Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Presidential Election Day and Voting Maps (or) How Do Trademark-Intensive Industries and Football Conferences Predict Political Allegiance

Forget everything you thought you knew about politics and Presidential voting. We reported four years ago that voting in the 2008 Presidential Election ran according to football viz. athletic conference memberships as follows:
"SEC = Southeastern Conference (except for Florida, all of the States in which SEC universities are located went to McCain)

ACC = Atlantic Coast Conference (except for the two teams in Georgia, Clemson and Georgia Tech, all of the States in which ACC universities are located went to Obama)

Big 10 = Big 10 Conference (all of the States in which Big Ten universities are located went to Obama)

Big 12 = Big 12 Conference (all of the States in which Big 12 universities are located went to McCain, except for Colorado)

Pac 10 = Pacific 10 Conference (all of the States in which Pac 10 universities are located went to Obama, except for Arizona)

Ivy League = Ivy League Conference (all of the States in which Ivy League universities are located went to Obama)"
Indeed, as a University of Nebraska undergraduate and Stanford Law School alumnus, we have not ever really been very happy about the Nebraska entry into the Big Ten, even though we have a Michigan grad in the family as well, because we think that Husker Nation is "politically" in the camp of the Big 12 -- as can be seen from the above -- and does not "belong" to the Big Ten by its views or culture.

Obama voters in 2008 represented the urban industrial core of the United States, an America of manufacturing and production of goods and services. That is why a map of trademark-intensive industries corresponds to Presidential Election voting in 2008.

McCain voters in 2008 represented what we might call rural agricultural America, that part of the United States which is predominantly involved in farming and ranching.

We do not think that much will change in 2012 because those two Americas have remained much as they were four years ago.


Election Day First Returns in New Hampshire Give Obama a Commanding Lead in 2012, But Nothing Has Really Changed From 2008

Is it all over but the shouting?
Will the nation go the way of New Hampshire's early voters?

CBS News reports from New Hampshire on the first election returns of the day that First Election Day voters, in two tiny N.H. locations, give Obama lead.

At Dixville Notch, it was 5 to 5 votes, but
at Hart's Location, which Obama won 17-10 against Senator McCain in 2008,
Obama emerged as the victor 23-9 in 2012, so that Obama has the early lead 28-14.

There were fewer votes at Dixville Notch this year than in 2008 because, as reported by Sara Young-Knox in a special to the Union Leader:
"Balsams Grand Resort remains closed for renovations, [and] there are fewer voters to cast their ballots during the voting, which this year will take place at the resort's ski lodge."
GOP sources are unfortunately twisting this story as an indication that something radical has changed in the voting at Dixville Notch from 2008, when Obama won Dixville Notch 15-6.

But that is simply a false presentation of the facts and not a very good way to begin reporting this election.

Even without the absentee ballots counted, Obama's margin in 2012 of 28-14 for Dixville Notch and Hart's Location is not much changed from the result of 32-16 in 2008, i.e. a 2 to 1 margin.  Indeed, two of the absentee ballots this year are almost assuredly Democratics, making it at least 30-14, so nothing can really be concluded from this data for this year. Not too much seems to have changed in New Hampshire, and, indeed, that in itself would have been remarkable.

Our advice to the political pundits. Keep it clean. Tell the truth.

Every vote counts. Make sure you vote.

New York Times Editorial on Imported Works and Special Copyrights Raises Issues: We Ask Whether Protective Tariffs are Gone, But Long Live Import Bans Based on Alleged Intellectual Property Rights?

We strongly disagree with a New York Times editorial on the Kirtsaeng copyright case just argued before the U.S. Supreme Court: Copyright on Imported Works - NYTimes.com.

On the one hand in the good old USA -- which touts its capitalist nature -- we have Apple suing in numerous venues to stop the import of handheld devices by competitors because of the alleged infringement of their intellectual property "rights", while in another venue, similarly, we now have the publishing industry trying to block the import of books lawfully purchased outside the country, but actually, in both cases, IP arguments are being brought to establish regional monopolies to the exclusion of imports.

Where will it end?

All of this is giving economic isolationism a new name.
We no longer protect our businesses by protective tariffs.
We just block the imports of products, period, under various legal IP guises.

We already commented on this case previously at LawPundit here:

A Landmark Case in Intellectual Property Law Coming Up at the U.S. Supreme Court: Copyrights, Property Ownership, Differential Pricing and the First Sale Doctrine in Law and Capitalism

Here is the issue involved in the case from the U.S. Supreme Court website:
DECISION BELOW: 654 F.3d 210
CERT. GRANTED 4/16/2012

This case presents the issue that recently divided this Court, 4-4, in Costco
Wholesale Corp. v. Omega, S.A., 131 S. Ct. 565 (2010). Under § 602(a)(1) of the Copyright Act, it is impermissible to import a work "without the authority of the
owner" of the copyright. But the first-sale doctrine, codified at § 109(a), allows the owner of a copy "lawfully made under this title" to sell or otherwise dispose of the copy without the copyright owner's permission.

The question presented is how these provisions apply to a copy that was
made and legally acquired abroad and then imported into the United States. Can
such a foreign-made product never be resold within the United States without the copyright owner's permission, as the Second Circuit held in this case? Can such a foreign-made product sometimes be resold within the United States without permission, but only after the owner approves an earlier sale in this country, as the Ninth Circuit held in Costco? Or can such a product always be resold without permission within the United States, so long as the copyright owner authorized the first sale abroad, as the Third Circuit has indicated?

Our view is that companies can have thousands of myriad reasons for differential pricing and that is their business in capitalism. But the courts -- funded by taxpayer money -- are not there to provide special copyright rights or other intellectual property rights to companies just because they want to make a buck or -- as they allege -- do a good deed via differential pricing. A copyright holder should have the right to sell a book at any price he or she chooses. But that's it. The copyright in that physical book has thus been rewarded and there should be zero control over the resale of that book. ZERO.

So what did the Supreme Court Justices discuss in oral argument last week?

The EFF has the transcript here and much of the discussion is hair-raising! The discussion is about statutory interpretation of Congressional legislation. WRONG. The discussion should be about interpretation of the copyright provision of the U.S. Constitution!

No one is forcing copyright holders to sell their books at different prices -- it is THEIR DECISION -- and they must take the consequences for their decision not to sell their wares at uniform prices throughout the world.

This is a Constitutional case -- it is NOT a Congressional legislation statutory construction case. Stupidly drafted legislation by Congress does not negate the clear wording of the U.S. Constitution.

We would ask the Supreme Court to tell us what Constitutional provision permits Congress or the Supreme Court to act as a handmaiden to promote market segmentation by copyright holders, or, for that matter, to act as a handmaiden for any other marketing or advertising measure employed under the guise of copyright rights? The Constitution prohibits unlawful copying! It says NOTHING about enabling various forms of selling by copyright holders.

Obviously, copyright holders have the right to segment the market any way they want -- but they should in no way be able to enforce that segmentation via courts, indeed, by violating the first sale doctrine for lawfully purchased products.

Sold should be sold. The world consists of diverse markets. Tough. That is the problem of capitalism and it has always been one of the hallmarks of the hawking of wares -- one price here, another price there -- it is not a problem of copyrights. PRICING is outside the realm of copyrights. Totally outside it.

I am an on-demand author and publisher myself and I am faced with the pricing problem ALL the time, since I have but ONE online price for any particular version of my books worldwide -- to keep it simple. Just look in the left column of this blog.

Just imagine if I and every other on-demand author made special differential pricing for each book by country or region and could then dictate prices downstream depending on where any given book is manufactured, sold and resold.

Now that would be copyright chaos supreme!

Companies such as Apple -- or book publishers printing their books cheaply overseas -- want to be able to utilize virtual low-pay slave labor to make their products overseas -- HEY, THAT IS ALL RIGHT (they claim, because it is to THEIR advantage), but if they set a price in the USA at 100 times their cost for those cheaply made products -- all these companies in one way or another are then asking the courts to guarantee those absurd margins by prohibiting the import of cheaper lawfully made and/or lawfully sold comparables or similar products having lower prices -- allegedly because of "market segmentation", but in reality because of "exploitation".

Kirtsaeng as a case has only arisen because the consumer is being ripped off mercilessly by the exploiting companies, while the legislatures and courts are gullibly approving that exploitation.

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