January 08, 2006

How to Save America

My plan has two parts:

  1. No more paper phonebooks. Honestly, fuck the phonebook. Never has the internet more completely obsoleted an old technology. Plus, there's no book that has more pages, costs more to deliver and is read less than the phonebook. I estimate the savings from its elimination to be on the order of fucktons.

    At the very least delivery should be made opt-in.

  2. Assigned seating in movie theaters. The earlier you buy your ticket the better your seat. This rewards the anal movie-going crowd (that's me) in that you no longer have to both buy tickets beforehand and show up super-early to get the best seats. And it leaves the procrastinators in no worse position for their astonishing lack of foresight. In fact, they are better served because with assigned seats, we can optimize to avoid scattered single seats.

    The only losers in this plan are those who've foisted upon us the unholy creation known as Pre-Show Entertainment. These are probably the same people who want to keep the phonebook alive because it's essentially a 10,000 page advertisement. I say, fuck those people and their phonebook-loving asses.

May God bless our great land.

1 comment:

Matt said...

So I wanted to share this little legal tidbit - just read Feist v. Rural, a '91 case which dealt with the copyrightability of white pages.

Rural published a local white pages which Feist tried to license so that Feist could compile a directory listing for a slightly larger area. When Rural refused to license the information, Feist took the info, did a little more research to add some info and published it in their own white pages.

While most of the entries had changed, Feist's directory had about 1000 entries lifted verbatim from Rural's directory (including four fake entries designed to spot this sort of thing) and sued.

The Supreme Court rejected the claim. In order for something to be copyrighted, it has to have some amount of creativity. When you're dealing with a compilation of facts, this is difficult to achieve, because you can't copyright facts, and the court found that there wasn't sufficient creativity to Rural's arrangment of those facts (alpha order listing of all the people in the county with telephones is pretty standard practice for white pages) to grant copyright. So Rural lost. Here's the wikipedia link. And here's the text of the decision.