Thursday, 30 August 2012 11:35

Copyright, Patent, and Trademark Laws Are Being Abused Every Day to Stifle Competition and Maintain Control

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The system of Copyright, Patents and Trademarks has a long history in the US and around the world. Originally the system was developed to protect the individual inventor or artists. It allows them to benefit from their work or inventions for a limited period of time as a form of compensation for bringing a new technology or art to the world. This system worked very well when it was individuals who were seeking the protection. Patent laws at the time also required that the inventor be able to demonstrate their inventions before the patents were granted.

With the rise of corporations around the world the laws started to shift. Instead of protecting the individual artist or inventor the laws were altered to protect the corporations that had many inventors and in order to ensure market dominance. It was because of these shifts in laws and the way corporations “compete” that many of our existing Anti-Trust laws were made. Still this has not prevented companies from pushing the limits of these laws and in cases where they cannot work inside the law; they simply push money into lobbying to have the laws and regulations changed to suit their wants and needs.

Now Copyright, Patent and Trademark laws are so skewed towards corporations (or anyone that has the money to maintain a pack of lawyers) that it is almost impossible to wade through them. The US Patent & Trademark Office has continued to be an understaffed, under qualified and underpaid work force almost by design. Instead of validating the patents submitted (as their charter says they are supposed to) they do very little to confirm the legitimacy of these patents and allow for litigation to settle the matter. This no longer protects inventors at all, but as we mentioned favors the guy with the most aggressive or convincing pack of lawyers. The attitude has brought about the age of the patent troll and worse it helps companies maintain “legal” monopolies. We have watched as companies change the wording on their patents just enough to get by and then sue everyone to make sure they maintain dominance. Patents are also being used in situations where it is illegal to use Copyright such as a UI. It has gotten so bad that some are asking for a complete overhaul of the patent system and a review of all patents granted in the last decade or so.

As bad as Patents have gotten, Copyright is worse; there are groups of companies that have banned together to create cartels for the protection of their business model. The MPAA, RIAA, BSA, and more all fit the text book definition of a cartel according to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, but since their members make up some of the most politically active companies on the planet there is little chance that the US DoJ will ever look their way. In the case of the MPAA and RIAA many members of the US Government have come from their ranks. Many call it the revolving door of employment.  The connection between the MPAA, RIAA and the US government is possibly one of the most unethical links that I have seen in a very long time.

The link has been effective for them though, after all who has not “called in a favor” from a friend? This is what the MPAA and RIAA have done on numerous occasions. They have asked the FBI, Homeland Security, and the US DoJ to attack and take down sites to kill off the competition (sounds like the patent war…). Recently in at least two instances the request for the actual takedown did not have ANY evidence to back it up making the US law enforcement agencies involved look rather stupid in the end. We are talking about Dajaz1 and Rojadirecta. Both of these groups fought back against the seizure of their domain by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) and won. With Dajaz1 ICE held out until they realized that the people that wanted them pulled offline (RIAA) had no evidence to prove their original claim. With Rojadirecta a similar thing happened, even though the MPAA tried to prove conspiracy, encouraging copyright infringement and also that they earned money from it. However Rojadirecta’s parent company was quick to point out that there was no direct infringement which is all the criminal laws cover. In both instances it appeared that the MPAA and RIAA used law enforcement in an attempt to build a criminal case where there was none.

The same thing has been done with Megaupload (criminal charges filed using civil law) and the same thing is happening with the case. As it drags out the FBI, DoJ and even the government in New Zealand are finding themselves holding a bag handed to them by the MPAA and RIAA. There was no evidence that warranted the takedown and seizure of domains and property in this case. The raid on the Dotcom mansion was executed with an illegal warrant; servers were seized without charges being filed, and worse. We also expect it to be the third case that the US will give up on as they surly know by now that they have been had by the gang at the MPAA and RIAA. All that this type of copyright enforcement does is to end up making the US look more foolish every day.

We have pointed out that this is the new tactic that the MPAA, RIAA and even the BSA are moving to. They want to try and prove criminal activity when there simply is none there.  Additionally the copyright industry is working to bypass due process again. The number of takedown requests sent to Google has increased while direct contact with the sites that are supposed to be infringing has decreased. This is because the industry now has a very powerful weapon in their hands. They can simply send a massive number of notices to Google from multiple sources and affect a site’s search traffic with Google’s new system in place.

This is one more step down the slope that the wants to move in. Remember the Copyright industry wants ISPs and other internet services to police the web for them. They now have under their partial control along with their buddies in the DoJ and Whitehouse (Remember the Executive Order that President Obama just singed). They will continue to push their agenda of control and stifling innovation in the same way that the US Patent and Trade Mark system is. Both systems are so fundamentally flawed that there might be no way to fix them especially as long as corporations are allowed to continue shove money at governments to make the laws the way they want (or simply swap staff until everyone votes the way you want them to). There is no way to spin this one and make it a good thing (although many are already trying) the US Patent, Trademark and Copyright system was created as a protection for artists and inventors; when did it become a method to allow corporations and cartels to hurt the consumer and the market?

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Read 6011 times Last modified on Friday, 31 August 2012 09:36

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