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Lost Republic
"This corpse is characterized by three degrees of perfection: subordination by action, subordination of the will, subordination of the intellect."
~ Nikolai Bukharin, Marxist Bolshevik revolutionary

Archive for the 'Intellectual Property' Category

Hayek on Knowledge

Posted in Intellectual Property on August 2nd, 2013

From Constitution of Liberty (Chicago, 1960, 1978, p. 43):

The growth of knowledge is of such special importance because, while the material resources will always remain scarce and will have to be reserved for limited purposes, the uses of new knowledge (where we do not make them artificially scarce by patents of monopoly) are unrestricted. Knowledge, once achieved, becomes gratuitously available for the benefit of all. It is through this free gift of the knowledge acquired by the experiments of some members of society that general progress is made possible, that the achievements of those who have gone before facilitate the advance of those who follow.

CRYPTO & BITCOINS

Posted in Intellectual Property, Lost Republic Original, Science / Environment, Sound Money on April 23rd, 2013

I’m embarrassed by how little I remember from my “Intro to Crypto” class at Stanford. This video really helped: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXB-V_Keiu8.

It talks a little about the history of encryption — until the 1970′s symmetric key encryption was used. Public key encryption was quite the breakthrough. And get this — when it was first discovered (invented?) the THE GOVERNMENT INSTANTLY CLASSIFIED THE RESEARCH!!! It was later re-discovered.

Anyway, for laypeople, I’d suggest watching this video to the point of understanding that it’s really, really hard to factor the product of two big prime numbers.

Trying to understand the Modular function which stands on top of this fact is difficult.

Final note: Though it isn’t in the video, my understanding is that Bitcoins don’t actually encrypt anything, but they use these crypto algorithms to verify that transactions match account numbers. Digital signatures, in other words.

So, if you post your bitcoin account number on a website to accept donations, everyone who uses bitcoins can see what transfers were made to that account. Of course, the beauty of bitcoins is that you can make as many accounts as you want and transfer bitcoins between them.

Monsanto vs. a 75-year-old farmer

Posted in Food Freedom, Intellectual Property on March 11th, 2013

open quoteOn Tuesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear a 75-year-old soybean farmer’s appeal against biotech giant Monsanto, in a case that could permanently reshape the genetically modified (GM) crop industry. Victor “Hugh” Bowman has been battling the corporation since 2007, when Monsanto sued him for violating their patent protection by purchasing second-generation GM seeds from a grain elevator. An appeals court ruled in favor of Monsanto, and despite the Obama administration’s urging to let the decision stand, the nine justices will hear Bowman make his case today.

Monsanto is notorious among farmers for the company’s aggressive investigations and pursuit of farmers they believe have infringed on Monsanto’s patents. In the past 13 years, Monsanto has sued 410 farmers and 56 small farm businesses, almost always settling out of court (the few farmers that can afford to go to trial are always defeated). These farmers were usually sued for saving second-generation seeds for the next harvest — a basic farming practice rendered illegal because seeds generated by GM crops contain Monsanto’s patented genes.

Monsanto’s winning streak hinges on a controversial Supreme Court decision from 1981, which ruled on a 5-4 split that living organisms could be patented as private property. As a result of that decision, every new generation of GM seeds — and their self-replicating technology — is considered Monsanto’s property.

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Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/how-one-75-year-old-soybean-farmer-could-deal-a-blow-to-monsantos-empire-today.html#ixzz2LzHyALHl

Marvell Loses $1.17 Billion Patent Infringement Lawsuit

Posted in Intellectual Property on December 29th, 2012

open quoteFrom the WSJ. Congrats, Objectivists, utilitarians, and other pro-IP libertarians. A high-tech firm is persecuted by Carnegie Mellon University. Perversely, Carnegie was represented by K&L Gates, which was founded by the father of Microsoft founder Bill Gates—it’s perverse, given the billions made and monopoly position of Microsoft which is partly a result of the copyright and patent monopolies Microsoft has, courtesy Uncle Sam. . . .

Jury Finds Against Marvell in Patent Case

A jury in Pittsburgh on Wednesday found that chip maker Marvell Technology GroupLtd. MRVL -10.42% should pay nearly $1.17 billion for infringing patents held by Carnegie Mellon University.

If the jury’s decision stands, the award would rank among the largest to date in a patent case.

The university sued Marvell in 2009 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania, alleging that the company infringed patents covering technology associated with “noise predictive detection,” which is used in data-storage systems.

Marvell, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif., is known for chips used in data-storage applications.

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Guy creates open-source, free font for dyslexic readers; gets copyright cease-and-desist threat

Posted in Intellectual Property on December 22nd, 2012

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The plight of dyslexic individuals served as inspiration to Abelardo Gonzalez, a New Hampshire-based mobile app designer, who devised a clever font to help dyslexics read digital text easier.The font, dubbed “OpenDyslexic“, employs a trick in which the bottoms of characters are weighted. Curiously some dyslexic individuals visual processing cortexes rotate images that look slender, making characters appear backwards or upside down. By making the bottom look “heavier” the font reportedly reduces this kind of visual “bug” in the brains of people with this disability.
Mr. Gonzalez wasn’t the first to use this trick, he explained, but he was the first font designer to make an affordable version.

. . . .

Then he “was contacted by font designer Christian Boer (who sells an alternative font called dyslexie for $69 USD per “single-use” license) to “cease and desist” early during his process.” That’s right. He was threatened with a copyright lawsuit for … making an affordable, open-source font to help dyslexics.

At the time he was charging a nominal fee and did reuse some bitstream-vera-sans characters as the basis for his font. Bitstream-vera-sans’ license explicitly allows derivative fonts to be sold (free of fee to the bitstream font creators), however, Mr. Boer was claiming that the offense occurred due to the fact that Mr. Gonzalez had changed the (free) font in a similar way as he had. By all appearances the real issue was that Mr. Gonzalez was offering it for far cheaper than Mr. Boer.

So Mr. Gonzalez went a step further and simply made the font free.

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Filesharers buy more music than others

Posted in Intellectual Property on November 4th, 2012

open quoteThe American Assembly report suggests that peer-to-peer (P2P) users buy 30% more music than people who aren’t involved in online sharing.

And the non-partisan public policy forum adds that filesharing is a drop in the ocean compared to more traditional offline copying such as burning CDs.

Researchers carried out thousands of telephone interviews with people all over the USA and Germany.

Joe Karaganis of the American Assembly says: “P2P users have larger music collection than non-P2P users – roughly 37% more. Most of the difference comes from higher levels of downloading for free and copying from friends.close quote (Read more)

Samsung pays Apple $1 Billion sending 30 trucks full of 5 cent coins

Posted in Intellectual Property on September 22nd, 2012

:)

open quoteThis morning more than 30 trucks filled with 5-cent coins arrived at Apple’s headquarters in California. Initially, the security company that protects the facility said the trucks were in the wrong place, but minutes later, Tim Cook (Apple CEO) received a call from Samsung CEO explaining that they will pay $1 billion dollars for the fine recently ruled against the South Korean company in this way.close quote (Read more)

Steve Jobs’ IP Flip

Posted in Intellectual Property on September 11th, 2012

lost republic

Freeman publishes great Kinsella article about IP

Posted in Intellectual Property on September 9th, 2012

Progress.

http://www.thefreemanonline.org/features/how-intellectual-property-hampers-the-free-market/

The Real Reason for Germany’s Industrial Expansion: No Copyright Law

Posted in Hidden History, Intellectual Property on August 17th, 2012

Very interesting read. The case for small states and political division, in addition to no IP:

open quoteThe entire country seemed to be obsessed with reading. The sudden passion for books struck even booksellers as strange and in 1836 led literary critic Wolfgang Menzel to declare Germans “a people of poets and thinkers.”

“That famous phrase is completely misconstrued,” declares economic historian Eckhard Höffner, 44. “It refers not to literary greats such as Goethe and Schiller,” he explains, “but to the fact that an incomparable mass of reading material was being produced in Germany.”

Höffner has researched that early heyday of printed material in Germany and reached a surprising conclusion — unlike neighboring England and France, Germany experienced an unparalleled explosion of knowledge in the 19th century.

German authors during this period wrote ceaselessly. Around 14,000 new publications appeared in a single year in 1843. Measured against population numbers at the time, this reaches nearly today’s level. And although novels were published as well, the majority of the works were academic papers.

The situation in England was very different. “For the period of the Enlightenment and bourgeois emancipation, we see deplorable progress in Great Britain,” Höffner states.

Equally Developed Industrial Nation

Indeed, only 1,000 new works appeared annually in England at that time — 10 times fewer than in Germany — and this was not without consequences. Höffner believes it was the chronically weak book market that caused England, the colonial power, to fritter away its head start within the span of a century, while the underdeveloped agrarian state of Germany caught up rapidly, becoming an equally developed industrial nation by 1900.

Even more startling is the factor Höffner believes caused this development — in his view, it was none other than copyright law, which was established early in Great Britain, in 1710, that crippled the world of knowledge in the United Kingdom.

Germany, on the other hand, didn’t bother with the concept of copyright for a long time. Prussia, then by far Germany’s biggest state, introduced a copyright law in 1837, but Germany’s continued division into small states meant that it was hardly possible to enforce the law throughout the empire.

Höffner’s diligent research is the first academic work to examine the effects of the copyright over a comparatively long period of time and based on a direct comparison between two countries, and his findings have caused a stir among academics. Until now, copyright was seen as a great achievement and a guarantee for a flourishing book market. Authors are only motivated to write, runs the conventional belief, if they know their rights will be protected.

Yet a historical comparison, at least, reaches a different conclusion. Publishers in England exploited their monopoly shamelessly. New discoveries were generally published in limited editions of at most 750 copies and sold at a price that often exceeded the weekly salary of an educated worker.

London’s most prominent publishers made very good money with this system, some driving around the city in gilt carriages. Their customers were the wealthy and the nobility, and their books regarded as pure luxury goods. In the few libraries that did exist, the valuable volumes were chained to the shelves to protect them from potential thieves.

In Germany during the same period, publishers had plagiarizers — who could reprint each new publication and sell it cheaply without fear of punishment — breathing down their necks. Successful publishers were the ones who took a sophisticated approach in reaction to these copycats and devised a form of publication still common today, issuing fancy editions for their wealthy customers and low-priced paperbacks for the masses.

A Multitude of Treatises

This created a book market very different from the one found in England. Bestsellers and academic works were introduced to the German public in large numbers and at extremely low prices. “So many thousands of people in the most hidden corners of Germany, who could not have thought of buying books due to the expensive prices, have put together, little by little, a small library of reprints,” the historian Heinrich Bensen wrote enthusiastically at the time.

The prospect of a wide readership motivated scientists in particular to publish the results of their research. In Höffner’s analysis, “a completely new form of imparting knowledge established itself.”

Essentially the only method for disseminating new knowledge that people of that period had known was verbal instruction from a master or scholar at a university. Now, suddenly, a multitude of high-level treatises circulated throughout the country.close quote (Read more)

Steve Jobs: Good artists copy great artists steal

Posted in Intellectual Property on July 12th, 2012

Pirate Bay Ready For Perpetual IP-Address Whac-A-Mole

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Freedom on June 21st, 2012

open quoteLast week The Pirate Bay added a new IP-address which allows users to circumvent the many court-ordered blockades against the site. While this proved to be quite effective, the Hollywood backed anti-piracy group BREIN has already been to court to demand a block against this new address. But that won’t deter The Pirate Bay, who say they are fully prepared for an extended game of whac-a-mole using the hundreds of IP addresses they have available.

The Pirate Bay is arguably the most censored website on the Internet.

Courts all around the world have ordered Internet providers to block subscriber access to the torrent site, and the end is still not in sight.

Within a few days, a new deadline for five UK and five Dutch Internet providers passes. This means that millions more will be unable to access The Pirate Bay, at least, that is the plan.

Last week The Pirate Bay team responded to the blockades by adding a new IP-address. The new location was setup to make it easier for people to start their own dedicated proxy sites, but it also allows blocked Pirate Bay visitors to gain access to the site.

Instead of the normal address they simply go to 194.71.107.80, bypassing the court order – for the time being at least.close quote (Read more)

3-D Printing vs Intellectual Property

Posted in Intellectual Property, War on Commerce on June 21st, 2012

open quoteDigital technology is reinventing our whole world, in service of you and me. It’s free enterprise on steroids. It’s bypassing the gatekeepers and empowering each of us to invent our own civilization for ourselves, according to our own specifications.

The promise of the future is nothing short of spectacular — provided that those who lack the imagination to see the potential here don’t get their way. Sadly, but predictably, some of the biggest barriers to a bright future are capitalists themselves who fear the future.

A good example is the current hysteria over 3-D printing. This technology has moved with incredible speed from the realm of science fiction to the real world, seemingly in a matter of months. You can get such printers today for as low as $400. These printers allow objects to be transported digitally and literally printed into existence right before your very eyes.

It’s like a miracle! It could change everything we think we know about the transport of physical objects. Rather than sending crates and boats around the world, in the future, we will send only lightweight digits. The potential for bypassing monopolies and entrenched interests is spectacular.

Here is what Andrew Myers reported in Wired magazine last week:

“Last winter, Thomas Valenty bought a MakerBot — an inexpensive 3-D printer that lets you quickly create plastic objects. His brother had some Imperial Guards from the tabletop game Warhammer, so Valenty decided to design a couple of his own Warhammer-style figurines: a two-legged war mecha and a tank.

“He tweaked the designs for a week until he was happy. ‘I put a lot of work into them,’ he says. Then he posted the files for free downloading on Thingiverse, a site that lets you share instructions for printing 3-D objects. Soon other fans were outputting their own copies.

“Until the lawyers showed up.

“Games Workshop, the U.K.-based firm that makes Warhammer, noticed Valenty’s work and sent Thingiverse a takedown notice, citing the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Thingiverse removed the files, and Valenty suddenly became an unwilling combatant in the next digital war: the fight over copying physical objects.”

There we have it. The American Chamber of Commerce — the supposed defender of free enterprise — is in a meltdown panic about new technology, determined to either crush 3-D printing in its crib or at least to make sure it doesn’t grow past its toddler period. close quote (Read more)

The war on progress continues.

Court won’t reduce student’s music download fine

Posted in Intellectual Property on June 11th, 2012

open quoteA former Boston University student who was ordered to pay $675,000 for illegally downloading and sharing 30 songs on the Internet says he will continue fighting the penalty, despite the Supreme Court’s refusal Monday to hear his appeal.

Joel Tenenbaum, 28, of Providence, R.I., said he’s hoping a federal judge will reduce the amount.

“I can’t believe the system would uphold a six-figure damages amount for downloading 30 songs on a file-sharing system that everybody used,” Tenenbaum said. “I can’t believe the court would uphold something that ludicrous.”

A jury in 2009 ordered Tenenbaum to pay $675,000, or $22,500 per song, after the Recording Industry Association of America sued him on behalf of four record labels, including Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner Brothers Records Inc. A federal judge called the penalty unconstitutionally excessive and reduced the award to $67,500, but the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later reinstated it.close quote (Read more)

ACTA Gets Killed, Score A Partial Win For The Internet

Posted in Intellectual Property, Internet Freedom on May 29th, 2012

open quoteAfter MegaUpload received a fatality at the hands of Homeland Security, it was looking as if SOPA and PIPA weren’t needed after all to strike fear into the hearts of gamers, movie goers and music aficionados alike. Well, score another win for internet citizens as ACTA is as good as dead…in Europe that is.

A reader tipped us off to the recent news that ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement — a multinational trade agreement that was just as vile as other copyright infringement security establishments, such as CISPA — is dead in the water…in Europe.

The ACTA treaty would basically give undefined control and authority over the censorship and dictation on the flow of information and free speech. close quote (Read more)

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