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Consternation Over Inability to Copy and Paste


Written by Gene Quinn
President & Founder of IPWatchdog, Inc.
Patent Attorney, Reg. No. 44,294
Zies, Widerman & Malek
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Posted: February 3, 2013 @ 9:05 am
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I am pleased to announce that in January 2013 we had our biggest month ever in terms of traffic to IPWatchdog.com. During the last Quarter of 2012 we averaged 89,260 unique visitors per month. In January 2013 we had 101,922 unique visitors, which represents growth of 14.2%.

Readers have probably noticed that we are publishing more articles, and we are lucky to continue to have a growing number of periodic guest contributors and regular featured columnists as well, which likely accounts for some of this increased traffic. However, another thing that almost certainly accounts for this substantial jump in visitors is the fact that in early January 2013 we made the decision to disable copying and pasting from IPWatchdog.com. This has caused some to become quite agitated with us, with more people than you might expect writing to tell us that if they are no longer able to copy and paste our articles then they will no longer read IPWatchdog.com.

So why the change?

1. Free Content and the Advertiser Supported Model

For some time I have known that we have been experiencing what seemed to be a rather large copyright infringement problem. For example, I know of very large entities that routinely would copy and paste our articles, remove links and any advertisement and then mass distribute just the text of our articles. This is obvious, blatant and willful copyright infringement. But what was particularly disheartening was that this was going on within the intellectual property community. Disappointing really, because if those who are in the industry and working with content creators and inventors on a daily basis are all too willing to engage in that type of copyright infringement, what hope do we have as content creators? Those whose livelihoods depend upon content creators and inventors should be the ones who most understand the damage that is caused by widespread copyright infringement.

I have heard arguments from those within the industry that have made it difficult to determine whether laughing or crying is the right response. For example, I have heard the argument that I should be grateful that so many people want to copy and distribute my articles and flattered that people want to read our writings.

It is, of course, flattering that there are many who read what we write on a frequent basis; no doubt about it. But, allow me to state what should otherwise be obvious. We give our articles away for free in what is called an advertiser supported model. Under an advertiser supported model content is provided for free and advertising on the site is the source of revenue. Many newspapers and online magazines employ this model, and that is the model we employ at IPWatchdog.com. We have a great group of sponsors and advertisers and without them I could not devote full-time to IPWatchdog.com. Thus, our free content, advertiser supported model requires us to entice readers to come to our website and read our quality, free content that is full of analysis and insight. It does us absolutely no good when there is widespread dissemination of text without advertisements. That may be preferable to the reader, but it would be an impossible business model to support without being independently wealthy or a benefactor that wanted to underwrite such dissemination.

In terms of sponsors and advertisers… I really do believe we have a great group of folks. We are approached from time to time about advertising and we decline, and we long ago gave up on Google Ads that might advertise things we believe to be inadequate services (shall we say). If you have never looked at the services offered by our sponsors and advertisers, please do. Everything our sponsors and advertisers offer should be attractive to one or another segment of the industry and they make it possible for us to continue to expand and bring content that is both original and unique.

2. Guest Contributors and Featured Columnists

I continue to write many of the articles that are published on IPWatchdog.com, but over time my writing endeavors have started to increasingly focus on interviews with industry news-makers, writing about industry events I attend (such as the AIPLA annual meeting or BIO annual meeting, for example) and the seemingly endless requests for comments on the proposed  and final rules promulgated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Not to mention, when mass media blatantly lies about the patent system I also take up that charge. This leaves little time to write about interesting patent litigations, Federal Circuit decisions and trademark or copyright matters, to name but a few. I also write about biotech and pharma from a policy level, but I don’t have particularized industry knowledge about the business or deep understandings about the complicated science involved. Thus, I have turned to guest writers more and more to cover these topics instead.

What this means most directly is that first, I do not write all of the article published on IPWatchdog.com, which you might think is self evident since in virtually all cases the picture and brief biographical information about each author is prominently displayed at the top of each article. And second, it means that an important part of my daily job now is as a true Editor. We are constantly looking for interesting stories, constantly dishing topic ideas to one or another of our guest contributors or freelance journalists, or looking for the right person who may be able to contribute. Then upon getting contributions I go through them as an Editor would.

The short of it is this — increasingly it seemed many people in the industry were unaware that IPWatchdog.com published guest contributions despite the fact that in 2012 we published 148 guest contributions and we have published a total of 375 guest contributions to date. How could people who read articles with great detail and wanted to talk to me about the topic of an article I didn’t write not know I didn’t write the article when the author is so prominently displayed? It seemed clear that the distribution of text only vie e-mail and other sources was greater than I had understood it to be. This obviously is not fair to those who guest contribute to IPWatchdog.com to get their name out into the industry. Moreover, as frequent readers know, I am not adverse to publishing things that I do not agree with myself. We are never going to publish anti-IP articles, but ignoring what those who have different opinions within our industry have to say makes for an uninteresting echo chamber. Still, even though a particular position is within an envelope of ideas held within the industry I would prefer to be judged by what I write, not what someone else wrote and we decided to publish.

3. Dubious Arguments in Favor of Copying

I have been contacted by more than a few people since prohibiting copying and pasting. Those who take the time to contact me invariably tell me that if they are not going to be able to copy the text and use it for whatever purpose they have convinced themselves is appropriate then they will stop reading IPWatchdog.com. That is, of course, their right.  If copying text is a prerequisite to reading freely available, quality content then I am sorry to see them go as readers, but that is their choice not mine. It seems that there is more than meets the eye, however.

In one case an individual told me that he was copying all of the text from all of our articles so that he could search for an article later. That, however, is unnecessary since IPWatchdog.com has a rather good search feature. I know it is good because I use it all the time when looking for articles on a particular topic that I know I wrote previously.  Give it a try — Search IPWatchdog.com. That being the case, it seems that the “I want to be able to search” argument is really a specious argument that is being used to justify something else.

In another case I had an attorney at an IP firm tell me that he liked one of the interviews I had done and that other attorneys at his office would surely want to read the interview, but he didn’t know what to do since I disabled copying and pasting. He wasn’t familiar with how he would be able to share the interview with them. Really? My suggestion was to send his fellow attorneys a link. I know… I know… a really radical idea and hardly obvious. I pointed out, however, that once all of the segments of the interview are published I always hyperlink them together. You simply read to the end of the segment and click “CONTINUE READING.” You are magically taken to the next installment and so on. The same is true when I publish an article that is too long for a single segment. So this particular specious argument in favor of copying and pasting was really nothing more than saying: “we want to read your articles, but I want to copy the text so that I can e-mail it to who I want so they can read it without visiting your site.” As mentioned already, that doesn’t benefit me and it doesn’t do anything to benefit our sponsors, advertisers or guest contributors either.

Conclusion

It is quite unfortunate that in an industry where we make a living working for and with content creators of one kind or another, many professionals ignore the rights of content creators. I don’t like that copy protection is necessary but I’m also not foolish enough to believe that the copy protection I’ve installed is foolproof.  If someone with computer skills wants to defeat the copy protection they will, but that doesn’t mean I can or should make it easy for our content to be misappropriated.

For those who will continue to read us even with copy and paste disabled, we greatly appreciate you taking a portion of your day to read our thoughts and analysis.

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For information on this and related topics please see these archives:

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Posted in: Blogs & Websites, Copyright, Gene Quinn, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles

About the Author

is a Patent Attorney and the founder of the popular blog IPWatchdog.com, which has for three of the last four years (i.e., 2010, 2012 and 2103) been recognized as the top intellectual property blog by the American Bar Association. He is also a principal lecturer in the PLI Patent Bar Review Course. As an electrical engineer with a computer engineering focus his specialty is electronic and computer devices, Internet applications, software and business methods.

 

111 comments
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  1. Though-right clicking is disabled, it is possible to copy the text of your articles. For instance, one simple way is to view the source of the HTML document. In Google Chrome, this can be done by appending the url to “view-source:”. And I know at least one other way, which is more complicated. My point is, people who want to copy the text of your articles without attribution will still find ways of doing so, even if you have disabled right-clicking.

    By disabling right-clicking, you have only antagonized regular readers like me, who use the right-click menu for multiple legitimate reasons (for instance, for “printing” a webpage as a PDF [using the "save to PDF" feature which is only available from the "Print" menu] which I can transfer to and read on my Kindle at leisure. And since my Kindle has no internet access, just using the link doesn’t work.). Additionally, I hate reading long articles, especially interviews, on an electronic screen. I much prefer to print them out on paper.

    But if you don’t want people like me, who don’t intend to copy the text of your articles, but just intend to use the right-click menu for fair use (after all, it is my browser, and I should be free to use my browser’s right-click features as I want), to conveniently read your articles, I understand completely.

  2. I can still copy paste. View source man. If you don’t like people copying information you send them, don’t have a website.

  3. Nihal-

    I’m sorry it has to be this way, but there are extremely large entities in our industry that copy the text and then do a mass e-mail of the text. That is not something we can condone or permit. If you don’t want to read the articles on the website that is up to you.

    But I fail to understand what your beef is since you say that you know several ways to still copy the articles? So you should be all set then.

    -Gene

  4. CopyPasta-

    Spoken like a true hater of intellectual property and content creators.

    So you learned argument is that anything that is placed on the Internet is or should be freely copyable. Sadly, that is also the belief of some intellectual property professionals who are paid to represent content creators. I expect this type of attitude from haters, but it is sad to see it within the IP community.

    -Gene

  5. Pro-copyright pundits always ignore The Streisand Effect.

    The more you attempt to restrict or suppress information, the more it wants to be free.

  6. Panther-

    The problem with what you write is that it is completely irrelevant.

    Did it cost you anything to read the above article or post a comment? No. Why? Because I give it away for free. Thus, the “Streisand Effect” is completely unrelated to anything you are complaining about here or in our conversation on Twitter.

    It is actually quite absurd for those who are in favor of a free and open Internet to complain about a website that gives away high quality content for free. You all should be applauding rather than raising specious arguments about fair use.

    -Gene

  7. In two seconds, I can disable JavaScript in my browser and copy-and-paste all I want. And, if I were the sort inclined to do bulk scraping of your material (which is what you claim to be protecting against), in five minutes I could write a Perl script to access your site and pull in all the text, with the annoying scripts stripped. So I have no idea who you’re “protecting” yourself against, but you’re just being an annoyance to somebody, e.g., reviewing your site in another site and wishing to make fair use of small quotations.

  8. I frequently select text and use right-click for various non-theft related reasons: If an article has a lot of links, I right-click to open them in another tab to read afterwards. In fact, I’ve tried to do this a few times on this page already, in spite of knowing you’ve hampered that!

    Sometimes I select a word or phrase to right-click and search on Google. I also like to highlight a quote to share articles on social media (linking back to the original article, of course).

  9. it just aggrevates me because I like to clip informative articles into Evernote so that I can easily refer to them later. I understand wanting to stop wholesale copy and pasting and I don’t have a good solution.

  10. Dan T.

    Obviously you did NOT read the article. You say I claim to be protecting against bulk scraping. If that is the case please identify where in the article that is raise as a concern by me? Let me help you. It is not mentioned at all anywhere because that is not the problem I’m trying to solve.

    If you read the article rather than just jump to inaccurate conclusions you would be able to answer your own question about who I’m trying to protect against.

    Like it or not, there are lawyers, industry professionals and government entities that have engaged in rather widespread copyright infringement by copying and pasting articles into e-mail and then widely disseminating the articles. They strip the names of the authors, they remove links and advertising. If you had read the article you would understand. Perhaps try and read first before making it clear your comments are wholly without benefit of thoughtful consideration.

    -Gene

  11. Doug B & Geoff-

    I’m open to suggestions. I really didn’t want to do this. I even mentioned several times casually to those who were the most egregious abusers that what they were doing was taking away significant amounts of traffic and was copyright infringement. To no avail. Then when I prevented right click one even contacted me to raise the issue and find out how they could copy the text to disseminate via e-mail. I won’t out who it was, but those in the industry would probably be amazed.

    Trust me. As much a pain as this is for some readers who do have legitimate interests in mind, it is an almost constant nuisance to me. So my own activities have been most directly impacted as well. I wouldn’t make things more difficult for myself if I had to.

    Perhaps the answer is to develop a special plugin.

    -Gene

  12. Though I dislike the idea, it’s your page so do what you want.

    But:

    a) blocking ^C-a is implemented buggy, at least here in Opera(Linux version) it still works

    b) imho, it’s the wrong approach:

    I don’t think that people c&p’ng the content do this to cause harm, rather they are interested in the content and would like to spread it for some reason. If you say that they remove author names and such, maybe you’re just making it to complicated to add it? How about instead of trying to block c&p, you prefix/suffix c&p’d data with, say, “link\nauthor\nlicense” stuff?

  13. In my view the only solution is to take a pragmatic approach. People will use your content in ways that circumvents your business model – but hopefully only a small percentage.

    Perhaps if you provided a feature that let people email the entire article, with sponsored ads included. And provide email subscriptions that sends out complete articles with ads. People clearly want to share your content – help them.

    Or fight them. But as others have pointed out already, you’re not really going to stop anyone who wants to steal from you.

  14. I’ve added you to my “Hall of Shame” on this page:
    http://webtips.dan.info/force.html

  15. Register your copyrights so that you are eligible for statutory damages and then send letters to folks demanding royalties.

  16. Mike-

    So just let folks copy and widely distribute and then have advertisers unhappy because folks read my writing for free, which means I can’t write as much because I can’t charge for advertising, which means I stop doing this professionally?

    Yeah… that sounds like a brilliant idea! Thanks.

    -Gene

  17. Here’s how well your javascript works:

    EXCERPT REMOVED

    The use of javascript to block right clicks was laughably simple to circumvent when it was first tried some 5 or 6 years ago.

  18. Geoff-

    I acknowledged in the article that I wouldn’t be able to stop those who really want to steal from me.

    I don’t know whether you read the article, but I do know that most commenting here and on Twitter didn’t read the article and are basing their uninformed opinions on a few tweets or the inaccurate article Timothy Lee wrote in Forbes. Serious, what passes for journalism at Forbes is embarrassing.

    I know most haven’t read the article because many are saying that I am taking the position that this is fool proof. That demonstrates nothing other than a failure to become informed before commenting. Of course, lack of information doesn’t stop many from reaching an incorrect conclusion. That is perhaps the most sad commentary in this entire episode.

    Still others are cutting and pasting portions of the website in comments as if that proves anything. Again, juvenile behavior that merely demonstrates that they don’t get it.

    I know what I have done has stopped the copying I’m concerned about. Those who were copying my site daily and sending out to hundreds if not thousands have stopped. They are not going to disable JavaScript and they are not going to view source and copy the code and send that around. The computer savvy folks have a hard time understanding that. It isn’t because of inability to figure it out, it is because if they are thwarted with a simple measure, such as a lock on the door, they won’t do it.

    I’m surprised this has drawn so much attention from the many who hate intellectual property and think the Internet should be free. Here we are giving away high quality analysis and information on a daily basis for free. We are constantly told that free is what the Internet is supposed to be. This episode makes perfectly clear that the haters are not interested in “free,” they are interested in copying the work of others and doing whatever they want with it. Another very sad commentary.

    -Gene

  19. Carolyn-

    Sigh. You just don’t get it.

    -Gene

  20. Carolyn-

    Wow. You are a special kind of hypocrite!

    I see you are an author and on your own website you only give away excerpts of your books! If people want to read more than the excerpt you direct them to purchase the book from Amazon.com! So you weigh in on my attempt to protect against copying what I am giving away for FREE as you refuse to give away your own works for free.

    Thanks for the laugh.

    -Gene

  21. Gene,

    There’s only one way to prevent copying:

    1) Don’t post anything

    Seriously. If someone can see something, whether in a browser, or using any other tool on a website, it can be copied. In fact the second someone views a page, a copy is made. The Internet is effectively the world’s biggest and most effective copying machine.

    Also your solution has unwanted side effects. I suspect you tested it under Windows, and it worked there. I don’t use Windows, most of my writing is done on a Mac. On a Mac I can’t select a link to open it in a new tab. Instead I have to click on the link, select the text, manually open a new tab, paste the link, go back to the original tab, and back page. This is called lousy customer service.

    Yes, I can bypass it. I’m a programmer, and web administrator. I could in fact strip your entire site in about ten minutes and email it to you. It isn’t hard. Or I could set up a mirror without the copy protection at another url, again it would be trivial to do, and would help those who do want the ability to copy parts of what you’ve written for commentary.

    I can understand your concerns, but I think you are addressing them the wrong way. Instead of trying to stop the copying, you need to become so damned popular that everyone recognizes your style, and anyone who copies your stuff without attribution ends up looking like a jerk.

    I’d also suggest adopting a Creative Commons license, specifically the one I’m going to email you. It allows for people to quote you, but requires attribution. I’ve found that it works fairly well. My stuff has been translated to Russian, Spanish, and Greek in the past that I know of, and I get a lot of traffic from weird places :)

    Wayne

  22. Gene-

    The enemy of an author is obscurity, not piracy.
    Though I have to admit, the enemy of a patent troll definitely is piracy.

    -Beth

  23. Gene, I did read the article. I’m not really sure you read my comments however, as I made no claims that content on the internet should be ‘free’.

    In fact, I’ve been frustrated by similar issues. As a graphic designer I have given away numerous designs for free under a Creative Commons licence that only requires fair attribution and that my work not be used for profit without my permission. Nonetheless, people sometimes do strip attribution and try to sell my work.

    I don’t have a perfect solution, but I won’t be slapping ugly watermarks over my work any time soon. I want to make my product better, not worse.

  24. Gene, you may not be aware of this, but there are federal laws against what those ‘very large entities’ are doing. You should seek relief, perhaps in the form of injunctions, from your district court.

    -Wang-Lo.

  25. Wow. It really doesn’t matter if I agree with your reasoning or not… your solution is an epic fail. As has been noted, there are two very, very easy ways to copy and paste from this page. I just did it myself, to verify that it worked. (No, I didn’t republish this anywhere, but of course I could have.)

    “Large organizations” which wish to republish your work will hardly be slowed down by this. You are making things difficult for your friends, while your enemies are laughing at you.

    The funniest bit is that this page is full of explanations of how to circumvent you. Seriously, this is the lamest thing I’ve read in months…

  26. This is silly and ignorant. Do you not understand how the web works? Do you not realize that if you can see/run/hear it online that those bytes of data actually exist as copies on your local machine? You sound like a fish out of water to me.

  27. Your move. http://pastebin.com/6quU90Sk

  28. “Readers have probably noticed that we are publishing more articles, and we are lucky to continue to have a growing number of periodic guest contributors and regular featured columnists as well, which likely accounts for some of this increased traffic. However, another thing that almost certainly accounts for this substantial jump in visitors is the fact that in early January 2013 we made the decision to disable copying and pasting from IPWatchdog.com. This has caused some to become quite agitated with us, with more people than you might expect writing to tell us that if they are no longer able to copy and paste our articles then they will no longer read IPWatchdog.com.”

    Yeah. Disabling copying. Yeah, that works. Just opening the web page means copying. Your server make a copy and sends it to my computer. Which promptly makes a lot of copies in order to display it on the screen. The only way you can disable copying is to shut down the site.

    But please don’t do that. If you do, who are we going to laugh about?

  29. Wow guys I am really surprised by everyone’s reactions. First, it’s obvious that you guys are purposely telling people how to bypass what Gene has done. In fact Nihal gave specific instructions! Second, I do not require right click to print and save to PDF. All you have to do is go up to the toolbar at the top of your browser and choose print from the menu. Third, one of you said that Gene should be so dynamic in what he writes that people will recognize his work without even seeing his name. But there’s a BIG problem with that theory. GENE DOES NOT WRITE EVERYTHING THAT IS WRITTEN ON IPWAYCHDOG. We have MANY guest authors and THEY are who is trying to protect. He is not tooting his own horn but trying to insure that our GUEST WRITERS GET CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE!!! This is VERY clearly written in this article. So I agree when he says that most of you have commented here DID NOT READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY! I’m using caps so you will at least read those lines.

    Gene said something to me yesterday like …a locked door only only keeps honest people honest. If a thief really wants to get in they’ll break a window. There are many people who probably didn’t even give it a thought that they were doing anything wrong. And by wrong Gene continually referred to removing authorship information and our advertisers. I am the Director of Marketing for IPWatchdog. Our advertisers pay good money to be viewed on IPWatchdog and our guest contributors get fantastic visibility for the time they put into writing and contributing to the blog. By copying and pasting, our traffic HAS decreased and our advertisers and Guest writers in particular are not getting the credit they deserve.

    We are not trying to stop thieves from circumventing the disabled ability to copy and paste. But we have accomplished the goal we set out to accomplish. Those of you who are upset about it know how to bypass it so like Gene said you’re all set. IPWatchdog is our livelihood and our baby, but it’s not all about Gene as many ov you seem to think by your critique. He is trying to explain that but it seems to me to be falling on deaf ears.

    Nevertheless, I would like to thank all of you for reading IPWatchdog.com. We appreciate every single visitor we get! Even those who disagree! Have a wonderful week.

    -Renée

  30. Lennart-

    One could apparently fill volumes with what you don’t know about copyright law. The law is clear. Opening a webpage is not copyright infringement. So your comment is utterly ridiculous and not the type of ill informed, irrelevant commentary that we accept on IPWatchdog.com.

    -Gene

  31. One could apparently fill volumes with what you don’t know about copyright law. The law is clear. Opening a webpage is not copyright infringement. So your comment is utterly ridiculous and not the type of ill informed, irrelevant commentary that we accept on IPWatchdog.com.

    But technologically he is correct.

    Wayne

  32. Renee, (I’d have used the accent in your name, but I’m not sure how to type it and I couldn’t easily copy it!)

    I’d just like to throw a little light on your analogy: A locked door does NOT only serve to keep locked people honest. An honest person wouldn’t even consider walking into someone’s house to steal from them just because the door was locked. In fact, as a (typically) honest person, I would probably try and find the owner to be sure they knew their house was open.

    I think analogies are intellectually lazy, but I’ll attempt one anyway: You’re not a house, you are a library. Your books are free to read, but not to take. In fact, you can’t even loan them and they are tied to the furniture by flimsy string. I could very easily cut the string and walk out, but to do so would be dishonest. So instead I have to read my book standing, because the one I want doesn’t happen to be tethered to a seat.

    By the way, my original comment in this thread was to point out several legitimate ways I use right-click or text selection. In the course of replying a few more times, I’ve encountered more ways in which I am hindered.

    1. Spell checking. My browser tells me when I have made a spelling error, and I can right-click to correct the problem. Not here though!

    2. Web inspector: As a web designer, I often peek under the hood to see how a site is working (not to copy I’ll add – simply to learn).

  33. Herp-

    Handled already. LOL.

    -Gene

  34. Geoff-

    I do appreciate your comments, and I do know that there are legitimate uses for right click.

    May I contact you via e-mail to discuss privately?

    -Gene

  35. If you like Gene (you should have my address), though don’t feel obliged. I wasn’t planning on continuing with my rebuttals indefinitely!

  36. Sky-

    I agree. You are silly and ignorant. Obviously, you are commenting without reading. I do know how the web works, acknowledged that in the article as well. So if there are fish out of water it would seem to be YOU!

    -Gene

  37. Geoff-

    That wasn’t why I wanted to reach out to you. Your rebuttals are thoughtful. I think you have taken the time to try and understand from my perspective, and I appreciate that.

    Truthfully, I think the person who is most affected by this is me. In order to stop what was truly massive copy, paste and e-mail I have made the website more difficult to use for my own purposes.

    -Gene

  38. Renee,

    Wow guys I am really surprised by everyone’s reactions.

    Why? You’ve just broken the internet.

    First, it’s obvious that you guys are purposely telling people how to bypass what Gene has done. In fact Nihal gave specific instructions!

    No need to tell most people, there are tutorials available on a lot of websites already, including several about web hosting and running your own site.

    Second, I do not require right click to print and save to PDF. All you have to do is go up to the toolbar at the top of your browser and choose print from the menu.

    Of course not. Technologically you can’t, just like technologically you can’t stop copy and paste.

    Third, one of you said that Gene should be so dynamic in what he writes that people will recognize his work without even seeing his name. But there’s a BIG problem with that theory. GENE DOES NOT WRITE EVERYTHING THAT IS WRITTEN ON IPWAYCHDOG. We have MANY guest authors and THEY are who is trying to protect. He is not tooting his own horn but trying to insure that our GUEST WRITERS GET CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE!!! This is VERY clearly written in this article. So I agree when he says that most of you have commented here DID NOT READ THE ARTICLE IN ITS ENTIRETY! I’m using caps so you will at least read those lines.

    And you missed the point of what I wrote. What matters about IPWatchdog is the content and the community. I often end up disagreeing with Gene, but I like this place because I know that I can have a civil discussion with him and get an understanding of his position. That is extremely valuable.

    Gene said something to me yesterday like …a locked door only only keeps honest people honest. If a thief really wants to get in they’ll break a window. There are many people who probably didn’t even give it a thought that they were doing anything wrong. And by wrong Gene continually referred to removing authorship information and our advertisers. I am the Director of Marketing for IPWatchdog. Our advertisers pay good money to be viewed on IPWatchdog and our guest contributors get fantastic visibility for the time they put into writing and contributing to the blog. By copying and pasting, our traffic HAS decreased and our advertisers and Guest writers in particular are not getting the credit they deserve.

    And your traffic is going to decrease again, once the fuss over the copy and paste block is over. The current spike only exists because you’ve become a point of discussion for the wrong reasons.

    We are not trying to stop thieves from circumventing the disabled ability to copy and paste. But we have accomplished the goal we set out to accomplish. Those of you who are upset about it know how to bypass it so like Gene said you’re all set. IPWatchdog is our livelihood and our baby, but it’s not all about Gene as many ov you seem to think by your critique. He is trying to explain that but it seems to me to be falling on deaf ears.

    Actually it is all Gene. He picks the guest writers, and usually writes introductions for them. Gene is very visibly the face of IPWatchdog.

    And he’s a really strong face. Or brand if you want to use that overused, abused, term. Everybody knows Gene. Even those who totally disagree with him, and don’t like his writing, respect his willingness to stand his ground and debate the issues.

    And that is really what IPWatchdog is about. A debate on the issues, with Gene as moderator. Yes, you’ve probably seen a bit of traffic drop. There hasn’t been any big Patent related legislation recently. The lawsuits have been, well, more of the same, and are getting to be a sick joke (see my comment on the article about Facebook and the troll with the video patents).

    Gene presents his ideas, or introduces someone, and they present their ideas, and then a debate occurs. The idea is attacked/defended and everyone (hopefully) learns something. I know I’ve learnt a few things here (and not always the things that Gene would have preferred that I learnt).

    Wayne

  39. I perfectly understand Gene’s frustration. He is creating extremely valuable content and there are a bunch of bad actors out there, not just one or two, that are distributing his (and his guest contributors) as their own work.

    I recently discovered that the copy and paste function had been disabled myself when I was putting together a training on design patents for an inventors group. Yes, it was frustrating but I understood immediately why it had probably been done. I wasn’t lifting content whole sale for my training but rather using it as a basis for creating pieces of my training content and, as always, when I use a source for core content, I included a slide giving ipwatchdog credit. But this is not the kind of activity that was going on. If it was, then the copy and paste wouldn’t have been disabled.

    I have a suggestions for Gene to consider. If possible, if you could disable the copy and paste on your newest content. Say for the first month or two after publication and then open it up after that it would be greatly appreciated.

    This way, if people wholesale copied your work they would be distributing work that was a month or two old and of significantly less value. Furthermore, the risk that people would have already seen it would be too great for people to try and pass it off as their own work by that point.

    Such a system would be a helpful to people with legitimate aims.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Mark

  40. Mark-

    Thanks for the comment.

    I am open to pursuing other options, and will be moving in that direction. Not because of the protests here of those who wish to mock me. They simply don’t get it and never will. But I do know there are legitimate uses for right-click. If I could prevent copy and paste to e-mail as a substitute for visiting the website I would prefer to pursue those alternatives.

    Cheers.

    -Gene

  41. Wayne-

    Thanks my friend. I hope all is well.

    -Gene

  42. Chris-

    I appreciate your comment, but you are incorrect. You and the others here presume that every large organization has the means, power and DESIRE to infringe copyrights. The large entities I was concerned with have stopped. So your assumptions are incorrect. To put it into your terminology… your comment is lame.

    -Gene

  43. Beth-

    Authors who can’t make money from their endeavors are not authors, they are hobbyists. So as flattering as it is to be widely read, that doesn’t pay the bills.

    Do you work for free yourself? If not, you are a hypocrite.

    -Gene

  44. Gene,

    I cannot claim to know much about PCs and various software applications, but shortly after beginning to read your article and reading that you had stopped the possibility of copying and pasting, out of curiosity I tried the very simple tools and techniques that MS provides with every PC, e.g. those needed to eliminate hidden type font and formatting commands associated with any text being copies from a source document into a target document as I commonly do when constructing legal agreements and previously did when I was drafting patent applications. Note that my PC is a ~6 yr old basic model from Dell, and struggles to do many things others view as fundamental. I found no hindrances to copying and pasting any selected text from the primary article above. From use of some other websites that I regularly visit I know there are steps that can be taken to make copying much more difficult for those who can easily copy your copyrighted content today. I recommend that you have your webmeister take such steps.

    Also, is there any equivalent to the functions that CCC has performed for hard copy magazines and periodicals, and ASCAP and BMI have performed for the audio recording industry that could be applied to “broadcasting” of your copyrighted content via use of internet based electronic media? If not, maybe one should be established; you are certainly not the only business affected by such unauthorized copying.

    Whenever I read an article on your blog that I think others in my circle of email contacts would be interested in reading, I simply forward them the URL hyperlink together with my own comments, if any.

  45. As a content creator, I don’t expect a single thing from content consumers, and neither should you. If anything, I want my content to be copied, so that it is useful, and so that more people are exposed to it.

  46. Gene people are angry at you not because you’re trying to protect you’re IP. But because you’re acting in a manner that the internet would best describe as “douchebag.” Disabling right click is an internet no-no. It’s a common courtesy or a bit of manners. Right now you’re eating with you’re mouth open and getting mad when people expect you to close it.

  47. ioctl-

    Your comment shows an extremely naive view of the world.

    What line of work are you in? Do you accept a paycheck for your endeavors? If you do then you are a hypocrite of the first magnitude! Really. I expect more from those who comment on IPWatchdog.com than this type of ridiculous drivel.

    -Gene

  48. Chris-

    Your comment takes the prize for most ridiculous so far. Yes, many others have proved to be hypocrites, but your comment is about as absurd as it gets.

    This is not about courtesy or manners. It is about theft. Those who think protecting original works of authorship is inappropriate are imbeciles.

    There is nothing personal in business… it is business. You and any others who share your feelings need to grow up.

    -Gene

  49. DaveR-

    Thanks for the comment, and thanks for sharing links with others rather than cutting and pasting.

    I am open to other alternatives. Frankly, I picked one that was quick and easy. Despite the many nonsense comments above from those who didn’t read the article and prefer to pretend I think the solution is foolproof, it was merely one that I picked as quick and easy to stop the problem at hand. It seems to have worked, but I’d prefer a better alternative when I have some time to investigate. If you know of any I’d be interested in hearing of them.

    -Gene

  50. One more thought to those who obviously give no thought before commenting…

    If I thought this was a foolproof way to protect, why did I acknowledge in the article that it wasn’t?

    Also, why did I allow the comments from those who provided instructions on how to circumvent?

    Really! Is indicative of the level of “thoughtful analysis” in the anti-IP and pro-Pirate community?

    -Gene

  51. You do realise how easy it is to copy and paste from your website, right? If you want to stop people copying your text you’ll need to publish all your text in the form of an image I’m afraid. Of course that would be a stupid thing to do, almost as stupid as thinking you can prevent people from copying and pasting html text.

    EXCERPT DELETED

  52. Copy Paste-

    Another who didn’t read the article, or the comments for that matter, but wasn’t going to be deterred from making a ridiculous statement. Wow. Is this how comments go on all websites?

    Nevertheless, allow me to answer.

    Yes, I do realize, which is acknowledged in the article itself (and how I know you didn’t read it) and repeatedly in the comments (which is how I know you didn’t read those either).

    What is stupid is commenting and with certainty exposing yourself to others. Why would you make such an absurd comment? You prove you don’t know a thing about what you are saying and that everyone who is serious should disregard you because you didn’t take the time to inform yourself.

    -Gene

  53. All:

    Whether one agrees with the copy/paste disable feature or not that is the way that Gene wishes to run his award-winning blog. If he needs to restrict the copy/paste feature in his opinion so he can take in sufficient revenue to keep IPWatchdog running then we should respect that request. The alternative is that we all lose if he cannot make enough money to make it worthwhile. Perhaps there is a way for Gene to set up a pay for copy feature (PayPal etc.) so a reader can get full access to a given article. Gene keep up the great work.

    Brad Olson

  54. Gene-

    The virtual blizzard of comments seems to speak volumes, and methinks they doth protest too much. By copying only portions of your writings they can take things out of context, to serve their particular wants or agenda.

    Why is just providing a link to the original article such a big problem for some? To use a somewhat off-beat metaphor, when the Superbowl power went down for about 35 minutes, they had to change the schedule to be able to get some very expensive commercials aired as according to their agreement with the advertising sponsors.

    The only minor complaint I have is that I can’t edit my own comments in the text box, so I just use my mail system to compose comments and edit them, and then I copy&paste my own message into the comment box.

    Cheers,
    Stan~

  55. The icon starting the story off is apropos.

  56. Brad-

    Thanks for the comment.

    I am working on other ways to accomplish what I need to accomplish. I don’t like this solution at all. Not because of the comments here, but because it hinders my own use of the site, as well as other legitimate uses. Unfortunately, the copy/paste/e-mail became a huge problem. As we transition into more and more guest articles it isn’t fair for the guests to not get credit and many in the industry giving me credit for their work. Advertising is also an issue as well certainly.

    Cheers.

    -Gene

  57. Gene, I understand your frustration, I just don’t understand why, as a prolific online author, you don’t really seem to get why your attempted fix is not very good at all. I mean, if it fixes your immediate problem, then fine, obviously, it’s your site, whatever works for you, no further argument needed. But you seem to be getting shirty with people who are simply pointing out that it’s more an annoyance to people who you do want reading your site, and no hindrance at all to thieves – seems to me you might be shooting the messenger a bit.

    I don’t know your writing, or you, I admit, and you certainly don’t know me – I’m a thoroughgoing nerd, but I do have an interest in IP issues and, from what I’ve seen, I think I’m on your side where IP is concerned, broadly speaking. But I only came to your site because of a reference made by someone whose opinion on matters of security, technology and IP I respect enormously. That person was *laughing* at your stance, and I wanted to see what was so funny.

    And – and this *really* isn’t meant as an attack, although obviously it’s gonna sound hurtful; do please believe me when I say I sincerely recognise and sympathise with your reasons – it *is* funny. It’s silly. Honestly. You can’t stop copying like that, but you break a bunch of stuff that people often use.

    Personally, I have javascript disabled by default on every new website I visit, via the rather excellent “noscript” plugin for Firefox, and, given the amount of drive-by malware out there, this is something I wholeheartedly recommend to everyone.

    I wouldn’t even know you’d “disabled” right-click if I hadn’t read about it, because for me (and anyone else using NoScript) you, er, haven’t. This isn’t something I had to “do” to “get around” your “protection”, it’s simply a non-issue – your (or anyone else’s) attempt to disable an aspect of my browser doesn’t work, because by default, I don’t allow random websites to disable aspects of my browser, simple as that.

    I can cut and paste anything from this site as with any other. Had it not been being discussed, had my friend not found it funny enough to tell people about, I truly would never have noticed. You might have re-enabled it again, as far as I know, it makes absolutely no difference to me.

    It doesn’t mean I’m gonna steal your stuff, of course. (a) I just wouldn’t, and (b) there are laws against that. If someone’s been deliberately stealing from you, then get your solicitor to send them scary letters and make them stop, but don’t piss off your technically naive regular users by screwing up their right-click-lookups and offline browsing and so on.

    If you want a subtle way to encourage attribution among people who might be simply careless about it, do what someone suggested early on and use your javascript to tag cut-n-pasted excerpts from your site with a copyright notice and a URL back here – if people then go to the trouble of removing the information about authorship which you’ve helpfully added, you have an easier time demonstrating intent to rip you off, and you can and should give the perpetrators a hard time legally. Plus, by doing that, you’d be *adding* convenience for the majority of your readers who might love to cite you, but in no way want to rip you off. It wouldn’t hinder, say, disabled readers who like to have javascript enabled but might rely on right-click things for text-to-speech or something, it would instead save them the trouble of finding accurate attribution information if they want to cite you.

    None of this *matters* to me, I’m certainly not going to waste more time on it, but reading your rather petulant responses to some people (who, admittedly, have in certain cases been a bit rude…) I wanted to take a shot at explaining why it’s probably not the best approach, cos I suspect your heart’s in broadly the right place and your judgement’s just a bit clouded by anger at the genuinely unscrupulous thieves you’re trying to thwart.

    On the plus side, well, you have a visitor spike, including my visit – no publicity is bad publicity, right? :-)

  58. Gene — It’s your blog; and you’re entitled to do what you want with it.

    Including taking whatever steps you feel are necessary to protect it’s important and highly-valuable content.

    And to protect your business.

    As you’ve said, how many of the complainers are working for free?

    Dogs only chase moving cars.

  59. Carl-

    Thanks for your comment, and for reading. I’m sorry you find my comments petulant, but I think the real bad actors are those who engage in intentional copyright infringement. The fact that they are in the IP community makes it even more difficult to swallow.

    I will take issue with a lot of what you wrote. People are not pointing out that it is a mere annoyance. Most are openly mocking, although it is clear that they don’t know what they are mocking. It is clear that most haven’t read the article. They prefer to pretend that I said this was fool proof or even the best way. Neither of which I have said. In fact, I have said the exact opposite. In fact, I have repeatedly stated I’m open to suggestions, but few have been forthcoming.

    There have been some who have said I’m lying about people copying, pasting and e-mailing my articles, which is absurd.

    Many of the IP haters want to pretend that authors should give their works away for free and be glad that others rip them off. Some comments have been posted by those who claim on their own websites to be members of the “Pirate Party,” as if that is a legitimate political organization.

    I realize there are many who can still cut and paste. A lock on a door only keeps honest people out. I know that for anyone who can come up with a computer solution to any problem there are many who can work around the solution no matter how complicated.

    I’m not looking for attribution. With a free content advertiser based model what pays are readers that can be counted and who see advertising, some of whom presumably click on advertising enough to justify the cost. It doesn’t do me any good to write and publish and then have it circulate via e-mail so that literally thousands of people read it every month without ever seeing advertising.

    -Gene

  60. Gene,

    There are many in the IP community who take perverse pleasure in denigrating IP.

    I agree with you: I find such people hard to swallow.

    That being said, I think the overall message back to you is attempting to say that copy and paste functionality can be used for good or for ill, and that those who wish to use it for ill can readility do so, even with the measures you have put in place.

    It’s a sad comment on those who woulld do so.

    However, copyright does not mean that no copying at all is allowed. Copyright (in contrast to patents) does have a much more generous base of noniinfringing use (e.g. fair use). Lock-downs, thus, in a real sense, may actually impair a public’s legitimate use (along the lines of “used for good”).

    I do understand your motivation, and I do not question that. I am pretty amazed at how strong some feel in response to your chosen path (it is your choice to make). Would I have chosen the same path? Perhaps not, but that, in itself, does not make your choice any less valid.

    By the way, keep up the great work on the variety of articles. I am mulling over the “Supporting Proposed Rules on Disclosure of Real Party-Party-in-Interest article, and am cooling down before I post – you will see why.

  61. Gene, I think you’re conflating a few things and taking issue with a couple of strawmen, to be perfectly frank. As anon just said, copyright is not patent. Thankfully, (And yes, I do personally produce, and profit from, copyrighted work.)

    It’s not that “a lock on the door keeps only honest people out” (which is something of a ridiculous statement in any case – if it were true, it would be manifestly insane to buy a lock, and locksmiths would be destitute).

    I *am* an honest person. Your “lock” is not a lock, it’s more like, I dunno, a plastic “shoplifters will be prosecuted” sign placed in a shopping aisle where sight-impaired people can occasionally trip over it. This isn’t mocking, it’s just a statement of fact, I don’t know how better to explain it.

    No-one need expect that you know much about web design (or accessibility guidelines) but, since you said you’re open to suggestions, people have offered some in good faith, I think. When you change something in a way which annoys people, they’re apt also to express annoyance, and when you do something widely regarded as ridiculous, harsh though this is, you’re gonna get a bit of mild ridicule, too. Particularly if you dismiss people who try to explain why it’s ridiculous as “dishonest”. I may be wrong, but I’m pretty sure most of the mocking isn’t coming from folk who want to pass themselves off as the author of your work.

    You’ve said automatic attribution isn’t enough, because it doesn’t force people to view your adverts. Personally, I don’t think that’s exactly the way it would work, but then I don’t know your readers like you do. I’d expect people, if they liked what they read, to come to your site in search of more, or if they found it controversial then I imagine they’d come to argue with you. This forum is not something a reader can get from an emailed summary of the kind you described, and besides, the outright theft and passing-off of your material is clearly illegal – if it’s that blatant I can’t see why you can’t solve that particular problem through litigation.

    Reading between the lines here, though, your stance might make more sense in light of your stated concern about advertising revenue. I do see your adverts on here, whereas I certainly wouldn’t have had not my rather well-connected friend been entertained by your “security” efforts. So I wonder if your goal here is just to provoke extra traffic? (If so, there are whole “how not to” manuals out there showing how to make a *really* annoying website – you at the very *least* want to expand the browser window to bigger than the reader’s screen so it can’t be dragged, disable the back button, and include a lot of animated GIFs and pop-ups :-) )

    If you’re serious about restricting access to enforce advertisement exposure, you’ll probably have to go the way of some more elaborate CMS, perhaps a subscriber model, or maybe try to lock people into some proprietary delivery system as with Apple’s iTunes etc., and take any consequent readership hit. What people often do is serve up a header page with an article teaser, and put the bulk of an article behind a pay-wall or login. The actual login process affords an opportunity to delight the reader with some carefully targeted advertising. Perhaps that might be closer to what you need?

    Gah, I said I wasn’t going to spend more time on this, too busy, must work on my willpower!

  62. Anon-

    I never suspected it would stop those who want to copy at all costs. It did seem to stop those in our industry who aren’t pirates, but who are a bit clueless. Not as easy to do seems to mean they opt for other things, such as sending links. Sad thing is that if I stop they will go straight back to doing what they have done previously, of that there is little doubt.

    I have been looking into other options. May have found a good option today, but can’t seem to get it working properly. Will investigate further later this week.

    Cheers.

    -Gene

  63. Thanks Steve.

  64. Anon-

    I am really starting to actually believe that you might be a very interesting author of a series about IP development in an International sense. We could all just wink and nod when we see an article written by the famous masked man.

    If we don’t happen to consider the options, who else do you think would? The Senate doesn’t want to hear about it any more, for probably very good reasons. Mostly all done by now, so the House of Representatives will not be able muck up the language of the bill any further without another Congressional vote. That will probably never happen, so we seem to be stuck with Senator Leahy’s insane version of what he thinks is good for America. Senator Leahy is from Vermont, the erstwhile IBM state.

    Unfortunately, Senator Leahy decided to remain on the Senate Judiciary Committee, much to my regret. Of course all of his pals in Vermont will support his re-election, but when he and Lamar Smith of Texas are involved, it makes me fear for the future of American innovation.

    Lamar didn’t seem to have a clue, being more like a hired hand in my opinion. All he seemed to be interested in is how smart he would appear to be, which was very frankly somewhat tragic, because he made such a fool of himself. On nationally recorded C-Span archives.

    Via con Dios’
    Stan~

  65. You are hilarious, Gene. Clueless about tech, but hilarious. You do know that right click is not just for copy/paste? I use it all the time to go “back.” All you have done is make your website harder to use for honest people and achieved nothing else. It’s ok, though, I only ever visit it to laugh at your silly ideas anyway.

  66. Well just ducky for you Renee-

    Do you happen to know that Gene has several credentials in computer science and electrical engineering? Your exhibtion of your vast technical skills is actually pretty amazing, You seem to just want to take away from others, and try to convince yourself or others that you happen to be clever.

    Not getting past Go here darlin, and your lack of intelligence is pretty remarkable. Probably just as well that you don’t commenrt here, because reason and logic is usually expected i the comments. You have demonstrated neither at this point. What really IS your point anyways?.

  67. Just curious – what if some of the people passing the stuff around are on corporate sites that don’t allow web surfing from work? I’ve seen places that worked that way, and the only way it was possible to pass around information was either copy and paste, or print to pdf.

    Wayne

  68. Renee Marie Jones has posted in several places and is an anti-patent, anti-IP ideologue that does not provide any backup to her position, and is unwilling to engage in any type of reasonable discussion.

    While she (?) indicates that she comes here to laugh, she does not realize that she plays the fool and is herself being laughed at.

    Stan, no, I am not an author of such works – but thank you for the thought.

    Gene, good luck on finding a solution, but do consider that some copy and paste capability is actually a benefit for spreading your excellent blog content to places it would not otherwise reach. Attribution, of course, would be proper (and is something any attorney (in or out of IP) should already be mindful of.

  69. So, it’s my understanding that the site owner would like to stop other web sites copying and republishing his articles. In order to do this, he’s implemented a method that, even by his own admission, is not able to stop this in any shape or form. It not only fails at stopping them copying his content, it does nothing to stop them republishing it without his permission.

    It’s also clear that by disabling right click, he’s also disabled many useful browser features genuine visitors are accustomed to using (for example, my right click spell corrector is not working). Plus of course, some people may just want to copy and paste some text for perfectly valid, legal uses.

    So IMO get rid of the javascript, there’s no point making things difficult for your visitors. Then to stop people republishing without permission, use the recognised legal process, which for example, is to send a cease and desist followed by a legal notice to the web host, and ultimately litigation. This is the only way you are able to directly target people illegally republishing your content without impacting your genuine site visitors.

    I can think of no other way of dealing with it, there are no technical measures you can implement to stop copying of html text from a web site, other than not publishing in the first place.

  70. Hello Readers, It’s me again.

    I just want to summarize a few things.

    1). The issue we are trying to correct is insuring that our authors get credit for their work that so often Gene is being credited for. By disabling copy and past, MAJORITY of our readers will simply forward the link OR PRINT TO PDF for those who have restricted Internet access as one of you pointed out. By doing so, the Author’s information is retained in the PDF directly.

    2).The issue is NOT that we want to completely or even permanently disable the copy and paste feature on our site. We are working on alternate solutions.

    3).Whether you “Like” Gene or not, you have to give him “props” for not wanting to take the credit that he is already being given for things that he has not written. Some people have made negative comments here and especially in other blogs about Gene as a person. But as his business partner and wife, I can assure you, that Gene truly IS looking out for the others on IPWatchdog and not just himself.

    4). Gene did not have to explain to readers why he did what he did. But, he chose to write about it to inform everyone what led to his decision. How many websites do you know will publically explain what led to website functionality? Can you say Facebook?

    5).We have seen an increase in traffic since the day we disabled this function. So our traffic spikes are more a result of that and MUCH LESS if NOT at all because of this article as several of you have pointed out to be the case.

    6).Whether you come here to read our content every day, whether you come to add thoughtful comments to the debate, whether you come to laugh at what you perceive is silly, or whether you come to post comments that clearly show you dislike what has been done or said on IPWatchdog, THANK YOU! We appreciate you coming to IPWatchdog.com in the first place. Traffic is traffic is traffic.

    Finally, what is most important to note is this. The reason behind this choice was:

    NOT to try to prevent everyone from copying our stuff
    NOT to fool himself that he even could
    NOT to piss off so many readers that they stop reading IPWatchdog.com all together

    But in fact Gene did EXACTLY what he set out to do, which was:

    LET OUR READERS, AUTHORS AND ADVERTISERS KNOW THAT WE ARE AWARE OF THIS ISSUE AND WERE TAKING STEPS TO RECTIFY IT, STARTING WITH LETTING OUR READERS, AUTHORS AND ADVERTISE KNOW WE KNOW THIS IS AN ISSUE!

    Nowhere does Gene state that this would be a permanent solution. On the contrary he has said many times in this chain of comments, that he did not want this to be the case, but was looking for better solutions to the problem.

    Again, Thank you for reading IPWatchdog.com

    -Renée

    Now as The Social Media Diva, it is my job to promote our social media, so…
    Please Visit & “Like” us on Facebook
    @ http://www.Facebook.com/IPWatchdog and http://www.Facebook.com/TheSocialMediaDiva
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    @IPWatchdog and @IPWatchdog_Too
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  71. Mr. Claypole-

    Obviously you didn’t read the article and assumed you knew what I was trying to accomplish. Never mentioned other sites republishing even once. A simple DMCA takedown handles that.

    So you prove you are clueless and not afraid to show your ignorance. In the future please read before commenting. I expect more of those who choose to comment on IPWatchdog. Ignorance and fabrication is not tolerated.

    -Gene

  72. Anon-

    I only meant to encourage you to write an article about the changing tenor of patent law, however you see fit to approach it. Easy for me to propose, but very difficult to actually do in practice. You might even be able to write such an article using your real name, and how would anyone here have any idea of who Anon was?

    I honestly don’t know, and even if I did, I would never reveal it without your express permission. What really matters is the analysis of what has recently transpired with the passage of the AIA.

  73. Stan,

    I think the move to a world patent has long been in the making, and the fact that patents are a territorial animal combined with the uniquely Constitutional basis of the US system may make a truly daunting obstacle to such a world patent. I am sure that you realize exactly who benefits the most from such a world patent. Perhaps after the crush of the AIA implementation date…

    In the meantime, check out my post on the thread:
    http://www.ipwatchdog.com/2013/02/03/supporting-proposed-rules-on-disclosure-of-real-party-in-interest/

    as the assault on patent rights continues from both the Left and the Right (academia and Bog Corp). The continued efforts to thwart innovation by focusing not on the actual innovation, but on who owns that innovation as a further weakening of the venerable Quid Pro Quo simply raises my hackles. After a patent has been granted, there is simply no right of the government to limit substantive rights based on ownership, and yet the efforts first to denigrate with pejoratives, then to actually forcibly make it easier for the entities with established power to pick and choose which rights to quash, all the time dressed in the sheep’s clothing of protecting innovation is just a bit much.

  74. I disagree with you when you say “It does us absolutely no good when there is widespread dissemination of text without advertisements.” Exposure is good; it might not be as good as cash (to you) but you said “absolutely”.

    From your comments, I get the impression that because I disagree about that, I’m a clueless imbecile and a hater of content creators.

  75. mwic-

    What good does exposure within the IP community do me? The folks in government are not going to hire me and they already know who I am. The folks in the law firms are never going to hire me because they themselves are lawyers, and they also already know who I am.

    So what is the benefit of widespread, uncompensated distribution within a community in which you are well known?

    -Gene

  76. @Anon ..the asault on patent rights continues… (dam, I wish I could have copy and pasted that from your comments Anon. I’m such a slow typist. Not much better than hunt and peck really. I apologize if I misquoted.)

    Anyway, speaking of the assault on patent rights you might want to review today’s Huff Post article about a “study” by the…. (Hey, this is getting a bit long. I better cut and paste what I’ve laboriously typed so far into a Word document so that I can work on a draft and be a bit more thoughtful about what I say. I wouldn’t want to post anything I would regret later on. Let’s see, I’ll just drag the mouse to highlight the text I’ve typed so far, right click the text…… DARN! That’s right. Cutting and pasting is not working and I’m too much of a idiot to figure out how to use ?C, ?V. Oh well, soldier on.)

    So today’s Huff Post has an article which says, and I quote, “Two economists at the St. Louis Federal Reserve published a paper arguing to abolish the American patent system, saying there’s “no evidence” patents improve productivity and that they have a “negative” effect on “innovation.” “ (Hey, that was easy! Thank you Huff Post for allow us to cut and paste. I guess I’ll provide a link to the full article so others can read it too. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/05/patent-reform-economists_n_2623537.html I hope someone buys some of those fine products they are advertising in the upper right hand corner.)

    Like I was saying, this article has had 2000+ comments so far with a lot of people slamming patents….hard. I think that we as concerned members of the patent community ought to work together to defend patents against these misguided studies.

    What do you think?

  77. Mark,

    I do have a few thoughts:

    I get the message you don’t like Gene’s change. As I said, it is not a decision that I would have made. Nonetheless, I do not begrudge Gene for his decision (after all, this is his site, and he maintains it to a level of professionalism that is unparalleled in my opinion).

    As for typing and then copying and pasting, may I suggest that you actually type first in a word processing software package, and then when complete, you can copy and paste once into the website (as done with the instant message). This would allow you to not only make sure nothing is lost (captcha gotcha’s still happen), but would also allow you to foment (it’s often good to NOT be able to post instantly) and format to eliminate that “oops typos and Oh I don’t want to make a mistake and say something I might regret later on” concern of yours.

    You lead in with my “Patents under attack,” but you merely reference a Huffington Post article that itself is merely a new rehash on an old topic – the “Reserve Study” is certainly not new and has been discussed on the blogs several times – and has been thoroughly discredited. It is not news that there are people who are anti-patent. It is also not news that the comment section on such anti-patent pieces are like chum to the legally ignorant.

    Finally, I would be interested in hearing what you think concerning what I view as a more devious attack – on the other thread. That attack is actually “well-written,” and comes across as educated and more difficult to not only recognize, but to diffuse. I tend to view that type of attack as the more pernicious.

  78. Anon writes in small part:

    “Finally, I would be interested in hearing what you think concerning what I view as a more devious attack – on the other thread. That attack is actually “well-written,” and comes across as educated and more difficult to not only recognize, but to diffuse. I tend to view that type of attack as the more pernicious.”

    It certainly is possible to be a bit more mercurial if there are no actual facts presented, or at least some kind of prior court decisions in the matter. Somewhat difficult to debate hearsay, if there are no real edges defined. Just un-founded assertions by folks lacking in evidence.

    The New World unified patent system would probably be a very interesting thing to explore just a bit. There was a very interesting piece written by Mark Summerfield just a bit ago, that had to do with how patent attorneys and agents will have to be proficient in two different rules as regards patentability and when.

    As it turns out, Australia will be instituting some major changes to their patent laws in early April, only about a month after the USPTO drop-dead FITF date of March 16. Definitely worth a read, as Mark makes some excellent points.
    http://blog.patentology.com.au/2013/02/aspiring-attorneys-stand-on-threshold.html?utm_source=20130204&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=patentology

    Ciao bella,
    Stan~

  79. Stan,

    In all honesty, my hands are quite full currently with US law. I have professionals in foreign jurisdictions for whose judgment I have come to trust. That being said, I do attempt to keep a passing ear to developments, and that ear informs me that the unified Europe patent is starting to unravel even before it begins. Keep in mind this is just my second hand hearsay, so take it with a grain of salt.

  80. @ anon
    I get the message you don’t like Gene’s change.
    True. In fact, I’ve been surprised at the intensity of my own emotions about it. I felt very threatened by the fact that a functionality that I have come to rely on and take for granted (copy/paste) could be so easily shut off.

    Nonetheless, I do not begrudge Gene for his decision…
    Nor do I begrudge his decision or his very legitimate need to earn a respectable profit from his efforts. I’ve been concerned in the past that Gene may not find the enormous amount of work required to keep this blog going worth it. And I agree that the level of professionalism is unparalleled.

    As for typing and then copying and pasting, may I suggest that you actually type first in a word processing software package…
    It appreciate the suggestion. That’s what I am doing right now.

    You lead in with my “Patents under attack,” but you merely reference a Huffington Post article …
    One the one hand I agree. The Huff Post article is just chum for the legally ignorant. But it was forwarded to me by a friend who saw it as the end of patents. Patents have to be supported by the nation as a whole to continue to exist.

    Finally, I would be interested in hearing what you think concerning what I view as a more devious attack – on the other thread…

    I would be happy to comment, but I’m not sure what “other thread” you are referring to. Can you point me to it or link to the “well written attack”?

  81. Gene:

    “What good does exposure within the IP community do me?
    … So what is the benefit of widespread, uncompensated distribution within a community in which you are well known?”

    I’m not following your reasoning? Copy-paste is only able to give you exposure “within the IP community”? How do you figure?

    Anyway, there are two whole industries devoted to answering your question. “P.R.” and “content marketing”

    If you’ve arrived at some sort of celebrity apex and no longer need to maintain or extend mindshare, I guess congratulations are in order.

  82. Mark,

    The link is provided at my comment at post 73 above.

    And on the other hand I too would agree with you. There definitely is a war of sound-bytes going on concerning patents, and the “Tech-dirts” and “slash-dots” of the world fully embrace an all-out truth-be-dammed carpet bombing style.

  83. Anon,

    Thanks for the link. I think the criticism of patents that it is expensive and time consuming to determine if a technological product is infringing one or more patents has merit. I don’t think that this has a legal or even public policy solution, however (e.g. disclosure of real party in interest). I think the solution is a technological redesign of patents themselves so that, for example, drafting, examination and infringement detection can all be automated. Until this redesign happens, the criticism of patents as burdens on technological innovation will remain and grow.

  84. Anon:
    “the “Reserve Study” is certainly not new and has been discussed on the blogs several times – and has been thoroughly discredited”

    Can you link me to the discrediting(s)? The study is in Winter 2013 Journal of Economic Perspectives, so it’s at least new to *me* : )

  85. Mark,

    Your identified criticism in post 83 is a non-sequitor to the post I identified and replied to.

    It simply matters not who owns a patent in regards to any criticism of determining product and infringement. And while you are focusing on content (a proper focus), you are quite missing the point of both the post and my reply (the aim of the article is not content based, but ownership based). As I emphasized, the Office has no legitimate concern with substantive matters after patent grant based on who the owner of the property right might be. Such is a direct impingement on alienability of property. I do make a point of distinguishing substantive matters, as the Office does in fact provide an extra benefit based on who the owner is with reduced maintenance fees. But this is an exception that proves the rule, as the exception is both finely tuned and directed to a legitimate legislative concern. It is also an exception that is NOT mandatory, nor is it anything but an exception.

    Quite simply, the push for ownership does not address your identified concern at all.

    mwic,

    The study may be in the Winter 2013 journal, but the information has been in several of the leading patent blogs since at least mid-year last year. The contents have been reviewd by those with an understanding of more than just “economics” and have been thoroughly debunked as I have mentioned. I do not have these debunkings hyperlinked, so I am going to have to leave that research to you (you might base your search on the author names, rather than the Journal name). I am sorry that this is only now new to you, as it is quite a repeated rehash, and quite unworthy of actually being considered news.

  86. Mark,

    I have just re-read your post and apologize – it appears that you agree with my view.

    Likewise, I agree that a better approach would be aiming for a quicker and more clear “redesign of patent contents.” But the current state of those contents is (in no small part) driven by the courts themselves, and the Office/applicant interactions, and is not likely amenable to a strict “redesign” effort. I just don’t see a realistic automation solution in any foreseeable future. It’s a nice thought, though.

  87. @anon

    I am also pessimistic about any sort of structural redesign of patents.

  88. I would also add that the political capital has been grossly misspent on the AIA effort.

  89. Anon-

    Perhaps the better question might be to ask if anything has been satisfied. I suspect not, but I have been wrong before.

    Is it really true that there are about 3 anon’s out there in IP blog land? Somewhat sad if true, as they would seem to be using your name in vain, without your having the opportunity to be able to divorce yourself from others calling themselves anon, usually with a lower case first letter.

    Not a big problem for most, as bogus anons will demonstrate less than adequate wisdom, which can be spotted from about 1500 miles away pretty easily.

    The integration of the new US patent law into the new world order would seem to be the most pressing issue to me, but that is a pretty un-explored area as of now. Part of the problem is that the Senate leaders in the AIA goofed the language of the bill up pretty badly, which has yet to be adequately fixed as far as I am concerned.

    Forget about arguing with the *sixes* on the Patently-O boards, and let’s try to get a few things done!

    Just a sort of Hail Mary punt to see if you are still listening, but as you probably understand the dialog present elsewhere will not allow any sort of discussion like that. I like to try to remain positive about things, on the off chance that it might find some favor elsewhere.

    Aloha~

  90. For another instance, consider this message that I got from a very experienced patent agent, that had to do with contentious discussions.

    He likened it to pig wrestling, where the process was very exhausting and dirty, only to discover that the Pig was enjoying itself immensely in the process. Perhaps somewhat jaded of me, but maybe it hints at a bit of truth.

    Stan~

  91. Perhaps somewhat jaded of me, but maybe it hints at a bit of truth.

    I love a good brawl as much as the next guy. The problem is that the brawl here has been aimed at the wrong target. Which isn’t to say I agree with how Gene has handled it, but the real problem is that the internet is a fantastic way to meet jerks.

    Sometimes I is one of them.

    Wayne

  92. 5).We have seen an increase in traffic since the day we disabled this function. So our traffic spikes are more a result of that and MUCH LESS if NOT at all because of this article as several of you have pointed out to be the case.

    Renee,

    As I told Gene earlier, I suspect that the current spike will drop off to lower than what it was earlier. Part of the problem is that there isn’t any legislation in play at present, and that as far as court cases are concerned, a lot of us are plum tuckered out.

    Wayne

  93. Tuckered out sounds like a personal problem. Certainly not mine, I am happy to report. Sleep, that knits the ravled sleave of care, as the Bard once wrote.

    Via con Dious
    Syan~

  94. Stan,

    Whether or not other “Anon’s” are out there does not overly concern me. As you indicated, the content is what separates, and truth be told, I am far less concerned with personal recognition, than I am about the content of the posts. I have in the past explained other reasons why posting anonymously is valuable as well. A valid reason is that even though a “this is my personal view” comment can be made, if you are a principal in a firm, there will be those that cannot separate your view from that firm. I have also defended the use of anonymous or pseudonymous posting names for less than savory users. Much like the First Amendment means that things you don’t like to hear will be heard, the ability to speak without concern of impact can be empowering and invigorating as well as crass or insulting. This site does a great job at curbing the less savory aspects by expecting (most) discussions to be based on actual law and stopping those who would be profane with a profession that (I hope) we all love.

    By choosing Anon, I choose to focus not on me, but on the truly more important stuff: the law.

  95. I am reminded somewhat of the writings of Herman Hesse, who was a German author in the former half of the 1900′s.

    I read Siddhartha first, and it’s later sequel. Just the translations must have been a real work of art, because the experience in English was compelling and very clear.

  96. The titles I was trying to recall were Beneath the Wheel in English, and also the Glass bead game (Magister Ludi) and the very strange Der Steppenwolfe, among many other adventures. Give one of his books a try, and I bet you will be intrigued. They tend to be short and very easily read, which tends to draw one into the story a bit.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herman_Hesse

  97. Ah, yes. High school English.

    Hah.

    Rather funny because I’m selling short stories now, something I never dreamed I’d be able to do 40 years ago.

    Wayne

  98. Did you ever read any of the books Wayne?

  99. Stan,

    Yes, Steppenwolf was covered in High School English. I really should check the rest of his stuff out. And re-read Steppenwolf. Forty years is a long time!

    If you like horror/fantasy check out a little collection called ‘What Scares the Boogey Man?’, the editor said my story gave him shivers whenhe saw a little old lady talking to her kids. It’s called ‘Grandma’.

    As you can tell, I’m rather proud of it.

    Wayne

  100. I am considering writing a bit of science fiction myself, mostly on the hard science end in some senses. Find some stories by Dean Ing, like The Singing Diamond, for instance. Arthur C. Clarke is the obvious other example, who basically *invented* the whole concept of geosynchronous communications satellites. He was also instrumental in developing Radar aircraft landing systems in England during WW II, which saved many lives during inclement weather. He even wrote a book about it, entitled Glide Path, which is a non-fiction report of what they did.

  101. What’s So Bad About Copying? An Art Gallery Scrutinizes Unoriginality

    http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/02/whats-so-bad-about-copying-an-art-gallery-scrutinizes-unoriginality/272955/

  102. Stan,

    Clarke was a genius. We need more like him.

    So was Hal Clement. I was responsible for Hal being a semi-permanent guest at Ad Astra, the Toronto Science Fiction Convention. I’d met him, and was totally blow away by what an absolutely lovely guy he was.

    How about Larry Niven? A terribly funny guy – met him at the Torcon 3, the 2003 WorldCon in Toronto. Also very smart, he has an ability to see the important point. His stories about the Organ Banks are classics.

    Wayne

  103. If you happen to like that sort of thing, perhaps consider the contributions of a certain Dr. Robert L. Forward. He *invented* a new type of access to getting things into orbit, via the space tether concept. He lived near here, and he came out to a joint meeting of the Whidby Island inventors group, in conjunction with the Port Townsend Inventors Guild which I ran here for about 3 years. A very remarkable person, and he stood at the entrance to the meeting room to personally invite everyone to his presentation. Unfortunately he passed away soon after that, due to a brain cancer, which made me very sad indeed.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_tether

    He was also a very prolific science fiction author, and when I found this link, I finally found his elusive tale “The Singing Diamond” that was originally published in the Omni magazine many years ago. Really great hard science fiction, which is a short story, Just lately I have also found several other of his short stories that were published in the Analog and Isaac Asimov pulp magazines back in the late 80′s and the early 1990s.

    I found him to be a very inspirational sort of fellow, from a Scottish background like myself, with a wonderful sense of humor.
    http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/f/robert-l-forward/

  104. Wayne-
    Apparently an earlier post has been put on hold, awaiting moderation, presumbaly because it contains 2 hyperlinks I am supposing. I have always tried to keep my posts above board and civil, even if I get a bit cynical once in a while.

  105. Yep! That looks like the case.

  106. Happens. Sometimes you can’t write something that makes sense without hyperlinks. I have one on hold in Gene’s article about software patents, which I suspect will be mildly inflammatory when he approves it :)

    Wayne

  107. Let’s try it again, without the hyperlinks.

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    If you happen to like that sort of thing, perhaps consider the contributions of a certain Dr. Robert L. Forward. He *invented* a new type of access to getting things into orbit, via the space tether concept. He lived near here, and he came out to a joint meeting of the Whidby Island inventors group, in conjunction with the Port Townsend Inventors Guild which I ran here for about 3 years. A very remarkable person, and he stood at the entrance to the meeting room to personally invite everyone to his presentation. Unfortunately he passed away soon after that, due to a brain cancer, which made me very sad indeed.

    He was also a very prolific science fiction author, and when I found this link, I finally found his elusive tale “The Singing Diamond” that was originally published in the Omni magazine many years ago. Really great hard science fiction, which is a short story, Just lately I have also found several other of his short stories that were published in the Analog and Isaac Asimov pulp magazines back in the late 80?s and the early 1990s.

    I found him to be a very inspirational sort of fellow, from a Scottish background like myself, with a wonderful sense of humor.

  108. I’ve read some of his stuff, and enjoyed it. I didn’t know he’d passed away, there was a time (when I was a LOT younger) when I could keep up with all the SF published every month. If I tried to do that now I’d be reading 24/7!

    The Space Tether/Space Elevator/Beanstalk is an interesting idea. The engineering challenges are even more interesting. It would require a massive breakthrough in materials science to be practical.

    Wayne

  109. Still looking for the elusive Singing Diamond. It had to do with a miniature black hole that was *orbiting* right through the middle of an iron and nickel asteroid that the hero of the story was trying to harvest and tug towards Earth to harvest for the metal. They managed to *capture* the black hole by encasing it in a very large diamond that was tremendously massive, created out of available carbon and massive amounts of likewise available energy. It would make a sort of squelching squeak sort of noise every time it passed through the diamond, causing it to lose energy pretty rapidly and eventually be contained.

    They discovered the black hole when it happened to make 1/16th inch holes in the erstwhile miners, at regular intervals. Ouch! Perhaps too off topic for this venue though.

    Stan~

  110. http://www.sf-encyclopedia.com/entry/omni

  111. Ouch. Can we say peritonitis?

    Just curious. Have you ever read Larry Niven’s ‘Man of Steel, Woman of Kleenex’, it’s a total hoot. Of course it would also upset a lot of super religious people that I know…

    Wayne