Tag Archives: Government


The other day I was discussing the nature of Copyright with my sister-in-law Gloria (who is an attorney) … I stated that “Copyright is automatic upon creation of a work”.

Gloria said I was incorrect … that you had to register for a copyright … and that you had no basis in court unless you do register the copyright.

This was quite a shock to me … so I decided to do some research.

Turns out that Gloria was partially right in a technical sense … and completely correct in a practical sense.

According to the Copyright Office

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Jason Kottke pointed out that the whitehouse.gov robots.txt file was changed almost immediately after the inauguration …

It went from this …

User-agent: *
Disallow: /cgi-bin
Disallow: /search
Disallow: /query.html
Disallow: /omb/search
Disallow: /omb/query.html
Disallow: /expectmore/search
Disallow: /expectmore/query.html
Disallow: /results/search
Disallow: /results/query.html
Disallow: /earmarks/search
Disallow: /earmarks/query.html
Disallow: /help
Disallow: /360pics/text
Disallow: /911/911day/text
Disallow: /911/heroes/text

… to this …

User-agent: *
Disallow: /includes/

Web site owners use the /robots.txt file to give instructions about their site to web robots; this is called The Robots Exclusion Protocol.

One small step towards the new attitude of openness and transparency.

Copyright Humor

Who said the U.S. Government doesn’t have a sense of humor?

How do I protect my sighting of Elvis?
Copyright law does not protect sightings. However, copyright law will protect your photo (or other depiction) of your sighting of Elvis. Just send it to us with a Form VA application and the filing fee. No one can lawfully use your photo of your sighting, although someone else may file his own photo of his sighting. Copyright law protects the original photograph, not the subject of the photograph.

What Does Copyright Protect?

Thanks for the notice

camera_1.jpgA few months ago the Village of Hoffman Estates sent us a letter informing us that they would be reconstructing our street.Last week, Ginny and I went out of town … we left on Wednesday (June 13th) evening and got back yesterday (the 17th) . As we drove home from the airport, we noticed that our street had the first layer of pavement scrapped off. I figured they had started the reconstruction.

As I was going though the mail that Pat (our pet sitter) had brought in, we found a letter from the village indicating that the reconstruction of our street was going to start on the 15th. I figure that the letter had been delivered on Wednesday … which means they were giving us a whole two days notice before commencing the reconstruction. Not a whole lot of notice.

So, for the next 4 to 6 weeks, we won’t have the use of our driveway … and have to park on the streets near our house. For me that isn’t a major deal, as I usually get home before most people … I’ll be able to find a good parking spot. For Ginny, however, it will be a pain … because she doesn’t get home till much later … she’ll have more of a problem finding a reasonable spot.

For what it’s worth … the image above is actually a live capture from my webcam.

Illinois Got it Right

I gotta hand it to the Illinois Department of Revenue … they got the online tax filing system right.

The system to file your taxes online is simple, straight forward, and fast. Although I did use TurboTax to calculate the taxes, I entered the information directly into the states web site and was done in about 10 minutes. At the end I was able to download and/or print a PDF of my completed tax form with the confirmation number noted at the bottom.

There were no convenience fees (which I think are bogus anyways, why should I pay to save YOU money), and the refund (all $182 of it) will be deposited into our checking account.

The ONLY thing I would say they could do to improve it would be to make the form jump to the correct position when you ask it to do a calculation. Perhaps some AJAX technology would help in that respect.