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February 11, 2005 10:09 AM

Broken: (Follow-ups)

Followups on...

- the photo ban in Chicago's Millennium Park: original post, and today's update on the story.

Update Feb 18: yet another update from Boing Boing.

- the Web user who was arrested for using the Lynx Web browser: original post, and today's update on the story.


un... stoppable laughter

Posted by: Dragon at February 12, 2005 01:33 AM

It's good to see some updates on these items; they both seemed pretty fishy to me when they were first posted.

I notice that there is still nothing in the press about the alleged tsunami hacker (at least we have a name for him now) being mistakenly arrested simply for using a non-standard browser. In fact, it took several weeks for the police to arrest him and seize his equipment, and several more weeks for charges to be laid. Does this sound like a knee-jerk, panic response sparked by an ignorant sysadmin? And don't you think that if there was even a sniff of wrongful arrest, someone in the press would be all over it? Obviously, I have no proof that the original boingboing post was wrong or exaggerated, but it sure seems more and more likely that something more was going on ...

As for the Millennium Park issue, it turns out that, indeed, this has more to do with misinformed and overzealous security guards than it has to do with copyright law. It's not "illegal" to take pictures of the sculpture as was originally reported.

Incidentally (while I'm ranting) I don't understand why people keep emphasizing that this sculpture is in a public place, or paid for with tax dollars (there seems to be some disagreement on that last point). Who paid for a work, and where it's displayed, does not affect an artist's copyright. I can buy a painting from an artist, but unless I also specifically pay for reproduction rights, the artist retains those rights. I can't turn around and start selling prints of that painting without the artist's permission. Obviously, a work being bought "with taxpayer dollars" is no exception.

Similarly, it's not unusual at all for there to be restrictions in public spaces against activities that are normally allowed. Just because I'm a taxpayer, and a member the public, doesn't mean I don't have to "Keep Off the Grass" if it's so posted.

Y'know, when I see something posted on thisisbroken that genuinely *is* broken (the recent Citibank on-screen keyboard is a good example), it generally seems to be that the designer simply hasn't thought things through very carefully before implementing. I've gone on at length about the two posts above, because I sort of have to think that the posters have been guilty of the same lack of thinking it through before posting.

Wow, maybe I shouldn't have had that second pot of coffee this morning ...

Posted by: E.T. at February 14, 2005 12:17 PM

I suspect that there is more to it than we are being told to this "Lynx browser" story. I recall a similar story a few years ago where there was an allegation of overreaction by the authorities to someone reporting a security problem at a web site, only to find out that what really happened was a pretty clear extortion attempt.

Perhaps we ought to reserve judgement until the facts are adjudicated.

Posted by: Steve at February 14, 2005 07:56 PM

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