I have one of those, and I have to use it to join social networks, do online shopping, or do things with government websites. Worse, it doesn't function on any browser that isn't Internet Explorer. I sincerely hope the US doesn't follow through, but if it does, at the very least I hope that it allows other browsers.
One has to wonder, hearing all of these stories of ridiculous patents, if some of the perpetrators of these actions are misguided souls who are trying to push the limits of the patent system in order to somehow get it across to the policymakers that it is ridiculous.
He is not saying anything about the Williams case on its own merits, only about its use in this issue.
My cursory reading of the link seems to suggest that it is about a business overcharging its customers, not to customers making off with its wares. The difference is that the business tends to have much more power in the marketplace than an individual customer. In the case of Williams, it was the railroad that had the only route from point A to point B, and in the present case, it is the record companies that have a government granted monopoly to collect from customers and likely to also shortchange artists. In one case the one in the position of power was being charged for gouging the weaker party, in the other, it is the one in the position of power that is completely destroying the weaker party.
If we want to get more nuanced, the sisters in the Williams case most likely didn't have another readily available way to get home and so did not have any real choice but to cough up the extra money. The record labels have a wide variety of different ways that they could reach customers and potentially monetize their fandom, but they continue to insist on their own narrow predefined business models from a bygone era and relying on lobbyists and courts to enforce their wishes, thereby alienating the same fans that they should be relying on.
Furthermore, even if the case does apply here, the Railroad overcharged by 66 cents and had to pay damages of around 75 dollars. A fine that is just over 100 times the actual damages. In this case, it is several thousand times. In what way is that not problematic.
If accusations of being Hitler were treated the same as accusations of copyright infringement, no politician would make it to a position higher than state legislator before being promptly removed from office. And many wouldn't even make it that far.
"The companies funding these groups (MPAA, RIAA, etc) should begin taking a results based funding approach. Or perhaps they should just look at the past 100 years of results, and determine if they should continue funding them."
AAACK! Someone is using common sense! They must be a pirate and a pirate sympathizer! Burn them!
Seriously, though. Results based approach? Who needs that when you can ruin innocent people's lives just fine the old way?
Hey, if copyright can still incentivise creation 70 years after the author's death, why can't we punish someone by putting them in prison and keeping them there until several years after they've died? If the incentives work, so will the punishment.
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