As I’m currently in the process of writing something a little more substantial about the ethics of donations, in particular donations connected with incentives, I found the assignment set this week by Dan Ariely in his Coursera class on Irrationality particularly interesting. Dan asked us to come up with a theoretical solution to a real world problem using some of the observations and experimental results regarding people’s irrational behaviour. I found the reading regarding organ donation particularly fascinating, especially the fact that, despite people being sure that they would only reach such an important decision after careful consideration, most of us in fact do make snap decisions about certain big decisions and are heavily influenced by our environment. This opens up interesting policy questions about to what extent we can or should use our understanding of people’s behaviour to influence their decisions. I, for one, have found myself more than once debating whether an “opt-out” or “mandated choice” system should be implemented at national level (incidentally, I think the standard “opt-in” model to be far too ineffective to defend, and in fact, due to its connection to sadly low levels of organ donation, unethical to leave in place). You can read my short suggestion below, keeping in mind I wrote this quickly at the end of the work-day, as I was about to leave the office. Nonetheless I think it might be a point worth exploring.
This very interesting TechCrunch article about Popcorn Time is a great example of how much innovation in the online world, particularly the area of digital distribution, comes from the pirates rather than the rightsholders themselves. Perhaps they have something to learn here.
So the big fun story of last week was this streaming movie app called Popcorn Time. Essentially, it aggregated torrent links and packaged them with artwork and a nice interface that allows one-click streaming of movies.
Popcorn Time is incredibly illegal almost anywhere, but it’s also almost impossible to stop people from using it without ISP intervention. Even though the original version of the app has been killed off, the project has already been forked and replicated by a new group. Now that the concept is out there I doubt it will ever go away completely — whatever iteration may come.
The absolutely lovely irony here is that Popcorn Time is doing for distribution of pirated movies exactly what the movie industry needs to do for itself.
Torrents are confusing and a mess. My mom could not download a torrent app, find a torrent that was not a virus…
UPDATE: The text of the Regional Court of Berlin’s dismissal of the vzbv’s case has been published by Spielerecht.de. As suggested below, the vzbv’s focus on Steam accounts themselves rather than individual licences for games may have been unhelpful, but in addition the court seemed unconvinced that video games were merely software, but rather a mix of a number of elements, and as such Usedsoft may not be directly applicable. A helpful update, in English, of these developments and the court’s reasoning has been provided by Felix Hilgert and Konstantin Ewald of Spielerecht.de “Update: Valve May Prohibit Steam Account Transfers – German Judgment Published”
Today the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission passed a rule that will end Tesla’s direct sales of cars to consumers. Tesla, a manufacturer of all-electric cars, does not lean on dealerships to sell its vehicles as other car companies do.
The rule goes into effect in April.
New Jersey is the third state to ban the practice of selling cars directly to consumers, joining Arizona and Texas in preventing their residents from easily buying a more environmentally friendly ride. The New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers was in favor of the rule change, unsurprisingly.
Tesla is furious, claiming in a blog post released today — in advance of the meeting in which the rule change was enacted (which Tesla was informed of yesterday) — that Governor Chris Christie’s administration had “gone back on its word to delay a proposed anti-Tesla regulation so that the matter could be handled through a fair…
Below is a slightly adapted version of a final paper I wrote for the course Intellectual Property II during my LLM in Innovation, Technology and the Law at the University of Edinburgh. One of the major drawbacks which both I and the examiner noticed about this work was that I clearly bit off more than I could chew for what should have been a 5,000 word essay, by attempting to cover the far too broad area of “genetics”, rather than focussing on a more specific subset of that field. Nonetheless, though it took away from the paper’s ability to discuss some of the finer legal points in detail, it does mean that the paper remains a fairly good short overview of the entire field of patent law and genetics for any who might be interested. Continue reading Playing God(‘s Patent Lawyer): The Challenges of Patent Law in the Field of Genetics→
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