They See Me Trollin'

They See Me Trollin'

Sorry, Trolls: Taylor Swift Declines to Perform at Horace Mann School for the Deaf

Relatable! (Photo: CMT)

Shimmery fairydust composite Taylor Swift, who floats instead of walks and subsists entirely on a nutritional diet of rainbows, has decided not to let the trolls ruin a good contest.

Back in August, Reddit and 4chan galvanized for the all-important cause of gaming a VH1 competition that would send Ms. Swift to perform at a school that received the highest amount of votes. Soon, a hoard of trolls began liking Ms. Swift on Facebook and voting to send her to the Horace Mann School for the Deaf in Boston.

(Get it? Sending a musician to a school for kids who can’t hear music? “Lulz.”) Read More

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Congress Considers Bill That Would Make Patent Trolls Pay, Literally

Seriously, do not fuck with startups.

Seems like just about everyone’s had it up to here with patent trolls, up to and including certain members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Ars Technica reports that Oregonian Democrat Peter DeFazio has introduced a bill torturously named “Saving High-Tech Innovators from Egregious Legal Disputes” Act, designed to put a stop to the most blatant instances.

You can call it the SHEILD Act. No, it does not come with either Samuel L. Jackson or an Agent Coulson. Sorry. Read More

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Patent Troll vs. Foursquare: Checkin App Sued Over GPS Technology

U mad? (Photo: Wikipedia)

Oh good, the patent trolls are at it again.

There’s something remarkably sinister about shell companies whose raison d’être is to mess with people actually working to innovate and build cool things. Silver State Intellectual Technologies, a shell company based in Las Vegas, is no exception. Now it’s taking its own brand of assholery to one of New York’s most adored startups: Foursquare.

GigaOm reports that Silver State claims to own the patent for GPS information technology, and is subsequently suing Foursquare for, like most modern internet companies, using GPS? Read More

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Accused of Illegally Downloading Porn, Man Demands Public Apology

The Google Image results for "porn" are too vile, so here is a "lady flower." (Photo:

Plenty of people have been sued for illegal downloading. But an increasing number of defendants are basically giving plaintiffs the finger, in the form of countersuits. Today TorrentFreak offers up yet another example, that of a put-upon Colorado man who’s filed a lengthy countersuit demanding millions in damages and also a public apology in a local newspaper.

Presumably he also faxed the company a handwritten note saying, “And that’s what’s up.” Read More

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Anti-Jihadist Trolls Wage War on Terrorist Message Boards

(Photo: Wikipedia)

Terrorists: they’re just like us! They use message boards to communicate and organize. Before, these message board were largely free of “first!!!1″ and painstakingly detailed ASCII art, but perhaps no more. Now, according to Wired, participants in the U.S. government’s “Viral Peace” program are prepared to fight for freedom the American way: with trolling, naturally.

Perhaps not since To Catch a Predator has Internet vigilantism seemed so entertaining. Shahed Amanullah, senior technology advisor to the State Department, developed the program to address the world of online terrorism and fill what he recognizes as a void in US counterterrorism strategies. Read More

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Survey Says: Patent Troll Shenanigans Cost U.S. Companies $29B Annually

(Illustration by David Saracino / New York Observer.)

Patent trolls–or, as a new study drolly dubs them, “non-practicing entities”–have a business model that’s simple, elegant, and dastardly: Buy broad patents and start suing companies that could conceivably be infringing upon them. And the costs are adding up to a nice chunk of change: Two researchers estimate the costs at no fewer than $29 billion, reports Ars Technica.

Plus, that’s just direct costs for things like lawyer bills and licensing fees. A previous study by the same pair put indirect costs at the stratospheric tab of $83 billion. Read More

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No Sooner Does Etsy Raise $40M Than It’s Hit With a Dumb Patent Suit

(Illustration by David Saracino / New York Observer.)

Man, is there anything worse than getting mugged on payday? Just last week, Etsy announced a $40 million Series F with investors including Union Square Ventures and Accel Partners, a round that’ll help the company go global. But Unified Messaging Solutions–a subsidiary of the patent pitbulls over at Acacia Research Corporation–has other plans. GigaOm reports that firm has just filed a lawsuit accusing Etsy of infringing its patents on “methods for storing, delivering and managing messages.”

Sure it has, Unified Messaging Solutions. Sure it has. Read More