I've spent all day on what I thought would be a short blog post. The MPAA wants a waiver from the FCC rule that prohibits disabling analog interfaces on the back of your TV. That sounds dangerous, but it turns out the problem is a lot more complicated than I wanted it to be! Read more about SOC: Tempest in the Back of Your TV
I’m starting to feel like the only person who thinks the Google Books settlement with authors and publishers is a good deal. One voice that seems not to be heard, however, over the din of Google competitors, panicky law professors, and regulators who wouldn’t know a workable solution to a copyright problem (created by regulators) if it bit them, is anyone speaking for consumers.
My opinion piece today on CNET (see http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-10398838-93.html?tag=mncol;title) argues that the real problem with the settlement has nothing to do with the 165-page document, which is increasingly coming to look like the sausage-making that it is. Read more about An Unpopular View of Google Books
Intel and AMD announced today that they were settling their many antitrust and patent disputes, with Intel to pay $1.25 billion and the two companies to cross-license the affected patents. Intel also agreed to “a set of undisclosed new business practrices,” as The New York Times puts it.
Let’s be clear what this agreement doesn’t do. It doesn’t erase the pending antitrust actions taken by the European Union and elsewhere against Intel, or the recently filed antitrust lawsuit filed in federal court in the U.S. by New York attorney-general Andrew Cuomo. (Recall that in May the EU fined Intel $1.45 billion, a judgment the company is appealing.) Read more about What the Intel / AMD Settlement Doesn't Mean
My view on today’s Supreme Court case regarding business method and software patents appears on Slate.com's "The Big Money." (See http://larrydownes.com/the-bilski-case-not-with-my-digital-economy-you-d...)
This case, which concerns the patentability of a paper-and-pencil system for hedging weather risks in consumer energy prices, drew over sixty friend-of-the-court briefs, more than any other case this term.
The reason has little to do with the claimed method, which almost no one (except the inventors) seem to think deserves the denied patent.
The real issue here is the deeply troubled intersection of information age inventions and the badly broken patent system. Nearly all of the briefs are concerned that a ruling from the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, if left standing by the Supreme Court, will eliminate patent protection for some if not all inventions implemented in software. Read more about The Bilski Case and the Future of Software Patents
Two recent articles with competing views of the fate of Hollywood content producers caught my attention. The first, by CNET’s Greg Sandoval, reiterates long-standing predictions that for current industry giants the Internet spells doom. “[T]he end is coming,” Sandoval concludes, “for DVDs, traditional movie rentals and yes, much of your cable money…..”
The second, from New York Times reporter Bill Carter, reported surprising results from a recent change by ratings agency Nielsen. In determining whether consumers are watching commercials and, therefore, what “rating” to assign a broadcast program, Nielsen now includes DVR views within three days of airing if commercials aren’t skipped. Read more about Hollywood: Wanted Dead or Alive