from the jury-hampering dept
This week, one topic proved to be a magnet for insight and comedy: the Apple/Samsung verdict, and the ensuing comments from the jurors. Three of our four top-voted comments this week come from posts about that fiasco, starting with Most Insightful winner Yakko Warner (I assume not actually the inimitable Rob Paulsen, but that would be cool) on our post about the jurors' admission that they ignored key aspects of the case. Based on the votes, it seems like Yakko's not the only one here who dislikes jury duty:
A group of common people, forced to take time away from their jobs and families at less than federal minimum wage, told they can't leave until they come to a decision about laws no one fully understands... and they're surprised the jury just skipped over the complicated stuff and rushed to a decision so they could go home/back to work?
(I wonder if the verdict would have been different had it been delivered by The Justice Squadron at The Municipal Fortress of Vengeance.)
Lord Binky took second place, and also snagged the First Word spot, with a comment on the same post. He noted that the jury foreman's personal history with patents not only seems to have distorted his understanding of the law, but raises other red flags as well:
Sounds like the jury foreman admitted to personally benefitting from the outcome of this case.
Several other top-voted comments came from posts about Apple/Samsung, but for Editor's Choice we'll highlight a few other important topics. First up we've got Eric Goldman commenting on the latest colossal failure by the feds: the ignominious return of the Rojadirecta domains after 18 months of censorship. Eric neatly summed up what happened, and what's (sadly) probably going to happen:
The government will almost certainly abandon any case they are going to lose. That way, they will avoid accountability indefinitely. Meanwhile, the government will keep grabbing new domain names using the same BS theories. Eric.
The second Editor's Choice goes to Loki for a comment on Tim Cushing's post about the continued idiocy of the Author's Guild, in response to another comment about the "fundamental rights" of authors. What Loki says may sound harsh to some, but it's an extremely important concept that is often forgotten in debates about copyright, where a common anti-piracy mantra is "if you don't like the terms under which I release my work, don't listen/read/watch it". While a strict legal argument can be made for this under the current letter of the law, in the big picture the exact opposite is true—if artists don't like the rights that society is granting them on their work, don't release it:
Let me be clear here. Authors have NO fundamental rights.
We, as a society, granted a TEMPORARY advantage (a LIMITED monopoly) to allow them some "breathing room" for the opportunity (not a guarantee) to try to earn a reasonable wage so they can work on their next book (or song if you're a musician, or upgrade your next generation of computer/smartphone/car if you're an inventor, and so on) FOR THE BETTERMENT OF SOCIETY.
If the terms of this arrangement are not acceptable to you, we, as a society, don't really care. You can go get a job at a gas station, or Walmart, or work in a factory. Demanding that the opportunity/advantage we provided you is not enough, and that somehow we OWE you is meaningless to us. We owe you nothing, and the more you demand we do so, the more we will not only ignore your demands (regardless of whether or not you try to codify those demands into law or not) but we will also ignore the opportunity/advantage we have provided for you (regardless of whether or not we have codified it into law for you) as well.
There are a few elite people throughout history who will succeed regardless of opportunity because they are simply that talented, but as R.A. Salvatore said in a lecture years ago, his success didn't come so much from his talent (he actually knew several writers in his social circle better than him at that point in his careers) but from being at the right place at the right time to seize the opportunity that was presented him. If you do not wish the opportunity we have conferred upon you, don't take it, there are plenty of people likely just as talented (or potentially more so) who will gladly step up to fill the void you choose to vacate.
Okay, time to lighten the mood a bit! For the Funniest comment, we go back to the Apple/Samsung case, but this time on our post about how the verdict serves as a fantastic advertisement for Samsung. An anonymous commenter channeled his inner Mad Man and drafted some copy for the ad:
Ok. I have to admit. That is just awesome. THAT is how you spin a crippling legal defeat into a marketing win. "Samsung: 9 out of 9 jurors agree, our cheaper products are just as good as Apples overpriced products!"
Up next is another anonymous commenter, on our post about the latest legislative push from the US Chamber of Commerce. For this round, the CoC went with the popular slimy trick of lumping digital piracy in with counterfeiting, despite the two having little to do with each other. This AC identified the overlap:
I once got a counterfeit MP3. Turns out it was WAV file.
Of course, that would mean the counterfeit was of higher quality...
For Editor's Choice in funny, first up we've got an anonymous comment on our post about Craigslist implementing the same feature they just sued PadMapper for creating. This AC graced the post with a tremendous epigraph that might just have to become a t-shirt in our Insider Shop:
Innovation: It's only theft when someone else is doing it!
Finally, we'll close things out with a brief flurry of short Editor's Choice comments from our post about the demise of the Hall & Oates SuperPAC. We asked for possible alternative names, and here are some of the best submissions (in no particular order):
Loki: Well if the purpose is parody, the Righthaven superpac might be a good choice.
AC: The Oates and Hall Fans for America
Jeffrey Nonkin: Simon and Garfunkel? Loggins and Messina? Starsky & Hutch? Cagney & Lacey? Bob and Bing?
slander: BJ and the Bear No More Monkeyshines Political Fecal-Matter-Flinging Consortium for the Betterment of the Political Process.
manok: Our PAC will continue as the "Apple & Samsung superPAC". (a.k.a. "Samsung & Apple superPAC")
Mudkips: Haul'n Oats. but may pickup some static from grain transporters lobby.
We're getting there, but I don't think we have a winner yet. Any more ideas?
Normally, this being a long weekend, that would be it for us until Tuesday—but we're making an exception this time, with a special Labor Day post looking at the ongoing results from our crowdsourced Innovation Agenda project. Stay tuned for that tomorrow, and we'll be back with regular posts on Tuesday.