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Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Purchase, Pirate, Publicize: The Effect of File Sharing on Album Sales - 0 views

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    "Author Info Jonathan Lee () (Queen's University) Registered author(s): Abstract This paper quantifies the relationship between private-network file sharing activity and music sales in the BitTorrent era. Using a panel dataset of 2,251 albums' U.S. sales and file sharing downloads on a private network during 2008, I estimate the effect of file sharing on album sales. Exogenous shocks to file sharing capacity address the simultaneity problem. In theory, piracy could crowd out legitimate sales by building file sharing capacity, but could also increase sales through word-of-mouth. I find evidence that additional file sharing decreases physical sales but increases digital sales for top-tier artists, though the effects are modest. I also find that file sharing may help mid-tier artists and substantially harms bottom-tier artists, suggesting that file sharing enables consumers to better discern quality among lesser-known artists."
Paul Merrell

Obama to propose legislation to protect firms that share cyberthreat data - The Washington Post - 0 views

  • President Obama plans to announce legislation Tuesday that would shield companies from lawsuits for sharing computer threat data with the government in an effort to prevent cyber­attacks. On the heels of a destructive attack at Sony Pictures Entertainment and major breaches at JPMorgan Chase and retail chains, Obama is intent on capitalizing on the heightened sense of urgency to improve the security of the nation’s networks, officials said. “He’s been doing everything he can within his executive authority to move the ball on this,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss legislation that has not yet been released. “We’ve got to get something in place that allows both industry and government to work more closely together.”
  • The legislation is part of a broader package, to be sent to Capitol Hill on Tuesday, that includes measures to help protect consumers and students against ­cyberattacks and to give law enforcement greater authority to combat cybercrime. The provision’s goal is to “enshrine in law liability protection for the private sector for them to share specific information — cyberthreat indicators — with the government,” the official said. Some analysts questioned the need for such legislation, saying there are adequate measures in place to enable share between companies and the government and among companies.
  • “We think the current information-sharing regime is adequate,” said Mark Jaycox, legislative analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a privacy group. “More companies need to use it, but the idea of broad legal immunity isn’t needed right now.” The administration official disagreed. The lack of such immunity is what prevents many companies from greater sharing of data with the government, the official said. “We have heard that time and time again,” the official said. The proposal, which builds on a 2011 administration bill, grants liability protection to companies that provide indicators of cyberattacks and threats to the Department of Homeland Security.
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  • But in a provision likely to raise concerns from privacy advocates, the administration wants to require DHS to share that information “in as near real time as possible” with other government agencies that have a cybersecurity mission, the official said. Those include the National Security Agency, the Pentagon’s ­Cyber Command, the FBI and the Secret Service. “DHS needs to take an active lead role in ensuring that unnecessary personal information is not shared with intelligence authorities,” Jaycox said. The debates over government surveillance prompted by disclosures from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden have shown that “the agencies already have a tremendous amount of unnecessary information,” he said.
  • The administration official stressed that the legislation will require companies to remove unnecessary personal information before furnishing it to the government in order to qualify for liability protection. It also will impose limits on the use of the data for cybersecurity crimes and instances in which there is a threat of death or bodily harm, such as kidnapping, the official said. And it will require DHS and the attorney general to develop guidelines for the federal government’s use and retention of the data. It will not authorize a company to take offensive cyber-measures to defend itself, such as “hacking back” into a server or computer outside its own network to track a breach. The bill also will provide liability protection to companies that share data with private-sector-developed organizations set up specifically for that purpose. Called information share and analysis organizations, these groups often are set up by particular industries, such as banking, to facilitate the exchange of data and best practices.
  • Efforts to pass information-sharing legislation have stalled in the past five years, blocked primarily by privacy concerns. The package also contains provisions that would allow prosecution for the sale of botnets or access to armies of compromised computers that can be used to spread malware, would criminalize the overseas sale of stolen U.S. credit card and bank account numbers, would expand federal law enforcement authority to deter the sale of spyware used to stalk people or commit identity theft, and would give courts the authority to shut down botnets being used for criminal activity, such as denial-of-service attacks.
  • It would reaffirm that federal racketeering law applies to cybercrimes and amends the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act by ensuring that “insignificant conduct” does not fall within the scope of the statute. A third element of the package is legislation Obama proposed Monday to help protect consumers and students against cyberattacks. The theft of personal financial information “is a direct threat to the economic security of American families, and we’ve got to stop it,” Obama said. The plan, unveiled in a speech at the Federal Trade Commission, would require companies to notify customers within 30 days after the theft of personal information is discovered. Right now, data breaches are handled under a patchwork of state laws that the president said are confusing and costly to enforce. Obama’s plan would streamline those into one clear federal standard and bolster requirements for companies to notify customers. Obama is proposing closing loopholes to make it easier to track down cybercriminals overseas who steal and sell identities. “The more we do to protect consumer information and privacy, the harder it is for hackers to damage our businesses and hurt our economy,” he said.
  • In October, Obama signed an order to protect consumers from identity theft by strengthening security features in credit cards and the terminals that process them. Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said there is concern that a federal standard would “preempt stronger state laws” about how and when companies have to notify consumers. The Student Digital Privacy Act would ensure that data entered would be used only for educational purposes. It would prohibit companies from selling student data to third-party companies for purposes other than education. Obama also plans to introduce a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights. And the White House will host a summit on cybersecurity and consumer protection on Feb. 13 at Stanford University.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Tools | La Quadrature du Net - 1 views

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    [ Who are we? FAQ Tools Contact Press room English Français La Quadrature du Net La Quadrature du Net Internet & Libertés Participate Support us Newsletter RSS Identi.ca Twitter Dossiers Net Neutrality ACTA Anti-sharing directive - IPRED Net filtering Online Services Directive Proposals Tools general Printer-friendly version Send to friend Français Political Memory Political Memory is a toolbox designed to help reach members of the European Parliament (MEPs) and track their voting records. You may find the list of Members of the European Parliament: by alphabetical order by country by political group by committee For each Member of Parliament or European MP are listed contact details, mandates, as well as their votes and how they stand on subjects touched on by La Quadrature du Net. If you have telephony software installed on your computer, you can call them directly by clicking on "click to call". Wiki The wiki is the collaborative part of this website where anyone can create or modify content. This is where information on La Quadrature's campaigns (such as those about the written statement on ACTA or the IPRED Consultation), highlights of the National Assembly1 debates, pages relating to ongoing issues tracked by La Quadrature, as well as analyses, illustrations and more can be found. Mediakit The Mediakit is an audio and video data bank. It contains interventions of La Quadrature's spokespeople in the media as well as reports about issues La Quadrature closely follows. All these media can be viewed and downloaded in different formats. Press Review The Press Review is a collection of press articles about La Quadrature du Net's issues. It is compiled by a team of volunteers and comes in two languages: English and French. Articles written in other languages appear in both press re
Gary Edwards

Cloud Storage Users Share Pros and Cons of Leading Services | CIO - 1 views

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    Good review comparing the leaders in the sync-share-store file category. Some very interesting comments from users in the pro-con sections. "Dropbox, Box, OneDrive and Google Drive are among the most popular cloud services for storing, syncing and share files. Picking the best service for your organization can be a challenge, but this guide will help determine which cloud service is right for you."
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    I still maintain that any file sync service that doesn't do end-to-end encryption should be avoided like the plague. However, my love affair with Wuala is nearing its end. Comcast has been having difficulties with keeping me online lately and I discovered that Wuala requires that you be both logged in and *online* or you have no access to your synced files. None. I'm in the process of switching over to Barracuda Networks' Copy, https://www.copy.com/ which stores local files in a local directory structure, rather than in a JRE virtual drive.
Paul Merrell

Activists send the Senate 6 million faxes to oppose cyber bill - CBS News - 0 views

  • Activists worried about online privacy are sending Congress a message with some old-school technology: They're sending faxes -- more than 6.2 million, they claim -- to express opposition to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA).Why faxes? "Congress is stuck in 1984 and doesn't understand modern technology," according to the campaign Fax Big Brother. The week-long campaign was organized by the nonpartisan Electronic Frontier Foundation, the group Access and Fight for the Future, the activist group behind the major Internet protests that helped derail a pair of anti-piracy bills in 2012. It also has the backing of a dozen groups like the ACLU, the American Library Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and others.
  • CISA aims to facilitate information sharing regarding cyberthreats between the government and the private sector. The bill gained more attention following the massive hack in which the records of nearly 22 million people were stolen from government computers."The ability to easily and quickly sharing cyber attack information, along with ways to counter attacks, is a key method to stop them from happening in the first place," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, who helped introduce CISA, said in a statement after the hack. Senate leadership had planned to vote on CISA this week before leaving for its August recess. However, the bill may be sidelined for the time being as the Republican-led Senate puts precedent on a legislative effort to defund Planned Parenthood.Even as the bill was put on the backburner, the grassroots campaign to stop it gained steam. Fight for the Future started sending faxes to all 100 Senate offices on Monday, but the campaign really took off after it garnered attention on the website Reddit and on social media. The faxed messages are generated by Internet users who visit faxbigbrother.com or stopcyberspying.com -- or who simply send a message via Twitter with the hashtag #faxbigbrother. To send all those faxes, Fight for the Future set up a dedicated server and a dozen phone lines and modems they say are capable of sending tens of thousands of faxes a day.
  • Fight for the Future told CBS News that it has so many faxes queued up at this point, that it may take months for Senate offices to receive them all, though the group is working on scaling up its capability to send them faster. They're also limited by the speed at which Senate offices can receive them.
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    From an Fight For the Future mailing: "Here's the deal: yesterday the Senate delayed its expected vote on CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act that would let companies Sharing your private information--like emails and medical records--with the government. "The delay is good news; but it's a delay, not a victory. "We just bought some precious extra time to fight CISA, but we need to use it to go big like we did with SOPA or this bill will still pass. Even if we stop it in September, they'll try again after that. "The truth is that right now, things are looking pretty grim. Democrats and Republicans have been holding closed-door meetings to work out a deal to pass CISA quickly when they return from recess. "Right before the expected Senate vote on CISA, the Obama Administration endorsed the bill, which means if Congress passes it, the White House will definitely sign it.  "We've stalled and delayed CISA and bills like it nearly half a dozen times, but this month could be our last chance to stop it for good." See also http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/125953876003/senate-fails-to-advance-cisa-before-recess-amid (;) http://www.cbsnews.com/news/activists-send-the-senate-6-million-faxes-to-oppose-cyber-bill/ (;) http://www.npr.org/2015/08/04/429386027/privacy-advocates-to-senate-cyber-security-bill (.)
Paul Merrell

Canada Casts Global Surveillance Dragnet Over File Downloads - The Intercept - 0 views

  • Canada’s leading surveillance agency is monitoring millions of Internet users’ file downloads in a dragnet search to identify extremists, according to top-secret documents. The covert operation, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files. The revelations about the spying initiative, codenamed LEVITATION, are the first from the trove of files provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to show that the Canadian government has launched its own globe-spanning Internet mass surveillance system. According to the documents, the LEVITATION program can monitor downloads in several countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America. It is led by the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, Canada’s equivalent of the NSA. (The Canadian agency was formerly known as “CSEC” until a recent name change.)
  • The latest disclosure sheds light on Canada’s broad existing surveillance capabilities at a time when the country’s government is pushing for a further expansion of security powers following attacks in Ottawa and Quebec last year. Ron Deibert, director of University of Toronto-based Internet security think tank Citizen Lab, said LEVITATION illustrates the “giant X-ray machine over all our digital lives.” “Every single thing that you do – in this case uploading/downloading files to these sites – that act is being archived, collected and analyzed,” Deibert said, after reviewing documents about the online spying operation for CBC News. David Christopher, a spokesman for Vancouver-based open Internet advocacy group OpenMedia.ca, said the surveillance showed “robust action” was needed to rein in the Canadian agency’s operations.
  • In a top-secret PowerPoint presentation, dated from mid-2012, an analyst from the agency jokes about how, while hunting for extremists, the LEVITATION system gets clogged with information on innocuous downloads of the musical TV series Glee. CSE finds some 350 “interesting” downloads each month, the presentation notes, a number that amounts to less than 0.0001 per cent of the total collected data. The agency stores details about downloads and uploads to and from 102 different popular file-sharing websites, according to the 2012 document, which describes the collected records as “free file upload,” or FFU, “events.” Only three of the websites are named: Rapidsharing, SendSpace, and the now defunct MegaUpload.
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  • “The specific uses that they talk about in this [counter-terrorism] context may not be the problem, but it’s what else they can do,” said Tamir Israel, a lawyer with the University of Ottawa’s Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic. Picking which downloads to monitor is essentially “completely at the discretion of CSE,” Israel added. The file-sharing surveillance also raises questions about the number of Canadians whose downloading habits could have been swept up as part of LEVITATION’s dragnet. By law, CSE isn’t allowed to target Canadians. In the LEVITATION presentation, however, two Canadian IP addresses that trace back to a web server in Montreal appear on a list of suspicious downloads found across the world. The same list includes downloads that CSE monitored in closely allied countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Brazil, Germany and Portugal. It is unclear from the document whether LEVITATION has ever prevented any terrorist attacks. The agency cites only two successes of the program in the 2012 presentation: the discovery of a hostage video through a previously unknown target, and an uploaded document that contained the hostage strategy of a terrorist organization. The hostage in the discovered video was ultimately killed, according to public reports.
  • LEVITATION does not rely on cooperation from any of the file-sharing companies. A separate secret CSE operation codenamed ATOMIC BANJO obtains the data directly from internet cables that it has tapped into, and the agency then sifts out the unique IP address of each computer that downloaded files from the targeted websites. The IP addresses are valuable pieces of information to CSE’s analysts, helping to identify people whose downloads have been flagged as suspicious. The analysts use the IP addresses as a kind of search term, entering them into other surveillance databases that they have access to, such as the vast repositories of intercepted Internet data sharingd with the Canadian agency by the NSA and its British counterpart Government Communications Headquarters. If successful, the searches will return a list of results showing other websites visited by the people downloading the files – in some cases revealing associations with Facebook or Google accounts. In turn, these accounts may reveal the names and the locations of individual downloaders, opening the door for further surveillance of their activities.
  • Canada’s leading surveillance agency is monitoring millions of Internet users’ file downloads in a dragnet search to identify extremists, according to top-secret documents. The covert operation, revealed Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept, taps into Internet cables and analyzes records of up to 15 million downloads daily from popular websites commonly used to share videos, photographs, music, and other files. The revelations about the spying initiative, codenamed LEVITATION, are the first from the trove of files provided by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden to show that the Canadian government has launched its own globe-spanning Internet mass surveillance system. According to the documents, the LEVITATION program can monitor downloads in several countries across Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and North America. It is led by the Communications Security Establishment, or CSE, Canada’s equivalent of the NSA. (The Canadian agency was formerly known as “CSEC” until a recent name change.)
Alexandra IcecreamApps

TeamViewer Alternatives: 5 Best Remote Desktop Software - Icecream Tech Digest - 1 views

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    Remote desktop access programs help users work on a computer through another one. Such programs can be extremely helpful for mutual work between people, technical support, and various help and tutorials. Basically, desktop sharing programs are perfect for all sorts … Continue reading →
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    Remote desktop access programs help users work on a computer through another one. Such programs can be extremely helpful for mutual work between people, technical support, and various help and tutorials. Basically, desktop sharing programs are perfect for all sorts … Continue reading →
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Big media fails to turn ISPs into copyright cops | Media Maverick - CNET News - 1 views

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    [Last month marked the second anniversary since the Recording Industry Association of America, the trade group representing the four largest music labels, stopped filing copyright lawsuits against people suspected of illegal file sharing. The RIAA said ISPs would ride in to save the day on illegal file sharing but they've yet to show up. RIAA CEO Mitch Bainwol in a file photo. (Credit: Declan McCullagh/CNET ) At the time, the RIAA said it would seek help in copyright enforcement efforts from Internet service providers, the Web's gatekeepers, which are uniquely positioned to act as copyright cops. ... ]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

MPAA Links Online Piracy to Obama's Cybersecurity Plan | TorrentFreak [# ! + Note] - 0 views

    • Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.
       
      # Again, gnarled 'Authorities, linking -falsely, of course- sharing with any kind of 'threats'... (since 2001 http://www.salon.com/2001/09/26/osama_bin_napster/ and, of course, earlier references -from echdirt, for example, "Seriously: Where Is The Link Between Copyright Infringement And Terrorism/Organized Crime" https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100129/0630057974.shtml)
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    [ Ernesto on January 14, 2015 C: 0 News Hoping to deter and stop the ongoing threat of 'cyber' attacks President Obama unveiled new cybersecurity plans yesterday. While the plans don't reference copyright infringement, the MPAA notes that Congress should keep online piracy in mind as it drafts its new cybersecurity bill. ] # Again, gnarled 'Authorities, linking -falsely, of course- sharing with any kind of 'threats'... (since 2001: Peer-to-peer terrorism http://www.salon.com/2001/09/26/osama_bin_napster/ and, of course, earlier references -from Techdirt, for example, "Seriously: Where Is The Link Between Copyright Infringement And Terrorism/Organized Crime" https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100129/0630057974.shtml)
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Netgear Shows Customers How to Share Pirate Movies - TorrentFreak - 1 views

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    " Andy on December 26, 2015 C: 86 Opinion Showing users how to send large video files is a task undertaken by dozens of software and hardware manufacturers but for the folks at Netgear the issue is now a controversial one. Want to send a pirate movie to a friend after downloading it from a torrent site? Netgear apparently has an app for that."
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    " Andy on December 26, 2015 C: 86 Opinion Showing users how to send large video files is a task undertaken by dozens of software and hardware manufacturers but for the folks at Netgear the issue is now a controversial one. Want to send a pirate movie to a friend after downloading it from a torrent site? Netgear apparently has an app for that."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Pirate Bay Helps Puts Sweden on the Map, Govt. Agency Says | TorrentFreak [# Note] - 0 views

    • Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.
       
      # ! 'Thank God' The Pirate Bay Helps Some@ne. # ! (... more than is told...)
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    [ By Andy on May 18, 2015 C: 0 Breaking According to a government agency responsible for promoting Sweden overseas, the country has several major brands to thank when it comes to being recognized on the world stage. In addition to car makers Volvo and furniture store IKEA, interest in Sweden has been boosted thanks to the notorious Pirate Bay. But the file-sharing fun doesn't end there. ...]
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    [ By Andy on May 18, 2015 C: 0 Breaking According to a government agency responsible for promoting Sweden overseas, the country has several major brands to thank when it comes to being recognized on the world stage. In addition to car makers Volvo and furniture store IKEA, interest in Sweden has been boosted thanks to the notorious Pirate Bay. But the file-sharing fun doesn't end there. ...]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Piracy Isn't Killing The Entertainment Industry, Scholars Show | TorrentFreak - 1 views

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    [... According to the report there is ample evidence that file-sharing is helping, rather than hurting the creative industries. (...) ... This means expanding fair use and private copying exceptions for citizens, while targeting enforcement on businesses rather than individuals.]
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

BitTorrent Inc Works on P2P Powered Browser | TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    " Ernesto on December 10, 2014 C: 16 News BitTorrent Inc, the company behind the popular file-sharing client uTorrent, is working on a P2P powered browser. Dubbed Project Maelstrom, the browser will be able to "keep the Internet open" by serving websites with help from other users."
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    " Ernesto on December 10, 2014 C: 16 News BitTorrent Inc, the company behind the popular file-sharing client uTorrent, is working on a P2P powered browser. Dubbed Project Maelstrom, the browser will be able to "keep the Internet open" by serving websites with help from other users."
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Organize a Giving Guide Giveaway - Free Software Foundation - December 1, 2014 - 0 views

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    "by Free Software Foundation - Published on Nov 17, 2014 04:18 PM Organize an event to help people choose electronics gifts that actually give more than they take. In the flurry of holiday advertising that happens at the end of the year, many people are swept into buying freedom-denying and DRM-laden gifts that take more than they give. Each holiday season the FSF releases a Giving Guide to make it easy for you to choose tech gifts that respect your rights as a computer user and avoid those that don't. We'll be launching 2014's guide on Black Friday (November 28th), full of gifts that are fun and free, made by companies that share your values. It will be similar to 2013's Giving Guide, but more extensive and spruced up with a new design. It'll even have discounts on some of our favorite items, and translations into multiple languages."
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    "by Free Software Foundation - Published on Nov 17, 2014 04:18 PM Organize an event to help people choose electronics gifts that actually give more than they take. In the flurry of holiday advertising that happens at the end of the year, many people are swept into buying freedom-denying and DRM-laden gifts that take more than they give. Each holiday season the FSF releases a Giving Guide to make it easy for you to choose tech gifts that respect your rights as a computer user and avoid those that don't. We'll be launching 2014's guide on Black Friday (November 28th), full of gifts that are fun and free, made by companies that share your values. It will be similar to 2013's Giving Guide, but more extensive and spruced up with a new design. It'll even have discounts on some of our favorite items, and translations into multiple languages."
Gary Edwards

The True Story of How the Patent Bar Captured a Court and Shrank the Intellectual Commons | Cato Unbound - 1 views

  • The change in the law wrought by the Federal Circuit can also be viewed substantively through the controversy over software patents. Throughout the 1960s, the USPTO refused to award patents for software innovations. However, several of the USPTO’s decisions were overruled by the patent-friendly U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, which ordered that software patents be granted. In Gottschalk v. Benson (1972) and Parker v. Flook (1978), the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Court of Customs and Patent Appeals, holding that mathematical algorithms (and therefore software) were not patentable subject matter. In 1981, in Diamond v. Diehr, the Supreme Court upheld a software patent on the grounds that the patent in question involved a physical process—the patent was issued for software used in the molding of rubber. While affirming their prior ruling that mathematical formulas are not patentable in the abstract, the Court held that an otherwise patentable invention did not become unpatentable simply because it utilized a computer.
  • In the hands of the newly established Federal Circuit, however, this small scope for software patents in precedent was sufficient to open the floodgates. In a series of decisions culminating in State Street Bank v. Signature Financial Group (1998), the Federal Circuit broadened the criteria for patentability of software and business methods substantially, allowing protection as long as the innovation “produces a useful, concrete and tangible result.” That broadened criteria led to an explosion of low-quality software patents, from Amazon’s 1-Click checkout system to Twitter’s pull-to-refresh feature on smartphones. The GAO estimates that more than half of all patents granted in recent years are software-related. Meanwhile, the Supreme Court continues to hold, as in Parker v. Flook, that computer software algorithms are not patentable, and has begun to push back against the Federal Circuit. In Bilski v. Kappos (2010), the Supreme Court once again held that abstract ideas are not patentable, and in Alice v. CLS (2014), it ruled that simply applying an abstract idea on a computer does not suffice to make the idea patent-eligible. It still is not clear what portion of existing software patents Alice invalidates, but it could be a significant one.
  • Supreme Court justices also recognize the Federal Circuit’s insubordination. In oral arguments in Carlsbad Technology v. HIF Bio (2009), Chief Justice John Roberts joked openly about it:
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  • The Opportunity of the Commons
  • As a result of the Federal Circuit’s pro-patent jurisprudence, our economy has been flooded with patents that would otherwise not have been granted. If more patents meant more innovation, then we would now be witnessing a spectacular economic boom. Instead, we have been living through what Tyler Cowen has called a Great Stagnation. The fact that patents have increased while growth has not is known in the literature as the “patent puzzle.” As Michele Boldrin and David Levine put it, “there is no empirical evidence that [patents] serve to increase innovation and productivity, unless productivity is identified with the number of patents awarded—which, as evidence shows, has no correlation with measured productivity.”
  • While more patents have not resulted in faster economic growth, they have resulted in more patent lawsuits.
  • Software patents have characteristics that make them particularly susceptible to litigation. Unlike, say, chemical patents, software patents are plagued by a problem of description. How does one describe a software innovation in such a way that anyone searching for it will easily find it? As Christina Mulligan and Tim Lee demonstrate, chemical formulas are indexable, meaning that as the number of chemical patents grow, it will still be easy to determine if a molecule has been patented. Since software innovations are not indexable, they estimate that “patent clearance by all firms would require many times more hours of legal research than all patent lawyers in the United States can bill in a year. The result has been an explosion of patent litigation.” Software and business method patents, estimate James Bessen and Michael Meurer, are 2 and 7 times more likely to be litigated than other patents, respectively (4 and 13 times more likely than chemical patents).
  • Software patents make excellent material for predatory litigation brought by what are often called “patent trolls.”
  • Trolls use asymmetries in the rules of litigation to legally extort millions of dollars from innocent parties. For example, one patent troll, Innovatio IP Ventures, LLP, acquired patents that implicated Wi-Fi. In 2011, it started sending demand letters to coffee shops and hotels that offered wireless Internet access, offering to settle for $2,500 per location. This amount was far in excess of the 9.56 cents per device that Innovatio was entitled to under the “Fair, Reasonable, and Non-Discriminatory” licensing promises attached to their portfolio, but it was also much less than the cost of trial, and therefore it was rational for firms to pay. Cisco stepped in and spent $13 million in legal fees on the case, and settled on behalf of their customers for 3.2 cents per device. Other manufacturers had already licensed Innovatio’s portfolio, but that didn’t stop their customers from being targeted by demand letters.
  • Litigation cost asymmetries are magnified by the fact that most patent trolls are nonpracticing entities. This means that when patent infringement trials get to the discovery phase, they will cost the troll very little—a firm that does not operate a business has very few records to produce.
  • But discovery can cost a medium or large company millions of dollars. Using an event study methodology, James Bessen and coauthors find that infringement lawsuits by nonpracticing entities cost publicly traded companies $83 billion per year in stock market capitalization, while plaintiffs gain less than 10 percent of that amount.
  • Software patents also reduce innovation in virtue of their cumulative nature and the fact that many of them are frequently inputs into a single product. Law professor Michael Heller coined the phrase “tragedy of the anticommons” to refer to a situation that mirrors the well-understood “tragedy of the commons.” Whereas in a commons, multiple parties have the right to use a resource but not to exclude others, in an anticommons, multiple parties have the right to exclude others, and no one is therefore able to make effective use of the resource. The tragedy of the commons results in overuse of the resource; the tragedy of the anticommons results in underuse.
  • In order to cope with the tragedy of the anticommons, we should carefully investigate the opportunity of  the commons. The late Nobelist Elinor Ostrom made a career of studying how communities manage shared resources without property rights. With appropriate self-governance institutions, Ostrom found again and again that a commons does not inevitably lead to tragedy—indeed, open access to shared resources can provide collective benefits that are not available under other forms of property management.
  • This suggests that—litigation costs aside—patent law could be reducing the stock of ideas rather than expanding it at current margins.
  • Advocates of extensive patent protection frequently treat the commons as a kind of wasteland. But considering the problems in our patent system, it is worth looking again at the role of well-tailored limits to property rights in some contexts. Just as we all benefit from real property rights that no longer extend to the highest heavens, we would also benefit if the scope of patent protection were more narrowly drawn.
  • Reforming the Patent System
  • This analysis raises some obvious possibilities for reforming the patent system. Diane Wood, Chief Judge of the 7th Circuit, has proposed ending the Federal Circuit’s exclusive jurisdiction over patent appeals—instead, the Federal Circuit could share jurisdiction with the other circuit courts. While this is a constructive suggestion, it still leaves the door open to the Federal Circuit playing “a leading role in shaping patent law,” which is the reason for its capture by patent interests. It would be better instead simply to abolish the Federal Circuit and return to the pre-1982 system, in which patents received no special treatment in appeals. This leaves open the possibility of circuit splits, which the creation of the Federal Circuit was designed to mitigate, but there are worse problems than circuit splits, and we now have them.
  • Another helpful reform would be for Congress to limit the scope of patentable subject matter via statute. New Zealand has done just that, declaring that software is “not an invention” to get around WTO obligations to respect intellectual property. Congress should do the same with respect to both software and business methods.
  • Finally, even if the above reforms were adopted, there would still be a need to address the asymmetries in patent litigation that result in predatory “troll” lawsuits. While the holding in Alice v. CLS arguably makes a wide swath of patents invalid, those patents could still be used in troll lawsuits because a ruling of invalidity for each individual patent might not occur until late in a trial. Current legislation in Congress addresses this class of problem by mandating disclosures, shifting fees in the case of spurious lawsuits, and enabling a review of the patent’s validity before a trial commences.
  • What matters for prosperity is not just property rights in the abstract, but good property-defining institutions. Without reform, our patent system will continue to favor special interests and forestall economic growth.
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    "Libertarians intuitively understand the case for patents: just as other property rights internalize the social benefits of improvements to land, automobile maintenance, or business investment, patents incentivize the creation of new inventions, which might otherwise be undersupplied. So far, so good. But it is important to recognize that the laws that govern property, intellectual or otherwise, do not arise out of thin air. Rather, our political institutions, with all their virtues and foibles, determine the contours of property-the exact bundle of rights that property holders possess, their extent, and their limitations. Outlining efficient property laws is not a trivial problem. The optimal contours of property are neither immutable nor knowable a priori. For example, in 1946, the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the age-old common law doctrine that extended real property rights to the heavens without limit. The advent of air travel made such extensive property rights no longer practicable-airlines would have had to cobble together a patchwork of easements, acre by acre, for every corridor through which they flew, and they would have opened themselves up to lawsuits every time their planes deviated from the expected path. The Court rightly abridged property rights in light of these empirical realities. In defining the limits of patent rights, our political institutions have gotten an analogous question badly wrong. A single, politically captured circuit court with exclusive jurisdiction over patent appeals has consistently expanded the scope of patentable subject matter. This expansion has resulted in an explosion of both patents and patent litigation, with destructive consequences. "
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    I added a comment to the page's article. Patents are antithetical to the precepts of Libertarianism and do not involve Natural Law rights. But I agree with the author that the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit should be abolished. It's a failed experiment.
Paul Merrell

WikiLeaks' Julian Assange warns: Google is not what it seems - 0 views

  • Back in 2011, Julian Assange met up with Eric Schmidt for an interview that he considers the best he’s ever given. That doesn’t change, however, the opinion he now has about Schmidt and the company he represents, Google.In fact, the WikiLeaks leader doesn’t believe in the famous “Don’t Be Evil” mantra that Google has been preaching for years.Assange thinks both Schmidt and Google are at the exact opposite spectrum.“Nobody wants to acknowledge that Google has grown big and bad. But it has. Schmidt’s tenure as CEO saw Google integrate with the shadiest of US power structures as it expanded into a geographically invasive megacorporation. But Google has always been comfortable with this proximity,” Assange writes in an opinion piece for Newsweek.
  • “Long before company founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin hired Schmidt in 2001, their initial research upon which Google was based had been partly funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). And even as Schmidt’s Google developed an image as the overly friendly giant of global tech, it was building a close relationship with the intelligence community,” Assange continues.Throughout the lengthy article, Assange goes on to explain how the 2011 meeting came to be and talks about the people the Google executive chairman brought along - Lisa Shields, then vice president of the Council on Foreign Relationship, Jared Cohen, who would later become the director of Google Ideas, and Scott Malcomson, the book’s editor, who would later become the speechwriter and principal advisor to Susan Rice.“At this point, the delegation was one part Google, three parts US foreign-policy establishment, but I was still none the wiser.” Assange goes on to explain the work Cohen was doing for the government prior to his appointment at Google and just how Schmidt himself plays a bigger role than previously thought.In fact, he says that his original image of Schmidt, as a politically unambitious Silicon Valley engineer, “a relic of the good old days of computer science graduate culture on the West Coast,” was wrong.
  • However, Assange concedes that that is not the sort of person who attends Bilderberg conferences, who regularly visits the White House, and who delivers speeches at the Davos Economic Forum.He claims that Schmidt’s emergence as Google’s “foreign minister” did not come out of nowhere, but it was “presaged by years of assimilation within US establishment networks of reputation and influence.” Assange makes further accusations that, well before Prism had even been dreamed of, the NSA was already systematically violating the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act under its director at the time, Michael Hayden. He states, however, that during the same period, namely around 2003, Google was accepting NSA money to provide the agency with search tools for its rapidly-growing database of information.Assange continues by saying that in 2008, Google helped launch the NGA spy satellite, the GeoEye-1, into space and that the search giant shares the photographs from the satellite with the US military and intelligence communities. Later on, 2010, after the Chinese government was accused of hacking Google, the company entered into a “formal information-share” relationship with the NSA, which would allow the NSA’s experts to evaluate the vulnerabilities in Google’s hardware and software.
  • ...1 more annotation...
  • “Around the same time, Google was becoming involved in a program known as the “Enduring Security Framework” (ESF), which entailed the sharing of information between Silicon Valley tech companies and Pentagon-affiliated agencies at network speed.’’Emails obtained in 2014 under Freedom of Information requests show Schmidt and his fellow Googler Sergey Brin corresponding on first-name terms with NSA chief General Keith Alexander about ESF,” Assange writes.Assange seems to have a lot of backing to his statements, providing links left and right, which people can go check on their own.
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    The "opinion piece for Newsweek" is an excerpt from Assange's new book, When Google met Wikileaks.  The chapter is well worth the read. http://www.newsweek.com/assange-google-not-what-it-seems-279447
Gary Edwards

Apple's extensions: Good or bad for the open web? | Fyrdility - 0 views

  •  
    Fyrdility asks the question; when it comes to the future of the Open Web, is Apple worse than Microsoft? He laments the fact that Apple pushes forward with innovations that have yet to be discussed by the great Web community. Yes, they faithfully submit these extensions and innovations back to the W3C as open standards proposals, but there is no waiting around for discussion or judgement. Apple is on a mission.

    IMHO, what Apple and the WebKit community do is not that much different from the way GPL based open source communities work, except that Apple works without the GPL guarantee. The WebKit innovations and extensions are similar to GPL forks in the shared source code; done in the open, contributed back to the community, with the community responsible for interoperability going forward.

    There are good forks and there are not so good forks. But it's not always a technology-engineering discussion that drives interop. sometimes it's marketshare and user uptake that carry the day. And indeed, this is very much the case with Apple and the WebKit community. The edge of the Web belongs to WebKit and the iPhone. The "forks" to the Open Web source code are going to weigh heavy on concerns for interop with the greater Web.

    One thing Fyrdility fails to recognize is the importance of the ACiD3 test to future interop. Discussion is important, but nothing beats the leveling effect of broadly measuring innovation for interop - and doing so without crippling innovation.

    "......Apple is heavily involved in the W3C and WHATWG, where they help define specifications. They are also well-known for implementing many unofficial CSS extensions, which are subsequently submitted for standardization. However, Apple is also known for preventing its representatives from participating in panels such as the annual Browser Wars panels at SXSW, which expresses a much less cooperative position...."
Gary Edwards

Design for Developers: Interactivity, animations, and AJAX - 0 views

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    Awesome commentary in the must read category. JC nails it; starting with "layout"! ....... "We were both part of the same team and he was creating some UI elements that I was to wire up. As I sat there (in awe) watching him work I realized that much of his considerable skill was rooted in fundamentals not unlike the art of programming. Of course, there are design skills that are intuitive that can't be "learned." But, that can also be said of the logical clarity found in a really elegant data model or a brilliant inheritance tree. I am certainly no designer, but I have observed the more creative among us for several years and have gained some insight into their world. In this article I'll share some basic principles that can help raise your design acumen and improve the experience of your users...... " Layout I'd like to attack my goal of imparting design wisdom by breaking the topic into four buckets. The first is layout.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Linux Security Guide (extended version) - Linux Audit - 0 views

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    "With so many articles about Linux security on the internet, you may feel overwhelmed by how to properly secure your Linux systems. With this guide, we walk through different steps, tools, and resources. The main goal is to have you make an educated choice on what security defenses to implement on Linux. For this reason, this article won't show any specific configuration values, as it would implicate a possible best value. Instead, related articles and resources will be available in the text. The goal is to make this guide into a go-to article for when you need to secure your Linux installation. If you like this article, help others and share it on your favorite social media channels. Got feedback? Use the comments at the bottom. This document in work in progress and last updated in September 2016"
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