Gary North on current economic affairs and investment marketsGary North -- Specific Answers
HomeContact MeTell a FriendText SizeSearchMember Area
Gain immediate access to all of our current articles, the question-and-answer forums, dozens of free books, and article archives. Click here for details on how to join.

About This Site
Academic Gaps
Capitalism and the Bible
Christian Economics
Clichés of Protectionism
College Finances
Debt Management
Ellen Brown: Critique
Federal Reserve Charts
Gary North's Free Books
Get Published Here!
Gold Price & My Report
Keynes Project
One Lesson
Price Index (U.S.A.)
Questions for Jim Wallis
Remnant Review
Social Security/Medicare
Sustained Revival
Tea Party Economist
U.S. Debt Clock
Yield Curve
Your YouTube Channel
Gary North's Miscellany
Budgeting for Wealth
Business Start-Up
Career Advancement
Digital Tools
Education That Works
Evernote: Free Notes
Federal Reserve Policy
Fireproof Your Job
Goal-Setting for Success
Great Default
Inheritance Strategies
International Investing
Investment Basics
Job and Calling
Keynesian Economics
Marketing Case Studies
Precious Metals
Real Estate
Safe Places
State of the Economy
Stocks and Bonds
Study Habits
Video Channel Profits
Members' Free Manuals
Our Products
Contact Me
Tell a Friend
Text Size
Your Account
My 100% Guarantee
Privacy Policy
Terms of Use

This site powered by MemberGate
home | Tea Party Economist | Bill Gross and the Copyright Fairy

Bill Gross and the Copyright Fairy

Gary North - February 02, 2013
Printer-Friendly Format

I want to write an article on an article that Bill Gross wrote.

Mr. Gross runs the world's largest bond investing fund. He is famous in the investment community. Recently, he wrote a very important article. It had a catchy title. I would like to share it with you. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to. At the end of the article, in bold face type, we read this:

No part of this material may be reproduced in any form, or referred to in any other publication, without express written permission. Pacific Investment Management Company LLC, 840 Newport Center Drive, Newport Beach, CA 92660, 800-387-4626. ©2013, PIMCO.

I would provide a link to this important article, but I have not cleared this with Mr. Gross.

I find it fascinating that Mr. Gross takes time every month out of his busy schedule, which involves managing several billion dollars' worth of clients' money. He does this in order to be read. Then he places a major restriction on anyone actually telling others about what he has written.

I picked up the phone and called an old friend of mine. I would tell you his name, but he is a lawyer specializing in copyright. He will not allow me to mention his name unless I get written permission. He refuses to give it. I therefore will give only his initials: CF. That stands for Copyright Fairy.

This is not a verbatim transcript. I am not allowed to quote him verbatim. This is my version of what he said.

GN: CF, I am wondering about Bill Gross's copyright restriction. Can you shed any light on it?

CF: Of course. It's standard boilerplate. I have it in a Word text file. Every copyright lawyer does.

GN: What do you charge clients to use it?

CF: I charge $5,000. But newcomers charge as little as $1,000.

GN; You mean to tell me that someone pays you $5,000 to insert this short clause at the end of his article?

CF: You bet.

GN: But why?

CF: To scare off anyone who would steal a client's ideas or words.

GN: But it's not possible to get a court to convict someone who summarizes someone else's ideas.

CF: You know that. I know that. But clients are dumber than dirt when it comes to legal issues. So they pay me $5,000.

GN: I'm in the wrong business.

CF: You sometimes let Lew Rockwell run your articles for free. You surely are in the wrong business.

GN: But people read my articles on his site.

CF: But you don't get paid.

GN: But I want people to read my articles.

CF: Then don't expect to be paid.

GN: Don't your clients want people to read what they write?

CF: Of course.

GN: Then why do they pay you $5,000 to insert that prohibition?

CF: To protect themselves.

GN: From what?

CF: Lawsuits.

GN: Lawsuits from what?

CF: From lawyers who sue them on behalf of clients.

GN: On what grounds?

CF: On the grounds that some jury might convict and impose a really big penalty.

GN: A penalty for what?

CF: For damages.

GN: Damages for what?

CF: For whatever a lawyer can convince the jury of.

GN: So, if the writer inserts your $5,000 prohibition at the end of all articles, he won't get sued?

CF: He can always get sued. But the bold-faced prohibition sends a message.

GN: What message?

CF: That the writer has hired a high-powered lawyer.

GN: How does a plaintiff's lawyer know this?

CF: Because the prohibition says this: "Caution. Yes, this author is dumber than dirt, judicially speaking. He wants people to read his articles, but then refuses to let readers refer to these articles without first contacting his legal department. Cognitive dissonance? Big time! But he has enough money to pay a lawyer to provide a boilerplate prohibition. Any lawyer smart enough to con an author into paying for this is one smart cookie. Don't mess with him. You'll lose."

GN: So it's a kind of insurance policy.

CF: Yes.

GN: But is the clause enforceable?

CF: At some price.

GN: You are starting to sound like an economist.

CF: It's the other way around.

GN: What do you mean?

CF: Modern economics came out of law schools. Mises got his degree in law. So did Hayek. Back then, there were no economics departments.

GN: So, you mean economists sound like lawyers.

CF: The clever ones do. Look at R. H. Coase. Look at Gary Becker. They won back-to-back Nobel prizes. Why?

GN: Because they sound like lawyers?

CF. Exactly. You have written about this. They think that judges are like God. Judges have something equivalent to omniscience, they teach. And what are judges?

GN: Lawyers with the power to have you fined, jailed, or executed.

CF: Correct.

GN: But can an author afford to hire a lawyer to enforce the prohibition?

CF: Probably not. But Gross can.

GN: But I see Gross quoted all over the Internet within hours after he posts an article.

CF: So do I.

GN: Has he ever sued anyone for copyright infringement?

CF: I have never heard that he has.

GN: Then why did he ever start inserting this prohibition into his articles?

CF: Because his legal department told him to.

GN: But he wants to be quoted.

CF: Of course he does. Why else would he write?

GN: So, his lawyer told him to insert the prohibition even though Gross has no intention of enforcing it.

CF: Probably.

GN: Then why did he post it?

CF: I told you. To avoid getting sued.

GN: But he has a great legal department.

CF: Correct. That's why the department told him he had to insert the prohibition.

GN: But he's in charge, not his legal department!

CF: You are showing signs of premature senility.

GN: You mean he isn't in charge of his legal department?

CF: That is exactly what I mean.

GN: You mean Bill Gross, a zillionaire, plays "yes, sir" to a lawyer on his staff, despite the fact that the clause makes him look like an idiot?

CF: You catch on fast.

GN: So, the prohibition clause is not designed to keep people from quoting him.

CF: Correct.

GN: Because he won't sue anyone for quoting him.

CF: He will sue only if his legal staff has nothing pressing to do.

GN: So, I can safely quote from his article.

CF: Not if you publish a transcript of our conversation.

GN: What has publishing this have to do with anything?

CF: Because it would make Gross look like a helpless tool of his lawyers.

GN: But if your analysis is correct, that's what he is.

CF: That's why you might get sued if you refer to one of his articles.

GN: So, let me summarize. Bill Gross is a rich man who spends hours each month to write an article that he wants people to read. Then he inserts a prohibition that implies a threat to anyone who quotes it. No one pays any attention. They quote it. He does not sue.

CF: That's about it.

GN: But that makes Gross look like an idiot.

CF: Not at all. He is just a very rich man whose life is controlled by lawyers.

GN: Then a person might as well not get rich.

CF: Rich people never seem to figure this out until they are so rich that they have to hire lawyers.

GN: You make the practice of law sound like a protection racket.

CF: Again, you have things backward.

GN: Are you saying that the protection racket is modeled on the legal profession?

CF: You catch on fast.

GN: Thanks for your time.

CF: Call me any time. You'll get my bill. It's payable within 30 days.

GN: You're billing me? An old friend?


Printer-Friendly Format

 Tip of the Week
Sign up for my free
Tip of the Week
Verification Characters:    Type     X  Y  5  U  8     here   

Tip of the week archives
On what this icon
means, and how it
can help you,
click here
 Q & A Forums
General Q&A Forum
Advertising and Resumés
American History Topics
Backyard Food Gardening
Banking and Politics
Blog Sites and Web Sites
Books Worth Reading
Bumper Sticker Slogans
Business Forum
Buying Smart
Christian Service Forum
College -- The Cheap Way
Education Alternatives
Food Storage
For Women Only
GNC Benefits
GNC Testimonials
Gold and Silver
Great Default Forum
Health and Diet
Health Insurance
Investments Forum
Iran War
Job, Calling, and Career
Leadership Development
Legacy Building
Less Dependent Living
Local Political Action
Non-Retirement Forum
One Good Idea
Police State
Public Speaking
Real Estate Forum
Remnant Review Forum
Safe Places Forum
Taxation Policy
Typographical Errors
Video Production Basics

Reality Check
 Discussion Forum
Search Discussion

Recent Forum Posts
• Safe currencies to hold
• Benjamin Graham?
• A Motif masochist investor asks
• "Asset Based Long Term Care" annuities
• Buying pipelines at the next crash
• RE:Concierge Doctor
• Discover Bank 0.9% APR?
• getting out of the euro
• Amazing Dollar Strength
• Stuck in 401K. Help!
• Currency Wars
• Need Any Adjustments?
• What is the third question?
• What to do with my IRA funds?
• 529 plans
• Rent controls in mass inflation:where to go?
• How to calculate ROI for a rental property?
• How should I sell a house?
• location Vs. amenities
• DFW Real Estate - Bubble Economy
• Rental houses: cash flow
• RentoMeter site
• Renting individual Rooms vs. Whole house
• Are real estate agents driving this phenomenon?
• Intro to Real Estate
• best-and-worst-m arkets-for-rent al-returns
• Establishing a rental farm away from where I live
• 9 out 10 Most Expensive Cities are in California
• Moral standards and renters
• Malls Fill Vacant Stores With Server Rooms
• Time to leave America while you still can ?
• Impact Fees for New Florida Residents
• New Hampshire and Florida
• Ecuador and PR
• Survivor library
• Missle Silo converted to Condos
• Does the South suck?
• Moving TO the US?
• No City for Old People
• Will you die getting to your bug out location?
• teaching English overseas - some questions
• The state with the most Liberty
• Switzerland and Firearms
• On "Zip Code Searching On The Web"
• Crash Course in becoming an Expat
• Kurzweil on Financial Times
• Why is this fantasy world stuff?
• One change could help saving for retirement
• Forced retirement - lump sum - legal work
• Moving Retirement Funds
• Sudden Wealth Advice
• Sudden Wealth Advice
• Question on Traditional Pensions
• advice on how do I interact with my older parents?
• Do You Sincerely Want to Be Rich? Why?
• Req. For No 401(k)/Other Pensions via Relocatio
• Cashing out 401K to pay student debt?
• SS @ 62 and still working
• Desolation or Prosperity?
• I take it Retirement Armageddon is not available
• Re: Hijacking Your Email Address
• Business in 3rd world vs Working in 1st World
• Robert Ringer dealmaking course
• Original Watson video
• Residential Real Estate and the Great Default?
• Walmart shutting stores across America?!?
• Mini-Defaults: Municipal Equity Issuance
• My heart attack, update
• Great Default: How Are You Preparing Now?
• Where to find the COR position papers?
• Driverless Cars
• Greece vs the Eurozone
• What will get cut first?
• After many years, cookies must be enabled?
• Questions for small business owners
• Leasing Question
• New Motor Technbology
• MBA programs that get you where you want to go
• a different marketing - using academia
• Video Interview Equipment
• Beginner Business Structure
• Apply 80/20
• Good Recruiting wins Championships = $$$
• Meeting with the State
• Family earns $1 Million from YouTube vids
• Customer Service and Ethics Still Rule?
• Business Loans Question
• The life value of a customer ?
• If an Algorithm Wrote This, How Would You know?