Archive for ‘Money’

September 16, 2012


Puffery [puhf-uh-ree] as a legal term refers to promotional statements and claims that express subjective rather than objective views, which no ‘reasonable person’ would take literally. Puffery serves to ‘puff up’ an exaggerated image of what is being described and is especially featured in testimonials. In a legal context, the term originated in the English Court of Appeal case, which centered on whether a monetary reimbursement should be paid when an influenza preventive device failed to work. The manufacturers had paid for advertising stating that £100 would be paid in such circumstances then failed to follow through. Part of their defense was that such a statement was ‘mere puff’ and not meant to be taken seriously. While the defense ultimately lost the case the principle was confirmed that certain statements made by advertisers, that were obviously not made in a serious manner, could be exempt from usual rules relating to promises in open contracts.

The FTC defined puffery as a ‘term frequently used to denote the exaggerations reasonably to be expected of a seller as to the degree of quality of his product, the truth or falsity of which cannot be precisely determined.’ The FTC stated in 1984 that puffery does not warrant enforcement action; they do not pursue cases involving obviously exaggerated or puffing representations, i.e., those that the ordinary consumers do not take seriously (e.g. ‘The Finest Fried Chicken in the World’).

September 15, 2012

Knowledge Market

A knowledge market is a mechanism for distributing knowledge resources. There are two views on knowledge and how knowledge markets can function. One view uses a legal construct of intellectual property to make knowledge a typical scarce resource, so the traditional commodity market mechanism can be applied directly to distribute it. An alternative model is based on treating knowledge as a public good and hence encouraging free sharing of knowledge. This is often referred to as attention economy. Currently there is no consensus among researchers on relative merits of these two approaches.

A knowledge economy include the concept of exchanging knowledge-based products and services. However, knowledge is very different from physical products. For example, it can be in more than one place at one time, selling it does not diminish the supply, buyers only purchase it once, and once sold, it cannot be recalled. Further, knowledge begets more knowledge in a never-ending cycle. Understanding of knowledge markets is beginning to emerge. As would be expected, they are very different in form from traditional markets. Knowledge markets have been variously described as a mechanism for enabling, supporting, and facilitating the mobilization, sharing, or exchange of information and knowledge among providers and users. This transactional approach assumes that knowledge-based products or services are available for distribution, that someone wants to use them, and that the primary focus of the market is to connect the two.

September 14, 2012

Trademark Dilution

Trademark dilution is a legal concept giving the owner of a famous trademark standing to forbid others from using that mark in a way that would lessen its uniqueness. In most cases, trademark dilution involves an unauthorized use of another’s trademark on products that do not compete with, and have little connection with, those of the trademark owner. For example, a famous trademark used by one company to refer to hair care products might be diluted if another company began using a similar mark to refer to breakfast cereals. Dilution is a basis of trademark infringement that only applies to famous marks. With non-famous marks, the owner of the mark must show that the allegedly infringing use creates a likelihood of confusion as to the source of the product or service being identified by the allegedly infringing use. With non-famous marks, it is highly unlikely a likelihood of confusion will be found if the products or services are in unrelated markets. However, with famous marks, any use by another person of the mark has the potential for confusion, since a famous mark is so well known among the consuming public that people will assume affiliation with the owner of the mark regardless of the product or service being sold under the infringing use.

The strength required for a trademark to deserve dilution protection differs among jurisdictions, though it generally includes the requirement that it must be distinctive, famous, or even unique. Such trademarks would include instantly recognizable brand names, such as Coca-Cola, Kleenex, Kool-Aid, or Sony, and unique terms that were invented (such as Exxon) rather than surnames (such as Ford or Zamboni) or ordinary words in language. Some jurisdictions require additional registration of these trademarks as defensive marks in order to qualify for dilution protection. Another way of describing the necessary strength of a trademark may establish some basis for dilution protection from a consumer-confusion standpoint. Truly famous trademarks are likely to be seen in many different contexts due to branching out or simple sponsorship, to the extent that there may be very few markets, if any, that a consumer would be surprised to see that famous trademark involved in. A prime example may be the past involvement of Coca-Cola in clothing lines.

September 13, 2012

A moron in a hurry

A moron in a hurry‘ is a hypothetical person against whom a claimant’s concern might be judged in an English law civil action for passing off or trademark infringement. The expression is used to reject a claim that two items could reasonably be confused by a passer-by (i.e. that even a moron in a hurry would notice the difference), on the grounds that the items are so different that the goodwill and brand of the claimant’s item cannot genuinely be affected by the existence of the other. It appears to have been used first by Justice Foster in the 1978 English legal case of ‘Morning Star Cooperative Society v Express Newspapers Limited.’ In this case, the publishers of the ‘Morning Star,’ a British Communist party publication, sought an injunction to prevent Express Newspapers from launching their new tabloid, which was to be called the ‘Daily Star.’ The judge was unsympathetic. He asked whether the plaintiffs could show: ‘a misrepresentation express or implied that the newspaper to be published by the defendants is connected with the plaintiffs’ business and that as a consequence damage is likely to result to the plaintiffs’ and stated that, ‘if one puts the two papers side by side I for myself would find that the two papers are so different in every way that only a moron in a hurry would be misled.’

The phrase was considered in Canada in ‘C.M.S. Industries Ltd. v. UAP Inc.,’ in 2002 where the court ruled that UAP had infringed the plaintiff’s trademark. A short time later, in ‘Mattel,’ the Supreme Court of Canada moved away from the ‘moron in a hurry’ analysis, adopting in its place consideration of the ‘ordinary hurried purchasers,’ a standard between that of the ‘moron’ and one of the ‘careful and diligent purchaser.’ The phrase was revived by lawyers for Apple Computer in that company’s most recent legal dispute with The Beatles’ record label Apple Corps, over the appearance of Apple Computer’s apple logo at certain times when using Apple Computer’s iTunes Music Store. The lawyers have publicly argued that iTunes, as a music distributor, cannot be confused with the record label Apple Corps. However, this dispute does not directly concern ‘passing off,’ which requires an assessment of misrepresentation and damage. Instead, Apple Corps contends that Apple has breached the terms of a previous trademark settlement agreement. In 1991, Apple Computer agreed not to use its logo in connection with music content. Apple (which in 2007 dropped ‘Computer’ from its corporate name and is now known as ‘Apple, Inc.’) now argues that iTunes does not offer ‘content’ as it does not produce its own music.

September 13, 2012

10-foot User Interface

In computing a 10-foot user interface is a software GUI (graphical user interface) designed for display on a large television (or similar sized screen) with interaction using a regular television-style remote control. ’10-foot’ refers to the fact that the GUI’s elements—i.e. menus, buttons, text fonts, and so on—are theoretically ergonomically large enough to read easily at a distance of 10 feet (3 m) from the display. To avoid distractions and to be more clear, 10 foot UIs also tend to be very simple and usually only have the minimum core buttons.

Typical examples of popular 10-foot user interfaces are HTPC (Home theater PC) media center software applications such as Google TV, MediaPortal, XBMC, Windows Media Center, and Front Row / Apple TV interfaces, but most other Smart TV and set-top boxes devices and software with interactive television interfaces also belong in this category. In 2010, Hillcrest Labs released the Kylo browser, which is a web browser optimized for television use, which features a 10-foot user interface. Hillcrest also invented the first motion-controlled remote for television.

September 13, 2012

70 mm Film

70mm film is a wide high-resolution film gauge, with higher resolution than standard 35mm motion picture film format. As used in camera, the film is 65 mm wide. The additional 5mm are for magnetic strips holding four of the six tracks of sound. Although more recent 70 mm prints use digital sound encoding, the vast majority of 70 mm prints predate this technology. Each frame is five perforations tall, with an aspect ratio of 2.20:1. The vast majority of film theaters are unable to handle 70mm film, and so original 70mm films are shown with 35mm prints at these venues.

Films formatted with a width of 70 mm have existed since the early days of the motion picture industry. The first 70 mm format film was most likely footage of the Henley Regatta, which was projected in 1896 and 1897, but may have been filmed as early as 1894. It required a specially built projector built by Herman Casler in Canastota, New York and had a ratio similar to full frame, with an aperture of 2.75 inches (70 mm) by 2 inches (51 mm). There were also several film formats of various sizes from 50 to 68 mm which were developed from 1884 onwards, including Cinéorama (not to be confused with the entirely distinct ‘Cinerama’ format), started in 1900 by Raoul Grimoin-Sanson. In 1914 the Italian Filoteo Alberini invented a panaromic film system utilising a 70 mm wide film called ‘Panoramica’.

September 13, 2012

Full-frame DSLR

A full-frame digital SLR is a digital single-lens reflex camera fitted with an image sensor that is the same size as a 35 mm (36×24 mm) film frame. This is in contrast to cameras with smaller sensors, typically of a size equivalent to APS-C-size film (20.7×13.8 mm to 28.7×19.1 mm), much smaller than a full 35 mm frame. Currently, the majority of digital cameras, both compact and SLR models, use a smaller-than-35 mm frame, as it is easier and cheaper to manufacture imaging sensors at a smaller size. Historically, the earliest digital SLR models, such as the Nikon NASA F4 or Kodak DCS 100, also used a smaller sensor.

If the lens mounts are compatible, many lenses, including manual-focus models, designed for 35 mm cameras can be mounted on the latest DSLR cameras. When a lens designed for a full-frame camera, whether film or digital, is mounted on a DSLR with a smaller sensor size, only the center of the lens’s image circle is captured. The edges are cropped off, which is equivalent to zooming in on the center section of the imaging area. The ratio of the size of the full-frame 35 mm format to the size of the smaller format is known as the ‘crop factor’ or ‘focal-length multiplier,’ and is typically in the range 1.3–2.0 for non-full-frame digital SLRs.

September 12, 2012

Hanna Rosin

the end of men

the end of men by kelly blair

Hanna Rosin is an American Journalist. Rosin was born in Israel and grew up in Queens, New York where her father was a taxi driver. She graduated from Stuyvesant High School in 1987. She graduated from Stanford University, and is married to ‘Slate’ editor David Plotz; they live in Washington, D.C. with their three children. She is a co-founder of ‘DoubleX,’ a women’s site connected to ‘Slate.’ She is also a writer for ‘The Atlantic.’ A character portrayed by actress Chloë Sevigny in the movie ‘Shattered Glass’ about Rosin’s colleague at ‘The New Republic,’ Stephen Glass, was loosely based on Rosin. Rosin has written a book based on her 2010 Atlantic story, ‘The End of Men.’

In the past she has specialized in writing about religious-political issues, in particular the influence of evangelical Christians on the 2004 U.S. presidential campaign. She is the author of ‘God’s Harvard: A Christian College on a Mission to Save America,’ published in 2007. Based on a ‘New Yorker’ story, the book follows several young Christians at Patrick Henry College, a new evangelical institution that teaches its students to ‘shape the culture and take back the nation.’ Rosin’s portrayals of the students are part of a larger attempt to chronicle the cultural and political history of the modern Christian right.

September 12, 2012

Luaka Bop

Luaka Bop is a world music-oriented record label established by David Byrne, former guitarist, singer-songwriter and producer of the art rock-new wave band Talking Heads. It has been a wholly independent label since leaving Universal Music Group’s V2 in 2006. Luaka Bop has been responsible for compilations representing sounds from around the world as well as the release of full length albums, EPs, and singles from individual artists and bands.

‘Brazil Classics’ kicked off the label and a set of seven albums surveying eras and artists ranging from Samba to Tropicália. Ventures into Afro-Peruvian and AfroPean musics unearthed the talents of Susana Baca and Zap Mama, respectively. ‘World Psychedelic Classics’ is made up of three albums and includes artists such as Shuggie Otis, Os Mutantes, as well as West African artists of the late 1960s. Additionally, the label has released ‘Cuba’ and ‘Asia Classics.’

September 11, 2012

Stuff White People Like

Stuff White People Like (SWPL) is a blog that takes a satirical aim at the interests of North American ‘left-leaning, city-dwelling, white folk.’ The blog was created in 2008 by a white Canadian, Christian Lander, a Los Angeles copywriter who grew up in Toronto and graduated from McGill University. Lander co-authored the site with his Filipino Canadian friend Myles Valentin, after Valentin teased Lander for watching the HBO television series ‘The Wire.’ Although the blog ‘has spurred an outpouring from those who view it as offensive and racist,’ it is not about the interests of all white people, but rather a stereotype of affluent, environmentally and socially conscious, anti-corporate white North Americans, who typically hold a degree in the liberal arts. Lander claims to be lampooning contemporary versions of bohemian/hipster culture, and jokingly refers to other classes and subcultures of white people as ‘the wrong kind of white people.’ Despite the site’s satirical edge, Lander regards the people he describes with affection and numbers himself among them, describing himself as ‘a self-aware, left-wing person who’s not afraid to recognize the selfishness and contradictions that come on the left.’

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September 11, 2012

Ad Filtering

Ad filtering or ad blocking is removing or altering advertising content in a webpage. Advertising can exist in a variety of forms including pictures, animations, embedded audio and video, text, or pop-up windows. Very often it employs autoplay of audio and video. It is a known problem with most web browsers that restoring sessions often plays multiple embedded ads at once. All browsers offer some solution to the problem, either by targeting technologies (Flash/Shockwave, Window Media files, etc.) that are used to deliver ads, targeting URLs that are the source of ads, or targeting behavior characteristic of ads (such as the use of HTML5 autoplay of both audio and video).

An extremely common method of filtering is simply to block (or prevent autoplay of) Flash animation or image loading or Windows audio and video files. This can be done in most browsers easily. This crude technological method is refined by numerous browser extensions. In general one alters the options, preferences or application extensions to filter specific media types, but an additional add-on is required to differentiate between ads and non-ads using the same technology, or between wanted and unwanted ads or behaviors. The more advanced filters allow fine-grained control of advertisements through features such as blacklists, whitelists, and regular expression filters. Certain security features also have the effect of disabling some ads. Some antivirus software can act as ad blocker, including some freeware such as Avast. Ironically, some of this freeware itself runs ads, and instructions on how to block those are common on the web. For instance, Avast’s ads to upgrade itself to the paid version which are easily disabled.

September 11, 2012

Commercial Skipping

Commercial skipping is an advanced feature in some digital video recorders that makes it possible to automatically skip commercials in recorded programs. This feature has created controversy, with major television networks and movie studios claiming it violates copyright and should be banned. For many years, video recorders manufactured for the Japanese market have been able to skip advertisements automatically, which is done by detecting when foreign language audio overdub tracks provided for many programs go silent, as advertisements were broadcast with a single language only. The first DVR which had a built-in Commercial skipping feature was ReplayTV with its ‘4000 Series’ and ‘5000 Series’ units. In 2002 five owners of the ReplayTV DVR sued the main television networks and movie studios, asking the federal judge to uphold consumers’ rights to record TV shows and skip commercials claiming that features like commercial skipping help parents protect their kids from excessive consumerism. ReplayTV ended up filing for bankruptcy in 2003 after fighting a copyright infringement suit over the ReplayTV’s ability to skip commercials.

September 10, 2012

Korean Wave

The Korean wave refers to the significant increase in the popularity of South Korean entertainment and culture starting in the 1990s, in Asia, and more recently in other parts of the world. It represents a surge in the international visibility of Korean culture. The term was coined in mid 1999 by Beijing journalists surprised at the fast growing popularity of Korean entertainment and culture in China. The wave has had considerable impact on the South Korean economy, as well as on the political and cultural influence of South Korea. For example, in 2011 based on international activity the Korean wave added approximately USD$3.8 billion dollars of revenue to the South Korean economy.

In the late 1990s, the Korean wave reached numerous Asian countries, including China, Japan, Taiwan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Philippines, and Singapore. Korean dramas were a key aspect of this proliferation, as well as the subsequent establishment of niche markets in Europe and North America. Korean pop music, referred to as ‘K-pop,’ has played a significant role in the Korean wave. In recent years, Korean entertainment companies have recognized YouTube as a key component for spreading Korean culture. According to Bernie Cho, the president of the DFSB Kollective (a Seoul-based agency specializing in the marketing of international K-pop acts), Korean entertainment companies are ‘aggressively steering their efforts to go international via the Internet.’

September 10, 2012

I would rather cry in a BMW

bmw china

Fei Cheng Wu Rao

I would rather cry in a BMW‘ is a quotation that became an online sensation in China in 2010. It originated from Ma Nuo, a 20-year-old female contestant on the television show ‘Fei Cheng Wu Rao’ (also known in English as ‘If you are the One’).

The line was in response to a question by an unemployed suitor who asked if Ma would ‘ride a bicycle with him’ on a date. The series of events have been summed up in the media with the quip ‘I would rather cry in a BMW than laugh on a bicycle.’

September 10, 2012

Amazon Tax

amazon-tax has been criticized for collecting sales taxes from customers in only the five states it has a major presence in. Several states have passed or are considering ‘Amazon tax‘ laws designed to compel Amazon to collect local sales and use taxes from customers. The U.S. has no federal sales tax. In most countries where Amazon operates, a sales tax or value added (consumption) tax is uniform throughout the country, and Amazon is obliged to collect it from all customers. Proponents argue that Amazon has a comparative advantage over brick-and-mortar retailers, and the online company is under increasing legal and political pressure from state governments, traditional retailers and other groups because of its refusal to collect sales tax in 40 of the 45 states with a statewide sales tax. Those 40 states include at least 12 where Amazon has a clear physical presence via distribution centers and wholly owned subsidiaries.

Amazon is often able to overcome threats from state governments by cutting ties with local partners or leaving the state in question. Amazon severed its relationships with affiliates in Colorado due to efforts by the state government to collect sales tax on internet purchases. Amazon has threatened similar action against affiliates in Illinois over the same issue. In February 2011, Amazon announced that it would be closing its Dallas, Texas distribution center over the sales-tax dispute. Amazon has created subsidiaries that are treated separately for tax matters, a legal technique called ‘entity isolation.’ The subsidiary that developed the Kindle is in California, but because it doesn’t sell the Kindle directly to customers, Amazon’s legal position is that it isn’t required to collect sales taxes in California.


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