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July 2017
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You Are What You App

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To learn more about how marketers can reach consumers in app rather than just through mobile Web and search, Adotas caught up with Sabio Mobile CEO Aziz Rahim. Q: What do you think are the biggest challenges around mobile advertising today? A: The biggest challenge in mobile advertising is the lack of recognition and understanding [...]

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posted at: 12:00am on 06-Jul-2017
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Indie Developer Finds Game On Torrent Site, Gives Away Free Keys Instead Of Freaking Out

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When game developers find their products available for download on torrent sites and the like, it's understandable if their reaction isn't exactly positive. Many gamemakers pour their hearts into developing their art and finding it available for free, fully cracked of any DRM that they might have included, can be understandably frustrating. It's typically that frustration that launches into DMCA takedowns, complaints about piracy harming the gaming business, and talk of site-blocking and legal threats.But not every game developer falls into that category. While it doesn't happen enough, some developers try to understand what piracy is and isn't, and where inroads with the gaming community can be made, even amongst those dastardly pirates. A recent example of this would be Jacob Janerka, who created the indie game Paradigm, only to find the game available on torrent sites across the internet.

But, instead of being filled with anger and rage while running to the nearest anti-piracy outfit, Janerka decided to reach out to the pirates. Not to school or scold them, but to offer a few free keys.“Hey everyone, I’m Jacob the creator of Paradigm. I know some of you legitimately can’t afford the game and I’m glad you get to still play it :D,” Janerka’s comment on TPB reads. “If you like the game, please tell your friends and maybe even consider buying it later,” he added.
Rather than playing whac-a-mole or, even worse, spending many calories and minutes complaining about the reality of video game piracy existing, Janerka decided to engage this community, give away a few free game keys, and include a request to spread the word about the game if those on the torrent site truly enjoy it. That's about as congenial as it gets, especially when we keep this within the frame of this group being one downloading Janerka's game for free when he's attempting to make a business out of his work product.In the aftermath of this, someone posted the exchange on Reddit, leading to a chorus of approval from the internet community, to further coverage of the story and his game by proxy, and to news coverage of Janerka. In those interviews, Janerka revealed that this isn't some marketing ploy that went well, but rather that he has personal experience with pirating games.
“I did it because I understand that in some cases, some people legitimately cannot afford the game and would like to play it. So maybe HOPEFULLY for a lucky few, they got the official keys and got to play it and enjoy it. I know for sure that when I was a young kid, I was unable to buy all the games I wanted and played pirated games. And when I actually got that disposable income, I ended up buying sequels/merch/extra copies,” Janerka adds.The developer doesn’t think that piracy hurts him much, as many people who pirate his games don’t have the money to buy them anyway. In addition, having non-paying fans of the game is more valuable than having no fans at all.
Janerka's approach is the polar opposite of most of the larger studios that tend to see game pirates as vermin fit for the judicial system. To see news of the game spread like this, simply because the developer decided to be awesome and human rather than heavy-handed or litigious, should be a signal to creators big and small how to handle having their games show up on torrent sites.

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posted at: 12:00am on 06-Jul-2017
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Stupid Patent Of The Month: Using A Computer To Count Calories

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This month's stupid patent, like many stupid patents before it, simply claims the idea of using a computer for basic calculations. U.S. Patent No. 6,817,863 (the '863 patent) is titled "Computer program, method, and system for monitoring nutrition content of consumables and for facilitating menu planning." It claims the process of using a computer to track nutrition information like calorie or vitamin intake. It is difficult to think of a more basic and trivial use for a computer.The '863 patent is owned by a patent troll called Dynamic Nutrition Information, LLC. Dynamic Nutrition filed a lawsuit this month in the Eastern District of Texas accusing Australian company Fatsecret of infringing the '863 patent. Dynamic Nutrition had filed four other lawsuits. Consistent with a pattern of nuisance litigation, each of those earlier suits settled very quickly.What "invention" does the '863 patent purport to cover? Claim 1 of the patent is reproduced in full below (with comments in brackets):

A computer program comprising a combination of code segments stored in a computer-readable memory and executable by a processor to provide nutrition content information related to consumables, the computer program comprising:a code segment operable to receive and store an input related to consumption of consumables, and to associate the input with a calender [sic] date [i.e. program a computer to track daily food intake]; anda code segment operable to generate an interactive display screen, wherein the interactive display screen includes [i.e. include some kind of user interface]one or more lists of consumables and related nutrition content information, and [i.e. list food options and nutrition information]a summary section of past consumption of consumables. [i.e. list past food intake]
In other words, program a computer to help people keep track of meals and calorie or vitamin intake.The application for Dynamic Nutrition's patent was filed on June 11, 2001. By that time, computers had been around for decades and there was nothing remotely surprising or innovative about programming a computer to keep track of datawhether it be nutrition data or units shipped or accounts receivable or whatever. Nevertheless, the Patent Office takes an extremely rigid approach to whether or not a patent application is obvious. This means that companies often get patents on common sense ideas (like taking photos against white background or filming a yoga class).
Even leaving aside the issue of obviousness, the claims of the '863 patent are invalid under the Supreme Court's Alice v. CLS Bank decision (which struck down patents that merely claim the use of conventional computers to implement an abstract idea). Indeed, the first company to be sued by Dynamic Nutrition, Under Armour, filed a motion to dismiss the case under Alice. Under Armour pointed out that the '863 patent itself repeatedly emphasizes that its methods can be implemented using any conventional computer or programming language. Given the strength of this argument, it is unsurprising that the litigation settled before Dynamic Nutrition even filed a response.Dynamic Nutrition's patent is not even the only patent that claims using a computer for routine meal planning. A patent troll called DietGoal sued dozens of companies with a meal planning patent. A court invalidated DietGoal's patent under Alice because it claimed nothing more than the "conventional and quotidian tasks" of selecting meals. The Federal Circuit affirmed that ruling. The logic of this decision applies straightforwardly to Dynamic Nutrition's patent claims.We recently launched our Saved By Alice project where we are highlighting cases where companies attacked by stupid software patents were able to use the Alice decision to defend themselves against weak patent suits. The Dynamic Nutrition litigation is yet another example of why the Alice ruling is important and how it can protect productive companies from patent trolls.Reposted from the EFF's Stupid Patent of the Month series.

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posted at: 12:00am on 06-Jul-2017
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