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Comment: That seems quite reasonable (Score 2) 282

by JoelKatz (#48343987) Attached to: When We Don't Like the Solution, We Deny the Problem

There's nothing inherently irrational about this. For example, if your daughter says to you, "My grades are bad and my teacher says I need to spend more time studying", you'd believe her. But if she says, "My grades are bad and my teacher says I need to stay up later", you might not. The incentive to exaggerate or misstate evidence depends on the consequences of accepting the evidence, and thus the reliability of evidence depends on its consequences as well.

Comment: Re:IRL (Score 1) 204

by JoelKatz (#48141869) Attached to: Netflix Video Speed On FiOS Doubles After Netflix-Verizon Deal

ISP customers generate very little traffic. The vast majority of the traffic "eyeball networks" like ISPs carry is generated by others. It's not the ISP, or their customer, that has control over the bandwidth usage. Companies like Google and Netflix design the products they offer and control how they use bandwidth. The end user just uses the service, generally not needing to particularly care how much bandwidth it uses. If you want rational resource consumption, the costs of the usage of the resource have to be borne by the party that can control the use of the resource.

Your benefit argument is not rational, it's just spin. Without ISPs, services like Amazon or Netflix would have nobody to serve. The assumption that traffic between service providers and end users benefits both parties roughly equally is a perfectly rational one, and it's the one Internet companies have been using to drive their peering decisions for decades.

It is perfectly rational to assume that when an AT&T customer accesses Netflix, the packets that flow between AT&T and Netflix benefit both parties equally and thus the costs to carry that traffic should be split evenly between AT&T and Netflix. AT&T cannot move their customers to make the traffic cheaper to deliver, but Netflix does place their servers precisely where it is cheapest to generate traffic. Similarly, it is a simple fact that it is cheaper to have a small number of large bandwidth endpoints than a large number of small bandwidth endpoints. Thus Netflix incurs costs on its network that are substantially lower than AT&T incurs on its network for the same traffic. This has always been the conditions that have triggered settlement-based peering.

Comment: Re:IRL (Score 1) 204

by JoelKatz (#48138477) Attached to: Netflix Video Speed On FiOS Doubles After Netflix-Verizon Deal

Right. Each party pays half the costs of the traffic. When the costs don't naturally split in half, settlement-based peering is used.

Amazon, by intentional design, places servers that generate huge amounts of traffic in places where it costs them the least possible to deliver that traffic to AT&T. Meanwhile, it is much more expensive for AT&T to deliver that traffic to their customers because they can't move just to bring traffic costs down. We presume the traffic benefits AT&T and Amazon equally, so they should each pay half the cost. So Amazon owes AT&T half the difference between what it costs Amazon to carry the outbound traffic over their network and what it costs AT&T to carry the inbound traffic over their network.

This is how the Internet has worked for decades.

Comment: Re:You can copyright maps and manuals (Score 1) 146

by JoelKatz (#48107049) Attached to: Google Takes the Fight With Oracle To the Supreme Court

This is precisely what copyright does *NOT* cover. There must be millions of equally good ways of doing the same thing, and you may protect the non-functional aspects of the one way that you creatively chose. Here, the name is purely functional -- play(soundname) is the only way to get the API to play a sound -- it is the one way to achieve a particular functional result, so it cannot be protected by copyright.

You can copyright a sentence you solely authored if it has sufficient creative expression. But you cannot enforce that copyright against someone who uses that sentence because it is the only practical way to achieve a particular functional result. If the sentence uses an API, then complying with the API is the only way to achieve the functional result desired. The purpose of APIs is to standardize the way to achieve particular results.

Comment: Re: Oracle (Score 1) 146

by JoelKatz (#48106979) Attached to: Google Takes the Fight With Oracle To the Supreme Court

Right, but the question is whether that copyright is enforceable against another implementation of that same API. For example, in Lexmark v. SCC, the Toner Loading Program was held to be copyrightable, but the copyright was not enforceable against SCC because SCC's use of the TLP was purely functional.

Something can be copyrightable but that copyright not enforceable if the use of the work is purely functional and used in a way where it is not practical to achieve the same result in any other way than using the covered work. Interoperating with implementations of the API is a functional goal, and if you *must* use the API to do that, then the API's copyright is not enforceable against those using it to achieve that functional purpose.

If you want to own every way to do achieve a particular functional result, you need a patent.

Comment: Re: Oracle (Score 1) 146

by JoelKatz (#48106941) Attached to: Google Takes the Fight With Oracle To the Supreme Court

All these things are purely functional though. Copyright doesn't protect functional aspects, you need patents for that.

Say you have two programs that work together. What you can change on each side are the creative implementation choices. What is required for them to work are the functional aspects. By "API", we specifically mean the functional parts needed for the two to work together and are specifically ignoring the implementation choices that each side can make however it wants.

Comment: Re:Spoilers (Score 1) 131

by JoelKatz (#47919597) Attached to: The FCC Net Neutrality Comment Deadline Has Arrived: What Now?

It must be nice to see the world in such black and white terms. Every business is forced to adapt to its customer's demands.

But if you care about ISP's being a monopoly, you should strongly oppose net neutrality. It makes ISPs less profitable, discouraging competition. It makes ISPs unable to distinguish themselves by requiring them to provide a uniform service, also discouraging competition.

Comment: Re:Spoilers (Score 1) 131

by JoelKatz (#47919427) Attached to: The FCC Net Neutrality Comment Deadline Has Arrived: What Now?

That's what VPNs are for. If there's a consumer demand, someone will find a way to supply it. Sure, if you don't believe that, you can justify all kinds of government intervention. Make no mistake, that's what net neutrality is -- it's a demand on behalf of those who seek low cost access to an expensive market to get the government to force others to pay their costs of reaching their market.

Comment: Re:Freeze (Score 1) 134

by JoelKatz (#47874369) Attached to: Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

Only in the vacuous sense that I know that it's because PayPal claimed that I violated their terms. To know why I was banned, what I'd need to know is what they think I did and why they think I dd it. I do not know either of these things.

I do, however, know enough to know that they are incorrect. I know for a fact that I never used that email address. I offered to provide a signed and notarized statement to that effect to PayPal, but they simply said that their decision was final.

Comment: Re:Freeze (Score 1) 134

by JoelKatz (#47864157) Attached to: Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

Your position is equivalent to saying, "anyone who says they saw a UFO is lying because there's no evidence UFOs exist".

Well, I'll tell you what I do know. They claim I had another PayPal account with a different email address. They did give me that email address (after many, many rounds of back and forth and repeatedly insisting that they couldn't reveal it for security reasons). It's not an email address I've ever used, and it's at a domain I've never used or ever had any association with.

Of course, I have no way to see the transaction history of this other PayPal account. It's entirely possible that by looking at the transaction history, it will be entirely obvious why they would want to ban the owner of that account. But why they think that's me -- I can't see how that would be obvious from looking at a transaction history.

Comment: Re:Freeze (Score 1) 134

by JoelKatz (#47863287) Attached to: Paypal Jumps Into Bitcoin With Both Feet

Another huge difference is that PayPal can freeze more than just accounts, they can freeze *people* such that they can't even create a new account. Not only does Bitcoin not have a central authority that can freeze any account, but you don't need anyone's permission to have a Bitcoin account. A number of people, including myself, have lifetime PayPal bans and PayPal won't even tell them why.

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