomad (814756) on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:16AM (#10660883)
    A few inconveniences are a bery small price to pay for safety and security of the state and its people.

    No amount of protection from terrorism - not even if it protected us all ad infinitum - is worth one iota of my precious liberty. There is a bigger number of human lives than I can even conceptualize that were given so that I could live in a place where I have the chance to live freely. Nothing is worth voiding the fruits of their sacrifices. Nothing.

    Now on to my point. The only rebuttal I have seen to complaints about the PATRIOT Act have been of the "Don't worry. Nobody will use it to do that sort of stuff."

    I humbly submit this:

    Even if you think Bush and the executive branch of the government under him are from the highest chorus of angels and would never do anything to hurt the citizens of the USA, it should not affect your judgement of the PATRIOT Act at all. For that matter, it should not affect your judgement of any law passed while he is in office, regardless of who passes it, who proposes it, and who votes on it. A bad law passed by a group of angels is still a bad law.

    Say the president is an angel and asks the Congress (who are also a group of angels) to pass a law that provides ways of foregoing due process. Say also that the president, the leadership of Homeland Security and every law enforcement agent in the country are angels and the law is never abused even once. It is still a bad law.

    It is a bad law because in the hands of a devil the law could be abused and used to hurt the people of the USA. Your rebuttal - the claim that the law is okay since it will never be abused - is entirely based on the assumption that we will have angels in public office for as long as the law is a law. If you think the terrorist threat is going to be around for a while, then you should expect the PATRIOT Act and things like it to be around for just as long. It shows no signs of going away, and a PATRIOT Act II was even proposed, I believe.

    The assumption that this country will elect angel after angel is a tenuous one at best. The President is not the only one you should be worried about. What about the leadership of law enforcement and the DHS? Do you think every one of them is an angel? Have you met all of them? The "goodness" of a law should never have to be judged based on who uses it. This is something that a citizen of this country should agree on regardless of their political affiliation.

    A law is a good law if 1.) it does what it sets out to do efficiently, 2.) what is sets out to do is in the public's best interest, and 3.) it can not be abused by those who would abuse it. For the PATRIOT Act, point 1 can be argued on both sides, most people will agree on point 2, but it fails miserably on point 3. I don't know who thought it was a good idea to give law enforcement a way to forego due process, but it's in the Act.

    As a citizen, I will not bet the well-being of my country ride on whether or not the people in office have good intentions. I know a lot of people who don't like to see the PATRIOT Act being attacked feel that it is a personal attack on their Candidate of Choice. I mean to suggest that even if John Kerry or Clinton had pushed the PATRIOT Act through Congress, the very same people would be complaining. I definitely would. They would be complaining not because they are Republicans or Democrats, but because they are good citizens. One prerequisite to having good laws is being critial of them.

    All that being said, I think it's really funny that a lot of conservatives rag on John Kerry and the liberals in Congress for voting to pass such a heinous law. Who proposed the law in the first place?
  • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by querencia (625880) on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:22AM (#10660904)
    Ummm, no. Most speech is protected by the First Amendment. Some speech is not. Usually, there are two canonical examples given of speech that is not protected:

    1. Yelling "fire" in a crowded theater.
    2. Threatening to kill the President.


    Another is joking about bombs while you're waiting to get aboard an airplane. These forms of speech are not protected. Anyone who does them is stupid.
  • by Exter-C (310390) on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:45AM (#10660976) Homepage
    Are trade mark cases normally looked into via the gov. Its my understanding that for patent and trademark issues the owner has to launch the law suit to follow it up...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:54AM (#10660997)
    This was how Germany was back in the 30's when they were protecting their 'Homeland' from supposed outside threats and things escalated due to politically controlled fears and the general population's 'Patriotic' attitude. Add in a bit of our own 50's 'McCarthyism' and you get an idea of where things seem to be heading. Those quaint and silly 'Constitution' and 'Bill Of Rights' look like they can be interpreted to whatever ends those in power deem necessary and if you don't like it then you're next!
  • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:3, Insightful)

    by the_riaa (669835) on Friday October 29, 2004 @02:58AM (#10661018) Homepage
    Another is joking about bombs while you're waiting to get aboard an airplane. These forms of speech are not protected. Anyone who does them is stupid.


    I can attest to this - I was in the Raleigh/Durham (NC) Airport this past weekend and saw a sign while waiting in line for security. It stated that making jokes about bombs or other security threats was not permitted and would lead to interrogation. Fun times, eh?
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by servognome (738846) on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:06AM (#10661045)
    Uh this is how it always works. If there is reasonable suspicion you stop the action until through due process things can be resolved.
    This is the same thing as arresting a person, then going through due process. You don't wait to have a trial before arresting somebody in a shooting. You arrest the person, arrange bond (to secure the person's appearance at trial) then go through the trial process.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:07AM (#10661048)
    I think that pre-pre war II Germany started like this, and every one around knows how it ended.

    Power corrupts, to say the least.

    Same acts, different people, different time, but will it be same result? If so, who can save us? China? yea sure! Europe... don't think so :(

    --
    Cook

    but not kitchen!
  • Re:Abuse of Power (Score:2, Insightful)

    by eh2o (471262) on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:17AM (#10661073)
    I would not say indictment since its not a criminal investigation (though maybe it should be), however the DHS abuse was investigated by the house ethics committee (along with a two other recent incidents involving delay) and they found that he was guilty of ethical misconduct; but only issued an admonition, i.e., just a report stating that his actions were improper, a mere slap on the wrist -- even so, that is saying a lot considering the ethics committee is run by republicans -- seriously the guy is a liability and an embarassment to his own party. the trmpac stuff is more serious but still in the courts. here is a link for more details on delay's long history with the ethics committee:

    http://www.alternet.org/election04/20312/
  • by FashionNugget (728977) on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:26AM (#10661102)
    We can't "leave everyone else the fuck alone". We're not in that kinda position; we don't have that kinda choice. America is the world's largest democracy, the world's largest economy, the world's largest power. I hate using the word, because it's so fucking pretentious, but we truly are a hegemon. No matter what we do, it affects the outside world. For example: Alan Greenspan decides to change interest rates to promote domestic growth, and millions of dollars of global investment funds start flowing in new directions, affecting financial markets world over. McDonalds decides to discontinue the happy meal, and millions of factory workers in china lose their job. America sneezes, and the world is shaken. The world today is too intricately interdependent for us to step out and live an isolated, blinkered existence.

    That's why we actually need a government that approaches foreign policy in a proactive way. We need a government that believes in 'soft power' -- that is, winning the hearts and minds of the world around us by doing something that merits it -- not a government that believes we should intervene with hard military power whenever the hell we decide to, fuck things up, and leave without a permanent solution. That kind of thing only creates more antagonism against us. Working through institutions such as the UN and NATO -- even if you don't believe things end up working any differently -- is important because that's the only way we'll change sentiments towards our country. We need to be respectful, we need to be a team player -- not someone who ignores the rest of the world, the real problem, until our backyard gets bombed.
  • Re:sorry... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by arivanov (12034) on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:37AM (#10661129) Homepage
    great, viable economy, a GOOD one

    Blessed are the days when the bad and nasty foreign manufacturers had an import quota of 6000 cars per class per year per manufacturer.

    Blessed are the days when steel had an import duty of 30+%

    Blessed are the days when... We can continue...

    One minor problem though, the day these days return there will be the same measures everywhere else around the globe so no effing container is going out anywhere. Example - the recent spat over steel tariffs between US and EU.

    So get real.

  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Siriaan (615378) on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:50AM (#10661167)
    Perhaps you'd like to point us to the trademark being infringed.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:56AM (#10661180)
    The AP story said "the lead agent asked Cox whether she carried a toy called the Magic Cube, which he said was an illegal copy of the Rubik's Cube". Clearly the name isn't infringing the Rubik's Cube trademark, since it's distinctly different. We don't know whether there was a trade dress or other claim though. Which is part of the point: it's nice to tell people what they are supposed to have done wrong, specifically and accurately.

    Cached Copy of the toystore page showing the item. [216.239.41.104] That doesn't look to me as though it's infringing anything I associate with the Rubik's Cube, other than the now unprotected puzzle itself.

    My own personal impression, based on the story and the press release you cited, is that the trademark holder is seeking to use the law to harass others for the purpose of stifling competition in the marketing of an item no longer covered by an expired patent.

    It would be interesting to know what the basis for the complaint was. Knowing that might cause me to change my current personal opinion.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by EJB (9167) on Friday October 29, 2004 @03:57AM (#10661184) Homepage
    Have you read the article on Yahoo news? I know it's not typical for Slashdot readers to do so before commenting, but I'm just asking.

    The Yahoo news article is consistent. "Immigration and Customs Enforcement" only claimed that they were protecting a trademark. The manufacturer of the Magic Cube _also_ claims that the patent on the Rubik's cube has expired, which is interesting but not very relevant.

    Only the Slashdot article submitter throws in the word "copyright", which is completely wrong and not relevant to the article. It's a bit sad that CowboyNeal didn't catch this before putting the article on Slashdot.

    - Erwin
  • by Vo0k (760020) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:16AM (#10661232) Journal
    Everyone knows Rubik's Cube is a smart toy that helps kids train thinking and generally extends intelligence.
    Now, if kids start using it, they grow smart and intelligent. And intelligent people start to question questionable orders from the government, protest against warfare, lobby towards upbringing that makes smart kids, may listen to reason instead of blindly following propaganda...

    This toy is definitely danger to homeland security.
    (but such reasons can't be stated clearly so the dept had to think of some other bogus reasons like the patent or such...)
  • Re:Uh huh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gnovos (447128) <gnovos.chipped@net> on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:23AM (#10661249) Homepage Journal
    magine trying to understand 735 documents composed of such language, some of which can be many many pages, or make "small" adjustments to current laws. Some bills, I'm sure, are written and titled to purposely obfuscate their true intentions as well.

    Yeah, and how, exactly, are the people expected to be abrest of and follow those laws if the very people who pass them can't read them?
  • by dbIII (701233) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:41AM (#10661282)
    It's probably a typical case of government spending.
    I see it as a decreasing amount of check and balances while saying the opposite. A power mad little shit can piss of a planeload of people and cost an airline thousands by going way overboard to teach Cat Stevens a "lesson" - instead of doing the responsible thing of either passing or rejecting a passenger. Other power mad little shits can throw their weight around hassling people in toy shops or prison camps or wherever confident that no-one is going to pull them into line all of the way up the tree. It's just a symptom of a lack of control, and whatever administration is around in a couple of years time is going to have to try to bring into line people that will make Ollie North look like he was a patriot.

    Don't let it get to the point where you will have to put dollar bills in your passport if you want to get through customs without a strip search.

  • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Belgabor (805773) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:43AM (#10661287)
    As far as I can remember threatening to kill the president or encouraging others to do so is not only not protected, it's a criminal offense punishable by jail in the US (at least if you're not a senator according to one of Michael Moores books).
  • by a_n_d_e_r_s (136412) on Friday October 29, 2004 @04:51AM (#10661313) Homepage Journal
    Well the one with an AK47 or an M16 would do it he's bulleproof vest will certainaly stop your puny 22 mm toy gun.

    Do you really want to live in a country where everyone have to wear a AK47 and a bulletproof vest if they go outside ?

  • The first step... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Blackbird_Highway (756085) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:08AM (#10661370)
    The first step in enforcing the law is knowing what the law is. According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, a patent is "the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling". Therefore, a patent does not take away anyone's rights, it confers a right to the patent holder. It is up to the patent holder to decide whether to enforce or waive that right. Again from the USPTO, "If a patent is infringed, the patentee may sue for relief in the appropriate federal court." The maker of the Magic Cube did not violate any law, since their right to produce there product was NOT denied by law. The right to deny their product belongs to the patent holder, not the government. Therefore, even if the Rubic's cube patent was still active, the appropriate action would be for the patent holder, NOT any branch of the govt. to (optionally) file a law suit, and optionally an injuction to prevent the sale of the Magic Cube while the suit is being settled. If a judge approves that injuction, then the product may lawfully be required to be pulled from the store's shelves. Aside from the fact that the patent was expired, there was already absolutely NO legal basis for what the government personnel did.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:32AM (#10661448)
    Their job is to KNOW the law and enforce it. It is not their job to just harass people when someone else tells them they are breaking a law without checking to see if an actual law is being broken.
  • MOD ARTICLE DOWN (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:49AM (#10661497)
    Store owner and reporter are both clueless.
    One may trademark a log or image.
    The cube's image is trademarked.
    The patent protected how the cube worked.
  • Re:Uh huh (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Weirsbaski (585954) on Friday October 29, 2004 @05:57AM (#10661518)
    > Fahreinheit 911 had a good take on the Patriot act with that Senator going "we don't have enough time
    > to read all the bills" etc. I'm sorry but THAT'S YOUR FUCKING JOB. That's why it's called "a reading"
    > before the law is passed - YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO READ IT.

    I think this is a bit simplistic. The senate had 735 Bills last year according to that site, with language such as:

    "A producer member shall submit to the authority an application for the tax credit authorized by this section on a form provided by the authority. If the producer member meets all criteria prescribed by this section and is approved by the authority, the authority shall issue a tax credit certificate in the appropriate amount."

    Imagine trying to understand 735 documents composed of such language, some of which can be many many pages, or make "small" adjustments to current laws. Some bills, I'm sure, are written and titled to purposely obfuscate their true intentions as well.

    My guess is that's why senators and house members have staffs: to read the bills and tell them what they mean. There's not time enough in the day to read and understand fully all those bills.


    And yet for most of us, ignorance of the law is no excuse...
  • by 1lus10n (586635) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:06AM (#10661546) Journal
    just out of curriosity, does it say that all of these were commited by islamic foriegners ? Cause I dont see that information anywhere on that list.

    You will also notice that a large number of those countries have a significant oppressed class/religion/whatever. Then quite a few are also just as guilty as the US regarding trying to control the world.

    You know what you wont see on that list are any nuetral countries that dont have their own internal problems. Every single one of those countries has there own internal issues, was/is a significant ally of the US or is involved in the middle east on there own.

    The criteria for that list is bullshit. The bloods and crips would be on that list if they were shooting at mcdonalds instead of each other, that doesnt make them terrorists, it makes them plain old criminals.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rjkimble (97437) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:11AM (#10661562) Homepage Journal
    I'm sure they KNOW the law far better than you. And I'm sure they DID check to see that an actual law was being broken. You might want to read my other responses for my rationale. I don't want to waste my time typing everything in here as well.
  • by 1lus10n (586635) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:16AM (#10661583) Journal
    Better than the current system where we pay lip service to the top issues, do nothing until something happens and then pass a shit load of civil rights bashing laws, all the while still doing nothing to enforce any of it unless it can make somebody some money. Or spy on those "damn liberals". Yay for capitalism. ::barf::

    The sole purpose of the governements existance is to protect its citizens, not the economy, not big business. The PEOPLE.

  • Re:Mod Parent Up (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 0123456 (636235) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:33AM (#10661626)
    "Most speech is protected by the First Amendment. Some speech is not."

    Let's see now: 'Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.'

    Do you want to explain where in there, exactly, the government has any right to ban any kind of speech? What part of 'Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech' is so hard to understand?
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by arkanes (521690) <arkanes@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:51AM (#10661669) Homepage
    I'm not disagreeing here, and I think the article is a load of hogwash, but I think that assuming that law enforcement is "doing the right thing" and acting within the law because they (presumably) know it better than you is a silly and dangerous basis for your assumptions.

    In this specific case I tend to agree, granted. I'm just taking issue with the general tone of your comment.

  • by TheDredd (529506) on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:52AM (#10661671)
    Has our government gone completely f'ing insane?

    Dude, have you been living in a hole the last 4 years?
  • by TheDredd (529506) on Friday October 29, 2004 @07:09AM (#10661705)
    Tell people you are AMERICAN and be proud of that.

    So, what has America done lately that you are proud of?
  • by Breakfast Pants (323698) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:22AM (#10661926) Journal
    "... Expired Trademark" + "...now is enforcing copyright law as well" + "The patent for Rubik's cube..." = WHAT THE FUCK

    This is the most illinformed shit I've seen on Slashdot in a while. A Slashdot while that is, which is not very long. Sometimes people make a little mistake and think say for instance a trademark is covered under the same laws as copyright. Pisses me off, but it's never the end of the world. But this? The End of the World .
  • by Xyrus (755017) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:25AM (#10661943) Journal
    Terrorism? TERRORISM? You think terrorism is the biggest threat this country faces? BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    The Center for Disease Control (the CDC) keeps odds on what you will most likely die from over the span of your life.

    Do you know where terrorism ranks? Your more likely to die from lightning than die from a terrorist attack. That's right. Go to the CDC site and see it for yourself.

    Your 8 times more likely to die in your own bathtub than die from a terrorist attack. TERRORISM?

    You are 18516 times more likely to die in a car wreck than you are in a terrorist attack at the mall you were driving to. TERRORISM?

    Do you know how many children in this country die every year because of no healthcare and no food? Do you know how many homeless people there are across the country?

    TERRORISM?

    You are THOUSANDS of time more likely to get shot, stabbed, hung, hit by car, flambayed, gored, frozen, drown, bludgeoned, and electrocuted during your life than die in a terrorist attack.

    The amount of fear-mongering in this country is completely revolting. VOTE FOR BUSH BECAUSE HE PROTECTS US! Bullshit. How about making the roads safer. That would save thousands of lives as the average peron has a 1 in 81 chance of dying in a car wreck during their life.

    I've read articles on how parents fear for their childrens safety in this "age of terrorism", while ignoring the fact that their child is thousands of times more likely to die just around their own homes than in a terrorist attack.

    TERRORISM? The only real terrorism I know is the fear-gospel being spewed forth by the media.

    "One terrorist attack is one too many." You have a 1 in 197 chance of being murdered in your lifetime. Compare this to a 1 in 88000 chance of being killed by the terrorist. I'm a little more concerned about being murdered.

    TERRORISM? With 45 million people being uninsured for health, I really don't think that terrorism should be up at the top of the list. You are THOUSANDS of times more like to die from disease over your lifetime than you are to die in a terrorist attack over your lifetime.

    No my friends. Terrorism is not the biggest threat to this country. Ignorance is. This country has real domestic problems of its own that DWARFS terrorism on all fronts.

    We've spent billions on a war that didn't need to be fought, but we have millions of starving kids in our own backyard. We've spent billions to precision bomb a country that didn't even have clean drinking water, while thousands die every year in our country because they can't afford health care. Billions have been spent on Homeland Security, while homeless shelters have been packed to gills here in our own country.

    Think about it.

    ~X~
  • by Presence1 (524732) on Friday October 29, 2004 @08:35AM (#10662003) Homepage
    "I think this is a bit simplistic. The senate had 735 Bills last year according to that site, with language such as:..."

    No, as a senator, you ARE supposed to read it, and/or have hired trusted competent staff to read it and raise any issues. There is NO EXCUSE for a senator to say "we don't have enough time to read all the bills" -- yes, the workload is high, but that is what you ran and were elected to do, and you should at least take responsibility for your vote.

    Moreover, that kind of stilted language is not an obstacle to them, as they are almost all lawyers; they are simply writing legally effective language in a way to which they are accustomed (as software engineers write code or specs).

    We at least agree that more understanding and slower legislation would be better, and that the electorate's lack of intrest and education is a root cause of our dying democracy.
  • WTF? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by t_allardyce (48447) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:26AM (#10662333) Journal
    This is the most insane thing ive read this week, Is this even true? why havnt any big media sources (ie TV) picked it up? how come its not even one of those "and now for a strange story" items where they send a reporter around to do a quick interview? did she have a security camera? Have any other shops been aproached? has the company been contacted by HS? has HS been contacted to actually confirm this? Was it a prank? so many questions and so few answered. I'd really love to believe this and see some more reporting on it because if its true its just insane and scary and makes no sense and would make great news.
  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ajs (35943) <<moc.sja> <ta> <sja>> on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:30AM (#10662363) Homepage Journal
    [The manufacturer defended themselves ...] Of course the manufacturer said that.

    Ah, you must be from outside the United States. It's easy to misunderstand US law with respect to burden of proof, since TV and movies that we export so often make it seem as if the burden is on the accused. It's not.

    This should have happened this way:

    * Complained filed with H.S.
    * H.S. refers it to either FBI or the state's A.G.
    * FBI or A.G. issues a warning or:
    * FBI or A.G. takes retailer to court or:
    * FBI or A.G. refers the matter to the owner of the trademark as a civil matter.

    There's no excuse for the way this played out.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:48AM (#10662511)

    Puny 22 mm toy gun?

    I think you must have meant ".22 cal". A 22 mm diameter projectile (approx .87 caliber) is no toy ... only about 1/3rd inch wider than typical aerial-platform-fired cannon. :-)

    If that's a toy, gimme.

  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CaptainFrito (599630) on Friday October 29, 2004 @09:57AM (#10662587)
    The Department of [Whatever] marching in and "requesting" that someone do something or not do something 'just in case' is itself a form terrorism, by definition. People are genuinely afraid of what might happen if they don't fully comply, regardless of morality or legality. Many suppose that by 'going along to get along', they'll be rewarded with special favor.

    This is exactly what you get when you trade freedom and liberty for the illusion of security. Security is always a future risk issue, and only a fool thinks the future is can be controlled by people. Of course there are general precautions, but history has shown that the most effective methods are simply to treat your neighbor as yourself, then only the profoundly selfish, sadistic and crazed are at issue. In which case, you're sunk anyway.

    For example, why not empower the State to do daily inspections of every single home to root out 'terrorist cells'? Of course, if this were to be undertaken some "cells" would be found, but the proven reliable sociological effect would yield only the sadistic domination by the very 'security' people responsible for the enforcing the policy. And from the evidence I've seen this behavior cannot be predicted by any level of psychological screening. It's a matter of flawed human nature. And the effect is seen in less than a week, so for all those who think this is slow and unusual and is easily managed, you're simply wrong -- the effect propagates through all echelons of such organizations and is quite thorough and complete.

    For those of you following along with the true issues involved, liberty has been redefined by Presidential decree three times in the last 50 years (see EO13083, et al). Of course, the US consitution itself hasn't been changed, but the dictionary used to decode it sure has.

  • Re:Fear of powers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Proteus (1926) on Friday October 29, 2004 @10:04AM (#10662635) Homepage Journal
    Heck exclude anyone that is not a healthy, straight non-old white male and the |race|age|sex|-ism card is pulled from the deck.
    And promptly returned to the deck when your lawyer demonstrates that there have been many racial minorities, women, old and young people, and sexual minorities that have not been excluded.

    I'll be the first to say that discrimination lawsuits often go to far, but the reality is that many more are quickly dismissed as groundless. The problem is the media loves to report "Corp X is being sued for ejecting a black woman", but doesn't bother to mention that "the suit against Corp X is being dismissed because the woman was ejected for causing a disturbance, and Corp X even has a black female board member."

    Learn to see through the hype, and check out the reality. There are cases where someone wins over a dumb claim like this, but it's usually overturned on appeal.
  • by retinaburn (218226) on Friday October 29, 2004 @10:14AM (#10662701)
    Your reply doesn't discount the fact that only 5% are searched. And the poster did not say anything about it was the CG's fault. He is saying that perhaps we should be spending MORE money on getting MORE people to search cargo entering this country, rather than bending over for corporations. Jeez dude take a breath, its friday, enjoy.
  • by SubtleNuance (184325) on Friday October 29, 2004 @11:10AM (#10663158) Journal
    Tell that to the slope-foreheaded thugs at the Abteilung der Heimat-Sicherheit.

    What business do these brown-shirts have in such affairs anyway?

    The fact that Intellectual Property Law (or, ownership of ideas) is being "Defended" by the UberPatriots is the fucking point.

    Because, not surrendering to the might of the Capitalist Oligarchy is Unpatriotic, No? Didnt you hear? Whats Good for GM is good for USofAmerica. Do you disagree? Filthy Terrorist!
  • by francisew (611090) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:24PM (#10663898) Homepage

    I think you aren't taking the whole terrorism thing seriously enough.

    For example:

    • What you call car 'wrecks' I call accidents. Nobody really wanted to get hurt. No one really wanted to hurt anyone else. It's just the way things go.
    • Children getting killed around their homes. It's probably just because natural selection is supposed to take care of them. It makes the US stronger as a nation by eliminating the weakest.
    • Murder. Hah. It's probably all deserved in the first place. After all, how often do people get unjustly killed? Probably just brought it on themselves.
    • No healthcare and food? Oh come on, why don't they just eat at McD's? It's not so expensive! With the amount of added chemicals in the food, you don't need any supplementary medication!
    • Bathtubs. Look, if you're wasting all that water taking baths, you are doing the world as a whole a favor by saving water in the future.
    • 'Media fear-gospel'? Come on, look, CNN is just trying to keep us all aware of the truly important, fundamentally preventable issues.
    I also don't see the problem with ignorance. I mean, if people get too smart, it means they can do illegal things. They might not want to follow the laws that keep us all safe. The system could get broken! I also don't see what you have against DWARFS in this country. I say we leave them out of it.

    Ok, so everything I've said so far is satirical. Truth is, I completely agree with you. Big surprise.

    What I found funniest in the article was the closing line: Can't the Department of Home Security find any 'real' terrorists? How many CNN reports have there been about catching domestic terrorists? Preventing terrorist attacks? Complex plots from foreigners to destroy the american way of life? I think the Dept' probably does more to anger and outrage foreigners than to improve the safety of the USA.

  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday October 29, 2004 @12:36PM (#10664071) Homepage Journal
    "Never ascribe to malice what can be explained by incompetence."
    - /usr/bin/games/fortune
  • A Rubik's cube can't be copyrighted - there's no text.

    Wrong, copyright covers more than text. Copyright covers any fixed expression in a tangible medium. Thus, it covers text, but it also covers sculptures, bike racks, scribbles on paper, computer code on disk, and potentially, Rubix cube designs.

    If the mods/editors need a quick refresher on what trademark/patent/copyright/trade secret really is, they can check out my blog. [smiglaw.com] So many people mess this up, I have to keep pointing this out. I'll gladly volunteer to review submissions concerning IP- I'm an IP attorney, and it really bugs me that people use these terms interchangeably.

    *sighs louder*

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 29, 2004 @06:24PM (#10668211)
    Yasser Arafat is not a moderate.

    Anyone who chooses a terror campaign over a state for his people is not a moderate.

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