Can You Really Own The Idea Of Making Your iPhone Look Like Beer?

from the drink-up! dept

It's time to raise your glasses in a toast to ridiculous intellectual property lawsuits. Or, if you don't have a tasty beverage on hand, perhaps a virtual one, say, on your iPhone? Well, unfortunately for you, that may be a problem -- as the latest ridiculous lawsuit concerns two competing virtual beer applications, both of which make your iPhone look like the side of a full beer glass, that will "drain" the beer, as you tilt the iPhone. Cute, gimmicky app, right? Except if you're a pissed off developer who seems to think that only one person should be allowed to make such an app. A company called Hottrix that made such an app is suing the beer company Coors for an astounding $12.5 million for offering up a similar app of its own.

Hottrix's app, iPint, cost money, whereas Coors (perhaps implicitly recognizing how infinite goods -- the silly app -- can help sell more scarce goods -- beer) gave its app, iBeer, away for free. The Coors version was more involved, as it also included a "game" where you needed to guide a sliding pint across a bar into some waiting hands. Hottrix's lawyers claim that the idea of such a virtual beer glass is copyrightable -- which seems fairly questionable. Concepts can't be covered by copyright. It needs to be the exact implementation, and as long as the Coors version was different, then it's difficult to see the copyright claim. Hottrix also pulls out the bogus argument that iPint hurt iBeer's sales. That's simply incorrect. It wasn't Coors that hurt Hottrix's sales, it was Hottrix, for having a bad business model. Competition isn't illegal.

But, of course, Apple in its infinite (loop) wisdom, removed the Coors app after Hottrix complained, thus protecting Hottrix from its own business model mistake. And yet, Hottrix still wants $12.5 million from Coors for daring to come up with a similar idea. You have to hope this gets thrown out of court quickly.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    some old guy, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 7:50am

    I'd like this turned around please

    Coors should now be suing Apple for removing their app. They might not have legal ground for suing, but at least it could provide some precedent that the app store is a dangerous place to make an investment.

    There's no telling how much money coors spent on developing that (content is) advertising, but now it's all pissed away because Apple just decided to arbitrarily pull it. Apple needs to either feel coors' wrath over this.

    As mentioned many times here, I use and like apple products, but what they are doing with the app store is EXTREMELY bad behavior and shouldn't be tolerated. It's bad for consumers, and its even worse for apple in the long run.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Greg, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:21am

      Re: I'd like this turned around please

      Apple needs to either feel coors' wrath over this.

      Don't get me wrong, I'm in agreement with ya, but.. or what?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Shohat, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:29am

    What ?!

    Makers of iPint suing makers of iBeer because their iPhone apps similarly show Beer ....

    That's just ... iRetarded.



    P.S
    Hottrix also pulls out the bogus argument that iPint hurt iBeer's sales.

    I think you confused the two...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Jonathan Wilson, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:31am

    Apple should set up simple procedures for this

    They should set up a system for allowing anyone who alleges copyright infringement to send a DMCA take down notice. But, they should ALSO respond to counter notifications.

    In this case what would happen is that Hottrix sends a take down notice to Apple, Apple pulls iBeer. Then the Coors legal team sends a counter notice stating under penalty of perjury that iBeer is not violating the copyright of iPint (assuming in fact the lawyers do not think the lawsuit has any merit) and Apple, per the DMCA, puts the app back on the app store until the court case has been decided.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Andy, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:36am

    i think coors is in the wrong

    the orginal company had a good idea.. and charged a small fee for it...Coors saw someone else's idea and copied it for their own gain...seeems wrong to me. 12.5 million is excessive though

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Paul, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:52am

      Re: i think coors is in the wrong

      Both apps debuted with the app store when it first opened... plus, copying a good idea isn't illegal if its not allowed to be copyrighted (as Mike points out). If copying was illegal, than competition would be illegal. Its a foolish thought based on what people think is "fair," but then they never really think too far on that concept and realize its incorrect.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Rob, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:57am

      Re: i think coors is in the wrong

      Following that logic then id software should sue every company that has ever developed an FPS.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      tubes, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:04am

      Re: i think coors is in the wrong

      It really isn't copying they have similar ideas but they said that the coors version was more involved & included a game. Thus making it different. Its not infringement in anyway.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Jed, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:05am

      Re: i think coors is in the wrong

      Maybe I could patent shapes to like the rectangle and sue everyone that uses a rectangle for profit, like in an advertisement?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    AC, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:39am

    Your bullcr*p popups

    This is the LAST time I visit this site. While I love the discourse, I simply REFUSE to tolerate any site that uses intrusive advertising such as the little popup I just got in the lower corner stating "Hello want a f*ckbuddy? I cant wait to see you!" BULL SH*T shove this garbage up your intertubes. You dont deserve my patronage with this kind of garbage. And before all you know-it-all trolls come out and scream about using a popup blocker, this isnt a popup like that, this is some kind of in-frame, in-browser pseudo-chat box that appears. If its an external ad, then let everyone know which company so it can be properly blocked. This sort of garbage shouldnt be on a good site like this, shame on you.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      shmengie, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:44am

      Re: Your bullcr*p popups

      instead of calling you a moron, i will direct your attention to adblock. works in firefox and ie.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:48am

      Re: Your bullcr*p popups

      I am using Firefox with AdBlock Plus, and I don't see the ad you are complaining about. In fact, I rarely see any ads period.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Paul, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:53am

      Re: Your bullcr*p popups

      Umm... TechDirt has *never* had those popups. Ever. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say you're infected with malware. I don't use AdBlock and have never seen popups with that behavior (popping up or being intrusive in any way) or of that kind of content (of a sexual nature). I advise you take better care of your own computer before trying to yell at someone else.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Shohat, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:07am

      Re: Your bullcr*p popups

      You have malware !

      This isn't Techdirt's ad.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Valkor, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:53am

        Re: Re: Your bullcr*p popups

        Well, if that was *really* the last time he was going to visit the site, he won't see all the helpful comments that are telling him that his computer has been pwned. Seriously, that guy needs to run three different malware scanners and then install a browser like Opera. A firewall would probably help too...

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      John, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:08am

      Re: Your bullcr*p popups

      I have been visiting for a long time now, and I have never had a popup from Techdirt. As stated by Trevor, you might want to take a look at your computer. I also turned off my popup blocker and still nothing came up but this page.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      MAtt, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:10am

      Re: Your bullcr*p popups

      So, what, you don't want a f*ck buddy?

      I second/third/fourth what others said: I don't have any ad blocking and I don't get f*ck buddy offers. Kinda wish I did. What porn sites do you usually visit? Maybe I can get the malware you have.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:27am

      Re: Your bullcr*p popups

      I simply REFUSE to tolerate any site that uses intrusive advertising such as the little popup I just got in the lower corner stating "Hello want a f*ckbuddy? I cant wait to see you!"

      As many others have pointed out -- and I can confirm -- those are not from this site. You may have some malware. We do not do any popup ads, and certainly have no ads for things like that.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Deggs, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:59am

      Re: Your bullcr*p popups

      I lol'd @ u

      If I were you & thankfully I'm not, I would probably consider that my porn ad pop-ups might be generated by the infected spyware/adware I have inadvertantly placed on my own system by surfing "free" porn links. After I came
      (no pun intended) to that realization I would probably not draw attention to it, or my own stupidity, by randomly nerdraging on a tech site that quite obviously has no direct relation to porn pop-ups.

      But that's just me...

      go d/l spybot, guess what... it's free too!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:56pm

      Re: Your bullcr*p popups

      Can someone say "Infected System"

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Yakko Warner, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:39am

    They could've licensed it

    According to the lawsuit, Coors's marketing arm approached Hottrix asking for a license to use iBeer and/or to create a derivative work of it. They refused.

    So, instead, Coors makes its own app and gives it away for free.

    It sounds fishy, but is that just "truthiness" in action?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Paul, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:55am

      Re: They could've licensed it

      I heard it was actually Hottrix approached Coors about it (after Coors already had the application) for licensing, but Coors refused (and rightly so as they shouldn't have to). Big corporations aren't always the enemy. Sometimes the small time ones are in the wrong and the big guys are right.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Yakko Warner, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:21am

        Re: Re: They could've licensed it

        Heard your version from where? I'm going from the PDF of the lawsuit linked in the article:
        On or about November 5, 2007, BMBL contacted Sheraton via the Internet after having seen iBeer 1.0 requesting (1) a license to use iBeer 1.0 for marketing purposes for its client(s), and/or (2) a license to create a derivative work of iBeer 1.0 to create a functional iBeer application that can be used for marketing purposes for its client(s) on "jailbroken" iPhones ("BMBL Contact").

        BMBL being defined five paragraphs earlier: "Beattie McGuinnes Bungay Limited ("BMBL") is an entity of unknown type in the United Kingdom that does the advertising and marketing for CBL [Coors Brewers Limited] and MCBC [Molson Coors Brewing Company]..." Sheraton is the apparent founder of Hottrix, if I read paragraph 1 correctly: "Hottirx was formed on or about July 18, 2008 in Nevada. Steve Sheraton, an individual residing in Las Vegas, Nevada ('Sheraton' or 'Original Author') has used the name 'Hottrix' since approximately May 1, 1998; and until July 18, 2008 had done business as 'Hottrix.' On or about July 18, 2008, Sheraton granted all his intellectual property rights in the copyrighted works mentioned herein to Hottrix."

        Assuming the information in the complaint is presented accurately, it would appear that Coors approached Hottrix, rather than the other way around.

        Evidence that Hottrix approached Coors in an attempt to sell them the idea would be interesting.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Trevor T, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:44am

    Doh!

    "by AC - Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:39am
    This is the LAST time I visit this site. While I love the discourse, I simply REFUSE to tolerate any site that uses intrusive advertising such as the little popup I just got in the lower corner stating "Hello want a f*ckbuddy? I cant wait to see you!" "

    I think you are infected with spyware, as I have never had a pop up ad or anything similar here.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Pew pew, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:26am

    You got HIV+ lol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Dave, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:31am

    Is free just "competition" in this case?

    For a large company to spend the $X,000s to create the app and then give it away as promotion is not the same as a small developer creating it and then selling it.

    If a large company, knowingly undercuts a seller, actually selling below cost (I doubt their costs of development were zero), that's not competition. That's cut-throat. If Coors sold there's at a lower price, that's a different thing. They were destroying their market. Hottrix now has a product they spent time and effort creating that is now worth nothing. They're not a huge development firm (or beer company), they're likely some guy(s) trying to make something so that he can make a living.

    Yes, once created it's an infinite good. However, the costs of development need to be recovered. The guy who wrote iPint took time and effort to create it only to have someone else who can easily afford to lose the money give there's away for free.

    Even if he added features, you can't beat free in similar markets.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:33am

      Re: Is free just "competition" in this case?

      OK, I appoint you to be the Judge of Whether The Ratio Of Company Sizes Is Proportionate To The Ratio Of Prices Charged And If They Arent Then Someone Is Being Unfair And You Get To Make Them Stop Being Unfair. That way you can listen to people cry to you all day long and you can get your erections.

      Grow up. Sometimes your software sucks and you are charging too much for junk and someone charges less for better stuff and then you just LOSE. Sometimes you trip and FALL and break your arm. Sometimes you get CANCER and DIE. Cry about it all, you baby.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Augustus Busch, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:48am

      Re: Is free just "competition" in this case?

      Why do the costs of development need to be recovered? What business model guarantees that? Sure, it would be nice if they were, but if your business model is to create a useless toy that someone else will make a similar one to and give away for free, you've got a pretty crappy business model, and you don't deserve to recoup your development costs. Heck, I can spend a year developing a word processor. If in the end it does the same thing that Sun's OpenOffice does, and they give theirs away free, do I deserve to recoup my development costs? No, I simply picked a stupid business model that isn't profitable, just like Hottrix did.

      And yes, I'd LOVE a fuckbuddy!

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:34am

      Re: Is free just "competition" in this case?

      If a large company, knowingly undercuts a seller, actually selling below cost (I doubt their costs of development were zero), that's not competition.

      Yes, actually it is. Selling below cost only refers to marginal cost. If the marginal cost is $0, you can't sell below cost unless you're paying people to take stuff -- and even then it shouldn't be illegal.

      Undercutting a competitor is a common business move, and it's why you enjoy cheap prices.

      They were destroying their market.

      No, they properly recognized that the *actual* market that matters here is the *beer* not some silly phone application.

      Hottrix now has a product they spent time and effort creating that is now worth nothing.

      They made a bad business model choice, so that's what we should WANT to happen. As an extreme example, if I build a "fast food" restaurant where the hamburgers cost $150, it shouldn't matter how much "time and effort" I spent creating it, it's not going to be worth much because I chose a bad business model.

      However, the costs of development need to be recovered.

      That's where the business model comes in. You need to choose a business model that lets you recover the costs. That means understanding the market, which includes competitive threats. If you make a bad choice, that's your problem. Not the problem of better competitors.

      Even if he added features, you can't beat free in similar markets.

      Yes, actually, you can beat free. People do it all the time.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      nasch, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 7:10am

      Re: Is free just "competition" in this case?

      They were destroying their market.

      Yes, felony interference with a business model. Coors executives should definitely be fined and jailed. Preferably in Federal PMITA Prison.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:37am

    FREE BEER

    Is Beer an infinite good? I see free Beer signs at restaurants over the place. Maybe Coors needs to change its business model and give away Beer and sell the application to make money.

    But seriously, you keep claiming things are "infinite goods". You seem to have a problem with people selling anything other than physical goods. I work in the software industry and according to you we sell infinite goods. I hope you understand the amount of manpower that goes into developing a suit of applications. I promise you it is not an infinite good, without money for developers you will have no product.

    I don't want to put words in your mouth but you seem to think that the software itself could not be a valuable product. From your previous posts you also seem to think that songs, movies, and TV shows are not marketable products.

    I beg to differ, I think the cost of physical goods will continue to diminish until they approach zero (obviously resources will need to be acquired and those cost money so it will never reach free). This is because of product consolidation, a single device can now do more than ever before and new features are constantly being added. Thus a single device replaces multiple devices and resources become less scarce. I think the cost of creative/useful media (software/music/movies/etc..) will continue to increase as demand for those goods continues to rise.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 9:47am

      Re: FREE BEER

      I don't want to put words in your mouth but you seem to think that the software itself could not be a valuable product. From your previous posts you also seem to think that songs, movies, and TV shows are not marketable products.

      You might want to provide some quotes for that, Mike has never claimed that those are not marketable goods. In fact, any pirate will tell you that these are marketable goods, as they obviously want them. So reread again before arguing points no one ever made.

      I beg to differ, I think the cost of physical goods will continue to diminish until they approach zero (obviously resources will need to be acquired and those cost money so it will never reach free). Way to contradict yourself.
      Why is my gallon of gas still going up in price? Read Economics 101.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Yakko Warner, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:49am

        Re: Re: FREE BEER

        Why is my gallon of gas still going up in price?
        Funny you should say that; gas has been going down pretty quickly lately. Just went under $3/gal here two days ago.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:44am

      Re: FREE BEER

      But seriously, you keep claiming things are "infinite goods". You seem to have a problem with people selling anything other than physical goods.

      Two points:

      1. I don't have a "problem" with it. I just think that trying to sell infinite goods is a highly risky business model that is likely to fail in the long term, as someone else figures out a business model that involves giving away infinite goods. You can *try* to do it. I just don't think it's a very smart business model. It's not like it offends me or anything.

      2. I want to be quite clear on this: scarce goods are NOT the same thing as physical goods. I have NEVER said you should only sell PHYSICAL goods. I said you should be selling SCARCE goods, and there are plenty of scarce goods that are not physical goods: time and attention being two of the biggest ones.

      I work in the software industry and according to you we sell infinite goods. I hope you understand the amount of manpower that goes into developing a suit of applications. I promise you it is not an infinite good, without money for developers you will have no product.

      Those are two separate issues. The cost of development doesn't make one iota of difference in terms of whether a product is infinite or not.

      I don't want to put words in your mouth but you seem to think that the software itself could not be a valuable product

      You shouldn't put such words in my mouth because they're absolutely wrong. I have never, ever said that software is not valuable. In fact, I think exactly the opposite. Software is VERY valuable, but value is different than price. Price is determined by the intersection of supply and demand, and if the supply is infinite... price gets driven down, no matter what the value.

      Air is valuable to you, but you don't pay for it.

      So, the trick, from a business model perspective is to take the VALUE in software, and use it to increase the value of some SCARCE good whose price won't be zero. In other words, you use it to differentiate, and pump up what people will pay for a *scarce* good (which, again, is different than a pyhscial good).

      I beg to differ, I think the cost of physical goods will continue to diminish until they approach zero

      That would go against pretty much every single lesson of economic history, but ok.

      What you might be trying to say, is that the price of any good (physical or not) will diminish towards its marginal cost (which isn't quite accurate either). But, you won't see prices of goods decrease below their marginal cost, other than perhaps temporarily.

      As for the issue of convergence, I think you'll discover that even as devices converge, the more uses that are created because of them will actually lead you to pay more money for them. My phone now accesses the internet, but I pay more for that service (access, another scarce good).

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 1:04pm

        Re: Re: FREE BEER

        The prices of physical goods are coming down relative to media because production costs are constantly improving due to improved technology, convergence, efficiencies of scale, etc... Take computers for example, 25 years ago a computer as powerful as your cell phone would have cost you several thousand dollars. Cell phones are something else that are now much less expernsive than they were 25 years ago. Now think about how much you paid to go to the movies 25 years ago. Think about how much you paid for CDs 25 years ago.

        Do you see where I'm going with this? Media is more valuable now because people are willing to pay more for it today than they paid in the past.

        I still do not see how you can claim something is an infinte good when the creation of that good takes resources (creativity, time, etc..) No good that consumes resources in its creation (which is everything) is infinite. In the case of media (and software) the duplication costs are very small but there are NOT zero. But you aren't paying for the duplication, you are paying for the production of the media.

        My post was obviously tongue in cheek, but I tried to make the point that you keep refering to products as infinite goods when in fact they are not infinite. For example, there may be an infinite number of songs available but I don't want to listen to complete crap, I want GOOD music. Artists who create GOOD music deserve to be compensated for their creation of GOOD music, I will not purchase music from artists who create CRAP music. I suppose in this example music is an infinite good, but GOOD music is CLEARLY NOT. Just as there are an infinite number of web sites with opinions on them, but people perceive value in your site because they assume you have an informed opinion. However, if you keep calling everything an infinite good, they may no longer perceive your opinion to be anything other than CHEAP.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 2:15pm

          Re: Re: Re: FREE BEER

          Anonymous Coward:

          Are there two people posting on this site that use the name "Anonymous Coward"?

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Mike (profile), Oct 16th, 2008 @ 4:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: FREE BEER

          The prices of physical goods are coming down relative to media because production costs are constantly improving due to improved technology, convergence, efficiencies of scale, etc...

          But the cost of infinite goods already has lower productions costs ($0 marginal cost), better technology (no costs) convergence (already done), efficiencies (perfectly efficient since they're infinitely available), etc.


          Do you see where I'm going with this? Media is more valuable now because people are willing to pay more for it today than they paid in the past.


          Really? You must live in a parallel universe if you think people are willing to pay more for infinite goods today than in the past.

          I still do not see how you can claim something is an infinte good when the creation of that good takes resources (creativity, time, etc..)

          This is a fallacy. They are infinite *after* creation. BEFORE creation they are scarce. That's why one of the best models (and the one we USE here at Floor64) is paying people TO CREATE infinite goods. That is, we don't get people to pay for already created content (infinite), we get people to pay for the scarcity (content not created).

          In the case of media (and software) the duplication costs are very small but there are NOT zero

          They are effectively zero. A consumer doesn't pay any more for using more bandwidth.

          But you aren't paying for the duplication, you are paying for the production of the media.

          That's simply untrue. Price in a competitive market goes to MARGINAL cost, not average total cost. Production costs are sunk costs.

          My post was obviously tongue in cheek, but I tried to make the point that you keep refering to products as infinite goods when in fact they are not infinite.

          On that you are wrong. They are infinite.

          For example, there may be an infinite number of songs available but I don't want to listen to complete crap, I want GOOD music.

          No, you are confusing infinite goods with the overall market. I've never said that there are infinite number of songs -- but each song IS infinitely available once stored in a digital format.

          Artists who create GOOD music deserve to be compensated for their creation of GOOD music, I will not purchase music from artists who create CRAP music.

          First of all, we have NEVER said (as you falsely imply) that musicians shouldn't be compensated, but you're wrong to say anyone "deserves" to be compensated. You get compensated by choosing a good business model. If you choose a bad one, then too bad.

          And who said that you would pay for crap music? You seem to be confused about what we're talking about here.

          I suppose in this example music is an infinite good, but GOOD music is CLEARLY NOT.

          Again, you're talking about the wrong thing. We're talking at the individual level, and you're talking at the market level.

          Learn the difference.

          Just as there are an infinite number of web sites with opinions on them, but people perceive value in your site because they assume you have an informed opinion. However, if you keep calling everything an infinite good, they may no longer perceive your opinion to be anything other than CHEAP.

          Not if they actually take the time to understand what we actually said, rather than (like you) pretend we said something entirely different and then tear down a strawman.

          Stop.

          Go back and read what we actually said, and stop pretending we said something different. It might make the conversation a lot more interesting, rather than repeating the old myths again.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 10:49am

    It may work for Coors, but I doubt it would work for Pabst

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    tman, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 11:48am

    Backwards

    I think the author got the details backwards...iBeer is Hottrix.....iPint is Coors....right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Aaron Williamson, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 12:56pm

    Copyright claim

    I agree that Hottrix' copyright claim is weak but it's not true that "[the Coors app] needs to be the exact implementation" of the Hottrix app for a claim to exist. The actual standard for infringement says that if Coors had access to Hottrix's copyrighted work before making its own (as it seems clear it did) and if the two are substantially similar, then the court can infer copying and find infringement. Which I think is a more favorable standard to Hottrix than "exact implementation."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 2:24pm

    Ideas & Intellectual Property

    I kept wondering when anyone would point out that an idea is an "infinite good," to the extent there are infinite goods, and as such does not get any kind of intellectual property protection.

    On the other hand, a computer program obtains a copyright by its existence, and it could potentially have been patented (it does not appear to have been patented).

    However, just because one company has a program that makes a phone look like a can of beer does not mean that one company violated another company's copyright by doing something similar. Of course, if Coors did take the software from Hottrix and make that software its own, we are talking a crime no matter what your definition of "infinite goods" and "scarce goods" may be.

    As for giving away the application for free, it is competition, but inadvertent competition because Coors is a beverage company and not a software company. Many companies have marketing giveaways, and on a per unit basis this one was likely relatively cheap. Though an application is NOT an infinite good, because it takes time to maintain, download and run, and requires storage space, it is a relatively inexpensive "scarce" good once the creation portion is complete.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Oct 16th, 2008 @ 4:20pm

      Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

      I kept wondering when anyone would point out that an idea is an "infinite good," to the extent there are infinite goods, and as such does not get any kind of intellectual property protection.

      Then why is one company claiming that another is violating IP by copying the *idea*?

      As for giving away the application for free, it is competition, but inadvertent competition because Coors is a beverage company and not a software company.

      What does that have to do with anything? Because one company chooses a good business model and one chooses a bad one, we should somehow offer protectionism for the guy who chooses a bad business model?

      That's a really bizarre and dangerous economic policy.

      Though an application is NOT an infinite good, because it takes time to maintain, download and run, and requires storage space, it is a relatively inexpensive "scarce" good once the creation portion is complete.

      So you don't understand what an infinite good is. That's your mistake. If you take the time to understand what makes an infinite good vs. a scarce good, you might be able to discuss this more reasonably.

      Otherwise, you just appear confused.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 16th, 2008 @ 8:25pm

        Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

        I kept wondering when anyone would point out that an idea is an "infinite good," to the extent there are infinite goods, and as such does not get any kind of intellectual property protection.

        Then why is one company claiming that another is violating IP by copying the *idea*?

        I do not recall anyone saying that they knew what they were talking about, and they do not. You may copy an idea (as though it were actually worth anything), but there are no laws against copying of ideas. Rather than back and forth debating, show me a law that says copying an idea is illegal.

        As for giving away the application for free, it is competition, but inadvertent competition because Coors is a beverage company and not a software company.

        What does that have to do with anything? Because one company chooses a good business model and one chooses a bad one, we should somehow offer protectionism for the guy who chooses a bad business model?

        That's a really bizarre and dangerous economic policy.

        I never said we should offer Hottrix protection in this case. Unless Coors in fact copied their application and claimed it was their product, Coors did nothing wrong and Hottrix will ultimately lose.

        Though an application is NOT an infinite good, because it takes time to maintain, download and run, and requires storage space, it is a relatively inexpensive "scarce" good once the creation portion is complete.

        So you don't understand what an infinite good is. That's your mistake. If you take the time to understand what makes an infinite good vs. a scarce good, you might be able to discuss this more reasonably.

        Actually, I thought I was being reasonable. I think you are reading things into my remarks that are not there, which makes you confused.

        Incidentally, your "infinite" goods are not free. The equipment to make the copy is an investment, still quite substantial. The memory required to store the copy is, while relatively cheap, limited, unless you are transferring the copy to a flash drive, DVD or CD; in any case, STILL not free and certainly not infinite.

        You can call a pig a horse, but it will still be a pig.

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          identicon
          dorpass, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 1:28am

          Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

          You can call a pig a horse, but it will still be a pig.

          That's the only part of what you were talking about that even remotely made some sense. You are misunderstanding the fundamentals of classic economics so badly, that I am not sure Mike should be bothering to teach you what you should be able to cover in Econ 101 class in any community college.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 5:24am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

            dorpass:

            lol...I always enjoy it when people here fall from reasoned commentary to insults - shows their failure to convey logically.

            Well, I guess I need to go back and review my notes from all those silly graduate economic courses I took for my MBA. Dang, and economics classes were among my favorite.

            I understand classic economics quite well. However, I look forward to your explanation of my oversight. I assume it will be better thought out than insulting my educational background and my intelligence.

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 10:02am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

              I understand classic economics quite well.

              Care to show it then? You state

              Incidentally, your "infinite" goods are not free. The equipment to make the copy is an investment, still quite substantial.
              That's a sunk cost that has nothing to do with market pricing of the product.


              The memory required to store the copy is, while relatively cheap, limited, unless you are transferring the copy to a flash drive, DVD or CD; in any case, STILL not free and certainly not infinite.

              Not infinite? So how many copies of MS Windows can be had in the world? I can download about 1000 on my computer with the only marginal cost increase being somewhat more electricity used by the spinning hard drive. And they can be easily replicated as many times as necessary. So for all practical purposes, it's an infinite good, you cannot say "ooops! I ran out of Windows, come back in a week when we make more!"

              And you know what, I can get all those 1000 copies for free online, so you are certainly wrong on that account. Unless you again meant to say "not free to create" which is irrelevant.

              If you are going to boast about having an MBA, you might want to make sure you don't get confused in concepts presented to you so easily. And probably ask for your money back.

               

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              •  
                identicon
                Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 10:38am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

                Care to show it then?

                What? You want to see my report card? I got straight A's, though I doubt anyone cares.

                Incidentally, your "infinite" goods are not free. The equipment to make the copy is an investment, still quite substantial.

                That's a sunk cost that has nothing to do with market pricing of the product.

                Sunk cost? Really? About 25% of Americans still do not own a personal computer. There are no estimates of how many of the roughly 75% who claim they own a home computer have one that is either incapable of interfacing with the internet, does not interface with the internet, is connected to the internet only with dial up, have insufficient memory to store massive amounts of digital information, or other issues. These people do not have a sunk cost, they would have to invest, perhaps beyond their means, to gain access to supposedly "infinite goods." That has everything to do with cost, and nothing to do with sunk cost, which you misapply to this situation.

                Not infinite? So how many copies of MS Windows can be had in the world? I can download about 1000 on my computer with the only marginal cost increase being somewhat more electricity used by the spinning hard drive. And they can be easily replicated as many times as necessary. So for all practical purposes, it's an infinite good, you cannot say "ooops! I ran out of Windows, come back in a week when we make more!"

                You can only make copies until your computer runs out of memory, or you run out of CD's. Then you need to purchase more. If your only limitation is the potential, then the vast majority of goods are infinite. I guarantee you that the automotive industry will make as many copies of their cars as you would car to purchase. Perhaps a better example is paper. There are more sheets of paper in the world than computer applications, and the cost per sheet is less when you factor in the cost of the computer, electricity, time to download, etc. For all practical purposes, by your definition, paper is an infinite good. In fact, many people give paper away...

                If you are going to boast about having an MBA, you might want to make sure you don't get confused in concepts presented to you so easily. And probably ask for your money back.

                lol...I stated it as a fact, not a boast. I am not confused by concepts at all. For example, a sunk cost is what you have already spent, not what you need to spend to gain a capability you do not have. Obviously you are confused, or you ignored people who do not have the capability that you seem to think everyone either has or should have. That assumption could imply that you are ignorant, arrogant, elitist or all three. However, I will not stoop to name calling and insults and will stick with the facts.

                 

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                •  
                  identicon
                  m, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 1:11pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

                  Sunk cost? Really?
                  Yes, the production cost is a sunk cost. You keep on talking about the cost of getting something which is irrelevant. Just because you can't get your hands on something does not make a good scarce. There can be as many copies made as there are requested at 0 marginal cost, hence, it is not a scarce good and as Mike explained before, it's an infinite good.

                  That assumption could imply that you are ignorant, arrogant, elitist or all three. However, I will not stoop to name calling and insults and will stick with the facts.
                  Of course, you will only stoop to implying that, as you did in the first of two sentences. What a coward.

                   

                  reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  •  
                    identicon
                    Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 8:28pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

                    Then what good is an "infinite good" if it has no value anyway? What I mean by value is utility for an end user.

                    Even then, you missed the point. If an individual does not have a computer, but they wish to have an electronic copy of movie X, they are unable to obtain such because they do not have the equipment it takes to make or obtain the free copy. There can be an infinite number of free copies, but now you have to figure out how to distribute them to someone who does not have access to the internet, and possibly to a computer.

                     

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                  •  
                    identicon
                    Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 17th, 2008 @ 8:35pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

                    Yes, the production cost is a sunk cost. You keep on talking about the cost of getting something which is irrelevant. Just because you can't get your hands on something does not make a good scarce. There can be as many copies made as there are requested at 0 marginal cost, hence, it is not a scarce good and as Mike explained before, it's an infinite good.

                    If you are unable to obtain something, then by definition it is a scarce good. A perfect example is water. Water is very close to being an infinite good. However, there are some places on earth where water is an extremely scarce good because the people there are unable to move the water from where it is quasi-infinite to where it is scarce.

                     

                    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                    •  
                      identicon
                      m, Oct 21st, 2008 @ 5:12pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

                      If you are unable to obtain something, then by definition it is a scarce good. A perfect example is water. Water is very close to being an infinite good. However, there are some places on earth where water is an extremely scarce good because the people there are unable to move the water from where it is quasi-infinite to where it is scarce.

                      No, that is not the definition of a scarce good. You are confusing riches with abundance. Scarce good is a one that has a limit to how much of it is there. Infinite good is one that can be provided to as many people as want it in any quantity they desire. Scarcity here is the function of supply.

                       

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                      •  
                        identicon
                        Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 22nd, 2008 @ 12:20pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

                        Ah, I see, the operative word is can. Well, there is an infinite amount of energy in the universe (as far as we are able to discern), and we can supply as much of it as people want, though my limitation on copies of something apply to energy as well, which is that our ability to deliver the infinite good of energy is limited by the ability of infrastructure to capture it and distribution to deliver it.

                        Incidentally, have you considered that the most significant sources of energy on earth, which are, for all practical purposes, infinite, are all free, or at least available to all?

                         

                        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                        •  
                          identicon
                          Anonymous Coward, Oct 22nd, 2008 @ 4:27pm

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

                          Ah, I see, the operative word is can. Well, there is an infinite amount of energy in the universe (as far as we are able to discern), and we can supply as much of it as people want, though my limitation on copies of something apply to energy as well, which is that our ability to deliver the infinite good of energy is limited by the ability of infrastructure to capture it and distribution to deliver it.
                          Umm, no. People want 110V/240V AC electricity and many flavors of DC electricity and that is not an infinite good. It's marginal cost, while low, is still noticeable and the supply cannot be easily created or stored. Digital media however, can be created and stored as many times necessary at zero marginal cost. Again, scarcity is a function of supply.

                           

                          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          •  
                            identicon
                            Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 22nd, 2008 @ 7:19pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

                            Digital media however, can be created and stored as many times necessary at zero marginal cost.

                            Well, until you run out of memory, CDs, DVDs or any other copying media, then you need to incur cost to obtain more. Digital media's marginal cost, while low, still exists.

                             

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

                          •  
                            identicon
                            Lonnie E. Holder, Oct 22nd, 2008 @ 7:26pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Ideas & Intellectual Property

                            Anonymous Coward:

                            Even if digital media is infinitely replicable, and you ignore the significant costs required to be able to make such copies, and the fact that any copying system is inherently limited by the capability of the system, there is still a cost in time and energy to make the copies. While the so-called marginal cost may be low, it is not free.

                             

                            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Daz, Oct 19th, 2008 @ 5:10pm

    You cannot copyright an idea.

    I can write a book about a orphan wizard boy who goes to a wizarding school... etc i.e. the idea of the Harry Potter series of books. As long as my expression of the idea is different then that is fine and dandy for me and no-one can stop me. This BS about economics and who stole who's sales is a complete load - if you had your way we'd all still be paying license fees to tie our shoelaces.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This