In my innocence I thought I would pop over to the US patent office website and say "hey guys, this was a silly patent, you shouldn't have issued it" but discovered a bureaucratic institution of infinite complexity. I'd rather spend the afternoon restocking the cat muzzles in the gift shop.
Their government has to weigh off the benefits of being able to apply unlimited taxes to 2/7ths of their population, with the risk that nobody in the country would want to engage in any Internet activity, so they become technologically backward and unable to compete on a world stage.
I'm in the UK and got a speeding ticket but was allowed to attend a driver speeding awareness class instead of being given an endorsement that would have come with 3 points on my license (get 12 points within 3 years and you lose your license).
This was great because I paid the same amount I would have paid for a fine, didn't risk losing my license and my insurance rates didn't go up.
The reason they do the class is that there is evidence to show it actually reduces the amount of speeding.
The reason I'm saying all this is because it's entirely positive. They're not doing it to generate a profit or even to reduce government costs, they're doing it to make the roads safer.
On the other hand, charging a penalty in the form of a compulsory class to someone who bounces a cheque is highly unlikely to penalise them for an appropriate dollar value. They're probably on the breadline and the financial penalty increases the need for them to commit a similar offence next time. And how much of an offence is it? It's certainly cheating someone temporarily out of money you owe them but it is not an intention to permanently deprive someone of what is rightly theirs. And it can happen by accident as well as on purpose.
Finally, if I bounce a cheque in the UK my bank is likely to charge me for doing it, which is all the penalty I need to stop me doing it. I don't need a queue of people behind them waiting to penalise me too.
I submitted my comments on the consultation, despite their best efforts to bore me into submission.
Several questions irritated me but question 24 at least allowed me to focus my wrath on the whole exercise:
Article 14 of the E-commerce Directive does not specify the illegal content to which it relates. Consequently, this article can be understood to apply horizontally to any kind of illegal content. In response to the public consultation on e-commerce of 2010, stakeholders indicated that they did not wish to make modifications in this regard. 24. Do you consider that different categories of illegal content require different policy approaches as regards notice-and-action procedures?
What kind of nutty stakeholders in 2010 didn't feel there was any need to differentiate between the measures that might be taken for child pornography compared to the measures that are (not) necessary for someone publishing a copyright infringing video on YouTube?
It seemed that the judge had entirely bought into the FACT version of events, the Copyright Math taken on face value. The need to defend Hollywood revenue or face the nightmare prospect of fewer films.
I wondered whether Vickerman had the same quality of robust defence team enjoyed by Paul Chambers?