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.
Investigative tech journalist Joseph Menn's (previously) next book is a history of the Cult of the Dead Cow (previously) the legendary hacker/prankster group that is considered to be "America's oldest hacking group."
Back in 2016, the Dr Seuss estate won a preliminary court action against "Oh, The Places You'll Boldly Go!" a crowdfunded parody of Dr Seuss's "Oh the Places You'll Go!" and Star Trek, written by veteran Star Trek creator David "Tribble" Gerrold and illustrated by the comics giant Ty Templeton.
Yesterday, I wrote about how MEP Julia Reda resolved the mystery of how the European Parliament came to produce a batshit smear-campaign video promoting the new Copyright Directive and smearing the opposition to the Directive (including signatories to the largest petition in human history): it turned out that the video had been produced by AFP, […]
It’s spring clearance time for the Boing Boing Store, when some of the best deals from the holidays return even cheaper than before. From top-rated apps to educational software to the cutest record player of all time, they’re all back with a little extra incentive. Shop your heart out before tax season wraps up! Use […]
Big companies want automation on a big scale. Doing that means diving into the tricky world of machine learning and data science. And no matter what platform you’ll be implementing it on, you can learn how with the Machine Learning & Data Science Certification Training Bundle. In 48 hours and through eight courses, this bundle […]
Big systems need tight security – and the experts who can implement it. Cisco Networking Systems are the go-to providers for network infrastructure, but maintaining it takes a lot of up-to-date knowledge. If you want that knowledge right from the source, there’s an online course that can get you certified painlessly: The Foundational Cisco CCNA […]