Rep. Ed Markey: When, How Are Wireless Carriers Sharing Consumers’ Personal Information With Law Enforcement?

Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass), co-chairman of the House caucus on privacy, has sent letters (Markey page; archive pdf) to nine major wireless communications companies  – U.S. Cellular, Sprint Nextel, T-Mobile USA, Leap Wireless Inc./Cricket Communications, MetroPCS, Verizon Communications, AT&T, C Spire Wireless and TracFone Wireless — and asked “each about its policies and practices for sharing [...]
Privacy Lives

Government to apply for core participant status at Leveson Inquiry

Marta Cooper: Government to apply for core participant status at Leveson Inquiry

How to Handle Intellectual Property Rights

Some entrepreneurs regard Intellectual Property Rights as irrelevant to what they are aiming to achieve, while others are overly mindful of IP rights, even to the point of treating them as an end in themselves.

Acquiring rights that a business doesn’t really need is an unnecessary expense that should definitely be avoided.

Every business does, however, need to think about IP rights when writing its business plan so as to decide on a clear IP strategy. That is the way to ensure that securing IP rights becomes a means to an end, rather than an end in itself.

One problem in achieving a sense of balance when deciding on the part IP rights should play in your business’ plans is the complexity of IP rights.

When a prominent, well-respected figure in the business community dismisses IP rights as too expensive to secure and too expensive to defend, as one did at an event I attended recently, you know there must be some fundamental misunderstanding at play. How can someone who promotes “intellectual property”, and helps business owners to identify and better exploit their intangible assets, marginalize the value of IP rights in this broad brush manner?

Specifically he advised service based businesses to ignore intellectual property protection and just publish.

Legally Branded Book
The fact is that the term “Intellectual property” has a specific meaning. It actually refers to a number of different rights: such as copyright, designs, patents, trade marks, trade secrets and so on. These may be called intangible assets, but that doesn’t mean that all intangible assets are “intellectual property”. Intangible assets such as the network of connections a business enjoys, are certainly valuable, but they are not “intellectual property” that the law protects.  Intellectual property rights are a type of asset that may be transacted just like land. In the book, Intangible Capital, Mary Adams and Michael Oleksak suggest using the word “intangible capital”  to describe all types of intangibles, including intellectual property rights.

In terms of the steep costs the speaker had in mind, he was probably thinking about patents. They can indeed be expensive to secure or litigate. However, there are all sorts of patents. Some of them may well be a waste of money, while others can be extremely valuable. Just consider the size of the deals struck in the recent assignments between AOL, Microsoft and Facebook.

Also, there is a very cost effective alternative to patents, and that is trade secrets. For example, Coca Cola decided not to patent its recipe 100 years ago, because it did not want to disclose its recipe. Instead the company opted to keep its recipe a trade secret, and continues to enjoy protection to this day. Had it filed a patent the recipe would have been available to competitors to freely use after its patent monopoly of 20 years had expired.

Most people are unaware of their options, particularly that confidentiality is what protects a patentable concept. That is why it’s important to learn about the rudiments of the law. I have written a book, Legally Branded, to address the confusion that clearly exists around intellectual property and other rights in the business world.

Most IP rights are never infringed
As for the expense of defending patents or any other IP rights, most IP rights are never litigated or defended, because most IP rights are never infringed. In fact, registering your rights is often the best way to avoid problems and costly litigation.

IP ownership is not unlike an insurance policy. You may regard the premium as a waste until something goes wrong. Then suddenly you realize how vital it was to secure ownership. Incidentally, that’s often when “do it yourself” registrations fail to stand up to scrutiny – a whole subject in itself which I explore in my book.

Ownership of intellectual property rights can offer enormous benefits if approached correctly, such as by making the right choices in the first place,on things like names. Otherwise, the protection you get is unlikely to be worth having.

Sometimes, the costs involved to preserve your rights, such as with trade secrets, or copyright is insignificant. But even if it is not a trivial expense, it can cost far more in lost opportunity, or disputes later on to put matters right if you don’t own the rights you need.

Good advice is essential, and it’s sometimes a matter of using the right form of wording in a contract, or taking the right actions, in order to preserve the value of your IP rights.  the reason to bother with intellectual property rights, is that your business has assets giving you more freedom, more customers, and more opportunities.

This is all discussed in greater depth in my book.

Trade Marks
Securing IP rights, such as trade marks, is something that is relevant to most businesses because trade marks are the principal way to protect your business against unfair competition. Disregarding trade marks by choosing legally ineffective or weak names, or failing to register a name, is to miss out on valuable protection which the law provides against theft by copyists.

Trade marks are also a fundamental way to preserve the unique value you generate from publishing your ideas. For example, when I chose the title of my book, I took care to choose a name that I could register as a trade mark. This means if my book is a success, my competitors won’t be able to jump on the bandwagon with their own books using the same title or similar titles to mine. Legal advice can also help authors to understand how copyright laws protect their content, so they can make informed decisions about how much detail to share about a methodology or process.

The internet is not everything
Some entrepreneurs tell me it doesn’t matter that they have a non distinctive name they can’t trade mark because they dominate Google in their niche. My response to that is beware of being too reliant on any one medium in business or in life. The internet is changing constantly, and may well look quite different in 3 years’ time. Competitors could also aim to dominate the internet in your niche. And social media is changing the rules, and new Global Top Level Domain (GTLDs) are set to be introduced which are bound to change the internet landscape.

Nothing beats having a distinctive trade markable name for protecting the benefits of your hard won success. A good trade mark would make it possible to stop others free riding on your success, such as by registering similar domain names, and passing off. It’s the only way to compete whether on the search engines, using adwords, emails or other means of promotion. Otherwise, you will lose some of your hard won goodwill, and will be less effective in fending off unfair competition.

I’m hoping that once business owners read my book, they will get a better understanding of the importance of IP. By structuring a business correctly, it’s possible to take maximum advantage of the benefits that IP offers to create a successful business from your ideas.


FTC Chief Technologist Ed Felten Discusses Anonymity and Privacy

In March, the Federal Trade Commission started a new technology blog and Twitter account for FTC Chief Technologist Ed Felten. Recently, Felten wrote two posts concerning the issues of anonymity and privacy. In the first, he discusses “hashing” as a poor technique for “anonymization.” (We’ve discussed problems with anonymization and de-anonymization before.) Felten writes: What is hashing [...]
Privacy Lives

NPR: Europe Pressures U.S. Tech On Internet Privacy Laws

NPR takes a look at tensions between Europe and technology companies in the United States concerning privacy rights: America’s big technology companies are negotiating the details of a new privacy system called “Do Not Track,” to let people shield their personal data on websites. There’s no deal yet, but people inside the talks say the [...]
Privacy Lives

Occupy & Communist History

Ezra Levant makes the connections between the history of Communism and the modern Occupy movement.

This segment aired on The Source May 1st 2012.

Ezra Levant


What the City of New Albany needs is jobs. Jobs generate revenue, revenue increases our yearly General Fund.

Over the next few weeks Freedom Of Speech will show you what is wrong with the City of New Albany and how to fix it.

Question Number 1: Do Tax Abatements help or hurt New Albany?

Tax Abatement:

The deduction is 100% in the first year and declines by a specified percentage every year thereafter. Tax Abatement is available for a one to ten year for real property, new manufacturing equipment, new research, new development equipment and JOBS!

We at Freedom Of Speech wonder why it’s necessary for New Albany council members to approve so many tax abatements and do they produce as many jobs as they claim.

Thanks to our friends working in the City County Building we have something interesting to share with our readers.

The following company’s re-applied for their 10 year Tax Abatements and look at what we found.

Number of Jobs created after the first year:

Kotter Development, Inc……..N/A
Kotter Development, Inc……..N/A
Kotter Development, Inc………-40 Jobs

Lee Supply Corporation………..-2 Jobs

Sunnyview LLC……………………-19 Jobs

Hitachi Cable Automotive………-147 Jobs
Hitachi Cable Automotive………-147 Jobs
Hitachi Cable Automotive………-137 Jobs
Hitachi Cable Automotive………-137 Jobs

L & D Mail Masters, Inc…………..-9 Jobs

M & V Investments, Inc……………0 Jobs

Lumley Enterprises, Inc………….-2 Jobs

Rite-Way Industries, Inc…………-24 Jobs

Samtec, Inc…………………………..-78 Jobs

Ideal Door Division…………………0 Jobs

Uhl Properties,LLC…………………0 Jobs

The Grand…………………………….0 Jobs
Larry & Brenda Sharlow

St. Edwards Court, LP…………….0 Jobs

United Investment Group/
Insulated Roofing Contractors…N/A

Retailers Supply Co. Inc………….0 Jobs

Source: Carl Malysz

Freedom Of Speech would like to say:

Tax Abatements reduce the amount that should go into our General Fund that supports our city. If they don’t pay their fair share of taxes, then we the taxpayers have to make up the difference out of our pockets.

If the County Council only gives 1 Tax Abatement a year why did the City of New Albany give the above list abatements?

Our final thoughts: After having a lengthily conversation last week with the head of the State Board of Accounts this is the answer he gave us:

“What is killing our City General Fund is Tax Abatements, TIF’s, Police and Fire salaries and their contracts. When the City of New Albany goes into bankruptcy this will be why.”

Source: Charlie Pride, State Board of Accounts @ 317-232-2521


Quick PINA postmortem from the sidelines

Another positive outcome from PINA … work on a new Pacific media freedom documentary by the University of the South Pacific. Pictured: Director Don Pollock, Radio Djiido’s Magalie Tingal and Samoa Savali editor Tupuola Terry Tavita. Photo: David Robie

AFTER THE furore over contrasting views on PINA 2012 and a season of personal insults and attacks, here is a calm and welcome voice of reason:
Café Pacific – David Robie | Media freedom and transparency


What happen in Florida was a tragedy and that is something every American can understand.

The emotions at play are understandable on all sides. But what we must remember is that our nation depends on a system of law in order to function.

So what Obama should have said was this:

I ask all Americans to remain patient while this matter is handled by the courts in Florida and that those who are so inclined pray that those investigating and adjudicating this matter be empowered to find justice. They will. And as Americans it is important that we accept that outcome whatever it may be.

He could have said something like that and appeared Presidential.

Instead, he gives us a bizarre discourse of “if I had a son he’d look like Treyvon” the rhetorical equivalent of splashing gasoline near glowing hot coals.

The death of anyone, particularly a young man, is tragic.

The sad part in all of this is the president has a bad habit of wading uninformed into local controversies.

The President only tends to wade in when the press is screaming about a perceived injustice to a black person (remember Professor Gates?).

Did Obama make one peep about that poor 13 year old white boy in Kansas City who was chased by two black youths, doused with gasoline and set on fire? They were screaming, “This is what you deserve. You get what you deserve, white boy.”

The boy suffered from first degree burns on his face. He did not know the perpetrators.

Did Obama go on television and say anything? You bet he didn’t. Why? Because it serves NO political purpose for him to do so. His goal is to divide the country – pit the haves against the have nots, reignite racial division, etc. It’s the only way he stands at re-election – getting his base all riled up.

All we can say to the President for his silence on this more obvious racially motivated hate crime – Shame On You!

You are supposed to be President for ALL Americans.


Rupert Murdoch: Brown “declared war” on News Corp

Rupert Murdoch: Brown “declared war” on News Corp