Supreme Court versus Innovation

While the entertainment industry is cheering the Grokster decision, I am concerned about the issue of vicarious liability and the thwarting of legitimate innovation. I suspect ultimately the decision will be terrific for Trial Lawyers, but not so great for everyone else.

Example:   What does the Grokster decision means for Google? The comapany just rolled out Google Video, a search tool that lets you find video on the Web. Let’s say you use that to find copyrighted material on line and then I download what you find, is Google now viacariously liable under this decision?

Even worse, is there now no bright line standard, as their was in the Beta-Max case. Now, we should expect a ton more litigation, all on a very piecemeal basis. I’ll bet SCOTUS will be forced to revisit this decision after a decade or so.

How will the Grokster case stop the 100 to 200 million PCs that have grokster installed from file swapping? Its decentralized and the company cannot control it.  (hint: it won’t)

The bigger concern is now litigation risk: While file swapping will continue unabated, legitimate innovations and (previously) legal applications may not get venture funded. That’s not good for innovative companies like Apple and TiVo.

I wish the Supremes woulda stuck with their BetaMax decision . . .

Category: Film, Intellectual Property, Music, Technology, Web/Tech

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Category: Commodities, Investing, Markets, Psychology

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Grokster Decision is meaningless to filesharers

Category: Film, Music

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Apprenticed Investor: Tracking Elephants, Part I

Tscm_1The latest "Apprentice Investor" column is up at Its called  "Tracking Elephants, Part I." 

Don’t be fooled by the title to this piece: "Tracking the Elephants" could just have easily been named "The non Technicians Guide to Technical Analysis (in two parts)." The idea was to reveal to fundamentalists a few of the more significant ways they can use charts to improve their results.


Here’s the ubiquitous excerpt:

"Here’s an interesting question: If you could look at one and only one source before buying your next stock, which would you choose: a fundamental analyst’s report (with no charts in it), or the chart of your choosing?  While I like having access to both, I cannot ever imagine buying something without first looking at the chart.

And so we wade into the ongoing battle between technical and fundamental analysts. Frankly, it’s one of the sillier debates in investing. But I’ve heard so many bad arguments and misleading theories about technical analysis that I decided to weigh in."

Before we wade too deeply into the controversy, ask yourself: "Why do I need to choose?" Why wouldn’t you use any tool that can be shown to have value? You wouldn’t build a house using only a hammer, but no drills or saws. Why limit yourself away from a tool that can assist you as an investor?

In the column, I used a chart of Ford — but it could have been just about any company , from JDSU to Lucent to World Con or Enron.

Ford’s Downtrend
click for larger graph


Prior columns can be found here.

To keep the column a modest length, a discussion about Janus Funds
selling of AOL Time Warner was edited out.  For your reading
pleasure, that section is here.


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Category: Markets, Podcast, Technical Analysis