Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Why Sonny Bono is unconstitutional

Not the dead guy, the Act.

First, let's take a look at the relevant part of the Constitution (emphasis mine):

The Congress shall have Power [...] To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

Now, notice right away that the Act is retroactive to works already published. That means Mickey Mouse gets twenty more years of copyright. It is not difficult to conjecture that Congress might, in twenty more years, extend copyright another twenty years. Then they might do it again. Obviously, if they did, forever, copyright would not be secured for a 'limited time.'

'But they haven't!' says the Supreme Court. Of course they haven't done it forever, dummies. And they never will. That's the way forever works. Forever is the infinity of time. So let's look at infinity.

Infinity, colloquially speaking, is where you can always add one more. (Or twenty more.) So, can Congress always add one more? More precisely, will the Court always let them add one more?

Suppose the Court allows Congress to make an unlimited number of limited-time extensions to the copyright term. Clearly, this is not a 'limited time.' We need not actually reach infinity to be unlimited; we merely must have no limit.

Since the Court cannot allow an unlimited number of extensions, it must therefore at some point limit the number of extensions and, consequently, the number of years. One day the Court has to draw the line. '99 years is enough,' perhaps. Hold it! Go back to Constitution. Only Congress has the power to decide the term of copyright. The Supreme Court does not.

We're left with an inductive proof by contradiction: If any retroactive extension to copyright were constitutional, then an unlimited number of them also would be constitutional, which is, of course, unconstitutional. Therefore, no retroactive extension to copyright is constitutional.

Monday, February 27, 2006

SCO: I get it now

Until just now, I couldn't fathom why Judge Wells continues to put up with SCO. Their ploy is obvious; doesn't she get it?

Ah, but she does. She is stringing them along very much on purpose. We all know that SCO will lose this case. We all know that SCO will appeal, and so does the judge. At least, they will try to appeal. SCO will continue to try to win until it cannot convince its lawyers that they will be paid.

Wells' handling of the case will be picked apart in an appeal, so she is dotting every i and crossing every t and giving SCO the benefit of the doubt wherever she can. Before the case gets to appeals, SCO won't have any lawyers left because the smart ones will know that the ruling will stand. Therefore SCO will go belly-up, and nobody gets paid.

Plus, for whatever reason, IBM feels like spending the money to slowly grind SCO into the dirt. Wells is letting them, which is good because IBM is probably the only company with the resources to stay in the game.

Sunday, February 12, 2006


This is a test post. Yay.