by Mike Masnick
Mon, Apr 14th 2014 8:13pm
by Karl Bode
Thu, Feb 20th 2014 12:15am
from the boobies-are-verboten dept
It's a shame then that, as The Economist points out, they manage to shoot themselves squarely in the foot with bad policy (not that the United States is one to talk) and a growing love affair with content censorship. As with all slippery slopes, the government's blocking of websites they deem inappropriate or offensive has magically ballooned year after year:
"Every week portions of the Korean web are taken down by government censors. Last year about 23,000 Korean webpages were deleted, and another 63,000 blocked, at the request of the Korea Communications Standards Commission (KCSC), a nominally independent (but mainly government-appointed) public body. In 2009 the KCSC had made just 4,500 requests for deletion. Its filtering chiefly targets pornography, prostitution and gambling, all of which are illegal in South Korea.The article notes that some restrictions have been lifted, and an attempt to make it mandatory that citizens post their names and ID numbers on political comments online was thwarted. Still, at the same time the country has ramped up its surveillance and censorship of social media, which like website filtering has resulted in more and more content disappearing:
The KCSC set up a special sub-committee on social media in 2011, and the following year asked for 4,500 comments on Twitter, Facebook and the like to be removed—13 times more than in 2010. Last year the number of comments deleted increased again, to 6,400.So the next time we're feeling ashamed by our immense mediocrity due to our own significant technology policy failures, we can at least be assured that we can still actually access most of the Internet with our overpriced and slow connections. For now.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Aug 31st 2012 2:57pm
Appeals Court Says Companies Can Be Guilty Of Inducing Infringement... Even If There Is No Direct Infringement
from the going-off-the-reservation dept
So here's where it gets tricky. The lower court had found that since no single party infringes on a patent, then there's no direct infringement. And if there's no direct infringement then there's no infringement that the defendants could "induce." This seems reasonable. The fear, with these cases, was that CAFC would say that multiple different parties, each doing different pieces that are covered by claims, could be lumped together into direct infringers, even if none of them fully infringes. That could create massive liability for purely innocent bystanders who do a minor link in a chain.
Thankfully, CAFC does not go that far in its ruling (though one dissenting judge felt it should). Instead, it just basically wipes out the concept that you can't have inducement without direct infringement, arguing that inducement is apparently something entirely separate from direct infringement. That's... troubling. You can see the reasoning (and it's worth reading the whole thing), in that they're saying if multiple parties, through their separate actions, combine to infringe -- and all those actions are directed by a third party -- then isn't it reasonable to assume that that party is still "inducing" infringement? But, as the dissenters note, that seems to be making up a wholly new interpretation of inducement, far from the one that Congress or the courts has allowed in the past. As one of the dissents notes:
The majority opinion is rooted in its conception of what Congress ought to have done rather than what it did. It is also an abdication of this court’s obligation to interpret Congressional policy rather than alter it. When this court convenes en banc, it frees itself of the obligation to follow its own prior precedential decisions. But it is beyond our power to rewrite Congress’s laws. Similarly, we are obliged to follow the pronouncements of the Su-preme Court concerning the proper interpretation of those acts.In other words, CAFC's majority ruling here has gone off the reservation in a big way to fashion a ruling of how it thinks the world should work, but not in accordance with what the law actually says.
It also opens up a huge can of worms. Because even if no one party is actually infringing, suddenly third parties can be liable for inducing infringement. Infringement that... um... didn't occur. So that seems like a problem. Of course, it would have been even worse if they had gone with the plan that cobbled together direct infringement by all the separate players, even those who were doing very minor things (such as tagging content, in the Akamai case).
Either way, it seems likely that some of the parties here will ask the Supreme Court to weigh in, and hopefully they'll clarify that without someone infringing directly, there is no infringement to "induce."
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Aug 12th 2011 4:07am
from the troll-expansion dept
While the patent holders are claiming that without this the patents would be unenforceable, the EFF filing reasonably argues that the problem is that the patents were drafted poorly, and patents should make clear that when they list out a series of steps, those steps are performed by a single party. The arguments by the patent holders would put almost everyone at risk of being directly liable for patent infringement without them realizing it. We see broad patent claims asserted against various internet companies all the time. Imagine if every user of those services could suddenly be sued for infringement as well, just because clicking on a button, adding a tag or whatever, helped "infringe" on the patent in question in combination with the service provider?
As the filing notes, there is simply no social benefit to imposing liability on such third party users. They're hardly in a position to stop the infringement (let alone even know that it's going on). All they're doing is using a service that is offered to them.
Not surprisingly, one of the companies making this argument, McKesson, is using copyright law to back this fundamentally new interpretation of patent law. Specifically, McKesson cites the Supreme Court's terrible Grokster decision on third party liability, and is trying to extend it to patent law. Of course, McKesson does not even properly cite Grokster, falsely claiming that Grokster claims "a defendant's decision to profit from infringement 'while declining to exercise a right to stop or limit it'" makes one liable. That's simply not the Grokster rule at all. Grokster set out a specific set of criteria under which a third party would be liable, but "declining to exercise a right to stop or limit" is not nearly enough.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Mar 20th 2008 11:53pm
from the wasted-money dept
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Mar 4th 2008 1:57pm
from the what's-wrong-with-a-little-competition? dept
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jan 17th 2008 8:34pm
from the end-to-end-vs-end-to-middle dept
Tim Lee (who, like me, does not support net neutrality legislation) has ripped apart a paper that claims that Akamai is an example of why the internet is not neutral. Lee notes that the author of the paper doesn't even seem to understand how Akamai works, and provides a nice (more technology focused) explanation for why content caching systems have little to do with the network neutrality discussion: "A network is neutral if it faithfully transmits information from one end of the network to the other and doesn't discriminate among packets based on their contents. Neutrality is, in other words, about the behavior of the routers that move packets around the network. It has nothing to do with the behavior of servers at the edges of the network because they don't route anyone's packets."
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Oct 10th 2007 6:03am
from the there's-money-in-boring-tech dept
As we noted over the summer, there's growing competition in the Content Delivery Network (CDN) space, once dominated by Akamai. The idea is to help larger content providers handle large amounts of bandwidth efficiently, traditionally by placing copies of the content at various servers around the world. This does two things: offload the bandwidth from a single source and also bring the content physically closer to different areas, thus decreasing some of the latency issues. Of course, BitTorrent can do both of those things in potentially a much more efficient manner, by using the excess of bandwidth of all different people to simply handle small parts of the transfer. While BitTorrent tries to position its offering as something that can work with the CDN's of the world, if it really works well, it could effectively obliterate the need for a traditional CDN. If you thought that the traditional competition in the space was obliterating profits, having something like BitTorrent's Delivery Network Accelerator could completely upend the market. While the press may go for the sensationalistic "piracy" angle (which this has nothing to do with), if this works, it could change the basic economics for large publishers in distributing content online -- and that's quite a big deal.
Tue, Aug 7th 2007 4:53pm
from the deliver-me dept
Fri, Jul 13th 2007 6:48pm