Vernor v Autodesk. The theory is that the game manufacturer is "licensing" the game to you and not selling it. The metaphor is like this: If I sell my house to you, I can't stop you from reselling to someone else. But if I lease my house to you, I can stop you from subleasing.
That said, the obvious argument is that software licensing is nothing like renting physical property. The point of renting something is that you eventually give it back. For the most part, a lot of software developers who are "licensing" the software don't realistically expect you to return the software when you're done playing with it.
Amazon offers a fulfillment platform Kickstarter could build off of. Given that they already use Amazon to handle payments, it wouldn't surprise me if they made some sort of deal to streamline the fulfillment process.
A sale is just a temporary decrease though. You can't increase the price past its original position after a sale. That's why there's an incentive to start high. You can capture more of the surplus.
The risk, of course, is that if you wait too long to drop the price, gamers will just spend their money elsewhere and forget about your game. But all publishers follow this strategy to some degree. It's why you can buy the 2008 game of the year for $20.
I'm not sure what the first-sale doctrine issue is here. The first sale doctrine is a limit to the scope if copyright. DRM and making it technologically difficult to sell used games is not the same thing as suing someone for copyright.
The more interesting issue would be if someone cracked the Xbox's DRM and was sued under the DMCA's anti-circumvention laws. But that's less about first sale and more about DMCA reform in general.
What's interesting about the uproar is what people are using for their point of reference.
Microsoft's long game here is to set up an entire digital distribution system akin to Steam -- e.g. one of the interesting announcements was that if you went over to a friend's house and forgot the disc, you could easily download the entire game from the Internet.
Yet Steam doesn't allow resale of used games. As far as I know, no digital distribution does, yet for the most part, they charge the same price as the boxed goods and do quite well.
From that perspective, the fact that Microsoft is considering a a used games system at all is incredibly consumer-friendly.
Interestingly, Microsoft might lower the price of a used game and increase the amount you can get for selling it -- i.e. some of the value you get by cutting out the middleman (Gamestop) could go to the gamers. Or maybe it'll just go to Microsoft and software publishers. Probably mostly the latter but maybe a bit of the former.
The other thing to consider is how a mostly digital used games market would affect pricing. The obvious end game for Microsoft here is a global "instant" used-games market. From what I've read, selling a "used" game on Microsoft's system doesn't require transferring a disc. It's simply a matter of unregistering the game from your account and downloading the game to another person's account. That eliminates a lot of arbitrage opportunities -- I'm curious whether people as a whole perceive that as raising or lowering prices though.
When the automobile was invented, it isn't as though the buggy whip makers simply died off in unemployed starvation.
Can machines make rugs? Yup, yet there's a huge market in hand-woven rugs out there.
And some people enjoy riding horses -- that doesn't mean demand for horses is anywhere close to what it was in 1910.
People aren't horses of course. As the economy changes, people can adapt to provide labor in a way horses can't. But people adapt slowly -- certainly not as quickly as automation replaces jobs. There's no Moore's Law for labor.
And service jobs aren't really an answer. Wages for service jobs are low because there's excess supply in the labor market there -- that excess supply is coming from all of the manufacturing workers that have, essentially, been replaced.
I don't think it's the end of the world, but it definitely deserves more of a response than simply dismissing the people raising those concerns as luddites.
Non-profits claiming 501c3 status can lose their tax exemption if they engage in certain political activities. It's a fine line -- for instance, while it's okay to advocate for some particular legislation, it's not okay to advocate for a particular candidate. It's not a new development but rather a longstanding interpretation of the law.
Given that, it's not surprising that the IRS would focus on Tea Party groups. Imagine if you saw a sudden surge in non-profit applications under a section of the tax code that prohibits lobbying for or against specific candidates and that these groups are associated with movements were explicitly organized to protest the election of a political candidate that now happens to be President. That would raise all sorts of red flags!
That's not to say what the IRS did was legal or proper. But I'd chalk this up to overzealous enforcement of the tax code rather than any specific malicious or ideological intent.
Can I complain about some of the recent inline advertising? A couple months ago, there were some Intuit ads that were designed to look like posts written by Techdirt staff. Although Techdirt had marked it as advertising, the markings weren't all that clear and the text within the ad itself was meant to come across as an "organic" post. That sucks.
Also, a request: I want the ability to post comments on inline ads -- e.g. if I see an Intuit ad, I want to be able to post an angry screed about Intuit next to it for the benefit of other Techdirt readers.
"Over the past several years, the Tor system was abused in a number of crimes including the posting of online murder threats on Internet bulletin boards, theft of money from accounts via illegal accesses to Internet banking sites, postings on dating sites by those seeking relationships with children, and leakages of security information from the Metropolitan Police Department."
I wonder which of those triggered the request to block ...
Easiest way to fix this: If the act of infringement consists solely of using a product as it was intended to be used (or as advertising depicts it being used), then the manufacturer or retailer of the product becomes a necessary party to the suit. This forces trolls to face companies that can actually spend money on lawyers.
It's not a complicated change to patent law and, for better or worse, wouldn't affect patent law except to discourage this type of trolling. I'm surprised Congress hasn't taken this up yet.
Unfortunately no. Patent law is not violated solely by market activities. For reference, here's 35 U.S.C. 271(a) of the U.S. patent laws:
Except as otherwise provided in this title, whoever without authority makes, uses, offers to sell, or sells any patented invention, within the United States or imports into the United States any patented invention during the term of the patent therefor, infringes the patent.
MPHJ could try suing the scanner manufacturer on the grounds that the seller is "inducing" infringement, but there's nothing in patent law that keeps them from suing the end user as well.