Ima Fish’s Favorite Techdirt Posts Of The Week

This week’s favorites post come from Ima Fish, who, when not using an assumed name, is an IP lawyer…

I’m sure most people read Techdirt for the insightful posts concerning the fast-changing world of IP. That’s why I started reading it. But recently I discovered a new use. Cubical Exercising. Nearly every day there’s a story that makes me shake my head in utter disbelief. My neck muscles have been getting a great workout.

Let me walk you though last week’s workout routine. On Monday there was a post in which Universal Music Group Distribution President Jim Urie claimed we need stronger IP laws because the “online theft of music is killing artists” as well as “destroying jobs, dreams and careers.”

I’ll ignore the “killing” comment as nonsensical hyperbole. But the complaint against jobs being destroyed is dangerously ignorant. Every time there’s a disruptive change in the marketplace, jobs will be lost. Just as new jobs will be created.

When CDs replaced LPs and put LP manufacturers mostly out of business, was it the government’s job to step in and pass laws against the production of CDs? I certainly don’t think so. When the market for giant SUVs finally crashed in the US, was it the government’s job to pass laws making the production and sale of small and efficient vehicles illegal? I sure hope not.

The music industry is changing from an ownership culture to a consumer culture. Publishers sell sheet music. Labels sell LPs, CDs, and singles. Even in the days of illegal Napster, you’d share music with friends by giving them a copy, either burned to a CD or copied to a flash drive. However, nowadays if you want to share a song with a friend, you simply post the YouTube video onto his or her Facebook wall. We no longer need physical copies or digital representations of physical copies to enjoy music. Those days have passed.

Unfortunately for us, all those old “ownership culture” middlemen, who don’t have a clue how to run a business or earn money without the government’s help, are now being forced to actually work for a living. And they don’t like it.

Nothing was done to help displaced buggy-whip factory workers. But the music industry middlemen are very wealthy and connected. So, unfortunately, when they complain to the government, the government listens and takes action. No matter how completely unreasonable the complaint may be.

My favorite head-shaking post from Tuesday concerned the UK judge who issued a super injunction to prohibit any public discussion of Ryan Giggs’ alleged affair. Of course the internet community ignored the super injunction, rendering it pointless. However, despite that fact, the judge determined that it was actually evidence for the need for a stronger super injunction. (May I suggest calling it a super mega injunction? Thanks. No problem.)

Let’s go through the judge’s tortured logic. He first says,

It is obvious that if the purpose of this injunction were to preserve a secret, it would have failed in its purpose.

That seems logical. Griggs wanted to keep people from publicly talking about his alleged affair, but the injunction utterly failed. But the judge does not stop there.

But in so far as its purpose is to prevent intrusion or harassment, it has not failed.

What the flagnard?! The judge continues in his attempt to destroy the foundations of logic and reason…

The fact that tens of thousands of people have named the claimant on the internet confirms that the claimant and his family need protection from intrusion into their private and family life.

Sorry judge, but the fact that everyone is ignoring your super injunction does not mean you need a super mega injunction. It means that the underlying premise that Griggs needed an injunction in the first place was flawed. It means that people want to talk publicly about Griggs and nothing you do will stop them. (Unless you are the type of person who thinks High Chancellor Adam Sutler was the hero in the film V for Vendetta.)

There were two great head-shakers last Wednesday. First was Senator Harry Reid’s bizarre assertion that passing the Patriot Act without any modification was “an excellent compromise.” Wow.

The other great head-shaker from last Wednesday was the ex-boyfriend who wants royalties for inspiring songs his ex-girlfriend wrote about their breakup. In the past, I’ve written about the absurdities of our new ownership culture. Newspaper writers claimed that other media outlets were stealing stories, which they “stole” themselves from the original sources. Aretha Franklin claimed she was owed money merely because she wore a hat. And the producers of Britain’s Got Talent claimed that Google owed them money for providing free bandwidth and for bringing free attention and exposure to Susan Boyle’s amazing talents.

Let’s get this straight people, merely because someone else is making money does not mean you’re owed money.

Thursday’s head-shaking post comes from everybody’s favorite company, Sony. It was revealed that Sony’s theatrical film projectors are so riddled with DRM that 2D movies shown on those projectors lose as much as 85% of their brightness.

That may seem insane, but it is all a part of Sony’s business plan. What is Sony’s business plan? Treating its customers with utter contempt.

Ever since Sony became both a technology and content company, all it cares about is protecting its precious content. So it puts rootkits on its music CDs. It releases portable music players, but used the asinine ATRAC format. And it removes the “other OS” option in its Playstation 3, but leaves customer information completely open and unencrypted on its servers.

So in Sony’s bizarro collective-mind, it’s perfectly reasonable to destroy the movie theater experience in order to protect the movie theater experience.

Friday’s head-shaking post comes from the New York Stock Exchange. The NYSE has proclaimed that any drawing, photograph, or representation of the NYSE trading floor violates its trademark.

I’m just glad this perversion of trademark law was not around back in the 80s. Otherwise, the film Trading Places would have had a truly sucky ending.

Well, I’m done with my neck exercises for this week. Let’s keep our neck muscles in shape by checking back each and every weekday.

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