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Entries Tagged as 'Tech and Tech Policy'

Infringement and Innovation in Online Platforms

January 24th, 2012 · 4 Comments

I want to dilate slightly on a point I made in a recent post at the Cato blog thinking about the Megaupload takedown and online innovation: The last innovation is always safe. That’s why it’s easy to claim concrete examples of the harm regulation might do are hyperbolic fearmongering: Nobody’s going to shut down YouTube […]

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Tags: Tech and Tech Policy

Real Intellectual Property Theft

December 19th, 2011 · 9 Comments

Proponents of ever stronger and longer copyrights, supported by ever more draconian enforcement mechanisms, like to toss around terms like “piracy” and “theft” for the emotional reactions they provoke. This is not, as Matt Yglesias notes, an aid to clear thinking: Copyright infringement and theft are both illegal—along with jaywalking, murder, and speeding—but they’re otherwise […]

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Tags: Law · Tech and Tech Policy

No Logo: Brands and Chains in the Age of Mobile Internet

October 6th, 2011 · 18 Comments

It’s no coincidence that the rise of the American chain restaurant coincides pretty neatly with the automobile’s shift from an aristocratic toy to a mass means of transportation.  As society grew more mobile, a novel problem arose: As you found yourself routinely passing through areas you didn’t know intimately, how could you know where to […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Economics · Sociology · Tech and Tech Policy

Why Yahoo’s “Occupy Wall Street” Block Actually Matters

September 20th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Yahoo found itself at the focus of some brief fuss today, after their e-mail service’s spam and malware filters started blocking many emails that contained the phrase “Occupy Wall Street” or linking OccupyWallStreet.org in connection with an ongoing protest that had attracted some 3,000–5,000 people over the weekend, with a few hundred die-hards remaining on […]

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Tags: Tech and Tech Policy

Wiretap Law Online: A Second Look at Paxfire

September 14th, 2011 · 2 Comments

A few days ago, Ars Technica asked me to comment on a class action lawsuit against Paxfire, a company that partners with Internet Service Providers for the purpose of “monetizing Address Bar Search and DNS Error traffic.” The second half of that basically means fixing URL typos, so when you accidentally tell your ISP you […]

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Tags: Privacy and Surveillance · Tech and Tech Policy

What Do Infringement/Theft Analogies Really Illustrate?

August 18th, 2011 · 14 Comments

Mike Masnick finds another MPAA flack in high dudgeon in response to the simple factual observation that, especially a rough economy, studios and networks risk audience flight to BitTorrent if they don’t make their own digital offerings more consumer-friendly: In other words: movie and TV theft is inevitable. Why? Because it’s easy to steal something […]

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Tags: Tech and Tech Policy

When Are Patents Obvious?

August 15th, 2011 · 19 Comments

I recently did a diavlog with my friend Tim Lee on the new BloggingHeads spinoff site TechHeads, during which I had a thought that seems like it might be worth spinning out. We’re all accustomed to seeing horror stories about ludicrously broad, bad technology patents that have given rise to a wasteful arms race between […]

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Tags: Economics · Law · Tech and Tech Policy

Good Defensive Patents Are Bad Patents

July 28th, 2011 · 35 Comments

Ron Bailey writes about last weekend’s excellent Planet Money story “When Patents Attack,” which focuses on the enormous market in “defensive” patents, purchased as a kind of retaliatory hedge against lawsuits from other technology companies: In early July, the bankrupt tech company Nortel put its 6,000 patents up for auction as part of a liquidation. […]

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Tags: Economics · Law · Tech and Tech Policy

Quick Thoughts on Google Plus

July 1st, 2011 · 17 Comments

(1) One of my first thoughts upon getting my hands on an iPad was: “You know, once they get a camera in this thing and come up with a well-tailored group video chat client, this could really change the way people socialize.” At present, in-person, face-to-face socialization and digital communication with people not present are […]

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Tags: Art & Culture · Journalism & the Media · Privacy and Surveillance · Sociology · Tech and Tech Policy

Things That Are Irrelevant to Copyright Policy

March 30th, 2011 · 42 Comments

Sometimes individual creators decide it’s in their best interests to transfer rights to their works—a song, a movie, a story, a character—to big, faceless, generally unsympathetic corporations. This should have exactly no impact on anyone’s view about the proper scope of the underlying right. Yes, sometimes people are hoodwinked into making unwise deals, and that’s […]

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Tags: Tech and Tech Policy