Entitlement and lawsuits in North America
Last updated on February 11, 2012, 0:14 by Sebastian Mihai
Did you know that you could be sued if you said "Super Bowl" on the radio? Ever since I got cable, I have been bombarded by these lawsuit "you could win big bucks by suing others!" commercials on TV. Driving through Buffalo, NY, I saw about six of those huge ad boards targetted at highway drivers. Four of them were lawyer ads, assuring you there is a lot of money to be had in suing others.

This sort of thing is rooted in the entitlement that is such a defining feature of today's North American society. Its implementation in the judicial system has yielded the following terrible traits of said society:

- Fear - People refrain from doing well-intended things because they're afraid of the heavy repercussions. Elementary school teachers are afraid to criticize, because it may upset the parent, who may see this treatment as "harmful" to the child, and may sue. Schools now disallow most of the children's playground games that have a physical aspect. Nobody wants their school sued, do they? Ah, and did you know that teachers in the US were banned from using red ink, because it is too "confrontational"?

- Censorship - Think about the Super Bowl example a bit further. The radio people are not allowed to SPEAK those words. They have to WORK AROUND words that are COPYRIGHTED. Words - the most basic expression of thought - are forbidden. My suggestion for a way to say "Super Bowl" on the radio would be "Doubleplus Bowl".

- Decreased corporate efficiency - The primary targets of lawsuits are corporations. Did you know that you can start registering patent applications for the craziest electronic devices you can think of (whether or not they make any sense), and then launch lawsuits at major technology companies, hoping for a few thousand dollars in settlements? It works for them, because a full-blown patent infringement lawsuit would cost orders of magnitude more. There are people/groups who make money this way. That ends up raising costs unnecessarily for corporations, and raising prices for regular consumer Joe.

- Stunted innovation - I believe that innovative processes are also hurting because of this extreme legal care that must be exerted. These are extra restrictions. When you add restrictions on inventions, you impede research speed, quality, or both.

I believe in fairness, but we are taking it too damned far. Thanks for listening, and merry abstract and generic wishes!

... not THAT merry, I am definitely NOT trying anything, I swear!
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