Home > Google, Idiots > Philip K. Dick’s estate needs to shut up.

Philip K. Dick’s estate needs to shut up.

[tweetmeme]Apparently Philip K. Dick’s estate is persisting in the insane delusion that Google should pay them money for no reason. The reason? They called their new phone the Nexus One. This has been going around for a while, but now the lawsuit is in full swing, or something. It’s so stupid that it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on. When the New York Times wrote about this a few weeks ago, they asked the hilarious question “Is The Google Phone an unauthorized Replicant?” because apparently the rogue androids in “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, or, for the less cultish among you, Blade Runner, are Nexus Six models. So Google was being cute by implying that their new phone is so advanced it’s like a first step toward the horrible doomsday future of having killer robots running the streets undetectable and ripping our hearts out. Given the power of the phone in an absolute scale, and not compared to other slightly less powerful phones, that would already make the computer I’m typing this on a goddamn Nexus Seven, but whatever. Google made a joke (a nerd joke, even), and the heirs of someone who actually did something got all huffy about it because they don’t understand the spread of culture.

The appropriately named Isa Dick Hackett had this to say in the NY Times article:

Ms. Hackett, president of Electric Shepherd Productions, the arm of the Dick estate that handles film adaptations and the licensing of materials, said, “In my mind, there is a very obvious connection to my father’s novel.”

No shit there’s an obvious connection; Google put it there! Would you like a goddamn cookie?

I need to stop for a moment and point out that a man with the last name of Dick gave one of his children the first name Isa. He named his daughter Isa Dick. That’s mindblowingly stupid, but what’s worse is that she voluntarily added Hacket to her name. This is a family of visionaries, alright. Good crap.

Isa was “shocked and dismayed” that Google was considering using the name Nexus One without first giving her money. Well, Isa, I’m shocked and dismayed that you aren’t aware of fair use, or how culture spreads. Sweet Jesus, woman, if fiction is good and meaningful, it affects the spread of culture. That’s the crapping point, and you don’t get to complain that you aren’t getting paid well enough because people love your father’s goddamn work enough to build a goddamn tribute to him. I mean, shitballs, did Joss Whedon sue Google when they named their bafflingly over-complex messaging service Google Wave after the “wave” messaging service in Firefly? No, because unlike you, he actually has an appreciation for the actions of his fans, and was probably goddamn honored.  (But maybe that’s the big difference; Whedon actually makes things)

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised by your reaction, Isa; you are basically just a patent troll, after all.

The issue of infringement, the thing on which this lawsuit hangs like an empty baggie Philip filled with unfathomable amounts of psychotropic drugs, is confusion. As far as I understand it (if I get this wrong, shut up), a complaint like what the non-producing offspring of Philip have leveled, rests on whether or not it’s going to be confusing to potential customers, and if said confusion will lead to damage to the company making the claim. If I tried to start Appple Computers, for example, that would be easily confused (in name, anyway) with Apple Computers. Or if I started selling an iMak. I’d have to be an idiot to do so, but that’s not my point. In these cases Steve Jobs (who’s my close, personal friend; have I mentioned?) would have a legitimate claim, because my products could cause confusion in the marketplace.

Isa Dick Hackett’s claim is essentially that consumers will confuse this:

With this:

Apparently she thinks her father’s fans are as stupid as she is.

But really, this isn’t about consumer confusion or any legal anything; it’s about some people whose professional life is getting money from the professional life of a dead man trying to preserve their income without actually making anything of their own.

Shut up.

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  1. January 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

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