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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Filed Under: journalists, patents, scoring, uspto, veracity
Companies: sony


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  • icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Nov 2016 @ 2:03pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    sehlat (profile), 14 Nov 2016 @ 2:55pm

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2016 @ 3:11pm

    I can save them the expense, they are all 0

    I can save Sony a lot of time and money, the veracity of the modern journalist is a big, fat zero.

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

  • icon
    djl47 (profile), 14 Nov 2016 @ 3:14pm

    I am sure it's a number greater than zero

    After all, even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

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

    • icon
      PlagueSD (profile), 14 Nov 2016 @ 3:28pm

      Re: I am sure it's a number greater than zero

      Once a day if it's a digital clock...

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2016 @ 5:19pm

        Re: Re: I am sure it's a number greater than zero

        Wouldn't that be 120 times a day? Display will show 12:00 once per second for the entire minute it is correct, twice a day.

        Unfortunately, digital clocks generally either start counting up as soon as they have power, or they time sync and are as correct as you can get.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2016 @ 3:31pm

    It's all about the licensing.

    Sony has apparently lost the will to innovate.

    Now they want to produce a (software program running on a computer) that is patented and thus its use or emulation would require the All Sacred Sony Bull Shit License.

    Of course, it could be done by an opinionated jackass with paper and pen.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2016 @ 4:08pm

    So once Sony, Google, et al start scoring veracity, who starts scoring their veracity in scoring?

    While journalistic integrity is sorely lacking these days (just see this recent election), any attempt to objectively and accurately score them will be defeated by the scorer's own biases and opinions.

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

  • identicon
    Mark Wing, 14 Nov 2016 @ 4:17pm

    If you want your reporting to be accurate, then you have to pay Sony.

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

    • icon
      Norahc (profile), 14 Nov 2016 @ 5:22pm

      Response to: Mark Wing on Nov 14th, 2016 @ 4:17pm

      > If you want your reporting to be accurate, then you have to pay Sony.

      And we all remember how much Sony just loves accurate reporting.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2016 @ 4:34pm

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Nov 2016 @ 5:21pm

    Sony wants to patent: A System For Scoring Journalists' Veracity [on a Computer].

    Doing it on a computer? That sounds novel. Patent approved.

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

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 14 Nov 2016 @ 5:52pm

    By All Means, Let Them Patent It

    If that means they can stop people from implementing such a ridiculous system, then that sounds like a good thing.

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

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 14 Nov 2016 @ 11:15pm

    Who watches the "truthers"?

    This is as bad an idea as unrestricted national surveillance.

    Who decides when a journalist is telling the truth? A "Birther"? Exxon-Mobile? David Duke? Hillary Clinton? The 10,000 "grass root" pseudonyms purchased by one of the above?

    The top two boxes should be replaced by one, labelled "Highest Bidder".

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

  • identicon
    David, 15 Nov 2016 @ 12:33am

    Sony? Veracity?

    That sounds like a patent purely intended for licensing to others. I doubt they even have the capacity to test this in-house.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Nov 2016 @ 12:34am

    All I see in that patent is an arrangement of problems to be solved, which if accomplished will do what they claim. It should therefore be rejected on the grounds that it is just wishful thinking, and not an invention that solves the problem described.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Nov 2016 @ 3:59am

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 15 Nov 2016 @ 12:53pm

    Sony can fuck off.

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

  • identicon
    Kronomex, 15 Nov 2016 @ 2:16pm

    My brain hurts after reading what could be boiled down to, "You're nice to us and we'll be nice to you." That twisted nonsense was written by lawyers and vetted by more lawyers.

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


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