Ch. 11: Computers and Society

Video lectures: Part 1: stream download; Part 2: stream download

  1. The Power of Crowds.
    The Internet allows large, dispersed groups to contribute to a project.
    1. Wikipedia
    2. Foldit: A game to fold complex protein molecules. Solved a decade-old problem in three weeks.
    3. Funding. A proposal is posted and the public can send support.
      1. Charitable and non-profit projects. Solicit money and other contributions.
      2. Business projects.
        1. Solicit pre-orders, perhaps at a discount or with a premium.
        2. Soliciting small investments from the general public has recently been legalized.
  2. Netiquette: Proper behavior on-line.
  3. Using email.
    1. Problems and properties.
      1. Expressing emotion.
        No voice tone or facial expression to moderate your words.
      2. Emphasis. _this_ not THIS
      3. Slow-paced compared to speaking.
      4. Ambiguity seems to be more of a problem.
      5. Flame wars. Email is too fast for second thoughts.
    2. Email Netiquette
      1. One topic at a time.
      2. Include some context; let receiver know what you're talking about.
      3. Use automated replies.
      4. Clear a backlog in reverse order.
      5. Don't forward w/o permission.
      6. Use emoticons to communicate intents.
  4. Expect the unexpected.
    1. Maybe it's a joke.
    2. Sometimes it breaks.
  5. Passwords.
    1. Most computers resist password guessing.
    2. Usually stored encrypted.
      1. When set, encrypted version is stored.
      2. Login encrypts what you type and compares.
      3. Administrator cannot look up your forgotten password.
      4. Nor can a hacker steal it.
    3. Good passwords.
      1. Select passwords from some area of interest.
      2. Choose a memorable phrase.
      3. Twist it with digits and puns.
      4. Use non-alphanumeric characters if the system permits.
      5. Change occasionally.
      6. Don't repeat passwords.
      7. Some matter more than others.
  6. Spam
    1. Unsolicited email
      Mail is cheap to send; don't need a high response rate.
    2. Spam filters. Set to desired sensitivity.
    3. Email scams.
      1. Advance fee fraud.
      2. Phishing.
  7. Copyright.
    1. One form of intellectual property. Others:
      1. Patents.
      2. Trademarks.
      3. Trade secrets.
    2. A copyright owner has exclusive right to
      1. Make copies.
      2. Create a derivative.
      3. Distribute or publish.
      4. Publicly perform or display.
    3. To use someone else's copyrighted work in any of those ways, you need permission
      1. Generally called a license.
      2. May (and usually does) come with conditions.
    4. Copyright and computer technology.
      1. Massive violation becomes practical.
        1. Pirating a paper book doesn't pay; pirating electronic media does.
        2. Internet transfers are easy and quickly multiply.
        3. Web pages are easily copied and pasted.
      2. Consumers need copyright licenses.
        1. A publisher makes copies of a book, needing a license.
        2. A consumer buys the book, which is not copying.
        3. A song download is a copy.
        4. Playing a song involves copying from disk to memory.
      3. Technology can be used to attempt enforcement of license restrictions.
        1. Digital Rights Management (DRM).
        2. Tries to prevent copying (including format conversion) and other uses that might violate the copyright owner's rights.
        3. Basic method
          1. Content is encrypted.
          2. Approved devices contain decryption keys. They will only decrypt the content for approved purposes.
          3. Manufacturers of unapproved devices are not allowed keys.
            Sometimes authorization is easy and common, sometimes it is highly restricted.
        4. Examples
          1. Most web-based video players will not let you record the stream.
          2. Commercial DVDs are encrypted. No authorized device or program will copy the DVD.
          3. Hi-def disks use a much more complicated encryption system.
          4. There have been some attempts to make CDs that can't be copied; these have failed since the CD format was not designed for them.
        5. Results.
          1. Some illegal uses are prevented or discouraged.
          2. Some legal uses may be also prevented: The DRM rules need not follow the law.
          3. Reduced device competition when manufacturing permission is limited.
          4. The added complexity makes the whole system more likely to break.
        6. In the US, it is illegal circumvent the DRM (“break in.”).
    5. Software Licenses.
      1. Commercial software
        1. Pay for it.
        2. Use the software, usually on one computer.
        3. May not sell or give away the software.
      2. Shareware.
        1. Get it for free.
        2. May distribute copies.
        3. After some period of time, you are asked or required to pay.
      3. Freeware.
        1. No charge, ever.
        2. May do pretty much whatever you want with it, except convert it to a commercial license.
        3. Quite common on servers.
        4. Firefox browser is a leading desktop example.
      4. Public domain.
        1. Strictly speaking, there is very little of this.
        2. Copyright is automatic, but the author may renounce it.
        3. No software is old enough for the copyright to have expired.
    6. Web content.
      1. If it's online
        1. You can presumably browse to it.
          1. Your browser will still have to make a copy in order to display the page.
          2. Posting something on a public web site would seem to imply giving permission to view it with a browser.
        2. You can link to it. (Does not make a copy.)
        3. You cannot make (other) copies of it or reuse it without permission.
      2. A site may have posted a general copyright policy.
      3. You can always ask.
    7. Facts are not copyrightable.
    8. Ideas are not copyrightable, only the particular expression.
    9. Enforcement is generally by suit, or thread of a suit.
    10. Creative Commons
      1. Provides several licenses you may use for your content.
      2. You may choose from various levels of permissiveness.
    11. Fair use
      1. You may use copyrighted materials without permission under some fairly vague rules.
        1. What is the nature and purpose of your use? Are you Advancing knowledge, or just swiping?
          1. Education and research purposes are better.
          2. Reviews and satires are favored as free speech matters.
        2. The nature of the copyrighted work. Seems to favor copying from factual works rather than fiction.
        3. How much are you copying? Less is better.
        4. How much damage will you do to the market for the original work? Better not be much.
      2. Fair use is fairly useless because you can't usually know if it applies until after the four-bazillion-dollar trial, and the six-gajillion-dollar judgment if the answer is “no.”
    12. Plagiarism is not infringement, and infringement is not plagiarism.
      1. Violating copyright is infringement: using copyrighted material without permission. It's illegal.
      2. Representing someone else's work as your own is plagiarism.
        1. It's not necessarily illegal, but is usually breaking some kind of rule.
        2. Serious offense in academia.
        3. Likewise journalism, or most paid writing work.
        4. May be fraud in circumstances where folks spend or invest based your assertion.
      3. Citing your source will avoid plagiarism, but not infringement. For that, you need permission.
      4. Having permission or using public-domain sources will avoid infringement, but not plagiarism. For that, cite your source.