Ron Paul, UN Hater, Asks UN To Take RonPaul.com Forcefully From Ron Paul's Biggest Supporters

from the this-would-appear-to-be-a-mistake dept

A year ago, we pointed out how hypocritical it was for Ron Paul (at the time still a Congressional Representative and a candidate for President) to file a ridiculous lawsuit, clearly abusing trademark law, in an effort to unmask some anonymous internet users who had made a video that attacked another candidate, John Huntsman, and closed with a claim that the video was from Ron Paul supporters. Many of Pauls' supporters actually believed the video was a fake, from Huntsman supporters, seeking to discredit Ron Paul. Even if that was true, there was simply no excuse to then abuse trademark law to try to take away someone's anonymity. And, yes, it was an abuse of trademark law -- as he both claimed trademark on his name and claimed that the video was a "use in commerce" (it was not). Even if you believe the videomakers should have been exposed, I would hope you'd agree that abusing a totally unrelated law to do so would be a mistake, and (to us) seemed to go 100% against the things Ron Paul claimed to stand for. Thankfully, a judge quickly agreed and killed the lawsuit.

In writing about this, many of Paul's more ardent supporters trashed us both in our comments, and on various Ron Paul websites. I'm a little curious how they feel now, in a similar situation, where Ron Paul has turned his legal sights on them. As a whole bunch of folks have sent in, Ron Paul has filed a UDRP complaint against the site RonPaul.com, seeking to have WIPO turn over the domain to him. RonPaul.com has basically been the central source for the massive grassroots effort that supported Ron Paul in his last two Presidential campaigns -- leading many other candidates to envy Paul's ability to connect with the internet generation. The reality, of course, was much of that actually had to do with a few of his most dedicated fans, and their ability to spread his message via a series of grassroots websites, including RonPaul.com. To have Paul turn around and seek to have WIPO turn over the domain is incredible on so many different levels, once again suggesting that many of the things Ron Paul claims to have believed in go completely out the window at times -- even when it involves turning on the very people who built up his reputation.

Even more bizarre is that not only is he turning on his most ardent supporters and effectively taking them to court, but he's using WIPO, a part of the United Nations, to do so. Ron Paul hates the UN and would like the US to leave the UN. As he once said:
The choice is very clear: we either follow the Constitution or submit to UN global governance. American national sovereignty cannot survive if we allow our domestic laws to be crafted by an international body. This needs to be stated publicly more often. If we continue down the UN path, America as we know it will cease to exist.
And yet, here he is, running to the UN, and trying to forcefully take away a super successful site from his biggest fans supporting him, using the force of that same United Nations? Incredible.

Reading through the background and history, and then digging into the claims Paul's lawyer makes, suggests that Paul has made a huge mistake here. The backstory is that in a recent interview Paul expressed some minor regret that he did not hold the domain:

Alex Jones: Well, God bless you, sir, I hope we can get you back again in a month. What are any other websites that are important, just www.CampaignForLiberty.org?

Ron Paul: There’s that, and we’ll be listing some new things there because we’re making some other WebPages. I’m going to have a home page. Unfortunately, I didn’t have RonPaul.com, so I’m going to have to have RonPaulsHomepage.com. That will be coming up, but it’s not ready yet.

In response, some of his fans told the site's operators they should look to hand over the site. The operators noted that over the past 4.5 years, and through two high profile Presidential campaigns, they were at the center of building up massive grassroots support for Paul, and they had not had any request for the domain, but they were happy to talk it over:
On May 1st, 2008 we launched a grassroots website at RonPaul.com that became one of the most popular resources dedicated exclusively to Ron Paul and his ideas. We put our lives on hold and invested 4.5 years of hard work into Ron Paul, RonPaul.com and Ron Paul 2012. Looking back, we are very happy with what we were able to achieve with unlimited enthusiasm and limited financial resources.

As we haven’t heard from Ron Paul or his staff for several years we do not know if there is any tangible interest in utilizing RonPaul.com for Ron Paul’s new projects. We have prepared a cordial message for Ron Paul that we will gladly forward to him or to any person who credibly identifies himself as part of his current staff.
Eventually, they did get in touch with the campaign, and realizing that taking down everything that had already been on RonPaul.com would represent the dismantling of a very vital community, they hoped that he would accept RonPaul.org as an alternative for free. However, if he really wanted RonPaul.com, they were willing to give that up as well, including their massive mailing list of Paul fans, for $250,000 -- not an unreasonable sum for all the content and community they had built up over the years. You can see their full letter here or embedded below. It's very cordial, makes a strong argument for why disrupting the existing RonPaul.com would be a mistake that harms Paul's supporters and message, and makes those two offers. Perfectly reasonable.

In response, Paul and his lawyers didn't just reject the request, they actually use it against them, misrepresenting the offer, the site and the entire history, in a ridiculously misleading attempt to show malicious intent on behalf of the folks who run the site -- who most people would consider some of Ron Paul's most important supporters. The WIPO filing is really a guffaw-inducing piece of work. It doesn't just present one side of the story, it goes out of its way to imply things that are clearly untrue about those who run RonPaul.com -- suggesting that the whole effort was some sort of scam to extort money from Paul. A few quotes:
Respondents can demonstrate no legitimate purpose for registering domain names identical to Complainant's RON PAUL mark.
Other than, you know, building up a massive and widely envied internet grassroots support campaign for two high profile Presidential campaigns, as well as many of the key issues that Ron Paul (supposedly) believes in. Somehow, Paul's lawyers forget to mention that part.
There is no evidence that Respondents have used or in connection with a bona fide offering of goods or services.
Apparently trying to get Ron Paul elected is not something that Ron Paul considers a "bona fide" service.

They even imply that these guys only registered the domains to try to get Ron Paul to give them money for the domains. Apparently those 4.5 years of building up a massive and vocal grassroots online community supporting Ron Paul campaigns was just a ruse or something:
Under the UDRP, bad faith can be shown where the respondent registered the domain name primarily for the purpose of selling it to the trademark owner or to a competitor of that complainant, for consideration in excess of respondent's out-of-pocket costs.
This claim is clearly hogwash. Considering everything that's been done on the site, to argue that the "primary" reason to was to get Paul to pay up is laughable. It's made even more laughable by reading the actual offer to Ron Paul from the domain holders, in which they make it clear they'd rather not sell the domain at all, and offer him a free alternative. It is abundantly obvious that selling the domain was not the "primary" reason for registering the domain, and it was so far down the list that they asked him not to buy the damn thing at all.
Further evidence of bad faith comes from Respondents' registration and use of the domain names to intentionally attract Internet users for commercial gain by creating a likelihood of confusion with Complainant's RON PAUL mark... In this case, Respondents must have known of Complainant's famous mark prior to registering the domain names. Respondents registered the domain name, utilizing the Complainant's mark, in order to suggest to internet users a connection between the domain names and Complainant. This is misleading and supports a finding of bad faith registration.

[....]

There is a high likelihood that users will be confused and believe that Complainant is the website's source, sponsor, or is some way affiliated with or endorses the website. If not for this likelihood of confusion, the rental value of the domain names would be significantly decreased.
This claim of trying to create a likelihood of confusion might sound reasonable at a first glance... except that the handy dandy Internet Archive shows that, from way back when these supporters first launched the grassroots site, the site had a prominent disclaimer that noted they were not directly associated with Ron Paul. That link above shows you what the site looked like less than 3 weeks after the domain was registered. It has the following prominently marked:
Disclaimer
The RonPaul.com website is maintained by independent grassroots supporters of Ron Paul. Neither this website nor the articles, posts, videos or photos appearing on it are paid for, approved, endorsed or reviewed by Ron Paul or his Campaign. For Ron Paul's official website, go to RonPaul2008.com
That's in the sidebar. At the bottom there's the following disclaimer:
The RonPaul.com website is maintained by grassroots supporters. It is not paid for, approved, endorsed or reviewed by Ron Paul & Campaign.
In other words, from the very beginning, they were explicit that they were grassroots supporters, and not the campaign or the candidate. For Paul and his lawyers to argue otherwise is simply ridiculous.
Respondents later offered to sell <ronpaul .com> to Complainant for $250,000 and to provide <ronpaul .org> as a "free gift" with the purchase of <ronpaul .com>.
This reaches a level that one might call "lying." The original letter is quite explicit. They would prefer not to sell RonPaul.com at all, and the offer of RonPaul.org for free was not "with the purchase of <ronpaul .com>" but a no-strings-attached offer to Ron Paul if he wanted to use RonPaul.org as his future domain (since it would be less disruptive to his grassroots supporters).

When you read through all of this, it's really quite incredible. Not once does the filing even hint at what the domain has been used for over the past 4.5 years. If you read the filing without context, you'd think that it was solely devoted to a commercial site pretending to be Ron Paul's real site, and the entire effort was built up just to try to sell it to Paul. For a politician who built up his grassroots supporters in large part because of his authenticity and his willingness to speak honestly and truthfully about issues, to turn on his biggest supporters with a pile of hogwash, while clearly abusing a process he doesn't even believe in, to try to forceably take away the site from his fans... is incredible.

As the operators of the site themselves note:
Back in 2007 we put our lives on hold for you, Ron, and we invested close to 10,000 hours of tears, sweat and hard work into this site at great personal sacrifice. We helped raise millions of dollars for you, we spread your message of liberty as far and wide as we possibly could, and we went out of our way to defend you against the unjustified attacks by your opponents. Now that your campaigns are over and you no longer need us, you want to take it all away – and send us off to a UN tribunal?
Who knows who is advising Paul on this move, but this seems like a massive miscalculation. Maybe he doesn't care any more, now that he's out of Congress. Maybe he's decided that all those years of standing up as a principled politician can be thrown out the window because he really wants RonPaul.com. Either way, this seems destined to be a stain on his legacy.




Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:00am

    Thanks obama for nothing.

    Troll

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:11am

    Politicians and lawyers...I think the latter saw a chance for more billable hours. And Ron Paul was stupid enough to believe them instead of his most dedicated supporters.

     

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    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:17am

    Guess we should all be glad he wasn't elected

    Truly boned headed move by a politician.

     

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    Watchit (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:22am

    $250,000 isn't even all that much compared to some domain sales I've seen. A relative of mine that works at a small credit union sold a url they owned but no longer used to a bigger credit union that wanted it for some campaign for one million dollars.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:26am

    no different to anyone else, other than he is in the public eye. he says what people want to hear when it suits. when it was to his benefit to 'hate' the UN, that's what he did. now it suits to like the UN because he wants them to do something for him personally, he will. this is typical hypocrisy. tell me a politician that doesn't embrace this all the time!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:29am

    Re:

    Given what the site has accomplished and the length of time it has been out there, $250k wouldn't even classify as a tip.

     

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    Jim Harper (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:38am

    Meh on the UN Stuff

    "Hypocritical libertarian! You argue for privatized roads but you still drive to work on public roads!"

    That's the meatspace equivalent to chastising Ron Paul for using the UDRP to seek control of the domain. Is there some other adjudication body he could use? No.

    Whatever the merits on the rest of the dispute, about which I truly have no opinion, the UN-hypocrisy point is unfair, I think.

    Thanks, though, for all you do, Mike!

     

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    theDude, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:40am

    Maybe

    Maybe he found out they were black?

     

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    OldMugwump (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:43am

    I think you're misinterpreting what's going on

    RonPaul.com is not a real grassroots support site for Ron Paul. It never was.

    It's a scam site setup to milk Paul's supporters for money by selling merchandise (T-shirts, mugs, etc.) while implying to the casual surfer who doesn't read the site carefully that profits go to Paul's campaign.

    Someone in my family got suckered by them & bought two "$100 Grassoots Mugs" from them (two $100 coffee mugs), thinking that it was a way of donating $200 to Paul's campaign. But the campaign didn't get a penny.

    I pointed it out and they quickly refunded the money - they walk the fine line between deception and legal fraud.

    They're scammers who have no interest in Paul or his ideas other than to divert donations to themselves.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:45am

    I an a Libertarian and i am seeking power as president. Something doesn't ring true in that statement, as proven by subsequent actions.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:47am

    The part I don't get

    Maybe he's decided that all those years of standing up as a principled politician can be thrown out the window because he really wants RonPaul.com.

    For what?

     

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    WysiWyg (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:53am

    Re:

    My mother!

    Then again, she hasn't been a politician since before the turn of the millennium.

     

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    Jardinero1, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:05am

    The site is a for profit web page designed to sell Ron Paul paraphernalia, for the benefit and profit of the domain name owners. It's not and never has been a site devoted to anything but selling t-shirts and bumper stickers for profit. Nothing wrong with that, but I think the author of this piece has mis-characterized the nature of the site, and in so doing, the nature of the dispute.

    I think Ron Paul is interested in the domain name, only, and not the list of "supporters", who are, in fact, the t-shirt and bumper sticker purchasers. If Ron Paul was going into the T-shirt business, then the list of "supporters" would have some value.

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:18am

    Reading the comments on http://www.ronpaul.com/2013-02-08/ron-paul-vs-ronpaul-com/ make me cringe. Most commenters are in "LOL U SCAM RONPAUL" mode. (not the one that mentions the anti-Huntsman video, that one is quite dashing and probably a gentleman and a scholar).

     

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    Jardinero1, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:21am

    The other problem I have with this piece is the idea that it is somehow wrong to bring a case to suit in the venue where the complainent has standing. Does the author of this piece think that some other venue would have been more appropriate? Where does one go if the plaintiff is in the USA and the defendent is in Australia and the subject of the dispute is necessarily international in nature.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:33am

    The "free market" at work.

    Maybe he's decided that all those years of standing up as a principled politician can be thrown out the window because he really wants RonPaul.com. Either way, this seems destined to be a stain on his legacy.

    Mr. Paul didn't bother to file impeachment for Bush the 2nd. I'm sure somewhere out there the case for impeachment of Bush VS previous Dr. Paul statements exists. Perhaps someone will post the link.

    Plenty of commentary exists about the way Mr. Paul ran his campaigns for President in the 21st century about how he built a war chest and didn't spend it - thus that money ended up in his pocket tax free. Most of them are about Jesse Benton selling out Dr. Paul.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:34am

    Re: Meh on the UN Stuff

    Well, he could use the free market to purchase the domain.

     

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    dennis deems (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:37am

    Re: Meh on the UN Stuff

    I guess you're a little vague on the whole hypocrisy concept.

     

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    iambinarymind (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:41am

    Re: I think you're misinterpreting what's going on

    There is nothing wrong in selling merchandise to help promote Ron Paul/the "rEVOLution"/ideas of liberty. It's a way to use merchandise to spread support via word of mouth. Even if their intent was to solely profit by selling the merchandise, it is a perfect example of voluntary exchange (which, at least in the past, Ron Paul has been a strong advocate of). If people are voluntarily purchasing the merchandise resulting in a profit for the domain name holders, then they are clearly meeting a market need.

    However, in this case it appears that Ron Paul & company is saying to hell with the non-aggression principle and instead has decided to employ State force/aggression in an attempt to take the justly acquired property of the RonPaul.com domain name holders.

    Shame on Ron Paul.

     

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    Food Fight!, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:42am

    Lets see if Anonymous gets involved in the ronpaul.com fight.

    http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2012/11/anonymous-reports-jesse-benton.html

    Anonymous now has a leak that exposes Jesse Benton, Ron Paul's campaign manager, about his sabotage of the Ron Paul's campaign during the Republican National Convention (RNC). Speculation Suggest that Jesse Benton was paid off handsomely for his services to sabotage the Ron Paul movement. While more evidence on this is to be determined there is no doubt that Jesse Benton's political career will be well rewarded for his services of betrayal, corruption and sabotage. For those who have supported Ron Paul's campaign and liberty movement we urge you to continue to fight and seek justice. This shame that has been brought to Anonymous' attention will not go un noticed.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:46am

    There was no way I would ever Vote for either Ron or his lame son !!!

     

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    Karl (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Re:

    The site is a for profit web page designed to sell Ron Paul paraphernalia, for the benefit and profit of the domain name owners. It's not and never has been a site devoted to anything but selling t-shirts and bumper stickers for profit.

    Even a casual glance at that site shows this isn't true.

    Whether they sell paraphernalia or not, they have a TON of info up there: articles on the issues, links to Ron Paul's books on Amazon, embedded YouTube video endorsements (and original music) from supporters, straw poll results, a petition to get Paul to run for President in 2016, and so forth. All with comments, Facebook integration, etc.

    Whether they make money or not, it's pretty clear that the site is populated with grassroots supporters, and run by advocates.

     

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    Scote, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    Re: I think you're misinterpreting what's going on

    "They're scammers who have no interest in Paul or his ideas other than to divert donations to themselves."


    Could be. The problem for Ron Paul is that under libertarian free market principles what they are doing is 100% legit. Caveat Emptor and all. So Ron Paul has no basis consistent with his espoused politics to object, or to demand the "property" of someone else just because he doesn't like the free market price.

     

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    Mamie Thornbrue, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:29am

    Ron Paul filing lawsuit with UN over RonPaul.com

    All I really have to say is you are considered trash here in America. What you have done is wrong, dishonest, and shows bad character for pretending to be supporters of one of the greatest men in history and doing this to him. Shame on you! I hope you get prosecuted to the fullest extent for giving and 80 year old man hell. I hope he gets this website name because you are all fraudulent crooks.

     

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    Me, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:34am

    As far as I know none of the money that people donated here when they was buying paraphernalia, like shirts, mugs, stickers actually went to Ron Paul's campaign. It was sort of a leach that was set up to draw money away from the Paul campaign. Also back in May 2012 there was a global meeting in Dubai to grant power to Untied Nations to take control of the internet. So if Paul is having to go through them, they have already seized power. What else can Paul do?

     

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    OldMugwump (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:34am

    Re: Re: I think you're misinterpreting what's going on

    :There is nothing wrong in selling merchandise..."


    I agree. I object to them selling merchandise by use of deception - tricking buyers into thinking they're supporting Paul's campaign when they're actually buying from a for-profit firm. If they made that clear instead of hiding it in the fine print I'd cheer them on.

    However, I agree that pursing the case thru WIPO is ill-advised. It would be better to pursue a claim of fraud.

    That said, Paul has every right to use the existing legal mechanisms to pursue his case, even though he advocates different mechanisms. After all he, pays his taxes even tho he's against them - until and unless the system changes, he has the same right as anyone else to use it.

    Libertarianism is not the same as anarchy. Paul supports the rule of law and the principles of common law. Opposition to economic regulation (before the fact) is not the same as opposition to legal means for obtaining compensation for damages, after the fact.

     

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    Soma (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Re:

    Last time I checked, libertarians were morally fine with making a profit on the free market. I see no conflict. I do, however, see a conflict if this matter is settled in Paul's favor. If every person that dove into politics or other media spotlights could stomp on everyone that used their name, it would set a terrible legal precedent. After all, our pool of media attention will only keep expanding. And it seems like the website made clear disclaimers that Paul did not create the site.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:44am

    Re: Meh on the UN Stuff

    ["Hypocritical libertarian! You argue for privatized roads but you still drive to work on public roads!"

    That's the meatspace equivalent to chastising Ron Paul for using the UDRP to seek control of the domain. Is there some other adjudication body he could use? No.]

    You say this like it matters or negates the issue. It is hypocritical, in both roads and websites.

    The free market allowed someone else to register ronpaul.com. Ronny should be glad, its all working as it should. No need for some big government agency handing out websites like some type of entitlement based on a name.

     

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    GMacGuffin (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:55am

    The UN part is not really an issue... IMO

    Ron Paul's acts here do seem rather reprehensible as represented in this piece. Nonetheless, he apparently wants the .com of his name, and does not want to pay $250k at this point. So... his options are 1) file suit; 2) file a UDRP arbitration -- the quicker, cheaper route, with the only remedy being the domain name itself, not the content, or damages, etc. If current ronpaul.com owners lose, they could move all content elsewhere.

    Under the UDRP, R.Paul only has two qualified ICANN arbitration bodies in US to chose from: the WIPO, and the National Arbitration Forum (NAF). For UDRP purposes, both simply function as providers of arbitration services. http://www.icann.org/en/help/dndr/udrp/providers

    Had Paul simply chosen the NAF, would this whole UN angle have worked? Not really. And which arbitrating body to use was surely the decision of the attorneys, who probably only chose WIPO because they had the templates from the last time. (NAF appears to be the bigger player in UDRP in recent years, but the choice between the two remains.)

    So, yes, I agree there is hypocrisy at play here, and some at the least *odd* and destructive decision making. But I do not see that choosing one arbitration forum over another as meaning R.Paul is running to the UN he hates for help.

     

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    Scote, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:04am

    What else?

    "What else can Paul do?"


    We'll he could sleep in the bed Libertarian principles made. He could do nothing and live with the problem, or he could pony up the cash the way a free market dictates. Tough free market titties if he doesn't like the price.

    A Libertarian free market is a caveat emptor--let the buyer beware--market. If people get ripped off it is their fault and it isn't the government's responsibility to do their due diligence for them. If people are mislead by the ronpaul.com site and didn't read the disclaimer its their fault under libertarian principles. Now that Ron Paul has discovered that is a problem he should change his politics to reflect the problems that the libertarian free market causes. Instead turns to hypocrisy to solve the problem.

     

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    MMoon, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:08am

    Re: Merch money

    I donated several times to the Campaign for Liberty, but I'm not so sure any of that money saw the light of day during the campaign either. In 2008, Ron Paul ended his campaign with most of the money unspent, and in limbo. I donated again in 2012, because I really wanted to believe in this man's principle, and also see a real change in Washington. Again, the campaign left me underwhelmed. Ron Paul may be principled, but at the very least he surrounds himself with some characters that are typical Washington, or worse, loose cannons that (knowingly or not) sabotage the man and his ideas.

    I almost feel like giving my money to a for-profit site and donning a t-shirt and bumper sticker may have been a more effective use of my money. Now, at the very least, the campaign should accept the deal from a company that was at least as effective in promoting Ron Paul as the official channel. Hell, if I could direct where my donation to the Campaign for Liberty or Ron Pual 2012 ended up, I would volunteer my dozens of dollars be directed at toward the purchase or RonPaul.com. $250k is a smoking deal.

     

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    Scote, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:27am

    Re: The UN part is not really an issue... IMO

    " But I do not see that choosing one arbitration forum over another as meaning R.Paul is running to the UN he hates for help."


    Of course it is. Ron Paul only sticks to free market conditions when they are in his favor. When they aren't, he turns to the government or the UN for help--and this isn't some sort of truly voluntary arbitration because the current owners of ronpaul.com weren't asked if they wanted to arbitrate, instead Ron Paul is forcing them to and demanding their "property", which they have invested substantial capital into, be turned over to him for free based on a government granted monopoly, a trademark, which he thinks he, and he alone, deserves.

    RP is a hypocrite running to a UN org for help taking someone's "property" without recompense. Here's what some Libertarian has to say about that kind of thing:

    "We must stop special interests from violating property rights and literally driving families from their homes, farms and ranches. Today, we face a new threat of widespread eminent domain actions as a result of powerful interests who want to build a NAFTA superhighway through the United States from Mexico to Canada.

    We also face another danger in regulatory takings: Through excess regulation, governments deprive property owners of significant value and use of their properties – all without paying ”just compensation.”

    Property rights are the foundation of all rights in a free society. Without the right to own a printing press, for example, freedom of the press becomes meaningless. Congress must work to get federal agencies out of these schemes to deny property owners their constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property."


    --from the Ron Paul for Congress site.
    http://www.ronpaulforcongress.com/html/propertyrights.html
    via Slashdot poster eldavojohn

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Dan Tobias, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:39am

    ronpaul.com vs. ronpaul.org

    The .org name would be more logical for Ron Paul's organizational (noncommercial) site. The .com address makes more sense for a commercial venture.

     

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  34.  
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    Paul R Dillinger (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:41am

    Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    First, the UN argument in the article is null as they are the appropriate body to take this to. WIPO handles international .COM domain trademark disputes, and like it or not it's the appropriate channel.

    A quick whois lookup provides:
    Domain ronpaul.com:
    JNR Corp
    Apartado 29832, ElDorado
    Ciudad de Panama, PA 00000 PA


    A lookup on the records of the company provides:
    J N R CORP.
    Directors
    YAZMILDA ALMANZA MUöOZ
    RANCES DAYAN ROSADO VERGARA
    GUILLERMO SANTOS MARFRET


    The truth is lots of people thought the .COM was his official site because it had his name and HIS FACE plastered all over it (read the angry people on the Facebook page). Not only that it was selling merchandise with his name and face all over it and taking donations (from many thousands of people apparently). This is a for profit business that is making a profit a profit from his name, likeness, trademark, and supporters. They contacted the trademark holder to sell the domain to him for a substantial profit (over $800,000) which is very much against the rules for trademarked .COM domains. There is plenty of case law to support this see: http://ilt.eff.org/index.php/Trademark:_Domain_Names

    He has every right to protect his trademark and avoid confusion by removing an "impostor" site. The most important reason for a trademark is to prevent "Likelihood of confusion" which certainly applies here. A big indicator of fraudulent registration is "not opportunistically trying to get value by using a well-known mark" which any site selling merchandise, advertising, and trying to contact the trademark owner to sell is certainly violating. No one can sell a website to a trademark owner for it's "value" as they do not own the trademark. The best they can hope for is to make a reasonable request to recover expenses. Even the $250,000 request is well beyond expenses.

    Ron Paul owns the trademark on his name. So if the domain owner's name is Ron Paul then they have a strong case for fair use of the domain (the original owner had this). If it was a grass roots organization that did no for profit work then it too would have a fair use argument (it is a for profit business though). A trademark in the US is defined in the Lanham Act 1984 as "any word name, symbol, or device or any combination used or intended to be used to indicate the source of the goods". The touchstone of liability under this Act is that of confusion. Liability for infringement of a trade mark is strict. In other words, there is no need for intent or negligence. Liability arises when the infringer uses a mark which may be confused with the trade mark of the infringed party, when used in conjunction with similar goods or services. Their goods and services (shirts, bumper stickers, etc.) are nearly the same as what Ron Paul offers. It is direct competition.

    If these were "grassroots" supporters then why the initial offer of over $800,000? Why the followup of $250,000? True grassroots supporters would have handed it over for free or for cost. They DO have a right to profit on their own efforts for their own brand, but their brand is in fact his brand. They DO NOT have the right to profit from his brand no matter how much work they put in to promoting it. A real "grassroots" supporter does these things out of love not profit.

    I expect better research of a subject than this from Techdirt. Ron Paul has spent his career promoting freedom and protecting civil liberties. When a web site masquerades as "supporting" him, but is only using his name, likeness, and his good reputation to milk his supporters then I would expect people here to have the journalistic "cojones" to actually research the truth and not jump on the "bash the freedom guy" bandwagon. Anyone who votes no to SOPA and the NDAA deserves to have more research done than that. Please do so and post a correction.

     

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  35.  
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    GMacGuffin (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: The UN part is not really an issue... IMO

    You are missing the point. ICANN, who runs UDRP, is not the UN in regard to UDRP arbitrations. R.Paul did not run to the UN, he filed a UDRP complaint and chose WIPO as the arbitration provider.

    From Wikipedia @ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICANN
    In the early 2000s, there had been speculation that the United Nations might signal a takeover of ICANN,[20] followed by a negative reaction from the US government[15] and worries about a division of the Internet[21] the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunisia in November 2005 agreed not to get involved in the day-to-day and technical operations of ICANN. However it also agreed to set up an international Internet Governance Forum, with a consultative role on the future governance of the Internet. ICANN's Government Advisory Committee is currently set up to provide advice to ICANN regarding public policy issues and has participation by many of the world's governments.[22]

    ICANN's "about" page: http://www.icann.org/en/about/welcome

     

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  36.  
    identicon
    Scote, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: The UN part is not really an issue... IMO

    Again, a foreseeable consequence of RP trying to demand a government granted, and enforced, monopoly for himself on "ronpaul.com".

     

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  37.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:50am

    Re:

    Exactly. After last year's campaigning, when he openly claimed to be both an Objectivist and a Christian to pander to both crowds for votes, nothing he does surprises me anymore. If you can pull off a whopper like that with a straight face, no hypocricy is beyond your grasp.

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    JarHead, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    Re:

    Maybe, he should think of that scenario BEFORE trashing the UN. Not much of foresight for a presidential candidate don't you think...

     

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  39.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:53am

    To paraphrase Shakespeare...

    Hypocrisy, thy name is politician.

     

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  40.  
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    Mason Wheeler (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:55am

    Re: Lets see if Anonymous gets involved in the ronpaul.com fight.

    That's a joke. Ron Paul didn't need anyone to "sabotage" his campaign for him; he was doing a fine job of that all by himself. Were you even paying attention during the campaign?

     

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  41.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:58am

    Re:

    If you are a hater of the UN, and a proponent of the free market, you go to the free market. If that fails you, you get ronpaul.org. Seems fairly straight forward.

     

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  42.  
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    JarHead, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 10:03am

    Re:

    RP: Nuke 'em
    General: but, sir....
    RP: I said, NUKE EM!!!
    General: ...very well, sir.

    BOOM

    General: Now about that POW ...
    RP: Easy, we demand their return.
    General: But, sir, we just nuke them.
    RP: So? If they're not returned, or harmed in any way, we just nuke 'em.
    General: ??? (muttering-under-breath) ...and we just nuke their prison camp... (facepalm)

     

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  43.  
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    Jardinero1, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re:

    The site only pastes up publicly available speeches, writings and videos, using Ron Paul as the by line. They produce no original content or commentary. Ron Paul is actually giving them a pass on two things, 1. his trademark and 2. the improper attribution on the posts. He did not make the posts. The attribution should read posted by "Insert name of poster". He could sue them for trademark infringement and likely would prevail.

     

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  44.  
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    Sean Murphy (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 10:19am

    Property rights?

    It seems to me that Ron Paul had 20+ years to assert his right to the domain RonPaul.com, as prior to 2008 it was unowned and unregistered The current owners found the unowned property, and homesteaded it. They marked it as their own (registered it) and used their labor to improve the property (wrote the website, advertised its services etc.). Now Ron Paul wishes to own the property RonPaul.com. It is a unique item of value to the current owners. They do not wish to part with it to anybody but Mr. Paul, and only under the terms of their 'Liberty Package'. Mr Paul believes the deal offered is unacceptable. He is under no obligation to take the deal offered. He is however, under a moral obligation to not use force to acquire the property. He has chosen to contact the United Nations, a governmental agency of force, to seize the property from the current owners without compensation. That's theft. Ron Paul should be able to recognize it for what is is, being a libertarian and all.

     

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  45.  
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    JarHead, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 10:24am

    Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    I thought the article is about the irony of an ardent libertarian guy running to papa and waving guv'mint granted monopoly as a weapon against a competitor in a free-market. Whether the competitor itself is fraudulent is out of the question, cos we're not talking about them, but about the guy. And isn't the libertarian principles says the free-market will weed out bad players by itself?

    Silly me...

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    Scote, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 10:49am

    Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    "Ron Paul owns the trademark on his name.


    And why would that be? He isn't the only Ron Paul in the world or the US. And why would a libertarian try to claim a **government granted monopoly**--the opposite of the free market--on a name?

     

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  47.  
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    iambinarymind (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 10:57am

    Re: Re: Re: I think you're misinterpreting what's going on

    "It would be better to pursue a claim of fraud."

    I disagree with this statement as no fraud has taken place.

    An individual does not own their reputation or name. I highly recommend reading Murray Rothbard's overview of defamation explaining this (I would hope Ron Paul would read or re-read this as well, especially since Rothbard was an intellectual mentor to Ron Paul).

    As for your statement:

    "Libertarianism is not the same as anarchy."

    You are correct. Libertarianism is the acceptance and adherence to the non-aggression principle as well as respect for self-ownership derived property rights. While anarchy is "no rulers".

    Sure, Ron Paul may
    "have every right to use the existing legal mechanisms to pursue his case". However, doing so is completely antithetical to the principles he has advocated for over 30+ years.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Lets see if Anonymous gets involved in the ronpaul.com fight.

    Ron Paul didn't need anyone to "sabotage" his campaign for him; he was doing a fine job of that all by himself.

    Ya got proof - or just your opinion?

     

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  49.  
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    Watchit (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 11:19am

    Re: I think you're misinterpreting what's going on

    Ummmm, I think you're misrepresenting, the most expensive mug on the Ronpaul.com store was like $25, and it was more of a thermos really.

     

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  50.  
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    Jim Harper (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re: Meh on the UN Stuff

    A libertarian does not have to buy back stolen property to avoid charges of hypocrisy because the dispute resolution procedures of the police and courts are something libertarians embrace as part of the limited role of the state.

    Here, Paul believes he has a case against the holders of the domain based on trademark (in that the holders of the RonPaul.com domain are taking advantage of confusion about the source of goods). He does not have to buy the domain, but can use the procedures in place to resolve the dispute without being hypocritical.

     

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  51.  
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    cgt (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re:

    When did he claim to be an objectivist?

     

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  52.  
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    Jim Harper (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Meh on the UN Stuff

    I'm not. Probably, you're a little vague on what libertarians believe.

     

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  53.  
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    Paul R Dillinger (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    You haven't studied up well enough then. Ron Paul often advocated using the established legal system to get things done. Since when does being a libertarian mean that you have to stand around and let everybody walk all over you? If "It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg" then let it be, but using someone else's trademark to make money picks their pocket. It's a perfectly legal and justifiable use.

     

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  54.  
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    Jim Harper (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: Meh on the UN Stuff

    This is challenging stuff, so it's not surprising to have comments this confused.

    It is not hypocritical to live under the current regime while advocating for another. That goes for roads, taxes, schooling, and every other thing, including domain-name-allocation rules.

    The best legal explanation for domain names is that they are licenses-to-use, not the outright property of the domain name holder. The terms of the license bar fraudulent use and trademark violation. Paul believes that his trademark is being violated by the owners of the RonPaul.com domain and he is using the channels available to him to bring his case.

    It might be preferable for domain names (more accurately, the right to associate a string in a given top-level domain with a given IP address) to be a piece of property, in which case Paul would bring a trademark action, or a common law fraud or trade disparagement action, against the holders of the domain. It's very much an open question whether the holders of the domain can be brought into a court that offers Paul the remedies he believes he's due. The current law allows him to move against the domain, and this is what he's doing.

    Paul is not obligated to forgo the benefits of the law in this area just because he might structure the law differently.

     

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  55.  
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    Paul R Dillinger (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 11:54am

    Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    Free market doesn't mean that everything is free. It means that everyone is free to compete. You are free to make your own brand and products and compete with them. You are NOT allowed to copy someone else's brand and ride on their good reputation. Trademark is how you protect a brand. It's a simple as that.

    Think about it. Have you ever purchased something and had a great experience with the brand? Did you ever want to support that brand because of your positive experience? Do you want everyone else to copy that brand and make it difficult to determine what is real and what is a competitor's knock off? Trademark laws protect people by preventing confusion, and they help keep knock offs from ruining the reputation of a brand. People were confused by this domain and the numerous posts on their Facebook page by people who where confused and felt tricked proves that.

    He got the trademark because he's had decades to establish his name as a brand and he filed the proper paper work. There were no other Ron Paul's out there offering similar products and services, so the trademark for these items is his. Trademark doesn't stop every Ron Paul from doing business, it just stops people who aren't Ron Paul from doing the same business that he does using his name.

     

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  56.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 12:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Meh on the UN Stuff

    Two problems with that.

    1) The domain was not stolen.
    2) The domain holders are not taking advantage of confusion and are taking affirmative steps to prevent confusion.

     

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  57.  
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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    It means that everyone is free to compete.

    Except if you're doing a better job promoting someone else's agenda and that someone else wants your stuff, it seems.

     

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  58.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

    Libertarianism

    I've read a bit about it and decided I'm not one. There are societal problems which I don't think have been fully addressed in the papers I have read.

    I'm interested in localization/self-reliance/sustainability, but I find myself more aligned with the left side of that equation rather than the libertarian side. I am wary of are two things with libertarianism: not sufficient attention to global environmental issues and the possibility that the status quo will be preserved (i.e., those who have property and wealth will maintain it and those without it will be stripped of any ways to obtain it).

    I have intentionally tried to offer differing perspectives on Techdirt so that people will know that there are alternatives to libertarianism when it comes to copyright and IP issues. If the goal is to get rid of those primarily to reinforce the companies currently in power (e.g, big tech), then I don't think we've fundamentally changed society. We've just facilitated transfer of power from industries like big media, big pharma, and big ag, to big tech.

    I just saw this today and it comes with a very cool graphic which might help to visualize what "emerging economies" and how they could differ from libertarian economics.

    Emerging economy Wiki

     

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  59.  
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    OldMugwump (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: I think you're misinterpreting what's going on

    "Ummmm, I think you're misrepresenting, the most expensive mug on the Ronpaul.com store was like $25, and it was more of a thermos really."


    Ummmm, I think not. We still have the mugs. Here's a picture of them I took just now:

    http://mugwumpery.com/pix/IMG_5994.JPG

     

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  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 1:50pm

    rss feed for this story is messed up. just fyi.

     

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  61.  
    identicon
    boomhauer, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 3:20pm

    udrp is not "running to the un"

    Stop already with the whole "going to the wipo/UN" stuff. This is the process ICANN came up with, and is the standard method to dispute domain name infringement.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    mouse, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 6:06pm

    Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    If someone's name and likeness was a trademark then Obama could shut down any conservative selling anti-Obama merchandise with his name and or face on it. He can't because he is a public figure.

    Ron Paul is a public figure.

    Anyone can sell merchandise with his name or face on it if they want to and there is nothing he can do about it.

    Free market!
    Deal with it!

     

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  63.  
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    Paul R Dillinger (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    One has to wonder if this isn't in part due to them having ronpaul.com and people thinking it's an official page.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    William, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:16pm

    Re: I think you're misinterpreting what's going on

    Then your family member cannot read. Perhaps some education would be in order.

     

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  65.  
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    William, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Lets see if Anonymous gets involved in the ronpaul.com fight.

    Need proof? Look at his campaign, then look what he's doing now. Liars tend to fail.

     

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  66.  
    identicon
    William, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:18pm

    Re: udrp is not "running to the un"

    Oh look, someone voted for Ron!

     

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  67.  
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    Paul R Dillinger (profile), Feb 11th, 2013 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    Not using BarackObama.com (assuming that he owns the trademark) or it would be likely that people would confuse it as official. That is the difference. People are confused and thinking that it is an official page. That's why there are trademark laws specifically protecting .com domains from this type of activity.

    Again, free as long as you use your own brand. Throwing .com on the end of a trademarked brand does not make it a different brand. This has been established in case law (see my EFF link above).

     

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  68.  
    identicon
    liam, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Lets see if Anonymous gets involved in the ronpaul.com fight.

    I looked around and all i could find was the anonymous statement. No evidence, which basically means at this point, some guy on the internet said something. Is there any evidence for this?

     

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  69.  
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    KCTed, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:27pm

    Bunches of lies by a profiteer

     

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  70.  
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    KCTed, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Bunches of lies by a profiteer

    ^ Safe YouTube link ^

     

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  71.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Meh on the UN Stuff

    Oh, I thought you were a reasonable person and not crazy. My mistake.

     

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  72.  
    identicon
    Dave Zan, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:39pm

    Re:

    Where does one go if the plaintiff is in the USA and the defendent is in Australia and the subject of the dispute is necessarily international in nature.

    There is actually a way, albeit that's Mr. Paul's lawyer's job.

     

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  73.  
    identicon
    Dave Zan, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    That essentially depends on what was agreed upon between Mr. Paul and the people behind RonPaul.com, though. Time will tell how this UDRP goes, what details are shared if ever, or if Mr. Paul files a lawsuit after.

     

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  74.  
    identicon
    Dave Zan, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:50pm

    Re: Property rights?

    From all the political labeling I've been reading here, I somewhat wonder if Mr. Paul is even aware his lawyer or whoever filed that administrative dispute via WIPO rather than through another provider. As previously commented, there's at least two (the other being National Arbitration Forum IN the U.S.) his lawyer could choose.

    My guess is Mr. Paul's lawyer thinks they'll get a better shot through WIPO rather than NAF, while Mr. Paul said to his attorney, "I don't know anything about this stuff, but you guys are the experts. Take care of it." Something like that.

     

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  75.  
    identicon
    Dave Zan, Feb 11th, 2013 @ 9:51pm

    Re: udrp is not "running to the un"

    It's the perceived hypocrisy, that's all.

     

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  76.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 1:40am

    Re: Libertarianism

    I have intentionally tried to offer differing perspectives on Techdirt so that people will know that there are alternatives to libertarianism when it comes to copyright and IP issues.

    What makes you think we're libertarian?

    You make an *awful* lot of wrong assumptions around here.

     

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  77.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 1:49am

    Re: Re: Libertarianism

    What makes you think we're libertarian?

    Where would you put Techdirt politically/economically?

     

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  78.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 2:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    The Death Throes of Pro-IP Libertarianism - Stephan Kinsella - Mises Daily: "There are also a growing number of IP critics who are artists, philosophers, techies, or journalists, most of them at least libertarian leaning, including artist Nina Paley, philosopher David Koepsell, tech blogger Mike Masnick, and reporter Joe Mullin."

     

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  79.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 2:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    Where would you put Techdirt politically/economically?


    Data-driven/realist.

     

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  80.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 2:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    The Death Throes of Pro-IP Libertarianism - Stephan Kinsella - Mises Daily: "There are also a growing number of IP critics who are artists, philosophers, techies, or journalists, most of them at least libertarian leaning, including artist Nina Paley, philosopher David Koepsell, tech blogger Mike Masnick, and reporter Joe Mullin."

    And others have called me a socialist. Others have called me a hater of big companies, while some (including you) regularly accuse me of being a shill for big companies.

    Do you always define people based on what others call them?

    If so, you should stop.

     

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  81.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 2:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    Data-driven/realist.

    That's fine, but libertarian Kinsella views you to be at least "libertarian leaning."

    Whatever you want to call it, I like to share a different perspective to get people thinking about alternative economies. The shareable/P2P/commons folks also want to get rid of IP laws, but to accomplish different ends than many libertarians.

     

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  82.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 2:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    That's fine, but libertarian Kinsella views you to be at least "libertarian leaning."


    Again, others have said we're the opposite.

    Why are you so focused on what one person called us?

    Whatever you want to call it, I like to share a different perspective to get people thinking about alternative economies. The shareable/P2P/commons folks also want to get rid of IP laws, but to accomplish different ends than many libertarians.

    There aren't "alternative economies." There is just a single economy, and lots of different ways in which economic transactions take place. Thinking of them as different is a weird and incorrect way of looking at things.

    The "shareable/P2P/commons" folks are a part of the wider economy, and one that I support too. We write about them frequently. Apparently you haven't noticed that. Odd.

     

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  83.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 2:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    And others have called me a socialist. Others have called me a hater of big companies, while some (including you) regularly accuse me of being a shill for big companies.

    Okay. So you're not a libertarian. But I like to envision what happens next -- beyond the copyright days. I've already assumed copyright will become less relevant as the old power goes away and the new power takes over. I have said that I think everything is going to get shared online and trying to sort out who gets credit for what is going to be harder and, if economics change, less of a concern.

    I have been suggesting a post-IP world based on concepts in the shareable/P2P/commons/alternative economics discussions.

    Since Techdirt is a forum to discuss IP issues, I have intentionally been bringing a different, non-libertarian, perspective into the mix.

     

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  84.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 2:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    There aren't "alternative economies." There is just a single economy, and lots of different ways in which economic transactions take place. Thinking of them as different is a weird and incorrect way of looking at things.

    Not everyone agrees on property concepts. Economies can be set up any way people want to set them up. Gift economies are as legitimate as free market economies. There isn't a set of economic principles that everyone agrees upon. I think that's where you and I differ. You think there are universal economic principles, and I think they are constructs. Economics isn't a hard science where inputs always result in the same outcomes.

     

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  85.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 2:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    Gift economies are as legitimate as free market economies.

    Of course. Because gift economies are a part of a free market economy. Not sure your point.

    There isn't a set of economic principles that everyone agrees upon.

    What people agree upon matters little compared to what is happening.

    I think that's where you and I differ. You think there are universal economic principles, and I think they are constructs. Economics isn't a hard science where inputs always result in the same outcomes.

    I don't know how to respond to this.

    You keep making really weird assumptions about what I believe. It's why I always find it impossible to have a normal discussion with you. You assume all sorts of things, almost none of which are true. It is quite incredible.

     

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  86.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 2:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    Here's an example.

    P2P Foundation -- David Graeber on Giving It Away, an introduction to the gift economy:
    "Mauss’ conclusions were startling. First of all, almost everything that 'economic science' had to say on the subject of economic history turned out to be entirely untrue. The universal assumption of free market enthusiasts, then as now, was that what essentially drives human beings is a desire to maximize their pleasures, comforts and material possessions (their 'utility'), and that all significant human interactions can thus be analyzed in market terms. In the beginning, goes the official version, there was barter. People were forced to get what they wanted by directly trading one thing for another. Since this was inconvenient, they eventually invented money as a universal medium of exchange. The invention of further technologies of exchange (credit, banking, stock exchanges) was simply a logical extension.

    "The problem was, as Mauss was quick to note, there is no reason to believe a society based on barter has ever existed. Instead, what anthropologists were discovering were societies where economic life was based on utterly different principles, and most objects moved back and forth as gifts – and almost everything we would call 'economic' behavior was based on a pretense of pure generosity and a refusal to calculate exactly who had given what to whom. Such 'gift economies' could on occasion become highly competitive, but when they did it was in exactly the opposite way from our own: Instead of vying to see who could accumulate the most, the winners were the ones who managed to give the most away. In some notorious cases, such as the Kwakiutl of British Columbia, this could lead to dramatic contests of liberality, where ambitious chiefs would try to outdo one another by distributing thousands of silver bracelets, Hudson Bay blankets or Singer sewing machines, and even by destroying wealth – sinking famous heirlooms in the ocean, or setting huge piles of wealth on fire and daring their rivals to do the same."

     

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  87.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 2:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    Because gift economies are a part of a free market economy. Not sure your point.

    Although you may assume all economies are free market economies, not everyone holds that view. So I try to point that out because we can determine who owns what, who governs what, how resources will be distributed, etc.

    If the Internet allows for full democratization of everyone in the world, I expect a lot will change. I like to get people thinking about that because what we do now will likely shape the future of the world economy. If we want to give every person in the world a middle class life, we have to figure out how to share resources. How do we do that? Are we going to charge for clean water and those who can't pay don't get it? How are will going to deal with air pollution? And so on.

     

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  88.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 3:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    Congrats. You found an example of some economists who don't understand some basic economic principles, and then overgeneralize it to mean something it doesn't mean.

    Stop doing that.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 3:50am

    What the fuck!!! You'd think Ron Paul would be the last person to do this.

     

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  90.  
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    Jim Harper (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Meh on the UN Stuff

    1) I was using theft as an anology to simplify and illustrate. The "Here," at the beginning of the next paragraph was meant to signal that.

    2) Whether the holders of the domain are or are not taking advantage of consumer confusion is a factual issue that Paul obviously would dispute. And that's the point: There is a dispute, and it is consistent with libertarian principle to dispute what one views as a violation of one's rights, including trademark rights as they exist in the UDRP.

     

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  91.  
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    Sean Murphy (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 6:20am

    Re: Re: Property rights?

    I hope that's the case Dave. I would like to believe Ron is as principled as he has claimed for all these years and this is a case of lawyers being lawyers. We shall see how it turns out.

     

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  92.  
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    Gwiz (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    Where would you put Techdirt politically/economically?

    Data-driven/realist.



    We really need to start a political platform with that as the foundation.

    Not sure it would get very far because that's not how business is done inside the Beltway these days, but it certainly would be a refreshing change.

     

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  93.  
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    DigitalDao, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Meh on the UN Stuff

    If Paul believed his trademark was being violated, did he not have ample opportunity to dispute the issue back in 2007?

    It seems incredible to take the trademark claim at face value.

    But also...yes it is completely hypocritical to use the tools of the state to expropriate someone else's property (which, let's be real here, is the goal of messr. Paul) in order to avoid having to buy said property in the free market.

     

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  94.  
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    Givejonadollar, Feb 12th, 2013 @ 9:50am

    I'm one of the Paulbots

    But, for the first time, I have disagreed with him on this issue. I hope he comes to his senses.

     

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  95.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Meh on the UN Stuff

    If Paul believed his trademark was being violated, did he not have ample opportunity to dispute the issue back in 2007?

    Good point. It would seem like there's a serious laches issue here...

     

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  96.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    There's actually quite a bit of info on how gift economies differ from market economies. So much, in fact, that it would overwhelm this discussion. That's why I usually just point people to places like the P2P Foundation because it has collected a ton of resources.

    So why do I keep bringing this up? To get people thinking about what a post-IP culture could look like. Once everything is freely shared with everyone else, you can facilitate a radical transformation of world economics if allowed to do so. But that transformation is going to upend many of the current power/wealth holders and I am not sure they plan to give up without a fight. As Techdirt points out, companies are trying to protect their territories by strengthening IP laws. But I anticipate that once new power players benefit from the lack of IP laws, they will look to protect THEIR territories and the cycle begins again. In order to break the cycle, the whole concept of property and ownership needs to be re-examined. And people are doing that for several reasons: (1) the shared/networked culture of the Internet, (2) environmental protection, and (3) world recession and growing income inequality.

    Here's just one more thing to toss out about gift economies.

    Economic Systems: Non-market Economies: "As a result, standard economic analysis is inadequate in explaining how and why these non-market economies functioned."

     

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  97.  
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    Karl (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 4:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    You are NOT allowed to copy someone else's brand and ride on their good reputation.

    In a free market - one unhindered by government regulation - then you certainly are.

    The libertarian solution to consumer protection is not government regulation, but an unregulated market. At least, that what libertarian Ron Paul thinks:
    So-called consumer protection agencies give people a false sense of security, so they are less diligent in ensuring the goods and services they buy are safe. Furthermore, these agencies have a history of allowing dangerous products on the market while restricting consumers' access to safe products. This is partially explained by the phenomenon of the regulatory capture, where bureaucrats at an agency become more concerned with protecting the interest of the industry they supposedly regulate than the interest of the public they supposedly serve.

    In a free society, manufacturers would be held liable for any and all damages caused by their product; this, combined with the desire to earn repeat business by maintaining a positive reputation with consumers, would provide them with an incentive to ensure their products are safe.

    So, if there is "consumer confusion," Ron Paul's solution would not be trademark law, but holding the company using the mark responsible for the damage caused by that confusion.

    So, if using someone else's brand actually did result in consumer confusion, then the consumer should be able to sue the brand user for fraud. The brand originator would have no say in the matter whatsoever.

    Instead, we have a government-granted monopoly on a "mark used in trade." Exactly what Ron Paul is arguing against.

     

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  98.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    In a free society, manufacturers would be held liable for any and all damages caused by their product; this, combined with the desire to earn repeat business by maintaining a positive reputation with consumers, would provide them with an incentive to ensure their products are safe.

    This is the part of libertarianism that intrigues me. If the system is based on damages, that brings in lots of lawyers. So it becomes a litigation system and all that entails. And then you need a system to hear the lawyers, collect money, and perhaps punish violators. So over time you may end up with a very complicated governing system in some form.

     

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  99.  
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    Watchit (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: I think you're misinterpreting what's going on

    Ah, don't know how I missed those. Sorry for doubting you.

     

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  100.  
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    Paul R Dillinger (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 7:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    You are half correct. It is one who is damaged that needs to sue. The consumer could sue someone if they were damaged, but a business could sue if their "reputation" was damaged. That is what a trademark dispute is. It is also why trademarks are far more limited than something like a copyright. It is not the exclusive right to use a certain name, but the exclusive right to use that name in an particular industry.

    Don't think that libertarians are free everything and nobody sues anybody. That's hippies. Most libertarians believe in the right to one's own property, and that using the court to protect your property (including your good name) is perfectly acceptable. Copyrights, patents, and trademarks are acceptable parts of that, but I believe libertarians (along with most Americans) would like to see all of these areas modernized and made less damaging.

    As far as the method he used it was the proper channel for the type of dispute. The contract says all disputes must be handled this way, so that is the way it is being handled.

     

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  101.  
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    Paul R Dillinger (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 8:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    Libertarianism is also about simplifying government and laws. While you need a team of lawyers to handle even common tasks in today's courts, it wasn't that complicated a few decades ago. When agencies are abolished you also remove the complexity. That makes things like self representation and understanding the law things the common man can do.

    Abraham Lincoln prepared for his law career by reading Blackstone's Commentaries, then simply taking an oath. Around the year 1900 most states did not require a university education to become a lawyer. It could usually be done with an apprenticeship, and most practitioners had not attended any law school or college. Wouldn't it be nice if we could go back to making things simple again rather than making everything more complex?

     

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  102.  
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    Suzanne Lainson (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 8:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    When agencies are abolished you also remove the complexity. That makes things like self representation and understanding the law things the common man can do.

    I can certainly get behind that.

    But let me toss out an example that I wonder about. I am very concerned about environmental protection. Fracking, for example, is moving into suburban neighborhoods which will impact the people living in those neighborhoods. So the homeowners could possibly assert damages in many ways: damage to the environment, to their property values, to the water, to the air, and so on.

    But to win those cases, presumably they would have to gather the evidence to prove damages. Gathering that evidence can be expensive and not everyone who is damaged will have that kind of money. But even with evidence, we have people who won't accept it (e.g., climate change debates). So what will it take to prove damages and collect?

    Still, I suppose, if you throw out agencies and let everyone sue to settle stuff, then perhaps more environmental issues will actually get a hearing. I think environmentalists have some pretty strong cases concerning damages and if that's the way to make progress against polluters (both local and global) so be it. Speaking of which, how do you sue a company polluting in another country but the pollution migrates into your air space or into your ocean water?

     

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  103.  
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    Karl (profile), Feb 12th, 2013 @ 10:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    The consumer could sue someone if they were damaged, but a business could sue if their "reputation" was damaged.

    I've never heard anyone say that an open market means that companies have a right to control their "reputation."

    The thing that comes closest to that would be libel or slander laws. Do you think that Ron Paul could sue the owners of that site, and win? I certainly don't.

    As an aside, many libertarians don't believe there should be laws against libel or slander at all. For example, Murray Rothbard:
    Does Smith have the right to disseminate false information about Jones? In short, should "libel" and "slander" be illegal in the free society?

    And yet, once again, how can they be? Smith has a property right to the ideas or opinions in his own head; he also has a property right to print anything he wants and disseminate it. He has a property right to say that Jones is a "thief" even if he knows it to be false, and to print and sell that statement. The counter-view, and the current basis for holding libel and slander (especially of false statements) to be illegal is that every man has a "property right" in his own reputation, that Smith's falsehoods damage that reputation, and that therefore Smith's libels are invasions of Jones's property right in his reputation and should be illegal. Yet, again, on closer analysis this is a fallacious view. For everyone, as we have stated, owns his own body; he has a property right in his own head and person. But since every man owns his own mind, he cannot therefore own the minds of anyone else. And yet Jones's "reputation" is neither a physical entity nor is it something contained within or on his own person. Jones's "reputation" is purely a function of the subjective attitudes and beliefs about him contained in the minds of other people. But since these are beliefs in the minds of others, Jones can in no way legitimately own or control them. Jones can have no property right in the beliefs and minds of other people.

    Now, that doesn't apply to Ron Paul - he certainly thinks people should be able to sue for libel - but it's something to think about, at the very least.

     

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  104.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2013 @ 4:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    If the system is based on damages, that brings in lots of lawyers. So it becomes a litigation system and all that entails.

    The next question to a Libertarian is - what are you doing to clean up the Courts?

    Where is the Libertarian Court Watching program?

     

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  105.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 13th, 2013 @ 4:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    While you need a team of lawyers to handle even common tasks in today's courts

    Actually you don't.

    But having Judges on the bench who start off the case with an ex-parte decision because you are pro-se - THAT causes problems.

     

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  106.  
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    Paul R Dillinger (profile), Feb 13th, 2013 @ 6:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    I certainly understand wanting to protect the environment, and that subject specifically is highly debated among libertarians for exactly the reason you stated. There are two easy solutions that I see and they are class action and charitable subsidies.

    Class action allows people to pool resources, so it makes options like this much easier. Remember that local governments can also take up the case for their citizens as well. If a town's drinking water were polluted it may be possible for the entire town to group together to sue.

    The second, charitable subsidies, is using non-profit action groups (like the EFF) that help people litigate on certain types of cases. I donate money regularly to the EFF, and I would probably do the same to it's environmental equivalent if one were to exist. Right now the system is stacked so that often the little guy can get crushed by regulation, but the big polluters often get away with paying relatively minor fines. Those fines are probably much less than they would face in a jury trial.

    To your next question, in the case of international pollution we would use existing international law to sue. As it's effects cross borders there may be a place for the federal government here, but I doubt it would take an entire government agency to do so and more likely a team of lawyers working on a per case basis.

     

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  107.  
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    Paul R Dillinger (profile), Feb 13th, 2013 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    True. While it is possible, it's not at all practical or wise for the common man. That should not be the case though. Our legal system should opperate in a way that we can all participate.

    Probably not a popular idea with lawyers though.

     

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  108.  
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    Paul R Dillinger (profile), Feb 13th, 2013 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    First is to reduce laws that bring people in to a broken legal system in the first place. Some things are better handled outside of the courts. I would much rather see a drug addict in rehab than jail, but it seems like more things are becoming a crime every day. That must change.

    Another part of that is to make the courts less busy with old and useless legal code. It's easier to spot and prevent bad judgments when working with 1,000 lines of legal code than when working with 100,000. Laws should be repealed as often as they are passed. Instead we constantly pass laws and build a mind boggling complex system that may even be too complex for any one person to fully understand.

    Bad decisions should be cleaned up by higher courts using the standard appeals process. Our legal system is setup in a way that this shouldn't be a problem. What is a problem is the difficulty and speed of the appeals process due to the amount of law that needs to be reviewed. Again simplifying legal codes would greatly improve this system as well.

    Finally it comes down to individual people. American citizens must make an effort, even if it's only for a week or two before elections, to investigate their government. We must stop voting for a party or a pretty face and take an honest look at what each individual person stands for. There is no easy way to do this right now, but I hope to change that one day.

     

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  109.  
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    Paul R Dillinger (profile), Feb 13th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Where's The Research? These Guys Are A Foreign Business

    You bring up some great points! On slander and libel, a business doesn't have a right to "control" their reputation. As in prevent people from relaying negative opinions about them. If a business does a poor job, then people SHOULD let others know. This is where people often try to abuse trademark and publicity rights to remove screw ups. When it comes to false statements then it's a bit more debatable. If one can prove the statements are false then I would say there is damage, but I wouldn't say that there's damage even if one can't prove that they're true. That's just my take on it.

    The difference between something like slander and trademark is when someone says something bad about someone else, we all understand that this is the opinion or experience of another person. I would not mistake words spoken by another person as my own experience. When someone misrepresents themselves as someone else and delivers that bad experience they are creating firsthand experience. If I believed a knock off product to be genuine, then that can certainly give me a bad firsthand impression of the brand. Firsthand bad impressions are far more damaging than secondhand.

    What needs to be protected is a business’s right to earn that reputation, good or bad, on their own. Trademarks help reduce confusion and impersonation that can lead to someone getting a bad rap for another's products or statements.

     

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  110.  
    identicon
    William, Feb 14th, 2013 @ 11:48am

    Re: Ron Paul filing lawsuit with UN over RonPaul.com

    As an American, I oppose Ron Paul's illegal actions.

     

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  111.  
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    Stephan Kinsella (profile), Feb 16th, 2013 @ 5:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Libertarianism

    My sentence they quoted was perhaps a bit mangled -- "There are also a growing number of IP critics who are artists, philosophers, techies, or journalists, most of them at least libertarian leaning, including artist Nina Paley, philosopher David Koepsell, tech blogger Mike Masnick, and reporter Joe Mullin." I meant mainly here to imply that Masnick is one of the tech/journalist types who were IP critics.

    I had just gotten done in the article talking about various types of libertarians (including Austrians and anarchists) who were increasingly against IP, and then I mentioned "a growing number of IP critics who are artists, philosophers, techies, or journalists" -- why? because most of the IP-critical ones I have seen do seem to be at least somewhat pro-free market, etc. David Koepsell is more or less an avowed libertarian but maybe not orthodox, Nina Paley is a lefty but anti-state and not opposed to profit and the free market.

    I probably should have written the sentence a bit more clearly. That said, Masnick seems to be pro free market and pro-civil liberties, which is libertarian leaning, it seems to me.

     

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  112.  
    identicon
    MarvelousMarvin71, Feb 21st, 2013 @ 2:02pm

    He ain't no Working Class Hero

    This shill is a big joke. What the hell does HE know about the working class? Just another rich conservative schmuck who'd sell the country out to all the illegals here. He's no alternative. He's not for freedom. He'd rather let the wave of Muslim scum overrun this country like they're doing in Europe. Never support this Israeli hating, nazi scumbag America.

     

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  113.  
    identicon
    Andrew Allemann, May 23rd, 2013 @ 12:49pm

    Ron Paul lost

    Ron Paul lost:

    http://domainnamewire.com/2013/05/23/breaking-ron-paul-found-guilty-of-reverse-domain-name- hijacking/

    He was also found guilty of "reverse domain name hijacking" in one of the cases.

     

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  114.  
    identicon
    alpha, May 23rd, 2013 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Re: I think you're misinterpreting what's going on

    silly. if someone sells your poster under your name for personal profit i dunno if you'll say the same thing. how about registering a Facebook account of your name with your face and saying things on your behalf? Of course no one will do it, because you aint popular anyway.

     

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  115.  
    identicon
    BW, Apr 16th, 2014 @ 7:01pm

    Lots of bad behavior by RP.com

    The people at RonPaul.com, RonPaul2008.com, etc., are one & the same. Yes, they spent hours developing the sites - by STEALING other people's videos. So talk about hypocrisy!! They want to support a man who stands for property rights, while at the same time, disregarding people's property rights to the videos they created - and just download them, and then upload them onto their websites without so much as even attempting to contact the producers of all those videos and asking them, professionally of course, if they would like to have their video added to their RonPaul.com or other website.

    Plus, who takes someone else's name and develops a site without the person's consent to use their name?

    You're trying to make the selfish, unprofessional little brats sound as if they're innocent little babes. NOT!!! They took a chance when they decided to take from others without asking, without their consent. If they get popped, they have no one to blame but themselves for being inconsiderate, selfish, unprofessional, thieving little as-h---s.

     

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