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Comment Re:HTML is a container (Score 1) 224

I see your point, as you design HTML (or whatever generates the HTML server side), images, and scripts as one whole product. The page works consistently, and if something needs fixed, it could be in the page, or css, or image, or script. It is a whole as a product, as a creation, as a science or useful art.

What happens is this - a user grabs your free distribution, and bundles a zip file you can unzip and overwrite the original files with a new theme. As you said, bundling files in one zip does not make everything GPL.

Your images are not being modified, your code is not modified, and only the on-disk version of your distribution is modified. That is not a derivative work. The end result is not as you intended, and your bug fixes may break the theme. But you have no responsibility to ensure patches are compatible with third parties. And you are providing something that end users can modify, if they like, as long as they follow the license terms.

If you are drawing from a database that the users can change, your output is not always going to match what you coded. The resulting HTML contains both your contributions, and the users' content modifications. So the HTML container that gets sent to a browser, along with the dynamic content, CANNOT be considered covered by the GPL unless you only serve static HTML that the user never changes.

In other words, I can understand the "work as a whole" argument. But the license, and the law, and everything except peoples' individual philosophies say this is legit.

The FSF has a philosophy about freedom, which includes the freedom to replace CSS, JS, and images, with drop-in replacements. This is consistent. If the user can change text that gets served up, why can't they change an image which gets served up?

You are right, HTML is a container. And the zip file example is a great one, because inclusion does not make something GPL licensed just because everything else is. It could make it unclear what is covered, unless you put the extra files in a non-free section of the zip or otherwise demarcate the two. Why is HTML a special container that makes everything in it covered by the GPL, when a ZIP does not behave that way, and you explicitly coded the HTML content to be dynamic?

Comment Re:No, it's not. (Score 1) 224

I don't think you understand. "don't develop code for them" is not possible when your product is a website, which uses separate files for script, images, and styling. It is not embedded, and the images can be replaced with ones that have the same name, and possibly dimensions, without changing one bit of your code.

The scripts can be replaced with others of the same name. Unless you are using inline styles, your CSS can be replaced, all without violating any copyright.

Just download this package, unzip it over your existing install, and enjoy, after paying me money.

That was my point, but I'll continue beating this horse a bit more.

This is the core of the whole issue here. Firefox can't be distributed with alterations, so you get the proprietary parts, including the name, replaced with IceWeasel. Mozilla doesn't have a legal claim other than stop using our proprietary name. For a Joomla or WordPress theme, they don't have that protection, because you have a theme *for* the website outside of the GPL protected bits, and the rest of the package is still legally GPL compliant.

You chose to develop for a platform where you don't have a choice. WordPress has chosen to restrict what people can do in places where WordPress does have control, but it's not in whether to develop a split licensed model.

Comment Re:This is what happens (Score 2) 224

If I make free software that looks terrible, and someone else pretties it up, complies with the terms of the license, and manages to sell a product, good for them.

This is really no different from the debates around proprietary blobs in open source. Some people want freedom as a matter of principle. Some people want it for simplicity, so that you know any drop-in replacement is distributable.

And of course there are those who simply don't want to keep track of who has which rights - and let's not forget those who post code with no license, thinking it is public domain.

I don't see a problem here. Especially when someone can take a free thing and add enough value to it, without writing code, that people are willing to buy a free product.

WordPress has decided to enforce their philosophy by restricting people who contribute a product that, some can argue, enhances WordPress. And restrict them from interacting with the WordPress community. That is a difficult situation, to restrict contributors because what they contribute isn't free.

If these people are only selling interoperable components, WordPress would have no teeth, and could only object in text. But the only power they have is to restrict outside interactions, which may boost popularity or use of their products.

Joomla actively welcomes outside sellers, going on the other side of the fence. I think the point is, if Joomla is apparently okay with it, why do you take the position that Joomla is wrong?

Comment Re:Wow, if you believe this guy (Score 1) 78

I missed one.

The debate of whether it was necessary to produce a product to get a patent has been thrashed out in the past. The U.S. patent office used to require inventors to send models to Washington DC before a patent would be issued. But inventions were getting more complicated, took longer to implement, and were getting more abstract. So in 1880 the U.S. patent office dropped the âoeimplementationâ requirement.

And in the age of 3D printers, offshoring, and especially software patents, you think this still applies? Wait just a moment.

perhaps a few words about history here would be of interest

Yes, I think that's appropriate.

The debate of whether it was necessary to produce a product to get a patent has been thrashed out in the past. The U.S. patent office used to require inventors to send models to Washington DC before a patent would be issued. But inventions were getting more complicated, took longer to implement, and were getting more abstract. So in 1880 the U.S. patent office dropped the âoeimplementationâ requirement.

Oh, so what if things were easier now, and implementations could be copied from a CD or DVD or flash drive or hard disk or 3D printer or CAD software or your e-mail inbox or from just about fucking anywhere? Perhaps some history is in order.


I couldn't find a better way to call this logical fallacy out, unless you just call it Anachronism. Oh wait, that's what it is, but that's not a logical fallacy. That's just inability to maintain narrative, not staying on message, or just pure mental defect.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 78

"patents are an insurance policy so that you can get your money back if your investment fails".

No, his argument is that as a patent troll he is somehow beneficial to society, while creating no products and consuming royalties.

Patents as a backup plan are relatively novel, but hardly a novelty. There was an inventor named Bill, from Maryland, in the 1980's, who worked with Moog himself and still couldn't get a product to market. Along comes a business partner with a complimentary idea, they form a partnership, and Bill, who never had any interest in owning a company, gets rich because he let someone else do all the work. Which he could have done with a normal business partnership. Had he not a patent, James could not have known the process - and now we have competitive advantage via pure invention, not patent protection.

Also, there's this guy named James Logan, who had a revolutionary idea for a whatever the fuck it was, and his backup plan was to lose $1.6 million. Somehow I don't think your interpretation really applies to most cases.

Comment Re:Sigh (Score 1) 78

You are far too forgiving. A failed hardware launch is really expensive, and a failed software launch can be anywhere from kinda expensive to a pain in the wallet.

A useless podcast would not be a product - it would either be a market failure, or a money sink. If the product fails, it is no longer a product. If it's a money sink, it's a tax on the patent holder.

Either way, it is way more harmful than the "negligible product" he thinks he will market.

You have a product, but it is not available anywhere - why is that?

No one wants your product, why should I license your tech?

Do you actually have a product, or did you just create one to comply with the letter, and not the spirit, of the law?

Comment Re:Continuation Patents are one broken thing (Score 1) 78

Misunderstandings are common on both sides -

A little learning is a dangerous thing;
        Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring.

How amusing it is frequently misquoted, and often misunderstood.

It is easiest to take the side you favor, and a challenge to take the side you don't. The hardest is to take no side at all.

Comment Re:Wow, if you believe this guy (Score 2) 78

No he doesn't. You are an idiot.

the largest patent reform since the 1950â(TM)s.

Weasel words

I don't know what happened in the 50's, but if it was monumentally huge, and the American Invents Act of 2011 changed a single letter, the AIA could still be the largest since then, without being large. Here, let me show you another. I among the most intelligent and attractive people in the world, and among the richest. If I tell you my percentile in each category is 51, that sounds less impressive. You said nothing at all, and you seem like it was supposed to sway someone. Parent poster was swayed, so I guess you have that going for you. Which is good.

The issues are what purpose do patents serve and how do we best foster innovation?

Re-framing the debate

I don't remember that being the issue. The issue is patent trolls, who enforce patents solely for profit and without requiring any of the protections afforded by patents, because you do not make any products that a competitor might copy. You don't make anything at all. You are a sinkhole for the money of the American consumer who cannot afford to buy in to your scheme, a money maker for those who can, and otherwise do not and cannot promote the arts and useful sciences.

If there were no copyright laws, do you think AMC would spend $3 million on each episode of Breaking Bad? If anybody could just copy it and give the content away on the Internet why would they? Without copyright laws there would be no Mad Men, New York Times, or Call of Duty.

Rhetoric, irrelevant statistics, and false assertions

Didn't Hollywood get its start because it was out of the patent arm of Thomas Edison's Motion Picture Patents Company? Look at the IP (copyright) created by violators of IP (patent).

If there were no copyright laws, cable television would have grown because people wanted ad-free TV. Then broadcasters figured out they could get money from both ends. Cable would still have revenue, and AMC would spend money on Breaking Bad because they would get revenue from cable and satellite operators. I can pull assertions out of my ass, too, only they sound plausible.

People can watch anything they want for free right now, but it is easy and affordable to pay monthly subscriptions to watch things when they air, mostly reliably. And although the irony or discussing copyright vs. patent did not elude you, you also didn't stop to really consider what you were saying.

Would Cisco be able to afford its R&D if factories in China could copy its products and sell them here for a fraction of Ciscoâ(TM)s price? Would Microsoft be spending millions on Windows 8 if each update could be freely copied and distributed? Would GE spend money designing wind turbines if others could copy the designs at will?

Rhetorical questions, the core of rhetoric. Chinese knock-offs are commonplace, and it is almost expected that if you make electronics in Asia you will get clones, or anti-circumvention devices very quickly. Companies like Apple have been good to companies like Foxconn - and the markup on their products is high enough that they can release the next generation quickly, making more on each device. Look at the adoption rates of the latest and next to latest devices for iProducts, and compare with Android. I'll let you find your own studies to study. iProducts are almost nothing in the second generation. Cisco specifically - they bought LinkSys and the product line went to crap. They have a second-rate product line with a brand name that allows them to gather money on crap dumped to market and use it for R and D. And a devoted following for anything that runs wrt54g. So yeah, they would. Microsoft's own policy for a while was "If they are going to pirate something, it should be Windows". So yes it was and they did. And GE - what the fuck is wrong with you, I can't build a fucking turbine in my back yard. Almost no company could jump into the turbine business dead, and the ones that could have their own energy plans, or no plans in the energy space. It would be like stealing the formula to Coke - absolutely useless, since the brand name is what sells.

That I spent $1.6 million of my own money trying to realize our vision of a custom listening experience that ended up, at the end of the day, being implemented in the form of a cassette tape product, and not the digital player system we envisioned and patented.


Sorry, empathy building

You had a shit idea that was either out-sold or out-marketed or under-designed. I guess that's not "either"; that's a lot of things that could have gone wrong, and I doubt


Where the hell did you get $1.6 million? I'm supposed to feel empathy for someone who wasted $1.6 million on a doomed product? No, you're a tool. And not a useful one.

Please keep in mind, I am trying to remain as fact-based as I can, and the fact is you are a tool. Unless there are pertinent details you omitted so I'd skip the thinking and jump straight to "feel bad for the dude for spending more money than I will make, after taxes, and getting scooped".

When I left MicroTouch to start Personal Audio in 1996, we employed 500 people making touch screens in Massachusetts. Without those patents, we would never have gotten the company off the ground.

The point of the story, besides the fact that patents can play a leading role in driving innovation, is that often the inventor and the implementer are, and should be, two different people or companies. Bill had no desire to build or run a company. He retired off our royalties and went on to invent other things. Blair and I went on to build a company and an industry.

Oh, that's where you got the money. That sounds like a classic business partnership, and because you were at the beginning of this, you were able to get a marketable product out the door and into millions of doors.

Could you have come up with an exclusive contract and achieved the same goal? Sounds like yes to me. You needed each other, that just screams partnership. Or buggery, but I'm not saying that.

Why would you want a system that mandated such âoevertical integrationâ, where the inventor has to be the producer?

Framing the argument

Not re-framing. This is just framing, where you get to omit stuff you don't want to talk about. Short answer: yes, without explanation. Long answer: as long as the inventor holds a stake of the company, most people would be satisfied. You licensed something, it worked out for both parties. If Bill believed in his product, he could have skin in the game and probably come out further ahead. Or a simple profit sharing without licensing. Your example shows what is possible, but does not demonstrate what makes your situation so unique that it requires patent licensing where a non-producing company like yours holds the rights to lots of things it neither invented nor produces. You are ignoring the question.

And I'm done. I've typed enough. James Logan, the founder of Personal Audio, does not have a sound argument that stands up to the slightest scrutiny. His claims of Hollywood's success, and the TV and Video Game success that followed, are predicated on IP theft. His rhetorical questions are easily answered. His ability to frame and re-frame the question demonstrate a moving target, not one that is defensible. Security through verbosity. James Logan, the as previously self-evidenced tool, has not made an argument. He has made a plea to emotion. At every turn, he wants you to empathize, sympathize, or feel some need for something you have which - as he claims - would not exist without his world view.

I assert quite vehemently the opposite. Americans would have invented quite liberally here with or without a patent system to protect them. Prove me wrong.

Comment Re:Done us all a favor (Score 1) 629

Freedom from an abusive tyranny.

Prevention of an abusive tyranny.

Oh, you're right, the Constitution of the USA is just one big restriction on the powers of the government. That's crappy, why would we want to restrict a government in protecting its people?

Also, you have your tinfoil hat on so tight it's cutting off the oxygen.

Comment Re:This subject is shill ridden (Score 1) 436

I stopped moderating because there is no justification comment for either mods or meta-mods. Lots of comments deserved to be modded down to reduce the noise, but it would be less than obvious given the few choices whether it was a fair down-mod.

Rather than risk the meta-mod, I ended up commenting to clarify the downmod, which removed all moderation in the discussion. I had mod points at least twice a month last year, and ended up ignoring them completely.

Comment Re:Google can't control themselves (Score 3, Insightful) 129

They shut down money sinks, and are opening up potential new revenue streams. That's how business keeps moving forward. The reason for the closings and new launches is the same - profit.

They had to explain it to the users without alienating users. "Your service that you like costs us too much money and isn't popular enough to monetize" doesn't have that snazzy ring to it.

Google seems very much in control of themselves, outside of the various FTC probes they will be subjected to since they are trying to monopolize all data everywhere, as the stretch goal.

Comment Re:jesus fucking H christ!! (Score 1) 129

But this is not the government, which is for the people, by the people (the NSA's government, that is).

This is capitalist juggernaut sucking up all your data, reading your e-mails, eating your cookies and storing your wifi data so your phone knows where you are, and so does Google, so it can market intrusive ads to you. It's completely different.

Comment That's what example.com is for (Score 1) 358

There are reserved domains for just that purpose. This isn't a whoosh - this is one of those moments where you initiate direct eye contact and say, "REALLY?!"

It was an otherwise informative comment which will get down-voted, so I'll re-phrase with a word of caution.

Does the other guy have a website, and work in a different profession? If so, create your own simple page with your CV, and put a note near the top "Looking for K. Ackle of Loudmouthville, TX? Click [here]".

But be careful not to appear to be linking to someone who is simply more popular than you - so choose a brief way of implying he's just a different person, not that you constantly get messages from people trying to contact him and are annoyed by it. It's a very thin line, and your circumstances will dictate what is best to use.

Comment Re:I have never been asked about make believe (Score 1) 358

Yes. It's a thing.

Either you have not had a lot of interviews lately, or you don't seek employment by simple-minded cretins. There's this whole thing where some employers want to see your private, friends-only stuff to make sure you're not cooking meth or running a brothel. Then there's this push-back so that employers can only see what is public. So, many employers do a little searching to see if you are posting pictures of alcohol-fueled parties on weeknights.

Consider the full spectrum, from requiring social media passwords, to ignoring imaginary friends completely, and you see that leaves a lot of room in between for all manner of behaviors. Then search to see if someone has posted about that, and be enlightened.

And then because they usually check up before even calling you, you may not even know they searched to see if you have a blog with obviously incorrect advice like the kid who posted a tutorial on "tracer t" that shows all of the IP addresses of users connecting to a website. He's young, and probably learned something, so no need to further embarrass him by linking here, but you've probably seen it.

So, in addition to the two sides of the "either" statement above, there's third side - maybe you're missing the part where they don't have to ask because they already know.

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