One detail that Mike didn't mention in his summary: the startup that seemed most engaged with the patent system and most cognizant of its exposure to trolls had also paid the IP law firm Dow Lohnes to write and file its patent application. That's a seriously expensive way to buy some certainty.
There was an interesting thread about the post in a private Facebook group afterwards. Most of the respondents -- almost all but me veterans of startups, investments in same or both - were pretty cynical about the long-term utility of patents for non-biotech tech startups. But one guy did get some affirmative responses when he suggested sticking to provisional applications as a cheaper way to keep your options open.
My charitable interpretation would be that Norquist genuinely fears that people taking the easy way out would leave money on the table by not claiming deductions they're eligible for, thereby raising their tax rates. My uncharitable read is that he just wants to keep taxes as painful as possible, therefore increasing everybody's resentment of them--the old "heighten the contradictions" play.
In the interests of full disclosure, I should note that the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which has paid Techdirt's Mike Masnick for some work and also hosts the Disruptive Competition Project blog I write for, has also backed Intuit. I agree with CCIA on other issues, but I have no idea where they're coming from on this one.
TBL acknowledged the usual issues with DRM before making that statement, saying "some people think DRM is bad because it's unbelievably burdensome and difficult, and anyway it isn't very effective." But, he added: "there's this boundary of which people are prepared to put things out without DRM."
I think he views this a case where either the DRM will let Big Copyright's content move onto the open Web, or that stuff will remain confined to Flash pages and mobile apps, thereby weakening the Web as a whole.
What did Beckerman say about how this new organization will fit in next to all of the existing lobbies that claim to represent Internet users and entrepreneurs: EFF, Public Knowledge, CDT, Free Press, Engine Advocacy, Disruptive Competition Project, and so on? It's never seemed that Washington has lacked for somebody to say "this is bad for an open Internet"; it just needs a greater willingness among elected officials to listen.
... the subtext of many of the questions today was this idea that there is such a thing, as Sen. Lee said, of "natural, algorithmic" search--like it's something available from the local farmer's market. I got the sense that he'd never heard of black-hat SEO, content farming, Google-bombing and all of the other tricks that require any decent search engine to make constant tweaks to its algorithm. He might want to talk to whoever who ran his campaign's online marketing about those things.
(That said, if Google really did threaten Yelp and TripAdvisor with removal from its general search listings when each asked to be left out of Google Places listings, it's got some serious explaining to do.)
Probably a mistake to write that "news outfits leak internal emails"--in my experience, newspapers don't order up controlled leaks the way companies and government offices do. These things happen on their own; a reporter finds a memo interesting/annoying/confusing enough and forwards it to somebody who can publicize it.
No, I didn't leak this memo. I do, however, wonder why newspapers don't recognize that newsroom-wide memos will inevitably leak and post them on their own sites first, instead of letting Romenesko et al. run up traffic by reposting them elsewhere.
Don't take this post to be any sort of statement by management; they're not paying me nearly enough to take on that role. That said, I'll make two points:
1) Yes, you have to register to comment. We had a massive spam problem until we adopted that. And even requiring a login hasn't ended comment spam... because you can lie when you set up an account. We have no way of checking that, the same way that TechDirt can't prove that it's really Rob Pegoraro, the Post tech columnist, writing this comment. (It is. Honest!)
2) Some of my favorite commenters don't post under their real names--"wiredog," "54Stratocaster," "tbva," for instance. Something like half of my comments come from people who don't use their real names, and on some blogs (Nationals Journal comes to mind) it's more than half. Yet we have great conversations there.
The same is not true on some of our political blogs. Not even close. Why that happens would be fascinating subject for a sociological dissertation. Meanwhile, I myself have no problem with anonymous user input and wouldn't want any new commenting system to close off that option.
Frank's one of the better writers--make that, prose engineers--in the Post newsroom.
FWIW, I also saw his post as evidence that it's healthy for journalists to have an academic background in something besides journalism. But maybe that's just me trying to rationalize my failure to make much real-world use of an international-relations degree...
This was a fun panel discussion to run, and I'm glad you found it "entertaining and enlightening." I still can't believe we didn't even get into the "graduated response" issue in an hour and a half of chatter, though. (Does that suggest what a hairball ACTA is becoming?)
BTW, to address the sentiment of the first two comments: A lot of these discussions do seem to assume that the right legal and technological framework will let copyright owners regain control of their work's distribution, but I don't think that's quite possible. So in my closing statement, I noted how I only had to paste a few strings of text into the command line to enable DVD playback in Ubuntu, DMCA or not.
After writing a piece taking the entertainment industry for task for things like forcing useless DRM on their customers, I sometimes get a response along the lines of "How can you possibly tell a movie studio or a record label how to do its job? You've never made a movie or recorded an album!"
And when that happens, I have a hard time resisting the temptation to send this reply: "How can you possibly tell a newspaper writer how to do his job? You've never reported a story for a daily paper!"
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