Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The UniSys GIF Patent as a Sobering Lesson to a Greedy Patent World

This is somewhat dated but still a good read on patent abuse, especially on how UniSys virtually eliminated use of the GIF format with the kind of consummate greed that we today see daily in the PC, tablet, pad, mobile phone and smartphone industries.

See Scott Kane at The Recursive ISV in Software Patents - Patently Appalling.

Owning the Value Chain is the Key to Profits in the Mobile Industry

Work for a living?
No. "OWN the value chain."

We heard that a news reporter looking for a story allegedly once asked the late millionaire playboy, talented photographer and visionary art collector Gunter Sachs, who inherited a family automobile-based fortune and married movie star Brigitte Bardot, what he was "working on" at that moment.

Sachs allegedly replied in serious humor that he was "working" on nothing, because, as he had said, "you can't earn anything "working"". And that is undoubtedly true, because we know a lot of working people who in fact earn very little, while those who earn the most do so by "not working", at least, not in the normal meaning of the term.

A modern version of Sachs might for example "do patents".

As they say at Matt Asay at The Register,
Apple and Samsung mobile monsters: 'We only eat RAW CASH'.

Also take a look at Asay's earlier writing:
Apple's patent insanity infects Silicon Valley: Patent trolls go nuclear

Intellectual Property Battles Dominated 2012 Tech World, Writes Jim Kerstetter at CNET News

For the tech world, 2012 was:

A year of patents, mobile fights, and one big IPO,
but, as written by Jim Kerstetter at CNET News,
"nothing dominated the news like the fight over intellectual property".
Kerstetter writes inter alia:
"... one story dominated them all this year: the U.S. patent system.

... why are people so upset?

... It's because we all finally know what patents mean and how easily the process can be abused.

... We saw how patents can affect the technology we use... and we didn't like it."
Read the whole thing.
It is a nicely written article on this vexing topic.

Instagram Alernatives In View of Gigantic Attempted (?) IP Rights Grab of User Photos by Facebook Subsidiary

Facebook's Instagram in its new terms of service is apparently continuing a tradition, emphasized e.g. at the Apple firm, which is to rip off gullible consumers as much as possible. Jenna Wortham has the story at the New York Times in Facebook Responds to Anger Over Proposed Instagram Change.

The fact is that Instagram changed its terms of service effective January 16, 2013, so that arguably -- based on those terms -- user photos could be used by the company free of charge for advertising purposes. Savvy users have of course raised a firestorm of protest and many are shifting to alternative services.

The result of these protests and massive user concern is that the legalese in the terms of service is allegedly to be changed so that user photos can not used by Instagram for free in their advertising, which appears to this commentator to be clearly illegal anyway, even if the terms of service would provide for it.

Such broad, blanket appropriations of rights are sham contracts imposed upon users unilaterally for one party's benefit and should not be enforceable.

One way to tell companies that this kind of theft of intellectual property will not be tolerated is to move to alternative services.

See for example Craig Kanalley at the Huffington Post in
Instagram Alternatives: 11 Photo-Sharing Apps To Consider In Light Of New Terms Of Service.

This entire debacle should alert all Internet users to the reality that commercial enterprises are out there to make money for themselves -- at USER cost. People who use the Internet should stop bowing to all the ridiculous garble and hype thrown at them by the hawkers and should become better informed about what is actually going on in the real world.

The people who run these companies are not -- as often touted by the sometimes clueless mainstream press -- heroes or even "geniuses". They are common merchants viz. traders hawking their wares for personal and company profit. Consumers should view those people accordingly. Caveat emptor.

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