08 March 2016

Link Sausage Mythology

Maybe it really is all about myth and metaphor... if, too often, that myth or metaphor concerns the economic exploitation and not the property itself. It's fairly clear, though, that Egyptian "myth" isn't, umm, exploited properly.

  • There has been a recent miniresurgance among record/CD/video stores and bookstores that seems to be puzzling entertainment-industry pundits... because they've got loopy blockbuster-driven definitions of "success" (and, concerning Gods of Egypt, what it takes to prepare for it). When one's business model depends upon the latest blockbuster, of course scale and efficiency is going to be more important to business sustainability in the eyes of financiers, landlords, etc. And when the distributors (publishers, record companies, etc.) are overpricing their goods to start with, that leaves more room for "efficiency" to take place. In short, a marketplace with overpriced goods is begging for predatory pricing, but will eventually recover when the predatory pricing is no longer itself a (usually unfair) competitive advantage. There will be casualties in the interim, but that's what one gets for basing everything on the magic of "markets."
  • All of which is more than the now-definitive Wormyfruit antitrust result can make a mogul swallow, isn't it? The Supreme Court has refused to hear Apple's final appeal. Technically, this means only that (a) the Second Circuit's opinion linked previously in this sausage stands as the final result, and (b) for some unstated reason the Supreme Court thought either that the case as presented in the petition was unworthy of review or that there was an internal-dynamics consideration (such as perceived inevitability of a 4—4 split until a successor to Justice Scalia is confirmed, although I discount that in this particular matter) making review inappropriate.

    Two additional points remain. First, this does not dispose of the maneuvering regarding the follow-on class action and attorney's fees (and stalking-horse objections, which may nonetheless have a little merit) in that matter (PDF); the time to even apply for Supreme Court review has not passed. Second, this is not going to dispose of the "self-help" advocates, who believe that it's ok to break the law in the face of someone else's perceived lawbreaking (or just "unfairness"). Judge Coté said it well in her opinion:

    If Apple is suggesting that Amazon was engaging in illegal, monopolistic practices, and that Apple's combination with the Publisher Defendants to deprive a monopolist of some of its market power is pro-competitive and healthy for our economy, it is wrong. This trial has not been the occasion to decide whether Amazon's choice to sell NYT Bestsellers or other New Releases as loss leaders was an unfair trade practice or in any other way a violation of law. If it was, however, the remedy for illegal conduct is a complaint lodged with the proper law enforcement offices or a civil suit or both. Another company's alleged violation of antitrust laws is not an excuse for engaging in your own violations of law. Nor is suspicion that that may be occurring a defense to the claims litigated at this trial.

    United States v. Apple, Inc., 952 F. Supp. 2d 638, 708 (S.D.N.Y. 2013).

  • I suppose it beats overt theft, looting, and imperialism as the foundation of museum collections, though. There's a yuuuuge difference between the tour of Tutankhamen's tomb artifacts (managed by conservators and museums, with or without culturally dubious musical accompaniment) and the practices of most "ancient artifacts" collections in European museums — and too many elsewhere. Then, some artifacts don't actually need tours of their own — although the contrast with post-military-conquest origins is instructive...
  • Or, for that matter, unauthorized reproductions/homages to cultural artifacts that remain in copyright or otherwise protected intellectual property without a real fair use. I can do no better than quote the underlying Ninth Circuit opinion: "Holy copyright law, Batman!"
  • Or you could just try being original and not relying upon clichés as a substitute for actual communication, thought, or art. Yeah, that's gonna happen.