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  1. Woman Loses License Over Red-Light Camera Ticket, Hadn’t Been There in Over a Year

    Red-light cameras are the bane of law-abiding citizens across the United States. In theory, the cameras should catch criminals looking to take advantage of the fact that the police can't be everywhere at all times. In reality, the process is automated and can fail spectacularly when it does. Case in point: Lauren Morosoff had her driving privileges revoked over a ticket issued by a red-light camera in New Jersey a year and a half after she left the state.

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  2. Starting Now, Downloading Copyrighted Material in Japan Could Land You Two Years in Jail

    Back in June, Japan forced through a rather stringent copyright amendment that included some odd provisions for those caught downloading copyrighted material. Most anti-piracy legislation deals with those caught uploading content that infringes, but Japan's apparently going after the other end of the spectrum as well. As of today, those individuals that are caught downloading could face a fine of 2 million yen -- about $25,680 -- or even two years in jail. Meanwhile, in the United States, being charged with assault could get you less time.

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  3. Google’s Self-Driving Cars Now Legal in California, Robot Apocalypse Obviously Impending

    Google's been testing self-driving cars for some time now. It is known. Most of this has been private tests, conducted on approved courses. Following in the footsteps of Nevada, however, California has now approved Google's autonomous cars for their roadways -- in a trial capacity, anyway. Google will still be required to have a human handler present to take over if needed, but all the heavy lifting will be accomplished by the car itself. Obviously, Skynet has already won.

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  4. Injured By A Reckless Jedi? Call The Law Offices Of Lando Calrissian!

    TK-421 Why Aren't You At Your Post?

    Yeaaah...what about all those Imperial officers who get injured in the line of duty? Who can they turn to? (via igeektrooper)

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  5. Marvel Is Getting Sued Over Their Avengers DVD Briefcase Set

    Meanwhile...

    I don't know about you but I wouldn't mess with Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. but a German luggage company is about to step up to the main man in a big way. The company, Rimowa GmbH, is suing Marvel and owner Disney's Buena Vista Home Entertainment. Why? See that magnificent DVD case above? That's one of Rimowa GmbH's designs. We know that for sure because they allowed Marvel to let Samuel L. Jackson carry it in The Avengers. What they didn't do was allow Marvel to mass produce and sell it. Oops. 

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  6. Japan Sneaks In Strict Copyright Law, Only Otakus Outraged

    While most of its citizens were busy watching the arrest of a cult terrorist who tried to gas the Tokyo subway, Japan's House of Representatives quietly passed a much stricter revision of its copyright law. And nobody noticed except the inhabitants of 2 chan.

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  7. Female Lawmakers Indefinitely Banned From Michigan House of Representatives for Saying, Apparently, “No Means No”

    Today in things that make us scream incoherently

    Earlier this week the Michigan House of Representatives passed a bill that would criminalize abortions in pregnancies older than 20 weeks in all cases including incest, rape, and severe birth defects, leaving exception only for the physical health of the mother; make it a crime to coerce a woman into having an abortion (but not, of course, to coerce a woman out of having an abortion, coercion is fine, apparently, if it's going in the right direction); would limit access to abortion to women who are able to find the time, money, and transportation to have their doctor present for the procedure regardless of whether they are having surgery or simply being prescribed abortion-inducing medication; would require doctors who perform abortions to foot hundreds of thousands of dollars more in malpractice insurance costs in order to do so legally; and would require abortion clinics to maintain a surgical outpatient facility regardless of whether they provide surgical abortions, an unnecessary cost and effort that would force most uncomplying clinics to close. It's being called the nations worst anti-abortion bill, which, unfortunately, is quite the claim to fame at the moment. But before the bill passed, Lisa Brown (right) and Barb Byrum (left) were among the members of the House minority party (Democrat) who spoke against it, and, for their responses to the bill, both women have been indefinitely banned by the House Majority Leader from speaking on the floor of the Michigan House of Representatives initially without official explanation. And naturally, since it was without explanation, theories have run rampant this week.

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  8. Update: First Lady Michelle Obama Sponsors Nuclear Submarine USS Illinois

    Meanwhile...

    UPDATE: The Hill has since updated its post to say that they were mistaken in reporting that the USS Illinois would be crewed only by women. The Hill left unclear whether this mistake was made completely erroneously or because the Illinois would have more than the usual opportunities for seawomen seeking posts on nuclear submarines. Please enjoy the rest of this post, which is still otherwise about factual gender opportunities or lack-thereof in the U.S. armed forces and Command Sgt. Maj. Jane Baldwin and Col. Ellen Haring's lawsuit against the mandates that restrict them. Nuclear submarines have been some of the last holdouts in co-ed military integration worldwide. Long deployments and superlatively cramped and mostly communal living spaces kept most navies from being comfortable with bunking men and women together. The strict economy of space has kept separate bathrooms and sleeping quarters low on the priority list of technological innovations for new submarine classes. However, in the past year or so, the United States increased the categories of women allowed to set foot on submarines from "female civilian technicians for a few days at most; women midshipmen on an overnight during summer training for both Navy ROTC and Naval Academy; [and] family members for one-day dependent cruises," to allow women to serve in certain cases. But yesterday, Memorial Day, First Lady Michelle Obama sponsored and announced the creation of the USS Illinois, a Virginia-class nuclear sub that will, when it enteres the Navy fleet in 2015, be crewed by women, exclusively.

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  9. The Pentagon Snubbed The Avengers Because They Didn’t Know Who Was in Charge — Them or S.H.I.E.L.D.

    Assuming Direct Control

    The American military is generally pretty cool with cooperating with Hollywood on making military stories look as authentic as possible (while still making the military look honorable). And while they have lent their expertise and image to many fantastical kinds of movies -- including Marvel's Iron Man -- there was just something bugging them about where they fell in the food chain in The Avengers. Namely, were they going to have to answer to the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., Nick Fury? Because apparently, this was unclear, and the military brass were not cool with that. And that's why the highest level of "official" crimefighting came from the New York National Guard.

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  10. Court Ruling Says Liking Something on Facebook Not Free Speech, Therefore You Can Totally Be Fired For It

    the internet is serious business

    Stories like this make me feel, more than ever, that I'm living in a cyberpunk world. The genre is generally about a crappy future, not a shiny future. For example, in the year 2012 we aren't sailing through space trying to decide whether robots should be considered citizens, we're trying to figure out whether or not clicking buttons on the internet should be protected free speech. According to U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson, it isn't.

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  11. The Hunger Games‘ President Snow Convicted of Crimes Against Humanity in Student Mock Trial

    Real Or Not Real?

    If you read The Hunger Games hoping that the tyrannical President Snow would eventually be subject to some serious comeuppance, you are not alone. But would you take the steps necessary to hold a trial and convict him of his various crimes against the people of Panem? That's exactly what a group of kids did on Take Your Child to Work Day in Broward County, Florida. On a field trip to the Broward County Courthouse, one group of kids took a trip to the local courthouse and held a mock trial against President Snow, acted as the jurors, and found him guilty, providing an alternate version of, well, we won't spoil it for you.

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  12. Things We Saw Today: The Hungry Hungry Games

    Things We Saw Today

    May the tiny white plastic marbles be ever in your favor. (Fashionably Geek)

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  13. Guy Starts Class Action Lawsuit Over High Concession Prices; Lives Our Inner Monologue

    And So It Begins

    One Michigander and security technician has gotten tired of the exorbitant prices at most movie theater concession counters, which is probably something that we can all relate to. But it seems that for Joshua Thompson, the last straw was when his local AMC Theater told him he couldn't even bring his own soda and candy to a showing. He's started a class action law suit against the theater, for violating the Michigan Consumer Protection Act, but it remains to be seen whether he'll get anywhere with it.

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  14. Konami Forced to Pay $12k Damages in Maternity Discrimination Suit

    Consider the Following

    It's been two and a half years, but after a lengthy legal process, Yoko Sekiguchi has won her court case demanding that Konami pay damages after demoting her and cutting her salary because she chose to go on maternity leave. After taking the company's regular stint of maternity leave, from October to April 2009, she returned to her job of negotiating soccer team and foreign player licensing rights for Konami's soccer games to find herself demoted because of the "burden" her new circumstances placed upon the company and with a corresponding pay cut of close to 20%. Yup. That makes sense.

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  15. Question of the Day: Can A Movie Studio Own the Rights to a Reddit Comment?

    Consider the Following

    Last week we told you the story of an Iowan encyclopedia writer whose epic Reddit comment might just get turned into a big budget movie, after the concept behind the script he is developing with Madhouse Entertainment was picked up, before it has even been finished, by Warner Bros., who also claimed to have acquired the exclusive rights to the concept. Specifically, James Erwin's story of whether a US Marine battalion could overthrow the Roman Empire if unexpectedly transported there during the rule of Caesar Augustus, Rome Sweet Rome. But The Hollywood Reporter raises an interesting question: is it legally possible for Warner Bros. to nab the rights in the first place? Naturally, this question involves talking about Reddit's terms of service.

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  16. Harry Potter‘s Crabbe Arrested, Had a Bomb for the London Riots, Also Some Weed

    And That's Terrible

    One half of the bullying Crabbe and Goyle duo is taking his mischief-making role way too seriously. Jamie Waylett, who played Vincent Crabbe in the Harry Potter movies, has been arrested on charges that he was in possession of a homemade bomb intended for use at the London riots earlier this year. Police also found a few marijuana plants in his home, which is probably not going to be too great for Waylett considering that he was arrested for that back in 2009. (Which was why Crabbe was nowhere to be seen in the last Harry Potter movie.)

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  17. Florida Senate Bans Sex… But Only From a Purely Technical Taxonomic Viewpoint

    Misleading Headline of the Day

    The Florida State Senate recently passed a law making bestiality illegal, at least by October 1st of this year. At least, the law is one "prohibiting knowing sexual conduct or sexual contact with an animal; prohibiting specified related activities; providing penalties; providing that the act does not apply to certain husbandry, conformation judging, and veterinary practices" (which means we assume you can still go through the motions necessary to create vital ingredients for veterinary artificial insemination, as in the case of endangered species and livestock). However, anyone familiar with the taxonomic definition of the word "animal" will realize that humans are included, which means that in a strictly taxonomic sense, Floridians better get all the hanky-panky out of their systems by the end of September, because after that humans having sex with other humans will be illegal. Fortunately, in a strictly legal sense, the sense that matters... the law isn't that horrifically stupid.

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  18. Canadian Customs Confiscates Comics

    And That's Terrible

    Artists on their way to this weekend's Toronto Comic Arts Festival encountered unusual circumstances when they tried to cross the Canadian border. Which is to say, the copies of their comics that they were bringing to show and sell at the event were confiscated, seemingly indefinitely. Dylan Williams, representing Sparkplug Comicbooks, was carrying copies of Young Lions, by Blaise Larmee, while Tom Neely was relieved of five copies of Black Eye, an anthology that he had been published in. Said Neely:
    The 5 copies of Ryan Standfest’s BLACK EYE anthology I brought with me to TCAF were confiscated at the border for “obscenity.”

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  19. Setback for Warner Bros. in Rights-to-Superman Legal Struggle

    For great justice

    In the '70s, Warner Bros. agreed to allow a window when the heirs of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster could claim their ownership of the rights to Superman and his origin story. Now that it's actually coming around, they're fighting tooth and nail to prevent the Shusters from submitting their claim, and to overturn the 2008 ruling that said the Siegel family had partial US rights to the character. Accounts of the proceedings do not paint Warner Bros. in a particularly nice light. In fact, they make them look like jerks. To that end, Warner Bros. demanded access to some documents that they said "contain a formula for how the two estates will share proceeds on Superman once they successfully terminate Warner's rights to the lucrative franchise." The Siegels' lawyer maintained (and was upheld) that the papers fell under attorney-client priveledge. ...and then it gets complicated.

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  20. The Disclaimers Companies Put in Their Email Signatures Are Often Legally Meaningless

    Anyone who has gotten any volume of email from corporate sources has probably encountered a range of severe and important-sounding disclaimers in email signatures, ranging from those that tell the reader not to act on the email if it was received in error to those saying that its contents are off the record to those saying that the email is not legal or professional advice. A British government website provides the following template, some variation of which you may well have come across: "This email and any attachments to it may be confidential and are intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of [business name]. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you must neither take any action based upon its contents, nor copy or show it to anyone. Please contact the sender if you believe you have received this email in error." Obviously, this sort of disclaimer is meant to impose an agreement or understanding upon the reader, and it may well be successful in this by virtue of looking so official. But how much legal meaning does it have, really? Generally, not much.

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