Internet Commerce

     It’s time to blow your mind.
     Question: if you buy something, do you have the right to sell it to someone else?
     Yes, it’s a trick question. No, it has nothing to do with any agreement that went along with the original sale.
     Say you buy a movie DVD or a videogame CD. You finish with it and then you can sell it to someone else used. You have a right to do that.
     But what if you bought and downloaded the exact same content online?
     Isn’t the Internet age wonderful?
     According to news reports, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled in favor of a so-called “second-hand” retailer that was sued by Oracle, a big software company, for reselling its programs.
     No, the reseller wasn’t making multiple copies of the programs – just reselling the authorization keys to individual copies. But here’s an interesting thought: when you sell an object (like a house or a car), you lose possession of the object. When you resell software, you’ve still got the software.
     It could multiply like, say, a computer virus.
     Naturally, it’s more complicated than that because the original sellers can put safeguards in the programming. But, of course, resellers could put their own programmers to work.
     Which brings us to Barry Diller.
     And BarryDriller.
     Irony abounds.
     In case you missed it, Diller has founded a service called Aereo that streams broadcast television content over the Internet.
     This is the same free television content that networks want as many people as possible to see. So the networks, naturally, are suing the company that gives them a bigger audience.
     BarryDriller, is yet another company that, apparently, is copying Aereo and it’s being sued by the networks too.
     So are Diller and Driller copying content or providing a sort-of super antenna service?
     Will everyone start copying everyone else so that no one owns anything?
     And why don’t the networks just stream their own free stuff?
     Will Diller and Driller be the next hot comedy team? (Triple threat dream concert: Flight of the Conchords, Garfunkle & Oates, and Diller & Driller.) Or should Diller & Driller be porn names?
     I can’t wait to find out what the Founding Fathers thought of all this.
     
     SAD SIGHT OF THE WEEK. A young woman in a courthouse carrying a toddler and wearing a low-cut t-shirt that exposed a tattoo on her back reading: “Honor Love Trust.”
     She was getting divorce paperwork.
     I would have gone with a more modest shirt.
     
     DOMESTIC LESSON. Our marital advice for the week comes courtesy of an appellate ruling in Texas called Free v. Lewis.
     The lesson is: don’t marry someone who claims to be really good at day trading and wants your money to do it with.
     You might think that was obvious but, apparently, it wasn’t to the wife in this particular case. The husband then went on to lose more than $5.5 million of his wife’s money by forging her signature and having her bank statements sent to him.
     But that’s not the best part. After he did this, “in an effort to reconcile with his family,” he signed a restitution agreement.
     That’s so romantic. How can you not root for those crazy kids?
     I can’t wait for the movie version.
     Oddly, hubby didn’t come through with the restitution. If I’m advising the guy, I’d tell him to try flowers next time.

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