"To be fair, he's right about competition. It really does do all these great things in a market. The problem is, you don't get competition for very long without regulation." - nasch
"Competition is only self-regulating when regulated by an outside source...I'll stick with properly regulated capitalism, thanks." - me
Sorry, had to quote myself saying exactly what you just said =). Considering most forms of capitalism have competitive markets as a primary economic driving force, whether free, social, or state, I assumed that the benefits of competition were implied (and nowhere did I argue otherwise).
The scenario we're discussing is one where we have the current ISP situation, which is made up primarily of a few large companies that have only-slightly-hidden "gentlemen's agreements" to avoid everything except the barest impression of competition. On one hand we have the free market proponents arguing that the solution is to leave things as they are and let the market fix the problem. On the other hand you have net neutrality proponents saying that clearly market forces aren't working, so we need regulation to prevent the current and future consumer abuse.
I'd love it if the former were possible, and market forces would magically reverse the current situation. Unfortunately it would have to be just that...magic. And as much as we'd all love for magic to be real, well, it isn't.
Which is why we have laws and regulation. Sometimes we have bad laws and harmful regulation, but you can't just look at them unilaterally and decry the whole system.
Sorry, I should clarify. I meant free market capitalism as a theory of economic improvement. Communism is an economic theory, but is provably false as a system that improves the economy. Stealing and murder are economic agents but I doubt many people would argue they are a good system to use at any institutional level.
The black market, by some estimates, accounts for around (at the high end) $1.8 trillion globally, which is roughly the GDP of Canada, compared to over $72 trillion in the GDP of the world. This includes all main forms of common black market goods. It also includes $117 billion from software and movie piracy and $369 billion in counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs and electronics, which are entirely based on intellectual property estimations, so you can arguably cut a large chunk of that annual market value's economic cost due to certain sectors love of exponential imaginary numbers.
Likewise, I would argue it's not really a free market, at least not in the sense of an argument unaffected by regulation. The existing regulations that make black market products illegal heavily influence the competition and market forces that surround the black market. The mere fact that the black market is illegal artificially alters consumer behavior, and for items that are black market but otherwise legal (like intellectual property items) a consumer can't help but be influenced by the legal framework.
Finally, by most economic systems black markets are considered fundamentally harmful to economic growth, which is why I don't consider them evidence of free market captialism. Free market theory postulates that rational and self-interested individuals will naturally create competition and self-regulate against bad actors to create a net gain in economic value. You can't use an example of something that creates a net loss in economic value as an example of why free market theory is accurate.
In other words, free markets exist, but free market capitalism is a false theory. This is because free market capitalism hypothesizes that an unregulated free market will result in economic growth and stability, which is directly contradicted by the historical and practical record.
I believe strongly in capitalism, but I believe (and am backed up by historical record) that a capitalist market requires government regulation and intervention to operate at peak levels. Stability and happiness are important things that you shouldn't give up to make a quick profit, especially when it's been shown time and time again that deregulation actively hurts the economy. Granted, some regulation reform would certainly be a good goal to move towards, but removing regulations just for the sake of removing them only benefits a few individuals in the short term.
Don't you dare ask anyone from the Austrian School to use real-world examples. It all works in theory, well, the theory that assumes a bunch of things that haven't actually every been observed in a real economy. But hey, the math works out...oh, wait, we don't use math in our economics! How silly, why use math when we can use imaginary models created in our own minds?
All joking aside, he may very well be an economics professor. One of the big economic controversies in the last ten years is that most economics courses are based entirely on mathematical models and free-market theory, especially in the "freshwater" schools. Mainstream economics is exactly what the U.S. government based their financial deregulation in the 80s and 90s on, and directly led to the 2008 bubble (which, amusingly, don't exist in Austrian or mainstream economic theories). I wouldn't be surprised for an economics professor to have no idea how economics work in actual economies.
The washing machine is probably one of the greatest economic inventions of the last 100 years, arguably more important than the internet or cell phones. Prior to the washing machine (and dryer) home care was literally an all-day job; women (and as this was the culture at the time, 99% of the time it was women) weren't able to work because household chores required a ton of their time.
With the washing machine and associated equipment (including vacuum) suddenly women could much more easily enter the workplace. The societal and economic changes created by nearly doubling the potential workforce is arguably one of the biggest economic boosts of the past century. While communication technology is certainly impressive, the ability to communicate faster has not had the impact that the addition of dual-household incomes has had compared to the time before the technology.
Anyway, I'm assuming your thing was a joke, but something to think about.
Competition is self regulating and rewards those who do well and punishes those who do poorly.
Anyone who can say this with a straight face has no clue how economics works. This is exactly why we're in a financial crisis.
Competition is only self-regulating when regulated by an outside source. Otherwise people are playing by different rules, and factors other than direct competition come into play. Those factors are not something you can just ignore.
You're talking about free-market capitalism, which is a provably false theory. It's a popular theory, because Americans like to believe that everyone has an equal shot, and may only the best man win. It just doesn't actually work when applied to the real world. Some would argue that's a rather big problem with an economic theory (myself included), but living in an economic dream world is exactly why the world economy collapsed in 2008.
From a "theoretical" perspective, this was caused because the markets weren't free enough. From a historical perspective, it was caused because assuming all actors in an economic system are acting rationally and in their own best interest is retarded. People don't act this way on an individual level, there's no way they'll act this way at the macro level. Exhibit A: smoking is bad for you, expensive, and gives you no personal benefit other than a temporary minor high and leaves you with a lifelong addiction. And you would argue people make decisions based on reason and their own best interest? Insane.
You don't get to just ignore fundamental forces of human behavior, such as the fact that people will quite often act against their own best interest, and say that the market will "fix" it if left alone. Free-market economics are a great example of why free-market economics don't work...from a rational, self-interested perspective, a free-market economy is guaranteed to stifle or ruin your economy, yet millions of people still encourage it, to their own detriment. From a historical and practical perspective, an unregulated economy a) only benefits countries (to a limited extent) that already have a strong economy and b) has never actually existed in human history.
This is a pet peeve of mine. You don't even really believe in free-market economics anyway; no one does. A lot of people think they do, because the illusion of the free market sounds great. No government telling you what to do, instead you let the market force out the weak and only the strong prevail, which means the best result for the consumer.
Of course, that means no regulation. No regulation means no immigration laws, no anti-pollution laws, no safety standards, no child labor laws, no anti-slavery laws, no tariffs, no intellectual property laws, no government subsidies for research and development, no bankruptcy protection, and no trade agreements forcing other countries to play by our "free market" rules. Suddenly the country is dominated by foreign workers, you and your children are either slaves or forced to work in deadly factories for practically nothing, and every other country overtakes our economy due to their own regulatory protections in a few years, but hey, the market is "free."
I'll stick with properly regulated capitalism, thanks. We can debate whether or not a specific regulation is necessary or not, but arguing whether or not regulation is necessary at all is sort of like the imaginary global warming debate, where the actual argument is what we should do about it, not whether or not it exists. You may be against Title II protections because you believe that those regulations will harm the internet, due to whatever reason you believe. But if you're against it because regulation is automatically bad, you're simply wrong.
The decision to prioritise (sic) a single local screen was made to ensure a stable user experience across a variety of different PC settings and devices.
Bullshit. One of my PCs runs at 1920x1080 on a 127 inch screen. It's perfect for co-op games (which is why it's in my living room).
Anyone who thinks that PCs aren't used in a living room environment is still living in the world of five years ago. DVI to HDMI converters are extremely cheap and virtually all modern television and projector systems accept HDMI input. Wireless mice, keyboards, and game controllers for PC are also extremely common and inexpensive.
I have two main computers; my gaming machine that is in a traditional room with a desk, and my HTPC (if you can call a water-cooled quad-core 3.0 ghz, 8 gb DDR5 RAM, NVIDIA GTX 770 with a gaming SSD an a typical "HTPC"...as I upgrade my main system I use the components in my living room system). The HTPC is hooked up to a high resolution (1920x1080 max) home theater projector with a 127-inch retractable screen*. The entire setup, including computer and sound, cost around than $3,000; roughly the price of a 55" LG smart TV, and affordable for most middle income families. And if someone can't afford a second powerful computer, if they have even a halfway decent home network Steam game streaming works fantastic (I can't even tell the difference between a loaded game and a streamed one).
While they are fixing the issue, I find it incredibly ignorant to assume that "a single local screen" is the only thing PC gamers are using.
* Side note: Alien Isolation on a 127-inch screen with a home theater sound system in the middle of the night is not recommended without adult diapers. You've been warned.
They only fixed it for the same reason SimCity released an offline mode...modders figured it out and did it on their own. And the reason it's in "open beta" is because they left out huge portions of the co-op experience, like the ability to use different types of controls (you can only use xinput controllers) and any sort of UI.
So, golf clap for Capcom. I think the story is still relevant; it could possibly use an update saying that a fix is "in the works" but I'd hardly say a half-assed fix a week after release and only after modders did it without the developers counts as fixing the problem.
Actually, this may have an odd side benefit. If self-driving cars relied on wireless (terrible idea) and Stingray devices disrupt or delay wireless, wouldn't these poorly designed cars make the Stingray spy devices a safety hazard? I mean, more than the already insane idea of having a car that relies on internet connection to self-drive?
Maybe they'd finally be banned, because safety! Nah, never mind...I'm sure they'd just say that the people who die in car crashes due to Stingrays were resisting arrest.
Actually, neither is true. This article is kind of a strange one for Techdirt, although I realize it's being at least a little facetious.
Piracy is caused by a couple of things, but the two biggest are service and price (with the former substantially higher than the latter). Most people pirate because piracy is more convenient than legal services. The product you get from piracy is, in virtually all cases, superior to the product you get from a legal source, and it requires less overall effort and headache.
Once a service comes out that's even slightly more convenient than piracy, piracy rates drop down to miniscule numbers. Music piracy hardly even exists anymore, even though internet radio is inferior to piracy's media files and iTunes is absurdly expensive for what you're getting.
When the Oscars come out, they highlight movies that people become interested in enough to check out, but not interested enough to pay the ridiculous costs and inconvenience associate with them. Want to see Birdman? Better expect to pay around $20 at the low end, $70-$100 if you have kids and/or want some popcorn. Want to see Interstellar? Too bad, barring some special showing you can't for another month since it's out of theaters but not yet available on DVD. American Sniper is still theater exclusive and Whiplash isn't out on DVD until tomorrow. Piracy is literally the ONLY way to watch four of the biggest Oscar movies at home.
Is it so shocking that highlighting these films as "must see," then preventing people from legally watching them at home, is going to cause a jump in piracy?
Either way, there is no legal method to buy a purely digital version of a movie at the current time. I can buy a DVD and rip it, but considering my computer doesn't even have a DVD player (why would I use a 4 gb storage device that takes up the space of a large postcard when I could use a 128 gb storage device that fits on a keychain?), this is rather annoying and arguably not very legal, depending on the DRM I'm circumventing. I can stream it online, but if I want to watch it on my laptop on a plane, or camping, or in a car, or when my internet is down, or when their service eventually goes out of business, too bad.
How can anyone possibly be surprised at piracy when piracy is free and giving you a product that you literally cannot buy from the creator? It's completely insane.
Forbes and Bloomberg disagree. Hey look, I can spend five seconds on a Google search too!
That being said, Elon Musk has stated that Tesla is not expected to be profitable by normal accounting standards until 2020. Short term profits are not the only thing that a company (and investor) should look at when determining the value of a company. The reason our economy collapsed so spectacularly was because everyone was doing precisely that.
Sometimes you have to invest at a pure profit loss in order to gain long-term rewards. Infrastructure, research, and a market are all real benefits that they're spending money on at the loss of potential profit. These things will pay themselves back once the market is established with interest.
It sometimes horrifies me that Wall Street (and many other people) don't grasp this basic economic principle. It makes perfect sense when it's a financial investment (spend $1,000 now, get back $2,000 after 10 years) but investment into a company with the same mechanism somehow blows people's minds.
I don't think this would hold up in court. If the president of the company, speaking on the company's behalf, states that they will not sue for people using their patents, and then sued someone for using their patents, you can bet easy money that the defense will hold that quote up to the judge.
It would be somewhat akin to a parking lot putting up a sign that says "free parking" and then towing people who don't pay for parking. Who wins the case would depend on the lawyers, but if they planned on suing, they just really hurt their case.
Musk is a millionaire dreamer who invested nearly all his money into SpaceX because he wanted the human species to be able to survive an extinction event on Earth by colonizing other planets, and is a huge supporter of clean energy and has invested his money and energy into it. That kind of person does try and trap people into lawsuits (if for no other reason than the reputation loss).
Love him, hate him, agree, disagree...the guy is passionate about his stuff and has repeatedly put his money where his mouth is. Who knows, it may end up blowing up in his face. Elon Musk may take extreme risks, and may be more in it for the tech than the money (which may end up hurting his business).
But anyone who thinks Elon Musk is a patent troll has clearly never bothered to read a single thing about him.
Ah, so your opinions are valid, but other people's aren't?
I’ll provide another “real world” example from the more recent case law: Morris Commc'ns Corp. v. PGA Tour, Inc., 235 F. Supp. 2d 1269 (M.D. Fla. 2002) aff'd, 364 F.3d 1288 (11th Cir. 2004)
The plaintiff in INS v. AP had a proprietary interest in the news superior to the defendant because of its labor. The plaintiff in Zacchini v. Scripps-Howard had a proprietary interest in his performance superior to the defendant because of his labor. Each one of those is a “real world” example of labor begetting ownership. Why deny that?
Haslem v. Lockwood, 37 Conn. 500 (1871). This is one of the first property law opinions that I’ve read. It discusses the two modes of acquisition I mentioned above: occupancy and accession. Here are the facts: -antidirt (emphasis mine)
So yeah, we should all take these at face value because they affirm your position, but because you kinda disagree with the conclusions on this one, it's probably wrong?
Anyway, it's pointless to continue this argument, because the people you're arguing with aren't looking at it from your point of view. Not because you disagree about copyright, but because you're looking at copyright from a lawyer's perspective (I'm assuming you're an actual lawyer and not a hobbyist, it seems like you wouldn't have that much knowledge of case law and argue in that manner without law school and practical use).
Lawyers don't look at things in terms of right and wrong, good and bad (and because you're probably a lawyer, I'll caveat this with "in general"). They look at things in terms of correct interpretation of the law and incorrect interpretation of the law. In other words, does this case meet the criteria of what the lawmakers intended? To a lawyer, the law is a checklist based on the conclusion others have come to in the past, and all factors other that how the law interacted with a specific case is irrelevant to how the law should be perceived.
Most people don't view the law like that. When my wife got pulled over for going 45 MPH in a 35 zone, even though she was speeding up to the 45 MPH speed limit, driving safely, and going with the flow of traffic, the law doesn't care. She broke the rule, she pays the $157. The fact that this is basically robbery, since she was driving safely and the fine is purely to fund the state (the motorcycle cop was around a corner near an area where most motorists would naturally speed up), is irrelevant to the way a lawyer thinks. That's why you have insanity like the "asset forfeitures" where police are stealing from civilians and then charging their possessions with a crime. United States v. Article Consisting of 50,000 Cardboard Boxes More or Less, Each Containing One Pair of Clacker Balls comes to mind.
I think that's one of the main resistances you're going to get here at Techdirt; most of the readers are upset with the law itself, and don't give a darn what the legal precedent is. Something can be legal and still be unjust. This is hard concept for lawyers to follow because from a legal perspective the law and justice are the same thing. The "stop and frisk" program was legal, the mass spying program was (sort of) legal, the "enhanced interrogation" was (again, sort of) legal, slavery was legal, the murder of Native Americans was legal...you get the idea.
I like that you are willing to engage with the community, even if sometimes you do it in a condescending, insulting manner. I've even learned a couple of things, and done some good research based on what you've written. But your fundamental concept, that since copyright and patent law are legal, and have held up in case law, they must be good, is a difference in perspective I can't reconcile. To me, and many others, the fact that the law supports your perspective is completely irrelevant to the discussion, and makes the situation worse.
That's my opinion. It won't hold up in court, but that doesn't make it any less valid than yours.
Nothing altruistic about it; a larger market for electric vehicles can only help Tesla, even if they can't utilize other people's patents. Right now Tesla is really the only major competitor for a decent EV, and the Tesla is expensive. It's a great car, but you're looking at an MSRP of over $70,000 for the base Model S.
For people to be willing to buy a luxury car it helps if there are cheaper alternatives that make the idea of buy and using an EV viable to people. Marketing to the rich first was a smart move; it let's them pack the Tesla cars with a ton of features and the rich are the only ones likely to be early adopters of something that doesn't come with easy infrastructure.
In an ideal world the CC license would be unnecessary because you could use other people's ideas freely. Being able to copy someone else's stuff is greatly overestimated. If someone designs something, sure, I can copy that design. But they have the R&D department, and they understand that design. I don't. My copy will always be second best, and never have the "newest" thing. People will pay for stuff that's new, even if they can get it cheaper in a few months. And, as shown repeatedly at this site, people will pay for things that are free and easily copied, if they're convenient and open.
Tesla gets this. Even if someone iterates on their design, they'll be a leader in the industry because they got there first and know what they're doing. Patents are only important because people who suck at actual innovation have found they can get free money using them. Real innovators know they'll keep the lead because they're already leading the show.
Yes, Jacobsen v. Katzer. I don’t think that opinion makes much sense.
This whole section made me laugh out loud. You, who frequently utilize court cases to point out how the courts have spoken and therefore the author's opinion must be wrong, are saying the courts made the wrong decision (or the right decision for the wrong reasons)?
Huh, that's almost exactly what many of the articles you criticize here do. I hope someone remembers to quote this the next time you post a court case as gospel*.
* Disclaimer: I'm not saying that you're wrong to question whether or not the courts made the right decision, I'm simply pointing out that someone who frequently derides others for doing it while doing it themselves is a giant hypocrite.
That said, nobody said he is abandoning the patents, not even the man himself. He will retain them and it's wise to have patents these days as defensive measures against trolls. Which reinforces the notion that patents are actually a dead weight that must be carried just in case.
This really needs to be quoted again. Obviously an innovative company like Tesla would be a ripe target for patent trolls. If they didn't patent anything, some random troll would apply for the patents and then they'd spend all their time in court rather than designing cars.
The "in good faith" was much more likely referring to this; patent trolls are not welcome to use their patents to sue people, but car companies and other innovators are free to utilize them to actually make stuff.
Elon Musk is a long-term thinker. He invested practically his entire fortune after Paypal into SpaceX, a company many at the time considered a fool's errand. Now SpaceX is being paid by the U.S. government to bring supplies to the ISS and made enough money for him to create Tesla Motors. He is also a heavy investor and was the initial designer of SolarCity, a solar power and EV charging station company.
He's taking on the entire energy industry, and is looking for long-term gains. Our financial system has broken itself because it encourages short-term profit hunting via stock value rather than investing in a company's future.
This is one of the main reasons why the world economy collapsed in 2008. Prior to the bailout, GM made more money from their financial institution and investments than they did from making cars. If you can't see why a car company that's focused on financial investments instead of car creation is a problem, well, you're part of the problem.
So of course Wall Street is freaking out. They have no idea how real-world economics works. Most of the traders are still living in their imaginary world where short-term gains in "profit" is more important than long-term company stability and production. It should be no surprise to anyone when you focus entirely on profit margin at the cost of infrastructure that at some point the infrastructure is going to collapse.
We need more innovators that are looking towards long-term gains rather than short-term cash grabs.
Obviously you'd have to prove intent. That's the entire point. We already differentiate between a crime done by accident and one done on purpose.
In the example above, the TSA supervisor was clearly lying and doing so in order to accuse someone of a crime. Note the intent here...you can't lie if you're wrong and don't know it. There's no way he could have accidentally thought the guy pointed at him and threatened him. It's clearly a lie he created to justify his own actions.
This wouldn't affect reporting at all because proving intent has a rather high standard. If a reasonable person could have made the mistake, like in your van theft example, there's no crime.