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Comment Here's an incentive for better Patents (Score 0) 205

How about every time the courts throw out a patent, the patent office sees its budget reduced by the amount of money spent by the lawyers on both sides to get that decision made? Maybe that's just a drop-in-the-bucket, but perhaps it would make the Patent office think twice about granting clearly weak or overly-broad patents and letting the court system decide the validity of said-patent.

Comment Re:tl; dr version (Score 1) 205

Seems like the PTO might operate better if they had the budget to pay for their operations costs

Maybe. But the cynical economist in me sees danger. Bureaucracies, just like people, will act in their own best interest. if the Patent office becomes funded by their customers (the patent filers), then the Patent office has every incentive to make those customers happy so they'll come back for more, pay more fees and increase the budget of the Patent office. If the Patent office cracks down on weak or overly-broad patents, then their customers will be discouraged from filing more patents, and the Patent office will see a reduced budget. The incentives are all wrong.

Comment Re:tl; dr version (Score 3, Insightful) 205

The US Patent Trade Office FINALLY gets to keep the fees it collects..

Sounds like a disaster in-making to me. What if the Sheriff's office got to keep all the funds that it confiscated? No doubt there'd be a lot more arrests and confiscated funds. Same with the patent office. The Patent office will just issue more and more and more patents as it's now in their best interest. "Come one, come all, file your patents, On sale this week only!"

Comment Re:Place the bill in context of the current statut (Score 2) 239

That's the intent of the law. But what if Susie's mother embeds that movie on her own web page for all her friends to see? And what if Susie's mom has a few Google Ads on that web page (private financial gain)? And then, for whatever reason that these things happen, Susie's cute video goes viral, Mom's web page gets hundreds of thousands of hits, and those ads get clicked on generating a few thousand dollars? Well guess what? Mom is now a potential felon.

Comment Techdirt discussion of the issue (Score 1) 239

There's a good discussion of the issue below. As usual, the broad language of a bill like this creates the possibility of many unintended consequences. Here's my comment from that discussion:

OK, say a mother is recording her kid's fifth birthday party along with the whole gang singing "Happy Birthday to You!". A mishap occurs that makes it particularly funny, so the uploaded YouTube video goes viral and her personal web page with the embedded movie gets a lot of hits and ad impressions.

Doesn't sound too far-fetched huh? Oops, the song "Happy Birthday to You" is under copyright protection. Looks like Momma is heading to the Big House for a five-year stint. Don't worry, she'll be out just in time for junior's 10th!

200 Students Admit Cheating After Professor's Online Rant 693

Over 200 University of Central Florida students admitted to cheating on a midterm exam after their professor figured out at least a third of his class had cheated. In a lecture posted on YouTube, Professor Richard Quinn told the students that he had done a statistical analysis of the grades and was using other methods to identify the cheats, but instead of turning the list over to the university authorities he offered the following deal: "I don't want to have to explain to your parents why you didn't graduate, so I went to the Dean and I made a deal. The deal is you can either wait it out and hope that we don't identify you, or you can identify yourself to your lab instructor and you can complete the rest of the course and the grade you get in the course is the grade you earned in the course."

NASA's Space Balloon Smashes Car In Australia 174

Humunculus writes "Of more worldly issues, NASA's latest multimillion-dollar stratosphere-bound balloon launch has gone horribly wrong and crashed into a car, turning it over and narrowly missing two elderly people who were observing the launch. The payload fared worse, reportedly being smashed into a 'thousand pieces.'"

Comcast Awarded the Golden Poo Award 286

ISoldat53 writes "The Consumerist has awarded Comcast the Golden Poo award for the worst company in America. From the article: 'After four rounds of bloody battle against some of the most publicly reviled businesses in America, Comcast can now run up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and hold its hands high in victory — it has bested everyone else to earn the title of Worst Company In America for 2010.'"

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