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Posts By Author » Ron Coleman

Google: Tool or trust?
  26 Jun 2011     11:59 pm

Five years ago I asked, “Is Google a utility?”  A utility, of course, is usually a “natural monopoly”; it provides some infrastructure-type product or service in a market where competition supposedly makes no economic sense.  Its profits are essentially assured but managed; its rates are regulated; it has little choice over with whom it may do business.  Regulation of a monopoly as a utility is an approach, mainly of an earlier era and school of thought, to managing a certain kind of challenge to public welfare presented by dominant market …

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Down the hole with the copyright trolls?
  26 Jun 2011     9:12 pm

Let us reflect a little on what justice “copyright troll” Righthaven has wrought, so far.  Wired weighs in on the latest Righthaven woes:

A federal judge ruled Monday that publishing an entire article without the rights holder’s authorization was a fair use of the work, in yet another blow to newspaper copyright troll Righthaven.
It’s not often that republishing an entire work without permission is deemed fair use. Fair use is an infringement defense when the defendant reproduced a copyrighted work for purposes such as criticism, commentary, teaching and research. The defense is analyzed on …

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Lives my father told me
  19 Jun 2011     1:47 am

A couple of weeks ago I finished my year of mourning for my late father.  So this is as good a moment as ever finally to commit to writing the post I had meant for so long to write — not an opus magnum about my dad, but an insight from a person who decided to make a commitment to religious observance (Jewish) as a young adult about how a non-religious parent earns so much merit in connection with having many religious descendants.  Over the course of the year of mourning I …

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The blogger “transparency” crackup
  29 May 2011     6:11 pm

It’s another big moment in blogger “transparency” upon us now.   The general rule is that the person who hasn’t “disclosed” enough to meet some preposterous concept of transparency is the person who the writer is jealous of, or worse.  The current dart board is Tech Crunch.
I saw this coming, now didn’t I?  I wrote this in 2007:
No one is free from bias of some sort or another, especially people who spend their time (paid or otherwise) writing opinions — whether in daily newspaper columns, legal newspapers or blogs, the …

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A PC Slant
  10 Apr 2011     6:23 pm

 
This story in theNorthwest Asian Weekly about the trademark registration woes of a rock band called The Slants may sound familiar to people who follow such things:
The Slants, whose members are of Asian descent, have amassed fans nationwide, taking the stage at dive bars, Asian festivals, anime conventions, and even serving on panels to discuss racial stereotypes.
But behind the scenes, the band is fighting a battle with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The office has twice denied The Slants request to obtain federal trademark registration of its …

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The book Americans aren’t allowed to buy
  20 Feb 2011     4:08 pm

Two years ago I expressed my own criticism, and later rounded up a number of other views, of the case brought by J.D. Salinger against a “sequel” to The Catcher in the Rye written by Fredrik Colting.  Last year, in a guest post, Matthew David Brozik added his own thoughts on the topic — right on the eve of the Second Circuit’s stay of the lower-court order essentially barring publication of the book.
The topic came up again, in my mind, when reading this post at Volokh (via Instapundit) challenging the recent …

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The libertarian fallacy
  26 Sep 2010     12:49 pm

Kevin Williamson at National Review online — the in-house newsletter of the U.S. conservative establishment (comments on columns may be made only during banking hours) – offers up this formulation, which I got to via Instapundit:
Some fellow at The Economist has taken me to task for my description of socialism and communism: “The difference between communism and socialism: Under communism, politics begins with a gun in your face; under socialism, politics ends with a gun in your face.” . . .
The resort to violence is what makes the question of …

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My September 11th
  11 Sep 2010     8:50 pm

This five-post article was originally posted on Dean’s World.
I work in New York City. That morning I was late on the way into the office. I had to stop off at what was then called the “AT & T Phone Store” to replace my cell phone. I chose the one just off Sixth Avenue in Midtown, near the subway stop before the one I usually got off at. This was around 53rd Street — a good two and a half miles north of the financial district, if you don’t know New …

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Redefining redefining marriage
  8 Aug 2010     4:35 pm

Let’s get real simple here.
The crux of the issue is whether, if indeed marriage is a right under the Constitution, there is also a right to change the meaning of the word “marriage” from what it always meant to what we just plain want it to mean.
In other words, the “marriage” that is a “right” under the Constitution was marriage:  Matrimony binding a man and woman in a unique way consistent with social norms regarding family life.
It is true that there was a time that it was against the law …

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I was right about everything!
  8 Aug 2010     11:55 am

Well, a couple of things.  And I wasn’t the only one.  But why waste a good couple of “I told you so”‘s?
The first thing I was right about was, of course, how dismal a prospect it was that we’d get a bona fide clown in the United States Senate, as opposed to the usual amateur clowns.  Well, of course, we all knew that.  As I said then:
I never dreamed that the Al Franken Decade could actually occur.  And yet, it seems, that grisly reality begins now.
Senator Al Franken.  I preferred his …

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The fattest cats of all
  27 Jun 2010     11:19 am

When Matt Drudge had the nerve — unlike the mainstream media — to remind the world that not only BP’s CEO, but the federal government’s Chief Executive, too, was enjoying high-class leisure last weekend instead of donning sackcloth and ashes (or using them to wick up some of the oil in the gulf) I think he was saying something like what columnist Mat Bai wrote in in last week’s NewYork Times. Bai lays out the heretical notion that as mad-as-hell-and-not-going-to-take-it-any-more Mr. and Mrs. America are today, it’s not the kind of mad that you cure …

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It’s still Father’s Day
  20 Jun 2010     9:11 pm

It’s Father’s Day, so of course, I think of my dad.
My father and I were never too alike.  He was a quiet kid, and I wasn’t.  He spoke via his actions.  On reflecting on my own father as a father, especially when I became  a father, I realized what a great dad he was.  Infinitely patient, slow to anger, always ready to be a kid with other kids, and, I thought — and evidently everyone else did — a very, very funny man.  Not in the “A man walks into …

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Stimulated?
  6 Jun 2010     11:23 am

On February 17, 2010, we learned that all doubts had, in fact, been resolved with respect to the economic policy of FDR Slim:
Today is the one-year anniversary of the landmark stimulus bill which most economists agree has staved off a second Great Depression. The evidence that the stimulus has worked is overwhelming – the New York Times has an in-depth article looking at its actual impact on jobs, and an indispensable graphic showing a timeline of key economic indicators before and after its passage. There’s another beautiful chart based on job loss data from …

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Mark their words
  16 May 2010     9:10 pm

Jihad Watch and Atlas Shrugs — two websites run by friends of mine who have very clearly articulated views about Islamic radicalism, and controversial ones about what to do about it — are busy, and then some, with this story:
A federal agency has rejected a request for a trademark by the organization “Stop Islamization of America” because its name may “disparage” Muslims.
The group launched by Atlas Shrugs blogger Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch has drawn national attention for its bus-sign campaign offering support for Muslims who want …

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Love me, love my tie
  16 May 2010     12:12 pm

Jim Lindgren of the The Volokh Conspiracy writes (hat tip to Glenn Reynolds), a tad grudgingly, of a kinder, gentler left-wing Supreme Court nominee on the issue of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy Studies–that supposedly black-hearted fascist group I’ve been an active member of since 1985 (hence the Federalist Society tie in the above gratuitous link to a recent TV appearance on an unrelated issue):

Charles Fried tells part of the story about Elena Kagan’s appearance at a Federalist Society dinner at Harvard a few years ago:
In February 2005 the student branch of …

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“If you see something…” it’s probably “trademarked”
  16 May 2010     11:13 am

A while ago, while obsessing about New York’s  Metropolitan Transportation Authority and its obsession with turning what might have once merely been viewed as functional municipal signage or insignia into “IP” (intellectual property), I made fun of the MTA’s trademark application (since approved) for IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING.
So in light of last week’s Times Square bomb-thingy, who’s laughing now?  Not the New York Times, in a breathless article about the phrase’s elevation to “iconic,” including an interview with sloganeer extraordinaire Allen Kay:
“The model that I had in my head was …

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Listing dangerously
  2 May 2010     8:24 pm

John Mearsheimer, the new darling of the We Don’t Hate Jews, We Hate Zionists Society of Jew Haters, explains his Selekzion process and proves he’s not a Nazi.  Unlike them, he says there are some Good Jews:
American Jews who care deeply about Israel can be divided into three broad categories.  The first two are what I call “righteous Jews” and the “new Afrikaners,” which are clearly definable groups that think about Israel and where it is headed in fundamentally different ways.  The third and largest group is . . . the “great ambivalent …

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Taken in vain
  25 Apr 2010     11:18 am

Talk about “scandalous and offensive” trademarks!:
[P]hrases containing some form of “God” have been trademarked [sic] more than 3,400 times in the United States: “God answers knee-mail” and “All God’s Children Got Issues” and, of course, “T.G.I. Friday’s,” the restaurant chain.
But where you have trademarks, you also have trademark infringement. Which is how Megan P. Nicholson of Marietta, purveyor of merchandise bearing the logo “Handmade by God,” came to file suit in Atlanta federal court against [Arthus Gross III], owner of [the trademark registration for] “Made by God.”
Asked what he thought …

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Copyright, incentive and freedom
  18 Apr 2010     12:31 pm

“Information wants to be free.” I must have mocked those words dozens of times on my blog.  Or a few.   I might be counting the times I just thought that. Either way, that expression is not an argument. It’s a statement of ideological faith. The pro-copyright right has its own religion on this, too.
The music industry, for example, demonstrates its faith via windmill-tilting-based litigation genuflection. The best way to describe its approach copyright enforcement is to think of “mass tort” litigation seen through the …

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That time of year
  4 Apr 2010     3:24 pm

You may not realize it, but this has, until fairly recently and going back about a millenium, been the scariest season of the year for Jews.  So it’s understandable that a lot of my fellow Jews still have a visceral feeling about non-Jews’ attitudes towards Jews, and particularly those of Christians.
As I have written here before, this is by and large a mistake, especially considering that, as the “old” song goes, “We’ve got a bigger problem now.”

A few months ago I published a lengthy discourse, doomed to obscurity, in which …

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