Alexei Ovtcharov 's Techdirt Comments

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  • Is It A First Amendment Violation To Get Pulled Over For Flashing Your Lights To Warn Others Of Cops?

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 22 Sep, 2011 @ 12:27pm

    From the "Marginal Revolution" blog (Can't reach it now - "502 bad gateway", so copying from Google Reader)

    The 55 mph speed limit was a vain attempt by the Federal government to reduce gasoline consumption; initially passed in the 1974 Emergency Highway Energy Conservation Act the law was relaxed in 1987 and finally repealed in 1995 allowing states to choose their speed limits. Highways and cars are safer today than in the 1970s and on many highways speed limits were increased to 65 mph. Higher speed limits are often safer because what is worse than speed is variable speed, some people driving fast and some driving slow. When the speed limit is set too low you get lots of people who safely break the law and a few law-abiders who make the roads more dangerous.

    Unfortunately vestiges of the 55mph limit remain, in part because police like the 55mph limit which lets them write tickets at will whenever they need an increase in revenues. John Carr at the National Motorists blog gives a particularly egregious example from Massachusetts:


    The speed limit on Route 3 is 55. The speed limit used to be 60?.It was reduced by executive order in 1973 to comply with the national speed limit. When the national speed limit was repealed in 1995 the highway commissioner ordered the low limit retained?

    It gets better. Route 3 was completely rebuilt a decade ago. The design speed for the project was 110 km/h (68 mph). The design speed is like a warranty: nothing in the road design requires a driver to go slower than 68 mph, not even on a wet road at night (the design conditions).

    The average speed is not far from the design speed. The 85th percentile speed, which is supposed to be used for setting speed limits, is around 75 mph. A little over by my measurement, which found 1% compliance with the speed limit.

    Eventually the absurdity of the 55 mph speed limit sunk in and in 2006 MassHighway traffic engineers recommended a speed limit increase. State Police vetoed the change, preferring the 99% violation rate that let them write tickets at will. Police have no legal role in setting speed limits. Somebody in the Romney administration weighed the risk of losing ticket revenue against the risk of being blamed for accidents. Police won.

    After engineers lost that fight people began to worry about the high accident rate on Route 3. The state hired a consultant to do a Road Safety Audit. The consultant?s report blamed the low speed limit, among other factors, for the high crash rate. The report explicitly recommended raising the speed limit.

    Three years later, state officials have not followed the advice of their engineers, their consultant, or 100,000 drivers per day. State police are still out there running speed traps and helping keep the road as dangerous and profitable as they can.

  • Is It A First Amendment Violation To Get Pulled Over For Flashing Your Lights To Warn Others Of Cops?

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 21 Sep, 2011 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Wait until someone you know gets hit by a speeding car..

    "The traffic treats speed trap as a defect and routes around it"

  • US Marshals Service Asks Us To Remove A Comment

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 21 Sep, 2011 @ 12:31pm

    What exactly US Marshals found problematic in the question in question?

    Is it time to start murdering the corrupt yet?

    Is it time to start murdering the corrupt yet?

    Is it time to start murdering the corrupt yet?

    Is it time to start murdering the corrupt yet?

    Is it time to start murdering the corrupt yet?

    Is it time to start murdering the corrupt yet ?

  • Is It A First Amendment Violation To Get Pulled Over For Flashing Your Lights To Warn Others Of Cops?

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 21 Sep, 2011 @ 11:52am

    Re: Speeding

    I 100% agree with this research! Speed limit is something that depends on multiple variables, some of them are invariant (road condition, proximity of schools etc.), but some depend on an individual (driver's experience and kind/state of a vehicle). I don't advocate setting individual speed limits - it is just unfeasible, but I wouldn't curse myself when I drive 10 mph over limit (15 on empty highways): I've been 34 years behind the wheel (since 12), I drove in Moscow and Rio and I did not have a single accident (not that I'm immune, so touch wood). In addition I have a very good car (don't like to be accused in bragging, therefore won't mention the make) that extremely responsive and has 0 blind spots.

    Again, I don't want to change the laws, yet it is ridiculous to state that I and 17-year old on a father's old car present the same danger to safety even if I'm driving 10 mph faster.

    Saying that, there are many other rules that I utterly respect: it costs nothing to abide and there is no benefit from breaking them. Signaling when changing lanes; keeping distance; turning headlights when raining; full stop at the sigh to name a few.

    Once I mentioned that, I refuse to comprehend why the majority of cars still have blind spots - it is not a rocket science and can save many more lives than speed traps.

  • Is It A First Amendment Violation To Get Pulled Over For Flashing Your Lights To Warn Others Of Cops?

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 21 Sep, 2011 @ 10:24am

    Re: What about the jerks .....

    What about the jerks who are not boxed and drive in the left lane well below the speed limit? Politely telling them to %&$& move to the right is a right thing to do.

  • Is It A First Amendment Violation To Get Pulled Over For Flashing Your Lights To Warn Others Of Cops?

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 21 Sep, 2011 @ 10:20am

    Re: A regional thing?

    I don't see it's often in Midwest, but I attribute it to living in a big city:

    - People rarely speed in residential areas (and it is unheard of a cop setting a speed trap in such an area)

    - It is ineffective to flash where cops are actually speed-fishing - on highways - because it's hard to notice an oncoming vehicle flashing on a divided highway.

    Another reason why I don't warn drivers this way while driving on a highway: my flashing will most likely be misunderstood by a driver in front of me, and in Chicago there is always a driver in front of me :)

  • Is It A First Amendment Violation To Get Pulled Over For Flashing Your Lights To Warn Others Of Cops?

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 21 Sep, 2011 @ 09:32am

    Funny, it Russia it's a code of honor to warn others about police ambushes, and it is an ethical thing to do on all levels: cops there can stop you without a reason and tend extort bribes for minor violations found after the stop.

    Once I drove along the road near rail tracks, and oncoming train flashed...

  • Do The Statutory Damages Rates For Copyright Infringement Violate The Eighth Amendment?

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 14 Sep, 2011 @ 09:14pm

    Re:

    I'm not a prosecutor in copyright cases, neither I'm a professor of Linguistics, but these facts have never deterred me from replying to trolls using cruel and unusual language.

  • Do The Statutory Damages Rates For Copyright Infringement Violate The Eighth Amendment?

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 14 Sep, 2011 @ 01:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Punitive v. Non-Punitive Damages

    She should have put all her files in one zip archive: in this case there would be only one file. I'm going to share my entire CD collection by ripping and zipping everything to a single archive. Stay tuned for the .torrent file. I won't whine if I'm eventually caught and forced to pay $750.

  • Guy Who Created The TSA Says It's Failed, And It's Time To Dismantle It

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 14 Sep, 2011 @ 10:17am

    Re:

    When people see "either-either" argument they become zombified and tend to think in black and white. My colleagues value my ability to detect and question false dilemmas.

    Most of the dilemmas in this world are false. That's my opinion, and I don't want to discuss it: either you agree with me or not!

  • Do The Statutory Damages Rates For Copyright Infringement Violate The Eighth Amendment?

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 14 Sep, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Eighth? Fourteenth? When I see those fat cats whining about their "damages" and ruining lives of small guys and girls by claiming ridiculous amounts of money, I can't think of any other Amendment than Second.

  • 60 Year Old Swedish Man Gets Sentenced To 'Conditional' Two Years In Jail For File Sharing

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 31 Aug, 2011 @ 02:28pm

    ALL the punishments in US are insanely disproportional. Private incarceration outsourcing is one of the reasons.

  • Does The Punishment Fit The Crime? Is Manslaughter An Equivalent Crime To Copyright Infringement?

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 31 Aug, 2011 @ 11:20am

    That's because infringers are the major threat to the very foundations of our society. We need good citizens like this one, not copy-terrorists.

  • No, Having Open WiFi Does Not Make You 'Negligent' And Liable For $10,000

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 23 Aug, 2011 @ 08:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This type of duty (not necessarily copyright related, but other minor vices) existed in Stalinist Russia. I don't think I should continue..

  • No, Having Open WiFi Does Not Make You 'Negligent' And Liable For $10,000

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 19 Aug, 2011 @ 01:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Muddled Observation

    I don't necessarily disagree, although I wouldn't paint it black-and-wight: some people are more prone to self-destruction than others, and not all of the latter are brainwashed, cracked individuals. People are weak creatures, and it is not necessarily bad thing.

    ...therefore

    "...porn erodes your psyche."

    I'm also deeply offended by this statement, but the original wording conveyed a different meaning, wasn't it?

    One of the most popular quotes found in any movie theater in Soviet Russia was:

    "Cinema is the most important among all the arts. V.I.Lenin"

    The original was a bit different though:

    "While population is illiterate, cinema and circus are the most important among all the arts".

    And I have no idea what CCBill is...

  • No, Having Open WiFi Does Not Make You 'Negligent' And Liable For $10,000

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 19 Aug, 2011 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Muddled Observation

    I did not want to offend anyone, as it was just my questionable opinion based on evidence: I watch pornography 10 hours a day, and my psyche is completely destroyed.

    As for good-bad, yes, no such categories exist in presence of excuses. "I just followed the orders" - said one officer. It's a complex question, but I think that there should be a threshold, above which ethical decision is the only possible one, regardless of orders and excuses.

  • No, Having Open WiFi Does Not Make You 'Negligent' And Liable For $10,000

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 19 Aug, 2011 @ 12:15pm

    Pornography is similar to alcohol and drugs, a little bit is good for you, but being exposed to it all the time erodes your psyche. Seems that being a porn lawyer is plain dangerous as it washes away the ethical boundaries.

    Therefore I'm not surprised that it is possible to be a (good guy in Righthaven cases) and a bad guy (in bittorrent lawsuits) at the same time, because notions of "good" and "bad" are severely distorted in a porn lawyer's eyes.

    I'm not making any moral statements, just observing and trying to understand.

  • Legally Bought Some Books Abroad? Sell Them In The US And You Could Owe $150k Per Book For Infringement

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 18 Aug, 2011 @ 10:43am

    Lower standard?

    So the quality of a book is defined by the quality of the paper in was printed on? And I naively thought that the value of a book is in how much heat it produces when being burnt...

  • Restaurant Owner Ordered To Pay BMI $30,450 For 'Illegally Playing' Four Unlicensed Songs

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 17 Aug, 2011 @ 02:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "MPAA logic award" is waiting for you, my friend.

    Did I say "no gray areas"? I'm not so stupid... reasonably sized gray areas are inevitable, even more I don't want to live in a robotic world of black-and-white laws and zero tolerance policies. But when almost entire law is a huge gray area, I question its usefulness to society.

    To put my credo in one sentence,

    Good law is better than no law at all is better than bad law.

    My definition of a good/bad law is when its usefulness to society overwhelms harm inflicted to it and vice versa.

    Copyright is a bad law in its current form.

    Fair use is indeed a handicapped concept, but "hating" it as a concept does not translate to the hatred of fairness, which you are trying to imply.

  • Restaurant Owner Ordered To Pay BMI $30,450 For 'Illegally Playing' Four Unlicensed Songs

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    Alexei Ovtcharov ( profile ), 17 Aug, 2011 @ 11:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The bigger gray area that embedded into a law, the more harm this particular law inflicts to a society, hence there is a threshold: once crossed, this law should be abolished for good.

    So why these gray areas consistently being cherished? The answer is that grey is the color of greed.

    I'm not aware of any ambiguity occurrence being exploited for any reason other than claiming something above fair.

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