Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is Your Favorite Football Team Infringing on a Spread Offense Patent or Copyright? The Confluence of Law and Sport Teaches Some Lessons in Patents

Freakonomics teaches us a a nice lesson about copyrights and patents and discusses Intellectual Property and Football.

YouTube Liable in Germany for Copyright Infringement by Users via Uploaded Content

At the Huffington Post see German Court Rules Against YouTube Over Copyright

University of Chicago Law Professor Makes Ineffective Arguments Against Higher Taxes

There is an old saying that it is a fool who is his or her own lawyer. The logic behind that old saw is the answer to the question of "Who among us is objective about ourselves?"

No one that I know.

That is why it is foolish to argue on one's own behalf viz-a-viz society, because we simply do not view our situation the way that the rest of the world views us. (Aside: Sigmund Freud in this regard wrote nicely about the conflict between the individual and society in Civilization and its Discontents.)

As Debra Cassens Weiss writes at the ABA Journal Law News Now in Law Prof’s Deleted Post: I’m Not ‘Super Rich’ Enough for Higher Taxes, a Chicago law professor has made the -- hard-to-believe -- judgment error of using his own high-income situation to point out -- essentially -- that personal expenses rise to match personal income and that high income earners adopt a lavish lifestyle that may find them living on the edge of what is possible for their wallet.

Some people find themselves in this situation no matter what they earn. You can always buy more real property than you can pay for -- the world is a large place. Part of the past financial crisis is exactly this problem.

That is nothing new as a matter of news. Many a rich man -- and also not so rich a man -- has wound up a pauper by squandering his assets and/or income and overextending himself by his purchases of things by no means necessities. Many people live from paycheck to paycheck, no matter what they earn.

Even a high-income earner who orders a couple of Bugatti Veyrons -- at a cost of over $1 million per car -- might have to dig a bit deeper than his pocketbook allows. High income does not equate with personal financial prudence.

But that human weakness is not the problem of the taxing authority.

The government is concerned with other matters.

As a matter of social justice, for example, for every gas-guzzling luxury car driven, how many citizens for the same money could be driving an economical low-priced car? So why allow ONE to have and NINE not to have when all TEN citizens could have?? I presume here TEN citizens all working solidly at their jobs.

Similarly, for every oversized mansion on a huge acreage occupied by one or two people, how many normal homes for families could be paid for?

SUCH are the essential questions of taxation -- they are questions of the equitable distribution of monies that are disproportionately earned only because the system is set up to enable that inequity.

There is no objective reason, for example, to permit a university law professor to earn far more than a high school, middle school, or grade school teacher. None. Each may work equally hard.

IF our system, however, is set up to permit such an earnings inequity, we can equally impose differential and progressive taxation. Frankly, that only is fair -- or better, ONLY that is fair. If society allows you to take more OUT of the pot, society can equally demand that you put more INTO the pot, otherwise, as the recent economic crisis proves, the pot can ultimately go empty.

It is also not true, as the Chicago law professor claims, that their family's biggest expense is "financing government" through taxes. It is quite the opposite. The fact is that government finances a great portion of the University of Chicago. As written by the University of Chicago at Recovery Act Funding:
"In (fiscal year) 2009, UChicago received a record $472 million in sponsored research funding from federal agencies—representing nearly 73 percent of the University's total awards."
Anyone who works at a major United States university and claims that THEY fund the government through their taxes just has the facts wrong.

Universities and their faculties and staff are one of the greatest benefactors of taxation everywhere. GOVERNMENT and BUSINESS finance the intelligensia viz. academia, not vice versa.

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