Elliott C. Back: Internet & Technology

MPAA Needs No Evidence To Sue You

Posted in bit torrent,bittorrent,Copyright,DMCA,iPhone,iPod,P2P by Elliott Back on June 30th, 2008.

The following remark was made by Marie. L. van Uitert, MPAA attorney in the Jammie Thomas trial. She wrote in a brief:

It is often very difficult, and in some cases, impossible, to provide such direct proof when confronting modern forms of copyright infringement, whether over P2P networks or otherwise; understandably, copyright infringers typically do not keep records of infringement. Mandating that proof could thus have the pernicious effect of depriving copyright owners of a practical remedy against massive copyright infringement in many cases.

The rest of the brief goes on to list the reasons why the MPAA feels it should not have to meet the full burden of proof in its case (i.e. proving actual distribution). For them, the existence of a location where the copyright material could be copied is sufficient grounds for prosecution. When you take this off the internet, this is equivalent to suing some for 12 * $150,00 for loaning someone a CD they later copied.

For more coverage, see Wired and TorrentFreak.

Minimum Wage Increase: Only for the poor

Posted in Finance,Life,Luxury by Elliott Back on January 13th, 2007.

Those workers now making $5.15 an hour, or $10,300 a year, on their minimum salaries have just received a raise of 41%. Over the next few years, if the Senate approves the wage hike, these minimum wage employees will make $14,500.


I’m not sure the economics of this are a good idea. First, it only benefits the 450,000 or so Americans making minimum wage. Second, it does nothing to offset the costs of their employers. Why not let the free market decide wages?

A minimum wage doesn’t do anything for people who make significantly more than it, either. If wages are to be raised, why are minimum wages being raised? If compensation is based on market merit, shouldn’t those making more money get a raise for their hard efforts? If minimum wages are paid to those jobs or individuals who are least useful to the market, shouldn’t they be then paid less?

It seems to me that the minimum wage system is an unnecessary burden to a developed society. If jobs need to be done, people will pay a premium to have them done. Without minimum wage, I find it unlikely that people will as a whole make less money than before. If you look into the history of the minimum wage, you’ll see that it came about as a means of avoiding strikes, thus actually giving corporations the ability to set a low grade of pay. Take back your freedom, vote away minimum wage!

Elliott Back Network Launched

Posted in Friends,My Blog by Elliott Back on November 23rd, 2004.

I am proud to announce the launch of three new blogs:

A while ago I had the idea of starting up some themed blogs, with friends acting as guest writers. Today my dream comes true. Two of the three blogs already have writers–and more are welcome. If you’re interested in blogging about Asia, Books, or Cornell University, email me and I’ll set you up. But now, let me introduce my new children:

New Asia Blog

At Cornell University, I’ve been heavily involved with the Asian community, including working as VP of a Vietnamese Kung Fu Club, and attending various Asian-sponsered events. Thus, Asia joins the Elliott Back Network. Anything with an Asian theme is the topic. So far, staff consists of myself and Sunhye.

New Books Blog

I love to read. Really, I do. Even though I’m burdened with mountains of geeky Computer Science homework, when I got a copy of The Davinchi Code, I couldn’t put it down. Two hours later, at about 5 AM, I was done.

The blog features a warm and cozy colour scheme that will make book afficionados relax in enjoyment. And, it features the excellent commentary of new editor Michelle Kang. Keep your ears peeled, and definitely subscribe to the RSS feed. You wouldn’t want to miss this.

New Cornell Blog

Last, is the new Cornell Blog. No writers on this one–it’s just me. If you’re interested in blogging about Cornell, or just using my blog to promote some Cornell-related event, drop me an email.

The Cornell blog is all about the daily ins and outs of Cornell University. Half linkblog, half commentary, if you’re a Cornell lover, this one’s for you.

What’s Next?

Three more blogs, of course. Topics I’m interested in include politics, religion, and sexuality. Although, after these {a, b, c} blogs, I should come up with {d, f}. I’ve already got E, of course. E is for Elliott. But what’s D/F???