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After DC’s Snowmageddon – Some Things Should Stay Buried

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Just Because You Can’t Touch It – Doesn’t Mean You Can Take It

Due to this weekend’s torrential winter downpour, we are currently in the midst of a federal government shutdown. Uh oh. We’ve been told so often by so many that a government shutdown will shake the Earth from its orbital path and send us careening into the Sun. So far, thankfully, that has not occurred.

Despite our promised fiery demise, we have begun to excavate DC (…wait a moment, what’s the rush?). DC is doing what anyone does in such situations. You triage – you prioritize what gets attention in what order.

There is oh-so-much that should just stay buried. Not physically (I guess) – but metaphorically. There is oh-so-much DC is doing – that it absolutely shouldn’t. And there is oh-so-much more DC wants to do – that it absolutely shouldn’t.

Amongst the myriad latter are two bills currently under consideration: The House’s Innovation Act and the Senate’s PATENT Act. Bills that – no matter the expressed intent – will fundamentally undermine the ability of people with ideas to protect their ideas with patents.

Sadly, in a Republican-controlled Congress – there are Republicans pushing these bills. They do so in the alleged name of “tort reform” – to attack and undermine “patent trolls.” When you rightly oppose their attempts to fundamentally transform how we handle intellectual property – you are accused of being on the side of the trial lawyers and their disruptive “patent troll” clients. More

David Bowie Understood the Vital Import of Intellectual Property

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

He Wasn’t Posing –
He Was Thinking

David Bowie passed away on Sunday. To say he was an innovative guy – would be the largest of understatements. He created, imbued and embodied multiple music personas – reinventing himself over and over again. He parlayed his multiplicative rock music success into fashion icon status – and numerous Hollywood and Broadway gigs.

All of which barely touches on his inventive approach to the business of being David Bowie. He was an avant-garde entrepreneur – who saw around the curve of the Earth just a little bit further than most people. He created out of whole cloth ways to make being David Bowie even more highly lucrative – and allow others to share in the earnings. And he intuitively understood how technological advances would help – and hurt – the business model of music and all things intellectual property.

Did you want to invest in…all things David Bowie music? Bowie made that not only possible – but profitable. And in the process lock-down-protected his music rights. More

Just Because It’s Easier to Steal – Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t Stealing

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

The Face That
Launched a Billion Thieves

Back when I was a musician – writing songs rather than things like this – I was just about the only one I knew who wasn’t stealing music via the heist website Napster. And I lived in Austin, Texas – the “Live Music Capital of the World.” I knew a LOT of musicians.

Napster was “originally founded as a pioneering peer-to-peer (P2P) file sharing Internet service that emphasized sharing audio files, typically music, encoded in MP3 format. The original company ran into legal difficulties over copyright infringement….”

Translation: People downloaded music – for which they never paid. Hence the “legal difficulties over copyright infringement.” Napster was a monster music shopping mall – without the shopping.

The arguments in defense of this theft were (and remain) patently (no pun intended) absurd. Some of the absurdest: More

Why Are So Many on the Right Helping the Left Undermine Our Patent System?

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Woefully Off the Mark

It is disappointing to see so many people who usually reside on the Right – go screaming Leftward on an issue so fundamental to all-things-free-market as private property protection. In this particular case – patent protection.

All sorts of things that in every other instance the Right loves to excoriate and ridicule – these Converts-to-the-Left must ignore or accept as a part of their effort to undermine the patent system. Do these Converts mean to undermine the system? I doubt it. But we do know that’s what the Left wants to do (Hello, Google) – and these Converts are helping them do it.

One of the things these Converts have to ignore is something that is ordinarily their bread-and-butter: government incompetence. Lots and lots of government incompetence. Congress is rife with it – but these Converts suddenly have in it profound confidence. To with exquisite precision delineate between patent lawsuits they deem worthy and patent lawsuits they deem unworthy.

Which in the absolute best of circumstances – is nigh impossible. Because legislation and law don’t work that way. If a law makes something difficult for someone – it makes it difficult for EVERYONE. Yet somehow this time we’re going to write legislation that can so pristinely discriminate? Our Congress? Threading that stack of needles? I don’t think so – and I don’t know how anyone on the Right could. More

Government Choosing Businesses for Preference or Punishment is Always Wrong

Seton Motley | Less Government | LessGovernment.org

Only for Turkeys

President Barack Obama has dramatically ramped up the Washington, D.C., giant Crony-fest. Where economic sectors and companies Obama and his Democrats like get the gold mine – and the rest of us get the shaft. For instance, there was $80 billion for “green energy” in the awful 2009 “Stimulus” bill – 80% of that coin went to Obama donors.

And since the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) emanates from this president and this vile -ville – much of it is a Crony nightmare mess. With all sorts of special treatment – good and ill – for all sorts of trade items. To wit:

Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) is continuing his efforts to oppose a potential tobacco carve out in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, sending a letter yesterday to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman in which Tillis makes clear that any agricultural carve out would directly threaten the ratification of the trade pact. 

In recent days, Tillis has been meeting with his Senate colleagues, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, to share his concerns that a tobacco carve out would violate provisions contained in the trade promotional authority Congress granted to the President and would risk opening the door to choosing more “winners and losers” in future trade agreements. 

“…In my conversations with other Senators who would otherwise be inclined to support the TPP, I have emphasized the dangerous, precedent setting nature of a carve out and the fact that inclusion of such a term would run counter to the explicit instructions set forth in the TPA,” Senator Tillis wrote to Ambassador Froman.

“A number of my colleagues share my view that the TPP can be a net positive in the long run. I am confident, however, that the path toward ratification will be significantly endangered if the administration or one of our trading partners impose their biases by targeting specific industries for exclusion.” More