Against Monopoly

defending the right to innovate

The IP Wars

Monopoly corrupts. Absolute monopoly corrupts absolutely.

Copyright Notice: We don't think much of copyright, so you can do what you want with the content on this blog. Of course we are hungry for publicity, so we would be pleased if you avoided plagiarism and gave us credit for what we have written. We encourage you not to impose copyright restrictions on your "derivative" works, but we won't try to stop you. For the legally or statist minded, you can consider yourself subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License.

earlier posts

Public Knowledge

John Bennett draws our attention to Public Knowledge (.org). They "preserve... the openness of the Internet and the public's access to knowledge; promote... creativity through balanced copyright; and uphold.. and protect... the rights of consumers to use innovative technology lawfully". In the wake of SOPA/PIPA they have started the internet blueprint an effort to crowdsource legislative proposals to protect internet freedoms.

Public Knowledge supports "balanced copyright." I do not: I do not think that any copyright serves the purposes of advancing science and the useful arts laid out in the U.S. Constitution or that it serves any useful economic purpose. However - I'd much rather have balanced copyright than what we have now so I'm delighted to see support Public Knowledge in their effort to take back our internet freedoms.

LimeWire and Music Labels Face Off Over Damages

Via CourthouseNews.com:

"Attorneys offered competing explanations of how major record labels view file-sharing software as opening arguments kicked off the damages trial against former LimeWire CEO Mark Gorton on Wednesday.


The eight-person jury listening to opening arguments on Wednesday afternoon will not determine whether LimeWire's peer-to-peer file-sharing is illegal; a judge already determined that it was in May 2010.

Instead, jurors will decide how much Gorton owes the labels in damages."

Courthouse News has more details in their coverage here:


Cory Doctorow on 'The Real Cost of Free'

Highly recommended reading here:


Google's High Speed Internet Gambit

As being reported:

Search and advertising giant Google plans to build and test super fast fiber-optic broadband networks in a few communities around the U.S., promising up to a one gigabit per second service a hundred-fold increase over what most Americans currently can subscribe to.

Most are currently thinking about how it might affect the marketplace of ISP's in delivering on-line services. However, the obvious broader implications over the current IP wars are staggering.

A 1 Gbps service could let a user download a full 1080p High-Def movie in mere minutes and is more than 1000 times faster than AT&T's basic DSL offering.

If entertainment conglomerates are waging the current fight they are now, just try to imagine what will the landscape look like 10 years from now if Google's efforts materialize.

Help Defend Facebook from Non-Patent Troll

A Baltimore startup with less than 5 employees, WhoGlue, is suing Facebook for patent infringement, based on a patent it previously--unsuccessfully--tried to unload at a patent auction. The patent, no. 7,246,164, is for a "Distributed personal relationship information management system and method". In essence, they claim that Facebook infringes their patent by permitting members to send one another "friend requests" and sharing information online, tracking each others activities, and so on. I.e., they are claiming a state-granted monopoly on a crucial aspect of social networking.

WhoGlue wants to make it clear they are not a patent troll, heaven forfend. No,

"The patent is a key part of WhoGlue's business, and the lawsuit is meant to protect his company's livelihood, Hardebeck said. ... "We didn't patent something that we thought would be an opportunity to license" to other companies, he said. "We patented it because it was core to our business."
So... they are not some nasty patent troll who is just suing Facebook for some invention they never practiced or sold. They just want to protect something that's "core to their business." Something so core they tried to auction it off (but failed). But do they claim that Facebook copied this "invention" from them? I doubt it--it's unlikely Facebook did copy it, and copying need not be shown to prove patent infringement anyway. And what does this non-troll want? "Unspecified monetary damages"--probably hundreds of millions or billions of dollars, if the Blackberry patent suit is any guide--plus a permanent injunction issued by the state preventing Facebook from using this "invention". I bet Facebook is so glad WhoGlue is not some annoying troll.