Microsoft's been hoist on its own petard in an Indian tax dispute. Microsoft argued that it should be exempt from paying a royalty tax on sales of its software, since the transaction was a sale, not a license, and so the money wasn't really a royalty. The clever Indian authorities noticed that every inch of Microsoft's packaging and presentation is plastered in license agreements sternly informing customers that they don't own Windows, that they're only licensing it, and furthermore, the license terms are onerous and must be obeyed.
This have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too approach to licensing and sales isn't unique to Microsoft. The musician T-Bone Burnett once explained to me that the standard record deal gives artists seven percent royalties on sales and fifty percent royalties on licenses. However, when artists get paid by their labels for iTunes downloads, they're only paid the seven percent sales royalty, despite the fact that the record companies keep telling courts, Congress and customers that a download is not a sale, it's only a license, and don't you dare try to resell your music, loan it, or give it away -- all stuff you're allowed to do with purchased goods.
So Microsoft uses the sales/license flip-flop to avoid its taxes, and the record companies use it to pocket six-sevenths of the money they owe artists for downloads.
Since the earliest days of the "semantic web,", millions of dollars and hours of coding effort have been thrown at the problem of really organizing large corpuses of information, with two approaches emerging: rigid ontologies (like the Dewey Decimal system) that require a system's users to be deeply expert in the structures they're working in; […]
In 1971, the Australian indigenous artist Harold Thomas created the iconic Australian Aboriginal Flag which has since been named one of the "official flags of Australia," which resulted in Thomas successfully suing to assert copyright over the design.
[Editor's note: Whenever governments review their copyright, one of two things happens: either they only listen to industry reps and then come to the "conclusion" that more copyright is always better; or they listen to stakeholders and experts and conclude that a little goes a long way. Normally, when the latter happens, the government that […]
Who needs a holiday sale? Sometimes there’s no better time than the thick of summer to find deals. We should know – we’ve found ten deep discounts on some must-have items. Whether you’re searching for CBD edibles, exercise gear, chargers or other tech, take a look. But don’t look long – these prices aren’t likely […]
Heading abroad? Even if it’s just a short trip, there’s a lot to prepare for. Travel can be incredibly rewarding, but it can tricky to navigate different cultures and lodging arrangements – and even trickier to do it cheaply. Before you go shopping for suitcases, here’s our pick for a good first investment: The Ultimate […]
Fried foods are a weakness for many of us. There’s nothing quite like that extra crisp crackle on chicken, fries or onion rings. And for years, our arteries have been paying for the privilege. Lately, the air fryer has been a godsend for those who love the fried stuff but love their body too. If […]