Web Excursions 2021-09-09


Apple's Planned App Store Changes Will Barely Affect the Company's Bottom Line, Says Analyst

  • App Store revenue from the top 10 “reader” apps accounts for less than 8% of overall App Store revenue,

    • suggesting the financial risk to Apple from these developers circumventing the in-app purchase system is “fairly small.”

  • Assuming a worst case scenario

    • in which Apple stopped collecting economics from all of the top 20 reader apps translates to

    • downside risk of 4% of Services revenue,

    • 1% of total company revenue, and

    • about 2% of FY22 EPS forecast

  • Spotify and Netflix already disabled the ability for new users to subscribe to their services through Apple’s in-app purchase system

    • since 2016 and 2018 respectively,

    • meaning Apple hasn’t collected a commission on new subscriptions to either app for at least three years.


Who Lost the Sex Wars?

  • The women’s-liberation movement in the United States, from its beginning in the late sixties, had been characterized by tensions between

    • socialist feminists (or “politicos”)

      • who saw class subordination as the root cause of women’s oppression and

    • feminists who thought of “male supremacy” as an autonomous structure of social and political life.

  • At the same time, there had been growing tensions between

    • feminists (like Ti-Grace Atkinson and Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz)

      • who embraced separatism

      • and, sometimes, political lesbianism as the only acceptable responses to male supremacy, and

    • feminists (like the “pro-woman” members of the group Redstockings, founded by Shulamith Firestone and Ellen Willis, in 1969)

      • who rejected such “personal solutionism”

      • for its rebuke of heterosexual desire and

      • its tendency to alienate “non-movement” women.

  • Today’s trans-exclusionary feminists typically claim that

    • they seek to dismantle a gender system that oppresses girls and women.

    • Yet they tend to reinforce the dominant view that certain bodies must present in particular ways.

  • there are feminists who are critical of trans women’s claims to womanhood

    • because of an ideological commitment to what they consider radical-feminist principles.

    • In particular, the view that gender is a “social construction”—

      • that, in Simone de Beauvoir’s phrase,

      • one is “not born, but becomes, a woman”—

    • has been taken by some feminists to imply that trans women who have not undergone “female socialization” cannot be women.

  • Antiporn feminists saw in pornography the ideological training ground of male supremacy.

    • (“Pornography is the theory, and rape the practice,” Robin Morgan declared in 1974.)

    • Their feminist opponents saw the antiporn crusade as a reinforcement of a patriarchal world view

      • that denied women sexual agency

  • But my women students quickly discover, as an earlier generation did, that there is no monolithic “women’s experience”:

    • that their experiences are inflected

      • by distinctions in class, race, and nationality,

      • by whether they are trans or cis, gay or straight, and also

      • by the less classifiable distinctions of political instinct—

        • their feelings about authority, hierarchy, technology, community, freedom, risk, love.

  • My students soon find, in turn, that the vast body of feminist theory is riddled with disagreement.

    • It is possible to show them that working through these “wars” can be intellectually productive, even thrilling.

    • But I sense that some small disappointment remains.

  • In “The Transgender Issue,” Faye,

    • who cites Andrea Long Chu’s description of gender dysphoria as “feeling like heartbreak,”

    • follows the conventional line that “gender dysphoria is a rare experience in society as a whole . . . which can make it hard to explain to the vast majority of people.”

    • It is true that a very small percentage of human beings feel sufficient distress about their bodies to need hormonal or surgical intervention.

    • It is also true that many non-trans women know something of the heartbreak caused by a body that betrays—

      • that weighs you down with unwanted breasts and hips;

      • that transforms you from an agent of action into an object of male desire;

      • that is, in some mortifying sense, not a reflection of who you really are.

    • That’s not to say that the precise character, intensity, or longevity of such distress is the same for trans people and non-trans women.

    • But what might a conversation between women, trans and non, look like

      • if it started from a recognition of such continuities of experience?

  • These days, it can seem that, because feminism is so pervasive, so much on the best-seller lists and the syllabi and Twitter, we already know all about it.

    • But there is, unsurprisingly, still much to learn.


French Appeal Court affirms decision that copyright claims on GPL are invalid; must be enforced via contractual dispute

  • Brief of the case of Entr’Ouvert vs Orange on a GPL copyright violation.

    • Entr’Ouvert, a small software company, was developing a GPL authentication library called Lasso since 2003 (an SAML authentication library).

    • Orange Business Service used the library when developing a nationwide authentication service for France since 2005 (mon service public).

      • Orange Business Service is the contracting arms of Orange, the national French ISP (previously named France Telecom).

    • The case went to the Tribunal de Grande Instance in 2019 and

    • went to the Cour d’Appel recently in 2021,

      • with a referral to the European Court of Justice (CJUE) in between.

  • The case went to Appeal Court of Paris on 19 March 2021, after the decision of the CJUE in 2020.

  • ALL courts so far have dismissed all copyright claims, asserting that the GPL (and software license generally) is a contract and can only be pursued as a contractual dispute in contract court.

    • The decision of the courts is effectively preventing software authors from defending their authors’ rights in any case where there is an open-source license.

  • In first instance, the tribunal de grande instance de Paris

    • dismissed all the copyright/IP related claims,

    • stating that the GPL is a contract and can only be enforced via contact.

    • Entr’Ouvert lost the case, they had to pay damages and various fees to Orange.

  • Even though all the copyright claims were denied, Entr’Ouvert won and was awarded 150 000 euros in damages and various fees, for parasitis

  • In appeal, the appeal court maintained the decision to dismiss all copyright claims… with a twist about an anti-competition French law from the 1960s.

  • The Appeal Court decided to maintain the first decision, denying all counterfeiting/copyright/IP claims,

    • however they granted one claim of parasitism.

    • Orange lost the case and they had to pay 150 000 euros in damages plus various fees.

  • parasitism is a French law that goes back to the 1960s or so.

    • by which a business is trying to profit from the reputation or the investments from a competitor,

    • notably by spoofing their fame or they know-how and creating confusion in the mind of the customers.

    • To make a parallel with the US and the UK, this would be something related to antitrust, unfair or anti-competitive practices.

  • There’s two major ways to enforce copyright, or that’s what people thought before this case:

    • Under copyright/IP law, you can sue for counterfeiting.

      • It’s similar in both US law (Copyright) and French law (IP Law, article L335-2) and

      • under some European convention on intellectual property.

    • Under contract law, you can sue for breach of contract.

      • It’s similar in both US and French law.

  • The strategy that is well tried in the US is to go for counterfeiting/copyright, to seek the most damages. Copyright/IP law can carry significantly more damages, both in France and in the US, compared to a contractual dispute.

  • In French law, it’s only possible to pursue a single domain, be it contract-law or criminal-law or IP-law.

    • If a case spans multiple domains, it might be ruled on either depending on circumstances, and

    • as soon a claim is settled all claims are closed

  • Damages in each violation

    • For an IP violation, the court typically looks at the gain of the counterfeiter

    • For a contractual violation, the court typically looks at the loss of the victim. That may be some licensing fees and contracting fees for Entr’Ouvert.

  • Jurisdiction of each violation

    • counterfeiting case goes to the Tribunal de Grande Instance (High Court),

    • contractual case between two companies goes to the Tribunal De Commerce (Trade Court)

  • Entr’Ouvert followed the counterfeiting strategy, they sued for counterfeiting and got dismissed.

  • In EU, each country has its own legal system and laws.

    • When the European Union votes on some directives, each text they agree on will actually be adjusted and translated and

    • incorporated into each member’s state at their own discretion, eventually.

    • Only then it can be applied by each country.

    • There is no “European law”,

      • there are only directives and conventions whose power is limited.

  • The French court referred to the CJUE the below question and they replied on 18th December 2019

    • Does a software licensee’s non-compliance with the terms of a software licence agreement ([…]) constitute: –

    • an infringement (for the purposes of Directive [2004/48]) of a right of the author of the software that is reserved by Article 4 of Directive [2009/24] on the legal protection of computer programs, –

    • or may it comply with a separate system of legal rules, such as the system of rules on contractual liability under ordinary law?

  • In layman terms, the CJUE decided that IP can be enforced in any way by each individual member’s state.

    • It doesn’t matter “how” as long as it satisfies the guarantees of the directive

    • (there must be a procedure that’s fair and equitable and not too costly…).

  • There is an European Directive on Intellectual property, European Directive 2004/48/EC.

    • It’s supposed to give some minimal common grounds,

    • acknowledging the existence of intellectual properties in various forms

    • (notice it doesn’t say copyright but IP).

  • What happens next?

    • Entr’ouvert got 150 000 euros in damages.

    • They can leave it at that and take the money.

    • Or they can appeal to the cour de cassation to assert counterfeiting and we will find out what’s the result in a few years.

    • The cour de cassation doesn’t judge cases,

      • it judges whether the law is observed and interpreted as it should be by the courts.

      • In this case it will consider both the national law and the European directive and come up with something.