I was reading your post, and since I'm a (let's call it indie shall we) musician who has had an album out there for about a year (iTunes, Amazon MP3, the usual "will sell but not publicize" kind of deal), I thought I might give my 2c to this discussion (specifically the community part, on the bottom of the post).
My musical genre is very specific (instrumental rock guitar music - a la Satriani and the likes) so from the get on I've always had the problem of finding people who like this kind of music. I tried dedicated guitar forums, MySpace, online radios, etc, and it seems that it always boils down to people mostly buying music based on what a big label has to offer. So, even if someone actually thinks that an obscure artist is better sounding than, let's say, Madonna, the tendency will be to buy the Madonna album, since Madonna is "an artist" and that other musician is just some guy who makes music. Sometimes it seems that the established "artist" deserves more respect than the "guy who actually makes very good music". I've seen this happening, with people I know who own every Satriani and Steve Vai album, who listen to my music and like it as much, but won't buy my album, just because.
My point is, the affinity community is a real good idea, because I think the consumer always wants to be part of the hype, and the community would be something more than just getting that album from that guy nobody knows, but instead getting that album from that guy whom the community endorses.
I believe in most European countries, due to EU regulations and international treaties transposed to national law, the trademark must be abandoned for 4 years to be nullified. So, he can get Hadopi for at least 4 years before someone can legally prove he's not using it.
Here in Portugal, we have a famous example from a guy who filed Cristiano Ronaldo's (the soccer player) trademark before he did (CR7 or CR9 - whatever number was on his team shirt) and got payed a bucket load when Cristiano setup a clothings line with that trademark... a veritable "trademark troll" :)
The author could have checked his facts.. zippers in one form or another were actually the subject of patents, just google it... from the looks of it, it seems that these patents probably locked zippers for a couple of years, and that's why they didn't become popular before (as an example, see US1219881, from 1917)...
As for competition, Blockbuster isn't (wasn't) the only rent-a-disc business around here, there are a lot of old VHS rentals that converted to DVD's and now Blurays, so there's quite a lot of family businesses revolving around renting discs, mostly in small towns with no movie theaters or not-so-good cable services (there weren't any Blockbusters there to start with anyway). In larger cities, you can get great HDtv+phone+100mbps net cable packages with on demand movies, our own equivalent to your TIVO, pay-per-view, and many other options.
Add that to cheaper movie theaters and the fact that Blockbuster wasn't actually that famous, and it's a recipe for disaster.
The funny part is that they're making a big deal out of this bankrupcy, and the truth is that they never were more than a passing fab a couple of years ago (I'll bet 90% of portuguese people never even heard of Blockbuster)..
Well, as someone who actually lives in Portugal: most people here have blu ray and HD screens, so blockbuster actually made(or could make) perfect sense since not everyone wants to watch downloaded 720p compressed movies on their 1000€ home cinemas. The big problem with blockbuster, as far as I'm concerned, is that they have censored versions of most movies (we're not so restrictive when it comes to supposed "nudity" or "blood/gore" around here), the entire "drive over here and get your disc in hand" system just doesn't cut it (try driving around Lisbon and you'll know what i mean), most people won't go to the hassle of going out and getting in the subway just to get a movie, and cinema is not that expensive, specially with all the "buy one take two" movie ticket promotions you can get. I personally pay 3€ for ticket, whatever the movie, as long as I bring someone with me (which I do).
So Blockbuster ends up being something that only a couple of people around the block go to, and there's just not enough clients to keep their business model up. Period. Logically, bankrupcy ensues.
Can't see what's the problem with all that... they do reduce the paper going in, but keep a print out for themselves; even if i don't see the need for printing the entire document, most examiners will need at least a copy of the claims to scribble on...
Obama is making a big deal out of almost nothing...
When i was looking for my first job after getting my degree, a couple of years ago, I didn't have any money and my internet and cable "provider" (my brother, who paid the bills) moved out with his girlfriend, so no Internet and no cable for me... I became totally independent from "big" entertainment and Internet "futilities", and actually had a good time playing guitar, reading books, going to concerts (much better than MP3's) enjoying the outdoors, riding my bike and all sort of human activities. Eventually i got a job but had other uses for the money (rent, motorcycle, etc), and after that year and a half i never went back to high speed internet (a 3g connection is more than enough to get emails and browse Techdirt, or update your site and watch Youtube clips), never got cable TV (i barely watch any kind of TV anyway) and never been happier.
I think the entertainment industry has no clue on how much things will backfire if they remove the fix internet addicts are getting - i believe most people when disconnected from the virtual reality we constructed, will discover there's life beyond bits and bytes and gratuitous entertainment and will stop watching or listening to 90% of the garbage out there and sales will really suffer...