11 Comments
founding

Great column as always Matt, -10 points for Scalia -___-

We will see the mentality behind IP die the longer the internet is around. Every new invention that's ever been created was first dreamed up or tried 30 years earlier by someone who got about 70% of the way there (example: https://www.businessinsider.com/videophone-internet-telephone-invention-1960s-2016-5). Even multiyear research projects in say, manufacturing, are on track to be outpaced by open source collaborative efforts. It's a when, not an if.

To the grocery distributor: one of my pet projects is called The Farm App (working codename). The idea arose from farmer's markets operating for ~8-12 hours per week, depending on the city. Northern California has permanent roadside fruit stands in some places and in New York there are a few apps like this catering to the restaurant industry, but that's it. It's basically craiglist for food, with ebay style rating and some verification mechanisms Amazon purposefully doesn't implement for reviews. If you read these comments and you're interested, I'd love to stop overpaying for under-watered California spinach.

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If there's an angle besides monopoly per se, then maybe? Take Kyle Rittenhouse. I'd argue that Facebook and others suppressing support for him = jury rigging. Twitter claims they're a platform, not a publisher, but they write their own headlines and make them trend (and of course they're overwhelmingly anti-Trump). Some court ruled that Trump can't block people on Twitter, but Twitter now sometimes blocks everyone from replying to certain Trump tweets.

And what happens if Twitter is "broken up?" What does it look like? Has anyone thought that through?

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Not sure how I got here now, but I found your statement very nicely written. The AmEx case was interesting, and I feel guilty now for all the "free" flights I've gotten out of it, but will NEVER forget how they denied my mom a credit card after we had recently immigrated. She felt so insulted.

On the Asian grocery stores, your reader forgot to mention several small Japanese "chains" we have in LA (that I shop at), that are maybe in other cities? Mitsuwa (the biggest, but at least one store closed recently w/Japanese population in decline as Toyota headquarters moved to TX), Ninjiya, Tokyo Central, and Marukai. I'm not sure if they're locally owned or maybe by people in Japan. Also of note, H-Mart has been expanding rapidly in the NE.

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Matt, you wrote, “For instance, [Barrett] ruled just last year to let AT&T ignore the Do Not Call list and robocall people at dinner.” Actually, that case, Gadelhak v. AT&T Services, Inc., had nothing to do with ignoring the Do Not Call list, which is a violation of 47 U.S.C. § 227(c). Instead, Gadelhak sued AT&T for violating 47 U.S.C. § 227(b), the section of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) that deals with automatic telephone dialing systems (ATDSs). The federal judicial circuits and the Federal Communications Commission have been fighting over the definition of an ATDS for the last few years because congress, in its cowardice, won’t change the definition of an ATDS to match how robocalling devices work today instead of how they worked in 1991, when congress first passed the TCPA. Congressman Frank Pallone of New Jersey tried to fix that problem in April 2019 by inserting a few words into the legal definition of an ATDS to clarify that it includes any device that calls customers from a database of stored phone numbers, which is how a “predictive dialer,” the calling device that almost every illegal telemarker uses today, actually works. You can see Pallone’s original ATDS definition here at p. 2, l. 3:

https://www.congress.gov/116/bills/hr946/BILLS-116hr946ih.pdf

Pallone’s bill passed in the House and went to a Senate committee where – surprise! – someone killed the newly crystal-clear ATDS definition, probably on behalf of bank lobbyists. (Bankers don’t believe anyone or anything should impair their God-given right to robocall you.) Pallone’s bill was combined with a related bill and got the fancy, misleading name “The Stopping Bad Robocalls Act,” which has pro-consumer elements but definitely will not stop most bad robocalls. (Are there any good ones?) The “Stopping Bad Robocalls Act” is congressional sleight-of-hand at its worst – kayfabe to fool the rubes.

The fact that congress has not fixed the definition of an ATDS since 1991 has caused a federal judicial circuit split, which will be resolved next year by the U.S. Supreme Court in Facebook Inc. v. Duguid, which might finally destroy the TCPA so a telemarketer can call you and hundreds of thousands of other people every day with a robocalling device, and no one can sue to stop them. Bill Barr has weighed in on Facebook Inc. v. Duguid with a brief that agrees with Barrett and about half the federal judicial circuits that Congress never outlawed the kind of robocalling device that almost all illegal telemarketers use now.

There are plenty of things you can blame on Amy Coney Barrett, but don’t blame her for this. She was just interpreting the literal language of the law as a strict constructionist and free-market fundamentalist. Blame Facebook for appealing the 47 U.S.C. § 227(b) ATDS definition all the way to the Supreme Court so they can robocall and robotext you at will. And blame the cowardly U.S. congress for bowing to the banksters in 2019 and daring the Supreme Court to finally disembowel the TCPA – which they might do next year.

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Hi Matt,

I just bought my first smartphone and have taken steps to disable data and lock down the phone as much as possible to resemble the feature phones I am used to (someday I hope QWERTY feature phones are available again in the US). While doing this there were a number of Google applications that could only be disabled, not deleted.

I thought we dealt with this with the Microsoft bundling lawsuit in the 90s. Why is this behavior still allowed?

Reading wikipedia it appears this behavior is allowed thanks to the appeal and resulting settlement, however that settlement "required Microsoft to share its application programming interfaces with third-party companies", yet today I see Apple defenders saying that Apple should be allowed to charge its 30% fees because of the API it provides companies.

At any rate, yet more reason to see all of this as a load of crap.

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Matt: I am giving the link to an article that is right up your, and this blog's alley. Man, this one takes the cake. Frankly, a lot of innocent people get harmed in the actions of big business/monopolies it is not just we all pay more?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/sep/19/in-2005-helios-flight-522-crashed-into-a-greek-hillside-was-it-because-one-man-forgot-to-flip-a-switch

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What a fascinating letter about the Asian grocery market.

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A friend just sent this article about growing support for a German referendum to expropriate / nationalize a bunch of rental property in Berlin. Fascinating stuff: https://www.exberliner.com/features/opinion/red-flag-deutsche-wohnen/?mc_cid=d69c8b808d&mc_eid=d8b282f26f

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The reader's letter comparing the business of US groceries vs. Asian groceries was very interesting. One minor thing I want to point out, in reference to Asian grocery stores, the reader wrote: "None of them are publicly traded, they are all privately owned, including the largest chains." I think that is not true. There is a company called iFresh, Inc. --> NASDAQ ticker IFMK. They have grocery stores, but they also have an import arm of the business.

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