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.
Piracy isn't the only alternative to Wiley's books as well. I mean, a lot of these textbooks suck. Royally so, and the only reason anyone buys them is because their professor is a co-author and insists on it.
I imagine this is less true in markets where Wiley charges a low price, and that professors there might be open to, e.g., teaching a course using free alternative materials found online.
Most grammar and style guides have accepted the split infinitive. There's no compelling justification for the rule against it. In fact, it's liable to increase ambiguity as people try to rewrite what was otherwise fairly straightforward.
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?
You can technically put banner ads into RSS, and some sites do. There's no rule against including images. And there's no rule against counting reader views when giving the number of impressions your content gets.
A number of popular ad-driven sites also don't make their full content available via RSS, and require the reader to click through to see more.
Off-topic, but can I complain about the Intuit advertising post? Although the content was clearly written by Intuit, the language is written in the third person, to give the impression that someone from Techdirt is actually writing the content. I doubt it'd fool anyone, but the ad comes off as douchey.
(1) This is exactly why characters alone should be outside the scope of copyright. Imagine if someone wrote a sequel to Harry Potter way off when books 1-6 are in the public domain but 7 is not. The author would be allowed to use Harry but couldn't make any reference to Harry's defeat of Voldemort at the end.
(2) To the extent that authors want to create an official canon and prevent knock off sequels that confuse readers, trademark law is sufficient to do this.
(3) Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't this book non-fiction? There's no infringement because the Holmes character is not actually being used as a character.
(4) Even if this non-fiction book would otherwise infringe, how is this not fair use?
The law is fairly clear that the manufacturer is liable if a software defect causes a wreck, so the AC is right.
Here's a more interesting question: Assume you can install apps on the car, like on a computer. Assume that you install two apps that conflict with each other in such a manner as to cause a car accident. Who's liable? App A? App B? The owner for installing two conflicting apps? The people who wrote an OS permitting such a conflict? The car manufacturer for installing the OS?
Some additional wrinkles:
* What if App A comes with a big honking warning that said "don't install with App B"?
* What if the warning was neither big nor honking?
* What if you had to jailbreak the car to install apps in the first place?
* What if App B was a malicious piece of malware that a hacker had uploaded onto the car?
* What if the reason someone was able to upload malware onto the car was because the owner stupidly set the password on the car to "password123"?
* What if the cause of a malware was a zero-day exploit that could not have been foreseen?
These issues happen all the time with personal computers, but it's usually not an issue because the law treats economic and emotional harm (e.g. the computer ate your homework) different from physical harm (e.g. the computer ate your arm). Ryan Calo has done a bunch of work in this space and advocates some degree of intermediary liability in this space -- much in the same manner that an ISP is generally not liable for what its users do. If you're interested, you should look up his papers.