This is totally unfair. There are lots of alternative ways to make money off applications. Tons of applications have free Light versions and paid Pro versions (or a full-featured Standard application and a paid Donation version). I think that is a *much* better way: I buy applications all the time. Then there are purchases from inside the application for extra content. Those can be abused by developers, but in plenty of applications they work very well.
Advertisements are a huge waste of everyone's bandwidth, time, attention, and don't forget battery life: it has been proven that ads take up the majority of some application's CPU usage, as with Angry Birds.
Lastly, if you put your application on the Play Store or on the Internet for free, then you have no claim over anybody in any way. If you don't want people to block your ads, then don't put it on the Play Store / Internet.
Most of what you say applies to me too, including Amanda Palmer (except that I do like her music and have actually discovered her through Techdirt).
I don't feel guilty blocking Techdirt's ads because I Flattr the hell out of it. I highly recommend Flattr as a much better alternative to advertising for websites to make some money. I've already thrown more money at Techdirt that way than at any other website (okay, it's still not a huge amount, but probably 100x more than they would have made on me through advertising).
I am losing enjoyment, time, attention, 3G data, you name it, by looking at advertisements.
I am more than willing to pay for applications. Everyone does so in the Play Store. Having a free Lite version and a paid Full version of an application is one of the many other ways developers make many there, and they do so quite successfully. I much prefer that system. If only to encourage the latter and discourage the societal waste that is advertising, one ought to block ads.
Still, the advertisements themselves do not add any value to your experience: they are merely a means to an end that could also be accomplished otherwise, at least in theory, by donating money directly. That's why I block ads but am a huge fan of Flattr. I wish more sites had it.
Not only may this hurt and anger Muslims, but they are also spreading terrorist ideas among those groups deemed most likely to include terrorist. Are they not breeding terrorists besides their specific targets this way? Unwise.
There is some concern as to whether it was necessary to block all magnet links offered on the Pirate Bay, including those referring to legal content and those whose status had not been proven to be illegal, or rather to block only those pages with illegal links on them. Because the latter can be done: you can just block pages per torrent rather than the entire website.
Re: Re: 8 suggestions to improve the American patent system
I didn't say it was going to be easy! The idea is that each of these points may or may not contribute a little bit of sanity to the patent system, and together they may mitigate current problems enough to make the current system workable.
Ad 4: you can license it out, but the shell company can't sue, so all you can license out is the permission to use the invention, not the monopoly, i.e. not the power to enforce it.
Ad 5: By "inventor" I meant whoever applied for the patent in the first place. If that is your company, then they get the monopoly, but they cannot sell it to anyone else. Indeed, they could sell an exclusive license to a troll and try to enforce their monopoly to protect the troll; but that could only happen if they were somehow subverted by the troll while still making products using the patent themselves (or they would run afoul of 4). This would be a lot more complicated than simply selling the patent and the power to enforce it, and nearly impossible in conjunction with 4.
Ad 7: what if panellists were screened case by case, and only the most egregious cases removed? The idea is that they decide together, and perhaps a qualified majority (2/3 in favour) should be required for each patent. If fewer patents are granted this way, then great.
8 suggestions to improve the American patent system
You have a point; I think big improvements could be made by changing the way litigation works.
1. Grant reimbursement of all legal and other costs made by a defendant if they (mostly) win the case, to be paid by plaintiff. This should work just like anti-SLAPP to remove the worst extortion effect: defendants won't lose millions of dollars any more even if they win, as it is now. Perhaps even add a fine for an unreasonable losing plaintiff.
2. Make *all* licensing compulsory (and fairly cheap), like FRAND. If you sue someone for patent infringement, you are required to get a quote for the licence first, from some committee. That way, if you are sued, you know what your options are, and licensing fees will be reasonable.
Fees should be scaled to both the patent holder and the defendant: a small plaintiff should never get more than, say, 50 % of its profits in fees, because otherwise they would profit too much from the other company's other activities; similarly, a small defending company should not be made to pay more than, say, 10 % of its profits on each infringing product. Fees should never be based on perceived losses of the patent holder.
3. Remove patent and trademark appeals from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit and revert jurisdiction to the regular appellate courts. This mitigates regulatory capture; a court whose existence depends for a large part on a single kind of litigation, like patent lawsuits, tends to expand the scope of such litigation, thereby creating more jobs and a sense of importance for itself.
4. Forbid non-practising entities from starting patent lawsuits. This should hinder trolls a lot, and the reselling aspect of patents is that for which there is the least evidence that it benefits society.
5. Forbid the reselling of patents, see 4. Only the original "inventor" can sue. Like 4., there are ways to circumvent this, but it will be much harder.
6. Never allow juries to decide on patent cases. Laymen tend to be unpredictable and less balanced.
7. Have each new patent judged by a panel of experts in the field. That should mitigate the problem of the patent office's rubber-stamping. Of course they should be thoroughly screened for conflicts of interest.
8. Institute as an official criterion that patents are only granted for inventions that it takes a considerable amount of time, effort, or money to come up with. The idea is that the incentive provided by a patent is only needed for inventions that would otherwise not be worth the trouble. If all it takes is a moment of genius, no incentive is needed, because there is no cost: the inventor will come up with and exploit his stroke of genius anyway, even without a patent. If you know you need to carry out field tests for years on thousands of patients, then you may *need* the incentive provided by a (potential) patent to make it worth your while to proceed.
The panel of experts from 7. should be the judge of this. Rounded corners and bounce-back are obviously out of the game. License fees should also be based on the amount of effort that was involved in the invention.
But what if selling your next string at $10 is a bad idea for you? If your total profits are much higher at $5, then being deluded into selling it at $10 would be bad. Then this "devaluation" caused by cutting the price of your first string is actually a good thing for you. Devaluation then only means "lowering the price" of your products.
So you are never "able" to charge an arbitrary amount in that you will make the largest profit that way: you just do it, or you don't.
I'm not sure I find that summary "fair". The author does raise the valid point that "losers pays all" should be relevant not only for patent cases; but then nobody said it shouldn't. The issue is just that changing this just for patents is less intrusive and more likely to get a majority.
Why just pick patents?, the author asks: "In other words, the bill’s premise is that the protections and remedies under existing law – which for years have protected against fraud, abuse and bad faith – are now considered inadequate!" This is indeed just what the premise is, and it seems correct. Patent trolling is a big problem, where defendants are forced into settlements, because the costs of the lawsuit are too high (often millions).
So this law is a surgical instrument to remedy a particularly egregious canker.