Sony Wants To Patent A System For Scoring Journalists' 'Veracity'

from the the-truth-scale dept

Spotted by Eriq Gardner over at The Hollywood Reporter, Sony has applied for a patent measuring how accurate reporters are. From the patent abstract:

The methods and systems take into account a multiplicity of approaches to reputation determination and integrates them together in a way that determines not only a reputation index but a veracity scale on which to gauge that reputation. The system proposed herein will create reputation indices based on input from other participants in the ecosystem taking into account the weighting of the value of the input of the various participants based on their credibility as applied to the judgment at hand. The system will also take into account temporal components, the historical value of the work, passive input based on usage behavior, comments by casual observers as well as independent assessment in public fora. The system is able to be applied to journalists and their work to generate a veracity scale for articles.

While I’m sure many can see the value in actually rating journalists on how accurate/truthful their reporting is, the idea that a rating system like this should be patentable is fairly ridiculous. I mean:

Like anyone wouldn’t have come up with such a system if there wasn’t patent protections?

Separately, as the EFF’s Vera Ranieri asks, it’s questionable whether or not granting such a patent would be consistent with the First Amendment. Remember, just a month ago, a top judge at the Federal Circuit appeals court (the place where all patent case appeals go to) noted that patents could be rejected on First Amendment grounds if “they are allowed to obstruct the essential channels of scientific, economic, and political discourse.” So if this patent were granted, and (bizarrely) it excluded others from ranking the accuracy of journalists — would that violate the First Amendment?

Hopefully the patent office rejects this patent application entirely and we never have to find out.

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Companies: sony

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Comments on “Sony Wants To Patent A System For Scoring Journalists' 'Veracity'”

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Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Sounds like...

…a bunch of vague opinions about some writing that took place in the past, then qualified by someone, somehow, with no explanation and presto magico, take our word for it, veracity. Personified and Sonyfied, so don’t you dare copy us, this is the truth as we want it.

It also sound like a bunch of stuff that can be done by hand, but they are gonna do in on a Sony computer, so there, express patent-ability.

sehlat (profile) says:

Patent to Prevent Usage?

The patent itself is ridiculous, granted. But consider that once it is patented, NOBODY else can even build such a system without facing very expen$ive lawsuits. And once such a system exists, it could well be applied to other areas than journalism, such as, say, the veracity of politicians? The veracity of Sony executives?

Nah, we already know the last two categories are filled with liars.

Anonymous Coward says:

Herewith rushing to the patent office to file on:

(1) A system to score the veracity of used-car salesmen;

(2) A system to score the veracity of journalists ON A CELL PHONE;

(3) A system to score the veracity of veracity-scoring systems;

(4) A system that scores the veracity of journalists in which all flowchart boxes have flat surfaces and rounded corners;

(5) Use of the number zero–but not everywhere, that would restrict innovation!–in any calculation generating a veracity score;

(6) A system for subverting systems that compute reliability scores, citing (as prior art) several dozen search engine spamming techniques certain to have occurred to all but the most stupid online advertisers.

Anonymous Coward says:

Hell, a system like the above already exists, just not for journalists. It’s a computerized system that takes in input from registered and public users to determine the veracity of other users, before determining whether or not their posts should be hidden.

It’s called the “insightful” and “report” buttons, among other functions. I believe it’s been on TechDirt for some time. Perhaps Masnick should consider suing based on prior art.

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