from the patent-that-catchphrase,-yo dept
While we realize that the intricacies of IP law (and its often-attendant ridiculousness) can be rather difficult for the average, uninterested person to parse, it's really not asking too much to expect large international news agencies to make an effort to get the terminology right.
As you recall, Kim Dotcom recently announced he holds a patent for two-factor authentication, which he then waved in the direction of other internet titans like Twitter and Google, promising not to sue in exchange for contributions to his legal defense fund.
Here's how AFP (Agence France-Presse), the third-largest news agency in the world (and one of the oldest) titled its coverage of the Dotcom/patent story: Kim Dotcom might sue Twitter, Google and Facebook over copyright infringement.
Congratulations, AFP. The headline sounds like Facebook itself wrote it, using machine learning to gather IP-related flotsam from the feeds of millions of teenagers, each one bragging about trademarking their copyright on some catchy phrase they misheard on Twitter ("Be careful talking when you have a mouthful of glass") and regurgitating its findings in 40-pt font across the top of Raw Story's piped-in news selection.
The story reiterates the "copyright" claim in the opening paragraph.
Internet mogul Kim Dotcom said Thursday he was considering taking legal action against tech giants such as Twitter, Google and Facebook for infringing copyright on a security measure he invented.Then it quotes Dotcom tweeting about his patent and even remarks on the fact that Kim posted a patent approved in 2000 as proof. But, even with multiple chances to rescue this story from the unfortunate headline, AFP continues down its chosen path.
Dotcom said he had never sought to enforce copyright on his invention but was now reconsidering in light of the US case accusing him of masterminding massive online piracy through his now-defunct Megaupload file-sharing site.Now, the hypothetical teens used above can be excused their (hypothetical) ignorance. But a news agency, especially one of AFP's size and longevity? Not a chance. It's especially inexcusable when AFP seems to know the correct terminology when its suing Google for linking to its stories or suing a photographer whose photographs it used without permission. (No, you read that last part right.)
Perhaps AFP truly doesn't understand the definitions and limitations of various IP protections. It certainly doesn't seem to be too well-informed in the linked stories. Maybe AFP views all IP terms as interchangable. It may be striving to know just enough to be dangerous, but to date, it only seems to have gathered enough knowledge to injure itself.