The USPTO/DOC’s liberal and misleading definition of IP-Intensive industries is designed to influence policy debates

It turns out, the government has shamelessly ramped up the employment numbers by including a very liberal definition of IP-Intensive industries. To follow appreciate how liberal, it is useful to spend some time on Table 10, which is found on pages 36-38 of the report. Indeed, before you read the whole report, spend 10 minutes reading Table 10, and then things will begin to make more sense. More than 83 percent of all reported IP-Intensive jobs come from the trademark sector, where the mere existence of a brand name somewhere in the value chain makes the industry count as “ip-intensive.” Most of the jobs have nothing to do with anything remotely connected to ACTA, SOPA or other IP policy debates.

They exaggerate? Quelle suprise.

The numbers behind the Copyright Math

A few weeks back, I gave a short TED talk about ???Copyright Math.??? Since TED draws both Hollywood and Silicon Valley bigwigs, I thought it would be a great venue for raising certain rights issues that have been a sore point between the two industries for years. But January???s brawl over the proposed SOPA law was a raw and recent memory. So I decided to make my talk playful, rather than sermonizing. Everyone can laugh at silly infographics. And who DOESN???T want to deface a Leave-it-to-Beaver-like Christmas scene with pirate-and-Santa graffiti?

Since the talk was so short, I couldn???t dive deeply into the numbers and sources that I based it on (which would have shattered the whimsical tone anyway). But even my silliest numbers were derived from actual research, performed by an actual Copyright Mathematician (me, that is). So I thought I???d use this blog post to put my sources and calculations out there for anyone who???d like to nerd out on the details.

Same old, but like, funny. Except perhaps for Kim Dotcom.

Apparently copyright mathematicians can go on to this line of work:

“This has not, however, stopped their earnings from pushing back the boundaries of pure hypermathematics, and their chief research accountant has recently been appointed Professor of Neomathematics at the University of Maximegalon, in recognition of both his General and his Special Theories of Disaster Area Tax Returns, in which he proves that the whole fabric of the space- time continuum is not merely curved, it is in fact totally bent.”

Numbers of Mass Distraction: Part 2

It is clear that recent events surrounding SOPA do not represent the end of the war waged by the copyright industries; at most it’s a skirmish they will concede, albeit very grudgingly, as lost. Judging from the experiences we faced in the UK with The Digital Economy Bill (I covered some of those shenanigans here in Musing About Downloads In The UK) dealing with SOPA (and PIPA) is going to be a long hard war of attrition. A war where every one of us needs to understand the weapons being used against us, as well as the absolute flimsiness of the ammunition.

I intended to write another long post on this flimsiness, then found that someone else had done a far better job than I could’ve. So what I shall do instead is to link to the wonderful post on the subject by research fellow Julian Sanchez at the Cato Institute. Headlined How Copyright Industries Con Congress, it’s a must-read. While you’re at it, it’s also worth reading Julian’s earlier piece on the subject in Ars Technica. The elevator version is as follows: numbers related to the value of illegal downloads as well as numbers related to the number of jobs affected are at best wild unsubstantiated estimates, and at worst devious attempts to flim-flam a legislature crying out to be flim-flammed. The $200-$250 billion number, while it came from a sidebar in a reputable magazine, was actually an unsourced estimate of the value of all counterfeit and pirated goods worldwide, and was clearly stated in the magazine as such. And the 750,000 jobs lost number was taken from a 1986 speech by the then Secretary of Commerce, a number that has never been endorsed by the Department of Commerce.

Are Text Messages Declining Worldwide?

It may seem like everyone, everywhere is sending text messages these days. But according to a Forbes report, texting may be on the decline across various countries.

Tero Kuittinen, a senior analyst at M.G.I. Research, wrote via a blog post for Forbes that certain times during the holidays that usually bring in a lot of texts, such as Christmas Eve and Christmas, were significantly lower in 2011 compared to the year before. The decline may hint at signs that consumers are finding new ways to send messages to friends and family.