Monday, May 07, 2012

Should Colleges Teach the Federalist Papers? Should College Graduates Know SOMETHING About the Legal Foundations of Their Own Nation ?

At the Wall Street Journal, Peter Berkowitz analyzes
Why Colleges Don't Teach the Federalist Papers
(subscription required)
noting that:
"At America's top schools, graduates leave without reading our most basic writings on the purpose of constitutional self-government."
Most college graduates do not even know anything about the U.S. Constitution, much less the Federalist Papers. Pick a college graduate you know and ask them to write down some of the provisions of the Bill of Rights. Most have no clue.

The result of course is that we have a Congress AND state legislatures AND government offices populated by numerous people who do not really understand the essential foundations of their own country -- because they have never had to learn the basics.

You see the results.

Judge James L. Robart Serves as a Model for His Colleagues in Microsoft-Motorola Patent Licensing Case

At the Seattle Times at Microsoft Prio, technology reporter Janet I. Tu reports that Judge reserves ruling in Microsoft-Motorola case; calls both companies' legal maneuvering arrogant writing inter alia about U.S. District Court Judge James L. Robart:
"Robart also had some strong words for both parties: "The court is well aware it is being used as a pawn in a global, industry-wide business negotiation."

The conduct of both Microsoft and Motorola, he said, "has been driven by an attempt to secure commercial advantage. To an outsider looking at it, it has been arbitrary, it has been arrogant and frankly it has been based on hubris." [emphasis added by LawPundit]
This appears to be one of those rare judges who definitely has a correct understanding of what is going on in the patent wars.

The legal system is being used as a pawn,
exactly as Judge Robart describes it.

So how do we get the U.S. Congress and the United States Supreme Court to understand that fact and to put an end to government resources being used indiscriminately as pawns because of bad lawmaking and bad judging?

That is the real problem.

Oracle Tries to Copyright APIs against Google, APIs are Mechanisms by Which Software Programs Talk to Each Other: If APIs are Copyrightable, Barriers to Software Development Increase Exponentially

Stephen Shankland has an informative posting at CNET New Business Tech titled Oracle gets a chance to rewrite software law in which he discusses the legal, innovation-chilling and software development ramifications of the Oracle copyright claim to APIs against Google's use of certain APIs in Android.

As Shankland writes:
"APIs are a defined mechanism by which one program can talk to another to get something done -- everything from telling Windows to open up a new window to telling Google Maps to show where the Canary Islands are. In the Oracle case, Java programs use those APIs to call upon the services of pre-written modules called class libraries. Oracle argues that its descriptions of these APIs are copyrighted and that Google's use of them to create Android therefore is infringement; Google of course disagrees. "
Frankly, it should never have come to this woeful legal IP situation, but we have hordes of clueless in the legislatures and in the judiciary generally who have let these matters come to this inevitable juncture.

Shankland writes, inter alia, quoting some attorneys on the matter of copyrightable material:
"What is copyrightable is creative expression," said Julie Samuels, an attorney with the Electronic Freedom Foundation "What is not [copyrightable] is functional information. The programming language is not. You can't copyright a language. It's what you make of that language."

Added Bruce Wieder of the firm Dow Lohnes, "Originality is important. If there's one way to do something, then you have a real problem whether it's copyrightable."
Tell that to the legislatures and to the judges, who, by and large, don't get it.

What use would there be to develop software programs if monopolists can lay claim to the standardized communicating modules by which such software would or could communicate with other existing or future programs?


 

Oracle Google Android Intellectual Property: and the Jury Verdict is "Fuzzy Logic"

Caleb Garling writes inter alia at Wired in Google Calls for Mistrial After Jury Says Android Stole From Java

"Throughout the trial, Google had tried to poke holes in Oracle’s accusations, saying that the codes were very different from one another — Android has about 15.3 million lines; Oracle’s recent Java version has about 4.7 million — and that they were only similar in their “method signatures,” code that defines the inputs and outputs for part of a computer program. Google also presented e-mail evidence that when it built Dalvik, it went to great lengths to find engineers that wouldn’t be influenced by previous Java programming work. Out of those 15.3 million lines of Android code, Oracle could only accuse Google of copying nine."
Nine prior art lines? our of 15.3 million lines?
And Oracle is asking for $1 billion plus license fees for Android? for that?
Now that is GOOD money for very little.

No wonder the U.S. economic system is in the midst of self-destruction.
People are no longer paid for doing anything sensible.

Rather, everyone is trying to "capitalize" off of everyone else's work.
Patent trolling has become the chief occupation of many.
Doing nothing and collecting from others who are doing the work.

That is no formula for the future.

Oracle and Google Copyright Infringement and Fair Use Fiasco: The Insanity of Having Juries Deciding Intellectual Property Law Questions Affecting the World

There are five good things about the United States legal system and they all happened before the digital era came upon the world scene.

Since then, it is chaos, especially in the area of intellectual property.

CHAOS.

A good example is the just reported jury decision in the Oracle suit against Google for Android's alleged "copyright infringement" of parts of the Java programming language (acquired by Oracle from Sun in 2010), a suit which had gone to a jury for deliberation on technical and legal questions.... i.e. to people having not the slightest clue about either the law or the technology in this field.... and that jury gave a fitting result.... CHAOS.

Rachel King e.g. has the story at ZDNet, with the basic headline
Oracle wins on infringement; jury stuck on Google's fair use argument.
The case is likely to result in a mistrial.

Not only was this jury stuck.
The entire legal system in the United States is STUCK
as far as a sane treatment of intellectual property is concerned.
This case is another example of that.

At least in Europe, as we recently reported,
this kind of absurdity is less likely,
though monopolist forces are massing also here.

What is amazing about these jury trials is that judges and people who have never done any computer programming in their lives are expected to decide these important questions. In fact, they do not understand that programming is all mathematics, according to pretty cut and dried rules that all are based on modular construction via formulas and algorithms. Prior art has been building on prior art ever since someone programmed, "if n=1 then goto 2".

How can we possibly have a legal system in which clueless juries are deciding billion-dollar economic questions affecting the future of technology on our planet?

Absurdity is a good word for that.

The blind leading the blind is an understatement.

Meanwhile, the people in Congress and the United States Supreme Court are collecting their overinflated paychecks.... and one must really ask, for what?

Certainly not for coming up with viable solutions for the world's prevailing legal and juridical issues and problems.

Neat Designer Desktops at Design Milk

Spotted some neat Designer Desktops at Design Milk.

Hat tip to Rachael Vaughn.

Ancient Signs The Alphabet and the Origins of Writing: epubli Publisher Pages Now Available in English Language


The Berlin publisher -- epubli -- of my recently published book,
Ancient Signs The Alphabet and the Origins of Writing,
now has its pages up in English
for those of you who have been considering
getting a print or ebook copy of Ancient Signs.

The English-language pages are now at epubli.com
while the German-language pages are at epubli.de.

Happy reading!

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