Tuesday, March 6, 2012

An Example of Judicial Insanity

Anyone who reads my blogs understands that I am not a big fan of our convoluted judicial system. Penalties for violent crimes are too lenient. The system favors criminals by, for instance, allowing ludicrous defenses such as mental defect or temporary insanity. Our judicial system allows for way too many frivolous lawsuits that only help to increase the cost of not only our court system, but goods and services such as health care. The Supreme Court has overstepped its Constitutional powers to rule on cases it has no authority to draw opinions. In effect, the Supreme Court has expanded the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, Contracts Clause, and Necessary Clause to meddle into every aspect of our lives including regulating the size of a family farm and what products we must purchase. Thus, the Constitution is a null and void document because it does nothing to limit the powers of not only the Judicial Branch, but the Executive and Legislative Branches as well. All of this being said, the below example makes me loathe our judicial system even more.

One day when I was watching a college football game on CBS, I was shocked to see them advertise for an idea that I had published and copyrighted (unregistered) nearly 15 years earlier. I thought for sure I had a good case against them because the name and premise for the idea were identical.

My wife and I ran a small publishing business that wrote newsletters and created products in both the areas of sports and education. I published a variety of NFL newsletters on free agency and the draft. In order to promote my products, I created a new version of Fantasy Football called Franchise Football. Franchise Football is similar to Fantasy Football, but instead of annually drafting a new team from accomplished stars, Franchise Football participants would build a Fantasy team from the ground up by drafting rookies and going after free agents. In Franchise Football, each year the participants keep the same the team and try to improve upon it. This is similar to how any real NFL football franchise must operate. Along with my newsletters I created a software package to go along with Franchise Football that enabled participants to keep score and provided them with a method to mathematically rate rookies and free agents.

Needless to say, I contacted a few lawyers to see if I had a case for copyright infringement. They all had the same answer: No! Apparently, copyright infringement is very hard to prove. A plaintiff must prove that the defending party deliberately stole your idea and copyright. A plaintiff can argue the defendant stole the copyright based on the presumption of similarity, but this is not necessarily a smoking gun.

The bottom line is that even though I have published my idea and own an unregistered copyright, it was not enough to protect my work. This is true even though the name and premise of CBS’s Franchise Football game is identical. Apparently anyone can make a few subtle changes to any copyright and claim they came up with the idea on their own.

In other words, our law system protects stupid people who sue McDonald’s because they got fat, but the law fails to protect people who legally do everything within their powers to protect their rights. This is absolutely asinine.

My Book: Is America Dying? (Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble)

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