An article in Sunday's New York Times by Chris Nicholson brings home an important lesson about digital life under The Law of Disruption. When social contracts are formed, the medium is often the message.
The story involves the Second Life virtual environment. A couple met and married online through the site, and with virtual currency called Lindens, purchased and furnished an island retreat. After the husband died in real life, the wife could not continue to make maintenance payments on the island. Linden Labs, which runs Second Life, erased all of their shared digital possessions. Read more about War Correspondence: The Digital Revolution's Dangerous Turn
If you can’t beat ‘em, sue ‘em.
Earlier this week, Nokia filed suit in the U.S. to force Apple to pay royalties on Nokia patents involving cell phone technology, patents the company claims Apple is infringing with its iPhone.
As I write in The Laws of Disruption, for better or for worse (mostly for worse) litigation has become a strategic tool in the strategy arsenal of companies trying to slow down, distract, or simply stop competitors who are eating into their market share. Litigation can be a relatively inexpensive way to put a thumb on the scales of competition. (Emphasis on “relatively.”)
My analysis of the FCC’s proposed neutrality rules appears this morning on CNET.
No surprise, I think the FCC’s plan is a bad idea, and I think, more to the point, that the FCC is the wrong organization to be “saving” the open Internet. Among other crimes, as the Electronic Frontier Foundation points out, the FCC is the same regulator who has ramped up the penalties and frequency of fines for “indecent” content over the airwaves.
The FCC is also the organization that has tried repeatedly to push through, at the behest of the media industries, the notorious “broadcast flag,” which would force electronics and software companies to limit the legal use of broadcast content.
Julia Angwin’s column in The Wall Street Journal argues that identity theft is nothing but a “fear campaign.”
I also have some strong words about the overuse and abuse of the term “identity theft” in The Laws of Disruption, and have written elsewhere in this blog on the subject. But I don’t think the problem is, as Angwin writes, merely a linguistic construct “designed to get us to buy expensive services that we don’t need.”
The Federal Trade Commission has announced plans to regulate the behavior of bloggers. Unfortunately, not their terrible grammar, short attention spans or inexplicably short fuses.
Instead, the FTC announced updates to its 1980 policy regarding endorsements and testimonials, first developed to reign in the use of celebrity endorsers with no real connection or experience with products they claimed to use and adore.
The proposed changes require bloggers who recommend products or services to disclose when they have a “material connection” to the provider—that is, that they were paid to write positive reviews or given freebies to encourage them to do so. (The FTC, of course, is limited to activities in the U.S.)