Fred McTaker’s Techdirt Profile

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  • May 11th, 2010 @ 6:20pm

    What smart rulings?

    What smart rulings?!? In re Bilski isn't done yet, the dumb-as-rocks decision of State Street still stands as precedent, and Amazon got their one-click patent! Immersive won against Sony for reinventing the speed-select vibrator, there are endless IP battles over slap-head-obvious incremental details of cell phones, and Namco still has a patent on playing little games while loading big games in the background. What evidence is there that the Judicial branch doesn't have the same vacuum in its collective skull for Intellectual Monopoly law as the Legislative and Executive branches? When will there be a sign of intelligent life on Earth?

  • May 11th, 2010 @ 5:18pm

    Re:

    James Vaughan just established he is either an aspiring IP lawyer, whose best interests are against reading this article intelligently, or he can't read at all.

    The "same crop" argument made towards the end of the article here doesn't even hold. Look at the dimensions -- the album cover painting is longer, and shows a part of the wrist that doesn't appear in the Lichtenstein. The colors, shading, and even the line styles are all unique to each of the 3 pieces.

    Getting lawyers involved in this level of interpretive minutia is the essential mistake of all IP law. Lawyers (including judges) are only good at two things: suing for obvious physical harm, or over written (and signed) contract violations. They often can't even get those right. Everything else is way over their heads.

  • Apr 17th, 2010 @ 11:35pm

    Gold Farmers

    The people in charge of the economy in this country already resemble World of Warcraft gold farmers enough for my tastes.

    More seriously, I have a much simpler solution. When someone benefits the most from a product or service in any market, they're also usually the ones who pay the most in that market overall. The people who benefit most from government, i.e. via security and workforce access, are the ultra-wealthy. Tax the rich, don't ask them what the solution is. They lie -- that's how they got that rich in the first place.

  • Mar 4th, 2010 @ 5:27pm

    Re: Stephen Colbert and his provider are fucking retarded

    I wonder sometimes if Fox News is really meant to be a satirical channel 24/7 and I'm just missing the jokes. I mean, having your head that far up your butt just can't be real, can it? Can any living conscious person really be as consistently hypocritical as that lot? I read that article about how Republicans think Stephen Colbert is really a conservative, and I laugh at those idiots just like everybody. But could it be that Fox itself is just even more subtle in its satire, so extremely subtle that even educated people don't find it funny?

    Then I watch Republicans on CSPAN, realize that they aren't doing it for ratings, and I'm relieved. It's all a joke, just not intentionally.

  • Mar 4th, 2010 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re: Um.

    Actually the Supreme Court, through Citizens United and other cases, has made finding out how much "free" speech you have very simple. Here's the equation they set have up now:

    Money = Speech

  • Feb 23rd, 2010 @ 2:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yeebok

    In the modern Internet age, upload=speech. I'd say your ISP is directly limiting your freedom of speech if they're booting anyone running a server. The whole point of the Internet is that all communication on it is 2-way. Everyone that has a client should be able to have a server.

    You're making Australia almost sound worse than China. I'm already frustrated enough with US duopolies that I'm trying to form a wireless cooperative in my neighborhood, just as a way around them. If I was limited to the crappy ISP options you're dealing with, I would be fomenting outright revolt by now. Do you have a right to bear arms in Australia? That's the main reason I support the Second Amendment right to bear arms in the U.S. -- it's a natural way of enforcing the First Amendment.

  • Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:48am

    Chilling effects vs. stupidity entitlements

    The main reason I don't like this class action suit is that it may just result in chilling effects on all future upgrades to online communications tools. In the case of Buzz, if I read the complaints correctly, to suffer from the privacy-default slip you had to:

    1. Enable Buzz when the offer thingy pops up, after logging in to your Gmail account.
    2. Either fail to look at the checkbox option about privacy when enabling, or fail to check profile privacy settings separately. (This part may depend on when Buzz became available on your account).
    3. Have contacts that can see your follow* lists because they're IN them by default, yet those same contacts are people you want those lists hidden from, AND they have to look at your lists before you can get around to changing your privacy settings.

    #3 seems like a rare edge case to start with, and if that case is something you consider a risk, #1 is something you should never do without reading all the documentation first!

    #2 is where the real problem lies, and no large group of people will ever agree what defaults are best. In privacy questions, it's probably safest to stay with the most restrictive hold on information by default, and let the user free that up over time. That definition of default privacy is obviously antithetical to the concept of *social network* tools in general, especially in the age of Twitter.

    So in general I am left to the opinion that if you care about your privacy: read the manual stupid! Class action lawsuits can't fix stupid, especially when the source of stupidity is the class members.

  • Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:31am

    Re: #23 nails it.

    Reference by number doesn't make any sense in the threaded view. Please use the (reply to this comment) link at the bottom.

  • Feb 18th, 2010 @ 2:11am

    Re: Masters of our domain...

    I think a better question here is:

    If a tree falls in the forest, and no one is there to hear it, how will the lawyer know to sue it? How will the police know to cuff it?

  • Feb 17th, 2010 @ 1:01am

    In-house or contract?

    I think IT, and perception of the role of IT, needs to transition from a worker drone style job to a valued core service provider. Experienced IT professionals should be treated more like Lawyers than Electricians. I say this because the temptation is to just hire some high-priced IT consultant to come in and set everything up, and then contract with some other bulk-rate Geeksquad style outfit for maintenance. That's like getting a great contract lawyer to set up all the company boilerplate forms and agreements, and then hiring any ambulance-chaser available for random updates and emergency needs. That never works, because company changes and emergencies often require design changes, and these are done better with someone who already worked with the company from the start. You also need IT more quickly in emergencies, because down time is lost money. It's better to get high-value IT service from the start, and keep them on a retainer of some form. Dragging IT expertise in-house seems like a method of accomplishing the same thing, but in practice businesses are always tempted to drag in under-trained and underpaid newbies, in the hope that they will "learn on the job." Do you really want to be paying the salary that real high-value IT requires, at full price year-round? That's what it will cost to keep someone that knowledgeable interested in your singular operation. It's better to contract with a trusted firm to set you up, and a retainer allows quick call escalation when needed.

  • Feb 17th, 2010 @ 12:33am

    Re: Re:

    '(some go by the title "Business Systems Analyst")'

    I've been a B.S. Analyst all my life...

  • Feb 16th, 2010 @ 11:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Asked Before

    AC is annoying and not helpful in his line of questioning, but I think I see what he's trying to get at. The services he lists all constitute infrastructure monopolies that lead into our individual homes. They are "single infrastructure" in that regard, but not necessarily "single source". As long as the quality of water/electricity/gas/voice/data that is pumped into the lines meets some accepted minimum community standard, it doesn't really matter where or who it comes from. The connected inflow sources just have to keep up with connected outflow demand. In the case of phones and Internet, equipment at either end just has to be compatible with the connection type provided at each end, and the data must fit standards required for delivery within the heterogeneous connections in between.

    The easiest example is electricity. Deregulation of the energy generation sources in California made them "less neutral", which left Enron open to play the energy market however they wanted. The "last mile" providers were still regulated, and thus forced into a position of buying energy at available market prices, no matter how high. That precipitated the market-synthetic black outs in CA, that later helped to establish Enron's culpability and price gouging methods. The comparison between network neutrality and "neutrality" or deregulation in this kind of service is false, primarily because the bidirectional nature of the Internet makes all inflow sources and outflow consumers equivalent, in that their roles can switch at any time.

    While I think regulated service neutrality for these monopoly line types is a good step, sometimes it isn't enough. Sometimes you have to control sourcing prices when connected sources are limited, or when vertical integration of source and delivery distort the market. End-to-end vertical integration of service delivery tends to exist in all the listed markets, so they all require some form of regulation or direct community-ownership to avoid monopoly rents.

    I think a better general model for ALL these services is the road system. Every home and land owner should own their own driveways (pipes, lines) to the local grid, the local community government should own the local grid to the highways (pipelines, trunk lines), the state government should own the highways that connect to the Interstates (trans-state conduits), and the federal government should own the Interstates. Treaties can be drafted for maintenance of trans-national connections. National inflow product providers should all be free to negotiate rates with all connected outflow consumers. Maintenance should either be handled by community-appropriate government, or contracted by government on equal bid terms to all available maintenance contractors. All attempts to vertically integrate or monopolize the sources, delivery, or maintenance of any one network/service type should be resisted at every level.

  • Feb 16th, 2010 @ 10:26pm

    Re:

    To be completely fair, he is right that intelligent video gamers are a much bigger risk to the livelihood of a stupid politician, than some random huddle of bikers are. Biker gangs are only a threat if you like to drive on curvy mountain roads during the weekends, or you get your kicks opening your door in front of lane splitters, and you don't have insurance for when their yamurlke-sized helmet inevitably fails them. Video gamers know how to vote, present their arguments in a cogent manner, and much harder to knock off and blame it on a "gaming accident."

    Plug! videogamevoters.org

  • Feb 16th, 2010 @ 10:07pm

    Re: Re: But I bet...

    "Blockbuster still exists!?!"

    Based on their censorship policy, they're dead to me.

  • Feb 6th, 2010 @ 7:15pm

    Re: Hold on...

    This reminds me of an early Chris Rock stand-up riff that I love. I'm not sure how accurate this quote is but it gives the basic idea:

    "There's no money in a cure. They'll give you a treatment. That's how drug dealers work, they get you on the come back."
    - Chris Rock

    I'm sure there's a way to restructure this joke that includes security companies, especially with antivirus software.

  • Feb 6th, 2010 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Which machines?

    I think you're on the right track here. Just imagine following through on this analogy, and then regulating any computers and Operating Systems allowed to run on the Internets, the same ways that cars on roads are regulated. They have to meet certain minimum reliability and safety criteria. Microsoft's software would have to be eliminated from the market on day one! Woohoo!

  • Feb 6th, 2010 @ 5:45pm

    Bad Precedent

    "All that said, I have to say that I'm not particularly concerned about Comcast and NBC merging."

    While I appreciate the humor in the paragraph past this statement, I must disagree with it completely. A NBC-Comcast merger would set a horrible precedent. Just imagine if AT&T and Fox decide to get together! The biggest communications monopoly that ever existed, combined with the biggest monopoly on *making up "facts" to suit an agenda* that ever existed.

    I'm already looking for jobs with work visas in Canada. I don't want to be anywhere near any metropolitan area in U.S.A. when Fox decides WW3 might be good for ratings.

  • Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 8:49pm

    Re: Re: Corporations shouldn't have free speech

    "Corporations don't speak. People do."

    You obviously haven't read enough PR releases. Real people don't speak that way -- only corporate groupthink can create such rubbish.

  • Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 8:44pm

    Re: Re: surprise, surptise ...

    I would argue the two-party system in America is a byproduct of the corrupt campaign system, which ends up requiring that all the campaign money gets concentrated into the least possible number of parties, to remain economically efficient for the contributors. Really there's only one party left: the corporatists. Democratic and Republican ideals are convenient fictions.

  • Feb 3rd, 2010 @ 8:41pm

    Re: Re: It's speech - not communicate

    "In the First Amendment, the operative word would be "speech".
    Look it up."

    If you looked it up yourself, you would see another form of speech mentioned there -- "the press", which was the short-hand for the only existing long-distance/multicast medium of the time. The modern equivalent of "the press" is anything you can do on the Internet.

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