There's a wonderful book by Ben Klemens called Math You Can't Use about how the growing encroachment of intellectual property laws on things like basic algorithms and software are locking up math. However, it appears that one guy is trying to take it to an extreme. Pegr alerts us to a story of a guy who claims to have obtained a copyright on a method for multiplying any two numbers in your head, and he's willing to sell you the trick for $33. Of course, there are all sorts of mental multiplication tricks out there (and a quick search of the web will teach you most of them, if you're unfamiliar with them). There aren't many details on the supposed "copyright" on this trick, so it's not clear if he actually registered the copyright or just thinks he has the copyright, but it will be fascinating to see if he stops anyone else from discussing the method, should it actually be new.
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