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  • #2177269

    Should Intellectual Property Exist?

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    by chughlett ·

    Where is the line that separates ideas belonging in the public domain from those that should be allowed to remain “proprietary?” Should all knowledge be free or are there some inspirations which can be held for ransom justifiably? Does the line of should vs. should not share exist? If your employer were to know your answer (since many of your inspirations are paid for by your employer), whould your answer remain the same?

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    • #3335367

      big fat “no”

      by apotheon ·

      In reply to Should Intellectual Property Exist?

      Aside from identifying marks (trademark, et cetera), I’d say the answer is “no”. Copyright and patent laws are effectively used as a means to maintain market dominance and to leverage continued revenue without having to continue to work for it. Such laws represent a failure in the task of encouraging innovation, end up being used as a means of creating new revenue schemes based on litigation rather than distribution and service, and claim ownership of the contents of other people’s minds.

      My opinion of the matter doesn’t change based on audience. I might phrase things differently under some circumstances (such as avoiding getting into pointless arguments with family members), and I don’t go around breaking copyright and patent laws just because I believe they shouldn’t exist, but I won’t pretend I support “intellectual property”. While I don’t see anything ethically wrong with trading MP3s over P2P networks, I don’t do so myself.

      I support trademark enforcement, however. The reason for it is that, aside from “fair use” (such as in satire or in references to the company to which an identifying mark refers), unauthorized use of established identifying marks is essentially a means of fraud. By acting to confuse others as to one’s business identity, one basically lies about who is identified by something understood to identify another, or misrepresents oneself as being that other.

      • #3335363

        Authors of America Salute You

        by too old for it ·

        In reply to big fat “no”

        … and will keep their “electronic rights” unold, if they are intelligent.

        • #3334090

          not much of an argument

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Authors of America Salute You

          By the way, I’m an author/writer.

        • #3331391

          Take a Constitutional

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Authors of America Salute You

          In short, the US Constitution in section VIII empowers Congress “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” Congress passed bills for Patents, Trademarks, etc., but they decided the duration of the protection and what promotion actually entailed.

          Copyright for writers is 75 years, which basically means most authors can pass along their asset to the next generation. Patents (were 17 years) are 20 years from filing, which seems pretty short, since it takes 2-4 years to issue.

          Granting exclusive rights does play a pivotal role in spurring innovation. No promotion policy exists, however, and getting manufacturers to adopt patented technology is extremely difficult. The purpose of promoting progress is to benefit the people (not necessarily the whole of humanity) and to benefit solely the authors and inventors, but the real inventors are normally not even at issue here.

          How many comments in this thread refer to companies inventing things? They don’t. Engineers, scientists and ordinary people do. Rarely do the real inventors of medicines and machines or processes actually benefit beyond a token handshake and a small bonus. I do not believe the framers of the Constitution intended this. German law requires the actual author/ inventor to be compensated. The constitution may override the assignment clauses in work-for-hire and employment contracts that automatically strip inventors of their inventions.

          When an engineer invents something for humongo corporation, he has already signed away his ability to control whether it benefits the people or not. Humongo decides everything about it. If they want to sell cheaply, they can. They can just sit on it, not allowing anyone to benefit. They determine what price, what market and when.

          Congress could fix this by citing the promotion phrase and require implementation within a reasonable period or forced licensing at a small cost to others afterwards.

          Good news/bad news comes with the enforcement part. Sony and the big video guys have the FBI on their side. Who investigates claims of patent infringement? Nobody. How big is the criminal fine for intentionally copying a patent? Zero.

          Yes, there are some problems with the way IP law has been constructed (by lawyers). Lack of benefits for the actual inventors, lack of promotional aspects, and lack of meaningful enforcement are all deficiencies. But the original constitutional concept is a truly noble one and could be made to work.

        • #3330589

          What about this??

          by rayjeff ·

          In reply to Take a Constitutional

          What if someone invents something before signing to work with Humongo corporation, what then??

        • #3330537

          Got Proof?

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to What about this??

          Unless you signed away your rights to prior inventions, you still own the patent rights. You should have strong proof that you actually invented it before your contract. Contrary to popular belief, mailing yourself a letter is not good enough. Fortunately, the USPTO (patent & trademark office) has a disclosure program that costs only $10 that will prove when you invented something. They will store your disclosure in secret for up to 2 years, waiting for you to file an application for a patent based on the disclosure. After that, unless you have filed and referred to the document, the disclosure is destroyed and remains a secret.
          You can find out more at http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/disdo.html . Most huge corporations own every invention of yours (by assignment) even if it has nothing to do with your job or their current business.

        • #3352093

          There’s lots of proof

          by rayjeff ·

          In reply to Got Proof?

          Oh, there’s proof.

        • #3330531

          Yes, it should without a doubt…..

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Take a Constitutional

          Obviously, over 200 years ago the smartest people of the time thought encouraging authors and inventors by promising to protect their authorship is in the public interest. I do not believe they conceived of complex corporations that employ the equivalent of the population of Philadelphia and have economic power larger than some nations.
          They also probably did not envision authors losing their rights through assignment or operation of employment agreements.

          Individuals who are smart enough to invent something usually have more altruism at heart than those who operate large multi-national corporations. If you doubt this, are you really all that smart to invent something worthwhile?

          So, if inventors were really in charge of their IPR, able to license directly, and were faced with the Hobson choices discussed, they would likely err in favor of saving human life and being compensated some other way or on the back end of the deal. [Those who claim inventors are greedy obviously are not inventors themselves.] A grateful Uganda might make a chemist an honorary citizen or a knight, etc. for example, or might receive a stipend from the national lottery every month. Unfortunately, inventors have no such rights to pressure responsible citizenship.

          Microsoft and IBM and Glaxo have been assigned IPR worth billions by their employees, some of whom were laid off. Much of this IPR is traded by the big boys to maintain market share, without so much as a nod to the real inventors. Somehow, I do not think the framers of the Constitution intended that.

        • #3329826

          the smartest people of the time

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Yes, it should without a doubt…..

          “If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of everyone, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.”
          [b]- Thomas Jefferson[/b]

        • #3329658

          Yes, I am a fan of ol’ TJ, but …

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to the smartest people of the time

          The next sentence following your quotation reveals something slightly different from what one might otherwise believe from your extract…………
          “Society may give an exclusive right to the profits arising from them, as an encouragement to men to pursue ideas which may produce utility, but this may or may not be done, according to the will and convenience of the society, without claim or complaint from anybody.” Thomas Jefferson in a letter to Isaac McPherson, 1813. —-Note that the date was some 30-plus years after the Constitution had already been written and provided for limited monopoly over inventions by letters patent. Please take special note that Jefferson also wrote to Madison in 1789 (right after the convention) that he would have been more pleased with certain modifications to the Bill of Rights, including “Article 9. Monopolies may be allowed to persons for their own productions in literature, and their own inventions in the arts, for a term not exceeding — years, but for no longer term, and no other purpose.” I don’t know for sure whether his term ‘arts’ includes machines and the like but I presume so, since he also said in 1803 that “…in the mechanical arts, many ingenious improvements are made in consequence of patent-right giving them exclusive use of them for 14 years.”

          I find it also telling that he thought that the person who invented had a right to monopoly but for no other purpose. Perhaps he meant that patents and copyrights could not be assigned.

          Finally, though, the year prior to the Constitutiona convention he wrote “The saying ‘there shall be no monopolies’ lessens the incitements to ingenuity, which is spurred on by the hope of a monopoly for a limited time, as of fourteen years; [but the benefit of even limited monopolies is too doubtful to be opposed to that of their general suppression.]”

          In the UK under the Stuarts patents had become a subject of abuse. Royal favourites might be granted a patent already in use in the realm. Royal coffers could be filled to get a patent. James had to sign an entry in his Book of Bounty that monopolies are things contrary to our laws. Things improved under Queen Anne becoming more regularized, but history buffs have long memories. Jefferson was very skeptical because of long periods of abuse of the monopolies created, but he did see value in patents, despite your incomplete quotation.

        • #3329652

          I quoted the part that made sense.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Yes, I am a fan of ol’ TJ, but …

          The fact that the next sentence contradicts in spirit the preceding words should be a fairly clear indicator of why I left it out. I quote him not because he’s an authority in the matter, but because he said very eloquently something I myself have been trying to say. Whether he said anything to contradict it, even in the same letter, is immaterial to the validity of the quoted statement.

          He made a very good set of points in regards to the principle of the disposition of ideas and knowledge. He then followed it up with a wholly consequentialist statement about social pressures and attempted manipulations of the motivations of others without any logically valid supporting statements. Considering that my arguments and points have pertained to ethical principle, and that I believe practice should derive from principle rather than from convenient efficacy with mere lip service to principle, it should come as no surprise that the additional sentence to which you make reference doesn’t pass muster for me.

          Benjamin Frankline made some very good points about liberty and individual rights in a number of statements he made, but he also made some statements with which I do not agree. Because his statements with which I do agree were well-phrased and convey the points I wish to convey quite effectively, I am known to quote Franklin, but I don’t typically quote those statements with which I disagree. The same concepts are at work in determining how I go about deciding what to quote. In any case, as I’ve already indicated, I don’t quote others for purposes of making an argument from authority, but because some people have made points eloquently: I don’t attribute statements to people like Jefferson, Madison, Payne, Franklin, Washington, and Coxe because their names are well known, but because they deserve credit through attribution for their words (which, by the way, is not even close to the same thing as deserving remuneration, so don’t pull a maxwell and start calling me a hypocrite for opposing fraud and copyright at the same time).

        • #3329968

          Just two items.

          by kaceyr ·

          In reply to Take a Constitutional

          1. (Trivia) Section VIII of the United States Constitution was spearheaded by noted inventor, author, publisher, and womanizer, Benjamin Franklin.

          2. (My father was an Electro-Optical Engineer for Hughes Aerospace and an assortment of others over time) When an engineer invents something for humongo corporation, it is humongo corporation that is, and has been, taking the financial risk the entire time, not the engineer. Why wouldn’t they (and why shouldn’t they)”… just sit on it, not allowing anyone to benefit” and “… determine what price, what market and when.”?

        • #3329654

          Just One Answer

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Just two items.

          Because the Constitution says for inventors, not the supporters of inventors, not their employers, not their benefactors, not their parents, kids, friends, advisor, et cetera and so on.

          The fact that someone supported an engineer or other smart person who did not invent something would not entitle that someone to any other claim on a person’s life. So, why should supporting the inventor place a claim on their invention? Hughes was and probably still is a wonderful place for engineers. Thousands of engineers work there, but the do so to engineer. Applying the laws of physics to solve problems. Hughes can and should pay them for that (and they do). There is no risk involved to be further compensated for.

          What Hughes does not pay for is creative solutions that are novel (new) and non-obvious. When an engineer goes beyond the existing boundaries of what is known and creates a new combination of elements heretofore unknown in such a way that others equally trained in the art would not have conceived of, because the combination or sequence is not obvious even in light of their years of training, then they have invented something.

          Hughes, wonderful as they are, didn’t pay for invention — they paid for engineering.

        • #3082515

          Defining the undefinable

          by lannie1 ·

          In reply to Take a Constitutional

          I have been programming computers for 50 years come May 2006 and I have come to the conclusion, after years of study, that IP, copyrights, and patents are
          totally subjective intangible objects and whose legal and moral properties are controlled entirely by political power via financial power of institutions.
          To me this level and amount of disagreement between intelligent people on this forum proves that their definition, or at least their implementation, will never reach universal acceptance. I have a thousand friends who purchase books and after being read they are given to me. No problem, right? Those same
          friends buy songs, listen to them, then send them to me via a peer-to-peer network. Whoa! I now have the FBI, RIAA, Sony, Jack Valenti, and George Bush after me. What happened? The answer is absolutely simple. There is no difference in principle between th acts but with books, the act is legal. Why? Obvious. It just simply cannot be made a crime because there is no way that it could be enforced.
          The music. RIAA, et al can buy a few congressmen and pass laws to make it illegal and the internet
          is controllable, ergo, I get CRIMINALLY prosecuted (NOT in civil court) for the act. Conclusion. The legality or illegality of “infringement” depends upon the possibility of enforcing these concepts.
          Finally, it all adds up to who has the power. Look at what Disney did after they bought Sonny Bono.

        • #3082483

          indeed

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Defining the undefinable

          I like your observations.

        • #3082514

          Defining the undefinable

          by lannie1 ·

          In reply to Take a Constitutional

          I have been programming computers for 50 years come May 2006 and I have come to the conclusion, after years of study, that IP, copyrights, and patents are
          totally subjective intangible objects and whose legal and moral properties are controlled entirely by political power via financial power of institutions.
          To me this level and amount of disagreement between intelligent people on this forum proves that their definition, or at least their implementation, will never reach universal acceptance. I have a thousand friends who purchase books and after being read they are given to me. No problem, right? Those same
          friends buy songs, listen to them, then send them to me via a peer-to-peer network. Whoa! I now have the FBI, RIAA, Sony, Jack Valenti, and George Bush after me. What happened? The answer is absolutely simple. There is no difference in principle between th acts but with books, the act is legal. Why? Obvious. It just simply cannot be made a crime because there is no way that it could be enforced.
          The music. RIAA, et al can buy a few congressmen and pass laws to make it illegal and the internet
          is controllable, ergo, I get CRIMINALLY prosecuted (NOT in civil court) for the act. Conclusion. The legality or illegality of “infringement” depends upon the possibility of enforcing these concepts.
          Finally, it all adds up to who has the power. Look at what Disney did after they bought Sonny Bono.

        • #3105017

          EULA and Intellectual Property Rights

          by evisscerator ·

          In reply to Take a Constitutional

          For most of the computer industry, the IPR’s are owned and controlled by the major corporations where such products emerge from. The EULA that everyone gets when they purchase only gives the end user the right to “rent” or “use” the program on a limited basis.

          Some major corporations compensate their inventors with better pay and benefits while others are so tight they squeak and share nothing with the inventor.

          I would like to be the guy who invented the motorized windshield wiper device. Do you know how many cars have windshield wipers ?

          If you wrote a program that you would later sell on the open market, don’t you think that whatever language you wrote the program in, that author should deserve some compensation for your use of his work to develop your program?

          Some things are “fair and equitable” while others are flat out against human intelligence.

          I’m all for the inventor getting just compensation, if only to keep mega corporations from profiteering from it.

      • #3335137

        Examples

        by jdmercha ·

        In reply to big fat “no”

        Why we need patent protection.

        Reality:
        Edwin land had an idea for self-developing film. He patented the idea and founded Poloroid. Without patent protection, Kodak could have produced instant cameras and put Poloroid out of business. Kodak would profit from Land’s idea not Land.

        Possiblity:
        Bristol Meyers spends $800 million developing and testing an aids vaccine. Galaxo pruduces the vaccine without the need to revcover any research expenses. They will be able to sell the vaccine for less, putting Bristol out of bussiness.

        • #3335068

          Alternatively…

          by liame ·

          In reply to Examples

          Alternatively Bristol Meyers produces an aids vaccine and reaps monopolistic for the duration of the patent.

          Meanwhile in Africa another 100 million die of aids.

          Not quite so clear cut now, is it?

        • #3335059

          Sure it is

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to Alternatively…

          If Brystol can’t profit from their research, they won’t do it. The vaccice is never developed and another 300 mllion people in Africa die of aids.

        • #3335044

          of course . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Sure it is

          Everything you say here for some reason assumes that things like trade secrets don’t exist. Not having a patent doesn’t mean you have to go around passing out memos with the development process for your product explained in excrutiating detail.

        • #3335031

          True

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to of course . . .

          But how do you protect a trade secret without a patent or copywrite? In a perfect world employees would not sell trade secrets to the highest bidder. But without legal protections, what can stop them?

        • #3335024

          easy . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to True

          You keep it [b]secret[/b]. Who says there aren’t legal protections? Haven’t you heard of nondisclosure agreements? Contractual obligations are quite useful for protecting information.

        • #3335001

          Trade secrets

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to True

          So I can protect my intellectual property with a non-disclosure agreement, but not with a patent. How does that stop me from “extorting” profits?

        • #3334992

          extortion

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to True

          Extorting profits involves putting a gun to someone’s head and saying “You don’t get to act as you wish. You have no choice in the matter. The choice has been made for you.” Nondisclosure agreements allow one to opt out: “No, I don’t want to sign, and I’m willing to remain ignorant of your trade secrets as payment for not signing.”

        • #3330156

          Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to True

          when you patent it, it’s not a “secret” any more.

        • #3331579

          Best example of trade secret (no patent)

          by sys-arch ·

          In reply to True

          Coca Cola remains a company secret. The
          formula has never been patented because
          that would require disclosure. Disclosure
          would mean that someone could start
          tweaking with the formula enough to get
          around the patent and sell their competing
          “taste alike” product.

          Of course, only internal corporate policies,
          signed by employees and legally enforceable,
          can try to protect the company’s secret(s).

          Then you rely on employee ethics and their
          desire to stay employed, especially if the
          company’s revenue is dependent on the trade
          secret.

        • #3331572

          Lets say…

          by ole88 ·

          In reply to True

          that you write a program to fulfill some need that people have. If you burn a CD that has all the source code, documentation and a compiled copy of the code on it, you have started a “poor mans” version of a copyright. The next thing you do is place the CD in a mailer and mail it to yourself registered mail. As long as you don’t open the envelope a court will accept it as evidence to prove who had the idea first.

        • #3347053

          They’re going to get Copyright, IP and Trade Secrets

          by g.brown ·

          In reply to True

          If you look at MS for example.

          Most of the stuff is actually a secret, they don’t release all the API’s even (see SAMBA and MS compatibility).

          The text would actually be copyright (as copyright is basically issued the moment you write it, you just need to prove when exactly you wrote it)

          And then, they also get the IP on it.

          Sort of a win win win situation for them, forget about the smaller players.

          You see, smaller people won’t have the funds to be able to defend their own IP, MS will drag it out as long as possible to try and break the company.

          What happens is the largest corporations just end up “swapping” patent uses with each other.

          Simple for them, hell for the smaller, generally more innovative creator.

          For instance,

          Quote:
          “BALTIMORE — Microsoft Corp. will pay $60 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a California software company that alleged Microsoft stole its multimedia streaming software.

          Microsoft and Burst.com said in a joint statement late Friday that they had reached “an agreement in principle” to resolve all claims against Microsoft. Under the settlement, Microsoft also will receive a non-exclusive license to Burst’s patent portfolio. ”

          Microsoft has settled several antitrust lawsuits in recent years, including cases filed by the U.S. government and several states over its use of the Windows operating system to muscle out rivals, including competitors to its Web browser.

          Over the past two years, Microsoft has spent some $3 billion to settle private antitrust lawsuits filed by AOL Time Warner Inc., Sun Microsystems Inc., Be Inc. and Novell Inc. It also paid an undisclosed amount to a trade group that had backed antitrust complaints by the U.S. government and the European Union.

          The Novell settlement relates to antitrust claims regarding its NetWare product. Less than a week after reaching that deal, Novell filed a lawsuit regarding WordPerfect, a product Novell used to own. Microsoft also faces complaints from RealNetworks Inc. and the EU.”

        • #3331555

          Stupid

          by redgranite ·

          In reply to of course . . .

          Ever heard of a gas chromatograph. It let’s one know the composition of chemical substances – there can be no trade secret when it comes to medication.

        • #3331524

          So?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Stupid

          What does that have to do with it? I can run a program on my computer and see what it does, too. I can also look over the parts of a car and figure out how they fit together. None of that makes me a pharmaceutical maker, a programmer, or Toyota.

        • #3330684

          Investment

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to Stupid

          Bringing a drug to market is extremely expensive in the US.

          Company A conducts experiments, testing many different chemical compounds before they find one that they think works. They have to pay many researchers for many months or

          They have to pay for an FDA review of the drug before they can begin clicial trials.

          They then have to pay for the clinical trials as well as the reports of their findings from these trials.

          Then they have to pay the FDA for final approval to produce and sell the drug.

          Now that they have already spen millions of dollars, it probaly only costs them 5 cents to manufacture each dose. But to recover the cost of bring the drug to market they have to sel the product for $20 per dose.

          Given all this testing and public attention, the makeup of the drug can’t possibly be a trade secret. It is public knowledge.

          So without the protection of a patent, company B can now manufacture the drug at a cost of 5 cents per dose and sell it for 20 cents per dose.

          Company A would never be able to recover the millions they have spent developing the drug. Thus without patent protection, this drug would never be developed.

          This is a vastly differnt situation from the programmer who works in his spare time to develop an application.

        • #3330652

          straw man

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Stupid

          That doesn’t even begin to address my point.

        • #3330529

          Human body is over 75% water

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Stupid

          And you can find out all the compositions in the human body with a gas chromatograph. Unfortunately, you can’t build a human from that information solely.

          The same problem applies to many chemical compositions and inventions. How they turned the proteins into aspartame is a complex process. How they got the 3.2% flourine form a Teflon coating on the steel frying pan is the whole (patentable) trick. So, knowing the percentage compositions does not help you except in rare circumstances.

          Maybe you mean there shouldn’t be any secrets, not there can be no secrets. Many people are discusssing the shoulds.

        • #3330345

          A few points…

          by liame ·

          In reply to Sure it is

          Firstly you assume that only private industry develops drugs. Thats patently (excuse the pun)wrong. Charitable and government / educational funding is responsible for more drugs than you might imagine.

          Secondly it is not necessary for a company to reap monopolistic profit from drugs for them to stay in business. Merely to make a profit is sufficient. Monopolistic practices never lead to the innovation we all desire as there is a huge incentive not to ‘rock the boat’. Necessity is the mother of invention and competition the father. Sitting on your butt collecting excess profit doesnt get a look in, I’m affraid.

          Thirdly, who exactly has the right to watch another human being die to protect their ‘itellectual property’ or bottom line? I certainly dont feel I have that right. Could you put your hand on your heart and say that you have?

          Forthly certainly in the UK and probably elsewhere in the world you cant patent a drug and never have been able to. What is patented are the production methods.

        • #3330343

          Good point

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to A few points…

          Hi,

          A good point about patenting drugs, I’d forgotten it.

        • #3330223

          OK…

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to A few points…

          “Firstly you assume that only private industry develops drugs.”
          I don’t know where you get that, but OK I agree with your point.

          “Merely to make a profit is sufficient.”
          I disagree, when it comes to companies that perform research. Aside from making a profit they need to fund their next research project. And then who is to say what “enough profit” is.

          “Monopolistic practices never lead to the innovation”
          Again I agree, but this is why patents have a limited life.

          “Thirdly, who exactly has the right to watch another human being die to protect their ‘itellectual property’ or bottom line? I certainly dont feel I have that right. Could you put your hand on your heart and say that you have?”
          I do not have the right to watch people die, but I certainly have the right to allow them to die.
          Why should they have the right live off of my hard work.

          “Forthly certainly in the UK and probably elsewhere in the world you cant patent a drug and never have been able to. What is patented are the production methods.”
          I’m not actually sure, but I think that what is patented in the US would be the method to produce a drug. If I patent a drug based on combining certain chemiclas, that does not prevent anyone from marketing the same drug if they extract it from a plant.

        • #3330715

          I wonder…

          by elder griffon ·

          In reply to A few points…

          Point 1: I can’t speak for jdmercha, but it seems to me that he only assumes that private industry is a key source of drug research, not that it is the only source. If drugs are not getting invented because private industry won’t do it, then there is a case for protecting private interests.

          Point 2: Intellectual property is the recognition that real work and real cost goes into developing ideas, and justice should ensure compensation to inventors for their sacrifice. In this, intellectual property is no different from other kinds of property. Where intellectual property is different is in that it is far easier to appropriate without compensation than are physical goods. So when you refer to profit, competition, monopoly, and work, it sounds like you are just saying that the compensation conceded should be focused and commeasurate with the goal of justice, not surpassing it. The idea put forth at the beginning was that ownership of ideas should not exist in any way at all, so I wonder if you support intellectual property rights in some form.

          Point 3: This is a criticism of property rights in general, not just intellectual property. It doesn’t seem more appropriate to allow someone to die from lack of food than lack of medicine. So it seems that if there should be no intellectual property rights for this reason, then there should be no property rights at all. Conversely, if the answer is to mitigate property rights, not abolish them, then it seems the same should apply to intellectual property.

          Point 4: This is an implicit statement that some form of intellectual property rights may be appropriate, in a reduced degree. This theme runs through your post. I wonder if you and jdmercha really disagree in principle.

        • #3330680

          To the point

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to I wonder…

          1. I speak of drug companies based on my familiarity with them. I realize drugs are also developed by non-profits such as universities and hospitals. My corporate example is supposed to demonstrate that innovation would be hamperd without patents, not eliminated.

          2. , 3. nothing to add here

          4. I believe you are correct here. I don’t think we are far off in principle, only in practice. I don’t think patents and copywrites should be needed, but in reality they are.

        • #3330645

          my take

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I wonder…

          1. The salient point here is that private industry isn’t the only source, and that private industry can continue to be a (key) source by way of a different profit model if the rules are changed, as long as profit isn’t actually prohibited. The entrepreneurial spirit that helps make capitalism work is bound up in the ability to earn money through the development of new revenue streams.

          2. Intellectual property isn’t the recognition of work and cost and the just assignment of value and profit. Intellectual property is, instead, the assumption that when someone works on something, he or she should be given compensation for that work even at the cost of force applied to those who benefit from the work. It uses governmental force to provide a revenue stream where one wouldn’t otherwise exist without being innovative in the manner of turning a profit. Music can make profits through admission to performances, but record labels would rather have the artist perform once and collect money for the next thirty years, so intellectual property law comes into play. In short, just compensation is not assigned, it’s earned. The only time you earn money is when you have an agreement from all parties involved. If you have to enforce the exchange of funds through threat of violence, you’re no longer earning the profits; you’re now profiting through coersion instead.

          3. Look at it this way: The argument about watching people die for lack of medicine is roughly equivalent to the argument to which it replied. The argument about watching people die is indeed an argument against property laws of all types. Thus, the argument to which the “watching people die” argument responded is equivalent to an indictment of property law in general, and thus contradicts itself.

          4. That in no way applies to me, so I’ll leave it alone. You may be right.

        • #3330528

          RE: My take…

          by elder griffon ·

          In reply to I wonder…

          I’ve been reading your posts, apotheon, and trying to figure out exactly where I disagree with you. I think it lies in the question of whether intellectual property rights may be bad as such, as distinct from being bad when applied too broadly. There are clear cases where intellectual property can be extended to the point where someone is collecting a check for having made essentially no contribution at all. However, you can turn the case another way and see a definite contribution for which the hard-working originator cannot expect any proportional compensation. Under those circumstances, things may happen which we may reasonably call unjust.

          I would be curious to know what you think of the following situation. Suppose that you have been contracted to create a report on a certain expert subject for a certain company. Someone breaks into your computer, copies the report, and then sells it to a different company. Is there no sense, in your view, in which that party is guilty of stealing? They are clearly guilty of trespassing, but you would not get compensated for the proportional value of the report because of that.

          Let me mention some things that I already understand about what you might say. First, this is not a total loss for you. You are still under contract with the original buyer, so you will not lose any income that you expected from that contract. Second, you are not deprived of the report, so you may still do with it as you see fit. It is not “stolen” in the sense that it has been wrested from you. Third, you are not particularly concerned about any revenue you might have received from selling the report to anyone other than the original buyer, because you programmed all expected income into the contract price. You knew that once you handed it over to the buyer, you could not have any certain expectation of additional sales. Let us imagine, for the sake of argument, that this report is not a mere compilation of facts that could have been assembled by anyone, but an analysis of data that is truly original and unique.

          Suppose that the intruder turns around and sells your report to ten other companies for the same as your contract price, realizing ten times the compensation you realized. Suppose further that only after doing so did it become known that the report was widely available, so that neither of you can expect to receive anything else in exchange for the report.

          I anticipate that you would say that you have not suffered any real damage from the trespass. You have, after all, what you contracted for. But can we call the profit of the intruder licit gains? Shall we say that his selling of your report was no more than disposing of something he had every right to dispose of, since it was a work of ideas? Or shall we say that he unjustly appropriated your original work and that any compensation he received from any company justly belongs to you, whether or not you choose to claim it?

          This may strike you as an academic point. But you mentioned that intellectual property rights, in themselves, are not about the recognition of work, and this case is illustrative of why I disagree.

        • #3330396

          Re: Re: My take

          by liame ·

          In reply to I wonder…

          That example would surely come under the banner of fraud.

          If however the contracting company were to sell it on then no problem I guess.

        • #3330378

          to: Elder Griffon, re: test case

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I wonder…

          LiamE has pointed out an applicable fact: the person deriving profits from his ill-gotten gains is doing so by means of fraud if he’s offering the data as his own product. If he’s not doing so, and is telling his clients where he got it, they’re engaging in conspiracy after the fact by financially rewarding illicit behavior, namely the invasion of privacy (trespassing).

          If all of that is bypassed in some way, you’re right: I wouldn’t see the actual transfer of the data as a violation of rights. It is surrounded by violations of rights, but in and of itself it is not an unethical act. At least, I don’t at this time see any reason to regard it as a violation of rights. I suppose I might be overlooking something.

        • #3342198

          Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to I wonder…

          2. Still doesn’t address when separate people independently have the same idea.

        • #3331541

          Get what we pay for

          by roymoore925 ·

          In reply to Examples

          At this point, non-profits and governments can buy vaccine at market price. If they can make a case that the price is exorberant AND the “public good” harmed thereby, in the US at least, the government can invoke “emninent domain” and take it at a price the government deems fair. Eminent domain is commonly used on real estate. Using it on a valuable product would be an interesting legal situation, but not impossible.

          Another part of the AIDS example: the world will be a different place when Americans and Europeans have as much interest in Africans as in Europeans. The last century saw a LOT of progress in this direction, but we have a long way to go.

      • #3335135

        Examples

        by jdmercha ·

        In reply to big fat “no”

        Why we need patent protection.

        Reality:
        Edwin land had an idea for self-developing film. He patented the idea and founded Poloroid. Without patent protection, Kodak could have produced instant cameras and put Poloroid out of business. Kodak would profit from Land’s idea not Land.

        Possiblity:
        Bristol Meyers spends $800 million developing and testing an aids vaccine. Galaxo pruduces the vaccine without the need to revcover any research expenses. They will be able to sell the vaccine for less, putting Bristol out of bussiness.

        • #3335128

          Double Post

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to Examples

          Sorry, TR site acting up again.

      • #3334938

        SOFTWARE Patents, folks….

        by mgordon ·

        In reply to big fat “no”

        What’s on the table is about software patents. Nobody (that I know) is arguing that Edward Land cannot patent the self-developing film. Industrial processes require large investment and that won’t happen without investors and that won’t happen without some form of monopoloy protection.

        Software is different. Nobody starts cold-turkey and invents ANYTHING in this realm. Every single thing ever done since Babbage is “derivative” in some form or other, with perhaps a nod to Dr. Schottky and some others who had brilliant insights — but what is the industrial investment in “insight”? None. Bringing it to market may be a different thing; but INTELLECTUAL property is brought to market for $19 a month on a website. It’s an idea. It is a way of doing things.

        Can you really argue that Microsoft’s patenting of the “tab key to navigate from one web form field to another” is in the same league as patenting an AIDS vaccine? The vaccine very likely requires millions of dollars of investment; deciding to use the tab key to go from field to field was thought up a hundred years ago while Tom sat on the toilet for all we know. Applying a well-known typewriter function to a computer is NOT INVENTION and should not be patentable.

        Since the Patent Office obviously cannot tell a good patent from a bad one, I agree that there ought not to be ANY “intellectual property” patents whatsoever. Copyright still exists; you cannot copy en-masse or entire my programs (books, or any other work of art) but you can sure use the same heap-sort algorithm in your programs that I use. We ALL use the same basic algorithms — where exactly is the INVENTION?

        • #3334915

          I am.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to SOFTWARE Patents, folks….

          I am arguing against patenting self-developing film.

          Granted, software patents are the worst of a bad breed, but that doesn’t make the rest of the breed any less bad.

        • #3334881

          Reasons for patents.

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to I am.

          Hi,

          You are against patents and have used non disclosure agreements as “protection” for trade secrets, in another post. A trade secret only remains a secret until a large enough offer is made for disclosure. Once disclosed it is openslather, though the discloser might get a legal slap across the wrist.

          The whole idea of patents (actually their full name is letters patent )is so the society is given details of processes so that they are not lost, because it is secret.
          Imagine if Stradivarius could have availed himself of the legal protection of a patent for his process of manufacturing violins, we would still know, today, how to make superb violins. True, his originals wouldn’t be worth the millions they are, but many people could have one.
          A trade secret is lost as soon as those that know it become senile or die.

        • #3334843

          So?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Reasons for patents.

          So eventually someone will reverse-engineer your product or process, or corrupt someone. So what? Eventually your patent will run out, too. Some trade secrets will last longer than patents, and some will last a shorter time. Such is life.

          If an individual gets sued for millions of dollars, I don’t think I’d call that a “slap across the wrist”, by the way.

          I really don’t care about your Stradivarius example. Yes, trade secrets are sometimes lost to mankind. So, too, are all the discoveries that are prevented by effectively outlawing research that might infringe on a patent. There’s always a give and take. I prefer the ethical choice rather than the instant gratification choice, myself.

        • #3334883

          Patent vs copyright

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to SOFTWARE Patents, folks….

          I partially agree, however, there is a world of difference between copyright and patent.
          A patent gives the author a monopoly right to an invention for a strictly LIMITED period of time ( 14 years in the US, I think ). It can be built on prior art, but needs to add something new. Royalties may need to be paid for the prior art.
          Ideas cannot be patented, there must be a concrete item produced, ie I could not patent a faster than light spaceship, because I thought of it, I must actually be able to describe the method of producing, or demonstrate a faster than light spaceship.
          A similar concept would apply to software. You would need to demonstrate an “office” package.
          The problem with software patents would be that if I develop an office package and get a valid patent, no one else would be able to produce an office package, without my agreement ( and paying royalties ) for the life of the patent.

          However, with copyright, I only have rights to my original work, though for a much longer time ( Don’t know US law, but in Australia it used to be for 50 years after the authors death, consider a corporation that “lives” indefinitely). Anyone who takes a copy of my original work is infringing my rights.
          If you produce, independently of my work, something that does the same or looks the same as my work, without copying anything of mine, you are not infringing my copyright. As an example, if I take a photo of, say, a cathedral and you use that photo to produce postcards, without my permission, you are infringing my copyright. If, however, you go and take your own photo, from the same point and produce an identical photo for your postcards, it is not infringing my rights.
          Ultimately, what constitutes a valid patent or copyright is decided in a court of law!

        • #3331505

          A little out of control

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to SOFTWARE Patents, folks….

          I don’t know if I am patently against patents, but it is absurd that:
          1). Amazon was awarded a patent for ‘one-click shopping’ on the web, and microsoft got ‘double-clicking to open a program on a PDA’.
          2). The Code for OS/2 – which is a dead product collecting dust in an archive somewhere – is still unuseable, because it is patented.
          3). A think tank of European businessmen, with no technical skills are being awarded patents for ‘possible uses of OLED technology’, even though they don’t have the knowledge to develop said products. Someone else will do the work, and they will reap the unearned rewards.

          The system needs, at the very least, a serious overhaul.

        • #3331503

          inevitable

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to A little out of control

          That’s the inevitable result of putting something like patent law into practice. It’s not a legal concept that can have clear lines drawn around it to limit its use. Unlike concepts such as murder and robbery, there’s no simple dividing line between “legal” and “illegal” there, so ultimately it will become a complex mess of loopholes and leverages, and that is what has happened with patents in the United States.

        • #3330677

          Yes

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to A little out of control

          There are probably many examples of unreasonable patents. No system is prefect, so we must work with what we have or work to change it. Patents can still be, and often are challenged in court.

          How many of you sing happy birthday? How often do you hear it on TV or in a movie? Not very often, because the song is copywrite protected.

      • #3331705

        I support you – fundamental right to be honest

        by zczc23119 ·

        In reply to big fat “no”

        I support you comment 100% and would just like to go on the record for what I see as an intrinsic value of morality.

        Do you really have a moral problem about being honest?

        If a client approaches me to attend to their site and the software is illegal. I decline the offer.

        If you aren?t prepared to legitimately pay for someone else?s hard work or for that matter go into a shop and remove the security tag and steal the item; then I personally do not want to know or deal with you.

        The same here applies to software licenses ? while they are here, if you want to conduct yourself with honesty, like it or lump it, we all work on a user pay system since time began

        • #3331574

          I don’t consider it dishonest

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to I support you – fundamental right to be honest

          if I have an independent idea, implement it, then find out someone else happenned to have the same idea and copywrited it before I did, then sueing me for using my own damned idea.

        • #3331514

          What?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I support you – fundamental right to be honest

          I’m not sure what you’re saying. I don’t use illegal copies of software, and I don’t use filesharing networks to get music, if that’s what you’re talking about.

      • #3331602

        big fat “yes”

        by lastchip ·

        In reply to big fat “no”

        But not in the way it’s trying to be done.

        If we take the SCO Law suit as an example, my understanding is, they are claiming (without much success thank goodness) that certain lines of code have been transposed into Linux.

        That’s similar to saying, that if I wrote a book and happened to use a sentence that was identical to someone else’s sentence in one of the millions of books available, I am infringing their copywrite. It is nonsense. You should be able to protect the *whole* of your work, but not individual lines, and certainly not individual words!

        To move this analogy to code, if you have worked on an application that is ready as a whole for publication, it is reasonable to want to protect your work, but the fact that within that work, are lines of code that are the same or similar to others, should not be penalised and equally, should not prevent others from using that code.

      • #3331557

        Ridiculous

        by redgranite ·

        In reply to big fat “no”

        The ability to patent an idea has been part if this nation since the beginning. Without copyrights and patents, anyone can rip off someone else’s ideas.

        What a ludicrous statement apotheon. Maybe that’s why you are unemployed – I mean ‘IT Consultant’ and ‘writer.’ Hmmm IT Consultant – unemployed. . . same thing.

        • #3331511

          actually . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Ridiculous

          I’m employed by a local IT consultancy and by a nonprofit organization that manages one of the 300 most popular websites on the Web as a datacenter technician. Not only are you wrong, but your comments are entirely irrelevant to the discussion at hand. My employment situation has zero to do with the logic of my statements. How long patent law has been around isn’t really relevant, either: slavery in north america predated the founding of the United States, so by your argument we should still be buying and selling human cotton-pickers.

          Do you actually have anything relevant to say?

        • #3331509

          arrgh

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Ridiculous

          I guess the moral of the story is this: When you get a “this page not found” error while trying to post a message to TechRepublic, don’t use the back button and try to post it again.

        • #3329945

          Interesting comment.

          by kaceyr ·

          In reply to Ridiculous

          “IT Consultant – unemployed… same thing.”

          Sounds like you’re jealous. You should probably get off that soapbox before someone body slams you.

        • #3331277

          It’s common in the industry

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Interesting comment.

          Same thing in sales, it is said that a consultant is an umemployed salesman. Which in MOST cases is true.

      • #3331518

        Two sides!

        by mjmarcus ·

        In reply to big fat “no”

        The creator of an idea or concept should be able to make a living off it to an appropriate degree. While there is plenty to be said for doing things for the good of humanity, we all need to eat and put a roof over our heads. If there is no compensation whatsoever for intellectual property, all our Ben Franklins will be so busy working in middle management in order to get by, they will never have the time to sit down and write/draw/code/etc. their potential ideas. Which is ultimately bad for everyone in that we don’t get the benefit of a potentially brilliant idea at all. On the other hand, there is still no justification for any corporation or person to abuse their ‘ownership’ of intellectual property, to withhold it from use, get bloody rich, or charge exorbitant fees.

        • #3331504

          false dilemma

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Two sides!

          You’ve created a false dilemma (which is common among defenders of patent and copyright law): you are basing your arguments on the assumption that the only options are
          1. intellectual property law
          2. no compensation for innovators

          That’s not true. Books in the public domain or published under licenses like the GFDL, pharmaceuticals no longer under patent, and thousands of others technically patentable or copyrightable things that are not currently protected by intellectual property law are making people lots of money. For a more personal example, I make money with code I write that isn’t covered by copyright.

          It’s not an either/or situation, where either the extortionary system exists or people don’t get paid.

      • #3330593

        Unbelievable

        by jgaskell ·

        In reply to big fat “no”

        “While I don’t see anything ethically wrong with trading MP3s over P2P networks, I don’t do so myself.”

        I encounter this attitude more and more these days and it just staggers me. Would it be ethically wrong to walk into a music store and swipe a few CDs off the shelf? What’s the difference?

        I have discussed this on many different fora and I am yet to hear or read a convincing argument as to why it is not wrong to swap MP3s. Most arguments seem to be along the lines of “I want it and I don’t want to pay for it, so therefore it is not wrong”. Of course, the other classic is the argument that it is only big record companies who miss out and they are evil, anyway. People will go to any length to justify their own self-interest.

        • #3330549

          good arguments

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Unbelievable

          Maybe you should read some of my arguments. I loathe both of the arguments you quote and don’t recognize them as ethically valid any more than intellectual property law itself.

        • #3330481

          Totally believable

          by longbeer ·

          In reply to Unbelievable

          “What’s the difference?”

          Actually there is a very big difference. If I “walk into a music store and swipe a few CDs off the shelf” then I am depriving the record store of their property. If I download an MP3 or copy a CD the original property is still in it’s owner’s possession. This is actually how theft is defined under the law at least in common law countries. I assume it is similar under a Napoleonic/inquisitorial system.

          You might argue that I’ve deprived the owner of the profit of selling his property, but this is a benefit that doesn’t actually exist yet (the legal term is in potentia I think, anyone feel free to correct me here). Am I to be crimialised for something that might happen? This is, of course, why this particular dispute is being decided with civil litigation under the copyright act not in a criminal court.

          Now all of the above is a little irrellavent to the discussion of patents other than it is an arguement often used to blur the real issues.

          The evil, cynical and grown up side of me suggests the real fear of music and movie swapping is that the potential customer might find out how bad the product is before they hand over their cash.

          Laurie

        • #3330467

          Keynes said in the long run

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Totally believable

          We’re dead.

          He is often quoted for his supply-side economics, though. In the long run it may be ok to swipe a few CDs from a shop owner or just borrow them, rip and burn them. Enough paying customers may be around to support the shop.

          When there aren’t enough paying customers, though, wouldn’t you feel guilty knowing that the shop’s demise could have been averted by your honesty? Imagine your best friend worked there and lost her job when the shop folded. Would her lack of income be your fault, at least in part?

          Finally, your favorite band does not earn enough from their disc sales so they leave the country to perform live overseas. During their travels one of the band dies in a traffic accident. Now the band is destroyed. Is the demise of your favorite band, at least in part, your fault? Is there any blame due to the old napster mentality?

          “If I can download it, it’s free!” I suppose your friend can copy your homework free, too. You do the work, he copies it. Hey, it’s just bits. Imagine he doesn’t even tell you and after school’s out you find out. Frustrating, especially if his grades were better overall and he got into some Ivy League school.

        • #3330371

          Oh, of course!

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Keynes said in the long run

          And it’s my fault if you murder your family and take your own life tomorrow in a fit of apoplexy over the fact that I dare to question intellectual property law, too. Right? Better yet, you can blame a hurricane thirty years from now that wipes out the livelihoods of seven hundred people on the fact that I belched just now rather than being polite and holding it it, due to increasingly entropic effects on weather patterns caused by the release of warm gasses into the atmosphere.

          You might as well blame the closing of the record store on the flap of a butterfly’s wings, and try to outlaw flying insects as a result.

        • #3329646

          Shoprazing & Shoplifting

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Oh, of course!

          No, I would claim it’s your fault if I decide to do myself in, especially just for questioning the validity of today’s intellectual property laws. They do have their shortcomings. Five hundred years of letters patent have seen many changes, all for the better. We’re still a long way from perfection.

          Disposing of intellectual property concepts is wrong, just because the laws are implemented in some rather stupid way. The concepts are in fact what trade secrets laws depend on. If there is something wrong with the law, let’s change it, but the concept of intellectual property is a fine one.

          Really, you don’t see a connection between shoplifting and a store’s closing? You’re joking, right? Why don’t you “invent” the perfect patent law, then you can claim the rights to it?

        • #3328926

          Are you paying attention?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Shoprazing & Shoplifting

          Yes, shoplifting has an effect on the store closing. Yes, shoplifting is wrong. No, there isn’t any shoplifting (or even ethically equivalent activity) going on if someone downloads music. That’s my point.

          Holy crap, folks, let’s try to understand points made rather than looking for creative ways to misunderstand so that our own arguments don’t look appropriately stupid.

          I’ve been talking about the ethicality of intellectual property law, and addressing the principles and premises of the matter, all along. Nobody has offered a counterargument to the most fundamental issues of this discussion. I’m still waiting.

          Let’s start at the beginning: Would you say that “initiation of force is wrong” is a good initial premise of a system of ethics? Is there anything else you’d like to include as well as, or instead of, that statement as an initial premise?

          I’m trying to get people to either justify intellectual property law using arguments besides “want money” and “it’s illegal” or give up on justifying it entirely. Simply stating that intellectual property law should exist doesn’t make it so. There has to be a logically supportable reason for it, or your “argument” is mere vaporware.

        • #3349994

          I tried that once…

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Shoprazing & Shoplifting

          Paying attention would mean I got something in return. Most contracts are that way — an exchange of valuable items. An offer of some service or goods at a price is made and an acceptance and payment causes the contract to be completed.

          First, I don’t accept your concept that intellectual property has no value.

          You misquote Jefferson badly. You misunderstood the meaning of FREE press – NO, it does not mean the price is zero. It means they are free to print anything without geting the sheriff’s approval. Ask the Detroit Free Press if you have to pay for their newspaper. That’s what Jefferson was talking about…that ideas grew and fluorished when they were free (free to move from person to person without government interference, not gratis).

          Secondly, you insult the millions of engineers who have worked, mostly selflessly, to create a better world by saying their intellectual property has no value. Do the 25 patents I have add nothing to the body of knowledge of humanity? The whole stinking purpose of patents is to increase the knowledge. You apparently would prefer to publish the Coca-Cola formula no matter the cost to us all in the long run.

          Thirdly, as far as paying attention – your flaming anyone who disagrees with your point of view is not worthy of being paid for. So, no, I am not paying attention.

          I tried that once…didn’t like the result.

        • #3349860

          different topics altogether

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Shoprazing & Shoplifting

          You’re not even addressing the issues. Once again, people respond to me with nonsequiturs and straw men. Good job.

          “First, I don’t accept your concept that intellectual property has no value.”

          Well, that’s clear. That’s wher we started, though. When are you going to start trying to justify it with logically valid supporting statements?

          “You misunderstood the meaning of FREE press”

          No, I don’t. I never said anyone had to give away newspapers for free. That’s completely unrelated to the discussion at hand, and in fact I encourage people to make money at tasks they enjoy and in which they have skill. If that’s acting as a reporter, publisher, et cetera, more power to ’em. We need more purveyors of literacy.

          “free to move from person to person without government interference”

          No kidding. Maybe you should think about that for a bit. That’s what I’ve been saying all along.

          “you insult the millions of engineers who have worked, mostly selflessly, to create a better world by saying their intellectual property has no value.”

          Nonsense. If someone takes offense where none is intended, that’s that person’s problem. Their contributions have great value, primarily to themselves I’m sure. There’s no prohibition against making money by such contributions to the general store of knowledge in my mind. I just don’t think such profits should be made at the end of a gun.

          “Do the 25 patents I have add nothing to the body of knowledge of humanity?”

          Actually, yes, they add nothing to the body of knowledge of humanity. The patents mean nothing to the general pool of knowledge: it is the ideas to which these patents are applied that have value. Don’t conflate the two, even by accident. It’s such confusions of terms that lead to ridiculous “justifications” of “intellectual property” as are floating around this discussion.

          “You apparently would prefer to publish the Coca-Cola formula”

          Whoops. I think you screwed up LOTS with that one. Last I checked, their formula isn’t patented. It’s a trade secret. Has that changed in the last few years? In case you’re not aware, a patented process cannot be a trade secret because it becomes a matter of public record.

          “your flaming anyone who disagrees with your point of view”

          I think you have me confused with maxwell.

        • #3351012

          You know apotheon

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Shoprazing & Shoplifting

          YOU are THE most tiring person on TR. You insist the most nonsensical ramblings from some warped imagination are factual and you just repeat your incorrect analogies over and over again. All the while you insist others do not understand you, don’t answer your questions, while you fail to address many others asked of yourself, logically anyway.

          You then start acusing OTHER people of all these problems that everyone else sees from you as if you are devoid of error and everyone else is just stupid and wrong.

          Like I said, if everyone see you as being wrong, don’t you think it’s time for a little look at yourself?

          I think you are too busy confusing yourself with wapred and inaccurate analogies, that you find you spend most of your time tryign to make some sense out of what you have said. IN turn you usually end up talking in circles until people call you an idiot or stop replying altogether. I suppose in YOUR little mind this means you have achieved something, whereas in other people’s mind, you are just too tiring and dense to speak to.

          So while you are going to drag others into your arguments, I’ll drag MUSELF in and tell you what I think of your little games, like it or not.

          So the threads all yours now, have at ‘er. Make yourself look even more ridiculous while flaming anyone else who disagrees.

          You should start by claiming I am not addressing your non existant question, or that I misunderstand your point. Perhaps you could call me, out of my mind, I am talking about something completely different etc. Get your thesaurus out and link a whole bunch of the biggest words you can find together in a row and pretend they are a logical thought or sentence, that seems to be your favorite as if it adds some sense of intellectual thought process to your ramblimgs.

          Don’t you have any little kids in the neighbourhood you can go and convince that you are clever, instead of trying to convince those old enough to know better?

        • #3350856

          Tiring . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Shoprazing & Shoplifting

          . . . says the pot to the kettle.

          You’ve been using the “you can’t ever be right when you point out someone didn’t address what you said” tactic for so long it’s starting to become inextricably linked with your name in my mind, like “radioactive decay” with “plutonium” and “special olympics” with “arguing online” (’cause even if you win, you’re still retarded).

          Your recent references to “everyone” disagreeing with me are particularly amusing, especially considering the occasional agreement with me and the occasional expression of respect for the reasonability and thought-provoking nature of my arguments even by people who disagree with me. I encourage you to continue to make such patently false statements about how lack of popular appeal of my opinions means I’m wrong, however, because the entertainment value seems inexhaustible, and you’re hurting nobody’s reputation with such asinine nonsense but your own.

          As for dragging yourself into an argument, perhaps you should remember this the next time you start ranting incomprehensibly at me because I dared to respond to something you said to someone else [b]in a public forum[/b]. Once again, your inability to maintain the appearance of reasonability evaporates when someone dares to disagree with you in a logically competent manner. You’re not as disturbingly touchy about it as maxwell has been in this discussion, but you do come off as somewhat unstable nonetheless.

          Go ahead. Take your ball and go home. I’m okay with that.

        • #3250597

          Skewed values

          by jgaskell ·

          In reply to Shoprazing & Shoplifting

          Quoth apotheon:
          “Yes, shoplifting has an effect on the store closing. Yes, shoplifting is wrong. No, there isn’t any shoplifting (or even ethically equivalent activity) going on if someone downloads music. That’s my point.”

          If that is your point, then I would suggest that your point is quite clearly flawed. The difference between music bought at a store and music downloaded is basically the physical media – the CD itself. You suggest that taking that CD containing from the store is wrong, but downloading just the music without the CD is not. Logically it follows that what you place value on is the physical media.

          To me, that is ridiculous. The physical CD has virtually no value. What is of value is the music that it contains, which has taken many hours of work to produce.

          Now, if you accept my premise that the value of the item is in the music and that the physical CD is merely a carrier and of no value in itself, then I cannot see how you can make an argument that downloading is different to stealing from the record store. Where exactly do you not agree with my logic?

          BTW, you suggested that I read your arguments. Well, I have, but I must have somehow missed the convincing ones.

        • #3351360

          Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Unbelievable

          “Would it be ethically wrong to walk into a music store and swipe a few CDs off the shelf? What’s the difference?”

          Someone has already put the songs on the CD, so you don’t have to do it yourself 🙂

        • #3350064

          Define ETHICS

          by gunnar klevedal ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          Define ETHICS

          Define PROPRIETARY

          Define MUTUAL STANDARDS

          Define SOCIETY

          Define COMMUNITY

          Define JUSTIFY

          Define THEFT

          Sam Antic

        • #3349910

          good luck

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Define ETHICS

          It’ll be difficult getting answers to questions like that around here.

        • #3331064

          So I gather

          by gunnar klevedal ·

          In reply to good luck

          Someone said Property is Crime but it wasn’t me. Legally right and ethically right might differ. Time won’t tell

        • #3347291

          property

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to So I gather

          You’re right: time won’t tell. Time is just a concept invented to keep events from running into each other.

          Of course, I’d have to disagree that property is crime. Proprietary rights are an extension of individual rights to freedom from initiations of force. Where force cannot ethically be applied without provocation against an individual, so too can it not be applied ethically to what one has in one’s possession because doing so requires an application of force, again, to the individual.

          The upside for modern theory of law in this is that it justifies rights to property in the tangible sense, where what you can defend is judged personal property. Then, by way of the attendant prohibition against fraud, which justifies the basis of contract law, it also extends to justify rights to tangible property when you walk away from it, but only where one exists as part of a social order where an institutionalized means of defense-by-proxy in absentia exists, because of the presence of police protection.

          The downside for modern law theory is that intangible “property” isn’t justified by this. There is no physical defense justification for “intellectual property”, because there’s nothing physical to defend directly, and the indirect physical property must be treated by the same rules of physical property that apply for all other forms of physical property. In other words, so long as you ethically claim ownership of some recording medium, it’s ethically defensible, but the moment you give up ownership it’s gone, recorded data and all.

        • #3350009

          Daffy

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          Apparently some people would say that if you bring CD mastering equipment into the store and just copy the bits off the CD, then that’s not theft.

          Libertarians normally recognize that contracts require both parties to agree. An offer and acceptance of the terms with a proper exchange of value constitutes a contract. Selling or giving MP3 away that were originally offered with the terms they could not be copied constitute a breach of that contract.

          The CDs on the shopowner’s shelf are offered for sale, not for copying. A good libertarian would understand this. Intellectual property is offered, just like tangible goods, under terms of the owner (creator) of the IP — no, you can’t just violate the contract you made with the owner and steal the bits. Neither can you ignore the offer and decide what your own terms will be. Sorry, you have to negotiate.

        • #3349906

          agreed . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Daffy

          . . . except that there’s no contract in place when only authoritarian fiat justifies the terms of the agreement. So, yes, copying while the CDs are still in the store is misusing someone else’s property, but buying a CD and taking it home makes it your property, and you’re free to do with it as you like (absent an individual agreement to the contrary).

        • #3351011

          Still don’t get it huh?

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to agreed . . .

          YOu take it home YES it’s YOUR property, th ematerial included on it is NOT your property. The mediu it is provided on IS your property. You own the DISK, not the right to reproduce or profit form it’s contents.

          The artist doesn’t claim rights to th disk or inventing the medium. THEY buy the disk too. THEY DON’T grant the right to OWN their music, the contents of that disk. YOu DON’T own the contents, you DON’T own the right to the contents and especially aren’t granted that licence when it is purchased.

          If everyone else on the planet understands that is hwo a copywrite works in the form ofprotecting intellectual prpoerty, how is it the YOU need ti spelled out with each and every purchase. IF you were given a condensed version of that contract, RD version is just over 66 pages, would oou stand in the store and read each one and agree to it before buying the disk. Or would you simnply accept that you have ownership of a finished product and not it’s contents? GET IT, YOU HAVE NOT BOUGHT THE CONTENTS! NEVER HAVE, NEVER WILL.
          You buy the finished product and a right to enjoy the finished product, copying it means you are now in possession of a finished product you are NOT licenced to listen to or profit from.

          YOu don’t have a right to copy protected printed materials, why would you have a right to copy other similarly protected materials?

          Don’t bother answering that actually, I’ve read enough ridiculously illogical nonsense from you for more than one day already.

          Does your wife beat you in pubilc for such displays? Or does she simply walk away and pretend she isn’t with you?

        • #3350854

          a tangent only touches the circle at one point

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Still don’t get it huh?

          Since this discussion is about whether or not intellect is property, a justification of your view on the matter that is based entirely on the idea that intellect is property is nothing if not circular. Your entire post is predicated upon a logical fallacy, and not worth my time to address in detail.

      • #3330577

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to big fat “no”

        .

      • #3329900

        NO

        by pepwin7 ·

        In reply to big fat “no”

        Just an added comment and worth consideration. If your idea was financed by tax payers and you go back to sell the idea to the public -then all copyright and patent laws on the idea should be void- because it belongs to the people who helped pay for the research.

        • #3329643

          That’s a Good Point

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to NO

          The national laboratories are supported by tax dollars. When they invent something it belongs to the lab, e.g. Battelle, Livermore, etc.

          Certainly makes sense, though, that government contracts provide that inventions belong to the government, and the contracts do say just that.

          Just as a point of order, though, without patent protection at all, does that mean a foreigner can produce the patented item and not have to pay royalties to the US, especially when they ship overseas?

        • #3347011

          Public Broadcasting

          by g.brown ·

          In reply to That’s a Good Point

          OK, take the BBC for example, a public service broadcaster.

          In the UK, we pay our TV licences for them to make programmes that are important to the lives of the public (supposedly).

          So because we (the public) paid for it, if they only show it once, why would it be wrong to record it and play it back at a later date?

        • #3335759

          Cheese Making Video

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to Public Broadcasting

          No one cares if you record it and play back later (tho some media try to stop you technically because if you can play it back later you can also pirate it).

          Probably the gov’t makes these ‘worthwhile’ shows to brainwash you and keep you away from the even worse commercial shlock put out by the rest of the world. I think they know most people wouldn’t pirate 12 hours of cheese making video.

          This is one example of why the gov’t shouldn’t be in the entertainment biz.

          They can’t afford to pay for enuf police to eliminate all crime but they can pay for this stuff? Libertarians revolt! Throw a ‘tea party’! Woops, we already did this here in America.

        • #3335718

          And your point is?

          by g.brown ·

          In reply to Cheese Making Video

          You only believe people should make extreme amounts of money if they’ve already got extreme amounts of money?

          Don’t belive in unbiased reporting?

          Public service broadcasters should ideally not have much influence from the govt.

          Now, I can’t say that I agree with our government here in the UK, Blair is just Bush’s poodle, he forced our troops into an illegal, unjust war.

          Hmmm, brainwashing against the government policies – brilliant.

          How much do you know about the BBC (and when did you see that cheese programme – I musta missed it – damn).

          I’ll tell you one thing for sure, if you live in America, you definetly get the straight facts from “fair and balanced” Robert Maxwell eh? Doesn’t he own something like 70% of your news broadcasting/newspapers?

          OK, right, back to the real point which, obviously, you can’t mount a proper argument against if you gotta come up with that tripe.

          Eliminate all crime – lol – you make me laugh – the only way to do that would be to decriminalise everything, or maybe kill everyone on the planet.

          So actually, what’s the point, you just spout a load of nonsense.

        • #3335696

          Actually just spouting off at govt media, not sure what my point was

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to And your point is?

          I think it was on euro vacation movie where only thing on 4 bbc channels where showing 12 hours of cheese making. In reality, they make quality, equally boring shows like Mystery or that detectives one. (Sorry but I have to watch it as my gf likes it).

          I’m not sure what your laws are in UK but probably would still be copyrighted even tho govt made. Not that I necessarily agree. But if everyone copied it then govt industry would lose money, but I think they do anyway.

          I do like the BBC world news, more unbiased than US news. However I flamed you further down for the ‘compassion’ post, I think was yours.

    • #3335353

      I fail to see it’s common benefit

      by patpawlowski2000 ·

      In reply to Should Intellectual Property Exist?

      I fail to see how the current use of copyright law benefits society as a whole. Especially where it concerns the extreemly overpaid movie and music industry. Now there are some that will argue that is promotes creative effort in scientific research. While I don’t have the data necessary to back it up, I don’t beleive Pasteur, Einstine, or Newton were working for any big drug companies or under a bloated defense contract.

      • #3335080

        Manhattan Project

        by jdmercha ·

        In reply to I fail to see it’s common benefit

        Actually Einstein did refuse a bloated government contract. He refused to advance his theory because of the implication of nuclear weapons.

        But where he refused, others continued on.

        • #3334996

          Yes pity that

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Manhattan Project

          Wonder if he could have sued anybody who cracked one off without his permission, if he’d patented it.

      • #3330342

        Pasteur, Einstein& Newton

        by ozi eagle ·

        In reply to I fail to see it’s common benefit

        Hi,

        Firstly the overpaid movie etc industries only exist because we pay to go and see what they produce. Don’t like it, don’t go.

        Now both Einstein & Newtown discovered natural principles, which are not and never have been patentable or copyrightable. They exist for anybody to see ( if they have the brains ). However, any device that uses those principles is patentable and copyrightable. Any future remuneration they might have received because of their discovery of those principals was due to someone’s hope that a device could be made that did something with that principle.

        Now Pasteur, on a least one occassion, did get paid to do research. A wine manufacturer commissioned him to find out why wine turned to vinegar.

        • #3330498

          Naturally they are patentable…

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Pasteur, Einstein& Newton

          Mathematics is not patentable, but a processor to implement a particular mathematical formula may be, e.g. elliptic curve. Principles are not patentable, but discoveries are.

          35 U.S.C.100 Definitions.
          When used in this title unless the context otherwise indicates –
          (a)The term ?invention? means invention or discovery.
          (b)The term ?process ? means process, art, or method, and includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or material.
          35 U.S.C.101 Inventions patentable.
          Whoever invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, may obtain a patent therefor, subject to the conditions and requirements of this title.

          Brains to see that penicillin is antibiotic is not about brains, but about discovery. Sharing the discovery via letters patent would have protected it. A method to manufacture penicillin would be and so on. Just because penicillin can exist in nature does not preclude its discovery from being patented. It is for the common good that that discovery be made public (“patent”).

      • #3330149

        Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

        by tonythetiger ·

        In reply to I fail to see it’s common benefit

        One of the problems is that there are a lot more Pasteurs, Einsteins, and Newtons than there used to be, thus there is less need for “encouragement”.

        • #3331501

          heh

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          I don’t personally see that as a problem, of course.

        • #3331418

          I beg to differ

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          All of those guys broke the existing paradigm. The rest of us use the new one they created.

        • #3330494

          Less suffering is a common good

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          The purpose of patents is being served when there are more inventors and suffering is reduced and the common good served. But we are a long way from Utopia where we need no incentive to improve our lot. Inventors and authors should be encouraged more until there is no reason for further improvement.

          Obviousness is covered in patent law to prevent granting monopolies on obvious extensions of known art. Some of the arguments in this forum are really about whether something is obvious. Oddly, what’s obvious in retrospect is not so a priori. Else, if it had been obvious, why was it not adopted before?

      • #3346989

        Valid point

        by g.brown ·

        In reply to I fail to see it’s common benefit

        I think that I am agreeing with you here.

        I don’t really think that it is a yes or a no answer.

        I think that the current model only seems to serve the larger businesses/corporations.

        OK, take certain drugs, for instance AIDS.

        Now it’s a basic fact that there are people currently dying from this disease and this could be greatly reduced.

        What I don’t understand about the general conservative view is this:

        In the US there are protests against people having abortions as they say that it is killing an innocent life.

        But in the same breath, they don’t want to give drugs to someone who has AIDS and has become pregnant. Those drugs could stop the mother from passing opn the killer infection to her child but she can’t afford it, and so are willing to let them die.

        Can anyone explain me why??

        • #3335758

          We do

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to Valid point

          mother-baby aids has been reduced in US to almost zero. not in other countries. Sure there are alot of things we could ‘give to’. problem is they all cost money.

          should we give aids drugs to every other country in the world? we have no moral obligation to have to tho it is nice, and we do give quite a bit.

          while I don’t agree with anti-abortionists, a doctor directly killing a fetus is different from someone dying of a disease.

        • #3335720

          You missed the point completely

          by g.brown ·

          In reply to We do

          Because you are concentrating on your own little patch.

          The reality is, that we as humans have come up with these cures.

          What would you feel like if you caught some disease that YOU can’t afford to pay the cure for and live through the suffering, watching your children go though the same fate, dying slowly, knowing that someone could have saved you and your children. Apart from they couldn’t be arsed cause they’re not going to get enough money.

          Because that’s what they have to deal with.

          Your arrogance and lack of compassion disgust me.

        • #3335699

          No, money is still the point

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to You missed the point completely

          I have lots of compassion for all the sick people, and hope they can get better. But I don’t have all the money. I don’t have the resources to cure them. And it doesn’t do any good to destroy another economy to help them.

          If I choose not to give up large chunks of my money who is to say that I should? I may be able to just barely hang on where I am. If you make $60,000 and YOU don’t give up 30,000 to cure someone then are YOU INCOMPASSIONATE?!! No. And there is no set figure that would make you so.

          what if it cost 30,000$ a person a year?
          some might argue we should pay it. Problem is it all has to come from somewhere. Should or HAVE TO? If you get the govt to pay for it then they are taking it from ME and others who may or may not be able to afford it. It is not the govts job to force people to give. Should it make a difference if they are in another country? Force is wrong whether for our people or foreign aid.

          what if it cost 300,000 per person per year to save a person who makes 3,000$ per year or 300$ per year (their income is irrelevant to other peoples efforts to save them unless they can afford it). What if it cost 3,000,000 or 3 billion per year?

          The only shortcut is if some drug company is willing to give up their slice of profits for a person who can’t afford a drug to save them, and they DO this regularly, making cross licensing agreements with third world pharm. companies to produce needed drugs.

          So go shove your forced compassion at gunpoint up your kazaa and don’t confuse compassion with money.

        • #3335677

          Well as far as I’m aware

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to No, money is still the point

          It took a massive amount of pressure to get the big drugs companies to sell AIDs drugs at a price their ‘customers’ could afford.

          Big diference between personal charity and corporate. Put a kid dying of aids in front of me or you and say 10$ a week will save it’s life and we’d be hard pressed to say no. Say to a corporate shave 10$ a batch off your profit and we could save 1,000,000 children and they’d want to know if it’s tax deductable.
          You don’t make a profit by being nice, well not in the short term anyway and long term for them is the year end accounts.

        • #3351948

          wasn’t aware, not look good for them

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to Well as far as I’m aware

          That’s possible.

          While strong businesses are good for producing medicines, and competition reduces the prices often, I feel monolithic health care and govt buying here has actually reduced competition in US and kept prices high.

          I would of hoped the drug companies would have been willing to make deals for such as cross licensing and orphan drugs to help people.

          Tho I don’t believe in forcing them as if not for that business, no one would have developed some drug needed.

    • #3335348

      No

      by tony hopkinson ·

      In reply to Should Intellectual Property Exist?

      Everybody uses their current intellect to expand the knowledge base therefore generating more intellect. As soon as it’s distributed it’s public. That’s not to say I can reword someone’s idea and claim ownership. That’s not intellect it’s theft. But if i take idea one and use it to generate idea two and achnowledge those who thought of one I’ve stolen nothing, and they can’t lay claim to two simply because it required one.
      Stange phrase “allowed to be proprietry”, current state of affairs whould suggest that it should be “allowed to be public”. The original idea of intellectual property might have been to stop theft, now it’s used to justify it.

      • #3334088

        actually . . .

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to No

        Claiming owership of ideas you got from someone else isn’t theft: it’s fraud. Lying about the origin of an idea is fraud. If you do a sufficiently bad job of covering your tracks, it’s also plagiarism, which is yet another tick in the “fraud” column.

    • #3335337

      Big difference between copyright and patent

      by stress junkie ·

      In reply to Should Intellectual Property Exist?

      I support copyrights but I do not support patents for intellectual property.

      Copyrights give the creator of some specific work a means of legal recourse to protect their investment of time, money, and their own creativity in their product. Copyrights protect authors from having their works stolen. For instance, if someone writes a book and gets it published somewhere in that process the author will obtain a copyright to that book. That protects the author and the publisher from having a rogue book publisher from creating and selling their own copies of the book. If books could not be protected in this way then Steven King and John LeCarre and other authors would have their work stolen from them. They and their authorized publisher would lose money and eventually the whole business of book publishing would become unprofitable. Notice that I avoided using an example from the IT world.

      Patents, on the other hand, protect a concept that may not even be implemented. Ideas like relational databases and operating systems should not be patentable. If the person that originally thought of storing data in a format that allowed related pieces of information to be logically tied together could have patented that idea then we might have had only one relational database system created. The fact that there are numerous database systems created by competing vendors has lead to improvements and enhancements to the original idea. Each of these implementations can be protected by copyright. In the same way, if the person who originally thought of making a common BIOS for a computer system that applications would all use were able to patent that idea then we would probably not have operating systems. Instead, computer applications would have to incorporate their own BIOS code and multitasking wouldn’t exist. The idea of having a BIOS should not be patentable, but each implementation of a computer BIOS can be copyrighted.

      The list goes on ad infinitum, particularly in the IT field. The idea of storing binary information by using magnetic fields is too broad in its scope to be patentable. The idea of storing information by using groups of binary values is too broad to be patentable. However, the specific implementations of these ideas in the form of software should be copyrightable. How could a software developer like, for instance, Veritas, afford to develop and market its backup applications if anyone could buy a copy of their product, make copies of it, and sell it as their own? Veritas needs protection from that sort of thing. The protection comes in the form of copyrights. Notice that I avoided using a different software vendor.

      The idea that a producer of copyrighted material is too rich does not justify taking their idea without compensating them. Stealing is wrong. That doesn’t change just because the victim is rich. So IP needs to be covered by copyrights to protect the developer of the IP. Patents, on the other hand, simply prevent ideas from being developed though competing implementations. Patents can prevent any implementation of an IP if the patent holder wishes to keep the idea from being developed. An example of this would be the old urban legend that oil companies have patents on inventions that would allow cars to run on water.

      So, patents for IP = bad; copyrights for IP = good.

      • #3334085

        support your statements

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Big difference between copyright and patent

        How is copying something “theft”? Everybody keeps saying it, but nobody has any logical support for that statement.

        Putting a lot of work into something doesn’t automatically make the idea of someone else benefitting into theft. The fact that someone paints a mural on the side of a building and other people enjoy its presence doesn’t constitute “theft” of the guy’s “property” in any sane definitions of the terms.

        • #3334019

          It’s very simple

          by stress junkie ·

          In reply to support your statements

          If Steven King writes a book that is then published then both the author and the publisher count on money from the sale of copies of the book to compensate them for creating and making the book available to people. If someone then purchases one copy of the book and makes a thousand copies and gives them all away then the book publsher and the author are denied the compensation that they would have received from the sale of copies of the book. It’s not calculus. It’s just inconvenient for people that don’t want to pay for things.

        • #3333956

          And there’s the rub

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to It’s very simple

          Was this the original intent of copyright ?. I don’t think so. For a start it pre-supposes that those who received a copy for free would have purchased the legitimate distribution. This bastardization of the original intent is only in the interest of the publisher. Certainly in the case of books, anyone who reads a lot will go buy a copy of it on paper anyway if they liked it, it’s just not the same in eletronic format. Half the time they make their own bed anyway. I’ve lost count of the amount of crap I’ve been sold, especially when the author is on some sort of 3 books a year type contract. The music industry is even worse now. It used to be that singles were used to promote an album, nowadays they are the only thing worth listening to on the album, it at all.

        • #3333899

          another non-answer

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to It’s very simple

          There’s another one of those answers that actually just dodges the question. The fact that Stephen King [b]expects[/b] money doesn’t mean that failing to get money equates to being robbed. You’re talking about the “right” of an author and a publisher to sit back and collect money when no more work is being done. I don’t recognize that as a right.

        • #3334876

          another another non- answer

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to another non-answer

          Hi,

          So what you are saying is that if Stephen King writes a book and takes his manuscript to a publisher, who then copies the manuscript, gives it back to King saying ” Sorry, not interested ” and then goes and prints and sells the book, without any compensation to King, is an OK activity?
          How long do you think King, or anybody, would continue to write for public consumption? They might continue to write for their own artistic needs and then burn the manuscript, having satisfied their creative urge.
          The whole purpose of copyright & patents is to ensure things are made available to the public, and not lost.

        • #3334842

          sorta

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to another another non- answer

          In the real world, successful authors get paid in advance, then write a book after the fact. Any author can typically expect that, if they write good material, publishers won’t rip them off like that anyway because if a publisher does so they’ll never have that author’s business again.

          If the publisher promises compensation and doesn’t deliver, that’s fraud. If King just hands them a copy with no restrictions or prior agreements, and they mass-produce it, that’s bad planning on King’s part. C’est la vie.

          Your examples are, to put it kindly, flawed. I can think of more insulting, but completely accurate, things to call them.

        • #3330353

          Prior agreements

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to sorta

          Hi,

          You state “If King just hands them a copy with no restrictions or prior agreements, and they mass-produce it, that’s bad planning on King’s part. C’est la vie.”

          Restrictions – prior agreements, this is what copyright is!!

        • #3330285

          not really

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to sorta

          Copyright isn’t a prior “agreement” because an agreement presumes the opportunity to disagree. Copyright is a condition of US law. Without copyright, other forms of agreement can be made to protect the interests of an author.

          If copyright were the only way for an author to protect his interests, you still wouldn’t have a valid point about ethics, but at least your argument wouldn’t look completely like smoke. The fact that there are other means, about as easy as copyright, that don’t involve a huge system of restriction on the intellectual activities of others, eliminates what meager scraps of the appearance of a point you might have had going for you.

        • #3330475

          Expectorant

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to another non-answer

          I expect to have to pay for a bag of chips in a shop. The shopowner expects me to pay for it prior to eating it and before I leave the shop.

          King expects to be compensated when he offers his story for public consumption. So, if I leave the shop without paying the owner, I ‘expect’ to get arrested for theft. When King hands over his story to the publisher, he expects to be compensated for its publication. Yes, just as much as the shopowner has a right to be paid for his inventory, King has a right to be paid for his work.

          Whether it is ridiculously priced or not is irrelevant, too. The shopowner can charge 100 bucks for the bag of chips, and I just walk out. King can set the price for his story at whatever price he wants for his work. If no one buys his work, that’s fine. But stealing is still stealing, whether it is tangible or intangible property.

          When ships docked in Shanghai 150 years ago, they paid for rope lying on the pier. When that ship left, the dockworkers sold the old rope again to another ship and another and so on. Selling something that’s already paid for is commonplace.

          Following your logic, once a story has been purchased a certain number of times, no more money should be charged for it and none earned by the author. So, who determines when the story is paid for? If you like King’s stories, then do you want him to spend all his available time writing them? If so, then you can’t draw a cap on his earnings, any more than you can draw a floor and say that we must pay him for a story we don’t like.

          Market competition allows us to choose between Clancy and King and a myriad other authors. Being able to steal their work for free will not provide the incentive to write books. Controlling market forces like demand and profit has been attempted numerous times by various socialist forms of government. The result – mediocrity.

          Most authors don’t have the reputation of Stephen King and wouldn’t receive an advance. Promoting competition among authors could not work if authors were limited to an advance fee and new authors got nothing. That leads to no new authors. Maybe that’s an intended result?

        • #3330018

          Coughing up phlegm?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Expectorant

          It’s not the expectation of payment that makes it wrong to steal a bag of chips: it’s the fact that you’re forcibly depriving someone of property. Thus, it’s “theft” (the misappropriation of others’ property, natch). You’re right: the price is irrelevant. So too is the “expectation” of payment. The fact that I expect you to act in an ethical manner (or not) has no bearing on whether or not your actions are ethical.

          The fact that sailors left their bought and paid-for rope lying on the pier essentially means they abandoned the rope. Someone else laid claim to discards and made a profit by selling it. The fact that the people who sold it the first time are the same people who claimed and resold it later is immaterial. I don’t see how you expect to make a point with that.

          You’re going to have to explain to me how the claim that no money should be paid for something after it has been sold a certain number of times is in any way “following” my logic. The point at which you should cease making money at it is when you can no longer honestly get anyone to pay for it. That’s a basic principle of free market capitalism and suits popularized economic laws like that of supply and demand. I’m not placing a cap on anyone’s earnings, and if I like someone’s writing enough I’ll pay money for what he writes, both because I value the hardcopy version and because I want to help support his ongoing efforts.

          The attempt to “control” market forces is in the attempt to regulate the disposition of property from on high. It is intellectual property law that interferes in the natural workings of the market, exerting external controls over supply and demand. When the market is saturated by copies of a work, people are less willing to pay for copies, and perceived demand drops accordingly, bringing the viable price down. Having the courts enforcing price-fixing on books and artificial control over the production of the physical property is where socialist or fascist principles come into play in meddling with market forces.

          There are other means of guaranteeing payment, aside from advances. For instance, writing samples and contractual assurances that the rest of the story already exists, or in-person presentations of work, are entirely within the realm of acceptability. So too is a contractual loan of the submitted written materials, where something is provided with the explicit legal agreement that it will not be used to publish against the wishes of the author.

          If buying a book involved signing a contract guaranteeing I wouldn’t make copies and sell it, I certainly wouldn’t have any problem with enforcing it. That’s not the case, though. I’m not given the opportunity to opt out of that aspect of the transaction under copyright law. There is no explicit agreement beyond the exchange of capital for property. Everything else, under current law, is (wrongfully) assumed to be implicit.

          Stop looking for reasons to expect the End Of The World for authors without copyright law, and realize there will still be ways to make money as a writer.

        • #3329788

          Of course you are

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          Hi,

          Your comment “If buying a book involved signing a contract guaranteeing I wouldn’t make copies and sell it, I certainly wouldn’t have any problem with enforcing it. That’s not the case, though. I’m not given the opportunity to opt out of that aspect of the transaction under copyright law.” is wrong.
          Of course you are entitled to opt out of the agreement – don’t buy the book!!!! If however, you do buy the book you have agreed to the conditions imposed by the publish, as printed on the fly leaf of the book.
          The same applies to software, try reading the EULA sometime – if you don’t like it don’t buy it.

        • #3329771

          awfully phlegmy today

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          By that argument, a government that shoots people for speaking their minds isn’t acting unethically because they have the option of remaining silent. Do you condone suppression of free speech?

        • #3329627

          Stealing is Still Stealing

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          You can mince words about a shopowner not having an expectation, but the shopowner puts the goods on the shelf in the expectation that people will buy them, not steal them.

          Just because you didn’t have to sign something doesn’t mean you’re not obligated to follow the law. Unfortunately, we do not live in the Libertarian uptopia. Even in Cherry 2000 certain things were the law, despite the ever-constant lawyers and contracts about everything.

          I don’t advocate government control of markets (obviously), since they don’t get it. But property rights are fundamental. I do believe intellectual product is property. Some of it is derivative. Most of it is offered free of charge for consumption by whoever wants it and however they want to treat it. IP is original thought, novel and non-obvious.

          Authors won’t stop publishing just because they are cheated out of their IP, any more than acetylsalicylic acid stop being produced when the Aspirin patent expired in the 1900s. Interestingly, Aspirin was invented in 1853 but not patented until 1899. The German Bayer company had to relinquish the name as part of losing WWI.

          Getting back to intentions, you’re not one of those people who pick up tips from coffee house tables, are you? Clearly, it’s patently obvious that the tip was intended for the server, not for some other patron who happened to sit at the same table. The shopowner’s intentions are just as valid as the patron’s intention in leaving money on the table. It’s not for you to steal.

        • #3328923

          GET A CLUE!

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          Repeating the phrase “it’s stealing” [b]doesn’t make it so[/b]! If you can’t logically justify the position that disregarding intellectual property law is stealing, there’s no reason for me to regard it as stealing! If simply stating that it was stealing made it so, simply stating that selling pebbles is murder would also make the statement true. Don’t you get it? [b]If you don’t have an argument to back up your claims, your claims aren’t valid.[/b] It’s that simple.

          Criminy, man, get a grip here.

        • #3349966

          Steeling My Grip

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          3 : to take or make use of without authority or right

          Instead of requiring you to sign a contract not to reproduce the book, CD or software you bought, the publisher includes a notice in the book, inside the CD package, or via a EULA clickthrough that informs you of their offer of a contract. By clicking through you have accepted those terms. By not returning the book and instead opening it and reading it, you have accepted the contract. The contract does not have to be written. (or do you renege on your word?)

          The nice thing about depending on the law, rather than individual contracts for everything, is that it is uniform and subject to review.

          A click=through contract might require annual payments of 10% of your salary. Does anyone really read those things? Understand them? The law is fixed for all transactions. If you don’t agree with the law, you can go to court with the chance of convincing a jury of your peers that the law is wrong.

          Copyright law is about the best way to handle the issues of uniformity and fairness in relation to enforcement. Just because you didn’t sign anything doesn’t mean it doesn’t apply and neither does it mean that it’s wrong. Your opinion notwithstanding.

          My grip may not be as firm as yours is, but arguing that just because you didn’t sign anything does not mean you have no obligations. Even the anarchist in you must recognize that to enforce the contractual assurances you speak of, you will need a mechanism to police them.
          –How can you police them without force?
          –What ‘rules’ would the police have to follow in enforcing them?
          –Would you have us all sign a contract with the police? How about the courts?
          –What happens when we are judged wrong and must comply with an order?

          Is it fair to say you don’t have a grip on the complexity of instituting a system that has no teeth in it?

          Is it only the rich who will be able to hire an army to enforce their contracts?
          In your world the MS police would swoop down on families or businesses with an unlicensed copy of windows.

          This is why we have laws and a jury system to keep the process uniform and reachable by the ordinary, not so rich people.

          Patents, trademarks and copyrights are laws designed to encourage innovation, prevent fraud, and promote public expression. Patents and copyrights grant a limited monopoly to promote and encourage public expression of ideas and publication of useful inventions and discoveries so that society benefits in general. Eventually the monopoly expires and the expression, discovery or invention is in the free public domain. Trademarks grant use of an identifying mark to prevent confusion over the source of a product or service. This is to help consumers make choices based on reputation.

        • #3349865

          grasping at straws

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          I don’t know how many times I’m going to have to say this, but I’ll say it again, and use slightly different phrasing yet again. This particular argument is getting a lot of mileage in this discussion.

          [i]A contract isn’t ethically enforceable if agreement isn’t explicit and verifiable prior to contractual terms being carried out.[/i] It is likewise not ethically enforceable if agreement is not given of the free will of all parties involved.

          When one reads half a book, tells other people about it, loans it out, gets it back, [b]then notices the fine print[/b], there’s no agreement on which to renege. When you don’t get explicit agreement in advance, you have no guarantee or proof that any agreement has been reached or accepted. The nice thing about individual contracts is that they’re [b]ethically enforceable[/b], and you don’t suffer the same chances of abuse of the terms to produce unintended effects on a wide scale with authoritarian justification to defuse attempts to attain relief in a court of law.

          “policing”: Force is only justified if it is reciprocal and defensive in nature. When a person employs violence, threat of violence, or fraud without justification as a reciprocal, defensive measure, that constitutes an initiation of force. When one’s rights are violated by an initiation of force, reciprocal force is justified in one’s defense. That reciprocal force can be applied by proxy if need be, thus justifying a policing/security element in government and justifying jurisprudence.

          regarding contracts with the police and courts: Do you really want to drag this so far off-topic that we rewrite the Constitution and body of laws of the United States of America in a discussion forum? Isn’t that a bit outside the range of the current discussion? No, I wouldn’t “have us all” sign such contracts, necessarily. That’s beside the point, anyway.

          If you want to discuss such matters as the ethical justification for jurisprudence, the ethical limitations thereon, the proper format for governmental authority, and other issues that are (at best) barely tangential, I recommend you start a new discussion thread. I’d rather not deal with any more straw man arguments in the current discussion than I already must.

          You’re making unfounded suppositions about what my position is, making crap up as you go along and assigning it to me, building straw men so tall their heads are catching fire from the sun’s heat, and somehow attempting to use all this to define me as out of touch with the discussion at hand. Somewhere in the middle of your post, you left this discussion far, far behind. Come back to us, now, and talk about what topic is at hand. If you really want the answers to those questions, start a new thread wherein you ask them in a non-pejorative manner, point me at it, and enjoy the ensuing debate. Don’t devolve wholly into the spurious in some half-baked attempt to mischaracterize my arguments as whatever seems easiest to argue against.

          Finally: The original intended purpose of copyright and patent law (which is only mostly in line with what you said) has little bearing on the actual effects of it, to say nothing of the fact that the intended purpose and ethicality having almost nothing to do with one another. The road to hell, as they say, is paved with good intentions. Your “limited time” argument (a popular argument, and I’m surprised I haven’t seen more of it here) is ultimately pointless as well, both for ethical reasons and practical reasons: violation of rights “for a limited time” is no less a violation of rights, and that “limited time” is currently (for copyright) roughly equal to the life expectancy of the average American male [b]in addition to[/b] the remaining term of the “creator’s” life (which, in the case of a corporation, might actually be longer than the remaining term of the nation’s “life”).

          Not only has the concept of “intellectual property rights” faced a number of affirmative defenses against it, but the truth of the matter is that claiming it is valid in the first place is an affirmative statement, and all that is needed to circumvent that is to present a negative defense (which I have also been doing). That negative defense, in this case, simply consists of the simple pointing out of the flaws in all the half-baked justifications that have been offered for it in this discussion. If you can’t justify it all the way back to a reasonable initial premise that is self-evident or with which I agree, you haven’t got a case. I can do that for a system of ethics based on the statement that initiation of force is wrong (and in fact have done so a couple of times in this discussion). Can you do it for an ethical system that actually supports intellectual property, or justify intellectual property rights within an ethical system that fits the characteristics I’ve laid out for the one I justified logically?

        • #3350991

          LOL

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          ANOTHER person who grasps at straws when talking to you, what’s wrong with tis world????

          Actually Ithink th reson people NEED to grasp at straws is because if they don’t you keep making little men out of them and expecting them to stand up and march. LOL!!

          Grasping at straws, what…AGAIN? Another ONE? HE didn’t understand you EITHER!? 😀

          I tell you most of the people on TR need their heads checked, according to you anyway !

        • #3350852

          Oz objects again

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          “ANOTHER person who grasps at straws when talking to you, what’s wrong with tis world????”

          If you keep marvelling at the presence of yet another person when you keep addressing discussions with the same person, some of us might begin to think you aren’t paying attention to who’s a part of the discussion. Six different conversation branches involving the same person do not constitute six different people disagreeing with me about something. How many times are you going to hold up t.e.sumner as “another” example of “everyone” disagreeing with me?

          Your personal attacks against me may not be as offensive as maxwell’s, but they’re no less absurd. You haven’t actually addressed the topic of the discussion, as far as I’ve noticed, in at least a dozen posts. You certainly haven’t done so in quite some time when responding to me. Instead, you keep trying to convince me that I’m an idiot. Have fun with that.

        • #3331273

          Trying? Lets have a closer look at your posts here shall we?

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          You do that alone, nobody NEEDS to point it out to anyone else but YOU, but either way YOU do not seem to recognize it.

          As for the same person, do you REALLY want me to post links to ALL the people who claim you speak in cirecles and make no sense?

          I know TR can hold a 2000 word post, but even THAT’s a stretch when it comes to making things clear for you. Try using the PRINT button so you can preview the whole thread andread it as a whole. When you’re done,I can post a link to another thread where you did the same, then another then another.

          It seems EVERY thread you have posted in for the last few months, is full of people who you say don’t understand your point, missed your point, don’t get it. etc.

          Pretty arrogant if you ask me, ever thought about reading and COMPREHENDING what others say?

          You certainly haven’t shown as much here.

          jdmerha – your reply:
          [b]straw man[/b]
          That doesn’t even begin to address my point.

          zczc2311 – Your reply:
          [b]What? [/b]
          [u]I’m not sure what you’re saying.[/u] I don’t use illegal copies of software, and I don’t use filesharing networks to get music, if that’s what you’re talking about.

          redgranite – Your reply:
          [b]actually . . . [/b]

          I’m employed by a local IT consultancy and by a nonprofit organization that manages one of the 300 most popular websites on the Web as a datacenter technician. [u]Not only are you wrong, but your comments are entirely irrelevant to the discussion at hand.[/u] My employment situation has zero to do with the logic of my statements. How long patent law has been around isn’t really relevant, either: slavery in north america predated the founding of the United States, so by your argument we should still be buying and selling human cotton-pickers.

          [u]Do you actually have anything relevant to say?[/u]

          mamarcus – Your reply:

          [b]false dilemma [/b]
          You’ve created a false dilemma (which is common among defenders of patent and copyright law): you are basing your arguments on the assumption that the only options are
          1. intellectual property law
          2. no compensation for innovators

          That’s not true.

          Tony Hopkinson – Your reply:
          [b] actually . . .[/b]
          Claiming owership of ideas you got from someone else isn’t theft: it’s fraud.

          Stress Junkie – Your reply:
          [b]support your statements[/b]
          How is copying something “theft”? Everybody keeps saying it, but nobody has any logical support for that statement.

          Ozi Eagle – Your reply:
          [b]not really[/b]
          Copyright isn’t a prior “agreement” because an agreement presumes the opportunity to disagree. Copyright is a condition of US law. Without copyright, other forms of agreement can be made to protect the interests of an author.

          If copyright were the only way for an author to protect his interests, [u]you still wouldn’t have a valid point about ethics,[/u] but at least your argument wouldn’t look completely like smoke. The fact that there are other means, about as easy as copyright, that don’t involve a huge system of restriction on the intellectual activities of others, [u]eliminates what meager scraps of the appearance of a point you might have had going for you.[/u]

          ibis – Your reply:
          [b] rights[/b]

          Really? Nobody has a right to be free from initiations of force “in
          toto”? Give me an example of an instance in which a person doesn’t have such a right, then logically justify that exception.

          enrich1010 – Your reply:
          [b]not really[/b]
          “Intellectual property” isn’t an “asset”, no matter how many times you say it. Repeating yourself doesn’t make what you say any more true.

          Ravens04 – Your reply:
          [b]So what?[/b]

          BatmanG8 – Your reply:
          [b]word games[/b]
          Nice job with the word games.

          wmead – Your reply:
          [b]not necessarily[/b]
          There doesn’t seem to be any part of your argument that can’t be effectively covered by contract or other legally binding agreement between parties.

          Drdij – Your reply:
          [b]So what?[/b]

          pbradie – Your reply:
          [b]not so[/b]
          No, you don’t have to rely on altruism. I release my creations under a free distribution license, and I do so for reasons entirely unconnected with altruism. Either logically justify your statement about altruism or simply accept that it’s full of crap.

          Deepsand – Your reply:
          [b]nonsense[/b]
          “…As for the “law of unintended consequences”, I recommend you take a long, hard look at the (hopefully unintended) consequences of patent and copyright law in the United States and abroad.”

          [b]Badly misguided, Ridiculous, Poppycock, Har de har har, Your post is marginal troll bait, You’re not making much sense[/b]…and so on and so on, endlessly.

          Now I know this doesn’t constitute all posts here, I didn’t include my own or Max’s, and it is from ONE discussion topic.

          But I would say that judging by the number of replies and the number that you have agreed with, very excitedly at one point when you found common ground with a single comment made towards someone else, that the number is probably MUCH closer to that 70% figure that [b]YOU first quoted.[/b]

          Plus this is just ONE comment taken from ONE post and not your ongoing ramblings with each individual you address.

          Now we can compare this to what YOU consider far more accurate statistics, and find that you have grossly misinterpreted your findings.

          [i]”If we’re to use your overly vitriolic statement that “people you talk to suggest you are insane, make no sense, don’t understand what they are saying and twist the logic in to some nonsensical rant,” I think a more accurate number would be less than 50%. In fact, I think that in this discussion that’s maybe four or five people at most. “[/i]

          Four or five people, in THIS discussion. Well that’s been proven wrong prety quickly, shall we go to another discussion and see the same again?

          My point is, you bait your replies to get answers you can object to. You are so set on instilling YOUR views that you lose sight of your own objections. You then twist and turn every reply that proves the insanity of you comments into appearing as if they have misunderstood you. Even when they clearly show what has been ‘misunderstood’ and elaborate further, you then start turning it into THEIR problem with not making sense and staying on track.

          You are simply LOST here, you are not consistent and do not retain any logic or consistency to your constant disagreement. When you lose sight or a way to wriggle out, you then start in about straw men, not addressing the topic, Pluto, and all the other things you can muster to replace your absence of logic with some flame to segue the discussion.

          I know you will probably say all these quotes are out of context, the original post isn’t included etc. That is irrlevant, the issue is numbers here and how YOU insist on everyone’s agreement or you start to flame them. It begins in your title, intended to draw attantion to your own comments and make it seem as if you are going to TEACH someone something and defame their own ridiculous comments, but then you resort to a reply of little logic, and at worst you will simply start calling them names.

          It’s kinda hard for you to object to at this point because in this forum it’s not a ‘he said she said ‘issue, it’s in print for everyone to see quite clearly, not that anyone doesn’t already know what to expect from you.

          Your turn to post another quote to add to the list now.

        • #3331237

          OzMedia strikes again

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          Somehow, I’m less than impressed with your demonstration of how unreasonable I am by pointing out the fact that someone tried to substitute an erroneous claim about my employment status for an argument. I’m also less than impressed by your expansion of limited statements to mean more general, and thus more assailable, things than intended.

          There’s really nothing here even worth a serious reply. Either discuss the matter at hand, or bugger off.

        • #3331231

          Way to prove a point

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          First of all, should we add your last post to that list too?

          YOu didn’t address the point being made at all and yet are spinning again to get back on the subject. LOL!

          You realize you just may as well have emphasized that post in BOLD QUOTATIONS or just said “Yes, look at me now!”
          LOL

          And since what point in time did you gain the authority to tell people to bugger off?

          ‘Get a life’, now there’s something I have the authority to say now based on your posts here.

        • #3347030

          apotheon sorta reminds me of…

          by g.brown ·

          In reply to Coughing up phlegm?

          that nutter neo-con presenter on Fox News, I can’t remember the guys name, but he is famous for using the words “Shut Up” when someone says something he doesn’t like, and then not admitting to having done so, but trying to explain something else.

          Did they go to same school/shrink or whatever, cause they seem to have the same style.

          To pick up on 1 miniscule point in the whole post and completely ignore any actual “difficult” questions that were asked.

          And, actually, if that’s the only point you want to pick up on, then:

          “My employment situation has zero to do with the logic of my statements.”

          So you don’t believe that someone employed by MS would have a pro-MS stance, likewise with Apple, Macromedia etc….

          Oh yeah, like I say, Stven King was a bad example as he as given a book away free on the Internet … see my later post:
          http://techrepublic.com.com/5208-6230-0.html?forumID=9&threadID=169191&messageID=1733405

        • #3330102

          Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to It’s very simple

          That begs an interesting question. What is the purpose of buying a book? Is it to read (and hopefully enjoy) it?

          If so, what am I to do once I have read it? Destroy it? Can I sell it? Give it away? Is the person who buys or gets the book from me obligated to pay the publisher or author?

          Why or why not?

          I’m not being facetious, I really want to understand.

        • #3331436

          Now THAT’S a good question

          by stress junkie ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          Your point is one difference between purchasing a book and purchasing computer software. When you purchase a book and read it you have had the use of it while you had it in your posession. If you then give that book away you no longer have the use of the book. On the other hand if you purchase computer software, install it, and then sell or give the installation kit away, you still have use of the software as long as it is installed on your computer. So, two people use the software concurrently for the price of one.

          Now, if we put EULA restrictions aside, I don’t see any problem with purchasing and using computer software. When I decide that I will no longer use the software and I remove the software from my computer, then I probably should be able to resell the software installation kit.

          When we consider the EULA then the following situation exists. When we purchase and use the software we are agreeing by implication to the terms of the software license. So we are bound to follow the restrictions of that license. If the EULA restricts the transfer of the license by the original purchaser to a second end user then we are bound to abide by that restriction simply because it is a condition of our original use of the software.

          In summary we can purchase and read a book. When we are finished reading the book we can sell or give the book away. This is ethical because only one person has use of the book at any time. If we purchase and use software and then erase the sofware on our computer then the only ethical restriction on giving the software kit away is the vendor’s terms of use which we agreed to follow when we installed the software.

          This is really a side issue though. I think this discussion is really based on whether an inventor and a manufacturer have any right at all to be compensated for their products and whether they have any right at all to restrict the use of their products. I can hardly believe that there is any room for discussion but apparently there is.

        • #3330643

          the problem . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Now THAT’S a good question

          . . . is that you equate “restrict the use of their products” with “any right at all to be compensated”. Yes, you have a right to be compensated. No, you don’t have a right to restrict the use of something you sold. The two questions are not the same. In order to enforce intellectual property law, you have to violate tangible property rights.

        • #3330539

          That’s why M$ sells licenses

          by stress junkie ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          The tangible property issue is why M$ does not sell copies of its software; they sell licenses to use their software. In theory the installation kit is given to you at little or no cost.

          My previous post didn’t confuse the two types of owners’ rights. I was saying that two issues were being discussed under the umbrella of IP rights.

        • #3330016

          fair ’nuff

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          It’s true that Microsoft’s EULAs do a nice end-run around most of the issue of intellectual property law. I don’t fault them for that at all.

          I do, however, fault them for other things, and for extortionary use of intellectual property law in other ways, and completely aside from that I don’t generally consider Microsoft’s software to be worth the money in any case. That is, of course, beside the point.

          Ultimately, it’s moot, because I use Debian GNU/Linux as my preferred OS.

        • #3328824

          tangible property rights=so what?

          by ibis ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          What makes tangible property rights so special?

          After all, if I steal your book, I haven’t hurt you, or taken away anything you can’t replace. Are you arguing that there is no such thing as intellectual property, or that there should be no rights attached to it?

          If you are arguing that there should be no rights attached to intellectual property, because they conflict with tangible property rights, where is your case for the special stature of tangible property rights? Their ‘tangibility’? Surely you’re not.

        • #3328809

          tangible property

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          Intellectual property doesn’t exist because it doesn’t have the characteristics that justify (tangible) property rights. Property rights are derived from the fact that you can claim ownership of something and, in doing so, create a situation whereby nobody else can take it from you against your will without an initiation of force (whether in the form of violence, threat of violence, or fraud). In other words, property rights are not actually natural rights in and of themselves: they are an extention of the right to be free from initiations of force.

          Another way of explaining the ethical basis in individual rights is this: A person can claim proprietary rights to a physical object. That object cannot (simplistically speaking) then be removed from his possession without interfering with his right of self-determination. The reason “intellectual property” is without justification, within the context of this means of explaining property rights, is that it assumes “rights” that can be “violated” without any interference with the right of self-determination, and thus the justification for property rights doesn’t apply.

        • #3328747

          Only to support your argument

          by ibis ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          No-one has the “right to be free from initiations of force” in toto. Nor is there any complete right to self-determination without reference to others. And your right to say “that’s mine” about tangible goods immediately breaks down when two people say the same thing, which is the origin of law.

          In any case, violence is only required to take something from me if I determine to resist you physically, and the situation is appropriate. It’s perfectly possible for you to steal my (physical) book without hurting me. Burglary springs to mind. And theoretically, assuming I knew enough about something for it to be worthwhile, where does torturing me to obtain information or ideas from me fit into your over-neat scheme?

          If a majority of people think that they have a ‘right’ to determine what happens to their ideas, then that’s as good a basis as any for arguing that such a right exists. Better, anyway, than an argument from ‘ethics’, which just recedes into ‘things that I feel are right’.

        • #3328648

          rights

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          Really? Nobody has a right to be free from initiations of force “in
          toto”? Give me an example of an instance in which a person
          doesn’t have such a right, then logically justify that exception.
          All it takes to support your statement is one exception. Let’s see
          it. Keep in mind that the word “initiation” is part of my
          statement, meaning that reciprocal force does not constitute an
          exception.

          What do you mean by your statement that there’s no right to
          self-determination “without reference to others”?

          It’s true that violence isn’t always directly necessary for such acts
          as burglary. Of course, I didn’t say “violence”, I said “initiation of
          force”, which can consist of “violence, threat of violence, or
          fraud”. In short, by “initiation of force” I refer to coercive
          influences. A system of mutually supporting circumstances,
          combined with the logical consequences of the ethical premise
          that initiations of force are wrong, leads to the justification for
          proprietary rights even in absentia. Granted, the law doesn’t
          really address that as well as it should in practice, but the
          principle in theory is still valid, and the proper handling of that
          would be to fix the law, not to A) discard protection of property
          rights entirely or B) start making up new proprietary privileges,
          label them rights, and enforce them, without logical justification.

          It should be fairly obvious where torturing someone to obtain
          information fits the ethical system to which I refer: it’s an
          initiation of force. It is, after all, violence and threat of violence
          applied to coerce compliance. I would have thought that would
          be blindingly obvious. It’s pretty neat, by the way, how you try
          to imply the invalidity of an ethical system by calling it an “over-
          neat scheme”. You should be working for the Microsoft
          marketing department, generating good FUD like that.

          responses to two quotes from your post:

          1. “If a majority of people think that they have a ‘right’ to
          determine what happens to their ideas, then that’s as good a
          basis as any for arguing that such a right exists.”

          Wrong. That would justify slavery, genocide, inquisitions, and
          anything else you like, at various points in history. That’s the
          very epitome of moral and ethical relativism, and under such
          circumstances there’s really zero justification for intellectual
          property law anyway, since the mere fact that there are so many
          people sharing music over the Internet would present a credible
          challenge to your notion that popularity defines right and wrong.

          2. “Better, anyway, than an argument from ‘ethics’, which just
          recedes into ‘things that I feel are right’.”

          Wrong again. There’s a distinct difference between “morals” and
          “ethics”, which you seem to be conflating in your mind here, and
          aside from that you seem to have missed my references to a
          logical basis for a system of ethics. You have just made
          sweeping assumptions and generalizations about ethicality,
          implying that nobody ever considers matters of right and wrong
          beyond gut reaction, all the while trying to justify intellectual
          property law. Are you even aware of the contradiction there? If
          ethicality doesn’t mean anything, maybe you can enlighten us as
          to why there is [b]any reason at all[/b] to obey intellectual
          property law aside from mere self-centered short-sighted
          conformity.

        • #3342004

          No such animal

          by ibis ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          From your previous response:
          “Really? Nobody has a right to be free from initiations of force “in
          toto”? Give me an example of an instance in which a person
          doesn’t have such a right, then logically justify that exception.
          All it takes to support your statement is one exception. Let’s see
          it. Keep in mind that the word “initiation” is part of my
          statement, meaning that reciprocal force does not constitute an
          exception.”

          “What do you mean by your statement that there’s no right to
          self-determination “without reference to others”?”

          Hmm – the two of these go together, so, for example:
          1. government compulsory purchase orders where the work that is to be completed is to the benefit of the wider community.
          2. restraint of persons from committing pollution on their own land.
          3. arrest or restraint of persons guilty of tax offences.

          In these cases the general principle is that the right of the individual to self-determination is abrogated for the ‘wider good’ (the ‘reference to others’), and the abrogation is generally carried out by the initiation of force. I’m pretty certain that a tax offender is not initiating any coercive influences, anyway. If, being a minarchist, you feel that these examples simply indicate the problem with government, then I’ll add that they would be the same from an anarcho-syndicalist perspective, except that government would be replaced by group or community.

          “You should be working for the Microsoft
          marketing department, generating good FUD like that.”

          Thanks!

          Your responses to two quotes from my post:

          1. “If a majority of people think that they have a ‘right’ to
          determine what happens to their ideas, then that’s as good a
          basis as any for arguing that such a right exists.”

          Your response: “Wrong. That would justify slavery, genocide, inquisitions, and
          anything else you like, at various points in history. That’s the
          very epitome of moral and ethical relativism, and under such
          circumstances there’s really zero justification for intellectual
          property law anyway, since the mere fact that there are so many
          people sharing music over the Internet would present a credible
          challenge to your notion that popularity defines right and wrong.”

          Well, all of those bits of nastiness were regarded as ethically justified in their time. On the popularity question – there might be, say, 25 million people sharing music illegally over the Internet (an inflated figure, I think) – that still leaves 6 billion people not doing it. No worries, as they say.

          2. “Better, anyway, than an argument from ‘ethics’, which just
          recedes into ‘things that I feel are right’.”

          Your response: “Wrong again. There’s a distinct difference between “morals” and
          “ethics”, which you seem to be conflating in your mind here, and
          aside from that you seem to have missed my references to a
          logical basis for a system of ethics. You have just made
          sweeping assumptions and generalizations about ethicality,
          implying that nobody ever considers matters of right and wrong
          beyond gut reaction, all the while trying to justify intellectual
          property law. Are you even aware of the contradiction there? If
          ethicality doesn’t mean anything, maybe you can enlighten us as
          to why there is any reason at all to obey intellectual
          property law aside from mere self-centered short-sighted
          conformity.”

          I haven’t missed your references to a logical basis for a system of ethics, but I haven’t seen any such thing in my short and immoral life. I did see that you referred to “the ethical premise that initiations of force are wrong” – but that’s just a premise. It doesn’t matter if the system built on top of such a premise is logically pure and stringently correct – I disagree with the premise as much as you disagree with intellectual property rights.

        • #3331958

          I’ll try to keep this short.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          Any benefit of the “wider community” is meaningless without consideration for individuals. That consideration must, where some form of authority structure is created, take the form of rules. Those rules constitute law. To provide a method of fine-tuning the law is only the reasonable thing to do, as long as that mechanism for altering the law stops short of altering the fundamental guidelines that are in place to give structure and purpose to the law (and, in the United States, that set of guidelines is the Constitution). Any part of such a set of guidelines that grants “rights” to the “wider community”, however, creates an untenable situation where the guidelines can be misused and abused to produce essentially any set of laws you want, and the result is the breakdown of the system of laws as regards the purpose of them set forth in those guidelines. This is why Article I, Section 8 conflicts with the right of the people to be secure in their persons and property (as enumerated in the Bill of Rights). Collective “rights” inevitably end up conflicting with each other and with individual rights, because the good of the collective is mutable, open to wildly divergent interpretation, and generally up to the whims and vagaries of the moment. Furthermore, they reduce individual people to nothing more than means to an end, stripping them of significance, value, and dignity. Collective “rights” can kiss my lily-white ass.

          Anarcho-syndicalists can kiss my ass, too. At least anarcho-capitalists base their theories off a self-consistent set of premises, rather than basing them off an arbitrary and constantly shifting set of knee-jerk reactions and self-justifications, though they may be a bit too optimistic about human nature for their theories to get any real practical traction.

          When I pointed out that your arguments basically make every single argument of political philosophy wholly meaningless by throwing everything into a huge moral and ethical relativism pot and stirring, I certainly didn’t expect you to take the examples of such atrocities as slavery and genocide in stride. You said “Well, all of those bits of nastiness were regarded as ethically justified in their time.” Don’t forget the word ‘regarded’ in that. Just because someone has some kind of illusion or delusion that something is so does not make it true. Slavery, genocide, and inquisitions are not, have never been, and never will be ethically justified, though there are people, were people, and certainly will be people who have regarded, do regard, or will regard them as justified. Their regard can (say it with me now) kiss my ass.

          I’ve never gotten to a point in the discussion, by the way, where anyone has actually been willing to address premises. As such, I haven’t gotten as far as an opportunity to explain the logical basis for the ethical premise that initiation of force is wrong. It surprises me to find someone arguing with both that and the right to self-determination as valid ethical premises, but I’ll try to sum up the logic for you briefly:

          1. I think, therefore I am. I hope you can agree with that. Everything has to start somewhere, and that’s where I’m starting.

          2. Others may or may not exist as well. I perceive others. In absence of conflicting evidence, I choose to behave as though others exist.

          3. Upon the assumption that there are others, I choose to behave as though at least some of them are ethically significant beings. To do otherwise would, under the circumstances, be somewhat egocentric and myopic of me.

          4. The one thing most of value to an individual with my (self-perceived) ethical significance and awareness, and upon which all other value is ultimately predicated, is my ability to exert my will in determining my own destiny.

          5. Because I regard others as potentially being of equivalent ethical significance, I recognize the need for self-determination in others as in myself.

          6. The realization of the need for self-determination in others then “interacts” with my own value for self-determination to produce a recognition of the need to determine some premise of interaction that respects the right of self-determination (that right being the positive application of the liberty to pursue the need/value of self-determination) between all participants.

          7. Interfering with the right of self-determination of others is, in plain English, an application of force; one individual forces an abrogation of another’s right of self-determination. Self-determination is supplanted by external determination.

          8. Just as there is a positive right of self-determination, the limitations that places on others’ interactions with one constitute one or more “negative” rights, in this case the right to freedom from initiations of force.

          9. As one has a right to self-determination, and abrogations of that by application of force violate the negative application of that right, reciprocal force merely in defense of the individual right are, if not strictly justified, at least excused. Thus, reciprocal force is excusable and/or justifiable, while initiation of force is not.

          10. This all constitutes a basis for a system of ethics, whose initial premise is “Initiation of force is wrong,” where “right” and “wrong” are used as qualitative standards of the ethicality of action.

          . . .

          Well. So much for short.

        • #3331922

          Not briefly either…

          by ibis ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          I won’t argue, I think, about the US Constitution, because a) it’s not my constitution, and b) there are obviously some bits you don’t agree with anyway (Article VIII, Section 8, presumably). Nor will I argue about anarcho-syndicalism, since I would agree that “they may be a bit too optimistic about human nature for their theories to get any real practical traction”. So, on to the main points:

          1. I think, therefore I am. I hope you can agree with that. Everything has to start somewhere, and that’s where I’m starting.
          No problem – most of the other starting points rapidly disappear up their own asses (possibly kissing yours en route).

          2. Others may or may not exist as well. I perceive others. In absence of conflicting evidence, I choose to behave as though others exist.
          OK.

          3. Upon the assumption that there are others, I choose to behave as though at least some of them are ethically significant beings. To do otherwise would, under the circumstances, be somewhat egocentric and myopic of me.
          OK.

          4. The one thing most of value to an individual with my (self-perceived) ethical significance and awareness, and upon which all other value is ultimately predicated, is my ability to exert my will in determining my own destiny.
          Problem 1 for me. This is your choice of a ‘thing of most value’, and not a given. Other people, at other points in history, might have said ‘my ability to act in accordance with the will of the Gods’, ‘my ability to promote the interests of my people’ or variants thereof. However, I agree with you as a personal preference.

          5. Because I regard others as potentially being of equivalent ethical significance, I recognize the need for self-determination in others as in myself.
          OK.

          6. The realization of the need for self-determination in others then “interacts” with my own value for self-determination to produce a recognition of the need to determine some premise of interaction that respects the right of self-determination (that right being the positive application of the liberty to pursue the need/value of self-determination) between all participants.
          Problem 2. The anarchist regards the right of self-determination as absolutely inviolable, the archist does not, the religious submissive cited above abandons him/herself entirely to the will of God. Neither side has to be wrong. For me, this is not a black-white issue, but a gradient of solutions of varying stability and acceptability.

          7. Interfering with the right of self-determination of others is, in plain English, an application of force; one individual forces an abrogation of another’s right of self-determination. Self-determination is supplanted by external determination.
          Again, different people draw the line of ‘acceptable’ external determination in different places.

          8-10. No problems with these as logical extensions of the above.

          In brief(ish), then, I think that your reasoning is solid, but conceals a specific choice which is a matter of preference – viz, where to draw the line as regards the balance of the ‘individuals right to self-determination’ and ‘the need to determine some premise of interaction that respects the right of self-determination’. For a libertarian, there is only one possible place to draw the line, and the word ‘respect’ can be replaced by ‘does not in any way conflict with’. Unfortunately, libertarianism has not proved to be one of the stable solutions for human communities – it can exist, briefly, in a homesteading environment below a certain population density in an unpopulated landscape of reasonable fertility, conditions met briefly in the US (and in Viking Iceland), which makes it meta-stable. Unfortunately, it appears to break down into feudalism/plutarchy/oligarchy outside this special situation – in the US, for example, it has largely gone to plutocratic oligarchy.

          Interestingly, the breakdown to plutocratic oligarchy can be proven to be a normal course of evolution for the anarcho-capitalist system without perversion of that system by application of force: all that is required is different levels of ability and/or energy between individuals. In a free market, some will come to the point where by incompetence, ill-luck, or lack of application they are forced to sell their real property. Note that this ‘forced’ is not ‘externally forced’ by anything other than the premises of the system. Once they have no real property, their ability (although not their right) to self-determination is severely compromised, since no other anarcho-capitalist is obliged to assist them except on their own terms. The choice of the unsuccesful becomes one of starvation or indentured servitude (I include most employment here), unless more virgin land is available to be taken up.

          To me, the existence of intellectual property rights is the only way of achieving a perpetual supply of ‘virgin land’ to be taken up by individuals, and therefore a necessary part of ensuring my right to self-determination within a geographically limited world. Only if you treat intellectual property as equivalent to real property is there always somewhere for me to go to escape the farms and factories of others. The lands of the mind are the only lands that are limitless, and not already in the hands of oligarchs. Which is why, in various posts through this discussion, I have argued (not always coherently) for the intellectual property rights of the individual and against their assignation to governments or corporations. I hope this refutes the charge of ‘mere self-centered short-sighted conformity’.

        • #3352492

          responses to issues with my ethical summation

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          4. “Problem 1 for me. This is your choice of a ‘thing of most value’, and not a given. Other people, at other points in history, might have said ‘my ability to act in accordance with the will of the Gods’, ‘my ability to promote the interests of my people’ or variants thereof. However, I agree with you as a personal preference.”

          Granted. However, those all fall under the greater heading of an ethical valuation of self-determination. While an individual may not consciously value self-determination as greatly as other things, without that ability all other values become essentially meaningless. One’s “ability to act in accordance with the will of the Gods” is only available as an option because that person chooses it, exercising its right of self-determination in making such a choice. Further, in any religious system wherein one makes a choice between obeying higher powers and disobeying or disregarding, self-determination is an integral and necessary part of that.

          Short of enforcing a worldwide primary value, possibly at gunpoint, self-determination becomes the unavoidable meeting-point of all belief systems that allow for interaction. The very fact that you refer to variations in personal valuations of ideas points out the importance of self-determination.

          Perhaps it would have been more appropriate for me to refer to self-determination as “the one thing most universally valuable” rather than “the one thing of most value”. The point is that it pretty much trumps anything else, ultimately, with which it comes in direct conflict, even if only by granting value to obedience by making it possible to disobey.

          6. “Problem 2. The anarchist regards the right of self-determination as absolutely inviolable, the archist does not, the religious submissive cited above abandons him/herself entirely to the will of God. Neither side has to be wrong. For me, this is not a black-white issue, but a gradient of solutions of varying stability and acceptability.”

          Please see my discussion of 4 above and let me know if, with this explication, how your objection in 6 changes.

          Your explanations of the apparent instability of libertarian social orders is (as I’m sure you’re expecting me to say) flawed. On one hand, libertarian principles don’t survive true anarchy because a truly perfect beginning state must be reached where everyone is good and pure, and nothing must interfere significantly with that state in the future for it to be sustainable. On the other hand, libertarian principles don’t survive structured social orders (governments) where the core structure is self-contradictory, as parts of the US Constitution are (as far as I’m concerned, the Preamble and the Bill of Rights are great, and everything else, as being essentially bureaucratic nitpicking, is suspect).

          Just like anarcho-syndicalism and other spontaneously structured collectivist political philosophies only work in small, isolated populations of like-minded individuals for limited periods of time, so too does anarcho-capitalism (essentially libertarian anarchism) suffer from lack of scalability and potential longevity. Meanwhile, any governmental system that doesn’t jealously guard individual rights strictly and without compromise (which is all of them so far, basically) will tend toward authoritarianism* in time. The United States had some things going for it at the beginning in ensuring some sense of libertarian minarchistic ethical government, but the fact that the core protections of individual rights (the Bill of Rights) were codified at the same level of sacredness in foundational documents as other, conflicting details of the organization of government, and that further conflicting details could be added without limit later (again, at the same level of sacredness, as amendments to the Constitution), guaranteed the ultimate devaluation of individual rights in law. That’s why you don’t see libertarian political philosophy currently running a successful state: it has never been a foundational principle of a well-defined government without the definition of that government also incorporating directly conflicting (usually collectivist) principles.

          The “plutocratic oligarchy” you see developing in the US is the fault of provision for such concepts as intellectual property, in fact, along with the creation of legal “entities” (corporations) with rights that directly conflict with those of indidividuals and a slew of other governmental interferences of the disposition of individual rights for “the common good”. It is not, as you seem to believe, in any way the fault of libertarian principles or their application to government: plutocratic oligarchies were mainstays of early 20th century dictatorship politics, for example, among other places such has arisen. Plutocracy occurs anywhere that the haves get to use what they have to affect the core structure of the government, and that applies to the US in that Congressional Representatives are bought and sold on the open market and have the power to amend the Constitution such that the protections promised in the Bill of Rights are, to varying degrees, negated.

          Your conflation of “free market” and “anarcho-capitalism” is counterproductive, by the way. Anarcho-capitalism’s goal is a free market, but that is not necessarily what it achieves in the long run. A truly free market is one in which initiations of force are effectively guarded against, whether by government or simple economic law. What anarcho-capitalism actually seeks to create isn’t a “free market”, per se, but a “laissez-faire free market”. The difference is that a laissez-faire free market admits no introduction of any authority structure whatsoever, even insofar as is necessary to investigate, arrest, and otherwise deal with criminal behavior that disrupts the market. The larger a market, the more it will tend toward a robust state of freedom, because it will become more difficult for a single enterprising and unscrupulous individual to upset its balance, but no market yet exists that is large enough to be capable of sustaining that free state naturally, so a non-laissez-faire free market is necessary at this time to ensure its longevity and resilience. If there were enough of such a market in existence, the “plutocratic oligarchy” developing in the United States would never have come into being, because simple economic forces would have made irrelevant any attempts to manipulate the market as the US government has done.

          Your equation of “intellectual property” with “virgin land” certainly bears thinking about, and has far more merit than any other justifications I’ve yet seen, but it strikes me as ethically flawed because it requires a widespread prior restraint violation of individual rights (and, ultimately, of the right of self-determination). Two wrongs do not make a right. While it would be nice if we could be sure to grant unfettered right of self-determination to all people, and government aims to do this, there is a line beyond which government should not go: this is the point at which to grant the protection of one person’s right it must violate another’s. Just as the Hippocratic Oath requires that a doctor first do no harm, so too must the ethical government’s charter require that it first violate no unsurrendered rights (I use the term “unsurrendered” here only because of considerations basically unconnected with this conversation, relating to theory of jurisprudence within libertarian political philosophy). The short version is this: Two wrongs do not make a right. Committing a wrong to address another wrong is not ethically acceptable practice.

          Your argument certainly holds far more water than others I’ve encountered here, and it leads to more palatable results than most (specifically, the direct protection of the innovator’s privilege, and not that of organizations, heirs, and so on). It just falls short of perfect, as far as I’m concerned.

          * authoritarianism: that class of political philosophy wherein a position of authority is regarded as justification for itself

        • #3350329

          and back in your court, I think…

          by ibis ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          “One’s ‘ability to act in accordance with the will of the Gods’ is only available as an option because that person chooses it, exercising its right of self-determination in making such a choice.”

          Neatly put, and fully accepted.

          Problem 2. The anarchist regards the right of self-determination as absolutely inviolable, the archist does not, the religious submissive cited above abandons him/herself entirely to the will of God. Neither side has to be wrong. For me, this is not a black-white issue, but a gradient of solutions of varying stability and acceptability.

          “Please see my discussion of 4 above and let me know if, with this explication, how your objection in 6 changes.”

          This one remains an issue – perhaps I can rephrase that as ‘the anarchist will not voluntarily accept any abrogation of this right, the archist believes that it is necessary to do so in order to live socially, and the religious submissive (and perfect communist) values it only to discard it.’ That is, the right remains, but what you do with it, is, by virtue of the right itself, up to you. Of course, that doesn’t give you any right to abrogate the rights of others, but it does allow you to say that you will exclude from your society any who will not accept a voluntary abrogation of their right to self-determination as part of the founding social contract of the society. Some (many?) would apply this to the US constitution as being the founding social contract of your country, and say, you can take it, or you can leave it. There is relatively little territory left that can be settled without expropriation.

          “That’s why you don’t see libertarian political philosophy currently running a successful state: it has never been a foundational principle of a well-defined government without the definition of that government also incorporating directly conflicting (usually collectivist) principles.”

          Personally, I ascribe this to the fact that the majority of people are archists – also, where governments have been founded de novo, legal systems are rarely replaced at the same time. Written constitutions are often social contracts – for example, the Preamble to the Irish Constitution contains:

          ‘And seeking to promote the common good, with due observance of Prudence, Justice and Charity, so that the dignity and freedom of the individual may be assured, true social order attained, the unity of our country restored, and concord established with other nations,’

          “The ‘plutocratic oligarchy’ you see developing in the US is the fault of provision for such concepts as intellectual property, in fact, along with the creation of legal “entities” (corporations) with rights that directly conflict with those of indidividuals and a slew of other governmental interferences of the disposition of individual rights for “the common good”. It is not, as you seem to believe, in any way the fault of libertarian principles or their application to government”.

          Hmm – sorry, I hadn’t intended to imply that plutocratic oligarchy is a specific outcome of anarcho-capitalism only. I agree that it arises in many different places – I think in general it would arise anywhere that one generation can provide the next with an advantage and that said advantage can be used to influence the organs of government.

          “Your equation of “intellectual property” with “virgin land” certainly bears thinking about, and has far more merit than any other justifications I’ve yet seen, but it strikes me as ethically flawed because it requires a widespread prior restraint violation of individual rights (and, ultimately, of the right of self-determination).”

          Ahem – only if you accept that intellectual property doesn’t exist, or isn’t to be valued as much as real property. I think this is a premise, not a conclusion. If I stated as a premise that the my rights over the works of my mind, which proceed from me directly, are far more important than your rights over a piece of real property, which does not proceed directly from you (as opposed to one that you have actually created yourself, which would be both your intellectual and your real property, and proceed entirely from you), then that would also simply be my premise. Note however that I can cite a previous premise, that of proceeding from me directly, as being a superior source of rights to mere non-expropiate possession. To put it another way, how can you say that the work of my mind is not mine? Without me, it would not exist, whereas a piece of land would. I note that in another post you state that you do not apply copyright to your code, but is that not simply an exercise of your right of self-determination over something that is your property? I cannot deny your right to dispose of your works-of-mind as you wish, just as I cannot argue against your rights over a chair you made yourself (unless you made it out of wood stolen from me, but let’s not go there).

        • #3350215

          15-luv, here’s the serve

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          1. “I can rephrase that as ‘the anarchist will not voluntarily accept any abrogation of this right, the archist believes that it is necessary to do so in order to live socially, and the religious submissive (and perfect communist) values it only to discard it.’ That is, the right remains, but what you do with it, is, by virtue of the right itself, up to you.”

          Agreed, as far as it goes, if by “archist” you mean “authoritarian”. Neither the anarchist nor the religious submissive would, by these terms, disagree philosophically with the valuation of self-determination, which leaves only your authoritarian archist to disagree in effect (if not in principle) with the ethical inviolability of the right of self-determination.

          Note: I suggest “authoritarian” instead of “archist” for the more appropriate term because, strictly speaking, a minarchist is a form of archist (and I’m a minarchist libertarian myself, rather than any type of anarchist in a political sense).

          To continue . . . still assuming we’re talking about people with some grasp on reasonability, let’s examine the hypothetical authoritarian’s position: He believes that, while people have some basic right of self-determination, social interaction gives rise to conflicts that can only be solved by the rule of law, and that rule can only be effective if individual rights are sacrificed to the sanctity of the social order. Thus, authority structures take precedence over individual rights, thus creating a collective right of authority over individuals. Would that be a fair assessment of the situation, from your perspective?

          Assuming that’s the case, new problems arise. For instance, authoritarian power breeds corruption. This occurs not because people are corrupted, but because those with proclivities toward corruption quickly start trying to “game the system” to get a piece of that authoritarian pie. It typically becomes very easy for them, in turn, to corrupt the slightly less corruptible by giving them convenient (and specious) self-justifications to do things they wouldn’t do without some ability to excuse their actions. This then is guided toward self-perpetuating feedback systems that entrench and empower a status quo, such as what has happened with several forms of nanny-state social programs, keeping the “disadvantaged” on the dole so that they’ll be increasingly dependent on the welfare handouts they get from the Democrats for whom they vote. Similar things have happened with corporate subsidies as well, mostly at the hands of the Republicans for whom corporate board members vote.

          In addition to uncountable problems with unexpected growth and entrenchment of authority structures that aren’t limited so that they’re secondary to individual rights, there’s also the issue of the actual state of contention between individual rights and authoritarian government. You can draw a definite line where individual rights stop, but if you say that you can actually violate said rights to some arbitrarily small degree in exchange for some theoretical benefit of social order (which is, ultimately, dependent upon the incorruptibility of the authoritarian government’s officials), you then run into the problem that arbitrary limits can always be revised. As a result, creeping tyranny grows like a fungus as the malleability of the line between rights and authority is consistently tested.

          The “social contract” option then arises, as you point out. First of all, it should be noted that yours was a misuse of the term: the proper use of the term “social contract”, according to its origins (with Rousseau), relies not to an implicit agreement to give up rights, but an agreement to respect the rights of others. More specifically, liberty is increased by limitations on freedoms. A liberty is, in essence, a freedom coupled with responsibility, such that a freedom might be the freedom to swing your fist, but a liberty would be the liberty to swing your fist as long as it doesn’t strike or threaten a disengaged bystander, as Justice Holmes would have it. In other words, the proper philosophical meaning of the term “social contract” is precisely what I’ve already described as part of the procession of ideas that constitute the logical basis for a system of ethics.

          We’ll call what you described a “contract of authority” instead. Yes?

          So. This contract of authority suggests that an individual actually allows some arbitrary amount of violation of individual rights to occur, so long as it is accomplished in the name of the authority structure in place, presumably for the good of society at large. That being the case, then, we run up against a number of objections, first and foremost being that two wrongs do not make a right, and violation of one person’s rights does not constitute proper address of another person’s violation of rights. Second, it can only be justified by positing that the “greater good” must be served, which in essence translates as a numbers game where a positive act is judged on the merits of how much “good” is accomplished as weighted against the “bad” that is also accomplished. This quickly produces an unending slide into dehumanization of individuals as they are regarded as statistical phenomena used to measure the “good” of an act of government, and in any case there’s no way to consider [b]all[/b] factors affecting the right and wrong of an act such that an evaluation of its goodness quotient can be determined before it is enacted. All that can ultimately be determined with any certainty is whether an act is [b]unethical[/b] (meaning, in this case, “possessed of unethical characteristics”) or, by a negative answer to that, ethically acceptable. Thus, one looks at a possible act and determines whether it is directly unethical in any way, disregarding for the moment whether it has the potential to cause good, and if the act is found to be unethical in nature it must be avoided. If it is not, one can then evaluate its “goodness” to determine whether it’s an act worth performing.

          To sum up the spaghetti of that last paragraph: There’s no way to precede a decision with an accurate evaluation of how an act’s unethicality measures against its potential for good effect, and as such taking the attitude that something has a good enough effect to justify direct violations of rights is nothing more than shouting loudly that your next roll of dice will come up snake-eyes without any actual evidence to justify it.

          2. “Personally, I ascribe this to the fact that the majority of people are archists – also, where governments have been founded de novo, legal systems are rarely replaced at the same time.”

          I won’t disagree with that. Your statement coexists nicely with mine about the likely causes of the historical failure to implement a proper, enduring, libertarian sociopolitical order.

          3. “I hadn’t intended to imply that plutocratic oligarchy is a specific outcome of anarcho-capitalism only. I agree that it arises in many different places – I think in general it would arise anywhere that one generation can provide the next with an advantage and that said advantage can be used to influence the organs of government.”

          This is, in fact, one of the dangers of authoritarian government. In fact, in authoritarian governmental structures, the first generation can provide itself with that advantage, and the degeneration of a system into plutocracy can be made a much quicker process. Meanwhile, what I advocate is a [b]strictly minarchist[/b] governmental system, where government’s power is strictly limited and its ability to appropriate power by overregulation of other power-gathering systems is also strictly limited. This includes such things as a prohibition against governmental endorsement and protection of business interests through the granting of legal entity status to concentratiosn of economic power. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, the initial structuring of government should be accomplished with defense against overconcentration of power as its primary aim, aside from ensuring that it doesn’t have the power to violate the rights of individuals. Being an effective governing body comes after these concerns, because “effectiveness” in no way guarantees desirability, and the pursuit of it will almost certainly lead to extreme undesirability.

          4. Rather than quote here, I’ll simply address what you’ve said and trust that the connection is obvious.

          The idea that something proceeding from an individual guarantees that individual’s right over it is an attractive one, to be sure, but it is flawed. While a hunk of wood, for instance, existed before the carpenter, the shape and function he gives it proceed from him. Thus, a chair proceeds from the carpenter. It is, indeed, his, until he sells it or gives it away. At that point, it is no longer his.

          So-called “intellectual property” is the only thing called property that one can sell and keep at the same time. On one hand, the law lets one “sell” it, making money by granting access to others, while still letting one “keep” it by granting power to punish others for doing with their copies as they wish. On the other hand, even if you sell or give away your ideas, you still have them, thus allowing another to have power over the disposition of that “intellectual property” while still retaining the “intellectual property” yourself.

          In neither case does it act like “property”, and regardless of this, the concept of something proceeding from oneself doesn’t affect its transferrability in any way. The real issue here isn’t whether you have a “right” to control it, but rather whether someone else has such a “right” after it has been given or sold to him or her. How can you sell something to someone and not grant that person the right to dispose of it as he or she wishes?

          I don’t know of any justifying example for “proceeded from me” as the basis of rights over something, anyway, discounting “intellectual property”. There just doesn’t seem to be any reason to expect that such is a logically supported concept. Very well, this idea seems to proceed from you, but there is no previous premise that grants that any ethical meaning. It is not a part of you, and thus it is not protected directly by the right of self-determination, and it is not something that can be defended against by interposing yourself between it and another party, thus rendering it unprotected indirectly by the right to be free from initiations of force. Mere awareness of it by others means that it is now irretrievably beyond your direct sphere of influence. You cannot remove it from someone else’s head to reclaim it. It’s gone, and ultimately “it” is not the idea itself but, rather, control over it.

          To address your comparison of ideation with land, directly:
          It is your mind itself that is comparable to your claim over land as property, and not the ideas produced by it. The ideas are more comparable to the use you make of the land. You can sell chairs you’ve made from trees on that land and vegetables you’ve grown in the garden there, but the fertile ground of the land, the plants that grew the vegetables, and the stand of trees at large, all still remain. Those vegetables and chairs are a record of the effort you’ve expended in producing from that land, just as a book is a record of the effort you’ve expended as a thinker and writer. Once you sell or give away either, though, it’s gone. Only your own copy remains, if you created one, or the idea itself, if you haven’t.

          5. “I cannot deny your right to dispose of your works-of-mind as you wish, just as I cannot argue against your rights over a chair you made yourself (unless you made it out of wood stolen from me, but let’s not go there).”

          Note the word “dispose”. That’s the important part. You have disposed of either a chair or a book when you sell it. Now it is in the possession of the next person in line. The record of the ideas that produced both book and chair is there for others to see, and to reproduce if they have the capability. The fact that current technology makes one easier to produce than the other is simply an accident of advancement, as there was a time when a book was far more difficult to reproduce than a chair.

          Once I dispose of the fruits of my labors, they belong to their recipients. They’re gone. C’est la vie. Time to make another.

        • #3351569

          volley…

          by ibis ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          Damn. Posted this in the wrong place, so it appears twice.

          Let’s see where this leads:

          1. my mind = my land (my property).

          2. idea (as ‘pure concept’) = product of the mind (equivalent to, say, a tree as a product of my land)

          NB. not a product in the market sense, but in the sense of something produced. No specific intention to sell/rent etc is implied.

          3. private reified idea (a concept turned into a creative work) = finished product of my land and my effort (same as, say, a chair) used only by me (my chair)

          NB. this is the point at which patent protection would intervene. I can have the idea but I can’t use it in any way or turn it into a finished product. I don’t defend patents in any way and I lobby my MEP to prevent software patents in Europe. Ideally, I would like patent law repealed entirely. Sorry about ‘reified’ – it literally means ‘thing-ified’.

          NB. at this point, there is no ‘awareness’ of the creative work by others. I could destroy it now, and no-one would ever know it had existed. My rights over it remain pristine.

          4. I decide to make a living selling chairs. While I’m only a single artisan, and can only produce a limited number of chairs, I think I will do well because I make damned good chairs – a good design, well executed.

          5. At this point I have a decision to make. Do I sell the chairs to you in an absolute way, so that they become entirely and utterly your property to do with as you wish? Or do I rent you the chair for a limited period, or with specific exceptions to its use? Can I even do that?

          NB. from this point I’m only following option B, the rental. Your points with respect to outright sale are undeniable.

          6. I think I can rent you a chair, so that you enjoy its use but no other rights (rental is, I think, acceptable in the libertarian view). Certainly you may not destroy it, and since, let us say, I’ve stated specifically that you may not copy it, you can’t do that either. Can this be “defended against by interposing yourself between it and another party”? Well, if the ‘it’ is the chair (and in this example, what else can it be), I think the answer is yes.

          NB. note that at this point we’re not dealing with limitations to your rights over your property. I have not transferred any property to you, only a limited use of it. As far as I’m aware, this is allowable even by ancaps in the form of a rental agreement.

          Could I realistically do this with code? Yes, I could if necessary interpose myself between you and my code, physically, so that you could not see it, and you would have to initiate force against me to view it. In fact, let us say that I always ensure my code runs on a server to which only I have access (this is my normal practice in web development with parties untrusted or unknown). To gain access to my code you will have to resort to force or fraud against my server, and by extension, me (if you like, I can run it from my server at home, to leave no loophole). Code, therefore, becomes something that remains my real property – the fact that you always resign your rights in code by selling it in toto (and presumably physically transferring possession of it), whereas I sometimes do and sometimes don’t, is a matter of preference. I guess here you could say that I’m just renting use of the chair, while retaining the chair physically.

          Web-based code, however, is the easiest case here – I can physically protect it, and I do, and it doesn’t in any way impinge on your rights in any case. If I am writing code to be compiled for use on your machine, this is slightly different, but I would say that, as long as it’s clear I am renting use and only use to you, and specifically prohibiting copying beyond the single copy you have now in your possession, then the case can be made. One can disagree by stating that this is not a fair condition, but then you don’t have to agree to it. If you do agree to it, you’re stuck with it. You could say that your physical property rights override the agreement, but again you shouldn’t then enter into it. In short, although this may not be particularly nice (and people will say – hey, it doesn’t cost you anything if I copy this, why should you get to say no?), the catch is your voluntary agreement to the deal. If you agree to the conditions, intending to override it later with other concerns, then you’re initiating use of force or fraud.

          Creative works reified into publicly distributed products such as books are tough. After all, this is where we hit pure ‘intellectual property’ issues – you bought the book, not rented it. But, did anyone say that you couldn’t copy it, or that you had it on the conditions noted for distributed code above (use only, no copying)? Hmm, well, there it is inside the flyleaf, and it’s usually explicit. So again, a book is actually sold to you subject to certain conditions. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the basis of these restrictions (ie that the book contains intellectual property), because you’re at liberty to express that disagreement by not purchasing such a limited-right product. Nor does anyone necessarily force the author or publisher to set such restrictions, or to enforce them. But as long as they do, and you purchased the book subject to the limitations to your rights clearly indicated in the object itself, I don’t think you can object in any very sincere way. In theory, I could ‘sell’ you a book subject to the condition that you prayed to Dagon the Fish God on stipulated nights of the year. If you bought the book, subject to my conditions, and then said that you were a committed Christian and couldn’t carry out my conditions, I would have to say that you acquired something that was originally my property (before you bought it) by initiating fraud against me (by not intending to carry out my conditions of purchase). Your right to self-determination, as you would agree, does not nullify mine. Could I protect my property by “interposing myself between it and another party” if the other party would not agree to my conditions? Yes. In fact the whole question of intellectual property can be bypassed here – Borders could refuse to sell you a book unless you wore purple – Starbucks could refuse to sell you coffee unless you sang a comic song. The ridiculousness of the demand is irrelevant.

          In summary, then, I think that you either have to deny someone the right to make any use of their property that they wish (by renting or selling it under a set of specific conditions), or else you have to accept their right to do so, whether that property is a piece of land or a book. If you deny it, then clearly there are limits to the rights of an individual over their property – that they cannot sell or rent it subject to conditions. If you accept it, then you have to accept that once you have voluntarily entered into this arrangement, you are obliged to respect the provisions of that arrangement, whatever they may be. If you deny that, you once again deny that this is a right that property owners have over their property. Your participation in the abrogation of your rights in a book is voluntary, not forced. If you don’t want to have your rights over a purchase limited, and you don’t wish to initiate force or fraud to obtain the purchase without entering into the agreement, your only option is to refuse the purchase. The question of ‘intellectual property’ is in fact irrelevant to this abrogation. Where am I wrong?

        • #3351568

          an agreeable addendum

          by ibis ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          Well, I’m consistent, at least – posted this one in the wrong place as well.

          “To continue . . . still assuming we’re talking about people with some grasp on reasonability, let’s examine the hypothetical authoritarian’s position: He believes that, while people have some basic right of self-determination, social interaction gives rise to conflicts that can only be solved by the rule of law, and that rule can only be effective if individual rights are sacrificed to the sanctity of the social order. Thus, authority structures take precedence over individual rights, thus creating a collective right of authority over individuals. Would that be a fair assessment of the situation, from your perspective?”

          In fact, I agree with your entire summation here, and have abandoned that line of defence to regroup on the conflict of individual rights as per my main post.

          “You can draw a definite line where individual rights stop, but if you say that you can actually violate said rights to some arbitrarily small degree in exchange for some theoretical benefit of social order (which is, ultimately, dependent upon the incorruptibility of the authoritarian government’s officials), you then run into the problem that arbitrary limits can always be revised. As a result, creeping tyranny grows like a fungus as the malleability of the line between rights and authority is consistently tested.”

          In particular, the last sentence here defines part of my very vague political position – I am opposed to this creeping growth, and the growth of the nanny state. I believe it to be incumbent on every citizen to resist encroachment by the social order on their right of self-determination (I use ‘social order’ rather than government or state because I think that the effects of social conformity can be much stronger than the decrees of government – Ireland, for example, has a lot of ‘dead’ laws, more or less officially recognised as such, that were promulgated by the state and ignored by the people – a good demonstration is to watch people crossing the road here, and realise that we do actually have a law forbidding jaywalking).

        • #3351484

          to: ibis, re: two posts

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to the problem . . .

          I have no points of disagreement with either of your two preceding posts. I have only two things to add:

          The first is that the use contract to which you allude, whereby a customer is agreeing to limited use in exchange for access, must be explicit to be binding. This isn’t because an implicit agreement isn’t valid, but because you can’t ethically enforce an implicit contract since you can’t prove the agreement is clearly understood and accepted by both parties.

          The second is that intellectual property law doesn’t use such a use contract as its justification. It uses “ownership” of ideas after sale of their record, instead. That is not only not an explicit agreement, but avoids the entire concept of an agreement. Without an opportunity for free agreement, one is essentially attempting to force compliance on an unwilling party, and that attempt to initiate force negates any associated rights of the initiating party.

          Give me an end-user license agreement and no intellectual property law, and we’re fine.

        • #3330465

          A VERY good question

          by longbeer ·

          In reply to Now THAT’S a good question

          The nub of the post above I think is the question about the purpose of buying a book.

          Consider: I buy a book (as I do frequently) I do so for the book’s contents. I am paying for the information in the book. I compensate the author(s), publishers, printers, etc for their efforts to get this information to me. If I sell the book once I am done with it, then the next buyer is getting that information without compensating those involved in getting her that information.

          The distinction I am drawing is between the physical book (storage medium) and it’s content (information). There is no REAL difference between the book/text and CD/music or software. It’s the content we pay for.

          I think the real point of this discussion is not invention vs compensation but the system in place to manage and control it.

          Now at first glance I agree with your last paragraph, but having thought about it I’m not so sure. Does the act of creation/invention bring a right of compensation? It sounds too close to Marx’s concept of the value of work for my comfort. I will probably be pondering this all weekend.

          Laurie

        • #3330463

          Cafeteria style

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          Most books I buy stay on my shelf forever. I might lend them out, in which case I can’t refer to them (use them) while they’re gone.

          Some books I just borrow from the library. Some I give away to the library or friends.

          Similarly, software normally stays in my machine until it’s useless. Then I uninstall it.

          Well, you could examine all the offers out there.
          a. some of them allowing you to transfer the property at will if you destroy your copy,
          b. some tell you it’s yours and cannot be transferred later
          c. some promote passing along a copy with limited functionality
          And, each offer could be at a different price.

          So, the answer depends on the offer and your acceptance of that offer.

        • #3347034

          Oh yeah….

          by g.brown ·

          In reply to It’s very simple

          Now that was a bad example.

          I do like Steven King, and just had to have a quick hunt to find this book by him:

          I suppose he was trying to see if enough people would take it up, so he let people download it for free to see how it turned out. But it seems like quite a few people didn’t get to grips with the “interweb” 😉 at the time. Even he preferred a physical book.

          But what will happen in the future with smaller, better devices to read from is anyone’s guess.

          Will We Close the Book on Books?
          BY STEPHEN KING
          From: Visions of the 21st Century
          Time Magazine, June 2000
          Book lovers are the Luddites of the intellectual world. I can no more imagine their giving up the printed page than I can imagine a picture in the New York Post showing the Pope technoboogieing
          the night away in a disco. My adventure in cyberspace (“Riding the Bullet”, available on any computer near you) has confirmed this idea dramatically. My mail and the comments on my website (www.stephenking.com) reflect two things: first, readers enjoyed the story; second, most didn’t like getting it on a screen, where it
          appeared and then disappeared like Aladdin’s genie.
          Books have weight and texture; they make a pleasant presence in the hand. Nothing smells as good as a new book, especially if you get your nose right down in the binding, where you can still catch an acrid tang of the glue. The only thing close is the peppery smell of an old one. The odor of an old book is the odor of history, and for me, the look of a new one is still the look of the future.
          I suspect that the growth of the Internet has actually been something of a boon when it comes to reading: people with more Beanie Babies than books on their shelves spend more time reading than they used to as they surf from site to site. But it’s not a book, dammit, that perfect object that speaks without speaking, needs no batteries and never crashes unless you throw it in the corner. So, yes, there’ll be books. Speaking personally, you can have my gun, but you’ll take my book when you pry my cold, dead fingers off the binding.

          NOT FOR SALE
          This PDF file was created for educational,
          scholarly, and Internet archival use ONLY.
          With utmost respect & courtesy to the
          author, NO money or profit will ever be
          made from this text or it’s distribution.

        • #3334877

          Difference between enjoying and copying

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to support your statements

          Hi,

          Enjoying looking at a mural or music or the sweet functioning of a software program, is totally different to scanning or copying and then distributing to all and sundry, for their use.

        • #3334841

          What about sharing?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Difference between enjoying and copying

          How about if you have friends visiting and you play the music for them? What if you ask for compensation to help defray costs of electricity? What if you get money from someone and use that to buy a CD, with the understanding that this person can come listen to it on your CD player in the future because you have a better CD player but you get to keep the for going to the trouble of ordering the CD and maintaining the CD player? What if they pay you after the fact? What if the person doesn’t have the money to pay for the whole CD at once, and offers to pay a quarter each time he or she listens to it instead?

          There’s no ethical difference between these various scenarios. Ultimately, what you’re talking about is a copyright holder trying to control what you do with something you bought. If you own it, you should be allowed to do what you like with it. If not, you don’t own it. I guess you’d better go give your CDs back to the RIAA now.

        • #3330352

          Me again

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to What about sharing?

          Hi,

          To pick on another of your statements “If you own it, you should be allowed to do what you like with it. If not, you don’t own it.”
          You can. You can use it and let others listen to it. You can burn it, jump on it, use it as a frisby, even give it away.
          What you can’t do is make a copy and then give the copy away.

          Elsewhere you state that once you have sold a piece of software you don’t care what happens. I get the impression that this software is written to a client’s requirements and that you then write it for him, for a fee. This is commission work that satisfies a need, and, unless otherwise agreed, the ownership of the material vests in the commissioner, because he has paid for it.

          Authors and publishers don’t have a commission from the public to produce a book, they do it in the hope that it will sell. No guarantee of any remuneration.

        • #3330278

          Why not?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Me again

          Give me a logically valid explanation of some ethical basis for not making a copy and giving it away. You can give it away, you say. You can make a copy you say. How is it that the copy is less transferable than the original? How is it that I have more rights to the original than I do to something I’ve created? Why is it that something into which I’ve invested time and money (the copy) [b]isn’t mine[/b]?

          A practical definition of ownership requires that I be able to control the disposition of what I own insofar as I can control my own actions. If I can’t dictate the disposition of a given CD, whether original or copied, there are two ways to explain this: either someone else owns the CD, or someone else owns [b]me[/b]. Pick one. Which is it?

          I also write in English, not just in Perl, PHP, Object Pascal, or whatever other language of the day I have in front of me. If I sell a book, a technical reference, an article, or anything else I write in English, I don’t try to dictate what is done with it after the fact without an agreement made in advance. Such things are written and provided under CCD CopyWrite, which allows free distribution and requires that derivative works be released under similar license.

          I’m theoretically in the same boat as the authors and publishers to which you refer (though many of them deal with different materials than I do). Guess what: I still won’t try to extort money from others for something I’ve already sold. Once I put it in someone else’s hands, without an explicit agreement about its disposition, I relinquish rights to it (discounting attribution, as with anything else attributable, since fraudulent claims of origins are another matter entirely). The fact that some authors aren’t working on a commission basis is a sign of a broken profit model, anyway.

          Maybe you aren’t aware of this, but first editions are what make the publishing industry go ’round. If you hold exclusive copyright on something that has already been published, and it’s not a bestseller with fans clamoring for another copy, no publishing house is going to want to publish your book. Publishers want first publication rights, or they won’t buy your work. Once it’s released into the wild, the value of your copyright drops significantly, anyway, unless you’re lucky enough to be Stephen King (or the equivalent) with fifteenth edition royalties coming to you. In other words, you may as well not have a copyright on it anyway, in terms of the likelihood you’ll get paid for a work. If you can sell first publication access to what you’ve written with copyrights, you can do so without.

          By the way, I’m proof there’s a market for originals. I have a lot of books. I have hardcopy printings of books that are available on the web, because sometimes a physical book is just better. Maybe you’re not aware of it, but there are a great many books out there available both for free on the web and for purchase at the bookstore. Swing by the O’Reilly and Associates website some time and have a look around: they have a whole section devoted to freely redistributable books. Somehow, they still manage to sell the things at Barnes and Noble, even though these things are printed under the GNU Free Documentation License (and similar licenses).

        • #3329624

          Ben Franklin would object

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Why not?

          If you owned a picture of Ben Franklin there is an obvious reason for not allowing you to copy it as much as you want and distribute the copies. Copying $100 dollar bills is illegal.

          But, do you know why?

          Copying the original denigrates the value of the original.

          The same is true of intellectual property of all types, especially when the copies give no credit to the author.

        • #3328920

          What the . . . ?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Why not?

          Nobody’s rights get violated when I make copies of something I own, even if it does devalue my original. What possible justification could you have for claiming otherwise? That’s absurd.

          Try again. Try harder. Try something that doesn’t amount to “because I said so” or “because the law says so” (or, worse yet, “because several people say so”).

        • #3349884

          You Don’t Have A RIght to Your Opinion

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Why not?

          It is illegal because:
          it de-values the original property.

          That is why it is illegal for you to copy $100 bills and distribute them. The placing of the copies into circulation denigrates (lowers – it takes more of them to buy something) the value of the original bill you copied from.

          If you owned any real, tangible property and someone did something to de-value that property, you would have a cause of action. Their interference in the value of your property is wrong and actionable.

          In parallel, if someone copies an intangible property, that has some value and distributes them into the marketplace, those copies denigrate the value of the original. When everybody has “I Want You Back,” its value will be at a minimum, since it can be sold only to someone who loses his copy. At that time with so many copies out there, someone may actually give it to a loser for zero. Hence, copying devalues, period. Reducing the value of your property is an interference in your rights.

          For some reason, no matter how many times people explain to you that original thought and creative expression are intangible properties, you just can’t seem to see it. So, according to you own pronoucements, you don’t have a right to your opinion. Once you have expressed it, it no longer belongs to you, right?

          You misquoted Jefferson badly attributing to him Gratis Press instead of Free Press, and won’t even admit it. Face it. Jefferson said your opinion would be built upon by others but it’s still your opinion. He was concerned about intellectual property and how the crown had abused the granting of letters patent for power and money. That’s why he had reservations about reserving rights for authors and inventors, but he nevertheless believed in the power for good of granting rights to original thought.

          What I object to is not the rights but the law concerning who the rights belong to. Automatic assignment was not provided in the Constitution. Large corporations more powerful and richer than many nations were not envisioned as part of the inventive process. They have grown in hegemony to the point they can dictate IP terms. Only a law can stop this by preventing indentured intellectual servitude.

          By contrast, German Patent Law provides that the inventor owns the patent. The employee must notify the company of his invention and the company could take the patent rights but must offer fair compensation for it. No, an employment contract cannot override this. Per Section 22 “The provisions of this Law may not be modified by contract to the detriment of the employee. ”

          Yes, the compensation must be reasonable.
          Section 9 of the law says, “(1) The employee shall have a right to reasonable compensation as against his employer, as soon as the employer has made an unlimited claim to a service invention. ”

          Consideration must be given to the value of the patent (or copyright), the use of company resources and so on “(2) In assessing compensation, due consideration shall in particular be given to the commercial applicability of the service invention, the duties and position of the employee in the enterprise, and the enterprise?s contribution to the invention. ”

          American law does not encourage invention and promote the inventor to his rightful place in the process, but rather puts management in control of inventions and management to decide what is just compensation.

          Do the guys whose names appear on IBM patents and Microsoft patents and so on drive around in BMWs? Why not? Their CEO does.

          On the other hand, the duration of copyright is so long by comparison to a patent (life + 75 years) and most often controlled by corporations, rather than the author, that the law seems to be overly in favor of copyright, rather than patents. Notably, the FBI ‘investigates copying of …’ but does absolutely nothing with respect to infringed inventions.

          These aspects of American law are wrong. Copyright should be only for the life of the author, maximum (although a case for 20 years certain can be made), and patents should be afforded the protection of the FBI if copyrights are. Moreover, just compensation for employees for inventing and authoring should be mandatory. The amount should depend on the value of the patent or work, not the job title of the inventor. Free and clear license might be mandatory under work for hire, and title (ownership) may be questioned if no company resources were involved, though.

          So, yes, there should be IP, but the laws surrounding who it belongs to, how protection is enforced and what is reasonable compensation need to be addressed.

        • #3349855

          my opinion, right or . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Why not?

          It’s not illegal to make copies of $100 bills because it devalues them: it’s illegal because passing off fakes as originals is fraud. That’s why things that look kinda like $100 bills can be used for satirical or marketing purposes, but not as legal tender.

          If someone damages my property, I have ethical cause for legal action. If someone simply makes a duplicate, I don’t. Your arguments are patently (love the pun) absurd. You can’t legislate the laws of supply and demand (without a hefty dose of Denial). If there’s more of something, it’s worth less on the open market. C’est la vie. What do you think inflation, gold prices, and retail price of new technology are about? Does AMD get sued for devaluing the Itanium processor by making equivalent devices and selling them? Heck no, and it’s a good thing, too. Go back to school and learn something about economics before you start trying to concoct such absurd theories about the justifications for your pet laws.

          I have a right to have an opinion of my choosing. I don’t have a right to prevent you from repeating it to others, as long as you don’t do so in a fraudulent fashion.

          I’ve already addressed your mischaracterization of my own use of Jefferson’s statements elsewhere, in response to another post of yours. Have fun with that. I don’t feel obligated to repeat myself endlessly just because you’ve begun obsessing on your latest clever straw man.

          More restricted intellectual property law is certainly an improvement, and I won’t argue against that for obvious reasons, but the fact that Germany’s laws on the matter are in some ways more restrictive provide no additional justification for the ethicality of the premises on which such laws are built.

        • #3335831

          OI t.e.sumner nooooo

          by g.brown ·

          In reply to Why not?

          Well, actually copying money would be called “counterfeiting” only if you try and use it.

          Do you think whenever you see money burning in a film, or flying from a suitcase into the wind … do you think that’s real money. Nope, it’s called fake money. So by your rekoning that would be illegal, they would actually have to use real money, eh?

          Quote:
          “Copying the original denigrates the value of the original.

          The same is true of intellectual property of all types, especially when the copies give no credit to the author.”

          So, how do you explain open source, creative commons, gpl, copyleft to name a few.

          If giving stuff away doesn’t do anything why do they exist?

        • #3335632

          Actually it is illegal.

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to Why not?

          You CAN’T COPY money for ANY reason. Movies have an exception, it is simply scrip that appears to look like USD. They apply to a government approved copy service to get the notes and they require authorization from the government, you used to be able to download the copy request form fromParamount’s site but it’s been a few years since I’ve been there, had to once for a video shoot in San Diego.

          Remember when Canon came out with that wild color copier a few years back (in the $40K range). You needed government clearance to buy one, it is subject to RANDOM inspections and you cannot clear the copy log. They found that you could copy money FAR too easily with it and the government’s tried to stop it’s release to the public.

          It is also illegal to deface, draw faces on your money, though everyone has seen the Queen’s moustache on our money by now or other scribble or numbers jotted down on it.

          “The law states that scratching, marking or otherwise defacing coins such that it is unrecognizable, is illegal; so when you take a penny and put in in those machines that squish the penny and mark it with a picture or something, that’s breaking the law. As such, if you apply the law to notes, if you were to colour it completely black that would be breaking the law as well (of course, you’d also be a twit as you’d be out the face value of note).”

          Canadian law is a bit old and hard to enforce in this case, it was designed to protect coins but as dollars are considered currency the same applies there as well. Yet these laws are not enforced and I don’t think anyone sits in jail for writing some girls phone number on a $20 (maybe for HANDING her $20 though).

          So scribble away, DON’T PHOTOCOPY it, flatten your penny at Disneyland and do so without fear of repercussion, BUT, there technically IS a law to prevent it. I would assume like many Canadian laws, unenforced but handy when they need to press charges on a related incident.

      • #3330488

        Straight from a Stephen King story

        by t.e.sumner9 ·

        In reply to Big difference between copyright and patent

        Interesting point that by not protecting databases for example that we as society would benefit from the proliferation of variants all copied from the original.

        Why would not the same benefits inure to society by allowing authors to rewrite Stephen King’s books, one with a twist at the end, one with a twist in the middle, one with both, and so on? Wouldn’t we “benefit” from such plagiarism? Why is it good for software and bad for text?

        Copyrighting something does not get it adopted by users. Both patents and copyrights offer the exact same type of protection with differences in the protection periods, the method for filing and the means to enforce the license. Yes, the FBI investigates charges of copyright violation and no one does the same for patent infringement.

        Copyrights last life of author plus 75 years. Patents last 20 years from filing. Filing for copyright is just sending the document to Washington. Filing for a patent requires an expert, costs 100 times as much, and takes years to be approved. Enforcement of a copyright is as simple as calling the FBI. Enforcement of a patent requires a lawyer and lots of bucks. Which of these processes sounds like it does what you want?

        A hundred years ago storing binary information in Babbage-like machines would have been truly revolutionary and worthy of a patent. Today in retrospect by several generations, it seems ‘obvious’ based on what we know now. Each generation builds on the accomplishments of the previous ones – that’s progress.

        • #3349791

          Apotheon mistake

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to Straight from a Stephen King story

          Your example of ‘copying’ an intel processor is not correct. AMD did NOT copy an intel processor, they created an equivalent that is different internally. That is the whole crux of this, exact copying is deemed bad by society but extraction of the ideas is OK.

    • #3335301

      The Bottom Line

      by jdmercha ·

      In reply to Should Intellectual Property Exist?

      If ideas were not patentable or copywritable, many a researcher would loose the incentive to conduct research. Technological advances would slow to a halt.

      Sure there are a handful of idealists who would continue to conduct research. But the billions spent by companies in the hopes of recovering their investment with a patent, would be gone.

      • #3334073

        nonsense

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to The Bottom Line

        There are a number of ideas and practical proofs of concept that make what you’ve said ludicrous, and obviously so: free and open source software, for instance, involves hundreds of thousands of people putting their time and energy into generating code that is distributed freely. Wikipedia involves tens of thousands of writers adding to a central store of human knowledge. Einstein, Newton, Galileo, and countless others have contributed to the field of scientific knowledge without expecting any recompense (and, in some cases, actually being persecuted for their work).

        Far from advances coming “to a halt”, removing the fetters would free researchers to pursue their ideas. The Digital Millenium Copyright Act has been used to [b]suppress[/b] research, and it’s the biggest piece of “intellectual property” protection legislation in recent memory.

        Most tangible technological advances come from two sources: military research and schools. Maybe you should familiarize yourself with some of what’s going on in scientific circles before you start making up lies about what will happen to research if nobody gets to extort money from the innocent.

        • #3334043

          Intellectual Property is an asset

          by erich1010 ·

          In reply to nonsense

          There are many companies which would be out of business if they weren’t allowed to profit from the ideas they come up with. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with profitting from your own ideas.

          Open Source is a poor example. Name one Linux company that isn’t having financial problems. There is a place for open source software, but it is mostly as an alternative to corporate products. The only incentive that people have for adding to open source is dissatisfaction with what is commercially available, either because it doesn’t do exactly what they want or it costs too much.

          Let me use an analogy… I like spaghetti. There are two ways I can get spaghetti. I can buy it, or I can make it. If I buy it, I’ll get a decent spaghetti that is convenient, but costs more. If I make it, I’ll get a spaghetti that might be better or worse, depending on my ability to cook, but it may cost less. Open source is like home-made spaghetti. Microsoft is like Chef Boyardee. There is a place for both.

          If I come up with a widget and try to put it to market, how unfair would it be if Megacorp sees my idea and suddenly creates a few billion of them? There is practically no difference between a software program and a machine. When a person patents an idea, they are claiming ownership to a piece of information. They can leverage that ownership to make a profit from that information. This is a good thing. People should be able to make profits from their work. Making money is NOT a bad thing. It’s what keeps people incented to work.

          Even when you have a government fully behind the idea of common ownership of all property, it doesn’t work. The USSR proved that.

        • #3333894

          not really

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Intellectual Property is an asset

          “Intellectual property” isn’t an “asset”, no matter how many times you say it. Repeating yourself doesn’t make what you say any more true.

          No company gets to stay in business if it can’t earn its place in business. The pervasive belief that people are “owed” some kind of recompense for something they’re no longer doing is the only thing keeping many businesses afloat, which artificially skews the market and keeps honestly innovative companies from succeeding. Check out the software patent drama in Europe for an example.

          I haven’t been watching the stock prices on publicly traded Linux vendors. Last I checked, Novell/SuSE seemed to be doing well, what with all of Munich’s municiple systems switching from Windows to SuSE Linux. It’s odd that you seem to equate all of FOSS with Linux, though: have you noticed how well Mozilla is doing? I’m under the impression that Progeny is doing well, as a Linux and FOSS services company. IBM, actually, is going like gangbusters with its Linux endeavors. EmperorLinux seems to be turning a tidy profit.

          Your very short-range view of what makes the FOSS community tick is indicative of your existence outside of it. I write free and open source software and one of my two jobs is for a nonprofit organization that manages one of the highest-traffic websites in existence, all run on Fedora Core Linux.

          FOSS is more like a good potluck that’s open 24/7. You can show up and just eat, or you can cook and contribute. Because everybody that cooks and contributes makes enough for several people at least, there’s always enough to go around, even though a lot of people aren’t contributing any food. Because people are using homecooking recipes, the food is a lot better than what you’d get out of a can. You can pay if you want to, perhaps to get someone to bring your food to your table and serve drinks to you (since some enterprising individuals are sure to start doing that at a 24/7 potluck, eventually), but if you’re willing to serve yourself you don’t have to; with Chef Boyardee, you are forced to pay to get the canned food, you’re forced to do at least minimal cooking yourself unless you want to just eat it cold and straight out of the can, and you’re guaranteed to get something that tastes like ass.

          Sure, there’s a place for both, but even Chef Boyardee isn’t trying to drive a potluck out of business by claiming they’ve patented sauce of a particular shade of red.

          Of course making money isn’t a bad thing. Extorting money is. Nobody has a “right” to my money just because they created something six years ago. If you want my money, provide value. I’ll pay for value. I won’t pay for something no better than the free stuff, though, and in fact I’d rather write my own than use a lot of the junk out there being sold as a product (and I sometimes [b]do[/b] write my own).

          I never said anything about “common ownership of all property”. I’m a dyed-in-the-wool free market capitalist. The key phrase there is “free market”, though, which means nobody gets to point a gun at my head and claim they own its contents.

        • #3330094

          Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Intellectual Property is an asset

          So, since I work for the government, which is, of course “of the people, by the people, and for the people”, and I have a truly innovative idea while on the clock, is it mine? the government’s? “public” domain?

        • #3331499

          one guess

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          Here’s a hint: If you’re working for a pharmaceutical company, the idea belongs to your corporate masters.

        • #3331441

          Employee Idea

          by garnerl ·

          In reply to one guess

          “… the idea belongs to your corporate masters.”

          As it should, assuming that the idea comes out of your employment with them. In the case of the government, I’d lean toward public domain barring any intelligence or security ramifications.

        • #3330640

          True . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Employee Idea

          . . . assuming you accept the legitimacy of intellectual property law.

        • #3330662

          For the most part

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to one guess

          Different companies have different rules for different occupations. Engineers and scientists usually have to sign away there patent rights to the company, but I doubt that a mail clerk has to sign that same paper.

        • #3330641

          exactly

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to For the most part

          Apply to government.

        • #3330596

          Eaton example

          by jcitizen ·

          In reply to For the most part

          AT Eaton the worker on the shop floor can invent a product and with his signoff Engineer share a patent and royalty on the sale of such product. This has led to a hugh reduction in R&D costs and made EVERYONE happy! Eaton no longer needs hugh design and developement centers and the poor guy on the shop floor gets a good stipend for his trouble. Perhaps this should be the future model for all industry!

        • #3334038

          even they

          by jaqui ·

          In reply to nonsense

          copyright the code.

          patents on software I don’t agree with.
          copyrights on the code I do.

          that, far more so than the gnu-gpl, is what has legal standing to stop someone from selling the application and claiming it as thier own.
          ( proof of original code copyright date will always be sufficient. )

          not that there has been any attempts, that I know of, to do that. it’s the basis for all eula and software licenses.

        • #3329620

          Certain Software Patents Make Cents

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to even they

          In general I have to agree that copyrighting software is most appropriate. But there are rare cases that a patent might be warranted.

          A long time ago one of the programmers built a table that was inline to the code and consisted of no-op codes all catenated. Each NOP used a single machine cycle. His program calculated a necessary offset to synchronize processes by jumping execution into the NOP field at a particular point and then falling through the table a precise number of cycles. It was clever. I think it deserved a patent.

          But examples of patentable code are rare, I believe, compared to the vast amount of software out there.

        • #3333978

          More lies!

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to nonsense

          “Maybe you should familiarize yourself with some of what’s going on in scientific circles before you start making up lies about what will happen to research if nobody gets to extort money from the innocent.”
          Maybe you should ask if I am familiar with research. Since I work at a major research University, I’d say I’m quite familiar with it.

          “Einstein, Newton, Galileo, and countless others have contributed to the field of scientific knowledge without expecting any recompense (and, in some cases, actually being persecuted for their work).”

          Bad examples. These are people who were specifically paid to do research. They expected to get paid for their research. They were not doing it in their spare time, while they worked at their real jobs.

          “Most tangible technological advances come from two sources: military research and schools.”
          That is true, because these researches expect to profit from it.

          All you have to look at is a comparison of Capitolist and Communist countries. Nearly all ground-breaking research is done in capitolist countries, where the researchers are rewarded for their efforts.

        • #3333938

          Actually

          by tony hopkinson ·

          In reply to More lies!

          there was a good deal of very high grade research to come out of the USSR, those who came up with it were rewarded, though occasionally it was with a winter holiday in siberia if they were foolish enough to tell an american about it.
          LOL

        • #3333891

          badly misguided

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to More lies!

          If you think trying to call me a communist is going to get you anywhere, you’re sadly mistaken. You probably look like a soviet propagandist compared to me. I’m about as free-market capitalist as you can get without actually being an anarcho-capitalist. In point of fact, I’m a libertarian minarchist: if it doesn’t involve force or fraud, it shouldn’t be prohibited by law. So-called “intellectual property” law is, by and large, threat and application of force to leverage market dominance to eke maximum profits out of minimum contribution. Microsoft has pretty much led the pack in that area, making obscene profits by subtracting value from the market, and most of what they do is predicated upon extortionary monopolistic tactics that wouldn’t be possible without copyright and patent law.

          Are you really so far out in left field that you don’t know how modern theories of physics came about? I suppose you didn’t hear all the stories about Albert Einstein conceiving of the general theory of relativity [b]while working as a clerk[/b]. Yes, he was later paid to do research, but he got his start by brainstorming while at his day job, which had nothing to do with scientific research.

          He parlayed something he did without expectation of remuneration into a paying gig, because people recognized his value and wanted to keep him fed. He didn’t patent relativity and try to sell it. Hell, it wasn’t even marketable.

        • #3333772

          My first thought…

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to badly misguided

          was that you were a liberal democrat.

          But anyway I would agree with you in a perfect world. But we do not live in a perfect world. As several other posts have pointed out, money makes the world go round. I would agree that it shouldn’t, but in reality it does.

          Given that, most research is motivated by money. The average research professor, makes more money on research than they get in salary. Have you seen the movie Real Genius? That portrayal of a college professor is not far off the mark. Without the money, most eould not do research.

          They get paid a decent salary from their College, but most could get paid more if they worked in industry. But at a research institution they are only expected to work 10-20 hours per week teaching, and only 30 weeks per year. They are also expected to do research. And from the research grants they receive, they pay themselves fisrt. Then they pay graduate students to do the research.

          Sometimes they release the intelectual property to the world for free and sometimes they do not. If they have a patentable idea the institution patents it and shares the royalties with the professor.

        • #3335040

          ridiculous

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to My first thought…

          Money is a means of keeping score. Nothing more. Money isn’t what makes the world go ’round: wealth, production, and value do. Those who focus on the capital, rather than the valuables, are doing it wrong. It has nothing to do with a “perfect world” and, what you seem to be missing, is the fact that it’s entirely possible to make a living without using extortionary “intellectual property” protection rackets to squeeze blood from a stone.

          Ultimately, all this discussion of what would or would not work is moot, anyway. It is [b]unethical[/b] to make your living by attempting to control the disposition of other people’s stores of knowledge. I have no right to the contents of your brain, and you have no right to the contents of mine. It’s that simple. Information is “free” because the moment it leaves your possession it is no longer yours.

        • #3334873

          Crap

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to ridiculous

          Hi,

          In your posts you are taking the attitude that someone is pointing a gun at your head and say “you can’t use what you know”. Of course you can, and no one is going to get uptight about it.
          You can go and look at anything and work out how its made and go and make one for yourself, ie use what you know. But, and here is the crunch, if you take what you see and just copy it and make it available to others you and expect to be allowed to do this, then you are the one holding a gun to someone elses head and saying “I’m allowed to use what you know for my ends”

        • #3334840

          poppycock

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to ridiculous

          Yes, someone’s holding a gun to my head. If I happen to have an eiditic memory and end up accidentally memorizing a copyrighted haiku, I’m suddenly constrained from passing that haiku on to others. There’s now someone pointing a metaphorical gun at my head and telling me what I am and am not allowed to do with the contents of my own brain.

          Every time I view a webpage, there’s a copy of the copyrighted code on that page resident on my computer. If I duplicate my hard drive as a drive image on another digital recording medium, I’ve just created an illegal duplicate. I now have someone holding a gun to my head and telling me I’m not allowed to sell used backup tapes to others because they have copyrighted material on them.

          I’m not telling anyone that I get to use what’s in their heads however I like. What’s in their heads is theirs. What’s in my head is mine. I don’t go around downloading data from other people’s brains against their will, and if I make copies from my memory it doesn’t affect what exists in your own. When someone gives or sells me a copy, it’s mine, ethically. That’s all there is to it.

        • #3330086

          Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to ridiculous

          Kinda like a cold. You can give it to someone, yet still have it 🙂

        • #3334947

          What if it was your Intellectual Property??

          by caestelle ·

          In reply to My first thought…

          For anyone who thinks that intellectual property should not be able to be copyrighted…..Just think for a moment if you were in a position to profit from your “Intellectual Property” by copyrighting it, would you not do it?? Just a thought

        • #3334912

          So what?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to What if it was your Intellectual Property??

          1. I am in a position to profit from my “intellectual property”. I choose to do so by other means than extortion.

          2. Even if the only way to make money off what I wrote was to enforce strict copyright, I still wouldn’t do it, because that would be highly unethical.

        • #3330084

          Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to What if it was your Intellectual Property??

          The original idea of copywriting, I think, was to protect art. It just doesn’t work right with “intellectual property”. There are just too many smart people in the world that can come up with the same idea independently.

        • #3330083

          Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to What if it was your Intellectual Property??

          The original idea of copywriting, I think, was to protect art. It just doesn’t work right with “intellectual property”. There are just too many smart people in the world that can come up with the same idea independently.

        • #3330030

          The first U.S. copyrights.

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to What if it was your Intellectual Property??

          .
          The first U.S. Copyright Act was to protect books, maps and other similar and original materials.

          “….the author and authors of any map, chart, book or books already printed within these United States, being a citizen or citizens thereof….shall have the sole right and liberty of printing, reprinting, publishing and vending such map, chart, book or books….”

          It was signed by George Washington on May 31, 1790

        • #3329618

          Sew, sew what you reap

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to What if it was your Intellectual Property??

          How exactly do you believe you will profit when you don’t have a copyright to enforce and prevent others from taking your work?

          It might have taken months for you to write the software and the first guy you sell it to for $30 posts it on his website for free download.

          Oh, maybe you’ll be like the hotel owner in Las Vegas who rents rooms for $1M a night — he needs only 1 customer.

          Reality is that software developers create things with the intention (damn that word) of selling it to multiple buyers. It’s like the sharing Apotheon talked about before. The developer may have worked late every night for 6 months. Doesn’t he deserve to sell his efforts at the price he wants. If he says each copy is $50 or $50M, that’s his call. In the user documentation it says not to sell it or copy for others. Stealing it for free or providing free copies to others is just wrong.

        • #3330339

          Not only…

          by liame ·

          In reply to badly misguided

          Not only was good ole Albert working as a clerk when he did his most ground breaking work, he was working as a clerk in a PATENT OFFICE.

          Finally some good can be proven to have come from patents. It kept a roof over Einstein’s head and food on his table while he was changing the world.

        • #3330277

          indeed

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Not only…

          It’s the only real good patents have done, I suppose.

          . . . though I’m sure he could have gotten a job somewhere else. Where one industry exists because of the existence of patents (the patent office itself being a monopolistic industry by definition), another (probably less monopolized) industry would surely exist with the different profit models necessary in the absence of patents.

        • #3333937

          Einstein, Newton, and Galileo

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to nonsense

          .
          Albert Einstein was very well paid relative to the value of the dollar of that day. And comparing to contributions of Newton and Galileo to today’s world is rather meaningless; it’s an entirely different world. Besides, I don’t think Newton would ever be granted a patent on gravity, not even today. (Unless, of course, he had a dang good patent lawyer!)

        • #3333923

          Part of the problem…

          by mrafrohead ·

          In reply to Einstein, Newton, and Galileo

          “(Unless, of course, he had a dang good patent lawyer!)” + “it’s an entirely different world”

          Those two things above are true. And that is the problem right there…

          We are in a world of GREED!

          $$$ is what makes this world go round, and it is NOT the answer.

          I’m sure your wallet disagrees with that I am saying, I know mine sure as shit does, but my heart tells me otherwise.

          There is no need to have IP on something. You should share it so that yourself and your fellow man can advance further in life.

          It sickens me to think that we will be hung up on petty things like cold fusion and other fantastic things of the like because some selfish people are more worried about the “rights” to it.

          It should the the right of all people to have access to these intellectual advancements. Whether you like it or not, we are all the same, and we all work together. It’s time for the people of the world to stop being so selfish and start giving instead of just taking.

        • #3335144

          Part of YOUR problem

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Part of the problem…

          .
          You suggest that greed is the same as self-interest. It’s not.

          You suggest that “$$$…making the world go round” is “not the answer”. Yes it is.

          Go ahead, help your fellow man advance in life all you want. But don’t presume to tell others to live by your standards.

          Get off your high-horse presuming to tell other people to “work together” and all that crap. (Throwing up, right now.)

          And you – you are starting to look very weird. On one hand you spout off about how virus writers should be given a free pass. But on the other hand you suggest that people who write software to combat it should also give their time for free. If you want to work for free, knock yourself out. But don’t judge others for not wanting to. (Gee, can’t we just all get along? – Gag me.)

        • #3333890

          that’s my point

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Einstein, Newton, and Galileo

          Newton and Galileo were brilliant, and they used their brilliance. They didn’t do it because they expected to get paid: they did it because that’s what they wanted to do. The same is true of Einstein, and when Einstein got started he was working as a clerk, not a scientist. It was only after relativity that people started wanting to pay him for his brilliance.

          The truth of the matter is that there are two types of people doing research: there are those who will do the research whether paid or not, but who think it’s neat that they can get paid for what they’d do anyway, and there are those who just follow orders for money. Sure, getting paid certainly makes it easier to do research, but it’s not a necessity, and it’s not the motivation that drives those who really innovate.

          I’m not saying people shouldn’t get paid for their work. Far from it. I’m just saying they shouldn’t be able to extort money for what happens long after their work is done.

        • #3335130

          I think you have it backwards

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to that’s my point

          .
          It sounds as though you are suggesting that people follow the money to find success, and I disagree. Most successful people follow their passion, and the money just happens as a result.

          Quite frankly, I’m sick of people who think anything money-related or wealth-related is a bad thing. It’s not a bad thing. And the people who judge others just because they’ve achieved a certain level of financial success are, in my opinion, the ones with the real problem.

        • #3335038

          What?!

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to I think you have it backwards

          I just got finished saying that people follow their passions. You’ve been arguing that people follow the money, and thus the money must be provided through use of extortionary means like patents and copyrights or they won’t innovate.

          If you think I’m saying money is a bad thing, by the way, you haven’t been paying attention. As I’ve said before, I’m a free market capitalist, through and through.

        • #3334904

          Return to GO

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to What?!

          .
          This discussion was opened with the simple question, “Should Intellectual Property Exist?”

          You were the first to answer with a “big fat no”.

          If there’s something about your answer that I missed, I believe the onus would be on you, not me to explain. Moreover, you went on to say that you “don’t see anything ethically wrong with trading MP3s”. Well I do see something wrong with it because it’s tantamount to stealing someone’s intellectual property without paying for the right — a right you don’t think a person should have in the first place based on your “big fat no” answer. And when I posted my message that stated people do indeed have a right to (and a right to be paid for) their own intellectual property, you replied with “nonsense”.

          Now granted, in subsequent messages, various tangents were taken, but it sounds as though your premise was pretty well established.

          And you have indeed said before that you’re “a free market capitalist, through and through.”

          So why the apparent contradiction?

          And what am I missing here? (And I don’t care what YOU do with YOUR intellectual property; the initial question is much broader in scope.)

        • #3334836

          no contradictions in what I’ve said

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to What?!

          I’m a free market capitalist.

          I don’t recognize intellectual property as ethical (intellect isn’t property), just as I don’t recognize human property as ethical (humans aren’t property). You can own a CD, or a book, or a computer, but the ideas encoded within these things are just that: ideas. They’re not property.

          If you can make money off ideas, go for it, but don’t use the government to declare those ideas property and make money off your alliance with a greater force of arms. What it boils down to is this: You can ethically defend physical property because you can place yourself between others and that property, and defend yourself. If you loan it out, it’s still yours because an agreement is in place, and to violate that agreement is to engage in fraudulent behavior. Ideas don’t work that way, though, and there’s no basis in defense of the proprietary nature of an idea by way of self-defense. It’s not property because it’s not something physically defended. “Intellectual property” can only be defended by going to others who have it and threatening them.

          Contractual obligations to refrain from disclosing it are roughly equivalent to loaning out a physical object such as, for instance, a chair. If someone borrows your chair and sells it to another person, that’s effectively theft. If someone borrows it, makes a copy, and gives the original back, [b]that’s not theft[/b]. The same is true of ideas: all you can really loan out is the physical medium. The idea is non-reclaimable, and there’s no ethical justification for prohibitions of duplication.

        • #3330251

          apotheon – no wonder you’ve been saying “nonsense”

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to What?!

          .
          Because that’s exactly what you’re spewing.

          If you make a copy of a CD, it is indeed theft, both legally and ethically, unless you purchased whatever is contained on that CD in a different form, and your copy is to keep and use yourself. You may not like it, and you may disagree, but that’s the way it is – and I disagree with you. Legally speaking, you are wrong, there’s no question about it; but what makes you ethically correct and me ethically incorrect?

          If I put something that I created on a CD, whether it be music or a book or photographs or computer code or software or anything else, and if I intend to sell those CDs, you have absolutely no right to deny me that opportunity by buying one, making copies, and distributing them on your own terms. The unmitigated gall of such an attitude is absolutely disgusting to me. And that is indeed theft, my friend; and that is anything BUT being “a good capitalist” – and that is where you are contradicting yourself.

          And your chair analogy is either silly or too narrow in scope. Not all chairs are created equal. Go ahead and create all the chair designs you can possibly conceive, and build your chairs based on your design. But if you “copy” my UNIQUE design for a chair that also slices and dices and mows the lawn, and/or sell your chair using my name, that is also denying me the right to market my product. You would be STEALING my design.

          Taking your silly analogies one step further, you must also condone “borrowing” someone’s copy of the James Michener book, Texas, copying it either electronically or by hand, reprinting it with your own resources, maybe even claiming yourself as the author, and selling it as YOUR BOOK. After all, that book is no more than a representation of Michener’s “ideas”. And, as you said, “The idea is non-reclaimable, and there’s no ethical justification for prohibitions of duplication”.

          Yep, you are indeed the one spewing nonsense.

        • #3330209

          no logical support at all

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to What?!

          Let me get this straight:

          I’m “spewing” nonsense because you say so.

          Making a copy of a CD is “theft” in an ethical sense just because it’s theft in a legal sense.

          I don’t have a right to copy what I’ve purchased because you want to make more money.

          I’m contradicting myself because I disagree with you.

          My chair analogy is too narrow in scope because you say so (sorry, I really couldn’t find any better explanation than that in your post, unless this is a duplicate of the “because you want to make money” thing).

          That paragraph about [u]Texas[/u] is so far out there it’s not even worth addressing.

          If there are more substantive explanations for these apparently flatulent opinions of yours, please pass them along, but you certainly haven’t provided any. In the meantime, you asked a direct question: “but what makes you ethically correct and me ethically incorrect?”

          Aside from the fact that I’m the only one that has been offering logically valid supporting arguments for the ethicality of my position all along, there’s the simple fact that you can’t very well ethically call me a thief without some evidence that a crime is committed. If I copy a CD and sell the copy, that’s certainly provable as a crime by US copyright law, but I have yet to see a logically valid argument from anyone (including you) that makes it a crime ethically. Trying to appeal to my pity for the poor widdle artist’s desire to make a buck doesn’t work: it’s irrelevant to the question of the ethicality of his methods.

          By the way, I never under any circumstances indicated that there was anything okay with marketing anything under someone else’s name without permission. That’s dishonest, and falls under the heading of “fraud”. This is one reason that it’s useful to distinguish between types of intellectual property law: trademark actually has some logically valid ethical basis, because fraud constitutes a form of initiation of force (keep in mind that “force” and “violence” are not necessarily synonymous).

        • #3330206

          What is ethical

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to What?!

          If you invest your own time and money to create a product that you can sell in order to make a living, is it ethical for the first person you sell it to to make a copy and provide it free to the world, thereby denying you the ability to recover your investment?

        • #3330201

          apotheon – Play your games by yourself

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to What?!

          .
          Your “because you say so” retort is disingenuous and stupid, and most likely a result of your inability to offer a reasonable rebuttal to my message.

          The bottom line is this:

          If I create something and put it in digital form to sell, you believe it’s perfectly ethical and should be legal to make digital copies of that product for yourself to further distribute however you see fit. I don’t believe it should be legal, and it’s not legal, nor do I believe it’s ethical.

          You believe that you have a right to take something created by someone else, and I don’t.

          It’s obvious that we live by a different set of ethics. Unfortunately, your “ethics” (or lack thereof) trample on the individual rights of others, while my “ethics” do not.

          I’m not going to play your silly word games, but rather simply agree to disagree. You’re beginning to be an enormous waste of my time and effort.

        • #3330170

          maxwell and jdmercha, in no particular order

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to What?!

          jdmercha: “If you invest your own time and money to create a product that you can sell in order to make a living, is it ethical for the first person you sell it to to make a copy and provide it free to the world, thereby denying you the ability to recover your investment?”

          Yes. Sure. Why not? Give me a reason why not, other than “‘Cause I was EXPECTING MONEY!” If you make bad business decisions, I don’t owe you the courtesy of also making bad business decisions to give you an opprotunity to recover your investment.

          ———-

          maxwell: “You believe that you have a right to take something created by someone else, and I don’t.”

          Let’s not misrepresent the facts. It would be more accurate to say that I believe that I have the right to distribute what I have come to possess by ethical means, and you don’t. I’m not taking it from you. Not only am I not stealing the physical recording medium (I’m buying it or being given it), but I am not depriving you of the data over which you’re claiming ownership. I’m just creating more copies of it.

          Your argument, so far, consists of avoiding logical support and misrepresenting my beliefs. I don’t believe it’s okay to take something from someone, but I don’t believe it’s okay to give something to others then demand that they not use it how they see fit, either.

          Your conception of individual rights is only enforceable at the point of a gun, while mine involves no violence, fraud, or threat to occur at all. Until you can solve that little problem with copyright and patent law, I will utterly reject both as unethical.

        • #3330127

          apotheon – you’re mincing words, but I’ll play along (for now)

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to What?!

          .
          You said, “It would be more accurate to say that (you) believe that (you) have the right to distribute what (you) have come to possess by ethical means”.

          Okay, fine and dandy. Those are your words, not mine. Now consider that you “have come to possess by ethical means” both a hardcover book and a digital book (and yes, they do indeed exist) of James Michener’s Texas. You then decide to copy the book, and distribute it to others however you see fit. Which book did you copy? Well, the copy medium doesn’t matter. Or are you suggesting that it does matter?

          If you buy the __________ version of a book and you subsequently make a __________ copy of that book, whether you give it away or sell it, it’s tantamount to stealing from the person who owns the rights to distribute that book.

          That’s about as “logical” as I can put it, but yet you insist on suggesting that I’m not being logical. But your word games continue.

          And just because a thief doesn’t call it theft, it doesn’t mean it isn’t thievery.

          Even the most heinous criminals find ways to justify their actions, so people who steal digital books, digital music or digital software are probably no different.

          Justify it all you want, but this guy ain’t buying it.

        • #3331570

          Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to What?!

          You are entitled to compensation for the energy you expend while working, whether that energy be expended mentally or physically. The amount of that compensation is between you and whoever is paying you, but it can only be collected once. Asking for compensation twice for the same work is unethical.

        • #3331487

          Mincing?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to What?!

          The only thing I’m doing with words is removing pejorative bias from whence it doesn’t belong.

          No, the medium doesn’t matter. I don’t see how that has anything at all to do with the idea of whether or not copying is stealing, though. You make some kind of vague statement about whether or not copying from one medium to another, or copying within the same medium, is theft, then you go on to say that copying from unknown medium to unknown medium is theft, and nowhere in there do you build a logical argument.

          Why is it theft? Do you have any support for your statements at all other than “because it’s illegal”?

          You still haven’t addressed a single thing I’ve said other than the conclusion itself, which means you haven’t addressed any of my arguments and support. You haven’t addressed, for instance, the fact that by copying something I’m not taking anything from you: I am neither depriving you of the ideas nor stealing the physical recording medium. Let’s start with just one argument. Let’s start with that one. Can you refute that one statement? Can you give an argument that logically supports the idea that it’s theft despite the fact that you still possess anything you haven’t sold if I copy what I’ve purchased?

          As adunlap said, it’s like a cold: even if you give it to someone, you still have it yourself, as well. In other words, it’s not property because it can’t be transferred in full.

        • #3331437

          apotheon – Of course I’ve addressed what you said. . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to What?!

          .
          …but you just don’t want to recognize it.

          Why is it theft, you ask, other than “because it’s illegal”? Well, that’s exactly why it’s theft — because IT IS illegal. Moreover, I believe it’s also unethical by denying someone else the right to something to which he’s entitled. You are literally denying someone his or her right to earn a living.

          Consider this: Bob writes a ___________ . And it doesn’t matter what it is. It could be a piece of music, a book, or some software. Let’s say it’s a book.

          He spends a year of his time and effort, applying the education that he’s invested in, and has spent the last year of his life in seclusion to write the next great American novel. The book sells for about 25 bucks, and for argument’s sake, let’s just take the publishers out of the picture. It ends up being a great book, so he starts to sell it.

          If we take your argument and adunlap@…’s argument to a logical (but extreme) conclusion, Bob would sell his book — for $25 — to Brian. But the next guy, George, won’t buy the book because he can just get a copy that Brian made. And Paul won’t buy the book because George will make him a copy. And John won’t buy the book because Paul will make him a copy. And then Paul makes a copy for Mick. Mick makes a copy for Richard. Richard makes a copy for Mary. Mary makes a copy for Linda. Linda makes a copy for………and on it goes. And in the end, Bob, who wrote the book in the first place, sold only one copy for $25 bucks. What a lousy return for spending years of his life to write it.

          And in the case of a musician who created a music CD, he doesn’t just create that CD out of the blue. He spends years of his life earning absolutely nothing, learning how to play and sing, touring and playing for free in front of people, honing his skills, all to finally achieve a certain level of greatness so that people will actually pay to hear his music on a CD.

          He didn’t invest all those years of his life to sell just one CD so people could just make a copy and pass it on in some sort of pyramid scheme where 1 illegal copy turns into 2, which turns into 4, which turns into 8, which turns into 16, which turns into 32, which turns into 64, which turns into 128, which turns into 256, which turns into 512, which turns into 1024, which turns into 2048, which turns into 4096, which turns into 8192, which turns into 16384, which turns into 32768, which turns into 65536, which turns into 131072, which turns into 262144, which turns into 524288, which turns into — after only twenty cycles of “everybody doing it” — over one million CDs that the musician could not sell because people like you took it upon yourself to justify giving it away.

          So by making a copy of that CD (music and/or software), both YOU and adunlap@… are literally stealing from the person who created that work in the first place, and who is entitled to sell the efforts of his work to others.

          Write a book….

          Record some music…..

          Create some software…..

          It’s all the same. And it’s all much more than just one disk onto which some code is written. It’s the cumulative effort of years of hard work and investment to get to that point. And if you make a copy to give to someone else, you are stealing from those people who made the investment of time and effort to create it in the first place.

          The only reason you won’t understand this is because you won’t want to. Instead, you seemingly want to justify stealing from “Bob” by giving his work to “George”. And that, in my estimation, is theft, pure and simply. And you try to justify it, and perhaps teach it to others. No, my friend, you are anything but a capitalist. You’re a thief.

        • #3330608

          maxwell, see: “sheesh” below

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to What?!

          I seem to have posted my response in the wrong place. I’m not sure how it happened. I think I was distracted by the fact that I was simultaneously working on a filename mass-editing script.

          See the message titled “sheesh” below for details.

        • #3330571

          apotheon – See Lowest Common Denominator below

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to What?!

          .
          It was time to start over.

        • #3329606

          Can I Tell You a Secret?

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to What?!

          Obviously not.

          If the deal is:
          This CD and its content are copyright
          and you copy them anyway, then

          I obviously can’t trust you with a whispered secret, because you are unethical. By ignoring the EULA you are violating the terms of passing the information to you, just like blab a secret.

          It’s wrong because you agreed to abide by the terms before you took the information.

        • #3328915

          left field

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to What?!

          You’re clearly way out in left field, t.e.sumner. For one thing, I’m talking about copyright, not EULAs. If I agree to an End User License Agreement, I abide by that decision. If I have the entire weight of copyright law [b]forced on me[/b], I don’t feel obligated to abide by that non-agreement. If I agree to keep something secret, I’ll do so. If some stranger on the street walks up to me and says “George Bush is going to be in town tomorrow, but you can’t tell anyone because I say so,” I feel no ethical obligation to keep the secret he gave me without knowing me and without any prior agreements.

          Yes, you can tell me a secret and expect it to be kept, as long as you have some kind of agreement with me that it’ll be kept, even if that agreement consists of nothing more than “I want to tell you something. Will you keep it a secret for me?” with “yes” as a response. See how that works? That’s an [b]agreement[/b], not an [b]unjustified expectation[/b].

        • #3330074

          Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to I think you have it backwards

          Not anything wealth related… just wealth gained by taking advantage of the ignorance or misfortune of others.

        • #3330065

          And who decides?

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          .
          And who might be the almighty purveyor of determining who is taking advantage of others and/or being taken advantage of, who is or is not ignorant, and who is or is not misfortunate? Perhaps you’d like to be the Grand Pubah of deciding such things for all other people. Or did you have someone else in mind?

        • #3331566

          Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          by tonythetiger ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          I was referring to misrepresentation and fraud that goes undetected because of the buyer’s ignorance. If that is ethical, then so is ANY fraud.

        • #3330627

          sheesh

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          Whoops. This was supposed to be in response to a post by maxwell in a slightly different branching of the discussion. I’m not sure how it got misplaced.

          “that’s exactly why it’s theft — because IT IS illegal.” Gee, that doesn’t address the issue of whether it should be illegal or not [b]at all[/b]. “It’s illegal because it’s wrong, and it’s wrong because it’s illegal!” doesn’t make for a very compelling argument.

          “I believe it’s also unethical by denying someone else the right to something to which he’s entitled. You are literally denying someone his or her right to earn a living.”

          Are we going to talk about property or slavery? Denying someone the right to earn a living is a matter of slavery, not of denying property. One doesn’t justify one’s right to own a chair by saying “He won’t let me earn money!” Besides, there’s no prohibition against earning money involved. You can make money from what you create all you like. You might just have to do more work to get the money. C’est la vie. Come up with a new profit model, if need be.

          Regarding the “Bob writes a book” example, you seem to have missed the fact that there are other ways to make money than simply selling copies of a manuscript. How about Bob undersells his competitors in price, or offers a better-quality printing? How about he starts out with wider distribution so that many people will run across it before anyone starts reproducing it and selling it independently, thus buying it from him first? How about he sells [b]autographed copies[/b]? How about he sells it along with a membership to something for which he can continue to charge money? If Bob only made $25, he didn’t do a very good job of marketing and developing revenue streams.

          “Write a book….”

          Actually, I’m working on two novels and a nonfiction work on the subject of ethical theory. I expect to publish them under CCD CopyWrite, which doesn’t prohibit copying and reselling, or distribution online for free, or much of anything else. All it prohibits is claiming credit for what someone else did. If I don’t make money at it, I’ll have failed to sell it effectively. That’s my fault. Too bad. Maybe you should ask Eric S. Raymond some time how his sales of [u]The Art of Unix Programming[/u] are going, since he’s also offering it for free online. Last I checked, you can buy hardcopies (quite good quality) at all the major bookstores in this area. In fact, I’m considering buying a hardcopy myself, precisely because I’ve already read half of it online and like what I see.

          “Create some software”

          It’s odd that you’d mention that in particular. I do some of that for a living. Let me know if there’s a particular type of software you’d like for free, and I’ll let you know if I’ve written anything like that. Mostly, I’ve written fairly small, specialized stuff, so it’s unlikely that you in particular would need any of it, but the possibility exists.

          So. You call me a thief, even though I’m not breaking any copyright laws, just because I believe copyright law is unethical. At least I’m just treating you as though you’re misguided, rather than calling you a tyrant in need of putting down for arguing in favor of copyright law. I think you’ve lost perspective.

        • #3329610

          He who seek$ shall find

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to I think you have it backwards

          At least one of the writers here thinks that people with money must have extorted it from someone.

          I don’t, even though Nobel had a guilty conscience over his invention and resulting wealth.

          Doing what others will pay for will lead to wealth and success. If a creator is passionate about something, others might also be and they might pay for his creations. Work represents money. When we want someone to do a task for us, we pay them money, like mowing the lawn, and so on. Money also represents work. When we have money, we must have done something or sold something of value to get it. WORK = MONEY = WORK…

          Accumulated money (wealth) means accumulated work. Work is accumulated by worker harder or smarter or both. Slaving over a grill longer is harder but not smarter. Figuring out what other people will pay good money for is smarter. The idea that working smarter should not be rewarded is very Marxist. “You Can’t Own Your Thoughts and Charge for Them – They’re Free” is a Marxist concept.

        • #3335062

          Need Clarification

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to that’s my point

          “they shouldn’t be able to extort money for what happens long after their work is done.”

          How long is long after? Are you saying it’s OK to extort money shortly after their work is done?

        • #3335037

          of course not

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Need Clarification

          Let’s not play the “intentionally dimwitted response” game. Pretend you have a brain for a moment. I said nothing of the sort, and in fact insinuated nothing of the sort. Extortionary practices are wrong, period.

        • #3335009

          I think our arguments are diverging

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to of course not

          I believe that I agree with you in theory, but theory does not always work in practice.

          People are driven by their passions, as you have said. When you speak of an individuals creativity and ideas, I will agree that most will continue with their research without the lure of money. Are we agreed here?

          Where I think we diverge is in the means, methods and resources to continue this research. For an individual conducting research that takes little capitol, it is easy to release the results free to the world. Your earlier example of open source software shows this well.

          But when research requires a large investment of capitol and resources it might not be so easy. (Still possible, but not easy.) Many a reasearch project funded by philanthopists and government agencies are in fact released as public information. But many research projects, such as new pharmacuticals are very costly to research, and ‘free’ money is not available.

          Patent and copywrite protections don’t neccessarily drive the researcher, but they do drive the investor. It is the investeor who is looking for a return on their money by protecting their investment with patents and copywrites.

          My contention is then, without the patent and copywrite protection, investrors would not put their money into firms that conduct research. Meaning less money for research, rusulting in less research.

        • #3334993

          What do you mean “diverging”?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to of course not

          You seem to have a particularly unflattering view of the innovative capabilities of those who have an entrepreneurial spirit within them. There are a great many ways to make money on research that don’t involve extortion. Yes, investors are currently very much motivated by patents and copyrights, but that’s in large part because patents and copyrights exist. By the same token, people running a protection racket in the south Bronx are very much motivated by the ability to get money from people by doing nothing but threatening them, and burglars are very much motivated by the ability to get money by selling stuff they’ve pilfered from others’ houses.

          As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, simply keeping your technology a secret through obfuscation and nondisclosure agreements can ensure some profitability for new research just as easily as patents, and unlike patents it does so without resorting to institutionalized protection rackets.

          The original reason for the patent system was to induce innovators to release details of their research to the public, by making it possible to do so without losing exclusivity. What that didn’t take into account was the possibility for abuse and the fact that it effectively imposes a contractual agreement on people who would never have agreed to it.

          Without patent and copyright protection, investors would find other ways to make money than extortion. There wouldn’t be less research, but there might be [b]different[/b] research.

        • #3330249

          What I mean is

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to of course not

          I agree with what you are saying insofar as that is the way it should be.

          But put into practice it won’t work.

          I contend that without patent and copywrite protections, innovation would slow down. Not to a halt, but not at the same pace.

          I point out Communist countries, not to label you as a communist but to point out that those nations that do not recognize patents and copywrites have not been able to maitain the pace of innovation, compared to the rest of the world.

        • #3330202

          fair ’nuff

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to of course not

          You disagree with me about the likelihood of loss of momentum in innovation. That’s clear. It’s difficult to offer a solid argument for either side, though I’ve done some arguing for my side of it to be sure.

          The communist example, however, is less than useful. For one thing, there [b]is[/b] “intellectual property”, in practical terms, in any major communist/socialist governments we’ve seen in the last couple hundred years: The government owns everything, including ideas. Rather than letting corporate entities control and stifle innovation, these nations let governments do so. That’s tangential to the matter of innovation and intellectual property law, at best.

        • #3329605

          How Come NDAs work and EULAs Don’t?

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to Need Clarification

          Further down this thread the claim is made that by obfuscation and non-disclosure agreements a creator’s work is protected. But, copying MP3s or software is unprotected. But I don’t get it either. How can the NDA work and the EULA for the software not work?

          Don’t they both depend on the government to recover damages from the violator.

        • #3328914

          Self-contradict, much?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to How Come NDAs work and EULAs Don’t?

          Copying an MP3 doesn’t violate any EULAs. What the heck are you talking about?

          EDIT: Ack. I fixed a typo.

        • #3329612

          Yessir Isaac

          by t.e.sumner9 ·

          In reply to that’s my point

          Sir Isaac Newton —
          Had a title when he died at the turn of the 1700s, but was he born with a silver spoon in his mouth and that’s how he had the time to use his brilliance instead of toiling in the fields?

          His father, owned property and animals, which in 1643 made his family somewhat wealthy. At age 2 his widowed mother re-married a church minister, making her family quite wealthy. Apparently, for the times it was money that allowed Newton to attend university and permitted him the time and idleness to pursue thought and eventual brilliance. His position at Cambridge provided substantial time for him to read and contemplate mathematics, which he suddenly found interesting. Would that we all had the time to ponder and be paid a stipend to do so.

          Those of us without wealth depend upon fairness over the value of our thoughts to provide us just recompense.

          Galileo’s father, Vincenzo Galilei, belonged to a noble family of straitened fortune. Should I say more?

        • #3328913

          irrelevant

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Yessir Isaac

          That has nothing to do with either the ethicality of intellectual property law or the likelihood that people will continue to create new things without intellectual property law, unless you count it as an argument in favor of the removal intellectual property law because people with money might pick up the slack for people without.

      • #3330097

        Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

        by tonythetiger ·

        In reply to The Bottom Line

        Only the ones driven by capitalism would lose interest. MAybe that’s not all bad.

        • #3331485

          disagree

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Reply To: Should Intellectual Property Exist?

          Why would capitalists lose interest? They’d just change their profit models. Considering how harmful the profit models are that currently make use of intellectual property law (look at Microsoft and SCO for examples), that’s a good thing.

          I operate under a different profit model. I intentionally exempt what I write from standard copyright protections, but I still make money.

    • #3333951

      Absolutely it should exist – it MUST exist

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Should Intellectual Property Exist?

      .
      If a person or a company did not have the opportunity to hold onto the rights to intellectual property, then people and companies would have no incentive to create intellectual property in the first place.

      Without it, you and I would not be conversing in this very forum.

      • #3333887

        nonsense

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Absolutely it should exist – it MUST exist

        Everything I do, if I have the option, is open for copying and redistribution. I don’t stop doing it because I’m not willing to force people to either pay or do without. I do what I do for the love of it, and I get paid to do work (not to provide pregenerated work). I’ll write software and keep the copyright, which I use to release the source under a FOSS license (specifically, the CCD CopyWrite distribution license). This hasn’t yet caused anyone to be less pleased with what I provide. If I want to make more money, I do it with support, with more software, or with more clients. I don’t do it by going back to the same client a year later and saying “You have to stop using this now unless you pay me again.”

        • #3335153

          So then

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to nonsense

          Can you post a site where I can download all your work and sell it as my own?

        • #3335032

          no . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to So then

          because I haven’t collected everything in one place. Besides, selling it as your own (claiming you wrote it) would be a form of fraud (in this case, plagiarism). You can resell any software I write if you want to, if you have a copy, but you can’t legally or ethically claim to have written it yourself.

          One of these days, I’ll organize what I’ve written into a single repository. In the meantime, if you want to sell software other people have written, I recommend you start at freshmeat or sourceforge, or that you put together a Linux distribution to sell.

          I’m thinkin’ you don’t get the way FOSS works.

        • #3335152

          It’s nonsense to expect the same of others

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to nonsense

          .
          If you want to give away your software, that’s all fine and dandy. I won’t presume to suggest you do otherwise. Give away your software; give away your time; give away all of your possessions, for all I care. But neither should you presume to suggest others do the same thing.

        • #3335029

          It’s nonsense to expect that of ME.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to It’s nonsense to expect the same of others

          I don’t just give everything away. The fact that I won’t show up with a SWAT team to lock you up if you copy something I wrote doesn’t mean I’m just giving everything away. I sell software. If the people to whom I sell it want to give away or sell copies of it, that’s their business, not mine. With things like value-added packaging, support contracts, and later updates and customizations of something I produce, I can make more money.

          How do you think web designers make any money? It’s not like you can’t just “view source” and copy everything they’ve done, y’know. Oh, gee, I do web development, too.

        • #3334998

          Actually you can’t

          by jdmercha ·

          In reply to It’s nonsense to expect that of ME.

          “How do you think web designers make any money? It’s not like you can’t just “view source” and copy everything they’ve done, y’know. Oh, gee, I do web development, too.”

          Many web sites are developed with backend programming that you can’t see. And much of it, along with the graphics are protected by copywrite.

        • #3334989

          point

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Actually you can’t

          You make a point, in regards to back-end programming, but only insofar as casual browsing is concerned. The people to whom I sell my web development services have full access to the back-end code I write, and they can do whatever they want to with it, including selling it or copying it.

          As for graphics copyrights, that’s sort of not the point. Besides, I don’t copyright graphics that I produce (trademark issues notwithstanding).

    • #3333926

      Only if you are selfish… Meaning NO

      by mrafrohead ·

      In reply to Should Intellectual Property Exist?

      I think that Intellectual Property should be open for all to use and benefit from. And I think that those that can contribute should…

      Sadly though, we live in a world run by the dollar and people just aren’t content “giving away” their ideas.

      I think if people could remove themselves from their material things and grow further, we would not have all of the rude and hostile people that are greedy and 0wn3d by the almighty .

      • #3333884

        this may come as a surprise . . .

        by apotheon ·

        In reply to Only if you are selfish… Meaning NO

        I’m going to disagree with you.

        I have no problem at all with people “selling” ideas. In fact, I sell software all the time. Once I sell you software I’ve created, though, you own what I’ve sold you. I have my copy, and you have yours. You can sell yours, and I can sell mine. We can both make copies and sell them or give them away. There’s no rule against keeping it, selling it, or giving it as a gift.

        That’s how I do business: if you want something from me that you can’t get anywhere else, you may have to pay for it, but if I sell a copy of something to you it’s yours. You can do whatever the hell you want to with it, aside from committing fraud.

        It’s not about property, and it’s not about obligation. It’s about liberty.

        • #3331434

          Your way of business

          by garnerl ·

          In reply to this may come as a surprise . . .

          … is yours. Feel free to engage in it. I don’t. As the creator of a product, I can determine how and where it’s used. You cannot simply resell my work or give it away. I say so in my license, copyright, whatever.

          You do have the right to create your own work. You never have to purchase or use my product; there is no “gun to your head”. My hit record doesn’t prevent you from writing and singing your own songs, my killer application doesn’t prevent you from creating and giving away your own.

          Patenting ideas is not good, but protecting the resulting product is fine. I created it, I have the right to distribute it and be compensated for it as I choose. You have the right not to use it.

        • #3330621

          by that argument . . .

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Your way of business

          You must think that the creator of a chair has the right to say nobody’s allowed to use it as a footstool, and that the creator of a skateboard has the right to restrict people from using it as a dolly, and that the creator of a coffee can has the right to prohibit people from using it to store nuts and bolts after the coffee is emptied out. They created these things, so (by your argument) they have the right to control how their used and what is done with them, even after they’re “sold”. Of course, under those circumstances I wouldn’t say they’ve actually been “sold”, because being able to control what a person does with an object implies ownership either of the person or the object by the controlling entity.

          The gun to my head when I have a CD in my possession for which I paid is held by the government. Copyright law is the trigger, and your finger is on it. The bullet is jail time and/or fines.

        • #3341992

          So I could profit from your ideas

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to this may come as a surprise . . .

          So if I resold your ideas without lying and saying they were mine it would be OK (by your logic)?

          I might not say they were your ideas, but (per Star Trek Vulcan logic) an omission is not a lie.

          And I’d like to say that the IDEAS in a book are not copyrighted, it is the implementation of them, i.e. the text that is. If you want to read and summarize and reprint this is OK. Society has ALREADY made many concessions to let free flow of information this way.

          The whole idea of a book is to ‘spread info’. Just not copy the actual books for resale. (and there are even allowances for fair use such as a teacher copying portions for a class).

        • #3331957

          ethicality of use of others’ ideas

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to So I could profit from your ideas

          Yes, you could ethically profit from my ideas, providing your access to them was gained ethically as well. This means not engaging in fraud, which consists of more than simply not actively lying: passively encouraging misunderstanding is deception as well. You certainly don’t need to claim you wrote something to sell it, though. I’m pretty sure nobody thinks a sales representative at the bookstore actually wrote all those books he’s selling.

          Try paraphrasing an entire novel sometime and selling it. I’m pretty sure that doing so would cause you to show up on some publishing house’s legal department’s radar. Copyright law extends beyond mere 100% faithful reproduction. Besides, implementations are technology. Would you like to have to reinvent the wheel every week because you’re only allowed to copy theory, and not technology?

      • #3335126

        You said – And I say

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to Only if you are selfish… Meaning NO

        .
        You said that you “think that Intellectual Property should be open for all to use and benefit from. And I think that those that can contribute should…”

        Well I disagree.

        So you live life your way, and I’ll live life my way. And the disturbing aspect of this is that you presume to tell other people how to live.

        You’re living in la-la land.

        • #3329638

          la la

          by mrafrohead ·

          In reply to You said – And I say

          Not really, I just throw out my opinion. You choose to do with it what you will…

          Just as I do with your opinion.

          Nobody has to listen to anything I say, or even consider it for that matter. I just look at it like this. A idea is posed, and input is requested. Input is what was given… Now you can choose to do with it as you will…

          I really don’t believe in the same type of world as most people do. I think that the world we currently live in is quite selfish and disturbing. We are all the same, no one is better than anyone else… If we could truly learn how to harness that and use it wisely, there would be no need for money and there would be no classes. All would be happy and all would get along.

          Maybe that’s la la land, but I see it as a hopeful thought, and that’s what gets me through the days in this jacked up place called Earth. Because honestly, people freakin suck, they’re rude selfish and just out to make a buck… MOST of the time, there are exceptions, but they’re exceptions…

      • #3335096

        In my best Fred Rogers imitation

        by maxwell edison ·

        In reply to Only if you are selfish… Meaning NO

        .
        It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor…Would you be mine? Could you be mine?…It’s a neighborly day in this beautywood, a neighborly day for a beauty…

        Gee, can’t we just all get along? Let’s help each other all we can. No, don’t charge someone for your work, just give it away. No, don’t get wealthy. That wouldn’t be nice; and that would only make others feel bad. No, don’t try to achieve more than others; that would only make them feel inferior. (Inferior – that’s another word for feeling bad.) Let’s all try to have the same outcome. Wouldn’t that be nice? We need to make a the world a better place to live. And let’s all do our part to make it happen. Okay?

        In fact, let’s all sing a song. Are you ready? Here we go….

        I’d like to build the world a home
        And furnish it with love
        Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow-white turtle doves
        I’d like to teach the world to sing
        In perfect harmony
        I’d like to hold it in my arms and keep it company
        I’d like to see the world for once
        All standing hand in hand
        And hear them echo through the hills “Ah, peace throughout the land”
        (That’s the song I hear)
        I’d like to teach the world to sing (that the world sings today)
        In perfect harmony
        (Lead singer and background singers singing simultaneously)
        I’d like to teach the world to sing
        In perfect harmony
        Id like to build the world a home
        And furnish it with love
        Grow apple trees and honey bees and snow-white turtle doves

        Gee, don’t we all feel good?

        ———- End of sarcasm ———-

        May the late, great Fred Rogers rest in peace. He did indeed make a great contribution – AND HE WAS WELL PAID FOR IT!

        • #3335060

          Livin’ In Fred Roger’s Hood

          by bfilmfan ·

          In reply to In my best Fred Rogers imitation

          I hope one day we are all going to be livin’ large in Fred Roger’s hood.

        • #3329637

          wow…

          by mrafrohead ·

          In reply to In my best Fred Rogers imitation

          You know maxwell, reading that, really actually kind of makes me sad.

          I thought that you were better than that…

        • #3341984

          I’d like to steal that

          by dr dij ·

          In reply to In my best Fred Rogers imitation

          In spirit of living together in harmony, I propose you record that, I’ll steal it (since according to apotheon) that’s just an idea and publish it. That way I could afford to buy a home with some apple trees and honey bees (don’t forget the doves).

          Then we’d all be incredibly happy together;
          Till you got ticked off and threw an anthraxed pig in my well (biowarfare from the middle ages).

          I’d of course give up all my possessions (nothing to live or die for, no religion too), wouldn’t need them if I was dead.

        • #3341892

          Hey – Hey – You Can’t Steal That. . . .

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to I’d like to steal that

          .
          I already stole it. Do you like my song? IT’S MINE, ALL MINE – I STOLE IT FAIR AND SQUARE!

        • #3350334

          VERY VERY WELL SAID MAX!

          by oz_media ·

          In reply to In my best Fred Rogers imitation

          I REALLY enjoyed singing along with you, it’s almost like Friday again!

          Thank you for making it so…….colourful (sorry, colorful)and entertaining. Yes you SHOULD be paid for this work as it is yours but, DOH…..public forum and all that. 🙁

          I have refrained from commenting here as you know where I stand on THIS issue, though it’s not really a file sharing/copyright issue.

          But had I been up to offering such an indirect yet telling story as you did, I would have.

          kudos

      • #3341995

        Marvelous Utopia

        by dr dij ·

        In reply to Only if you are selfish… Meaning NO

        And we’d all starve and be free (another ‘free’ market for apotheon?) of new ideas as the people would be worried about trying to survive not creating new art or music or other ideas.

    • #3334911

      only intellectual property exists

      by batmang8 ·

      In reply to Should Intellectual Property Exist?

      Property is a product of the intellect.

      We are surrounded by stuff and create valuable
      property out of it. In so doing become the
      owners of that property.

      Who values it? The creator of it does.
      Sometimes others do — immediately or later on —
      in which case s/he can trade and sell it.

      In the general sense, this creation of property
      has been called “materializing the coin”
      (pronounced quan, because in the specific sense
      it stands for the quantum of value one must
      create to cover the costs an employer has to pay
      to employ you).

    • #3330158

      Not an answer

      by tonythetiger ·

      In reply to Should Intellectual Property Exist?

      Tough question.

      One problem is the occurrence of simultaneous ideas. If an idea occurs to two seperate people at the same time, it seems unfair that it “belongs” to the first one to get the recognition of some bureaucratic element!

      Patents are designed to reward hard work, but if you work hard and get to the patent office just in time to see that someone else just patented the same thing, it seems to me that it might be discouraging innovation.

    • #3330107

      Coca-Cola

      by dc_guy ·

      In reply to Should Intellectual Property Exist?

      The formula for Coca-cola is not patented. If it were, chemists would try altering the ingredients just slightly until they got another formula that was indistinguishable from the original to most consumers, and was at least ten percent different. That would allow the imitator to sell his own cola — and even patent it.

      The Coca-Cola company has the formula locked up and guarded, and only a handful of trusted personnel know it by heart and are able to direct the manufacturing.

      Patents aren’t necessarily all that useful.

      But as for copyrights, I don’t see how that particular kind of artistic creativity would flourish without them. Sure, some people are so creative that they can just sit at a desk and crank out songs or novels or poetry like draftsmen crank out blueprints. Those people could get jobs working for a salary or perhaps patronage. But the vast majority of creative people labor for quite some time before they produce that one stunning song, novel, or poem. They may need to be paid the equivalent of six months’ salary for it in order to come back the next day and work six more months in the faint hope that they might ever do it again. It’s worth it, the record company A&R department that buys it could make millions of dollars off of it, but at worst they’ll easily recoup their costs.

      How do we keep those people working? In your model, they’ll all have to get brain-numbing jobs flipping burgers because when they sell that one hit song they’ll only get paid hourly wages for the three or four days it took to write it.

      I agree that the copyright laws are being horribly abused. But the culprit is the corporation, not the law. Corporations are “artificial persons” in the eyes of the law, but they have many of the most important rights of real persons. They also have a lot more lobbying power and they have a lot more lawyers.

      Don’t throw out the concept of copyrights just because corporations have finally gotten around to figuring out how to abuse it.

      If you want to protest a concept, how about the corporation? Talk about an idea whose time has come but has now passed.

      • #3330026

        What about Pepsi?

        by ozi eagle ·

        In reply to Coca-Cola

        Hi,
        What about Pepsi and all the other colas?

        • #3331479

          What about them?

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to What about Pepsi?

          What does that have to do with it? He made his point about Coca-Cola. Are you disagreeing with it?

        • #3330440

          Colas

          by ozi eagle ·

          In reply to What about them?

          No I don’t disagree with the coke example, I’m just trying to point out that other products that compete with Coke have been produced, despite the trade secret.
          I have no idea about what goes into either, or how similar they are.
          The only thing I know about Coke is that it used to be a very good paint remover and flux for soldering aluminium.

        • #3328912

          patent vs. trade secret

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Colas

          A patent on Coca-Cola’s formula wouldn’t prevent Pepsi’s existence, anyway.

        • #3341964

          Actually, a patent would make competition easier!

          by deepsand ·

          In reply to patent vs. trade secret

          In order to get a patent, one has to PUBLISH sufficient detail so that another, sufficiently skilled in the trade, can reproduce the invented item.

          Such is required so as to induce innovators to share information, while not risking immediate loss of the economic benefits of their inventions. Such sharing affords the opportunity for further innovation, based on the newly disseminated knowledge.

          On the other hand, trade secrets sequesters such knowledge, so that others cannot benefit from it.

          Chemical formulations are amenable to being held as trade secrets because there are any number of similar formulations which might produce the same or sufficiently similar results; patenting such would result is the rapid dissipation of any economic benefits gained from discovery.

        • #3331954

          secrets

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Actually, a patent would make competition easier!

          Unfortunately, patents stifle innovation more often than they promote it. The patent system is rapidly killing reverse-engineering, which produces multiple options and alternative implementations of ideas, often leading to great leaps forward as reverse-engineering and reimplementing an idea tends to give rise to beneficial variations. A published, patented technology, however, is used to squash competing implementations and research, and to strictly control and suppress reimplementation.

          I’d rather have a trade secret I’m allowed to try to reverse engineer than an openly published patent that I’m not allowed to touch without paying millions of dollars to the patent-holding corporation, then find that they won’t let me implement it differently because they don’t want to be outsold. Screw that noise. So much for innovation and advancement.

          Anything is amenable to similar implementations, not just chemicals. It’s just true that chemical patent case law hasn’t gotten so far out of hand that a chemical patent on an antidepressant produces a governmentally enforced monopoly on antidepressants.

        • #3331920

          secret!=non-reproducible

          by ibis ·

          In reply to Actually, a patent would make competition easier!

          1. no process that is in commercial use can be entirely secret – at the very least, its effects can be seen, and reverse engineering applied

          2. even if a process is secret, there is nothing, except a patent, that prevents me from having the same idea and applying it

          3. in certain fields, patents cover ideas rather than, for example, specific formulae – as if you could patent the ‘same or sufficiently similar results’ rather than the chemical – a good example is Amazon’s one-click patent – it doesn’t matter HOW I achieve the effect, the idea is patented. That has to be wrong.

        • #3351681

          volley…

          by ibis ·

          In reply to Actually, a patent would make competition easier!

          Let’s see where this leads:

          1. my mind = my land (my property).

          2. idea (as ‘pure concept’) = product of the mind (equivalent to, say, a tree as a product of my land)

          NB. not a product in the market sense, but in the sense of something produced. No specific intention to sell/rent etc is implied.

          3. private reified idea (a concept turned into a creative work) = finished product of my land and my effort (same as, say, a chair) used only by me (my chair)

          NB. this is the point at which patent protection would intervene. I can have the idea but I can’t use it in any way or turn it into a finished product. I don’t defend patents in any way and I lobby my MEP to prevent software patents in Europe. Ideally, I would like patent law repealed entirely. Sorry about ‘reified’ – it literally means ‘thing-ified’.

          NB. at this point, there is no ‘awareness’ of the creative work by others. I could destroy it now, and no-one would ever know it had existed. My rights over it remain pristine.

          4. I decide to make a living selling chairs. While I’m only a single artisan, and can only produce a limited number of chairs, I think I will do well because I make damned good chairs – a good design, well executed.

          5. At this point I have a decision to make. Do I sell the chairs to you in an absolute way, so that they become entirely and utterly your property to do with as you wish? Or do I rent you the chair for a limited period, or with specific exceptions to its use? Can I even do that?

          NB. from this point I’m only following option B, the rental. Your points with respect to outright sale are undeniable.

          6. I think I can rent you a chair, so that you enjoy its use but no other rights (rental is, I think, acceptable in the libertarian view). Certainly you may not destroy it, and since, let us say, I’ve stated specifically that you may not copy it, you can’t do that either. Can this be “defended against by interposing yourself between it and another party”? Well, if the ‘it’ is the chair (and in this example, what else can it be), I think the answer is yes.

          NB. note that at this point we’re not dealing with limitations to your rights over your property. I have not transferred any property to you, only a limited use of it. As far as I’m aware, this is allowable even by ancaps in the form of a rental agreement.

          Could I realistically do this with code? Yes, I could if necessary interpose myself between you and my code, physically, so that you could not see it, and you would have to initiate force against me to view it. In fact, let us say that I always ensure my code runs on a server to which only I have access (this is my normal practice in web development with parties untrusted or unknown). To gain access to my code you will have to resort to force or fraud against my server, and by extension, me (if you like, I can run it from my server at home, to leave no loophole). Code, therefore, becomes something that remains my real property – the fact that you always resign your rights in code by selling it in toto (and presumably physically transferring possession of it), whereas I sometimes do and sometimes don’t, is a matter of preference. I guess here you could say that I’m just renting use of the chair, while retaining the chair physically.

          Web-based code, however, is the easiest case here – I can physically protect it, and I do, and it doesn’t in any way impinge on your rights in any case. If I am writing code to be compiled for use on your machine, this is slightly different, but I would say that, as long as it’s clear I am renting use and only use to you, and specifically prohibiting copying beyond the single copy you have now in your possession, then the case can be made. One can disagree by stating that this is not a fair condition, but then you don’t have to agree to it. If you do agree to it, you’re stuck with it. You could say that your physical property rights override the agreement, but again you shouldn’t then enter into it. In short, although this may not be particularly nice (and people will say – hey, it doesn’t cost you anything if I copy this, why should you get to say no?), the catch is your voluntary agreement to the deal. If you agree to the conditions, intending to override it later with other concerns, then you’re initiating use of force or fraud.

          Creative works reified into publicly distributed products such as books are tough. After all, this is where we hit pure ‘intellectual property’ issues – you bought the book, not rented it. But, did anyone say that you couldn’t copy it, or that you had it on the conditions noted for distributed code above (use only, no copying)? Hmm, well, there it is inside the flyleaf, and it’s usually explicit. So again, a book is actually sold to you subject to certain conditions. It doesn’t matter whether you agree with the basis of these restrictions (ie that the book contains intellectual property), because you’re at liberty to express that disagreement by not purchasing such a limited-right product. Nor does anyone necessarily force the author or publisher to set such restrictions, or to enforce them. But as long as they do, and you purchased the book subject to the limitations to your rights clearly indicated in the object itself, I don’t think you can object in any very sincere way. In theory, I could ‘sell’ you a book subject to the condition that you prayed to Dagon the Fish God on stipulated nights of the year. If you bought the book, subject to my conditions, and then said that you were a committed Christian and couldn’t carry out my conditions, I would have to say that you acquired something that was originally my property (before you bought it) by initiating fraud against me (by not intending to carry out my conditions of purchase). Your right to self-determination, as you would agree, does not nullify mine. Could I protect my property by “interposing myself between it and another party” if the other party would not agree to my conditions? Yes. In fact the whole question of intellectual property can be bypassed here – Borders could refuse to sell you a book unless you wore purple – Starbucks could refuse to sell you coffee unless you sang a comic song. The ridiculousness of the demand is irrelevant.

          In summary, then, I think that you either have to deny someone the right to make any use of their property that they wish (by renting or selling it under a set of specific conditions), or else you have to accept their right to do so, whether that property is a piece of land or a book. If you deny it, then clearly there are limits to the rights of an individual over their property – that they cannot sell or rent it subject to conditions. If you accept it, then you have to accept that once you have voluntarily entered into this arrangement, you are obliged to respect the provisions of that arrangement, whatever they may be. If you deny that, you once again deny that this is a right that property owners have over their property. Your participation in the abrogation of your rights in a book is voluntary, not forced. If you don’t want to have your rights over a purchase limited, and you don’t wish to initiate force or fraud to obtain the purchase without entering into the agreement, your only option is to refuse the purchase. The question of ‘intellectual property’ is in fact irrelevant to this abrogation. Where am I wrong?

        • #3351673

          an agreeable addendum

          by ibis ·

          In reply to Actually, a patent would make competition easier!

          “To continue . . . still assuming we’re talking about people with some grasp on reasonability, let’s examine the hypothetical authoritarian’s position: He believes that, while people have some basic right of self-determination, social interaction gives rise to conflicts that can only be solved by the rule of law, and that rule can only be effective if individual rights are sacrificed to the sanctity of the social order. Thus, authority structures take precedence over individual rights, thus creating a collective right of authority over individuals. Would that be a fair assessment of the situation, from your perspective?”

          In fact, I agree with your entire summation here, and have abandoned that line of defence to regroup on the conflict of individual rights as per my main post.

          “You can draw a definite line where individual rights stop, but if you say that you can actually violate said rights to some arbitrarily small degree in exchange for some theoretical benefit of social order (which is, ultimately, dependent upon the incorruptibility of the authoritarian government’s officials), you then run into the problem that arbitrary limits can always be revised. As a result, creeping tyranny grows like a fungus as the malleability of the line between rights and authority is consistently tested.”

          In particular, the last sentence here defines part of my very vague political position – I am opposed to this creeping growth, and the growth of the nanny state. I believe it to be incumbent on every citizen to resist encroachment by the social order on their right of self-determination (I use ‘social order’ rather than government or state because I think that the effects of social conformity can be much stronger than the decrees of government – Ireland, for example, has a lot of ‘dead’ laws, more or less officially recognised as such, that were promulgated by the state and ignored by the people – a good demonstration is to watch people crossing the road here, and realise that we do actually have a law forbidding jaywalking). Good call.

        • #3351530
        • #3332211

          answers to both

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Actually, a patent would make competition easier!

          http://tinyurl.com/5232v is a response to these posts by ibis, where they were posted in the right place above. I think it effectively answers deepsand’s referenced post as well, though I already addressed it where it was originally posted.

        • #3351266

          Not quite correct.

          by deepsand ·

          In reply to Actually, a patent would make competition easier!

          1) No contract need explicity contain all pertinent terms; to whit:
          a) Such can be explicitly incorporated by reference; and,
          b) Many are implicitly incorporated, without reference, via Statutory Law.

          2) Patent & Copyright Law does not confer “ownership of ideas.” Rather, it confers a temporary right to control the use or particular expression of the idea. The two represent quite different species of propery rights. It is a distinction which you must remain cognizent of.

        • #3351242

          What’s the point of that? Use that much-vaunted logic of yours.

          by apotheon ·

          In reply to Actually, a patent would make competition easier!

          1. The conclusion cannot be used to justify itself in a valid argument. Using the law to justify itself is circular, at best.

          2. It’s based in proprietary rights and is, therefore, still subject to arguments against proprietary rights to intangibles.

        • #3350978

          a difference in premise?

          by ibis ·

          In reply to Actually, a patent would make competition easier!