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   RE: [xml-dev] Symbol Grounding and Running Code: Is XML Really E xtensi

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From: Elliotte Rusty Harold [mailto:elharo@metalab.unc.edu]

At 8:40 AM -0500 8/14/03, Bullard, Claude L (Len) wrote:
>Yes.  Only I can't think of any reason eBay or Google
>would raise a lawyer's paranoia quotient.  eBay goes
>to great lengths to police the actions of it's users.
>Google just relies on a PageRank algorithm (possibly
>patented) that is an opinion meter and even if it
>seems odd, it also works for most topics.

>eBay has massive exposure due to auction fraud. They also have big 
>problems with the sale of forbidden items in various jurisdictions. 
>(e.g. Nazi memorabilia in France, pornography in Kentucky, etc.) 

Yes, and as a result, they have been investing resources to 
police these problems.  It isn't always possible to account 
for everything that users can do, but that is not the same 
as not warranting the services they provide.  There are 
always legal costs to doing business.  I don't think anyone 
here believes one can eliminate legal hassles; I think it 
possible to get a better deal than caveat emptor code purchases.

>Paypal's under investigation for failing to adhere to various states' 
>banking legislation and could serve as a conduit for money 

Yes.  Like online medical services, this is a particularly 
litigation prone domain and subject to the vagaries of 
local regulation.  This is similar to the tax collection 
problems.  For example, online music equipment merchandisers 
cite the 'New Jersey' exception.  Other states will get 
into this action as soon as the Feds relax constraints. 
I don't know much about it, but I expect each country 
to begin to tax Internet sales as each locality begins 
to realize the extent of the drain.

>Google (or any search engine really) has massive 
>copyright exposure due to caching of pages. 

Tricky.  Here is a situation where the act of using the 
medium of publishing exposes the authors to copyright 
violations not by theft but the nature of the medium 
or publication.  This is similar to the problem of 
the use of taped or any reproducible media.  One has 
to make exceptions for fair use.  I wonder if the cache 
could be construed as fair use.

>Fortunately, these companies didn't let any of  this stop them. 

They are dealing with problems as they come up.  Nothing unbusiness-like 
about that.  The idea that namespaces and vetted code registries 
could be used with royalty-free standards implementations that 
explcitly require warrantied submissions is an example of 
dealing with a problem as it comes up.  Fortunately, nothing 
stops this from happening either.  Perhaps the analog to the 
'hordes of lawyers' is 'the mob mentality'.

>If you're successful 
>enough, the penalties for this, both direct and indirect, are simply 
>a cost of doing business. Napster's real failure was that they got 
>hit with legal action before they had a large enough revenue stream 
>to cope.

No because even the buy out by the bigger firm couldn't change the 
mind of the courts with regards to the actions.  Some things 
money won't buy; one of them is the privilege to profit by theft.



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