13 December 2020

Sins of Omission Link Sausage Platter

The common ingredient in this platter of link sausages is missing; each one revolves around critical factors that were not considered, let alone stated. These omissions range from passive-aggressive conflict-avoidance to outright dishonesty; your taste as to which is which may — no, will — differ.

  • In case you've been out on a golf course almost continuously since 03 November, the US Supreme Court won't even hear the "original jurisdiction" challenge to election results filed by Texas (PDF) against four other states, but not against the "correct" defendants (nor identifying the proximate cause of any "harm"). I say "on a golf course" because residents of Pluto seem to have better reality-orientation and greater news-awareness…

    I find one absent aspect of this order disturbing: Its incompleteness on an internal matter to the Bar of the Supreme Court. The "Motions" (as distinct from the "Complaint," which is wound up in the client's statements) were clearly not legally sufficient, and presented no "good faith argument for extension or reversal of existing law." More to the point, they did not acknowledge controlling adverse precedent (see, e.g., Tex. Disc. R. Prof. Cond. 3.03(a)). This order from the Court should have included an Order to Show Cause for sanctions, and/or a public referral to the bar authorities in Texas. I strongly suspect that the Court — as has been its habit for, well, ever — has continued to acknowledge the comity and deference owed an elected body or official while avoiding the lack of comity and deference owed persons (whoever they are) acting in facially apparent bad faith. It's not undue "activism" to enforce one's own rules; indeed, it's passive-aggressive disparate-impact conflict avoidance to not do so, because it makes violating those rules just a cost of doing business — a cost much more easily borne by the Establishment, by those seeking to maintain the way it is even after they pass a law in '64.

  • Which leads to the definition of "election fraud" that really applies. Ballot-casting is only one recognized variety of election fraud; pre-ballot voter suppression — especially, but only, for partisan ends — is also election fraud. Consider, for example, the partisanly-sabotaged "reenfranchisement" of Florida felons, which just might have had an effect this election and will almost certainly be relevant in two years during the next Florida senatorial campaign… when someone who should be barred from ever seeking office (but for the prohibition on attainder via Congress in Article I, § 9 and extended by tradition and common law to everyone else) may challenge the sitting Senator who has not proven sufficiently faithful to Drumpf Family interests may be on the ballot. <SARCASM> Of course, by then she might be "one of them," given that a (prospective-and-everyone-knows-it) pardon does not imply innocence, it absolves guilt. </SARCASM>
  • Florida Man Pays 114 Families' Utilities Bills… for a total cost of $7,615.40 (mean of less than $70). Somehow, I doubt that the new Florida resident(s) discussed in the preceding item will follow suit. Noblesse oblige, motherf*ckers — especially since you'll spend far more than $70 per family in Florida trying to influence their votes. Because that's what y'all do.
  • Meanwhile, the content-distribution industries are — incompletely, and rather self-centeredly — going through every-so-often "reappraisals" of various parts of their business models. This blawg's only feline friend the IPKat discusses prominent recording artists' concerns about streaming, and opens a slightly wider-reaching inquiry into copyright in music in a more general sense (which leaves open the question of what copyright's "job" in music is). Meanwhile on this side of the pond, even the NYT is noticing that commercial publishing is just a little bit demographically distorted.

    As I remarked concerning the Borders bankruptcy almost a decade ago:

    In short, this is bad news for everyone who cares about, or earns money from, trade publishing. Ultimately, it's a result of failure to account for the First Amendment rent. Back when Kmart acquired Borders, in the 1990s, Kmart imposed a nearly broken model on Borders (as reflected in Kmart's own bankruptcy a few years later, after it spun off Borders Group but imposed its own managerial personnel and structure on the new entity). The more-subtle effect, though, was that profit, productivity, and performance expectations for the First Amendment activities at Borders were the same as those for all other divisions of Kmart. Nobody really knows how much that "rent" is, or should be... but anyone who pays attention at all (not very many of us) knows that it's a number greater than zero, due to the hidden externality of First Amendment protection for those activities. Another way to look at it is that there is a nonzero cost (a "rent") for the First Amendment's encouragement of a broad range of activities, but nobody at Kmart (or, for that matter, nobody who does financial analysis of publishing and/or the entire entertainment industry) accounts for that cost in comparing the apples of commodity-based business like consumer nondurables (toilet paper, towels, etc.) to the kumquats of the First Amendment (books, magazines, CDs, videotapes, etc.). That failure, in turn, leads to unrealistic expectations and stupid management decisions in an attempt to "catch up" to other business lines.

    Sadly, commercial publishing is better at thinking about rents than is commercial music — commercial publishing has gone through a lot of censorship and libel suits, commercial music just had to put up with Tipper Gore (lady, it's still just an act). But meanwhile, nobody is asking about the relationship among the First Amendment rent, conglomerate structure, and the purported need to sell Simon & Schuster. Or how any of that relates to "copyright's job."