Monday, October 29, 2012

The Eurozone Map: Outstanding Graphic Detail at The Economist

This is a MUST HAVE.
One new chart, map or infographic per working day
at Graphic Detail at the Economist.

See this absolutely outstanding blog
at Graphic detail | The Economist.

Below are three examples:

Inequality and Our World Economy: The Economist Reports on For Richer, For Poorer

For richer, for poorer ... where are YOU?

The Economist has picked up the cause of inequality under the banner of "True Progressivism" at Inequality and the world economy: True Progressivism, writing inter alia:
"... as our special report [For richer, for poorer] this week argues, inequality has reached a stage where it can be inefficient and bad for growth."
That special report writes, inter alia:
"The democratisation of living standards has masked a dramatic concentration of incomes over the past 30 years, on a scale that matches, or even exceeds, the first Gilded Age. Including capital gains, the share of national income going to the richest 1% of Americans has doubled since 1980, from 10% to 20%, roughly where it was a century ago.

... the economics establishment has become concerned about who gets what. Research by economists at the IMF suggests that income inequality slows growth, causes financial crises and weakens demand."
Read both the article and the report
to get a good grasp of the present world situation
and what may need to be done to get things back in balance.

Copyrights, Property Ownership, Differential Pricing and the First Sale Doctrine in Law and Capitalism

The landmark copyright case Kirtsaeng v. Wiley will be argued today at the United States Supreme Court. Joe Mullin at Ars Technica has a nice write-up at How a Supreme Court ruling may stop you from reselling just about anything.

This is a non-political issue so that we expect a unanimous Supreme Court decision -- with the ratio decidendi in the opinion to run something like this:

"Differential pricing is a luxury of capitalism afforded to sellers of goods and services in the United States and all over the world. In fact, our antitrust law generally prohibits price-fixing among competitors in the offer of sale of any given product [Apple and consorts to the contrary]. Sellers engaging in potentially lucrative practices such as differential pricing in different markets must also be prepared to suffer the risks that such differential pricing encompasses, among these being the likelihood that someone could buy a given product cheaper HERE and sell it more expensively THERE. That, in fact, is the ESSENCE of the capitalist market system, and always has been.

In terms of the copyright law, the Constitution was not drafted to provide special privileges or advantages to authors in the manufacture or sale of their products, whether in domestic or foreign markets, but ONLY to protect their sole right to exploit their works, which has been interpreted by the courts to mean that the law will protect authors from unlawful copying by others, so that authors can sell their works themselves.

How they sell them is their choice, which is a question of authors' individual talents or those of their publishers, advertisers and marketers. But once sold, they are sold, and the deal has been done. The compensatory copyright rights are extinguished for the work sold because the author has been compensated for that particular work. Period. End of story.

That is all a part of how capitalism functions. Choices and results.

Authors who choose not to sell their works at ONE uniform price, but to engage in potentially more profitable or otherwise more desirable differential pricing in local, regional or world markets, can hardly expect the law and the courts to finance the risks involved in such a choice. Courts are not the handmaidens of traders or hawkers of wares. Moreover, the public via the legal system should not have to pay the bill to guarantee the success of marketing choices. That is outside the scope of copyright law.

If a copyright holder sells a copy of his or her copyrighted work in ANY form at ANY price in ANY place, it is considered sold, and, under the first sale doctrine, unless otherwise prohibited by law, it can be sold again to ANYONE at ANY price ANYWHERE. Our capitalist system tolerates nothing more and nothing less."

International Trade and Constitutional Law in the USA: Non Article III Courts Encroaching Upon Essential Attributes of Judicial Power Contrary to U.S. Supreme Court Precedents : ITC and Patents

There is no question that the U.S. International Trade Commission or ITC has the power to ban imports of devices to the USA that it sees as threats to domestic trade because of patent infringements established by Article III courts. It is equally clear, however, that the ITC has no Constitutional right to itself determine whether one or more patent infringements have occurred, as this is the legal domain of "real" Article III courts under the U.S. Constitution. Contrary to Supreme Court precedent, "essential attributes of judicial power" are being encroached upon by non-Article III-courts.

We are political centrists and some people mistakenly think we are in favor of excessive government powers. Nothing could be further from the truth, and that is why we are staunchly in favor of a massive reduction of so-called administrative law "courts" such as the ITC, or octopus-like agencies such as the USPTO, as these are increasingly encroaching upon the territory of the real courts, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

The most recent ITC decisions in the patent field are one example of that.

The ITC is in fact at it again, trying to wreak economic havoc in the patent field. See Samsung infringed four Apple patents, ITC rules, by Hayley Tsukayama at the Washington Post, and Samsung loses another big patent case to Apple, this time at ITC, by Joe Mullin at Ars Technica.

One of the patents found infringed there by the ITC is not even being "practiced" by Apple and can hardly be a threat to domestic trade.

What is the legal basis for having so- called "administrative law judges" in America, where "real" judges are specifically provided for by the Constitution?

So-called "administrative judges" or "Article I judges" are not real judges under the U.S. Constitution but are simply normal civil servants for some agency under the executive or legislative branch of government, people who are increasingly exercising judicial functions in a nation governed by a Constitution that vigorously applies the separation of powers doctrine via Article III, Section 1 of that U.S. Constitution, expressly delegating any and all "judging" authority to the judicial branch of government as follows:
"The judicial power of the United States, shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such inferior courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The judges, both of the supreme and inferior courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour, and shall, at stated times, receive for their services, a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office."
There is an implicit understanding here that the Supreme Court of the United States -- and inferior courts to it IN THE SAME judicial system, of course -- constitute the American Judiciary, and NOTHING ELSE. Any rational reading of that clause EXCLUDES any inferior courts being created within the auspices of either the legislative or executive branch, since that would contravene not only the above provision but would be contrary to the separation of powers doctrine which serves as the foundation of the U.S. Constitution.

Past Supreme Court precedent on this issue is unnecessarily permissive and has led to confusion, such that administrative courts now regularly overstep the major limitation set by the U.S. Supreme Court, which is that the "essential attributes of judicial power" must stay with Article III courts.

In fact, plaintiffs are increasingly bringing cases before administrative courts precisely to evade "real courts" because those administrative courts are wielding "essential attributes of judicial power" and doing so with impunity, while Supreme Court Justices are busy writing books on law, supporting their spouses in political movements, or traveling the country on lecture tours, rather than doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is overseeing the nation's judiciary and promoting order in the precedents of the legal system, especially in the modern jungle of intellectual property law.

Here is what the Wikipedia writes about Supreme Court dictates on Article I and Article IV courts (we cite to the Wikipedia not for its legal authority but because it poses fewer intellectual property rights issues due to quotation):
"Supreme Court rulings limiting the power of Article I and Article IV tribunals

The concept of a legislative court was first defined by Chief Justice John Marshall in the case of American Ins. Co. v. 356 Bales of Cotton, 1 Pet. 511 (1828), which is sometimes referred to as Canter, after a claimant in the case. In this case, a court in what was then the Territory of Florida had made a ruling on the disposition of some bales of cotton that had been recovered from a sunken ship. This clearly fell into the realm of admiralty law, which is part of the federal judicial power according to Article III of the Constitution. Yet the judges of the Florida territorial court had four-year terms, not the lifetime appointments required by Article III of the Constitution. Marshall's solution was to declare that territorial courts were established under Article I of the constitution. As such, they could not exercise the federal judicial power, and therefore the law that placed admiralty cases in their jurisdiction was unconstitutional.
Tenure that is guaranteed by the Constitution is a badge of a judge of an Article III court. The argument that mere statutory tenure is sufficient for judges of Article III courts was authoritatively answered in Ex parte Bakelite Corp.:[5]
... the argument is fallacious. It mistakenly assumes that whether a court is of one class or the other depends on the intention of Congress, whereas the true test lies in the power under which the court was created and in the jurisdiction conferred. Nor has there been any settled practice on the part of Congress which gives special significance to the absence or presence of a provision respecting the tenure of judges. This may be illustrated by two citations. The same Congress that created the Court of Customs Appeals made provision for five additional circuit judges and declared that they should [370 U.S. 530, 597] hold their offices during good behavior; and yet the status of the judges was the same as it would have been had that declaration been omitted. In creating courts for some of the Territories Congress failed to include a provision fixing the tenure of the judges; but the courts became legislative courts just as if such a provision had been included.
In Glidden Co. v. Zdanok, the court made the following statement regarding courts in unincorporated territories:
Upon like considerations, Article III has been viewed as inapplicable to courts created in unincorporated territories outside the mainland, Downes v. Bidwell, 182 U.S. 244, 266-267; Balzac v. Porto Rico, 258 U.S. 298, 312-313; cf. Dorr v. United States, 195 U.S. 138, 145, 149, and to the consular courts established by concessions from foreign countries, In re Ross, 140 U.S. 453, 464-465, 480.
Ever since Canter, the federal courts have been wrestling with the division between legislative and judicial courts. The Supreme Court most thoroughly delineated the permissible scope of Article I tribunals in Northern Pipeline Co. v. Marathon Pipe Line Co., 458 U.S. 50 (1982), striking down the statute that created the original U.S. bankruptcy court. The Court noted in that opinion that the framers of the Constitution had developed a scheme of separation of powers which clearly required that the judiciary be kept independent of the other two branches via the mechanism of lifetime appointments. However, the Court noted three situations (based on historical understanding) in which Congress could give judicial power to non-Article III courts:
  1. Courts for non-state areas (U.S. territories and the District of Columbia) in which Congress is acting as both local and national government.
  2. Military courts (or courts-martial), under the historical understanding and clearly laid out exceptions in the Constitution.
  3. Legislative courts established under the premise that, where Congress could have simply given the Executive Branch the power to make a decision, it has the lesser power to create a tribunal to make that decision. This power is limited to adjudication of public rights, such as the settling of disputes between the citizens and the government.
The Court also found that Congress has the power under Article I to create adjunct tribunals, so long as the "essential attributes of judicial power" stay in Article III courts. This power derives from two sources. First, when Congress creates rights, it can require those asserting such rights to go through an Article I tribunal. Second, Congress can create non-Article III tribunals to help Article III courts deal with their workload, but only if the Article I tribunals are under the control of the Article III courts. The bankruptcy courts, as well as the tribunals of magistrate judges who decide some issues in the district courts, fall within this category of "adjunct" tribunals. All actions heard in an Article I tribunal are subject to de novo review in the supervising Article III court, which retains the exclusive power to make and enforce final judgments.

Pursuant to Congress’ authority under Article IV, §3, of the Constitution to "make all needful Rules and Regulations respecting the Territory or other Property belonging to the United States;" Congress may create territorial courts and vest them with subject-matter jurisdiction over causes arising under both federal law and local law. But "the Supreme Court long ago determined that in the 'unincorporated' territories, such as American Samoa, the guarantees of the Constitution apply only insofar as its 'fundamental limitations in favor of personal rights' express 'principles which are the basis of all free government which cannot be with impunity transcended.'"[6]

The Supreme Court noted in Commodity Futures Trading Commission v. Schor, 478 U.S. 833 (1986), that parties to litigation may voluntarily waive their right to an Article III tribunal and thereby submit themselves to a binding judgment from an Article I tribunal.

The U.S. Supreme Court in the course of the opinion from Rassmussen v. United States (197 U.S. 596, 524) declared (p. 352, L. ed. p. 186, Sup. Ct. Rep. p. 1119):
'Alaska is one of the territories of the United States. It was so designated in that order [referring to the order of this court assigning to the ninth circuit], and has always been so regarded. And the court established by the act of 1884 is the court of last resort within the limits of that territory. It is, therefore, in every substantial sense, the supreme court of that territory.'
Article IV judges do not have the authority to decide petitioners’ appeals or be appointed to a United States Court of Appeals.[7] In Nguyen v. United States (2003), the Supreme Court ruled that a panel of the Court of Appeals consisting of two Article III judges and one Article IV judge did not have the authority to decide petitioners’ appeals."
The initial error was of course thus made by Justice Marshall in "Canter" [American Ins. Co. v. 356 Bales of Cotton, 1 Pet. 511 (1828)] where he used the trick of artificially drawing a distinction between Article III courts and other "purported" courts, whereas of course, he should have stated that there CAN ONLY BE Article III courts and no others. Ever since then, as a result, the "fiction" created by Marshall has been serving to help undermine the separation of powers, and has led to an administrative law system that is encroaching the "real" and legitimate Article III judicial system at all levels.

So-called administrative law courts and their so-called administrative law judges are in their function negative signposts on the road to tyranny, as correctly articulated online in The Fiction and Tyranny of "Administrative Law", by philosopher Kelley L. Ross, since such so-called "courts" permit one branch of government by itself to 1) make, 2) interpret and 3) enforce laws and regulations, which is completely contrary to the separation of powers principle, by which each of those functions is delegated to a different branch of government, i.e. legislative, judicial or executive.

It is time to start cutting administrative agencies and administrative law courts down to their correct Constitutional size.

Friday, October 26, 2012

The Price of American Inequality is a Heavy Burden on the US Economy Says Nobel Prize Winning Economist Joseph E. Stiglitz

For years, we have been posting at LawPundit about the inequality of wealth and income in America, and we see that Joseph E. Stiglitz has a New York Times article titled Some Are More Unequal Than Others, relating to his recent book, The Price of Inequality (2012), which made The New York Times best seller list.

As written at the Wikipedia, Stiglitz, currently a Professor at Columbia University, won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2001, has served as senior vice president and chief economist of the World Bank, and is "one of the most frequently cited economists in the world".

Via Yahoo Finance, in an interview by Matthew Craft of the Associated Press in Nobel economist: Inequality weighs on US economy, Stiglitz is quoted as follows:
"[Question]: ... you make the case that income inequality is more important than ever. How so?

[Answer]: Because it's getting worse.... For two decades, all the increase in the country's wealth, which was enormous, went to the people at the very top.... Inequality has always been justified on the grounds that those at the top contributed more to the economy — "the job creators."

Then came 2008 and 2009, and you saw these guys who brought the economy to the brink of ruin walking off with hundreds of millions of dollars. And you couldn't justify that in terms of contribution to society.

The myth had been sold to people, and all of a sudden it was apparent to everybody that it was a lie.

Mitt Romney has called concerns about inequality the "politics of envy." Well, that's wrong. Envy would be saying, "He's doing so much better than me. I'm jealous." This is: "Why is he getting so much money, and he brought us to the brink of ruin?" And those who worked hard are the ones ruined....

The story we were told was that inequality was good for our economy. I'm telling a different story, that this level of inequality is bad for our economy."

Thursday, October 18, 2012

U.S. Presidential Election as a Choice for the President of Pop Culture?

Frank Bruni at the NYTimes has a thought-provoking take
on the Presidential Election in America
Pop Goes the President,
suggesting that:
"This presidential election will go down as the one in which the pop-culture pander reached its ludicrous apotheosis...."
[link added by LawPundit]
Bruni closes with the comment:
"I'm not sure if that says more about them [the candidates]
or about us."
and one opinion comment to Bruni's posting writes:
"Sadly, Frank, it says more about "us", the candidates just play to the "culture" of the moment to capture attention....

I just heard a Dick Cavett interview when he says something like we are a nation that is tending toward mediocrity. I think that's optimistic, as I think we are much further down the road to being another failed empire... and so it goes..."
A failed empire?

Those words seem a bit too harsh for us at the moment, but they are a warning for a nation torn by excessive polarization of interests, boundless greed and the absence of core values that once made the country great but today make the United States look more like the countries the immigrants once fled. United the nation may yet stand, but deeply divided it may surely fall.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Scotland Monuments in Kilmartin Are a Prehistoric European Sky Map of the Heavens

This is a posting about technological innovation in prehistoric Europe for all our readers who hail from Scotland, Ireland, Wales, England, or who have an interest in Europe's or man's history or that of Ancient Britain, broadly seen. Reposted from the Ancient World Blog.

Monuments of Kilmartin, Scotland Are a Sky Map of the Heavens

This posting announces my decipherment of the Kilmartin, Scotland monuments showing them to be a sky map of the heavens (at least 4500 years old). That decipherment was completed today, October 15, 2012, completing work initially begun in the year 2000.

Substantial progress was made in 2008 when friends invited my significant other and myself to spend some time at their home in western Scotland.

The monuments of Kilmartin cover a 6-mile radius of terrain and employ the hermetic principle, "as above, so below" in creating a mirror-image of the stars on the surface of the Earth. Kilmartin was a mammoth ancient "star" project.

As written at the home page of the Kilmartin House Museum:
"There are more than 800 ancient monuments within a six-mile radius of the village of Kilmartin, Argyll, many of them are are prehistoric. This extraordinary concentration and diversity of monuments distinguishes the Kilmartin Glen as an area of outstanding archaeological importance. It is one of Scotland’s richest prehistoric landscapes."
The beauty of my decipherment is that once one knows the solution to the monument puzzle, that solution is open to anyone who has or obtains a minimal understanding of astronomy and the stars of the heavens.

The key to the decipherment was the initial  identification of the stars of Cygnus, Draco and Leo. The rest followed. If the decipherment were correct, the other stars had to fit. They do, and ANY reader can check the solution. That solution is not perfect, and surely much will be done down the road to improve it, but its general correctness is without doubt

Of course, the ancients may not have made the same groupings of stars into constellations or asterisms as we do today, and it is unlikely they used exactly all the same stars, but the bright stars in the sky lend themselves to stellar organization and sky-mapping such as we find in our modern Zodiac.

The three images presented below are:
  1. Kilmartin Monuments Deciphered as Astronomy by Andis Kaulins, 2000 to 2012, as based on an Ordnance Survey map that maps monument positions at Kilmartin. Kilmartin (page x), An Inventory of the Monuments Extracted from Argyll, Volume 6, Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland (RCAHMS), 1999.
  2. Sky map excerpts clipped from Starry Night Pro, the best software program out there for this kind of work,, showing how the stars actually looked ca. 2500 B.C.
  3. A combined image which combines 1 and 2 above, for comparison.
Image 1: Kilmartin Monuments Deciphered

Image 2: Starry Night Pro Clip,
Stars of the Sky for Top and Bottom of Kilmartin Decipherment

Image 3: Kilmartin Monuments Deciphered plus 2 Starry Night Pro Astronomy Software Image Clips to Show the Stars Depicted

Please be advised that the work above continues the basic research on ancient monuments, signs and symbols published by Andis Kaulins in:
The author has deciphered a similar map of the heavens on Earth in the case of Tanum, Sweden. See and for related works,

Saturday, October 13, 2012

US Federal Circuit Overturns Preliminary Injunction That Had Blocked Sale of Samsung Galaxy Nexus in the USA

We have been right all along in our postings on the Apple-Samsung patent litigation fiascos, but we were nevertheless quite pleasantly astonished at the recent Federal Circuit order finding an abuse of discretion by Cupertino's Judge Koh, who has been issuing preliminary injunctions in favor of the local Cupertino-based Apple firm.

That Federal Circuit order overturns Koh's injunction blocking the sale of Samsung's Galaxy Nexus in the United States.

The reasoning of the Federal Circuit in the order written by Circuit Judge Sharon Prost here should be instructive to judges around the world who are wrongfully and repeatedly issuing injunctions because of patent infringement claims under the theory of avoiding irreparable harm:
"[I]n cases such as this - where the accused product includes many features of which only one (or a small minority) infringe - a finding that the patentee will be at risk of irreparable harm does not alone justify injunctive relief. Rather, the patentee must also establish that the harm is sufficiently related to the infringement.... Thus, to satisfy the irreparable harm factor in a patent infringement suit, a patentee must establish both of the following requirements: 1) that absent an injunction, it will suffer irreparable harm, and 2) that a sufficiently strong causal nexus relates the alleged harm to the alleged infringement....

[A]lthough the irreparable harm and the causal nexus inquiries may be separated for the ease of analysis, they are inextricably related concepts. As this court recently explained:

To show irreparable harm, it is necessary to show that the infringement caused harm in the first place. Sales lost to an infringing product cannot irreparably harm a patentee if consumers buy that product for reasons other than the patented feature. If the patented feature does not drive the demand for the product, sales would be lost even if the offending feature were absent from the accused product. Thus, a likelihood of irreparable harm cannot be shown if sales would be lost regardless of the infringing conduct. Apple I, 678 F.3d at 1324.
In other words, it may very well be that the accused product would sell almost as well without incorporating the patented feature. And in that case, even if the competitive injury that results from selling the accused device is substantial, the harm that flows from the alleged infringement (the only harm that should count) is not. Thus, the causal nexus inquiry is indeed part of the irreparable harm calculus: it informs whether the patentee's allegations of irreparable harm are pertinent to the injunctive relief analysis, or whether the patentee seeks to leverage its patent for competitive gain beyond that which the inventive contribution and value of the patent warrant." [emphasis added by LawPundit]
We have emphasized that last sentence because it accurately describes the actual motivation for many patent infringement actions being brought today, asking for injunctive relief as a means to stifle competition far beyond what some minor -- and often erroneously granted -- patent would warrant.

Howard Mintz has the story at Samsung wins round in legal battle with Apple - San Jose Mercury News and links to the original order.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

ECB European Central Bank Bond Purchasing Considered Legal as Outright Monetary Transactions OMT under Article 18.1 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks

Bond purchases by the European Central Bank ECB are considered to be legal as Outright Monetary Transactions OMT under Article 18.1 of the Statute of the European System of Central Banks

Gabi Thesing has the story at Bloomberg Business Week in ECB Says OMT Is Legal as Necessary Tool in Special Times.

See also Jana Randow at Bloomberg on ECB Rejects IMF Call for Lower Rates Citing Broken Transmission [transmission of the ECB policy].

See The European Central Bank
  • general index
  • legal framework index
    which provides inter alia:

    Article 17

    Accounts with the ECB and the national central banks
    In order to conduct their operations, the ECB and the  national  central  banks  may  open  accounts  for  credit  institutions,  public
    entities and other market participants and accept assets, including book entry securities, as collateral.

    Article 18

    Open market and credit operations
    18.1.    In order to achieve the objectives of the ESCB and to carry out its tasks, the ECB and the national central banks may:
    —  operate  in the  financial  markets  by  buying  and  selling outright  (spot  and  forward)  or  under  repurchase  agreement  and  by lending or borrowing claims and marketable instruments, whether in Community or in non-Community currencies, as well as precious metals;
    —  conduct  credit  operations  with  credit  institutions  and  other  market  participants,  with  lending  being  based  on  adequate collateral.

    18.2.    The  ECB  shall  establish  general  principles  for  open  market  and  credit  operations  carried  out  by  itself  or  the  national
    central banks, including for the announcement of conditions under which they stand ready to enter into such transactions."
    [emphasis added by LawPundit]

Judge Posner of USA Questions Need For Software Patents

Judge Richard Posner is the most cited jurist of the modern era. Eric Savitz has the story of his opinion on software patents at Forbes in Judge Posner: Maybe There's No Reason For Software Patents.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Who Said Software Patents Were Legal in the USA?

Timothy B. Lee (Disruptive Economics) raises a cardinal question at Forbes in The Federal Circuit, Not the Supreme Court, Legalized Software Patents.

Has the Supreme Court of the United States ever said specifically that software code is patentable? We agree with Lee, not really.

Software code consists primarily of mathematics such as the simple formula,
"if n=1 then go to 2".

Of course, it can get much more complicated than that, but the basic mathematical foundation remains.

The idea that software code itself can be a patentable "discovery" or "invention" probably arose in the minds of people who have never programmed a line of code themselves.

Software code is a mathematical language that is ultimately used to instruct hardware, things like printers and screen displays. Many greatly differing software programs could use the line: ""if n=1 then go to 2". The commands are themselves never the invention or the discovery, but rather what is done by the software should be the invention or the discovery, and that narrows the patent field down enormously, since most so-called "software patents" are erroneously issued for nothing else than the application of digital technology to previously made discoveries and inventions, i.e. obvious prior art. No patents should be issued for that.

Hat tip to How Appealing.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Software Patent Opposition as in Europe the Direction to Go in U.S. Patent Reform According to Google Legal Head David Drummond

Evan Ramstad at the Wall Street Journal "Digits" has the story in Google Legal Chief: Patent Reform a Balancing Act writing inter alia about David Drummond's comments at a Google-sponsored innovation forum as follows:
"[Drummond] said the U.S. patent system makes it too easy for companies to get patents on software. “There are places in the world where you can’t get a software patent, or at least it’s harder, like Europe,” he said. “We think that’s probably the better way to go.”"