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Comment Re:What is the basis for the suit? (Score 2, Interesting) 172

You are confusing copyright "fair use" with trademark "fair use", and trademark "fair use" with trademark rights! You are kind of all over the place. As for CR vs. TM fair use, same name, different standards. Both are a complete doctrinal minefield in terms of the case law associated with them.

Any party can "easily make an argument" for fair use, but no one, and I mean NO ONE, knows if they will prevail on that claim. The law is just too erratic and fractured in this area.

Trademark fair use requires, as Monkeedude1212 says, commentary, criticism, news reporting, and it must specifically NOT be commercial use. Slapping a logo on something and selling it, that's commercial use.

Comment Re:What is the basis for the suit? (Score 2, Informative) 172

Keep in mind Trademark rights carry an affirmative duty to police the mark. If you allow permissive, unrestricted commercial use of your marks by others, courts can later use that against you when you try and bring a legitimate trademark suit against a party that is really infringing, like making knockoff "iPud" music players or something.

So, what is the test to determine what a company needs to vigorously police against, versus what is non-infringing use? No one really knows. This is why companies go after anyone/everyone like they do. The court may end up saying, "There's not TM issue here, everyone go home." but you can't know that before you litigate. So, it is actually perfectly rational for them to sue. Even if their claims have no merit, they have satisfied their requirement to police the mark by challenging others' uses. When the real infringement occurs, they will be able to assert their rights and win.

Comment Re:What is the basis for the suit? (Score 1) 172

There are copyright claims for the use of the Apple logo pedestal, and the tiny iPhone sculpture. Apple owns these designs and can assert rights over their use and importation. They may not prevail if the makers can show some fair use defense, but that analysis is complex and all over the place. The amount of copying done, and commercial use of the images stacks against them.

Trademark is weird. The threshold matters are whether the use would be likely to cause 'consumer confusion', and if they brought a dilution cause of action, whether there was a "blurring or tarnishing" of the brand. The fact that Apple doesn't make figurines is relevant to the likelihood of confusion, but blurring and tarnishment require no proof of that.

There is also the matter of "secondary meaning." Although Steve retains his own right of publicity, which is a separate claim he can bring, a trademark claim can be brought for the use of his likeness because his image is so entwined with the business of Apple, and has achieved a "secondary meaning" that it identifies the source of a product.

Steve could also bring a Right of Publicity suit for the commercial use of his likeness, but I'm not really sure how/why apple would bring that claim. They could certainly file suit as joint parties against the statue makers.

Also -side note- I just saw the figurine. Shit, that is one amazing SJobs statue!!! Now I want one...

Comment Re:What is the basis for the suit? (Score 1) 172

Keep in mind that the balance between right of publicity and 1st amendment rights is still very fuzzy. Some courts apply a "transformative" (Saderup, Cardtoons) test borrowed from copyright, under which parodical uses can be allowed. Some courts use a trademark-like "invokes the idea of the person in the minds of the consumers" (Midler, White) under which even radically altered images would still infringe the right.

Comment People don't need the math they've learned... (Score 1) 1153

But they also haven't learned the math they need!

Some have already listed here the utility of probability and statistics, and I would add to that simple and compound interest.

Most people don't need to know how to "solve for x" in the Algebra I & II sense, nor do they need trigonometry, or basic newtonian mechanics and elementary calculus. But pretty much everyone needs to know how their savings account works, how insurance premiums and risk (on a basic level) are calculated, how slot machines and the lottery work, how to save for retirement, whether the maintenance plan on their car was worth it, and enough arithmetic to save money on their groceries.

Comment Re:It's the battery, st00p1d (Score 1) 354

I know you're thinking that your economy of scale from identical housings will bring the price of batteries down, but right now, a battery like you're describing (that drives you as far as a tank of gas), like the one in the Tesla Roadster costs $30,000. Well, that price is from last year, so let's say they're $25,000 to produce right now, and your standardization brings the cost down to $20,000. Oh, and this battery weighs 900 lbs, that's right, as much as 5-6 adult humans in weight. So, the "garage" needs to keep millions of dollars of inventory, along with some giant robot that can swap the battery, and car engineers need to build a *MODULAR* system into every car that allows for a 900 lb power source to be safely swapped out about once a week in a matter of minutes, then driven away at highway speeds. We're not screwing in lightbulbs here, we're talking about routinely removing and replacing about 1/4 of the total mass of your car. If that doesn't seem like a daunting engineering feat by itself, you're just not thinking about it hard enough.

Comment Re:Toyota keeps solving this problem.... (Score 1) 354

Where are you getting this $8000 figure? Here's a paragraph from Toyota's website from about 18 months ago:

And you also should know that the battery packs are available from any Toyota dealer. The MSRP for a battery pack for a first-generation Prius is $2,299, while the MSRP for the battery pack for the second-generation cars, those from the 2004-2008 model-years, is $2,588. This reflects three price reductions for the first-generation battery since it was introduced and two price reductions for the second-generation battery. Naturally, labor charges, which are set by each dealer, as well as possible charges from ancillary parts that could be required, should be added to that figure. Finally, we assume responsibility for recycling all of our hybrid batteries.

The prices are much lower than you think, and they keep going down over time. Installation is still bitchy expensive, tho'. Battery technology keeps getting better and cheaper, and the actual cell units in these batteries have got to be some standard industrial NiMH/Li-ion part in a proprietary packaging, so they will benefit from the same economies of scale as the rest of the industry, save their proprietary packaging (i.e. not the bulk of the cost of production).

Comment Re:The truth about caffeine (Score 2, Informative) 506

When I finished finals this semester, I cut caffeine entirely from my diet to try and get back to a normal consumption level. During finals, I was consuming ~500 mg of caffeine in the form of tea, energy drinks, and caffeinated gum, mints, and pills. I tend to follow my caffeine consumption very closely.

After finals, I also developed a sore throat, so I was drinking over a gallon of liquid a day - LOTS more than normal. About 12 hours after my finals period ended, I got splitting headaches from the caffeine withdrawal, which lasted about a week. I've also gone through this cycle about a dozen times since highschool, and every other time I've cut caffeine from my diet.

Caffeine consumption causes a vasoconstriction of the blood vessels within the brain, and reduced sensitivity to adenosine. When caffeine consumption stops abruptly, it leads to headache, lethargy, and possibly nausea as a result of increased intercranial pressure and adenosine uptake. The symptoms are easily confused with dehydration, except that drinking lots of fluids not only doesn't help, it can make things worse.

Comment Re:No Way (Score 1) 276

So you're willing to use Bing a) for a fraction of your internet searches, b) for something that you've already found, and prefer to find, using Google, c) only because they are dumping money on you to do so. Your click-through feeds them some fraction of a penny, while they are paying 5% or more of whatever you just purchased for the privilege of helping you find it. Assuming you bought something even modestly substantial, say $100, they're paying out 100:1 of their revenues BEFORE you consider all the resources they poured into making this search engine, making it beautiful, advertising on TV, etc. etc. etc.

I'm not saying they can't turn a profit some day, but on paper, Bing looks like a disaster, and your behavior only corroborates that.

The Internet

Bill Would Require Public Information To Be Online 139

Andurin writes "A bill that was introduced in the US House of Representatives last week would require all Executive Branch agencies to publish public information on the Internet in a timely fashion and in user-friendly formats. The Public Online Information Act would also establish an advisory committee to help craft Internet publication policies for the entire US government, including Congress and the Supreme Court. Citizens would have a limited, private right of action to compel the government to release public information online, though common sense exceptions (similar to those for FOIA) would remain in place."

Comment Re:How to get management to listen (Score 4, Insightful) 633

Um, exactly how much artwork work is required in a console port of a PC franchise with 'at-the-time' outdated graphics and an existing engine require?

You are also conflating last gen with current gen's artwork requirements. HD gaming has raised the bar exponentially for the number of man hours required to make state of the art graphics. Sure, a small indie game does not require 70 artists, but a game that pushes the boundaries, or at least can hang with the AAA big dogs most certainly does.

On Braid, that game may have been developed by a skeleton crew, but it still required several years of development time and a budget of around $500,000. You can say that anybody can drop what they're doing and start coding a game, but how many have the tenacity and resources to devote that much, particularly when balanced against the risk of never breaking even or losing money in the end?

Financially, indie game development is a HUGE crapshoot. Alternatively, every one of the horrendously overworked R* employees went home to their failing marriages with paycheck in hand. I'm not defending R*'s labor practices, but from a practical risk/reward analysis, they are much better off than the average indie game dev, who operates with no certainty of every having a payday. It's solving the poverty problem by installing slot machines in low-rent neighborhoods. .

Comment How does this even apply to Sony? (Score 2, Interesting) 550

He's complaining about the features of a game, which are a good, or good/service combination, using legislation that specifically targets location based attractions. If he's going after Sony because of its SonyStyle stores, then any possible equitable remedy would also apply to every store that has a game kiosk, or anything interactive at all, like the easy listening CD machine at Bed Bath and Beyond.

Personally, I really, really hope that this case is dismissed. First, for inapplicability of the statute, but more importantly so that game developers are not saddled with the additional economic burden of adding disability compliance to all games. The mechanics of a video game are not like walking up a ramp, including a braille menu, or using the bathroom. They are varied, and hinge fundamentally on a wide variety of combinations of audio and visual stimuli that cannot generally be summed in a way to make them equally accessible given some sensory impairment. There is no single, predictable means of meeting such a requirement, adding more uncontrollable variable cost to game development, leading to less ambitious titles, less experimentation among developers, less development time and resources for the core functionality of the game. Having been a software developer, a game developer, and now a legal scholar, this just seems bad, bad, bad.

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