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  • Jul 12, 2012 @ 10:08am

    watching Daily Show online

    It's nice of Jon to allow us to watch his show online during the Direct TV standoff but I was forced to watch an advertisement / rant against Direct TV that encouraged me to call Direct TV to vent my outrage over their decision to drop 20+ channels.

  • Apr 07, 2012 @ 03:07pm

    Re: agree with Mr. Sim

    IMHO, Google did a cost-benefit analysis and decided the high volume users were losing them money so they decided to monetize or force them out. Google is a lot of things but stupid is not one of them. Perhaps the decision is short sighted but I have to believe this move was well thought out from a revenue standpoint.

  • Mar 29, 2012 @ 02:09pm

    comcast - Level 3

    My takeaway from your discussion of Comcast's strong arm of Level 3 was that, in essence, Comcast used its market power in the broadband market to extort part of the revenue Level 3 received from the Netflix contract. That does raise an eyebrow.
    (Note: I'm not suggesting extortion in the strict criminal sense.)

  • Jan 21, 2012 @ 07:39am

    The Roman Legions

    Thanks for posting this. Unfortunately, the media industry are like the Roman legions. You utterly destroy them at battles like Cannae or Carrhae but they merely raise more legions and come back at you even stronger. This SOPA thing isn't over by a long shot. They will be back.

  • Dec 19, 2011 @ 06:06am


    "how Congress is trying to rush it through despite so many concerns"
    SOPA And PROTECT IP are the type of legislation that it is difficult to mobilize sufficient numbers of concerned citizens to blunt the influence of corporate lobbying money in congress. These issues take a bit of educating for one to understand the public harm and, unfortunately, the mainstream are not very well educated on the issues of the day. Further, they are not interested in spending the energy to educate themselves. The entertainment industry disguise their greedy power grab in other public purposes that appear to be good unless one digs. We need go no further than the name "PROTECT IP" to make this point. I'm not hopeful either of these bills will be stopped nor that the elected officials responsible for these abominations will pay for their sins.

  • Dec 05, 2011 @ 11:39am

    whether to join as amicus

    I think RIAA would be better off just steering clear of all the Righthaven cases and then asserting in later litigation that any statement the appellate court(s) made in those cases was dicta because of the finding that Righthaven lacked standing to sue in the first place. They don't have to join the instant case to make that argument and are probably better positioned to assert the dicta argument before another court at a later date. Righthaven is a very unsympathetic litigant and as much as that is not supposed to influence an appelate court when faced with an issue of law ... it certainly doesn't help.

  • Nov 12, 2011 @ 07:13am

    I have to believe this is another case of a judge who completely lacks any understanding of the nature of social media issuing a ruling out of said ignorance. It's the only explanation for how anyone with a brain rules that a twitter account is a trade secret. It's an open source publishing vehicle.

  • Nov 07, 2011 @ 06:53am

    this stinks

    >>allowing the private investigation firm to hold them

  • Nov 03, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    I don't think one can absolutely rely on the fact that a pre-1989 movie was initially distributed without a copyright notice in assuming it is in the public domain. I think there are opportunities to cure this error by later act under the 1976 Copyright Act.

  • Sep 27, 2011 @ 12:12pm


    You don't suppose the zeal of the Austin Police Department to enforce a non-existent law against free wifi would have anything to do with AT&T, whose headquarters are in Dallas? In any legal mystery the Roman advocate Cicero always asked cui bono (to whose benefit). Who benefits by shutting down free wifi?

  • Aug 04, 2011 @ 10:17pm

    prior use of term "facebook"

    When I was in college (1979-1982, i.e., before Mark Zuckerberg was born), the student union at our university published a book with pictures and short bio of every incoming freshman. We students commonly referred to it as "the facebook".

  • Jun 09, 2011 @ 11:08am

    Rule 11

    Was not Rule 11 designed for such abuses? US Copyright Group has got spanked over the jurisdictional defect several times by other courts yet keeps filing.

  • Apr 25, 2011 @ 10:57am

    the counterclaim

    Nice article Mike. I'm curious about your opinion that MGA should not have pursued the counterclaim. If it were a bench trial, perhaps I see your reasoning but in a jury trial it often comes down to which party appears "good" or at least less bad. Haven't studied the facts of the counterclaim but assume it allowed MGA to present evidence at least damaging to the credibility of Mattel executives (who may have testified during plaintiff's case to support case in chief). Yes, it is bad to just throw weak claims against the wall but, unfortunately, when the opposing party hands you a bucket full of mudd ... . Maybe you know something I don't though.

  • Apr 13, 2011 @ 04:51pm

    fake script

    I highly doubt the Lionsgate attorney used the term "fake". The blogger may have received an early draft or a script from a writer non-accredited by the WGA from which Lionsgate is developing a screenplay. Lionsgate bought the rights from the non-accredited writer then handed it over to its staff writers. Botton line is that Lionsgate could have truthly said to the blogger that the document you the blogger have is not a real movie script; however, they may very well own copyright to the contents of the document. From the studios POV, they may be spinning industry terms by saying that its not a real script until it's a production script, which the document held by the blogger most likely is not.

    My comment, of course, assumes several facts. What if the Lionsgate script in development closely tracks an earlier script written by a non-accredited writer who was not compensated and this is the script held by the blogger. Lionsgate by claiming copyright protection is admitting that its script matches in substantial part the document held by the blogger ... which was independently created (in my hypothetical). The independent writer may have sent the script to the blogger to put pressure on Lionsgate.

    These scenarios are starting to sound like a script! All we need is a a dead body. Maybe Lionsgate will write Techdirt claiming it currently has this script in development. Let's call it "Spec Script". Memo to Lionsgate: I can be bought off cheaply.

  • Sep 25, 2010 @ 08:35am

    nice anecdotes

    But 9 times out of 10, Goliath slays David. Here is a counter anecdote, the story of San Francisco game maker Zynga. The subtitle of a recent article about this company: "Steal someone else's game. Change its name. Make millions. Repeat." According to the article, this is Zynga's business philosophy. Their entire game plan is to copy innovative games from smaller competitors then crush them.

    iPhone apps is not a good example because there is just one distribution channel for this product (the Apple app store) and every competitor has equal access to this channel. Agree that your netflix example is well taken and booyah to this David who slew the Goliaths.

  • Aug 04, 2010 @ 09:43am

    a limited pay model if properly researched might work

    You can't put the genie back in the bottle. The issue is expectation of the consumer. After spending years viewing tv shows for free, Zuckerman thinks he can now charge for it? It won't fly unless there is some sort of value added ... old shows for free but small fee for very new shows? Fee to download shows onto a device? iTunes is a pay model and it works. With proper market research I would bet some scaled back pay model could work but going the route of Murdock and the the NYT and putting former free content behind a pay wall will meet with failure.

  • Jul 28, 2010 @ 07:38am

    parent liability

    If your kid is known to be dangerous to others, I'm willing to accept a parent has some responsibility to attempt to control that child's actions. But this was a weak case for such a theory. A far, far better case could have been made against the parents of the kids who committed the murders in the Columbine case. How could the parent's not know that their kids had assembled a dangerous arsenal of weapons? In this case, not only are no facts given a prior history of danger to other kids but we are talking about posts on facebook. A kid typing at a computer does not raise parental suspicion. Is the law going to require parents to stand over the computer when the kid is online? Not practical. This is different than the case in Missouri a few years back where the parent participated with her own child in bullying another kid online (MySpace). The bullied kid eventually committed suicide. There is also a Massachusetts case of cyberbullying (Facebook) that lead to suicide. It's a serious issue.

  • Jul 27, 2010 @ 06:04am

    Re: schmoo

    They're both wrong? That's not the point at all. The point is that the blogger gave an honest opinion, whatever its merits. The corporate giant replied not with facts and reasoned argumentation but with the threat of expensive legal action. The merits of the underlying dispute regarding the value of Tangent's tools is irrelevant. The corporation is trying to crush free speech. Boo on them. Shout the offender down with valid counter arguments if you have been wronged.

  • Jun 02, 2010 @ 08:29am

    Is the loss of tethering

    w/ you unlimited data plan a big deal?

    I avoid AT&T like the plague so it does not mean anything to me. Smart phones are making mobile use of laptops less important. Couple that with the ubiquitous nature of Wi-Fi hotspots and the tethering issue shrinks in importance. Just another public relations black eye for AT&T. One day another company will get the iPhone and this company's users will flee.

  • Apr 22, 2010 @ 08:21am

    Innovation by imitation, nice lead. The world patent system is broken but I'm not sure the answer is to abandon it completely. A good example of innovation by imitation is Apple's borrowing the concept of the GUI interface from Xerox (and turning into Macintosh OS). If we augmented the patent laws with something akin to fair use (from copyright law) it would help tremendously. If competitors improve upon the invention, they should be allowed to do so. How to draw that line of "improvement" that does not use an identical process? Very difficult.

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