Tag Archives: law

President Trump Signs a Landmark Bill for Musicians

On Thursday, President Donald Trump signed the Music Modernization Act, a landmark copyright reform that musicians in Nashville, TN, have been advocating for many years.

President Trump  with multiple politicians and celebrities after the signing of the Music Modernization Act; photo from pitchfork.com
President Trump with multiple politicians and celebrities after the signing of the Music Modernization Act; photo from pitchfork.com

What the act does for musicians and businesses is that it will create a new organization that will be in charge of the rising digital mechanical licensing of a song. This new organization will be run by producers and songwriters and will determine who the copyright owners are. The organization will also be in charge of paying the copyright owners their royalties when their songs are played through Apple, Spotify, etc.

Previously, this was up to the streaming companies and at some points, these companies would fail to properly license a song, which led to lawsuits in the millions and expensive settlements.

The new law will also create a new standard in the music industry by setting a digital royalty rate for songwriters and publishers, which will allow them to get paid more. This will allow for a more favorable free market value standard.

This law will close the loophole that allowed digital radio companies not to pay artists and their record labels royalties for songs recorded prior to 1972.

Mitch Glazier, the president of the Recording Industry Association of America, said to USA Today, “The Music Modernization Act is now the law of the land, and thousands of songwriters and artists are better for it.”

 

Did Self-Driving Cars Hit a “Pothole?”

While a lot of us want to see the revolution of self-driving vehicles, there is still a lot of work to be done, especially after what happened a couple weeks ago.

This could be the future of driving but Uber may not have a part in it; photo from techgenez.com
This could be the future of driving but Uber may not have a part in it; photo from techgenez.com

A woman in Arizona was killed when a self-driving car from Uber hit her while she was crossing the street at night. She “could have” been to blame for suddenly walking off a median or jaywalking in front of the car in the night. However, the street was well-lit and the woman was making an attempt to get across the street before the car hit her.  This shows that there is work to be done by Uber and state governments.

Self-driving cars would save many lives in the future but as of now, at least 30,000 to 40,000 people every year in the U.S. die in auto accidents (human-driven cars).

The provider of Uber’s laser technology, Velodyne, said that their technology was “more than capable” of identifying her before the collision which would have stopped the car.  Police in Arizona stated that the car didn’t slow down until after she was hit.

Velodyne is blaming Uber and its test driver for the incident and they have a point. Uber’s driver, who is supposed to take the car over if the autonomous system fails, didn’t even have their hands on the steering wheel. Uber’s cars have had a hard time lasting 13 miles before a driver has to take over. In comparison, Waymo’s cars (Google) can last over 5,600 miles.

Uber has also cut down its Lidar system from seven units to only one. The remaining one does have a blind spot according to employees who have worked on the car. So in other words, Uber is cutting corners to lay claim as the first company to sell a self-driving car.

States across the U.S. have taken action and have made regulations for the self-driving cars which is why Uber is in Arizona (they don’t have many regulations for the self-driving car business). Arizona could have a problem on their hands if this becomes a common theme.

While self-driving cars are touted as the future of driving and they would cut down on many deaths, there is more work to be done before they become a common feature in someone’s driveway. States have to be tough on regulation so we get the best product, and don’t end up with a product that has been cutting corners like Uber has.

 

 

No murder charge in removal of fetus?

When I visited Boulder, Colorado, there was a very strong liberal presence- which I loved. There were eco-friendly cars, a Planned Parenthood office and a Republican headquarters office that looked to be in shambles, which made this place paradise for me.

However, shortly after visiting Boulder, a incident occurred which made it very clear that there needs to be balance in pro-choice legislation. A pregnant woman responded to a Craigslist ad about baby clothes.When she arrived at the poster’s house, she was brutally attacked. The attacker, a nurse’s aide, allegedly took the woman into her basement and cut the fetus out of her stomach, killing the fetus.

The victim hid from the attacker and called 911, and police responded to the scene. They found the victim bleeding and disoriented to the point that she didn’t realize her baby had been cut out of her stomach. Luckily, however, the victim survived.

Colorado state law does not give fetuses personhood, which makes charging the attacker with murder very difficult. The law is new, which means it has tons of flaws. For example, the law recognizes fetuses as people if they can survive outside the womb for a period of time. How long that period of time is, however, is unclear. Also, because the law allows for early-term abortions, it can be difficult to claim the attacker committed murder without also attacking women who seek abortions.

In my opinion, I believe the law needs to spelled out and airtight. This woman was clearly a victim. She was attacked and had her baby forcibly removed from her stomach by a nurse’s aide(not even an actual nurse), which could have caused far worse injuries. She innocently responded to a Craigslist ad searching for clothing for her baby, so clearly she wasn’t planning on aborting. The attacker, however, clearly had planned to,lure in the woman by posting the ad.

To add insultGraphic from IMG Kid to injury, a Republican lawmaker and professional lunatic (aka televangelist) named Gordon Klingenschmitt claimed the incident was an “act of God.” He explained by saying God was punishing America for allowing abortion. It never fails to amaze me how low the right will stoop.

If someone was kidnapped and had an organ forcibly removed, there would be outrage. It happens all the time around the world and often isn’t reported, but the people who do it are deemed the scum of the Earth. This woman didn’t take out a lung or a kidney which would make her victim’s body operate inefficiently, but she forcibly took out her baby — which could cause long-term damage to her reproductive organs and years of emotional scarring. If an organ or even a limb were taken, the attacker would never again see the light of day.

There’s no excuse for what this woman did, but we must remember to keep the ideals of most pro-choicers out of this situation. I believe that most people who identify as pro-choice would agree that this situation is horrific and not at all what we fight for. My hope is that in the journey to becoming a pro-choice country, we can ensure that the law is more clear and doesn’t allow room for such atrocities.

 

Good Cop vs. Bad Cop

We’ve all been driving and had to take a double look at a car to make sure it’s not a cop car. When I see a sketchy-looking black Dodge Charger parked somewhere, I often tap my breaks and scan the car for signs that it may be a police car. Although these under-cover police cars are a useful tool to catch speeders and stalk dangerous criminals, they can cause confusion to the public.

Do unmarked police cars help or hinder the public? Graphic from Complex
Do unmarked police cars help or hinder the public? Graphic from Complex

In my perfect world, I would like to see police cars be marked very clearly. Although this may partly be because I would love to see a police car in case I’m feeling the need for speed, the primary reason is I believe that police are supposed to be protectors. Brightly colored police vehicles would make it much easier for civilians to locate police officers if they’re in need. Under-cover cop cars are sending the wrong message to the public and may be part of why police officers have gotten such a bad reputation.

Recently, there has been little trust put into police officers. With the situation in Ferguson, many are arguing that this country has become a police state. I’ve seen police officers behaving inappropriately myself, but it’s not uncommon to hear about an officer of the law abusing his or her power. Many argue that police should go back to the “serve and protect” days of the past.

It may be easy to point fingers at an officer who abuses their power, but we must look at the bigger picture. Police are required to give out a certain number of tickets and are rewarded for the more perpetrators they ticket or catch. In order to climb the ladder, many police may abuse their power and give unnecessary tickets, obviously causing a lot of distress to the person on the receiving end.

Back in the day if someone was drunk stumbling home, they’d typically be able to get a ride with an officer. I realize that cops aren’t supposed to be babysitters for the publicly drunk, but if they’re just drunk and not causing any harm to anyone, there’s no reason they should be punished. I believe the shame of waking up in the drunk tank would be punishment enough.

Overall I think cops have been steadily getting a worse reputation. Many police officers sincerely enjoy their job and helping others, but for some it’s just a source of income and they only do what’s required of them. I’ve witnessed many police officers doing good, but I’ve also heard some horror stories of officers abusing their power just to meet their quota. We should be able to trust police and not be terrified of them. Their job is to serve and protect the public, not give them a police record for minor infractions.

Kill your kids or die trying

Smoking tobacco has always been something I’ve felt very strongly about. It’s one of those topics that gets me really fired up and makes me want to have a debate. Why tobacco is even legal in the first place is beyond me, so when I heard that Virginia was trying to pass a law that would make it illegal for anyone to smoke in the car when someone under the age of 15 is with them I was ecstatic. “About damn time” was the first thing I thought, followed quickly by, “Why the hell didn’t they think of that sooner?” Continue reading Kill your kids or die trying

Death to the death penalty

Two weeks ago, The Tartan published a pro-death penalty article in their “Insights” section, penned by an author who chose to remain anonymous. The article is mostly rambling and filler words, but I think I’ve distilled the writer’s argument into a form that makes its flaws more apparent. The author believes that the death penalty is morally justifiable, beneficial to society, and impervious to error. Unfortunately, those points are all invalid. Continue reading Death to the death penalty

Gun control: Helpful or harmful?

When people talk about banning guns, they often claim that a society without guns is a safer one. The thing that seems to escape most people is that criminals have already demonstrated the capability and the capacity to break the law. Any new laws or widespread bans will not prevent such things from happening but only allow the law-abiding citizens of America to be even further weakened against such attacks. Suppose everyone had to turn in their weapons. How many burglars, rapists, murderers, gang members, drug dealers, etc. would turn in their firearms? I would guess close to zero, because they’re the ones breaking laws. Instead, I propose to enforce the current gun laws and make punishments for breaking more severe. Continue reading Gun control: Helpful or harmful?

If you don’t like the waiter, talk to the manager

Getting pulled over isn’t fun by any stretch of the imagination. No one enjoys getting a ticket, and no one wants to deal with the excruciating process of going to court. While I agree, being an experienced speeder and ticket-receiver, that getting pulled over and receiving a ticket can put quite the damper on a day, the mindset that most people have today about the police is immature at best. Continue reading If you don’t like the waiter, talk to the manager

Modern day piracy: Steal from the rich and give to the …?

Online piracy has been featured in the media spotlight recently via the exploits of the notorious Kim
Dotcom, the creator of Megaupload. In its heyday, the site was one of the most popular on the internet.
The idea behind Megaupload was that users could store files on servers that could be accessed by
anyone on the Internet. This business model yielded tens of millions of dollars in advertising profits
primarily due to the popularity of the content being transmitted on the site — copyrighted material that
is. Continue reading Modern day piracy: Steal from the rich and give to the …?