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Intellectual Property - related to "eating in theatres&
Posted: 19 July 2006 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Has anyone else noticed how horribly contrived poperty law has become?

It’s become so bad, that when I go to the stadium to watch a football game, it’s considered stealing for me to call my brother at home to tell him the score. The NFL claims that it owns exclusive rights to all such information, including the score of the game. I guess by sharing this information I am ‘robbing’ the NFL of its opportunity to make money by selling it.

As I said in the other post, just because there exists the possibility that you can make money off of something, doesn’t mean that you have the right to make money off of it.

As I understand it, copyright laws were created as a compromise between public and private interests for the explicite purpose of [i:c2ee0ebdf5]increasing[/i:c2ee0ebdf5] the sharing of information . . . not reducing it. The idea is to provide creators [i:c2ee0ebdf5]just as much incentive as necessary[/i:c2ee0ebdf5] to encourage the creation and distribution of creative works and informaiton. Nowadays, the orginal creator of information is dead and gone long before the copyright expires . . . if indeed it ever does expire.

Now, not only are industry intellectual property owning powerhouses arguing the case that because there exists the [i:c2ee0ebdf5]possibility[/i:c2ee0ebdf5] they can make money off of something, they have the right to that money, they are using the government to contrive laws that create or perpetuate those possibilities. Anyone in favor of capitalism and free markets, should be very wary of the changes in IP law that have occured over the past decade. 

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Posted: 19 July 2006 10:07 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Intellectual Property - related to "eating in theatres&

Has anyone else noticed how horribly contrived poperty law has become?

It’s become so bad, that when I go to the stadium to watch a football game, it’s considered stealing for me to call my brother at home to tell him the score. The NFL claims that it owns exclusive rights to all such information, including the score of the game. I guess by sharing this information I am ‘robbing’ the NFL of its opportunity to make money by selling it.

As I said in the other post, just because there exists the possibility that you can make money off of something, doesn’t mean that you have the right to make money off of it.

As I understand it, copyright laws were created as a compromise between public and private interests for the explicite purpose of increasing the sharing of information . . . not reducing it. The idea is to provide creators just as much incentive as necessary to encourage the creation and distribution of creative works and informaiton. Nowadays, the orginal creator of information is dead and gone long before the copyright expires . . . if indeed it ever does expire.

Now, not only are industry intellectual property owning powerhouses arguing the case that because there exists the possibility they can make money off of something, they have the right to that money, they are using the government to contrive laws that create or perpetuate those possibilities. Anyone in favor of capitalism and free markets, should be very wary of the changes in IP law that have occured over the past decade. 

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Posted: 19 July 2006 10:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Re: Intellectual Property - related to "eating in theat

[quote author=“Riley”]It’s become so bad, that when I go to the stadium to watch a football game, it’s considered stealing for me to call my brother at home to tell him the score. The NFL claims that it owns exclusive rights to all such information, includin the score of the game. I guess by sharing this information I am ‘robbing’ the NFL of its opportunity to make money by selling it.—

Is this really true? It sounds like an urban myth.

If it is true, it’s heinous.

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Posted: 19 July 2006 12:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I understand this to be a common policy among all the major sports, just like “no outside food” policies.

In 1996, there was an attempt made to not only own copyright of the live stats, but historical ones as well:

[quote author=“James Love”]According to the proposed treaty (and legislation introduced in the 104th Congress to implement the treaty), the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB will have the right to prevent anyone from publishing these and other statistics without express permission from the sports league. This will include the right to control access to the historical archives of sports statistics, and even to dictate who can publish the box scores from a game or print a pitcher’s ERA on the back of a baseball card.

[url=http://www.lectlaw.com/files/inp29.htm]http://www.lectlaw.com/files/inp29.htm [/url]

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Posted: 19 July 2006 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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This is quite awful as well, but there is a distinction to be made between publishing something (i.e. for public consumption, and perhaps to make money by selling the information) and speaking privately to a friend.

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Posted: 19 July 2006 10:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Pretty sure this goes against copyright law in history, and while people do often try it, On March 24th Science Friday had a similar discussion recently on this in Patent law.

Supreme Court hearing arguments in a case over the patenting of a method for diagnosing a vitamin deficiency. The case centers on US Patent No 4,940,658, “Assay for sulfhydryl amino acids and methods for detecting and distinguishing cobalamin and folic acid deficency,” a two-step method for using lab tests to look for potential deficiencies in the B vitamins. Though that might not sound too interesting, the outcome of the case could determine the future direction of patent law in the U.S.—including the question of just how far it’s possible to go in patenting ideas or discoveries of physical laws, rather than tangible inventions.


The thing with these laws is they do not allow you to copyright or patent facts, letters and words or laws of nature, etc. You can copyright a menu or a magazine or a book (specific formats of words and pictures) or a recipe or a secret formula (the method of preparing a thing); and you can patent a process, or a device, but the facts contained therein, the knowledge, is considered to exist in the universe free of ownership. So you can’t copyright the law E=Mc2 for example. Though you could copyright the design of a T shirt with that in it, or patent a machine that uses the principal to function.

The team owners could copyright particular formats of the game statistics, team names, logos, etc. But they do not own the letters or the words that come from your mouth or the facts of the game results so you are still free to say those names or describe the logos or anounce the results in statistical format, to others without infringing copyright. They can’t copyright the information of the statistics. Just as I can read a book and tell you in my own words about the book, without infringing the copyright. But if I copy the book I am infringing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright#Limits_and_exceptions_to_copyright

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Posted: 20 July 2006 09:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I hear what you’re saying Doug and I hear and appreciate the data input cgallaga. IP is such a complex issue.

I’m not really talking about ‘the law’ here in my example above however,  I was talking about ‘policy’. Like policies that forbid you to bring in outside food into a theatre, this “cone of silence” is a policy of the ball park.

My understanding from my time as a Detroit Lions season ticket holder in 2002, is that without expressed written consent of the NFL Partners, you are not allowed to make public any live account of the game. I’m not sure how enforceable that is in the courts, but since the stadium owner reserves the rights to kick you off the premisis for violating it’s policies, it could be enforceable (if not impractical) at the stadium.


Similarly, and also absurd - imho:

It’s the policy of Turner Broadcasting - or at least the publicly expressed opinion of Jamie Kellner its chairman and CEO - that not watching commercials is “stealing”.

And my response: it’s not the responsibility of society to ensure that your chosen business model be profitable.

—-
there’s a lot more I’d love to talk about on this subject as it extends into the law.

Particularly in response to you doug. I definitely appreciate your distinction between public and private use of a copyrighted material. In 1998, the DMCA however, created a dramatic change between what used to be ‘fair use’ of copyrighted materials for private use: it used to be ok to make copies and share copies of copyrighted material with ‘friends’ for non-commercial use - no longer.

Admittedly I’m very far from being an expert on this stuff though. I had to hire an IP lawyer back in 1997 to deal with related issues and what I learned from that experience is my best information, but I’m not on top of the latest. I’d love to hear someone with a more expert knowledge of the issues.

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Posted: 20 July 2006 02:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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It would appear from your post that the stadium policy is about broadcasting from the stadium…the key words being live and public. I see no problem with them saying that only authorised persons/groups are allowed to broadcast information live to the public while on their property. But that in no way prohibits you calling your friend, to give them the score even during an event let alone after. It is like a cinema saying you can not use a live video link to broadcast the movie on your public Internet page They can’t make an enforceable policy about what you do after you leave their property. Just as the theatre (in the other thread) can’t insist you only ever buy and consume their popcorn. In other words they don’t want you taking your phone cam and blogging the event from the event.

Yes I agree the TV commercial thing is ridiculous, though as i heard it it was just a statement in relation to various ideas being thrown about on how cable operators and content recording providers may try to implement systems on protection in recording. i/e force recording of commercials and not allow skipping during playback. This comment was a defence of businesses trying to develop a partnership to do that, rather than a law to enforce it (though that may be in their plans as well). My thinking is (excluding a law) it will open up a broad opportunity for one or more content recorders to offer the unique service, and I bet they will have all the customers.

I for one am getting really tired of going to the cinema or buying a DVD and having to sit through commercials. To me those things drive piracy. I wonder could a counter suit be launched for damages because the TV company (dvd, cinema) is forcefully using your time (and electrons) on commercials…probably not, but one can dream.

What would be next? Working with sofa manufacturer to set it up so you can’t leave your seat during a commercial?

Traditional broadcasting (radio TV cable) is really scared these days. They are losing market share by leaps and bounds to new forms of content. So many, rather than embrace new content and adapt a business model that works with it, are fighting to keep us in a limbo of technology. They can’t win, but they will kick and trash about a lot while they go under, possibly taking out some good businesses and people in their wake.

The truth is that most IP law (actually most law) is really foundering right now due to its inadequacy at addressing real issues in the modern information age.

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Posted: 21 July 2006 05:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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[quote author=“cgallaga”]What would be next? Working with sofa manufacturer to set it up so you can’t leave your seat during a commercial?

This is quite funny.
imagine the headline: “In a suprising move today, TimeWarner has acquired La-z-boy; analysts are baffled”.

But as a hypothetical:

If you want to go to the game with your blackberry and type in your own play-by-play of events as they happenned, publishing them immediate on your non-commercial fan blog, why should this be illegal?

In fact, shouldn’t this type of action be actively protected by our government?

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Posted: 23 July 2006 01:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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It’s illegal because you entered into a contract when you bought the tickets. Its not big illegal but it is breach illegal and if the stadium can demonstrate the potential fro damages then they could certainly sue you for those damages. They still need to act, but they have the right to 1. Make rules governing your behavior on their property 2. seek redress when you break those rules.

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Posted: 24 July 2006 06:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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[quote author=“cgallaga”]They can’t make an enforceable policy about what you do after you leave their property. Just as the theatre (in the other thread) can’t insist you only ever buy and consume their popcorn.

I agree, but what is your reasoning for why such terms in an agreement would not be enforceable (legally speaking) ? You entered into the contract in good faith by buying the tickets and so now you are subject to abide by all its terms, right?


[quote author=“cgallaga”] they have the right to 1. Make rules governing your behavior on their property

I don’t question this. A stadium can make rules and ask you to leave for any reason. If you violate one of their policies, they will likely ask you to leave.

But I question the idea that these policies should be legally enforceable in general (for reasons I enumerated on the other post), but especially as in this case where a term of the contract violates basic civil liberties; here for example a basic right to free speech is being restricted.

In the hypothetical situation of the person with the blackberry above, this speech does not detract from the ability (and right) of others to enjoy the game or pursue happiness in any other way they see fit. This is simple speech in its purest form: someone publicly sharing their personal account of facts to other people who care to listen!

[quote author=“cgallaga”] 2. seek redress when you break those rules.

I guess the overarching issue goes back to the question of damages again. What are the damages involved in publicly sharing the facts of the game?

Do NFL teams own the ‘facts’ involved in a game?

If the NFL doesn’t own the facts of the game, then there are no damages. The only redress is a breech of contract (or from my point of view, a breech of stadium policy) and the owners ask you to leave the stadium.

If the NFL does own copyright to the facts of the game, then there are damages caused by you sharing those facts publicly. But if this is the case, then, wow . . . welcome to 1984.



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Posted: 24 July 2006 01:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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[quote author=“Riley”]I agree, but what is your reasoning for why such terms in an agreement would not be enforceable (legally speaking) ? You entered into the contract in good faith by buying the tickets and so now you are subject to abide by all its terms, right?—

Good point if you knowingly entered the contract…provided that it is enforceable by law… Again the property owner has significantly more right to regulate behavior on said property, than all behavior anywhere. But for example a broadcaster does claim right over your VCR as part of the implied contract of their broadcast so…it is all a bit of a strange corner of reality, no wonder no one understands tort law.

[quote author=“http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contract”] If a contract is unenforceable, neither party may enforce the other’s obligations. For example, in the United States, a contract is unenforceable if it violates the Statute of frauds. An example of the above is an oral contract for the sale of a motorcycle for US$5,000 (because in the USA any contract for the sale of goods over US$500 must be in writing to be enforceable).

If the terms of the contract are uncertain or incomplete, the parties cannot have reached an agreement in the eyes of the law. An agreement to agree does not constitute a contract, and an inability to agree on key issues, which may include such things as price or safety, may cause the entire contract to fail.

However, a court will attempt to give effect to commercial contracts where possible, by construing a reasonable construction of the contract.

Courts may also look to external standards, which are either mentioned explicitly in the contract or implied by common practice in a certain field In addition, the court may also imply a term; if price is excluded, the court may imply a reasonable price, with the exception of land, and second-hand goods, which are unique.

Severance of unenforceable clauses

If there are uncertain or incomplete clauses in the contract, and all options in resolving its true meaning have failed, it may be possible to sever and void just those affected clauses. The test of whether a clause is sever-able is an objective test - whether a reasonable person would see the contract standing even without the clauses.

Of course all of this requires action in court…We had a pretty bad experience with a very bad property agent here. We suffered real and exact damages from her bungling and we attempted (through her company) to seek a reduction of her fee by the amount of damage (about 10% of her fee). She and her company refused and started the process of suing us in civil court. IN the end we decided to pay because the best advice we had was that we would need a lawyer and quite a bit of time in court to maybe get a ruling in our favor. Most of these things never go to court.

[quote author=“Riley”] the contract violates basic civil liberties; here for example a basic right to free speech is being restricted.

No it doesn’t. You still have free speech, but that freedom does not mean others have an obligation to give you a place to practice your free speech. You are still on private property. This may be why they can’t enforce the rule off their property. 

[quote author=“Riley”] I guess the overarching issue goes back to the question of damages again. What are the damages involved in publicly sharing the facts of the game?

They make a lot of cash by selling exclusive rights to broadcast the live event. You are infringing on their contract with the broadcaster and on their income from that broadcast.

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Posted: 28 July 2006 02:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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[quote author=“Riley”][he legal enforceability of contracts do not become more or less valid based on whose property your on. I

It does if the item of contract is about the location…the property. The stadium is selling you a seat (specific location) during a game (specific time) They are not selling you a specific game our fact of a specific game.

[quote author=“Riley”]This is an illustration of an essential part of my complaint . . . YES! people will stake claim to EVERYTHING under the sun! Just because they claim it, doesn’t make it law.

But the broadcaster has rights to their original content, so copying and distributing a tape of a game is different from telling someone the facts of the game in your own broadcast.

[quote author=“Riley”]As long as the property owner maintains the ability to remove someone from his/her property, their ‘right to regulate behavior’ is preserved.

  Your breach (moral failing) doesn’t just happen when they exercise their right to remove you, but rather when you first break the rule, and thus the condition of their agreement.

[quote author=“Riley”] If you are telling someone they aren’t allowed speak in a manner consistent with contemporary norms (such as text messaging), you are restricting their freedom to speak! What could be more simple than that!

It is simple…you don’t have the right of free speech anywhere you want to speak. You only have the right to free speech where the owner of the property has agreed to give you that right. Which is why the editor of a newspaper is not obligate d to publish your letter. Though if you want to print it up and distribute it yourself you are free to do so.

[quote author=“Riley”]1)I thought you had acknowledged that ‘facts’ could not be copyrighted? On what basis then should broadcasters (via the NFL) have an exclusive right to make their account of the facts public? (if 5 minutes after the fact is protectable, why not 5 hours after the fact?)

Because they have rights to determine what happens ON THEIR PROPERTY

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Posted: 29 July 2006 10:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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[quote author=“cgallaga”]You only have the right to free speech where the owner of the property has agreed to give you that right.

  If this is you’re position, then further argument I guess is pointless. Constitutionally guaranteed rights, such as the right to speak freely, do not rely in any circumstances on the agreement of a property owner to grant you those rights. Constitutionally guaranteed rights, such as the right to speek freely can only be limted in circumstances where they endager or inhibit the freedoms of others. There is no such right as the right  to command people’s behavior because they are on your property.

My point in all this is simply to say: I’m very disturbed by a trend in ownership rights that has now been extended by some to include the ownership of facts, and may well include censorship over people who wish to publicly share personal accounts of facts and experiences.

Just one man’s observation.


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Posted: 30 July 2006 07:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The constitution does not grant you the right to speak freely when and wherever you want, it simply states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

The First Amendment only explicitly disallows any of the rights from being abridged by laws made by Congress, but as the first sentence in the body of the Constitution reserves all law-making (“legislative”) authority to Congress, the courts have held that this extends to the executive and judicial branches. Additionally, in the 20th century the Supreme Court has held that the Due Process clause of the 1868 Fourteenth Amendment “incorporates” the limitations of the First Amendment to also restrict the states.

Freedom of speech in the United States is protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. Criticism of the government and advocation of unpopular ideas that most people would find distasteful or against public policy, such as racism and flag burning, are allowed. There are exceptions to the general protection of speech, however, including the Miller test for obscenity, child pornography laws and regulation of commercial speech, such as advertising. Other limitations or regulations include copyright, fighting words, campaign finance laws, advocation of imminent violence against particular persons, slander and some content-neutral laws that affect speech. However, in some respects, the United States has a more liberal approach to freedom of speech than most Western countries; for instance, there is no requirement (as is the case in many European Union member states) that there be a “reason” for expressing an idea.

And just as you can’t camp out on my front lawn and start a church or freely distribute your fliers on my property, you do not have a right to free speech on private property, unless you first have gained the consent of the property owner.

The entire purpose of the constitution was to secure property rights, As such it is rife with discussion of property rights, while it mentions free speech only once, and that its limited to restricting government control of public speech. 

By the way, if you attempt to exercise free speech on private property without permission of the property owner, you are ipso facto inhibiting, nay usurping the rights and freedoms of the property owner.

Property is usually thought of in terms of a bundle of rights as defined and protected by the local sovereignty. Ownership, however, does not necessarily equate with sovereignty. If ownership gave supreme authority it would be sovereignty, not ownership. These are two different concepts.

Traditionally, that bundle of rights includes:

  1. control use of the property
  2. benefit from the property (examples: mining rights and rent)
  3. transfer or sell the property
  4. exclude others from the property.

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Posted: 31 July 2006 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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If ownership gave supreme authority it would be sovereignty, not ownership.

Ownership is not sovereignty; there are limits.  Included in these limits is the notion that I don’t forfeit my own rights, including my own ownership rights when on your property. I continue to own the possessions that I carry onto your property - my wallet, my money, my cell phone, my own pack of gum, and of course my own body. As such, I continue to hold the authority over how my money and my cell phone and my body will be used, even while on your property. Assuming I’m not risking injury to others, I will chew my own gum if I want, I will talk on my own cell phone if I want, and you can kick me off your property if you want.

In your arguments you conflate the authority of a “contract agreement”,  with the authority of an owner’s “property rights”, and this causes confusion. If you sign a contract agreeing to not chew gum on someone’s property, the authority of that agreement relies on the validity of the contract, not the authority of the owner’s property rights. I read you arguing that the authority ALSO comes from the owner’s property rights, and that’s the issue that I’m trying to address here: the extent of an owner’s property rights.

For the sake of taking one argument at a time, assume there are no prior-agreements, but simply an open invitation to be on the stadium owner’s property. If while on the property we hear over the loud speaker the stadium owner declare: “by the authority invested in me as property owner of this stadium, I command you all to stop communicating!”.

If you are suggesting:
That by ignoring the owner’s command, for instance by eye-blinking a message to you in morse code, that I am “usurping the rights and freedoms of the property owner”, then your interpretation of an owners property rights and authority is in my opinion, very extreme and very one sided.

It’s the acceptance by the public of what I see as this very lopsided and authoritarian control that I find objectionable and very scary, and is why I started this thread.


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