Sep 24, 2007

The Business World Today: Two Issues That Affect Many Businesses

This week as I slogged my way through the blogosphere in search of relevant and interesting material on which to write, I came across two rather interesting posts that, upon further inspection, turned out to be very interesting and definitely worthy of this weeks post.

The first of these was found on a blog called The Marketing Technology Blog written by Douglas Karr. The issue being discussed was that of perception vs. reality (in the image to the left, the A and B squares are same) . Mr. Karr was criticized by one of his readers for posting a picture on the header of his blog that depicted him as being younger than he actually was. Mr. Karr did indeed post a picture of himself that was taken several years ago, however the picture was not altered in any way, shape or form, it was truly him albeit a bit younger looking than he apparently is now. Mr. Karr provided an excellent defense of his action and provided his readers with some enjoyable tidbits of information to support his argument.

The second post was from a blog called techdirt, it dealt with a lawsuit that has been filed against a company for violating the terms of the open source GPL software license. This fascinated me because, as you will see from my response, I have worked on several projects that utilized GPL licensed code. The issues being discussed revolve around two main themes; 1) will the GPL actually hold up in court, and 2) if it does hold up, how will monetary damages be decided and to whom will they be awarded.

Without further ado, here are my responses:

Post #1
Response to: Hey Mike! Marketing Is Also About The Make-Up


After reading through this post I felt compelled to comment on it. Studying public relations has given me an interesting perspective on the old adage “perception is reality and must be managed.” I find it fascinating how many people there are - like reader Mike - who are either unaware that this phenomenon exists, or are otherwise completely scandalized by it. I think your argument supporting this as an acceptable practice was very well crafted. It is indeed nice to see a welcoming face at the top of your blog and not at all beyond the scope of reason or morality to see why you would choose a younger, more “welcoming” looking face to present to the public. The Pamela Anderson bit was both fascinating and comical. This was the first time I’d ever seen Pam without her makeup – man, I feel so… lied to! I am sure nobody (other than Mike of course) begrudges you your corporate glamour shot. I for one am quite happy that you chose to post it and even more so that Mike decided to call you on it, without people like Mike, we would never have had the pleasure of that witty retort of yours. After all, not only is marketing “also about the makeup,” it’s also about the ability to deflect the occasional stab of negativity in a manner that is both professional and at the same time witty and creative enough to sway the public to your side. Well done.

Post #2
Response to: Lawsuit Tests The Legal Status Of The GPL

This is a fascinating issue. I have worked on several projects with friends that have utilized open source code under the GPL license and the topic of GPL enforceability has come up on more than one occasion. The issues we’ve discussed have led us to speculate that if the GPL were to be put to the test, it will ultimately be unenforceable. Let me preface this by saying that I am not a legal expert; the issues and conclusions that we’ve made are hardly worthy of consideration to any person with legal training. They are, however, rooted in logic.

The “open source” nature of GPL licensed software/code is very well suited to the morally depraved coder who sees fit to make it their own without following the license agreement. One can easily modify the supplied source code to the point where he/she can argue that it was they who coded it from scratch; after all, how many different ways are there to skin a cat? It is inevitable that coincidental similarities in two completely separate pieces of code will surface somewhere, at some point in time.

There is also the issue of monetary damages and to whom they are due. Since the open source community is so large and all of its members contribute their time and efforts to the project freely, there is virtually no way for a judge to decide who should be awarded the damages. Secondly, the fact that the code is distributed free of charge would also make it very difficult to determine how much, if any, money is due to the defendants for the infringement of the GPL.

(how many pieces can you slice out of this piece of cornbread before there is virtually nothing in each slice?)

1 comment:

MED said...


Good posts this week. I like how you focused on two entirely different issues, yet made relevant comments to each that link them to today's business world. You write strongly but with humility as well, which gives you added validity. I also like how you preface your comments with some background on the subject. For example in the third paragraph you state, "it dealt with a lawsuit that has been filed against a company for violating the terms of the open source GPL software license." I think this is a very good setup for the reader. Finally, you incorporate the first image very well, which adds strength to your argument.

A few things you may want to improve on:

In general, I think you should address a few formatting issues such as at the very top of your post where the text is not aligned at the top of the image. Also, the first three paragraphs could be made into one large paragraph for succinctness. At the bottom of the post, the image you used kind of sticks out at the bottom and doesn't seem incorporated with the rest of the post.

Your second comment could be stronger if you expanded upon what you read in the article more. For example you state, "there is virtually no way for a judge to decide who should be awarded the damages." In the article, however, the author says "it's an open question how those damages would be calculated." Your comment is similar and almost repetitive. I suggest that you ask the author a question to challenge his views. You could say something like, "why do you think that it is hard to calculate damages?" Just a thought...

Overall, great post.