Tag Archives: intellectual property

SCOTUS: Patent trolls' loss is a win for honest commerce

Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

"On May 22, the US Supreme Court ruled unanimously — and correctly — on a fairly obscure case that nonetheless has huge implications in an area where millions or even billions of dollars are frequently at stake. In TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands, the Court came down against the practice of 'forum shopping' in patent disputes. Hopefully this will reduce the incidence of 'patent trolling.'" (05/23/17)


US Supreme Court limits "venue shopping" for patent cases

Source: The Hill

"A Supreme Court decision on Monday will limit the controversial practice of 'venue shopping' — where plaintiffs pick court locations that they believe will be favorable to the cases they’re arguing. The court reversed a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit decision from last year that had been used as justification for bringing cases to venues wherever the companies involved happened to conduct business. Companies will now be required to bring lawsuits to where the targeted company is incorporated." (05/22/17)


Secret new European copyright proposal spells disaster for free culture

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Jeremy Malcolm

"EFF has learned about a new proposal for European law that takes aim at online streaming services, but which will strike a serious blow to creators and their fans. The proposal, which would effectively ban online streaming services from hosting works under free licenses, could spell an end to services like the Luxembourg-based Jamendo that offers access to free music online, and raise new barriers to offering freely-licensed works on other streaming platforms. This is all part of Europe's proposed new Digital Single Market Directive, which is presently doing the rounds of the three European institutions (the European Commission, European Parliament, and Council of the European Union) that will have to reach agreement on its final text." (05/15/17)


Hollywood-friendly copyright bill passes House of Representatives

Source: The Verge

"The House of Representatives has passed a bill that would make the Register of Copyright a presidentially appointed position, instead of a part of the Library of Congress. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), will now move to the Senate, where it’s being put forward by Senators Rob Portman (R-OH) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND). As we’ve written previously, this bill would grant the US Copyright Office more agency in advocating for specific copyright policy — something that’s previously led to conflict between the office and the Library of Congress. Goodlatte and other supporters of the bill describe it as a way to make the Register of Copyright democratically accountable, since they would be confirmed by the Senate rather than chosen by the Librarian of Congress. But it would also open it up to greater influence from lobbyists, particularly from groups that stand to benefit from harsher copyright rules — like the MPAA, which has praised the bill’s passage." [editor's note: Copyright is like a dinosaur that's dead but still flopping around and smashing stuff with its tail because the nerve signal telling it to lie still and decompose hasn't reached its brain yet – TLK] (04/27/17)


Another lawsuit tries to force an ISP into being a copyright cop

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Mitch Stoltz

"Major record labels are once again trying to force an Internet service provider into enforcing their copyrights by cutting off customers from the Internet over copyright accusations. The lawsuit they filed against Texas broadband provider Grande Communications suffers from many of the same due process problems as the BMG Music Publishing v. Cox Communications case, which is on appeal. The issue in both cases is whether and when a home broadband provider should cut off a customer’s Internet service when someone using that service is accused of copyright infringement. The legal hook for this controversy is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, Section 512, which protects ISPs and other Internet intermediaries against the risk of massive copyright penalties stemming from a customer’s copyright infringement. But to get the protection of Section 512, an ISP has to terminate 'subscribers and account holders … who are repeat infringers' in 'appropriate circumstances.'" (04/26/17)


Appeals court: Uber engineer can't get help from the 5th Amendment

Source: Ars Technica

"Anthony Levandowski, the embattled Uber engineer who has been accused of illegally downloading thousands of documents while he worked at Google, won't be able to stop Uber from handing over documents by pleading the Fifth Amendment. That's the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, published today. Levandowski filed an emergency motion with the appeals court, seeking to overturn the decision. The decision was made by US District Judge William Alsup, who had told Levandowski he would need to hand over an unredacted privilege log. … Levandowski's lawyers had made a novel legal argument in the lower court. It wasn't just that their client wouldn't hand over certain documents: his lawyers argued that Waymo — Alphabet's self-driving car division — shouldn't even be entitled to see the names of documents they were withholding, which is what's contained in the privilege log. According to Levandowski's lawyers, revealing the name of a third-party firm that created a report about his startup company — a company that was later purchased by Uber for $680 million — would create a path for prosecutors to follow in the event of criminal prosecution." (04/26/17)


The fraud of intellectual property

Source: Bitcoin.com
by Wendy McElroy

"The trend toward IP will accelerate as the blockchain and digital currencies go mainstream. In fact, blockchain tech is already being used to register digital copyrights in a way that is both immutable and timestamped. It is called 'the poor man’s copyright' because registration is often free. And it cements together the concepts of Bitcoin and IP. But can someone actually own an idea? This is not asked as a legal question but as a practical one. The law can grant artificial property rights in anything to anyone, including the 'ownership' of another person. Such a law does not make slavery proper or logical, however. IP is a contradiction in terms and an artificial construct that blocks human progress. IP would obstruct the development of Bitcoin and similar technology while sharply diminishing its value to individual freedom." (04/23/17)


Copyright law sucks — authors can be compensated without it!

Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Vishal Wilde

"Intellectual property 'rights' trace their origins back to copyright in literature, from which they have since expanded. With this in mind, it is fruitful to examine how authors can be compensated in the absence of copyright. Essentially, proponents of copyright in literature argue that they see no other way of compensating authors for their work. Indeed, many libertarians believe that intellectual property on the whole is harmful but make an exception for literature. If one can undermine the arguments in favour of copyright, then one casts doubt on the necessity of other forms of intellectual property. But before we look at how authors can be compensated without copyright laws, let us remind ourselves of how consumers would benefit in such a world." (04/05/17)


Patents are a big part of why we can't own nice things: The Supreme Court should fix that

Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Kerry Sheehan

When you buy something physical — a toaster, a book, or a printer, for examp — you expect to be free to use it as you see fit: to adapt it to suit your needs, fix it when it breaks, re-use it, lend it, sell it, or give it away when you're done with it. Your freedom to do those things is a necessary aspect of your ownership of those objects. If you can't do them, because the seller or manufacturer has imposed restrictions or limitations on your use of the product, then you don't really own them. Traditionally, the law safeguards these freedoms by discouraging sellers from imposing certain conditions or restrictions on the sale of goods and property, and limiting the circumstances in which those restrictions may be imposed by contract. But some companies are relentless in their quest to circumvent and undermine these protections." (03/21/17)


Craig Wright wants to kill Satoshi by becoming him … again. Why? And how?

Source: Bitcoin.com
by Wendy McElroy

"The Australian computer scientist Craig Wright, who once claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, is continuing his effort to obtain hundreds of digital currency and blockchain patents. Why: For profit. How: By some 400 patent applications on Bitcoin and blockchain-related technology. A recent Reuters report (March 2, 2017) referred to the onslaught as an unprecedented 'land grab for intellectual property.' It is also a desecration of the gift Bitcoin's creator Satoshi Nakamoto gave to average people — economic autonomy. It is a slap at Satoshi and at his open-source masterpiece which was intended to be a weapon of independence against the very institutions to which Wright kowtows. The insult is worsened by Wright's claim to be Satoshi." (03/09/17)