A Corporate “Thankyou”? No, Thanks

Citigroup isn’t asserting the right to use “thankyou” in all contexts—just when it comes to loyalty and rewards programs. But what it is asserting is bad enough, since in effect it’s saying that subtracting the space between “thank” and “you” (and using lowercase letters) is enough to make one of the most common phrases in the English language its private property, in this use. As such, the case illustrates just how out of control intellectual-property rights have become in the U.S.

.. Let’s hope the judge’s ruling is a simple “No, thanks, Citigroup.”

.. LinkedIn’s current operating cash flow is a little more than six hundred million dollars a year. Now, obviously, Microsoft did not buy LinkedIn for its current profits.

.. The fundamental economic issue here is that the stock prices of technology companies, with few exceptions, already reflect the market’s often-outsized expectations of fast earnings growth in the future. When you buy a share of Amazon or Facebook, you’re not paying for the company’s current earnings. You’re paying for its earnings over the next twenty-five or thirty or even fifty years, because that’s how far out the market is, in effect, looking.


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The Oracle-Google Case Will Decide the Future of Software

But since the appeals court has already ruled that APIs are subject to copyright, that could open a whole new frontier of lawsuits aimed at startups and open source projects that have copied APIs in order to ensure their products are compatible with popular commercial products.

For example, several companies have built open source software that works with various cloud services in an attempt to make it easier for customers to easily move their applications from, say, Amazon to their own data centers. Basho and SwiftStack, to name just two, each offer storage products that are compatible with Amazon’s cloud storage service S3. Since APIs are subject to copyright, Amazon could in theory go after both companies for copyright violations.

Meanwhile, many open source operating systems, such as FreeBSD and those based on Linux, use a standard API called POSIX, which is based on the API of AT&T’s Unix operating system. Under the appeals court’s ruling, AT&T could go after the makers of POSIX operating systems.

“Both of those scenarios are more likely after Oracle v. Google,
regardless of how the jury decides,” says Mitch Stoltz, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

.. Many newer development platforms, including Google’s Go language and Apple’s Swift, are licensed under more liberal terms than Java and allow for-profit companies to use and modify them.

World After Capital

By definition there are no prices for things that have not yet been invented. Take aviation as an example. Until heavier then air flight was invented there were no prices for airplanes or airtravel. It was simply impossible. There is no price right now for an immortality treatment. Or for quantum computing at scale. We do not have enough knowledge to do either. How much attention should humanity devote to these? There are no prices to guide that allocation.

.. Corporations lobbied heavily to lengthen copyright and strengthen copyright protection as part of the Transpacific Partnership (TPP). Scientific publishers such as Elsevier have used these protections to make access to knowledge so expensive that even universities as wealthy as Harvard can no longer afford the subscriptions