License Fees & Mega-Deals are the Best Revenge

This isn’t about writing per se, but it is about intellectual property and its use and/or misuse. Or, as some people put it, “All hail Kim Dotcom, King of the World!”

Us? Yeah, well, we’re still on the fence.

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Kim Dotcom to Google, Twitter, Facebook: I Own Security Patent, Work With Me
by Andy

Kim Dotcom has announced that he is the inventor of the so-called two-step authentication system and has a patent to prove it. The Megaupload founder says the security mechanism, which has just been introduced by Twitter, is being used by U.S. companies more than a billion times every week without permission. Dotcom says he doesn’t want to sue, but might if the likes of Google and Facebook don’t help fund his legal battle with the U.S. Government.

While the United States Government paints Kim Dotcom as some kind of international super criminal, the Megaupload founder sees himself rather differently.

Continually over the past year and half, and particularly since his January 2012 arrest in New Zealand, the German-born entrepreneur has described himself as an innovator, someone who creates rather than destroys as the U.S. would have people believe.

Dotcom’s achievements are many and his cloud storage companies past and present have certainly generated hundreds of headlines. However, it seems that the New Zealand resident’s creative mind was already working overtime more than 15 years ago to come up with an idea that is now gaining serious traction online.

Two-step authentication is a system designed to prevent unauthorized access to online accounts. If a user logs into a service from an unusual device or location, the service sends a message containing a password to a trusted device such as a cellphone. This enables the service to authenticate the access and allow the log in.

Just hours ago Twitter implemented the system but it’s already in use by companies such as Google and Facebook.

In fact, according to Kim Dotcom there are more than a billion uses of the system every single week and he’s got good reason to be interested. The businessman says he invented it, and to back up his claim he’s just posted his patent to Twitter…

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UPDATE: This just in from IPCopy:

Kim [Dotcom] does indeed hold US patent US6078908 which is directed to two-factor authentication…[But] A look at the EPO register for the equivalent European patent reveals that the European patent was granted, but subsequently opposed and then revoked in its entirety in 2011.

The key prior art document in the opposition was EP0745961, owned by AT&T, with an earlier priority date of 31 May 1995. Interestingly, AT&T’s US equivalent US5708422 is granted, and still appears to be in force.

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Stay tuned. Or not. (Yeah, we probably won’t either. But we do think all this wrangling is kinda fun.)

For All The Rebels

It isn’t about violating the law, it’s about, um, erm…principle?

How to Pirate Movies, Music, TV Shows, and Books Without Getting Caught
by Kyle Wagner

Last time we did this, we were talking about software. This time, let’s talk media. That is movies, music, TV shows, and everything else the copyright lawyers scream about.

Before that, though, let’s talk about the ground rules here. You should not pirate things you don’t own. But ownership is a murky subject in content these days. Let’s say you bought a DVD in 2002, and now your new laptop doesn’t have a DVD player. You’re screwed—unless you want to buy the same movie, in a different format. Or you can pirate it.
Technically, you’re breaking the law. No way around that. But moralistically? It’s harder to say. But this guide isn’t here to debate morals. That’s on you. This is just a toolbox for how to pirate stuff without getting caught.

Low-Tech Hacks

This is really about the path of least resistance. And often, that is just using what’s available to you. Let’s go to the Game of Thrones argument. HBO won’t shut up and take your money for HBO Go a la carte. Right. Well, if your dad subscribes, or your Great Aunt Betty who loves her talkies but doesn’t work the computer so good, then you can take advantage of their subscription on HBO Go.

All you’ve got to do is log in with a subscriber’s cable service online information. So: call your dad and ask for his password. Problem solved. Same goes for Amazon Prime. If you don’t have the service, an account is permitted to cover multiple family members.

For books, there is the little-used Public Library ebook lending option. And also, Project Gutenberg has an expansive collection of free public domain works. Many of the more obscure works aren’t in the marketplaces, while some more popular books cost a nominal fee of $0.99 elsewhere.

Now on to the real stuff.

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Yeah. Principle. That’s our story and we’re sticking to it.