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Slashback: GPLv3, Firefly, iTunes 275

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the different-results-from-the-same-actions dept.
Slashback tonight brings some corrections, clarifications, and updates to previous Slashdot stories, including Stallman's comments on GPLv3, Firefly fans clinging to hope, sentence handed down in student felony webpage refresh case, GP2X GPL issues resolved, Korean cloning scientist may get to keep his patents, Apple changes their tune for iTunes ministore, and much more -- Read on for details.

Richard Stallman speaks on GPLv3 and patents. Elton J. Won writes "A public forum on the updated GPL was held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Although Stallman solicited comments from forum attendees. he made clear that the GPL version 3 will not alter the license's basic stance on software patents. From the article: 'the GPL version 3 is explicitly meant to discourage litigation based on software patents. "This is not a placeholder. This is the text we currently plan to go with unless we're surprised by seeing a better idea," Stallman said.'" Relatedly RMS also recently expounded on some of these thoughts in an interview with PCPro.

Firefly fans refuse to go quietly into the night. CMGaretJax writes "The Browncoats, a fan group based around the hit cult TV show Firefly, and the more recent movie, Serenity, have set up a website for donations from people who want to see another season of Firefly. So far they have raised $840 dollars against an estimated cost of 1 million per episode. An admirable attempt, and one that will hopefully pick up steam, the show really is too pretty to die."

Student receives sentence for felony web-page charge. EMB Numbers writes to tell us that Michael Stone, the student who was recently charged with a felony for encouraging others to bog down a school server with web page refreshes, has cut a deal with the prosecutor for a lesser misdemeanor offense -- criminal mischief. Stone was given a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail along with 20 hours of community service. Although he declined to comment on camera Stone's mother stated that she appreciate all the support he received from the online community.

GP2X GPL issues resolved. gizmateer writes to tell us that after quite a bit of noise from the online community it appears that Gamepark has bowed to the pressure and will be releasing the source for the most recent version of the GP2X firmware. From the article: "Please stop posting to this board about GPL. Dignsys will post up the sources to the new firmware version 1.3.0 next week on http://source.gp2x.de. They intend to release it once the binaries to said firmware have been released."

Korean cloning scientist may get to keep his patents. Billosaur writes "According to an article on the New Scientist web site, disgraced Korean cloning researcher Hwang Woo-Suk may get to keep his patents for the process of creating embryonic stem cells via cloning human embryos. Already the UK patent office is looking into the validity of the patents in Europe. From the article: 'As long as an invention is not clearly contrary to scientific laws - like time travel - research has no bearing on the grant of a patent.'"

Apple changes their tune for iTunes mini store. jjbelsky writes "Apple has modified the iTunes MiniStore in response to the anger caused by its release of personal information. All users of iTunes, whether or not the music store is enabled, are now presented with a page informing them that when a song is selected 'information about that item is sent to Apple.' Users who do not click on the 'Turn on MiniStore' button will not have their privacy invaded."

Targets of RIAA lawsuit turn on i2hub operator. Doros writes "After being forced to fork over thousands of dollars to the RIAA, students want i2hub operator Wayne Chang to cover their losses. From the article: 'At least 42 students have been named as defendants in John Doe lawsuits filed by the recording industry. The industry trade group has offered to settle each case for $3,750, lawyers for the students said Tuesday. "Had the students known that they were exposing themselves to copyright infringement liability by using the i2hub service, they likely would not have used the service," the legal group wrote.'"

Adults exempt from Chinese online limits. Dotnaught writes "The Chinese government has yielded to pressure from adult online gamers and exempted them from its online gaming addiction policy. The rules, which went into effect last October, require that after five hours of consecutive play, players cease earning any virtual rewards such as experience points or beneficial items. To avail themselves of the exemption, some 26 million gamers will have to register their real names and identity card numbers with the authorities. The system hasn't proven particularly effective -- minors reportedly skirt the limits by logging onto different accounts or switching to another game after reaching the time limit."

Bill Thompson follows up Mac security remarks. Bralkein writes to tell us that in response to the overwhelming amount of feedback Bill Thompson received on his recent Mac security article, he has penned a response to his critics. In his reply, he admits that there were a few flaws in his article, and he acknowledges the high level of security provided by OS X's UNIX foundations. However, he stands by his assertion that the Mac cannot boast complete immunity to all security problems. As a Mac user himself, he still believes that the Mac community needs to remember that security is still an issue for them, too.

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Slashback: GPLv3, Firefly, iTunes

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  • Except they're not.. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Idimmu Xul (204345) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:02PM (#14505288) Homepage Journal

    Firefly fans refuse to go quietly into the night. CMGaretJax writes "The Browncoats, a fan group based around the hit cult TV show Firefly, and the more recent movie, Serenity, have set up a website for donations from people who want to see another season of Firefly. So far they have raised $840 dollars against an estimated cost of 1 million per episode. An admirable attempt, and one that will hopefully pick up steam, the show really is too pretty to die."

    From the site: We are in the process of returning all donations received. We came up against insurmountable odds and legal issues launching our fund-raising drive

    A nice idea, and god I'd love a second series, but it was admitedly reaching for the stars, literally!

    • by Freaky Spook (811861) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:15PM (#14505375)
      They may be able to raise 1 million, but if nothing eventuates out of it who gets the money??

      As much as I would love to see more firefly, I really don't want to put my money into reviving a tv show when I don't know where the money is going, i'd much prefer to increase my current donations to more needy causes like Oxfam.
    • by Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) * <seebert42@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:37PM (#14505527) Homepage Journal
      Seems to me a way around the legal issues on this sort of thing would be to go to the network that owns the rights from the start- and say "When our website earns enough money, we will buy 20 minutes of advertising on your network for each episode you are able to produce". Then all the commercials could be stories about the donation process, with the web address to donate at...bet it would pay for itself after the first episode went on the air.
    • They're doing it all wrong. What they need is commitment from the advertisers to support a new show. To get commitment from the advertisers, they need commitment from the fans to watch the show in the given time slot. To get commitment from the fans, they need to ink a deal with Fox that would guarantee a non-preemtable timeslot so that fans can make their decision. To sweeten the pot for advertisers, they might even set something up so that the fans will receive a mailing or two from the advertisers.

      Basica
    • They're returning the money? That's too bad. Sounds like they nearly had enough to get Shepherd Book to do a direct-to-internet 10 second PSA.
    • by Animats (122034) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @03:02AM (#14507542) Homepage
      was admitedly reaching for the stars, literally!

      That's what I told Carol Lynn in 1971, when she headed the campaign to bring back Star Trek. "It's over. Give it up. Let it go".

  • The Browncoats (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tx (96709)
    The Browncoats effort is already over by the looks of things, lasting a mere 36hrs, so that item is already out of date. Shame, I still hope someone will find a way to bring Firefly back. From the site:


    No more donations are being taken at this time!
    We are in the process of returning all donations received. We came up against insurmountable odds and legal issues launching our fund-raising drive. firefly@browncoatsriseagain.com

    If the money is buring a hole in your pocket, please buy a DVD. Firely and Serenity
  • by Noksagt (69097) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:05PM (#14505307) Homepage
    So far they have raised $840 dollars against an estimated cost of 1 million per episode.
    $1M is relatively cheap for a network. They are more concerned about the opportunity costs. That is, they can get a lot more ad revenue from shows that people actually watch. Not to make any judgements of the show itself--I paid for my Serenity ticket on opening night--but no network is going to put on a show that is a ratings disaster just because it is free.

    Recall, also, the attempt to "Save Enterprise" the same way. The money was raised (much more than $840!) & it was still axed.
    • If they were given the show for "free" it wouldn't matter what ratings it would get. They could still release it to DVD (or maybe even to iTunes first) and rake in the cash...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Come on... Enterprise sucked. If it wasn't "Trek", it wouldn't even have had a second season... But I guess people watched it as some sort of "Trek fix", and hoping that it would eventually get somewhere (me included).

      As for Firefly, it was original and interesting, and it didn't even had a full season. So, if there ever was a show that deserved to be picked up for another run, that show is Firefly.
    • by AndroidCat (229562) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:42PM (#14505556) Homepage
      Couldn't we just threaten to blow a new crater in their little network?

      Oh wait, transport ship ain't got no guns on it...

    • You sound like Serenity never had MAJOR success in the box office. I'm absolutely shocked that networks aren't fighting each other to pick up the series since it is obviously a money maker and will be doubly so now (especially series DVDs). I'd love to see some figures if anybody has them on sales numbers on the series DVDs before and after Serenity came out.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Turns out that what they thought was hope was just a candle flame and they all died.
  • Think this... (Score:4, Informative)

    by shawnce (146129) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:07PM (#14505325) Homepage
    I think the following site sums up my opinion of iTunes mini store "issue"....

    iTunes MiniStore Is Now Opt-In [daringfireball.net]
    • I think I might enjoy it if I could customize it to track particular labels, genres, and artists.

      I find it pretty damn worthless in it's current state. All it does is recommend crappy music that I don't care about.
    • Figures, this shows Slashdot's anti-Apple bias. Put the article describing the problem on the front page, bury the correction of the problem in a slashback.

      For the non-USians: There are those in the US who like to say that the media has a liberal bias because it puts Bush administration screwups on the front pages and corrects erronious details in lower profile places.
  • Simple, pledge not money, but to subscribe to the pay cable service (Showtime, HBO) that picks up the series. If they can get 200,000 new subscribers, between the subscriber fees and the post-season DVD sales, that justifies a 13-episode order.

    - Greg

    • If they ressurect both Firefly and Arrested Development then my subscription is pretty much a done deal.

      Well, as long as they keep them two seperate shows, that is...
      • ...as long as they keep them two seperate shows...

        Great, now I'm going to be writing scripts in my head all day about FireflyAD!
      • by Browncoat (928784) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:38PM (#14506216)
        On the next..Arrested Development:

        GOB finds it difficult to gain re-entry in the Alliance when he performs his illusions in front of River, who immediately knows all of the tricks.

        Michael is mistaken for Mal, and has to fight a duel to defend Inara, who is being stalked by Carl Weathers.

        Tobias is jealous of Lindsay's attraction to a "real doctor" like Simon, and hatches a plan to win back his wife by going to Boston to renew his medical license. He gets on the wrong bus, heading toward Canada.

        Mal, mistaken for Michael, is arrested for another George Sr. crime, and escapes prison with the help of Jayne, using GOB's Segway as a getaway vehicle. They hit an inordinately fortified sand castle on the beach, and break it.

        GOB, devestated at the loss of his Segway, and no company funds to buy another, begins to drink heavily with Jayne. They visit George Sr. in prison, and the three sing "The Hero of Canton" and the two are escorted out by guards.

        Kaylee finds it difficult to fight off the affections of GOB after she fixes his Segway.

        River is arrested after the Bluth Company's Mr. BananaGrabber commercial triggers another "incident," this time in Klimpy's Family Style Restaurant.

        Wash buys the Bluth company jet back, and before GOB can take it to South America, he and Zoe fly off for a vacation. Unfortunately, Maeby is hiding in the bathroom, and is left there while the couple goes to their resort.

        Simon, misunderstanding Kaylee's behavior with GOB as flirting, embarks to seduce Lindsay to get revenge. He later realizes that Lindsay is the type of woman that his father would have wanted him to marry, and breaks up with her by saying, "I've made a huge mistake."

        George Michael is infatuated with River, but is slightly frightened of her after she looks at Ann and "fixes" her Bible in front of her parents.

        Pastor Veal, on a flight back to California from a conference, is mistaken for Wash, and is left in the cockpit to land a plane safely after both the pilot and co-pilot have panic attacks.

        Buster thinks Kaylee is the most beautiful woman he has ever seen, and tries to fight GOB and Simon for her affections. He looks online for doctorate programs, believing Kaylee is attracted to doctors, and mistakenly signs up to be a guest on the show of popular television counselor, Dr. Phil, after he submits what he believes to be an admissions essay answering the question "Do you have a family member you believe is living a double life?"

        Mr. Universe becomes a public relations agent for the Bluths, holding press conferences from his ion cloud (now relocated to the smog air of California), and using Lenore as a spokeswoman, launches a pro-Bluth campaign, with great success. When an interrupted video feed reveals Mr. Universe to be the real public relations agent, and Lenore revealed to be fake, the Jewish community celebrates, and they all hire Mr. Universe to be their consultant. Women across the country, relieved to see that Lenore has perfect makeup because the makeup is permanently on her skin, also hire Mr. Universe.

        George Sr. and Book discuss religion, and Book finds insight in George Sr.'s "Caged Wisdom" tapes.

        • Now THAT is a show I'd watch!

          "You best to be watching that claw, Buster. You may be part machine but you're still human where all the sticky parts live." -Mal.
  • by SIGFPE (97527) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:09PM (#14505335) Homepage
    That's a pity. If there's no money to be made from inventing a time machine I don't think I'll bother working on mine any more. I'll just get back to my perpetual moction machine then.
  • by Roadkills-R-Us (122219) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:10PM (#14505337) Homepage
    Good deal. This should never have been charged as a felony to begin with, but I agree he needed a reality slap. I haven't looked far enough into the case to have a strong opinion on the sentence, but 60 days, even suspended, sounds a little heavy. Then again, if there's more to it than I've caught from the news, maybe it's fine.
  • by Black Parrot (19622) * on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:10PM (#14505338)
    I loved the series, but was a bit disappointed with the movie. (Well done, but tried to wrap up / kill off too much stuff that should have been used to tittilate us for a couple of years.) In principle it could go on, but I can't see the magic ever being recaptured at this date.

    I wish Joss would give up on the dead horse and turn his attention to something new - on a different network.
  • by Dasein (6110) <tedc.codebig@com> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:11PM (#14505349) Homepage Journal
    Gorram it.
  • by TimmyDee (713324) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:13PM (#14505360) Homepage Journal
    Apple has modified the iTunes MiniStore in response to the anger caused by its release of personal information.

    This is why I like Apple. And it's also the difference between Apple and MS. Users matter.
    • Oh yeah, because no other company would ever remove something privacy-invading under immense user outcry. Get real.
      • Oh yeah, because no other company would ever remove something privacy-invading under immense user outcry. Get real.
        Half a dozen geeks whining on Slashdot does not constitute immense user outcry.
  • WoW? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mr. Flibble (12943) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:24PM (#14505435) Homepage
    "The Chinese government has yielded to pressure from adult online gamers and exempted them from its online gaming addiction policy. The rules, which went into effect last October, require that after five hours of consecutive play, players cease earning any virtual rewards such as experience points or beneficial items. To avail themselves of the exemption, some 26 million gamers will have to register their real names and identity card numbers with the authorities. The system hasn't proven particularly effective -- minors reportedly skirt the limits by logging onto different accounts or switching to another game after reaching the time limit."

    And people were wondering why Chinese players prefer not to frequent Chinese servers. There were the recent (slashdot story) accusations of gold farming, which is possible. Or, the Chinese players of WoW perhaps want to circumvent this limit by playing on an outside server...

    Note, I don't know anything about WoW servers within China, and whether they acutally conform to this 5 hour limit or not, but then again, I don't play WoW on Chinese servers either.
    • Re:WoW? (Score:2, Insightful)

      And people were wondering why Chinese players prefer not to frequent Chinese servers. There were the recent (slashdot story) accusations of gold farming, which is possible. Or, the Chinese players of WoW perhaps want to circumvent this limit by playing on an outside server...

      This makes me wonder if the Chinese government didn't have another motive in enforcing this limit. After all, it would interfere with "gold farming" businesses. Maybe they didn't like the idea and manufacutred this "gaming addicti
  • Free CDs! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VGPowerlord (621254) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:33PM (#14505505) Homepage
    "Had the students known that they were exposing themselves to copyright infringement liability by using the i2hub service, they likely would not have used the service," the legal group wrote.'

    This isn't a hard concept to understand. Really, it isn't. If you're downloading music that you see on CDs in stores, for free, it's illegal.

    Blaming the i2hub's operators is a diversionary tactic. It's pretty obvious that they chose to connect to a file sharing network, and IANAL, but I'm pretty sure that shows intent on their part.

    • by geekoid (135745)
      The consumer should never be put into the situation where they are reponsible for how a company behaves.

    • Would make for a pretty shrewd tactic for the RIAA though. Get them to sign an NDA as part of the settlement, and then underwrite their legal costs if they decide to sue the download site. A bit like the deal with the lokitorrent guy to poison the well against any future fundraising for a community challenge.

      Not that I'm saying that's what happened, but I'd be surprised if they haven't at least considered it.

    • Re:Free CDs! (Score:3, Interesting)

      Founded by Wayne Chang in 2003 while he was a student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, the i2hub network linked students and others over the super-fast Internet2 network. In a letter to Chang dated Monday, attorneys with the Student Legal Services Office claimed i2hub placed ads on campus to deceive UMass students into believing the software was approved by the university. It's one of several reasons that the student-funded legal group says led its clients to believe they were authorized to use
    • This isn't a hard concept to understand. Really, it isn't. If you're downloading music that you see on CDs in stores, for free, it's illegal.

      Nonsense. There are more than enough bands that sell CDs and make their music available free, and many more will freely release a few sample tracks from the album they're selling.

    • Just because something is illegal does not neccesarily mean that you are exposing yourself to liability. If you speed on an empty highway, you are not exposing yourself to punishment because nobody's gonna catch you.

      Of course, that doesn't mean that their argument has any legal validity (it probably doesn't) but it's still an important clarification to make.
      • Just because something is illegal does not neccesarily mean that you are exposing yourself to liability. If you speed on an empty highway, you are not exposing yourself to punishment because nobody's gonna catch you.

        Exactly... but in this case, the students are trying to hold the road responsible because they were speeding.

  • by PornMaster (749461) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:37PM (#14505532) Homepage
    In thinking about patents resulting from illegal behavior (I don't know if what the Korean guy did was illegal -- possibly fraud if nothing else), it would be interesting for a gov't to issue the patent, but assign it to the public domain.

    That'd keep people from profiting from the illegal behavior, and also not allow someone else to come in and profit from it just because they're "clean".
  • 'As long as an invention is not clearly contrary to scientific laws - like time travel - research has no bearing on the grant of a patent.'"

    So I guess they're saying there's no need to prove you've invented anything... it just has to pass the laugh test.

    Of course, time travel is perfectly possible... and with relativistic travel, arbitrary time travel into the future is not only possible, but a proven fact.

    • Of course, time travel is perfectly possible... and with relativistic travel, arbitrary time travel into the future is not only possible, but a proven fact.

      Even without it, it's still a proven fact. Of course one's temporal velocity is, for all reasonable human experiences currently fixed, but we are all, indeed, time travelers in a sense.

  • iTunes (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CMiYC (6473) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:40PM (#14505548) Homepage
    For what it is worth, I don't care if Apple is tracking what I am listening to. If it helps iTunes to recommend new music that I didn't know about, great (which it already has)! Should they have done things differently? Could they have? Sure. Whatever. I don't care! Its a fucking song.

    I'm amazed at how outranged people will get over one thing, but let another go into the night.
  • Fuck Off (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @08:42PM (#14505560)
    >Users who do not click on the 'Turn on MiniStore' button will not have their privacy invaded.

    how the fuck is it an invasion of privacy?

    no personal data is collected or sent, or ever was. it's a feature that turns your library into iTMS links, basically just a tabbed version of the little arrows that have been there for ages. oh noes! hyperlinks and tabbed browsing! teh interweb is stealing my identity!

    and even though it was blown way out of proportion, Apple still responded quickly and as desired.
    • Re:Fuck Off (Score:3, Interesting)

      by R3d M3rcury (871886)
      "no personal data is collected or sent, or ever was."

      Yay! Pat yourself on the back! You were right.

      The issue, though, was not about what evil things Apple might be doing. The issue was that you had no idea what Apple was doing. There was speculation--perhaps even informed speculation--but no actual word from Apple about this. Not even buried deep in the bowels of the license agreement.

      "how the fuck is it an invasion of privacy?"

      Remember that if the information had been stored--we now know it wasn't--in
      • The issue was that you had no idea what Apple was doing. There was speculation--perhaps even informed speculation--but no actual word from Apple about this. Not even buried deep in the bowels of the license agreement.

        It was stated right on the Apple iTunes page that the Mini-Store connects to the Music Store and provides info on the music you're currently listening to.

        Of course, in the zeal to scream "ITUNES IS MALWARE LOLZ," nobody bothered to check out the page.
      • The issue, though, was not about what evil things Apple might be doing. The issue was that you had no idea what Apple was doing. There was speculation--perhaps even informed speculation--but no actual word from Apple about this. Not even buried deep in the bowels of the license agreement.

        Actually, this is wrong. They did make it clear. The knowledge base article [apple.com], available the day iTunes 6.0.2 was release, specifically said:

        iTunes sends data about the song selected in your library to the iTu
  • Time Travel...? (Score:2, Informative)

    by dartarrow (930250)
    'As long as an invention is not clearly contrary to scientific laws - like time travel - research has no bearing on the grant of a patent.'

    I think Einstein would say otherwise. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/time/think.html [pbs.org] and http://www.iit.edu/~bosabri/time.html [iit.edu]
  • by Adult film producer (866485) <van@i2pmail.org> on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @09:56PM (#14505979)
    Stone was given a suspended sentence of 60 days in jail along with 20 hours of community service. Although he declined to comment on camera Stone's mother stated that she appreciate all the support he received from the online community.

    oh ya, only 60 days in jail... that makes about as much sense as throwing a person 5 years in federal prison for growing their own marijuana. This country is done for, whoever has to mop up this mess has their work cut out for them.
  • To patent a time machine you must have Patent #1 [cheapass.com].
  • Oh, please (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Wednesday January 18, 2006 @10:12PM (#14506067)
    Users who do not click on the 'Turn on MiniStore' button will not have their privacy invaded

    It's just doing a WebObjects query for related albums. Jesus Christ, my privacy isn't being invaded over that. There's more information stored via the Google cookie, and where is the Slashdot outrage over that? That information has been confirmed to be stored indefinitely, along with your email in Gmail. Oh no, Slashdot is storing your IP in its weblogs! In fact, every server does!

    Non-issue, in my opinion.
    • Re:Oh, please (Score:3, Insightful)

      by labratuk (204918)

      It's just doing a WebObjects query for related albums.

      And in the process, telling them what you're listening to.

      There's more information stored via the Google cookie, and where is the Slashdot outrage over that? That information has been confirmed to be stored indefinitely, along with your email in Gmail. Oh no, Slashdot is storing your IP in its weblogs! In fact, every server does!

      That's completely different, because people expect that to happen. They're using the internet. People don't expect a music

  • Good on Apple! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Onan (25162) on Thursday January 19, 2006 @03:47AM (#14507679)
    I'm very fond of Apple, but I was incensed by the disregard for privacy that itunes 6.0.2 seemed to indicate. I used their feedback web form to convey my alarm, made some grumpy posts to their discussion forum, and generally tried to express to them that this was a serious transgression.

    Apparently they heard and reacted to me and the presumed lots of other people saying the same thing, and reacted in precisely the right way. I never much cared about the mini-store one way or the other, I was only bothered by the transmission of personal data without my very explicit knowledge and consent. Defaulting to off with a prominent opt-in dialog is a perfectly good solution to this.

    So it appears that it was just an oversight on their part, a concern that never crossed their minds, and that they were willing to make corrections as soon as the issue was brought to their attention. That seems quite forgivable, and indeed I'm proud of Apple for reacting so quickly and correctly.

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