April 1, 2004 | By Donna Wentworth

Humor Break

A few of our favorites from the day's foolish endeavors (in which we couldn't resist taking part):

Ed Foster introduces the Lexmark car:

"Printer manufacturer Lexmark is proud to announce it will enter the automotive market with a line of cars featuring its exclusive Aftermarket Product Integrity Guarantee (A-PIG) technology.

'Lexmark's innovative edge has been in finding bold new ways of protecting its intellectual property,' said Sue Moore, newly appointed CEO of Lexmark Motors. 'We believe our experience applying the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) and shrinkwrap licenses to hard goods will serve us well in this new venture.' [...]

Moore pointed out that Lexmark's right to apply DMCA protection to such devices was endorsed by a court last year in its case against Static Control Components Inc. 'If I may be allowed to paraphrase what the judge said when granting our injunction, the public policy benefit of ensuring competition must take a back seat to our right to prevent copyright infringement,' Moore said."

Avi Rubin joins Diebold as its new Chief Security Officer: "As many of you know, this past year my career took an unexpected turn, as I become embroiled in the issue of the security of electronic voting. While initially, I was very happy with my move from AT&T Labs to academia last year, I now think that this is not the place for me to carry out my new mission to protect democracy. [...]

Another thing I really like about my new position at Diebold is that I believe they are one of the best companies at turning prototypes into production systems. The secret that they (or should I now say 'we') have is that there is no need to do anything. What others haven't realized is that you can save a bundle by *using* the prototype as the production system. It's so much easier than actually finishing the development and testing."

Ernest Miller announces that Wal-Mart has purchased UMG: "[A]nalysts believe that Wal-Mart is considering experimentation with a subscription-based download service that would provide rationed download access to the entire Universal catalog for a flat fee of approximately $5/month."

Edward Felten does a bit of tinkering with the ever-popular pigeon RFC joke, giving us MPAA President Jack Valenti's latest testimony before the Senate Commerce Committee: "Let me be blunt, Mister Chairman. This technology is a vehicle for pornography. Nothing prevents its use to transport the most vile and hateful filth. Indeed -- and I hesitate to say this in an open hearing room, but you must know the truth -- the carriers themselves have been known to engage in acts of procreation."

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