You say "these guys feel blocked, and avoid the legal issues by... hark! INNOVATION!" but if you actually READ the letter they published, you will see that they have been working on the "new" design for 6 months. That's hardly a reaction to a patent being issued THIS month.
We’ve been working on an interesting new camera strap concept for the last six months. It’s nearing completion and we were planning on introducing it soon as a companion to our existing product line. Now, it will be our primary product.
I'm sure FFB38E is a derivative work of FFB38D ("it's exactly the same as it's predecessor except for one tiny tiny bit")! At the very least it's a mashup. So, according to copyright maximists, the answer would be NO!
Assuming the letter came with an indemnification clause that states that the payment waives any further action by the copyright holder, this might be a good thing. I would consider sending $10 to avoid the possibility of receiving one of the $1500/$2500 letters (like the ones going to some people that downloaded the Hurt Locker).
The net profits (those generated via the interNet using "approved" means) are smaller than the gross profits (those earned by the studio). Since the actors are paid on net profits, they will never make residuals. ;)
But seriously, it's easy for a studio to increase it's cost by greasing the hands of MPAA (and it's past employees that later go on to become judges dealing with copyright cases), lobbyists and politicians. I mean really, which is "better" for the industry, paying the actors or making sure the status quo is maintained?
About the only part of the app in question that in ANY way reflects on Star Trek other than the name would be the sound the darn thing makes....
It doesn't scan your body for broken bones, it doesn't sniff for airborne particles of poison, it doesn't... well... really anything the tricorder on Star Trek was supposed to do. But it is a cool app that SOUNDS like the tricorder. Must be copyright infringement (sounds like fair use to me). ;)
Sorry, no winner.... "transit in the middle" IS paid by Netflix as part of their service with their provider. I would imagine the vast majority of their ISP's monthly change goes to pay upstream costs. Just because they don't pay it DIRECTLY, doesn't mean they aren't paying it!!!
I wonder what percentage of people that spout the pro-copyright "pay the artist" spiel ever made a mix tape?
Come to think of it, I actually wonder how many times I actually PAID for "Hotel California"... I know it was on at least 3 different albums I had, and a couple of versions on tape (and a couple of mix tapes I recorded off the air BEFORE I could afford to buy the albums). Hmmm...
Now the real question.... I wonder how much of the money I actually paid for those albums actually made it to the artist (both the song writer AND the singer) vs the production company....
I'm not saying that copying is RIGHT or should be legal, I'm just saying that people that live in glass houses shouldn't throw rocks.
The point you seem to be missing is that Netflix rent it's "driveway" monthly and part of that driveway rental goes to the "highway" provider monthly. Nothing is free!
What actually happens is Netflix pays an ISP for service, the ISP pays for a bigger pipe from a backbone provider (what you are calling a "highway"). My ISP also pays for a backbone provider for a big chunk of monthly bandwidth and then provides a small slice of that to me.
Basically, the highway is already being paid for by BOTH parties (a percentage of both Netfix and my monthly service)...
So, where EXACTLY is the free ride, I don't see it?
Of course we have to keep in mind that the current providers of Internet are not likely to be the providers in 20 years.... Think about it, AOL (for those that don't know, used to be an ISP of sorts) capped bandwidth in the early '90s. Who would consider them an ISP today?
If service providers don't keep up with technology, some newer more agile company will (Google fiber maybe).
I'm an amateur photographer and I'm not a lawyer but I still have a theory....
Assuming you have:
100 professional photographers
100 identical studios
100 professional models
Every photographer takes 100 photos of each model
You will see TONS of "almost identical" photographs. Part of the reason for this is that models tend to have "routines". Each model will have her own, but many routines will be very similar. While it's most likely, that "similar" pics will come from the same model, it's still very likely that models with similar body styles will be more likely to have similar routines and result in similar pics.
And yes, the sign of a good photographer is to get the model to do what YOU want for your picture, however many of the best photos are just catching the right combination of pose, expression, etc. And if one photographer thinks it's "good", you can bet he wouldn't be the only one to see it and shoot it.
100 degrees Celsius equals boiling point of water (fact) and the temp in Boston is approaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit (also fact) it does NOT follow that thetemperature in Boston is approaching the boiling point of water --- HUGE FAIL!
Well technically at least, I'm sure 100 degrees Fahrenheit may be A boiling point for something (or someone), it's not THE boiling point they are talking about. ;)