Privacy is gone. Companies have been doing data-mining for years and occasionally get caught for abusive tactics. The Obama campaign won reelection based, in part, on data-mining. But now the IRS has been exposed as abusing the power of the State for essentially political purposes.
Based on anecdotal evidence, it shouldn't take a genius to figure out that the NSA (like IRS) snooping activities could be used for nefarious purposes. (Also don't forget the new facility being built in Utah. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_Data_Center)
Also how effective has this snooping been? It evidently did not expose the Boston Marathon bombers, the Sandy Hook School mass killer, and it would not likely to be effective against spontaneous acts of terrorism. So is all this supposed snooping actually cost-effective?
So do we allow a police state in the name of supposed security that has the potential to be used for nefarious purposes (despite the denials)?????????? I say not.
Obama is a populist, he offers the adoring masses "candy" to solicit votes. Obama knows how to and is extremely effective at selling populist concepts, but will he actually invest time and effort to pursue fighting patent trolls??? I doubt it.
There is a slight twist to this. In theory, the content is supposed to fall into the public domain after a limited period of time. So you as a member of the public would "own" the content after the copyright privilege has expired. I would advocate, that those who have extended the scope and time-span of copyright have been "stealing" from you.
Good News! Student Wins Supreme Court Copyright Decision
From the Los Angeles Times. Maybe our ownership rights are still holding on.
"A former USC student who bought textbooks in his homeland of Thailand and sold them in the United States won a major Supreme Court ruling on copyright law that gives foreign buyers of textbooks, movies and other products a right to resell them in the United States without the permission of the copyright owner."
The media, depends on fair use and the free flow of information, yet they display a poor understanding of copyright law and attempt to privatize their content.
For example, when SOPA/ACTA was running "hot" as a National issue, FOX News had a panel of so-called pundits discuss the copyright law. What floored me, was the call for compromise. Not once was it mentioned that copyright has grown ever "strong". But piracy has. So the obvious implication by the word compromise was the continued trend towards an ever stronger version of copyright. The logical approach of comprise; to restore copyright to its original intent was never raised.
As a similar experience. A while ago, on impulse I unthinkingly bought CIV5, only to find it to be DRM "crippled". The game gave the user NO option to obtain a refund if the terms-of-service were declined. Obviously, this raises a fundamental question; if DRM is meant to prevent unauthorized use, then the customer should be able to get a refund if they decline to accept the TOS since they can't use the product without the DRM.
Anyway, I left my complaint on the ??? website, which remained unanswered by the company for several months. After some complaining, one staff person was honest enough to simply say (paraphrased): "my sympathies, but you are screwed.". Without going into a long discussion, my credit card company did give me a courtesy refund. Unfortunately, that does not teach companies such as EA a lesson in customer service.
In terms of SOPA, both Obama and Romney made a temporary tactical retreat based on public outrage. It didn't change their minds. Romney has been absolutely livid concerning the "theft" by China of so-called "Intellectual Property".
Irrespective of who wins the election, I expect a re-emergence of proposals for ever "stronger" legislation to protect so-called "intellectual property".
What comes around goes around. Those who advocate "strong" so-called "intellectual property" rights will die by them. This is a particularly losing proposition for the US as other countries develop their own "portfolios" of so-called "intellectual property" and the US portfolio declines.
If customer satisfaction was a true company imperative, it would not make proprietary connectors. As a general observation many companies do NOT care about the individual consumer anymore. They tend to be somewhat responsive when consumers abandon them in mass.
My problem with the EFF proposal is that is acknowledges the existence of this type of patent. This starts the whole line of slippery slope arguments that the patents have to be "strengthened" to protect the patent holder. NO to software patents.
A second issue that requires further review is that there can only be "one" patent holder. We live in a world economy with a world population in excess of 6 Billion people. Given that, many people can "invent" the same thing. If that is the case there should be NO patent or at least a shared patent.
Finally, any patent that is issued must be supported by a real device with real blueprints. A third party should be able to take that blueprint and construct that device. If they can't then NO patent.
The Rule of Law and Due Process are Being Eliminated
Larry wrote: "Yet traditional forms of legal enforcement have become nearly impossible.". To get around the impediment of traditional methods of copyright enforcement, infringement for one has been criminalized instead of simply being a civil violation. So we now have the State involved in propping up the revenue stream of corporations.
Not only that but third parties, such as the ISP, are now being required to "filter" and or "read" internet content. Basically wiretapping.
Furthermore, we are seeing the emergence of "automated justice". Basically, if some entity "X" says that you have infringed without any valid proof, ISP "Y" is required to take-down the content and wait for the "offender" to respond and provide proof that the entity "X" actually made a false accusation. (How one can force a third party to act as private law enforcement is beyond me.)
This turns our judicial process upside down. It used to be that the complaining entity had to provide proof and take it to court and try the evidence before an adverse action could be taken. Now one can have an adverse action imposed without a trial and the "offender" then has to defend themselves to rescind that adverse action.
The Washington Times had an editorial condemning cameras that record people going through red lights because in many cases they did not work properly. The Washington Times cited one person defending the use of the cameras who basically said: "Our concern is not justice but maximizing revenue." Similarly, with copyright and patent law, the rule of law and due process are being sacrificed to maximize revenue.
One train of thought concerning property rights holds that they evolve out of scarcity. The ability for unlimited copying so-called "intellectual property" means that it is infinitely available (non-scarce). Therefore, the property right to so-called "intellectual property" should evaporate.
We bought a game, read the terms of service, and decided to return it. The store we bought it from said "NO return", and the company that manufactured the game responded that you had to return the game to the retail store, obviously a catch-22. So if they are unwilling to accept a return, why even attempt to honestly buy a game to begin with?
These companies are actually promoting piracy by refusing to deal with you in an honest manner.
Fundamentally, when there is a technological advance, why should the content create be able to claim a "new" (homestead) ownership right. The consumer bought (from the consumers point-of-view) the right to use that content. Therefore the consumer should have the right to use it as they see fit.
(Of course the content creator well claim that they are only leasing a limited privilege, but that is bunk.)