If the government can take down Mega-Upload just because some poeple use it for infringement, let's apply the principle to any legal object that has potential criminal uses.
Let's outlaw: Claw hammers, chain saws, screwdrivers, wrenches larger than 5/8 inch, rocks, sticks, axes, pickaxes, shovels, crowbars, not to mention guns, crossbows, bows & arrows (murder weapons) telephones (extortion, blackmail, various scams) cell phones (extortion, blackmail, scams, remote bomb detonators) the entire Internet (copyright infringement-Horrors!) cars, trucks, other motor vehicles (transport of drugs, cigarettes, getaway for bank robberies and other criminal activities) ...
I could go on and on with this, but my point is, any and every legally useful object and device in the world has some potential criminal use someone can find for it. If we're going to outlaw everything that has some potential criminal use for it, there won't be much left. In fact we'll be just about back to the stone age, only without the sticks and stones (you can kill somebody with them, remember?).
Patents encourage innovation? Let's take a look at that.
Suppose there had been software patent 25 years ago like there are today. There would be NO Internet, NO PC or other computers like we have today (no less than Bill Gates himself said this), none of the software we have today, just continual nuclear warfare between patent holders each trying to shut the other down or extort them into bankruptcy.
Now we have the spectacle of trolls and parasites like Mr. Myhrvold erecting toll gates on every bridge and highway along the software path, abusing the legal system using bogus patents to extort money out of legitimate inventors and getting rich on the hard work of others.
It would only take a very simple law to put a stop to most if not all of this foolishness: If you don't practice the actual invention the patent covers, the patent is unenforceable.
Why did SOPA need to die? Because it's the cyber equivalent of burning the barn down to get rid of a few rats. 1 you lose the use of the barn and 2 the rats just go somewhere else and set up shop in some other barn.
Isn't that reason enough right there for killing SOPA? There are other and much better ways of dealing with rats than burning down your barn (a cat is very effective in this area) and there are other and better ways to stop infringement than opening the door for massive and capricious censorship of the Internet (like stop treating all your prospective customers like they are criminals, adapt to the times and make the content people want available to them in the manner they want it).
SOPA is a bill that opens the door for massive abuse. This makes it easy for someone who wants to shut down a competitor or rival or someone he/she has ideological disagreements with just to file a false claim of infringement, or for government to shut down any web site it doesn't like or agree with. This bill opens the door for massive censoring of Internet content for all the wrong reasons, just like Russia censored all the news media back in the Stalin days. No due process, no recourse, you're locked out just because somebody doesn't like you? Is that what you want? Or do you want to do it to somebody you don't like?
Didja ever think about licensing file sharing, for a reasonable monthly fee? Making a way for people to do it legally? Or is that too big for you to wrap your little itty bitty brain around?
It puzzles me why these copyright maximalists want to lock everything in the world up forever, when the commercial value of most copyrights is exhausted in about 18 years. Back when copyright expired in 28 years with an option for a 28 year extension very few people opted for the renewal, simply because it wasn't worth the trouble.
I can only attribute the present maximalist attitude of wanting to lock everything up in airtight copyright forever so nobody else can ever use a work or any part of it for any purpose wnatsoever is absolute, unmitigated greed. An attitude of, "It's mine! You can't have it! You can't use it! you can't use any part of it, you can't imitate it, it's mine and it'll still be mine a million millenia after I'm dead!"
My suggestion is, let's go back to the old standard of 28 years, with optional extensions. If someone still finds value in keeping something under copyright he can renew the copyright for another 28 years. And if they want to lock up a particular work for longer than that, let there be a schedule of subsequent renewals with an exponentially increasing fee for each subsequent renewal.
Locking up every work in the world for an entire lifetime (and if the copyright maximalista have their way, ever longer) after the author is dead simply makes no sense at all. I myself, whatever works I produce I intend to put in the public domain, or at most copyleft with minimum restrictions so anyone who wants to can make use of them for their own purposes.
So there, all you greedy copyright maximalists who want to lock up all the world's culture for yourselves forever!
Way back in 1979 when they changed the copyright law, they retroactively extended all existing copyrights to life + 50 years from their original date of copyright, or some such. Then along came the Sonny Bono copyright extension just as Dizney's copyright on Micky mouse was about to expire, making everything copyright for an extra 20 years, and with today's corpocracy controlling everything from electrons to galaxies we can expect it to get extended again every time some big corporate copyright is about to expire.
So forget about the public domain. All you have in there is stuff whose copyrights expired before 1979 or whenever the law was changed. And if the copyright maximilists have their way, they'll see to it that they will recapture everything in the public domain all the way back to Julius Caesar, and in any event see to it that nothing currently under copyright ever does enter the public domain. Unless someone willingly donates something to it.
"Facebook" is a legitimate trademark, because it is unique and not commonly used in any other context than referring to the website by that name. But trying to claim a monopoly on the commonly used words "face" and "book" separately and suing others who use these words is nothing less than trolling. The owners of Facebook should know better than to try this.
I seem to recall that one cannot legally trademark common, generic words. But Monster Cable did this for years with the word "monster" and got by with it, suing anyone who used the word "monster" in any commercial context -from a mom-and-pop clothing store to Walt Disney-, causing untold grief to their targets.
I suppose if there is any way to abuse something, someone will find a way to exploit it to everyone else's detriment.
Getting rid of patent trolls would be very simple if you could just get congress to pass a law saying, if you don't practice the patent, you can't enforce it. The big problem is trying to get congress to pass such a law.
Patent trolls add nothing to the economy. They don't make anything useful. They're just parasites who abuse the legal system to prey on others who have done all the hard work, to beat them out of their hard-earned money. I believe a law such as proposed above would go a long way to stopping this unconscionable practice.
To me, the way patent trolls operate is nothing less than legalized extortion. And extortion is a crime and should be dealt with as such.
And did it ever occur to anyone that the reason the USPTO is so flooded with silly patents is because the USPTO is rubber stamping practically anything and everything people throw at them?
And, yes I agree there needs to be some quick and inexpensive way to invalidate silly patents (with prejudice) and put patent trolls out on the street. My proposal would be a law that if they don't practice the invention they can't enforce the patent. And yes, I think putting invalidated patents permanently in the public domain would be a great idea.
Wait until every copyright restriction of every nation on earth are all rolled into world copyright law. It will be an infringement of copyright just to open your mouth or pick up a pen or turn on your radio or TV because every letter of the alphabet, every word in the dictionary, every note on the musical scale, every possible element of any image imaginable will each be individually copyright, and the slightest violation of even any single element, note, letter or spoken word will land you in jail and subject to multi-million dollar fines, with each element violated counting as a separate offense.
You mean we should let all these "kind, compassionate" robbers, murderers, burglars, thieves, drug pushers and other criminals out on the street and close down our prisons as being cruel and unreasonable punishment? Say this happened, then one of these "kind, compassionate, honest human beings" accosted you on the street, beat you to a pulp, stole your wallet and keys, drove your car to your house, molested your wife and kids, cleaned out everything of value in your house and left, setting your house on fire to cover up the evidence?
How would you feel about this sort of "human beings" after this???