Last One on the Bandwagon Turn Out the Lights
2000-03-25 20:32:13

Software Jihad
Wow, this is like a tip you get from Martha Stewart...
-- Johnnie Royale


I dunno why it's taken me so long to write an article about this Boycott Amazon crap. Usually I jump all over this kind of thing and make something out of nothing. But in this case practically everybody in the world is bitching out Amazon, and I'm way in the back of the crowd picking bits of wax out of my ear with my pinky. Metaphorically, of course.

So, here's the poop, Scoop: Amazon.com got awarded these patents for this stuff that lots of people do on the Web all the time. No big news, sure: there are a ton of Web patents out there. 13,000 software patents awarded in the last 3 years, if memory serves.

But Amazon.com is big and they are supposedly some kind of Web leaders, so everybody is mad. Richard Stallman is mad (what's new?), and got the whole ball rolling in his inimitable style. Then lots of weird people got mad and started sites like No Web Patents dot Org and No Amazon dot Com. Huzzah for them. They cut much better HTML than anyone at the GNU organization, you have to admit.

Then strange Tim O'Reilly got into the act, for some crazy reason, although he's kinda creepy if you ask me. He sent this open letter to Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com, and that got a lot of press. Then Jeff Bezos sent this open letter back, pretty much defending his dumb patents. It's funny that it took a rich white publisher to get this rich white bookseller to respond, but what the fuck? That's exactly how the old boy network works. Good for them.

Bezos is a slimy shifty creature, of course. He wouldn't be head of Amazon if he wasn't. He turned the whole thing into a big crusade against patents in general, totally sidestepping the fact that he's got two big dumb patents that he shouldn't have in the first place. What a weasel! Give up the patents, Jeff, you spin-doctoring motherfucker! When you show you have an ounce of integrity, we'll let you play. Until that point, you're one of Them and are in the line of fire.

Anyways, I personally support the boycott of Amazon [can't speak for the rest of PDJ editorial staff, of course]. Frankly, I don't think a boycott is enough to dopeslap a dumb greedy e-commerce company with a bad fucking attitude, as I've mentioned before. But, hell, I don't have the energy to write a long QUIT AMAZON screed, so you folks make it up yourselves. If you work for Amazon, quit.

That said, everybody else should give Amazon.com the cold shoulder. You know that trick where you hold out your hand to shake hands with somebody, and then when they reach for your hand, you pull it away and smooth your hair down with it instead? That's what you should do with Amazon. Go use their fancy search facilities to find the book you want, and then go buy the book from one of these fine, non-patent-holding booksellers on the Web:


Jeez, man, this fight for information rights is getting HARD. It's like WHACK-A-MOLE: you hit one stupid industry behemoth and knock them on their ass with your huge comical mallet, and six more pop up in their place. Congratulations on joining the Asshole Mole Team, Jeff. Stand still, this is gonna hurt a little bit.

Over.  End of Story.  Go home now.


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