Limelight Level 3 Gears Up For Patent Nuclear War

from the wasted-money dept

Update: Made some updates to this post as I misread the original article, suggesting that it was Limelight, not Level 3, that bought the patents. Earlier this month, we wrote about Akamai's patent lawsuit against competitor Limelight. Akamai had dominated the content delivery network space for many years, but Limelight and others have made serious inroads lately, putting a ton of competitive pressure on Akamai. Akamai's response to sue for patent infringement is exactly the sort of societal negative that shows how the patent system harms society. To reinforce that, it appears that, rather than just further innovating, others are now spending money that could have (and should have) gone to research and development on buying up its own patent portfolio to act as a nuclear stockpile to fight off Akamai. In this case, Level 3 (not Limelight, as originally stated in this post), is buying up patents from IBM. End result? Lots of money wasted on patents and patent infringement lawsuits, less innovation in the space and less competition. How can that possibly be a result that promotes the progress?


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    Ronald J Riley (profile), Mar 21st, 2008 @ 3:52am

    Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the progress

    Mike,

    Your reasoning process, or should I say lack of such is fascinating.

    Clearly Akamai did research and furthermore they taught all of society through the patent process. That advanced the collective arts. Then a competitor apparently stole the patented technology. Generally at that point the patent property owner tries to reason with the thief and when that fails they sue their ass.

    There is a simple solution to these problems, start following the golden rule: Thou shalt not steal or covet other's patent properties.

    You remind me of the troll tracker. Maybe you should offer a few words of encouragement to him and his handlers at Cisco.

    Ronald J. Riley,


    Speaking only on my own behalf.
    Affiliations:
    President - www.PIAUSA.org - RJR at PIAUSA.org
    Executive Director - www.InventorEd.org - RJR at InvEd.org
    Senior Fellow - www.patentPolicy.org
    President - Alliance for American Innovation
    Caretaker of Intellectual Property Creators on behalf of deceased founder Paul Heckel
    Washington, DC
    Direct (202) 318-1595 - 9 am to 9 pm EST.

     

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      SomeGuy, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 4:45am

      Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the progres

      they taught all of society through the patent process.

      Then a competitor apparently stole the patented technology.

      You can't have your cake and eat it to. Either Akamai enriched society by sharing their knowledge -- and thereby allowing other components of society to branch off and use this newly acquired knoweldge -- or they did no such thing. If the knowledge was shared, it can't be stolen. The fact that you can even argue that patents allow for both at the same time supports the fact that the patent system is broken.

      That aside, do you honestly propose that less cometition (which would be the situation if Akamai had it's way) is a good thing for the consumer? For Akamai, surely, but without competition there's no motivation to improve the product, lower the price, or continue innovation.

      You remind me of the troll tracker.

      You say that like it's a bad thing...?

       

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        Rusty Mase, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 7:36am

        Re: Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the pro

        SomeGuy stated:
        ".....Either Akamai enriched society by sharing their knowledge -- and thereby allowing other components of society to branch off and use this newly acquired knoweldge -- or they did no such thing. If the knowledge was shared, it can't be stolen."

        Let's use an example based on copyrights as these rights are granted under the same clause in the Constitution as patents.

        An author prepares a book using the sweat of his/her brow and has the resulting work copyrighted. The author then shares that work with the public by publishing the book. The author has hopes of profiting from sales of that work, a reasonable expectation.

        The fact the book was published, shared, does not mean the author agrees to let anyone make copies of the work and sell it themselves, maybe using cheaper materials and selling the works at a significant savings to the buyer. Is the broader availability and lower cost for the book not clearly in the interest of the public good?

        No, because the author is not likely to prepare a work without an expectation of some return and the work would simply not exist.

        This exact principal applies to patents. An inventor is not likely to expend the effort to develop a patentable item without some expectation of return through future sales of that item. If by sharing that knowledge in a published patent the inventor expects everyone else to appropriate the technology without some financial restitution to the patent holder then it is highly likely the inventor will not become involved in the developing the technology in the first place. No one will have access to the technology because it will not exist.

        Pharmaceutical companies are commonly used as an example here. They will simply not develop new drugs if they must release any expected profits from sale of the new drug to generic drug manufacturers. The public good cannot be served if new pharmaceuticals do not materialize.

        It is that public good, the availability of new pharmaceuticals, the patent system is promoting.

        The patent system in this nation is the best in the world and fixing something that is not broken is not in the interest of the public good. We might need to fix US PTO by better funding and management. Simply declaring patent holders to be some sort of parasite on the public good and fixing the patent system such that these "parasites" are eliminated is downright un-American.

         

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          Mike (profile), Mar 21st, 2008 @ 9:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the

          Hi Rusty,

          Funny how you only show up around the same time Mr. Riley shows up. Wonder how that works.

          Your opening example is incorrect, by the way. You should read Techdirt more often. We've pointed out how wrong your statements are.

          No, because the author is not likely to prepare a work without an expectation of some return and the work would simply not exist

          And yet, plenty of books were written when there was no copyright. And many authors today have found that they actually do much better when they free up their books for others to copy.

          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080124/08563359.shtml
          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/ 20080228/175453383.shtml
          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080218/004601276.shtml
          http://www.tech dirt.com/articles/20080102/163225.shtml

          Your premise is that giving away a book and letting people copy it means there's no way to make money. That is false. So there is still an expectation of profit, even if they give away their books. So, the very premise that they won't right because they can't earn back any money is incorrect. They can earn money and they do. So they write.

          This exact principal applies to patents. An inventor is not likely to expend the effort to develop a patentable item without some expectation of return through future sales of that item. If by sharing that knowledge in a published patent the inventor expects everyone else to appropriate the technology without some financial restitution to the patent holder then it is highly likely the inventor will not become involved in the developing the technology in the first place. No one will have access to the technology because it will not exist.

          Clearly, you have not been reading Techdirt recently. ALL of the historical research shows otherwise. There is no causal relationship between stronger patents and more innovation. In fact, the correlation is in reverse. Stronger patent laws come *after* innovation has occurred and is used to lock out competitors. It does not result in more innovation:

          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080313/031128532.shtml

          The reasons for this are not hard to work out:

          http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080318/004156568.shtml

          Countries like the Netherlands and Switzerland found they innovated much faster without patent systems. Petra Moser found that countries without patent systems had just as much, if not more innovation than those with. So your claim that the tech isn't invented without patents is provably, historically and totally false.

          Again, it's based on the same false assumption you make above. The idea that there are no other ways to make money. That has always been false, and will remain so.

          Pharmaceutical companies are commonly used as an example here. They will simply not develop new drugs if they must release any expected profits from sale of the new drug to generic drug manufacturers. The public good cannot be served if new pharmaceuticals do not materialize.

          It is that public good, the availability of new pharmaceuticals, the patent system is promoting.


          Actually, this is incorrect. Look at the research of David Levine and Michele Boldrin on the pharma industry in Italy. Italy did not allow patents on pharma prior to 1978, and Italy had one of the largest pharma industries. Some were definitely copying drugs, but they were also doing plenty of new research and developing new compounds. In fact, Italy was one of the largest pharma nations in the world. It was only after they put in place pharma patents that this industry collapsed, and new drugs stopped coming from Italy.

          Furthermore, the claim that it's pharma companies who actually develop new drugs is proven false by the research of Merrill Goozner, who went into great detail looking at how almost every major new drug came into being over the last 30 years, and found they all started in gov't funded research, and pharma companies were reluctant to take part until much later -- at which point they would patent something and claim total ownership of concepts that were first discovered with taxpayer money.

          The patent system in this nation is the best in the world and fixing something that is not broken is not in the interest of the public good.

          You say this despite a ton of research showing otherwise. Where's your research?

          Simply declaring patent holders to be some sort of parasite on the public good and fixing the patent system such that these "parasites" are eliminated is downright un-American.

          I, personally, find the idea of granting a single body a gov't granted monopoly in a supposedly capitalist society to be un-American.

          What is so un-American about allowing the free market to operate?

           

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            Rusty Mase, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 11:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter

            Hello Mike. I was simply responding to a point made by SomeGuy. The last I checked he has not defended his post.

            I have opposed this legislative reform of our patents laws for a long time and I am familiar with Mr. Riley and his work and have talked with him on numerous occasions.

            Mike, I am somewhat informed of our patent system, have strong opinions on patent reform, and seek to promulgate those opinions. Thank you for this forum and I will avail myself of it.

            The first time we crossed swords was over labor unions opposing patent reform, which I find completely logical. Patent reform is not going to help the average worker or consumer in this country one bit. I think we ended that with the prospect of discussing of Clayton Christensen work on disruptive technologies. My contention was and still is that disruptive technologies cannot develop without a good patent system. There was no follow up on this and I lost interest in discussing other matters with you. It is very difficult to keep up with all the research you find supporting your views. This is a fair surrender on my part.

            Possibly you have the resources to ask Christensen to step in and voice his opinions on the matter of patent reform. The question is; can disruptive innovation exist in a business environment lacking a good patent system?

            If you propose this nation would be best off with no patent system then simply reforming this one would be sort of a minor victory, anyway. I propose we adequately fund, staff, and manage US PTO to administer the current patent system and lets see what transpires. We should have time to experiment with that solution prior to legislative overhaul that will seriously disadvantages small entities.

             

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              SomeGuy, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 12:06pm

              Hi, Rusty. I haven't 'defended' my post because my day job tends to be demanding durring normal business hours. I thank Mike for responding to you because he's much more informed than I am; I comment as a hobby, but this is his job.

              All that aside, I'll not that you didn't really answer ANY of Mike's remarks. You dropped a few names, brought up and old discussion, challenged Mike to bring in some Big Name to bear on (what seems to me) a topic unrelated to the current discussion, and ended by saying we should throw money at the problem.

              I reiterate Mike's points: history shows your comments to be wrong, study after study shows your comments to be wrong, Techdirt has discussed this at great length, and we're still waiting to see you bring any citation to anything backing up your claims. Oh, and a final point that government-enforced monopolies are more un-American than open competition in a free market.

              Care to address any of that, Rusty?

               

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                Rusty Mase, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 3:58pm

                Re:

                SomeGuy, I can relate to that and also cannot commit the time to fully respond in a timely manner to all of Mike's comments and assertions. However, I am not going to recant or silence my opinions based on accusations that my research is incomplete or faulty.

                The economists that Mike refers me to in his response seem to be, at least in thought, associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute. So it will take me a while to read the material on that site and determine its relationship to the arguments before us. As a populist Southerner, bordering on libertarian, I might find a lot of agreement there.

                Government issued monopolies are extremely common in the US. The limited 20 year monopoly granted for patents could be considered a fair trade. Copyrights last for several lifetimes as I understand it. Why not eliminate those rights along with patent rights. You will likely not get much argument from me if that is what you propose.

                If, on the other hand, you are willing to grant these monopolies to those corporations fostering patent reform then you will have to grant them to people like me. If I sense that I am being treated unfairly then I have the obligation to object, which I am doing here. My opinion is that patent reform, as currently proposed, is very likely to disadvantage me in exercising my rights granted under the Constitution.

                If eliminating all monopolies sanctioned by government is the proposal then let us accomplish that. These monopolies include property rights, as in land. In my professional endeavors I occasionally encounter land owners that profess that their property rights are granted to them by a supreme authority, God. So if we are eliminating government-enforced monopolies, include eliminating all property rights. I will check with the folks at Mises Institute to see what they are teaching on that subject.

                 

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                  Mike (profile), Mar 21st, 2008 @ 4:43pm

                  Re: Re:

                  The economists that Mike refers me to in his response seem to be, at least in thought, associated with the Ludwig von Mises Institute. So it will take me a while to read the material on that site and determine its relationship to the arguments before us. As a populist Southerner, bordering on libertarian, I might find a lot of agreement there.

                  I don't believe any are officially associated with Mises. Mises, btw, is pretty extreme in their Austrian/libertarian viewpoints. I'd suggest that most of the research I've pointed you to actually isn't based on ideology, but on the results of research.

                  But, in theory, yes, the Mises guys seem to agree with much of this thought process.

                  Government issued monopolies are extremely common in the US.

                  Indeed, though it doesn't make it right.

                  The limited 20 year monopoly granted for patents could be considered a fair trade. Copyrights last for several lifetimes as I understand it. Why not eliminate those rights along with patent rights. You will likely not get much argument from me if that is what you propose.

                  As I have said before, I think both are unnecessary -- but I think overtime companies and creators will recognize that they're unnecessary, so you don't even need to elminate them (though I'm not against eliminating them). The issues with copyright are somewhat different, but related to those with patents.

                  If you want to do some research on this, a great place to start is David Levine and Michele Boldrin's book, "Against Intellectual Monopoly" available for free:

                  http://www.dklevine.com/general/intellectual/againstfinal.htm

                  If, on the other hand, you are willing to grant these monopolies to those corporations fostering patent reform then you will have to grant them to people like me.

                  Yes. I don't think one side deserves any benefit over the other.

                  My opinion is that patent reform, as currently proposed, is very likely to disadvantage me in exercising my rights granted under the Constitution.

                  Again, I think that the current patent reform proposal has a lot of problems -- though, the ones that Mr. Riley brings up are incorrect. Almost all of the things he dislikes about the bill are actually likely to help small entities like yourself.

                  If eliminating all monopolies sanctioned by government is the proposal then let us accomplish that. These monopolies include property rights, as in land. In my professional endeavors I occasionally encounter land owners that profess that their property rights are granted to them by a supreme authority, God. So if we are eliminating government-enforced monopolies, include eliminating all property rights. I will check with the folks at Mises Institute to see what they are teaching on that subject.

                  Again, we just discussed this recently:

                  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080306/003240458.shtml

                  So you can read up there. There's a HUGE difference between IP property rights and tangible property rights. You can read that post (and the resulting discussion) to understand why.

                  Most libertarians (Mises folks included) are big fans of property rights on traditional tangible property. That's because property rights create a system for more efficiently allocating resources.

                  However, with infinite goods, thigns like ideas, you don't need to "efficiently allocate them" because anyone can make a copy and no one is worse off for it. So there is no need for property rights on such things -- which, the Mises folks will tell you.

                   

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                  SomeGuy, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 10:08pm

                  Re: Re:

                  Mike beat me to the punch, but you're confusing intelectual property rights with physical property rights. Being physical changes ALOT. I haven't the time or energy to argue that point; you can read what's already been said elsewhere.

                   

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              Mike (profile), Mar 21st, 2008 @ 12:16pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has prom

              I have opposed this legislative reform of our patents laws for a long time and I am familiar with Mr. Riley and his work and have talked with him on numerous occasions.

              I have also opposed the legislative reform, and am familiar with Mr. Riley, too, though I've yet to see him make a compelling argument. I just found it odd that I hadn't heard from you for a while -- or Mr. Riley. And you both showed up at the same time.

              Mike, I am somewhat informed of our patent system, have strong opinions on patent reform, and seek to promulgate those opinions. Thank you for this forum and I will avail myself of it.

              Yes, I remember. I have nothing against you stating your opinions. Or using this forum to do so. I encourage you to do so in fact.

              The first time we crossed swords was over labor unions opposing patent reform, which I find completely logical. Patent reform is not going to help the average worker or consumer in this country one bit.

              Yes, I remember. Though I tried to explain why I thought your argument was incorrect.

              I think we ended that with the prospect of discussing of Clayton Christensen work on disruptive technologies. My contention was and still is that disruptive technologies cannot develop without a good patent system.

              There is a fair bit of evidence, in fact, that disruptive technologies can and do develop without a good patent system. The research of Eric Schiff and Petra Moser should help indicate that. Both showed where innovation occurred in the absence of a patent system.

              The reason why it can and does occur is something I explained the other day:

              http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080318/004156568.shtml

              Demand from the market, and our own need to constantly solve problems and fill needs is incentive enough.

              The question is; can disruptive innovation exist in a business environment lacking a good patent system?

              Absolutely. For two key reasons.

              1. The reason discussed above. Patents are but one way to have a business model, but serving the market with actual products is a much bigger and better method, that has worked quite well historically.

              2. Innovation, even disruptive innovation, is not a single idea that is created and done. Real disruptive innovation is a process, of inventing, changing, marketing, getting feedback, changing, adjusting, marketing, inventing, changing, etc...

              Patents on each step of the way, or tiny pieces of the process slow down that disruptive innovation, by making it quite difficult for anyone to innovate. Each step of the innovation risks getting sued and/or having to pay money that could have gone towards R&D towards someone else's patent license.

              History has shown this time and time again. When countries strengthen their patent system, the amount of innovation decreases, because it slows the ability to innovate.

              The story of the steam engine is instructive here. The steam engine was basically useless until AFTER Watt's patents expired and people could finally put in place the more useful innovations they came up with to make hte product actually WORK.

              We should have time to experiment with that solution prior to legislative overhaul that will seriously disadvantages small entities

              Actually, historically, it's been shown that places with no patent system (or weak patent systems) tends to have MORE small entities. The stronger you make the patent system, the more you tend to have big conglomerates take over, as they become the only ones who can afford to get through the patent thicket.

               

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                Rusty Mase, Mar 22nd, 2008 @ 9:33am

                Back to Patent Reform

                Mike wrote:

                Actually, historically, it's been shown that places with no patent system (or weak patent systems) tends to have MORE small entities. The stronger you make the patent system, the more you tend to have big conglomerates take over, as they become the only ones who can afford to get through the patent thicket.

                I spent the evening reading material suggested in your post and find your contentions speculative at best. The article by Petra Moser concludes that industrialization takes different courses in nations that do not provide patent protection when compared to those that do. I could find no reference to non-patent countries exhibiting either more or less innovation or an increase or decrease in small entities. Obviously, trade secrets are more important in countries without patents.

                The article by Eric Schiff, "Industrialisation Without National Patents" is discussed in several articles and referenced by George Monbiot in "Patent Nonsense". Monbiot relates the innovative increase in two patentless countries; the Netherlands and Switzerland.

                However, the contention cannot be supported that The Netherlands, which discarded their patent system in the mid-19th century, and Switzerland, which had yet to create one, experienced a subsequent boom in innovation.

                These nations did see a major increase in industrialization. This is attributable to developing industries in those two countries simply appropriating patented technologies from other countries.

                Ciba, now Syngenta, appears to have initially formed using a technology lifted from a British patent for the manufacture and use of aniline dyes. See: Sir William Perkin

                Similarly, another company appropriated a patent for manufacturing margarine. Philips determined that making incandescent bulbs, patented by Edison, would be and was a real moneymaker in Central Europe. These initially fledgling industries benefited from a surplus of lawlessness and access to other nations patents. All of these major multinationals now advocate strong patent laws protecting them, according to Monbiot, the point of his article.

                This theft of technology might be compared today to the concerns many US multinational corporations have over China. This relates as much to trademarks as to patents and copyrights. As you have alluded to patents and copyright as detrimental to innovation, possibly we could throw trademarks into the basket of items to discard. This proposal would likely upset every one of those multinational corporations both supporting patent reform and opposing it. Trademarks are not real property, either, but jealously guarded intellectual property.

                During my review last evening I was reminded that the study of economics is truly a "soft" science. Differing conclusions may be easily drawn from the same data set. I will draw the conclusion that patents are an extremely important component of any inventive and innovative society. The patent system in the United States must therefore be maintained as envisioned by the framers of our Constitution. Patent reform as currently proposed is antithetical to that proposition. Properly fund, staff, and manage US PTO and reforming the patent system in this country is unnecessary.

                 

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                  Mike (profile), Mar 22nd, 2008 @ 2:19pm

                  Re: Back to Patent Reform

                  The article by Petra Moser concludes that industrialization takes different courses in nations that do not provide patent protection when compared to those that do. I could find no reference to non-patent countries exhibiting either more or less innovation or an increase or decrease in small entities. Obviously, trade secrets are more important in countries without patents.

                  But there's no evidence that patents are required for innovation. And there's no evidence that there's more innovation in countries with patents.

                  The claim on small entities referred more to the research of David Levine and some others.

                  The article by Eric Schiff, "Industrialisation Without National Patents" is discussed in several articles and referenced by George Monbiot in "Patent Nonsense". Monbiot relates the innovative increase in two patentless countries; the Netherlands and Switzerland.

                  It's a book by Schiff, not an article, and why are you referencing Monbiot's review of it rather than the actual content.

                  This is attributable to developing industries in those two countries simply appropriating patented technologies from other countries.

                  That is incorrect. If you read the book, you find that there was *some* appropriation, but it hardly explained the level of innovation that occurred. In fact, companies started MOVING into both countries to avoid having to be slowed down by patent laws elsewhere. That wasn't because of the ability to appropriate. It was so they could innovate freely.

                  All of these major multinationals now advocate strong patent laws protecting them, according to Monbiot, the point of his article.

                  Yes, as my recent article showed, there is a ton of evidence that stronger patent laws come into place AFTER innovation has occurred.

                  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080313/031128532.shtml

                  In fact, most of the research shows exactly that: stronger patent laws TRAIL innovation, rather than the other way around.

                  In other words, it's used to grant an unfair advantage to those who innovated previously, but don't want to keep innovating at the same pace, and hope to slow down the competition.

                  As you have alluded to patents and copyright as detrimental to innovation, possibly we could throw trademarks into the basket of items to discard.

                  Again, I ask you to read my articles on this subject:

                  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080228/003450379.shtml

                  Trademarks are quite different. Trademarks are NOT intellectual property, but are consumer protection, to keep you from buying Bob's Soda thinking that it's Coca Cola.

                  During my review last evening I was reminded that the study of economics is truly a "soft" science. Differing conclusions may be easily drawn from the same data set.

                  Not really. You can draw different conclusions, but in many cases you would be wrong to do so. Further experiments will often highlight things and show proper conclusions. When you look at the large body of economic research into this subject, there is a ton showing that patents do not help innovation, and almost none showing that it does.

                  I will draw the conclusion that patents are an extremely important component of any inventive and innovative society.

                  Again, I don't see how you support that from the evidence. Even you showed this is untrue, with both the Netherlands and Switzerland industrializing without them. And, contrary to your point, both did so not just by appropriating, but by innovating. In fact, even the article you cited mentions that:

                  "But Switzerland's economic growth during this period did not rely solely upon purloining other nations' patented processes. Industrial innovation flourished, especially in food technology. No country, Schiff notes, has ever contributed "as many basic inventions in this field as did Switzerland during her patentless period". In 1875, for example, Daniel Peter invented milk chocolate. In 1879, Rudolf Lindt developed chocolat fondant. In 1886, Julius Maggi invented powdered soup. A few years later he developed stock cubes. All these men founded companies which still bear their names today. But the biggest food firm to emerge in this period took root in 1865, when Henri Nestle developed a cereal for children."

                  So, that disproves your absolute statement that patents are a necessary component.

                  The patent system in the United States must therefore be maintained as envisioned by the framers of our Constitution. Patent reform as currently proposed is antithetical to that proposition

                  You do not discuss WHY patent reform goes against that proposition. While I do have problems with the patent reform proposal, can you explain what about it goes against the core ideas of the Constitution?

                  Properly fund, staff, and manage US PTO and reforming the patent system in this country is unnecessary.

                  The USPTO is well funded. The simple fact of the matter, though, is that it is IMPOSSIBLE to staff it properly. We just spoke about that as well:

                  http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080227/230638378.shtml

                  These are all things we have discussed before. It is simply impossible to create a patent office that can accurately determine what deserves a patent, and with the rate of innovation you simply cannot hire enough people to do so.

                  It's like the telephone system. It was limited by the fact you needed human operators. The fact that the USPTO needs people to review every patent is a LIMITING factor. The better path to innovaiton is to ignore the patent system altogether and route around it.

                   

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                    Rusty Mase, Mar 22nd, 2008 @ 8:02pm

                    Re: Re: Back to Patent Reform

                    Mike quoted from Monbiot"

                    "But Switzerland's economic growth during this period did not rely solely upon purloining other nations' patented processes. Industrial innovation flourished, especially in food technology. No country, Schiff notes, has ever contributed "as many basic inventions in this field as did Switzerland during her patentless period". In 1875, for example, Daniel Peter invented milk chocolate. In 1879, Rudolf Lindt developed chocolat fondant. In 1886, Julius Maggi invented powdered soup. A few years later he developed stock cubes. All these men founded companies which still bear their names today. But the biggest food firm to emerge in this period took root in 1865, when Henri Nestle developed a cereal for children."

                    I highlighted these innovations as I honestly thought these were used "tongue-in-cheek". I am bowled over by these important Swiss innovations. I wonder what innovations show up in US patents between 1865 and 1886.

                    Look up US inventions during this period and compare them to the cited Swiss innovations. Wikipedia has a list. As a clue it includes the typewriter, telephone, incandescent bulb, electric fan, fountain pen, Coca Cola, blue jeans, and toilet paper. The economic value of those inventions is numerous orders of magnitude greater than those cited by Schiff. Milk chocolate might be a problem so I will trade that for blue jeans.

                    ......It is simply impossible to create a patent office that can accurately determine what deserves a patent, and with the rate of innovation you simply cannot hire enough people to do so.

                    I truly hope it is not impossible although I can see the difficulties. You have Congress diverting fees from them. Bad management forced on them by the Executive Department. Corporations and the judiciary hammering away at them. But that is no reason to throw the US patent system away, it is simply a matter of providing US PTO the resources to do the job.

                    The better path to innovation is to ignore the patent system altogether and route around it.

                    I am getting close to full agreement with you on that one! It is possibly a necessary evil.

                    Excuse my not responding to several of your points. But I really do not want to have this discussion as the interaction between patents and Christensen's work interests me more. There is this link on your toolbar "Submit a Story" and I might click on that one day.

                     

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                      Mike (profile), Mar 23rd, 2008 @ 11:16am

                      Re: Re: Re: Back to Patent Reform

                      I highlighted these innovations as I honestly thought these were used "tongue-in-cheek". I am bowled over by these important Swiss innovations.

                      While Monibot may have meant them as tongue-in-cheek, those were major innovations, some of which resulted in even more innovations. To brush them aside because you don't like them is silly. I'll also note that there were numerous other innovations in both the Netherlands and Switzerland with he chose not to note. Schiff's study is from a neutral viewpoint. You did not quote from it, but rather chose to quote from someone who was trashing it and using selective arguments. His argument is just a few paragraphs. Schiff's detailed work runs 137 pages.

                      But that is no reason to throw the US patent system away, it is simply a matter of providing US PTO the resources to do the job.

                      Define "do it's job." The USPTO has plenty of resources, but there is fundamentally no way for it to pick and choose what innovations to protect. We should all be aware of this from all those centralized gov'ts that set up 5 year plans to "protect" and "encourage" certain industries. They never work. The free market always does better.

                      So why are we setting up our own "central planning" agency that hands out so many thousands of 20 year monopolies?

                      But I really do not want to have this discussion as the interaction between patents and Christensen's work interests me more.

                      When I get the time, I intend to work up a post on that subject.

                       

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                      •  
                        identicon
                        Rusty Mase, Mar 24th, 2008 @ 6:00pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Back to Patent Reform

                        RM wrote:

                        But I really do not want to have this discussion as the interaction between patents and Christensen's work interests me more.

                        Mike responded:

                        When I get the time, I intend to work up a post on that subject.

                        I suggest a connection between Christensen and Geoffrey A. Moore's work in "Crossing the Chasm"
                        http://books.google.com/books?id=yJXHUDSaJgsC

                        and the general field of memetics:
                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Memetic

                        The connection being that innovations are seldom rapidly accepted but tend to spread much as a viral disease does in a society. As an example, I had two different groups of friends who began electronic bulletin boards accessible by telephone modems in the late 1970's. One group set up a listing of local business and the other was content based, more like todays internet. That one was interactive and had a text search function for content of the bulletin board. They both had tiny revenues and all gave up by the early 1980's and what we consider the internet today became available later through universities, followed by local ISPs. One friend acquired a domain name in 1991 from a university and began showing the rest of us the possibilities.

                        This method of interacting electronically was slowly being adopted by an increasing number of people, "technology enthusiasts" in Moore's terminology.

                        These developments are likely similar to the adoption of many new technologies (innovations) and getting into this discussion from that perspective might be productive.

                        So, precisely how do patents assist or hinder the dispersal of new technologies? Can these innovations successfully "cross the chasm" without funding that may be dependent on patents and their consequence of limited monopolies?

                         

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      •  
        identicon
        Cygnus, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 7:41am

        Re: Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the pro


        You can't have your cake and eat it to. Either Akamai enriched society by sharing their knowledge -- and thereby allowing other components of society to branch off and use this newly acquired knoweldge -- or they did no such thing. If the knowledge was shared, it can't be stolen. The fact that you can even argue that patents allow for both at the same time supports the fact that the patent system is broken.


        First, it's "you can't eat your cake and have it, too." :)

        Second, you demonstrate very limited thinking with this post. The trade-off of the patent system makes is a temporary monopoly in exchange for complete disclosure. So, while society may be temporarily harmed by a monopoly, over time society is benefited.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          SomeGuy, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 12:10pm

          Re: Re: Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the

          Minus a typo and a transposition, I'm not sure what the difference is between my adage and yours.

          True about 'temporary'; what's the current turn-over rate on patents? When do they expire? Can they be renewed? I'm simply not familiar with the details of when society actually GETS it.

          Regardless, patents DO slow down innovation and discourage competition. What's more, as has been noted, they historically have no net increase on the rate of innovation. Therefore, they are AT BEST useless, and at worst actively harmful.

           

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    •  
      identicon
      Vincent Clement, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 5:11am

      Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the progres

      Except that patents are not property. If ideas were property, we would not need special laws granting the 'owner' of the 'idea' monopoly rights. Existing laws would suffice.

      If someone 'stole' your 'idea', you would call the police and tell them your idea has been stolen. The police would ask for a description of the 'idea'. At that point, they would hang up.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      anonymous, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 5:19am

      Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the progres

      wow, a patent lobbyist says patents are great... imagine. You speak of Imaginary Property as though it was a physical object.

      Speaking on my own behalf.
      Affiliations:
      President: family inc.
      Executive director: I have ideas too...com
      Senior fellow - my friends like me.
      President - Ducks Quack.com
      Caretaker of my son and wife and teacher of ways to think of eliminating stupid ideas.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Lance, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 6:22am

      Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the progres

      "...a competitor [of Akamai] apparently stole the patented technology."

      Perhaps others who are more familiar with this particular issue would agree with this statement, but it's not at all clear to me that anything was stolen from Akamai. I'm sure Akamai doesn't like the increased competition, but that in itself doesn't imply theft.

      I find the "nuclear stockpiling" analogy to be a useful one, and I find it troubling that this sort of patent stockpiling activity is apparently pretty common. Surely a system that leads to more innovation and competition and less litigation would be an improvement.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Lance, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 6:26am

      Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the progres

      Can someone explain the subject line to me? Is it a reference to the Kingston Technology company? Does Kingston have some connection to Akamai or Limelight?

      Thanks for any insight,

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      DanC, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 6:48am

      Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the progres

      Thou shalt not steal or covet other's patent properties.

      You're involved with all those IP organizations, and you don't understand the difference between theft and infringement?

      Then a competitor apparently stole the patented technology.

      Actually, what it really looks like is that Akamai was becoming worried about it's market share, and decided to pull out a patent lawsuit to bump them down. Now, because of that, Limelight is starting to stockpile patents so they can counter-sue. That's quite a bit of money that could have been spent innovating, but because they need to protect themselves, they need to waste money on patents.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Colg, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 6:57am

      Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the progres

      You neglected to include “Scam artist” in your little resume there…

      http://ronaldjriley.blogspot.com/

      Actually I am more inclined to believe that your creation of these “Organizations”, like your rabid self-promotion and devotion to “who’s who” nonsense, is more of an attempt to shore up a pitifully weak ego than an actual scam.

      The creation of a scam would imply intelligence…

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 7:19am

      Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the progres

      Wow, what a powerful and convincing argument.
      I'm sure that after reading it everyone is totally in agreement.
      Just one question though.
      If you are (as you stated) "Speaking only on my own behalf" then what are all those credentials for? Am I supposed to be really impressed? Do those prove that you know something or that you have influence?

      If it walks like a shill .......

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike (profile), Mar 21st, 2008 @ 9:02am

      Re: Yep, Clearly Kingston has promoter the progres

      Your reasoning process, or should I say lack of such is fascinating.

      Ronald, over the years I've pointed out in great detail why my reasoning is correct. I have pointed to examples. I have pointed to independent, academic research time and time again. I have pointed to historical evidence. I have trouble understanding how that's a "lack" of a reasoning process.

      In the meantime, I should note that your reasoning process has consisted of "if they're accused of infringement, then theft occurred" despite that being obviously false, and false in the eyes of the courts. I have asked you to go into more depth to think about your reasoning, and you have chosen to simply repeat your original claims.

      I understand that this is lucrative for you, to act as a lobbyist for a set of incredibly damaging laws, but I wish you wouldn't act so naive as to pretend that it is my reasoning that is faulty when you fail to back up that statement.

      Clearly Akamai did research and furthermore they taught all of society through the patent process. That advanced the collective arts. Then a competitor apparently stole the patented technology. Generally at that point the patent property owner tries to reason with the thief and when that fails they sue their ass.

      Actually, as we pointed out, Akamai's patents are based on a rather large amount of prior art.

      And, there is no evidence that Limelight "stole" anything. Limelight built a CDN. If they stole something, it would help if you could point out what they took and what Akamai is missing. As far as I can tell, Limelight merely built a competitor. Here in a capitalist society, we tend to think competition is a good thing.

      Furthermore, you clearly did not take the time to understand what this post was about in your rush to accuse someone of theft. EVEN granting your ridiculous premise, that infringement is theft, the fact that Limelight has now needed to go out and purchase additional patents is the key point. Based on that, you should also admit that Akamai "stole" from Limelight, right? Because Akamai infringes on those patents that Limelight now owns.

      But, you seem to have trouble with recognizing the concept of a patent thicket. Or the idea that many patents are covering the exact same ground. Or the idea that if multiple people and multiple companies are all coming up with the same thing, then no patent should be granted (patents are only for things that are not obvious... so if lots of people are coming up with it independently, it's pretty clear that it's not obvious).

      There is a simple solution to these problems, start following the golden rule: Thou shalt not steal or covet other's patent properties.

      Once again, no theft happened here. And, I'm curious about what you think of the fact that Akamai is now violating Limelight's patents.

      You remind me of the troll tracker. Maybe you should offer a few words of encouragement to him and his handlers at Cisco.

      I have spoken about the troll tracker before. You should read Techdirt more often. You might learn something.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    HPIguy, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 4:16am

    ^^Damn, somebody got pwnd.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Chip Venters, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 7:52am

    New version of Techdirt at www.techdirt2.com

    If Mike believes his own twisted logic on copyright and patents, it would be OK for someone to copy Techdirt everyday, post it on a separate site, and monetize it by selling advertising or consulting or whatever at a cheaper price than he does. Is that OK with you Mike?

     

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    •  
      identicon
      DanC, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 8:01am

      Re: New version of Techdirt at www.techdirt2.com

      He doesn't care. Go ahead.

      As per Mike from April 2007

      "Yup. And as we've said repeatedly, we have no problem with people taking our content and reposting it. It's funny how many people come here, like yourself, and assume you've found some "gotcha." You haven't. There already are about 10 sites that copy Techdirt, post for post. Some of them give us credit. Some of them don't. We don't go after any of them."

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Chip Venters, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 8:34am

        Re: Re: New version of Techdirt at www.techdirt2.

        Dan, That is different. I should have been more precise. The new version of techdirt...lets call it ITslime.com would have all of techdirt's content but would not have any attribution as to the writers or any other sources of the content. The new site would essentially pretend it was their original content. In the case of patents being violated, the violating company would never say that the technology had been created by someone else, otherwise they would have to compensate that company somehow. So they just claim to have not copied it at all. If ITslime.com had the exact words and articles from techdirt but someone else claimed to have written them.....is that ok?

         

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        •  
          icon
          Mike (profile), Mar 21st, 2008 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re: New version of Techdirt at www.techdi

          Dan, That is different. I should have been more precise. The new version of techdirt...lets call it ITslime.com would have all of techdirt's content but would not have any attribution as to the writers or any other sources of the content.

          Yes, that's fine. Go ahead. About a dozen sites already do this. They don't attribute us at all. Go right ahead.

          If ITslime.com had the exact words and articles from techdirt but someone else claimed to have written them.....is that ok?

          Yes, it's perfectly ok. In fact, go ahead and use our RSS feed to do so. As I wrote here:

          http://www.techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20070412/183135#c612

          Yup. And as we've said repeatedly, we have no problem with people taking our content and reposting it. It's funny how many people come here, like yourself, and assume you've found some "gotcha." You haven't. There already are about 10 sites that copy Techdirt, post for post. Some of them give us credit. Some of them don't. We don't go after any of them.

          Here's why:

          1. None of those sites get any traffic. By itself, they offer nothing special.

          2. If anything, it doesn't take people long to read those sites and figure out that the content is really from Techdirt. Then they just come here to the original source. So, it tends to help drive more traffic to us. That's cool.

          3. As soon as the people realize the other sites are simply copying us, it makes those sites look really, really bad. If you want to risk your reputation like that, go ahead, but it's a big risk.

          4. A big part of the value of Techdirt is the community here. You can't just replicate that.

          5. Another big part of the value of Techdirt is that we, the writers, engage in the comments. You absolutely cannot fake that on your own site.

          So, really, what's the purpose of copying our content, other than maybe driving a little traffic our way?

          So, if you really want to, I'd suggest it's pretty dumb, but go ahead.

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          •  
            identicon
            Chip Venters, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 9:47am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: New version of Techdirt at www.te

            So ITslime.com is owned by a very large company who has tremendous marketing clout. Using this clout, they drive more and more traffic to ITslime.com such that a huge community starts to develop there as well. Perhaps they even add more content to the site because of their willingness to take from everyone, making their site even more important. Eventually, they have built the best tech site on the internet using everyone else's material. With these growing numbers even your best fans (and I am one) start spending time at ITslime.com because it has not only techdirt material...but everyone else's as well. (Everything I need at one location...none of this time wasting clicking any more). As you know, there is technology that will suck up everything on your site real time...including comments like this, so people would barely know what was happening. Under your view of the world, this would be fine?

             

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            •  
              icon
              Mike (profile), Mar 21st, 2008 @ 9:53am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: New version of Techdirt at ww

              So ITslime.com is owned by a very large company who has tremendous marketing clout. Using this clout, they drive more and more traffic to ITslime.com such that a huge community starts to develop there as well. Perhaps they even add more content to the site because of their willingness to take from everyone, making their site even more important. Eventually, they have built the best tech site on the internet using everyone else's material. With these growing numbers even your best fans (and I am one) start spending time at ITslime.com because it has not only techdirt material...but everyone else's as well. (Everything I need at one location...none of this time wasting clicking any more). As you know, there is technology that will suck up everything on your site real time...including comments like this, so people would barely know what was happening. Under your view of the world, this would be fine?

              Yes. Actually, there are wonderful products that do that already. Try Bloglines or Google reader for example. Both collect our content and many others in one convenient place.

              Though, both of them, of course, also link back to Techdirt and help promote us.

              In the case you describe, where ITSlime doesn't credit us, that's fine too. Because the news would quickly get out that ITSlime wasn't giving credit to us or any of the other sites. And if they were owned by a very large marketing company, then that company's reputation would be trashed all over the place for not giving due credit. The overall damage to that company would be tremendous... and the fallout would also probably get more people interested in Techdirt.

              So, yes, that would be great.

              Are you planning on helping to promote us in this manner?

               

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              •  
                identicon
                Chip Venters, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 11:41am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: New version of Techdirt a

                So the large marketing company gets their reputation trashed because they do not respect copyright. OK, that makes sense. So in the case of a very large software company that is using a smaller software companies' inventions its OK for them to do that as long as they sort of admit it, however if the do not, the smaller company writes into Techdirt or ITSlime and "trashes" their reputation. Hopefully you would agree that this was happening and write a missive about how bad the very large software company is to be using the smaller software companies inventions, such that their reputation would be "trashed all over the place". This would be sufficient protection for the smaller software company to continue to invent things without the fear of them being stolen...because they could sleep well knowing the thieves will have their reputations trashed on Techdirt and every site that steals from Techdirt. I can see how this would encourage innovation....yes, now I am convinced...let's get rid of patents.

                 

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                •  
                  icon
                  Mike (profile), Mar 21st, 2008 @ 12:02pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: New version of Techdi

                  Sarcasm aside, Chip, do you have a point?

                  If you don't think the reputation of a large company is one of its most important assets, then I don't know what to tell you.

                   

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                  •  
                    identicon
                    Chip Venters, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 12:17pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: New version of Te

                    My point is that reputation alone would not keep inventions from being stolen. I am not going to name names, but there are several large technology companies that do quite well..even with a bad reputation. Its because their sheer size and marketing power trumps any small companies' cry of foul. Example: If techdirt decided that xyz software companies' invention had been stolen by IBM or Microsoft, and you wrote about it...and there was even an outcry...do you think it would stop people from doing business with them?

                    BTW, I apologize for the sarcasm, because I consider this a serious subject. ;-) And I do appreciate your attention to it.

                     

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                    •  
                      icon
                      Mike (profile), Mar 21st, 2008 @ 4:33pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: New version of

                      My point is that reputation alone would not keep inventions from being stolen.

                      You can't "steal" an idea...

                      But, you're saying that it wouldn't stop companies from copying ideas. And I say that's fine. Those companies then need to compete, and if you have a good idea, you should be able to compete with companies, no matter how big their marketing budget.

                      Example: If techdirt decided that xyz software companies' invention had been stolen by IBM or Microsoft, and you wrote about it...and there was even an outcry...do you think it would stop people from doing business with them?

                      Again, you say stolen, but if they copied it, and they did a better job of selling it, than so be it.

                      But history has actually shown that the smaller, more innovative companies are also a lot more nimble (especially early on) and they have access to capital markets that are more than wiling to bet on nimble, smart, innovative startups.

                      So, you see things like Microsoft outrunning IBM. Google outrunning Microsoft. YouTube outrunning Google (until it got bought). History shows this time and time again.

                      The smaller, more nimble startup often has a much better idea of how to serve the market. So even when the large company comes along and "copies" the idea, it's not so easy to take marketshare. Yes, there are cases where it happens, but usually there are other problems there, such as the smaller company made bad business decisions (for example, Netscape).

                       

                      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      DanC, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 8:11am

      Re: New version of Techdirt at www.techdirt2.com

      Of course, since you're apparently working for a company that sells DRM solutions, your position is hardly surprising. Artificially restricting and controlling the customer experience with annoying protection schemes is your business model.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Chip Venters, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 8:25am

        Re: Re: New version of Techdirt at www.techdirt2.

        Thanks for taking the time to visit our site. However, we are not a DRM solution. We provide ecommerce for file based business models such as P2P. If someone wants DRM as part of our solution, they can get it from other vendors.

         

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    •  
      identicon
      angry dude, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 9:58am

      Re: New version of Techdirt at www.techdirt2.com

      Mikey has no logic

      and techdirt has no value

      (that is, to any reasonable person, but apparently it has some PR value to some of those "Patent Fairness" corporations so they keep this shit running...)

      Lunch time, techdirt lemmings !

      We have carrots and beans today
      Mikey is the chef

       

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  •  
    identicon
    angry dude, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 9:03am

    Ho-Ho-Ho here you go Mikey

    Mikey is hording a new breed of animals here
    - call them "techdirt lemmings"

    They live in a utopian world created by Mike and believe in everything he writes in his "articles" and get very upset when some dude from the real world posts some hard truth in comments

    "Imagine no possesions
    I wonder if you can
    No need for greed or hunger
    In a brotherhood of man
    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world..."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      identicon
      SomeGuy, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 12:26pm

      Re: Ho-Ho-Ho here you go Mikey

      That song has always creeped the hell out of me. Have you heard the version by A Perfect Circle? It's awesome. Their music video's also a pretty apt social commentary.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2008 @ 6:47pm

    I never have liked Akamai.
    Now here is another reason.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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