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What's the Solution To Intellectual Property?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the do-you-believe dept.

United States 979

StealthyRoid writes "I'm an anarcho-capitalist, and a huge supporter of property rights, both physical and intellectual. At the same time, I find the current trend of increasing penalties for minor violations, criminalizing civil IP matters, anti-consumer technologies like DRM, and abuse of the legal system by the *AA's of the world really disturbing. You'd think that by now, there'd be a reasonable solution to the problem of protecting intellectual property while at the same time maintaining the rights of consumers and protecting individuals from absurd litigation, but I have yet to find one. So, I pose these questions to the Slashdot community: 1 — Do you acknowledge the legitimacy of intellectual property to begin with? That is, do you believe that intellectual property is a valid construct equivalent to physical property, or do you think it's illusory? If not, why? 2 — If so, how would you go about protecting the rights of intellectual property holders in a way that doesn't require unfair usage limitations or resort to predatory abuse of the tort system?"

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Time Limits (4, Insightful)

EEPROMS (889169) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541823)

Easy time limits to stop patent camping. For example if you apply for a patent and get you have 12 months to produce a "product" based on the IP otherwise it goes into public domain. Or another one, patents not licensed (to make a product) or used for 3 years automatically go into public domain.

Re:Time Limits (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541895)

1) Company A gets the patent, licenses it to shell company B.
2) Company B does nothing with the patent license, but since A has licensed it to *someone* - it wont automatically go into public domain
3) Profit!

Re:Time Limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542121)

This is easy to fix. Just require the patent to be made into a product by anyone (through licensing or not).

Re:Time Limits (4, Insightful)

Viceice (462967) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541913)

Exactly! And further, even if a patent is actively making money, it should still expire in 10 years tops. Theres no reason in todays economy that a patent should last more than a decade. Ditto copyright. Life of creator is just rubbish.

Re:Time Limits (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541963)

No, 5 years tops, 4 years preferably. Patents came around a long, long time ago, when things where much, much slower. If you cant ship a product and make it worth your while in 4 years, your product sucks or your bussines skills are lacking.

Also to the submitter:

You shall not find many here who look at intellectual property as real property. This is simply because its simply ideas. The idea that a idea can be treated like real property is absurd. It would mean you shoot people for listening to you because they 'stole' your ideas and your just trying to defend them. It would basically lead to the idea that thought itself must be regulated, as that is the only way to control ideas, which is all intellectual property is.

Intellectual Property. (2, Insightful)

Hucko (998827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542091)

The only priviso, that I can see, is that an idea that is described in *detail* with dimensions, materials and/or processes required to make it a product. Also if it appears obvious or even(especially) done previous, one should need to explain why it is different and better than what is already out there. I'm thinking of software patents in particular but there is no reason why it can't be. That takes far more work than coming up with a great idea. I've had heaps. Some if I'd worked at I may have even been the first to bring to market. I didn't (lazy) but it anecdotally demonstrates that it is possible for others to come up with a similar or even the same idea.

Re:Time Limits (4, Insightful)

Xiph (723935) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541971)

I noticed that this was tagged "usa" and it quotes the **AAs.
I'd like to point out to anyone, that this is not a US-only problem, it's a problem for the entire developed world (and affects the rest).

If a new system is to be functional, it has to do two things.

1. Ensure that the creator is compensated for his time, and the uncertainty inherent to creating a new products and works of art.
2. Ensure that the public gets to enjoy this product once the creator has been compensated.

Intellectual property is a concept aimed at balancing the need to boost creativity to the benefit of the public.

Both patronage and intellectual property ensures 1. But intellectual property is starting to fail at 2 in more than one way.
The amount of "compensation" for the creative work, is in many industries currently pushed way beyond reasonable and DRM is an attempt to ensure that 2 will never take place.

One of the interesting aspects, is that most of the music we see today, is still a combination of patronage and intellectual property.
The recording & distribution companies, pay the artist to create works, but now patronage means that the artist loses his or hers rights to the music. I don't think this was the idea envisioned in Intellectual Property.

so what's better?
How on earth would i know, I haven't studied it intensively, and neither has most!

Re:Time Limits (1)

richlv (778496) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542161)

one more thing - decriminalise current copyright infrigements - and maybe even make personal use legal, only allowing to capitalise on commercial use.
this actually is happening on it's own, where publishers (of any material) find new business models. so music is distributed for free (to become recognised), but all other stuff is where the money comes in - including commercial use of the works.
and such a model seems to align well with ethics of most people, as opposed to the current system. remember, laws are any good only if majority of people do not consider them wastly stupid.

Re:Time Limits (2)

Alwin Henseler (640539) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542165)

Intellectual property was a concept aimed at balancing the need to boost creativity to the benefit of the public.
There, fixed that for you.

Re:Time Limits (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541973)

Ah, Mr. Shoemaker. Thank you for approaching our optical microchip factory with your freshly granted patent, which is a perfect complement to our proprietary design. It is an interesting patent. Very useful, a big improvement over just using our current design.

Unfortunately, although no doubt we could come to an agreement in terms now, in fact we do not believe that this design will be useful to any other manufacturer, since it complements our patents specifically. Therefore, we prefer to wait a year and get your design for free. However, thank you for your visit. Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Re:Time Limits (1)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542047)

I would go with financial penalties, with no criminal offenses whatsoever. The whole IP and IP theft is more to do with financial gains than anything else, and I would wonder why it should not be treated so.

In addition to this, by default a patent belongs to public domain, and anybody could use that IP without any block or hassle, for a nominal fees decided by an independent group.

I do not agree about 12 months time limits though.

Re:Time Limits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542139)

My solution would be to forbid a copyright from having a longer period than a patent, 21 years seems bat-shit crazy for a patent, and 90 years for a copyright is beyond that. Put 'em both at 15 years, and everything would be fine.

Do you have Ayn Rand on your bookshelf? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541825)

Good luck with that anarcho-capitalist thing.

no more artificial scarcity (4, Insightful)

n3r0.m4dski11z (447312) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541827)

farmers have shared seed for thousands of years. Now monstanto claims they own the seeds. When you start fucking with seeds and shit the entire paradigm of money for ideas breaks down. you are not god, we do not owe you tribute.. all IP is this way

7 years long enough (5, Interesting)

TheLink (130905) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541839)

If we assume that technology and communications is improving, and the pace of progress is increasing then logically the duration of monopoly should get shorter and shorter rather than longer.

Nowadays if a movie is good it makes a profit within a few weeks of its release. If it's not good, stop making bad movies then.

It is ridiculous that there should be a monopoly for > 100 years.

Think about it, if copyright only lasted 7 years, do you think Microsoft would dare release something as crap as Vista? They'd have to make something significantly better than Windows 2000.

If Microsoft won't want to play by those rules, I'm sure Apple or some others will be happy to take over.

As for patents and people talking about drugs needing long patent terms, the AFAIK drug companies spend more money on marketing (aka bribing doctors with goodies and holidays) than R&D, and FDA approval.

Re:7 years long enough (-1, Troll)

Dan541 (1032000) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541957)

Think about it, if copyright only lasted 7 years, do you think Microsoft would dare release something as crap as Vista? They'd have to make something significantly better than Windows 2000.
Vista is the best OS Microsoft has ever released try it before you hop on the anti-vista band wagon.

Re:7 years long enough (1)

Charcharodon (611187) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542007)

Well if he had it his way then Vista would have smoked OSX because MS would have stolen just about everything about it, since the "cutting edge" program Apple nuts can shut up about is over ten years old now. MS has always gotten its best ideas from someone else and the whole software IP enforcement has made it much more difficult for them to borrow them.

"Best", yes, but only 0.1% better than XP... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542179)

For the tiny improvement Vista brings it's not worth the pain/cost of upgrading an XP machine.

Re:7 years long enough (3, Interesting)

Hucko (998827) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542183)

I've used Vista for two months. I just got rid of it. Why? It doesn't do anything better than other options and somethings worse as in it gets in your way. It isn't as bad as what some make out. It is definitely worse than you make out. It is a sports car kit on a golf cart. It doesn't make the vehicle go better, but it is pretty -- from a distance.

Got it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541843)

46.7

1-no, it's not 2-i wouldn't (1)

rmmst49 (1167647) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541845)

1->no, i don't. ->because ideas and universal constants cannot be owned, much though many have tried. If an idea or a string of bits exists and can benefit others at no cost, it will propogate. Soon that constant will be as well known and accepted as pi.

The goal should be innovation (5, Interesting)

TheMiddleRoad (1153113) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541855)

The goal should be to encourage innovation and creativity. Copyrights nowadays just last too long. This encourages hoarding because you can make tons of money by collecting essentially endless copyrights. It encourages lawsuits because the value is in the ownership and money earned over time, not improving the product and giving something people want to buy right now. It discourages derivative works because building off the original costs so much, which, for instance, seriously harms hip hop music. It also discourages new works from going commercial since you can sell a proven product much more easily than creating a new one and teaching the public about it. An individual creator deserves to make money off their work because it gives them an incentive to make more and improve our lives. The current system does the opposite so the social contract is broken. Until balance is restored, I have no problem disregarding pretty much all claims of copyright, short of selling someone's product myself. Then there's patent law...

Re:The goal should be innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541933)

The idea of copyrights that last too long was probably a very creative step... from your average lawyer's point of view.

Re:The goal should be innovation (4, Interesting)

patro (104336) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542051)

"The goal should be to encourage innovation and creativity."

I think it's a misconception innovation should be encouraged.

People are curious, they like to innovate and they will do it even if they are not compensated directly.

A new invention brings fame to its creator and lots of people will do it for the fame only.

I think all kinds of monetary incentives should be abolished, there should be no protection at all.

Companies will continue to innovate, because they need to come up with new products in order to do well in the competition. Those who stagnate will be left behind.

And what if someone copies a new product instantly? The creator will not benefit, but the society as a whole will.

So I think the direct monetary incentive is not necessary, because dedicated inventors will come up with new inventions anyway.

And what if there will be fewer innovations as a result of this? Would it be a big problem? Yes, the pace of technological development would be slower. So what?

Standard answer (5, Insightful)

archeopterix (594938) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541857)

That is, do you believe that intellectual property is a valid construct equivalent to physical property, or do you think it's illusory?
No. As in "neither side of the alternative is true". Copyrights and patents are valid constructs, but are not and should not be equivalent to physical property. I find them tolerable as long as it's a temporary monopoly designed as an incentive to contribute to the public knowledge space . That is why I object to calling it property.

Re:Standard answer (3, Insightful)

the_womble (580291) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542093)

The question was posed by an anarcho-capitalist who can therefore be expected to oppose any form of state control. You are defending the idea of copyright on the (accurate) basis that it is a state-mandated temporary monopoly for the public good.

I agree with you, but the problem is that it appears impossible to persuade governments to legislate to provide copyright and patent laws that are anything like what would be optimal for society as a whole.

Re:Standard answer (3, Interesting)

Barraketh (630764) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542191)

This is exactly right. I think a lot of the problems with the current system arose from people treating IP as physical property, which implies the ability of the owner to fully control it in perpetuity. After all, your ownership of physical property never expires, why should IP be any different?

As far as fixing the system is concerned I think the following steps would help:

1) Forced licensing for copyrights to be used in derivative works. Something like say 15% of profits. This will allow for innovation while still rewarding the original creator.
2) Actually, forced licensing for patents may not be a bad idea either. If you can't make a go of your idea with the advantages of being first to market and not paying licensing fees, then maybe you don't deserve to keep a monopoly on your idea.
3) Much stricter non-obviousness standards for patents. This one is tough, but I think in order to hold a patent you need to show that a top 5% professional in the field would not be able to reasonably come up with the same idea.
4) Repeal business patents. Business patents have a low enough development cost that being first to market should be reward enough in itself.
5) The point above also applies to software patents.

IMHO (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541863)

Human intellect belongs to humanity. Intellectual property is a after-fact of capitalism, not the other way around.

IP = Information (5, Insightful)

PMBjornerud (947233) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541865)

Intellectual Property = information.

If you want to control intellectual property, you need to be able to control the information exchanged between people. That is a very difficult thing to do, and may give you a totalitarian society as a side effect.

Exactly! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542209)

Parent post says exactly what I wanted to, only better.

Naturally, I have no conflict, but the submitter has to choose what's most important to them: property rights or freedom?

The rest follows from there, and there's not much middle ground if you ever want IP rights to be enforceable. Smart businesses turn IP into a service of some kind (radio, WoW, etc. to borrow another post's examples).

- I Don't Believe in Imaginary Property [eff.org]

no scarcity (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541873)

property and intellectual property are not similar.

property rights are important b/c of the problem of scarcity; if there were enough of everything, there wouldn't be fights over who owns what.

with intellectual property, there is no scarcity of the idea or musical recording or what not; it's free (or close to it) to copy.

IP (or some of it) can be arguably justified on purely utilitarian grounds to incentivize creativity, and certain rights are granted that are similar to property rights, hence the use of the word property, but the analogy is taken too far when people think of IP as actual "property"

Re:no scarcity (5, Interesting)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542227)

I think that is a good answer to question 1.

For question 2, there are copyrights and patents to consider.

Copyright:
Eric Flint (who is an author himself) makes a pretty good case for 40 years' copyright on literary works, possibly with the addition that copyright does not run out during the lifetime of the author:
http://baens-universe.com/articles/salvos3 [baens-universe.com]
I think this argument can be extended to movies and music.

Patents:
I think those already do more harm than good. While patents help the inventor, they also can be used against anyone who made the invention independently and just was a bit slower to file for the patent. Which is compounded by patent offices handing out patents for far too vague ideas with too little explanation. That breaks the basic covenant that the inventor gives away his secret and gets a temporary monopoly in exchange.

Also, if you look at the history of important inventions, many of those pop up in different places at nearly the same time, not always patented. I take this as evidence that inventions happen when the time is "right" (the supporting technologies are there) and patents as incentive are not needed.

Overall, I think the patent system is counterproductive in most cases and needs to be abolished. With the possible exception of pharmaceuticals. In that field, the clinical studies take long enough that competitors might copy the drugs before they get on the market, so the original developer pays for the research without having a benefit.

No (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541875)

1. No

Ben Franklin gave his inventions to the world, why can we not do the same? All IP is based on MINE MINE MINE and preventing people from building on your work as long as possible, under the self-interested characterization of other people as THIEVES until proven otherwise. All IP is based on rationalizations of this very selfish behavior.

We've had enough of compromise, all that has given us is unending nibbled-to-death-by-ducks as the lawyers extend and extend and extend the reach of copyright and IP and patents. Soon your great-great-grandchildren will be living off your IP which was never the intent. It always starts as "reasonable" laws passed to encourage innovation and then pass things into public domain as soon as possible.

Do people now feel OBLIGATED to send money to the heirs of the Shakespeare estate every time they quote the Bard? Do you send money to the heirs of Volta every time you use a battery? No? If you don't then you are a sanctimonious hypocrite.

No. (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541877)

No, intellectual property is not a valid construct. The purpose of these laws is to promote creativity, that's the beginning and end of it. A society that views ideas as something that someone can own to the exclusion of others is not compatible with a society founded on free speech and free enterprise.

Intellectual property compromises physical (5, Interesting)

LS (57954) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541879)

Whenever a dispute arises regarding intellectual property, it is usually, though not always, rooted in physical property. For instance, disks, books, or other material holding that property. The laws surrounding intellectual property limit use of your own physical property. For instance, you can purchase a hard disk with the bits set randomly, but once you re-arrange the magnetic charges in a specific fashion, you are infringing upon someone else's rights. This goes to show that intellectual property is indeed an illusion. Shouldn't you be able to do what ever you'd like with that chunk of metal in your room?

You can also look at ideas akin to something like fire. You take a candle and light another candle, and nothing was taking from the first candle. Ideas are the same - they are not a limited resource and thus should not be analogized to physical property.

I live in China right now, and the concept of intellectual property is relatively new here. It's a more natural part of Chinese culture to take ideas from each other. Instead of innovating into uncharted territory, Chinese innovate in place, creating immense depth within a single discipline, for instance martial arts, tea drinking, and calligraphy. This is because there are no intellectual property laws retarding development of these disciplines, and people have been copying and improving upon each others' techniques for thousands of years, spreading across a huge nation.

Chinese culture's reputation for the mysterious and secretive also comes out of this. With no protection of intellectual property laws, valuable ideas are kept secret through guilds and lineages.

Anyway just a few thoughts.

LS

How about (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541887)

no more "look and feel" patents.

A Complex Answer For A Complex Question (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541891)

1. I do not believe in intellectual property. However, I do believe that creators must be compensated for their hard work, to, as the US Constitution stated, "promote the sciences and arts", or something to that effect. As such I acknowledge the fiction of intellectual property as a necessary evil, much as I acknowledge a corporation as a fictitious person as a necessary evil in order to better help commerce (though whether or not corporations should be manifest in the form they are presently in is another story entirely).

2. Simple. Flat-out time limits. They may have a limited ability to be renewed, but cannot be extended. Seven years is probably plenty for most copyrighted works, possibly with an option to extend to another seven, resulting in fourteen total. A similar system seems to have done well for patents - a little too well, as a matter of fact, from the way the patent trolls seem to have sway. I think that people would be FAR more sympathetic towards copyright enforcement if we knew for a fact that it was for a limited time. There might be ways to have a limited form of protection in the case that something is suddenly popular after being out for, say, 18 years - I'm not sure what that would be, though, and if need be, this provision could be discarded for the greater good.

We HAD a solution... (5, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541901)

The system worked fine before it was repeatedly "fixed" in recent years. Increasing copyright periods to ridiculous lengths, DMCA, allowing software patents, etc.

Our system worked FINE. The Internet actually brought no new cards to the table except speed. I could go on about that one for a long time, and bring up copy protection in the context of player pianos (which court cases also involved patentability of "software"). But that would take up a lot of time and space.

In a nutshell: If it ain't broke, don't fix it. It wasn't broke. But they did it anyway, since the mid-90s, all in the name of corporate protectionism and profit. And in the process, they broke it pretty badly.

The solution is simple: put the laws back the way they were, when they actually WORKED and we had, arguably, the best-working set of "IP" laws in the world.

Re:We HAD a solution... (1)

sweet_petunias_full_ (1091547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542135)

"all in the name of corporate protectionism and profit"

That is indeed what is going on with "intellectual property." Proponents describe it as an enabler to unfettered innovation in free-market capitalism, but it's really an artificial monopoly designed to provide a form of protectionism for a few lucky companies, and any form of protectionism we all know is anathema to the ideas of a totally free market.

Just the same, the whole world would be better off completely without any form of it.

IP protection or profiteering (1)

mrapps (1025476) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541903)

If anyone believes that DRM is there to protect IP then you are dreaming. The use of DRM in most cases is to protect profits. On the other side intellectual property rights have become abused in the US by poor laws that need fixing or otherwise IBM wouldn't try and patent processes for everything including dealing with natural disasters.

Answer to #1: No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541907)

Bits (a.k.a. numbers) are free. No one should have a monopoly on any number.

No such thing as imaginary property (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541909)

It's really that simple. There's this funny idea going around that if you create something "intellectual" you have some God-given right to it. You don't. Period. End of story. It's not physical property. You are not diminished IN ANY WAY by my utilization of it. In fact, trying to make it so thru arbitrary legal means simply destroys all the values that we gain by the sharing of ideas. It's an attempt to drive control into an arena that governments have desired for years.

If I have the bits, I get to time-shift and space-shift. Period. No DRM. No copyright violation. No nothing. If you persist I will show you just how imbecilic it is by time-shifting the bits and space-shifting them regardless of control schemes. My bits are not yours to control just because you created them. If you sell me a DVD it better damn play everywhere. Same for CD's and same for MP3's. AND THE SAME THING FOR SOFTWARE.

If you discover something, you don't have any rights whether I use it or not. That is the basic and fundamental aspect of our reality. Ideas are to be shared. The only thing you have right to is *attribution*. Einstein gets credit for E=mc^2. He doesn't get to decide whether I use it to make a particle accelerator or a nuclear fusion reactor.

And god-damn all of you think the words "intellectual" and "property" somehow should sit next to one another in sentences.

Re:No such thing as imaginary property (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542069)

I think we should do away with copy right laws just think of all the problems that would be solved.

I want to know if copyright is a crime then why is it is so heavily punished?
http://www.theinane.com/is-piracy-theft [theinane.com]

Amazing simple question (1)

Framboise (521772) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541939)

The 3 first posts just gives the solution using Common Good Sense (CGS). Just reduce the time of State granted monopoly for copyright or patent owners. The time limit can be determined by evaluating when shorter it reduces innovation. This shortest time is clearly domain dependent, and should be shorter for fast evolving domain and vice-versa.

The solution (4, Funny)

DullTrev (533249) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541945)

The solution to intellectual property is obvious. Get rid of the intellectuals.

Idea: Exemption from IP for innovators. (2, Insightful)

Cordath (581672) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541951)

Why do we have IP laws in the first place? Contrary to what many evidently believe, it's not so that people or companies with good ideas can get rich. It's to foster innovation by ensuring that there is adequate incentive for people to innovate. (Read: Not 100 years of copyright so your great-grandchildren can keep milking it.) Any IP law that impedes innovation should be pruned from the books with prejudice. While it would take a rather extensive amount of pruning to eliminate every IP law that stifles innovation, a simple exemption for innovators might be all that is needed.

Although it would probably be difficult to implement in such a way that the spirit would not be overcome by the letter of the law, I would like to see exemptions to all existing IP laws that apply to those who take copyrighted or patented ideas and produce something original and of merit. If some patent-troll firm amassed a bunch of software patents without producing viable products, real software companies producing actual software could use this exemption and use those ideas without paying ransom or getting sued.

Of course, it might be better to just prune away.

fuck OFF kdawson!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541953)

this is 3 stupid stories in a fucking row

now stop it!

Let's break it down... (5, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541959)

Do you acknowledge the legitimacy of intellectual property to begin with?
Sometimes.

The concept has its merits, but RMS makes a good point here. Using the term "Intellectual Property" distracts from what we're really talking about: Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents.

And, within that, it's possible to break things down even more. Math should never be patentable. English prose should pretty much always be copyrightable. And so on.

That is, do you believe that intellectual property is a valid construct equivalent to physical property, or do you think it's illusory?
Oh, it absolutely is illusory. Big fat "duh" on that point. What you're asking is whether or not we should behave as though it's equivalent to physical property.

I do believe IP -- especially copyright -- is a valuable concept. It's not equivalent to physical property. Specifically, copying something to which you do not have the right is not equivalent to physical theft -- and, more importantly, the only way to "steal" intellectual property would be to obtain legal copyright for something you shouldn't have.

And I believe we're far too early in the game to even know what the ethics around this should be.

If so, how would you go about protecting the rights of intellectual property holders in a way that doesn't require unfair usage limitations or resort to predatory abuse of the tort system?
That's a bit over my head, but if your concern is things like DRM, that's absurdly easy to deal with: Just don't. It is entirely possible to make money without DRM.

In more depth: What I would do is remove DRM from the game, drop the minimum damages (whatever that's called?) for lawsuits, and try to educate the courts a bit on technology, so that real proof is actually required.

And then, I would let the content creators figure it out for themselves.

As a content creator, I would stop seeing piracy as anything other than a competitor, and start looking at what I can do to compete. For successful examples, look at real-world systems which don't have a serious piracy problem, and also don't employ any of the tactics we despise (DRM, etc). Big, obvious examples: Radio, World of Warcraft, most books, and some indie music sites.

Everyone needs to read Boldrin & Levine (5, Informative)

sweet_petunias_full_ (1091547) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541967)

To save you 300 pages of reading "Against Intellectual Monopoly," basically patents don't spur innovation, not even the ones on concrete inventions. Case after case is presented where it is clear that the idea of spurring innovation through patents is flawed at best, and highly damaging at worst. They basically prove that steam engine development was slowed down by patents and only really began to chug when the patents expired. Inventors you thought were heroes finally come across in a more realistic light. They present lots of examples like this and you just basically see the light (at the end of the tunnel?). Now, if your goal was to slow down technological progress or science itself, then maybe patents would be a good idea.

Before reading some chapters from Boldrin & Levine I was somewhat convinced that copyright at least had some beneficial elements to it that should be respected and preserved, but they sure put the nail in that coffin too. They went through the origins of copyright as a *relaxation* to a censorship regime by the crown (IIRC), and it just went downhill from there. Now it just seems like copyright is extended to every damn little thing, and that wasn't the original purpose of it by far. While they don't prove that removing copyright would be beneficial to everyone, they take a shot at showing that it wouldn't be a total disaster to authors/artists. For everyone else, it wouldn't prevent new books from being written, new music from being produced, etc., and it would be a net gainer, by far.

If you have the time to read a 300 page book this summer, by all means at least read a few chapters of Boldrin & Levine. You will understand intellectual property much better and hopefully lose a few sacred cows in the process.

You can select what you may want to read from this landing page:
http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/againstfinal.htm [ucla.edu]

Re:Everyone needs to read Boldrin & Levine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542193)

they take a shot at showing that it wouldn't be a total disaster to authors/artists
How about medicine? Would any new drugs be invented if they were not patentable?

Re:Everyone needs to read Boldrin & Levine (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542223)

Yes.

Next question?

yes! f4!? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541969)

With procees and of its core

The 'Fix'. (1)

Greymoon (834879) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541975)

Here is how I would fix it. Copyright 7-10 years, after that you pay a tax on your IP every year, for another 7-10 years to keep it your IP, just like property taxes. This tax is based on your first 5-7 year revenues. If no revenue during first period, then a minimum tax per year adjustable by 2nd 5-7 year period revenue. No revenue, or not paying taxes on your IP then you lose your IP/copyright, becomes public domain. Regardless, after 14-20 years, public domain. .... Patents, 20 years. No product after 2 years, patent becomes public domain.

incentive vrs. inalienable rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541977)

Intellectual property protection is less about protection and more about incentive. If you copyright a given set of information with the library of congress and a person infringes you are entitled to a set amount of compensation, not based on the value of the information.

The problem is that both legally and culturally we've created an equivocation between the inalienable right of property and the "right" to own your ideas and all derivatives of your ideas.

Of course it is a good idea for government to create incentives for authorship, but infringement on that incentive is not the same thing as infringement on "real" property. There is nothing is the "state of nature" that prohibits you from coping what you see your neighbor doing or saying or writing.

Any intelligent discussion of the future of IP law needs to include a historical understating of how and why IP came to exist in the first place.

Its an artificial solution. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 6 years ago | (#23541979)

I do not believe in intellectual properties at all. From my point of view its just an artificial market that has no connection with real life at all.

I can find that it can be of some use with a very limited monopoly but if its not very short; like a couple of years, its doing more harm than good. Todays protection are so heavily slanted towards the IP owner. There has to be a balance for it to be beneficiary to the public because most new innovations and media builds on previous work. Just think about where Disney had been if they hadnt been able to rip off Grimm and all the other folklore? Where would Lucas and Star Wars be without Akira Kurosawa to rip blatantly from? Where would Microsoft/Apple/Linux stand had Xerox Parc patented their GUI? What if IBM had excerted patent and IP rights on the PC?

The world of today is full of people who have their predecessors to think for their success still they so desperately want to exclude others from doing the same in the future. IP is just a wet dream about replacing factories outsorced in endless greed and short sightedness with selling ideas and thoughts instead of actually doing something. Like a stock market of brains.

No, you are not. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23541997)

You cannot be an anarchist and acknowledge "property rights." Property is the one thing society is built upon. Property is what the police protects, property is what laws enforce. If you're an anarchist, even an individualistic one, you can't be "for" property.

Sorry to break your illusions kiddo.

Social contract (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542003)

"Intellectual property" is a misleading term that should be avoided entirely, precisely because it leads people to assume that there is or at least may be some similarity to physical property.

In reality, there isn't. Copyrights and patents etc. are a social contract: one that says "we encourage you to be creative, and as an incentive, we'll let you profit from you creation exclusively for a while". It's a win-win situation: the creator gets to make money (if his creations are worthwhile), and the world as a whole gets more contributions to the public domain.

People need to get that into their heads again. Or, more precisely, we need to make sure that a) congresscritters aren't bought by industry lobbyists anymore, and b) that people aren't subjected to the *AAs' and others' propaganda anymore. Needless to say, these two things aren't independent.

(On a side note, trademarks are a different issue from copyright and patents; but they, too, are being misused, since trademarks are intended for the protection of the *customer*. If I buy a can of some beverage that says "Coca-Cola" on the outside, I want to be able to be sure that it really is Coca-Cola and not some concoction brewed in the back yard of someone who wants to make a quick buck; any and all use of trademarks must be evaluated in the light of whether it is for the protection of consumers or not. Or at least, that's the theory, just like the social contract I described above is the theory for copyright and patents.)

IP valid, but != physical property rights (1)

Christoph (17845) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542009)

That is, do you believe that intellectual property is a valid construct equivalent to physical property,...

I think intellectual property(IP) rights are valid, but not equivalent to physical property rights (because the scarcity of physical property doesn't apply to IP).

People who create useful IP must be compensated enough to financially survive (and be able to produce more useful IP). That does not have to require that the IP is made artificially scarce...aren't all the photos taken by NASA are in the public domain? The photographers/astronauts who took them were paid for their work (public financing of photography).

I have no idea if public funding for the creation of IP is a good idea overall, but it's one example of compensating creators while sharing the IP freely :-) With trial and error, some equal or better solution should be possible.

Re:IP valid, but != physical property rights (1)

stunspot (1295815) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542201)

Exactly. Whatever IP is, it is _not_ the same as physical property. Copying a movie isn't _theft_.

If I steal your loaf of bread and give it to my friend, afterwards my friend has bread and you and I have nothing.

If I copy your DVD and give a copy to my friend, at the end not only do both I and my friend have the movie, but _you still do too_.

These are not equivalent situations. The later is not "theft". We don't have a good word for what it is; English is not particularly well suited for the nuances of the noosphere. But it's not _theft_.

I don't know what "the answer" is. I do know that it isn't going to come from trying to shoehorn the fundamentally new classes of entity that arise from the unprecedented powers we are provided by modern technology into the legal and conceptual frameworks that arose from what was essentially an agrarian and industrial society.

This are new things that require new ideas.

Easy answer (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542011)

> 1 - Do you acknowledge the legitimacy of intellectual property to begin with? That is, do you believe that intellectual property is a valid construct equivalent to physical property, or do you think it's illusory?

It is imaginary (aka: illusory).

> If not, why?

Because the "natural" root of "property" is that if take something from you, you don't have it anymore. This is why property have been a necessary evil in human society (because if I let you take my axe and go away with it, I won't have it when I need it to cut wood). Note that the extension of property rights to real estate is already slightly dubious.

In the Imaginary Property field, if I take an idea from you, you still have it, so it you don't loose it. What you loose it the opportunity of making money from it, but that is a vastly different issue.

To see why this is a different issue, let's compare Imaginary Property to Protection Racket. Why isn't that legal after all ? I can argue that I was the first to racket a specific road, hence I should have the right to extort money on businesses or people there. This is very similar to being the same having some specific idea.

The difference between Imaginary Property and Protection Racket, is that it is supposed that Imaginary Property gives society back some value, while Protection Racket doesn't (it could be argued that correctly implemented protection racket is similar to some private police and that it could be a Good Thing if properly managed).

On can argue that Imaginary Property is somewhat worse than Protection Racket, because you can be racketed multiple time for the same thing by different people (in the patents case). In general, racketeers offer a better deal: "you only pay me, and I take care of the others".

So I think that Imaginary Property is effectively a Protection Racket, that I can only find ok if properly managed. In particular, the racket should be temporary, the amount to be paid should be low and fixed, and stiff penalties should be served to abusive racketeers.
(Btw, that is a quite a nice flaimebait, slashdot. You've got a winner here.)

Free Culture book (1)

dermoth666 (1019892) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542013)

That is a complex question, and it's best to start with where copyright came from.

I'd highly recommend that you read the Free Culture book by Lawrence Lessig:

http://www.free-culture.cc/ [free-culture.cc]

Physical property and I"P" are INCOMPATIBLE. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542015)

I'm an anarcho-capitalist, and a huge supporter of property rights, both physical and intellectual.
Then you're misguided at best.

Physical property and intellectual "property" rights are incompatible. You simply can't successfully have both - the one necessarily undermines the other, as Stephan Kinsella laid out. See http://www.stephankinsella.com/ip/ [stephankinsella.com] , particularly "Against Intellectual Property" [mises.org] [PDF].

Since the choice is ultimately between physical property rights and intellectual "property" rights (and of course I already think the latter are rather suspect for a number of other reasons) I simply choose physical property rights.

When people say "but I'P' is valuable!" I say - of course it is, each EU or US patent granted steals value from literally hundreds of millions of people's physical property rights. A patent lets you usurp the value of everyone's physical property - A patent, by definition, says "you can no longer make your physical property into this particular form without my permission".

An I"P" system is death of a thousand cuts to the physical property system. "Anarcho-capitalists" who think they can support both should get a clue.

Re:Physical property and I"P" are INCOMPATIBLE. (1)

hbuttle (1266864) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542103)

i was going to link to kinsella too...

somebody please mod this one up.

Mechanism for maintaining ownership (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542025)

To own something it must be possible to construct a mechanism for
preserving the ownership. With movies and music this has been easy in
the past as it used to be hard to copy and move the media on which the
material was stored. With the net this has now changed, and I suspect
the change has only just started. With new technologies such as future
generations of e-book readers and rapid prototyping machines (and
later on matter compilers), larger parts of what today is "safe" IP
will become easy to distribute.

This is great news for the consumer, imagine for example that you only
have to buy one pair of sneakers in your whole life, after which you
simply scan and copy them. Not so great news for companies that
produce designs though, as it will be virtually impossible to earn any
money on them. However, this will, I think, sort itself out. There
will be ways to earn money on IP, I would for example be interested in
paying a subscription fee for having easy access to all movies and
music that has ever been made, i.e. you can charge for the easy access
but not the material itself. It will however be a bit harder to
maintain a "rock and roll lifestyle", and the entertainment business
may go back to be a low income job as it used to be in the days before
cinematography was invented.

I also think that this development will open up for more services in
custom design, where there will be an exchange between online and real
world IP production. For example, you will pay someone in second life
to make you a T-shirt design, which if you like it can be made into a
physical T-shirt in your matter compiler. The other path would be that
you have or see a nice T-shirt, that you scan and use for your avatar.

Back to the constitution. (4, Informative)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542027)

The purpose of patents is to get inventors to disclose their inventions in exchange for a temporary monopoly. It's a deal between the inventor and everybody else: tell us how you did it, and we won't compete with you for a set amount of time. The alternative is that the inventor attempts to keep it a secret, and the idea dies with him.

-jcr

Exponentially increasing fees (1)

Hermel (958089) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542031)

How about exponentially increasing fees for patent renewal and copyright protection. E.g. first year is free, second year 1000$, third year 4000$, forth 16000$, tenth year 10,000,000$. That way, researching expensive drugs still pays off while less relevant patents expire reasonably fast.

We can only compromise (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542033)

The corporations want to screw us for every penny.

That's not a criticism. It's what corporations are there for. Consumers want to get as much from them as possible while spending as little money as possible. That's just basic careful spending.

These goals are not totally compatible. So we need to find a compromise. Fair use exceptions are an example of one of the many compromises. No compromise will be perfect. The internet gave a little more power to the consumer. The DMCA gave a little more power to the corporations, but it was extremely badly balanced (especially the notice and takedown aspect).

Not much of anarcho in your capitalsm, is there? (0, Flamebait)

Darby (84953) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542049)

Seriously,

If you think that defending the control over 1s and 0s is even sane, then you are not in any conceivable sense of the word an anarcho capitalist.
If you can't defend it yourself and you want to whine to big brother to protect your belief in illusory nonsense, then just man up, grow up and give up any delusion in believing in the anarcho part of that.

You are a whiny, big government pussy and nothing more. It is not at all, in any way possible to have one without the other.
The fact that you would even disgrace yourself with such a clearly contradictory question demonstrates your utter refutation of the ideal you claim to support.

In short, fuck off you whiny shitbag.

 

Re:Not much of anarcho in your capitalsm, is there (5, Insightful)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542079)

I'd have put it a bit more nicely. Something like "parse error" would have done better.

An anarcho-capitalist who believes in IP is like a libertarian who advocates for a monarchy.

Some ideas (3, Insightful)

NickHydroxide (870424) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542057)

1) Yes, I acknowledge intellectual property as a legitimate construct. More specifically, I acknowledge the exclusive right to the creator or sponsor of intangible content to derive income for a limited period of time.

2) As many people have said (and I am sure will continue to say), time-limits need to be shortened. Simple enough to make that statement without a discrete number of years, I know, but I don't have one as yet.

Usage rights need to be effectively unlimited - i.e. treat the purchaser of a "licence" to access/use intellectual property the same as a sole purchaser of tangible property. I can copy, backup, sell, modify, install on multiple machines, change hardware, do whatever I like. If the copyright holder grants/sells to me a right to use that intellectual property, he forfeits all other "rights" with respect to me.

This is talking primarily in the personal/domestic setting. I realise that in the commercial world, licences which are limited (both in duration and use) are commonplace and useful. These generally, however, arise from *signed* contracts. Don't try and BS us with this click-through, shrink wrap EULA business.

Outlaw any technology which impinges on a purchaser's right to access his purchase. DRM, TPM, etc, throw it out the window.

Establish *reasonable* penalties for infringement. Million dollar file for downloading a movie from Channel BT? Disproportionate penalties tend to encourage flouting of the law, IMO. If I were slugged $100 for a movie I downloaded illegitimately, I would probably say "fair cop". Set up an IP tribunal to stop the combative litigation style of the MAFIAA.

In the same vein, do not allow IP holders to act as police (a la DMCA takedown notices). Do not tolerate any conflicts of interest by letting ISPs and content producers to get into bed together. Ban any so-called "TOS" which permit your ISP to boot you off your service if they think you are serving copyrighted material. Provide safe-harbour protection to ISPs so they can ignore threats from IP holders. Packet filtering/inspection is and should be treated as a gross invasion of privacy.

This is just a start. I'm sure there are a good deal of other great ideas.

"anarcho-capitalist"? (1, Flamebait)

iamacat (583406) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542059)

How can you believe in restricting what people can do with ideas IN THEIR HEADS then? How can you justify government interfering in a private business transaction between two individuals because a 3rd one have been artificially protected from competition. You are not much of an anarchist or a capitalist. You favor a government planned economy where certain corporations (patent holders) are favored over others in the same of supposedly social good ("promote progress of art and science"). Sadly, the current system had effects contrary to its stated purpose.

Re:"anarcho-capitalist"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542119)

well said.

Abolish copyright, limit patent, trademark okay (2, Insightful)

kaltkalt (620110) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542063)

I'm very skeptical of IP, for the most part. Trademarks are legitimate because they prevent consumer fraud, one brand pretending to be another. If anyone could use the Nike name/label everyone would be ripped off all the time. However the law should not require trademark holders to zealously defend their names or be deemed to lose them. Why encourage, or even require litigation? Patents, for bona finde inventions, not derivatives, not marketing systems, not software, not combinations of inventions (a vaccuum cleaner with a lightbulb should not be patentable, but the first internal conbustion engine should be) are legitimate. However, these days there should only be about 1 or 2 patents per year. If even that. Maybe 1 or 2 every couple of years. A patent being granted should be a rare thing, newsworthy in and of itself. Nowadays, pretty much everything new and unique has already been made. I won't rehash patent abuse here on Slashdot - you all know better than everyone else how patents are abused. No more than 1 invention per year is truly unique and worthy of patent protection (for a limited time, of course). Copyrights have proven to be worthless. Copyright provides absolutely zero incentive for artists to create works - people with artistic talent will create works of art no matter whether they can have a financial monopoly on said works. In fact, as a rule of thumb, works made for profit are far worse than works made for art's sake. Copyright has been used for nothing more than to stifle free expression, to blackmail consumers, and to purge knowledge and art from availability. I don't mean just from the public domain. Everything should be in the public domain. I mean there are movies and books that are out of print and unavailable b/c they can't be legally purchased! Anything that reduces the available knowledge to mankind needs to be done away with. But on a more personal level, the idea that people have to pay to sing happy birthday in a movie, that a restaurant owner can't turn on the radio in his establishment (let alone play a CD), or that I can't make a mix CD for a friend is simply asinine and contrary to a free society. When you make something, the only thing you deserve is credit for the work. Plaigairism is bad. Nobody should be able to take credit for your work - but credit is all you deserve. Nothing more. In sum: Copyright has to go. Patent needs to be limited to, say, the top 5 submissions per year (and that's generous, it should be 1 per year at most). Trademark is legitimate.

There's no such thing as "intellectual property" (2, Insightful)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542075)

The whole concept of "intellectual property" was created out of nothing. For many years we've had trademarks, patents, and copyrights; these protected the various creative activities and allowed the creators to reap the profit of their labors and at the same time allow these labors to enter the public domain where they'd enrich society as a whole.

But corporate interests have been hard at work. Many creative artists no longer own what they produce; the new improved laws reduce their products to nothing more than "work for hire" for their corporate masters. The creators don't reap the profit of their labors anymore. And there's also been changes in the laws that extend the protections for these creators long, long beyond what was a fair exchange between the creator's interests and the public interest.

It's not enough that the whole "protect creators, protect the public interest" system has been perverted in the name of corporate profit. To further enrich themselves, they hired marketing and public relations experts. The false concept of "intellectual property" was created and used to justify even more perversions of our legal system. You can only infringe a copyright - but if you can call it property then you can say that someone is stealing your property. Bring on the draconian criminal penalties and secure the corporate interests from having to compete in the modern net-connected world.

Using music as an example: Record companies and their trade associations file lawsuits against their customers by the thousands to protect their copyrights. Those people didn't write or perform any music; where did they get their copyrights from? They say they're doing this to protect the artists - but those artists aren't getting much (if any) of the profits from their creative works. The real creators don't even own what they create; the copyrights were "stolen" by the record companies and the new improved laws mean they won't have to release the music into the public domain for a very, very long time (if ever).

The motion picture studios have been watching and they're starting to play the same games.

Note well: none of this is to protect the artists. It's to protect corporate profits, pure and simple. As long as they can get away with using "intellectual property" to get lawmakers to further protect their profit margins they will. But at the end of the day it's still nothing more than a phrase that means less than nothing. Ideas are not property; never have been, never will.

I'm a firm believer that what's yours is soon mine (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542077)

Which is to say, I want whatever I can get my grubby little hands on. Don't hate me because I steal, and will steal from you if given any chance. That's the way I am.

Drinking water (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542085)

While drinking a glass of water is healthy, trying to drink an ocean probably isnt.

There are things related to intellectual property that are right. Ok, you created something, you deserved to be recognized for that, maybe even getting some money for it. But from there to owning all the ideas that have the letter "e" in their formulation in english, forever and ever, well, there are a long way.

A line should be drawn separating the reasonable/fair/whatever of what is not, and there are happening a lot of things in that field that are definately in the wrong side of that line. And as with drinking water, maybe wont be immediate to realize how much harm are you doing to yourself.

More like imaginary property... (1)

WoollyMittens (1065278) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542089)

Enforcing an artificial scarcity will never work in the free world. The only thing that can be done is turn the free world into a police state and I think that price is too high.

$70 Billion a Year for Drug Laws... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542097)

$70 Billion a Year for Drug Laws While Predators Remain Free

$70 Billion a Year for Drug Laws While Predators Remain Free [salem-news.com]
Erin Hildebrandt Salem-News.com

"Outdated drug laws intended to lock non-violent offenders in jail results in more leeway and fewer arrests for violent criminals and predators.

(SALEM, Ore.) - Imagine a town, somewhere in the United States. At the local police station, Officer Joe is pouring himself a cup of coffee at the start of his shift, when a call comes in. A citizen thinks she smells marijuana coming from her neighbors house.

Joe proceeds to respond to the call, driving the 30 or so odd miles to the house. Just then, another call comes in. An armed man has taken 27 children hostage at the local elementary school now 25 miles away from Joes location.

In this extreme example, there can be no doubt that Joe should abandon his investigation of the marijuana smell and proceed immediately to the school. No officer in his right mind would consider putting childrens lives at risk, in order to pursue the smell of cannabis, would he?

But on a larger scale, when we fund drug enforcement to the tune of 70 billion dollars every year, we are effectively putting lives at risk by not funding other important police work.

Officers are only charged with enforcing the laws that we the people, through our legislators enact, and according to the priorities these legislators reflect through their funding of all of the various departments of law enforcement. We must demand that our leaders choose to prioritize the health and safety of our nations communities, over policing the personal morals of the citizens of the Land of the Free.

As a nation, weve lost sight of the forest for the trees. Weve charged law enforcement officers with the awesome responsibility of not only preventing violent crime and apprehending violent criminals, but weve further empowered them to act as the morality police, saving America from the evils of everything from cigarette smoke to cannabis to sex toys to, of all the crazy things certain kinds of fat! Where does it end?

The U.S. currently incarcerates more people for non-violent crimes, than for violent crimes. We lock up more of our citizens per capita than any other nation, even Russia, China and Cuba. Yet, according to national data from the FBI for 2006, the clearance rate for all violent crime was an abysmal 44.3%. Our current approach is not working. In all of this often politically-driven chaos, our priorities have been perverted.

Its time to reprioritize.

For decades weve waged a War on Drugs, supposedly designed to prevent and deter the abuse of ten substances through their prohibition. Instead of encouraging our citizens to abide by the laws of the land, this war on some drugs encourages entrepreneurial anarchy in a game won by survival of the most corrupt and callously capitalistic.

It has driven the major funding for organized crime and terrorism, created and maintains a black market so enormous that it rivals the wealthiest industries on Earth, and which has become directly responsible for far too much of the vigilante violence in our communities. It encourages everyone who would dare to taste the forbidden fruit to live outside of, and develop disrespect and disregard for, the laws of our land.

Instead of seeing heroes among police officers, suburbanites like me grow up to become adults who fear law enforcement. We view them as potential threats, terrorizing patients who need medical marijuana and pursuing and persecuting cannabis consumers, while child rapists are given slaps on the wrist some never spending a single day in jail, even for raping multiple children. And that only includes the small percentage of predators that are caught.

Additionally, NIDA reports indicate that survivors of sexual assault are 4-10 times more likely to abuse illegal drugs, than those who do not suffer abuse. Incarcerating non-violent survivors of rape for using drugs to self-medicate anxiety, depression and other symptoms of PTSD, while allowing their perpetrators to roam our streets with impunity, does not make us safer.

A legislator once challenged me on the issue of medical marijuana. He said that he didnt want to support an amendment to a funding bill which would have protected medical marijuana patients. His reason for objecting, however, surprised me. He said that he didnt want to single out marijuana from every other medicine. He wanted to see all drugs regulated equally.

This makes perfect sense to me. As a patient with Crohns Disease, who relies on medical marijuana to ease severe symptoms, I couldnt really argue with his logic. I could only ask him whether he felt it would be a wise investment of our scarce resources to send the DEA to break down my door, terrorize my five young children, and haul me off to jail, just for taking my medicine? He had to admit that would be a very poor use of our resources, and Im thrilled to say hes supported the Rohrabacher - Hinchey Medical Marijuana Amendment for four years in a row.

I keep coming back to that meeting with the Congressman in my mind, because Id very much like to see his vision come to fruition. By regulating all drugs equally, effectively ending prohibition once and for all, we could accomplish what the originators of prohibition first promised actually reducing drug abuse and violent crime in our nation.

No longer can we afford to funnel tens of billions of dollars annually into a War on Drugs, which effectively ensures the perpetual funding of organized crime and terrorism. We must not waste the precious time of our law enforcement officers in chasing down the sick and dying who need medical marijuana, while child rapists roam our communities, knowing that their chances of even getting caught, let alone doing any time in prison, are very low.

Do we want to cut crime in our nation by half?

Do we want to eliminate drug dealing overnight?

Do we want our police officers spending our scarce resources to pursue people who prefer cannabis to cocktails, or do we have more important work for them to do?

It all comes down to our priorities.

To learn more about prohibition and why cops say legalize drugs, please visit: LEAP.cc.

Another site worth visiting on this subject is: medicalcannabis.com.

For more information about medical marijuana and prohibition, please visit: ParentsEndingProhibition.org (currently undergoing revision)."

"Erin Hildebrandt wears many hats. She's wife to Bill Hildebrandt, mom to five beautiful kids, activist, artist, legally registered Oregon medical marijuana patient, public speaker, and an internationally published writer. She co-founded Parents Ending Prohibition, and her writing has been printed in Mothering Magazine, New York's Newsday, and Canada's National Post, among many others. Erin has been interviewed for a front page story in USA Today, and she has been published in the American Bar Association Journal. Speaking as a survivor of child sexual abuse, Erin also appeared on the Geraldo Rivera show. She has also testified before Oregon Senate and House committees, and Maryland Senate and House committees. We are very pleased to feature the work of Erin Hildebrandt on Salem-News.com."

The way I see property and IP (1)

Nuitari The Wiz (1123889) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542099)

I do accept the concept of Intellectual Property, however I do not like the way things are horribly broken now.

The problem as I see it is that companies and a few racketeers want IP to be of unlimited length.

I think it should be treated more in line with actual property when it comes to time limits.

Just look at actual property around you. How much of it is over 10 year old? 20 year old ? 100 year old ?

Even most houses in America are not 100 year old, and even very old houses will have gone through many renovations so not much will still be at a 100 year old age.

As for Monsanto and their seeds, I find it ridiculous that farmers that don't even want the Monsanto seeds get stuck with them because of their robustness then they get sued for IP theft.

It would be the same as me taking a bag full of "manure" spreading it around with an air circulation device then suing you for getting in the way of the flying "manure".

Pay for play is the wrong way (1)

debatem1 (1087307) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542101)

Personally, I don't think that knowledge should be anything but free- that everybody, all over the world, should have the right to think and create freely, informed by the sum total of previous human thought. I think it is to our benefit as a species and our credit as a civilization that today, more knowledge is available to the laziest and most disinterested dropout than was in bygone years known by the wisest and most studious. And I think we would be wise to continue that trend.
Economically, though, the RIAA and MPAA have one thing right- distribution is just too easy for the system of paying for the right to possess intellectual property to continue, and somebody has to make a living. Two alternatives come to mind: the first is the charity system, where an artist earns what the people feel they deserve. The second is a patronage system, where a patron commissions the work in advance, and pays for it on a similar timescale.
I expect a lot of people to say that neither scheme will work. Generally the arguments against these systems revolve around the basic question of why would people would buy the cow when they can have the milk for free?
I don't think anybody who says this has ever waited tables. Sure, a heavy percentage of tips will be mediocre, and some percentage will suck, but considering the fact that nobody is making the customer pay, it all works out pretty well. It turns into a statistical question, and if anybody has any has any real data on that, I'd like it if you'd post it.
I also don't think it squares up with the state of the music or movie industry. I mean, lets face it- it just isn't prohibitively hard to download a piece of media. But many, many more people do it than download illegally, and that to me says that people are still willing to pay for their media, for the convenience of having it on a disc, for the liner notes and album art and all kinds of things. In other words, just because the dominant distribution channel changes doesn't mean that people aren't willing to spend some money on their music or their movies.

Malformed argument exception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542109)

The question is badly formed. For starters it presents two extremes, in a "have you stopped beating your wife lately" style choice.

I do believe that intellectual effort is valuable.

However I do not believe that calling intellectual effort 'equivalent to property' is necessarily the best option. In this kind of debate, the one side will say "protect intellectual property" and the other side will say "why bother, it cannot be stolen, because if someone takes it, you still have a copy?".

The ability to trivially reproduce certain things* in bulk is what separates intellectual property from real property. Into this category we also introduce grey areas, such as Art, where a painting can be replicated in the real world (via forgery), but it can also be fairly accurately mass reproduced in digital form as a poster, without necessarily losing its 'artiness'.

But what makes this area interestingly bad is that certain crowds (of which Slashdot is one) tend to consistently massively over-rate the value of ideas. Ideas are cheap, available in great quantities, and are trivially easy to digitise and duplicate. I think the problem is the idea (sic) that all you need is an idea and anyone can become an internet millionaire. I would say that 'The Idea' is one of the least important aspects of any start-up company. The real money is in the execution of The Idea.

Now, there are certain things, like maths which perhaps should never be protected. I should not, for instance, be able to lay claim to "2 + 2 = 4", and run around suing early childhood educational publishers.

On the other hand, if some university professor, through years of effort, finds the proof to some conundrum, then shouldn't there be recognition of some kind?

And with programming, it is always going to slide around these murky waters, part maths, part art, part fish. At some point it crosses over from a trivial formula, to real effort. "Hello World" should not be protected, but if I have a company that writes a million lines of code to do OLAP better than everyone else, I shouldn't have to see it get copied by Microsoft or Oracle. Yet producing copies of that software is trivial and 'won't destroy the original'.

I think that other artists deserve recognition and compensation. I also don't think that just because touring works well for The Grateful Dead, doesn't mean that we can say "oh, we'll take away their other forms of compensation, and then the artist/band can just go on tours to make money". Additionally, there are some parts of the music process which are universally despised (*cough* RIAA *uncough*), but we can't just say "well don't compensate the evil idiots running the show", because they do perform a useful function. (They are not unlike a venture capitalist - they put up the initial capital, but then take the lion's share of the profits). Or possibly two useful functions (promotion of the artist).

Likewise in programming, we shouldn't just say "oh well, everyone should make their money purely from selling services", while that may work for one or two, it isn't necessarily going to work for everyone, and is, I think, one of the worst things about some Linux supporters, that they want to force programmers into a particular narrow economic niche.

And this doesn't even touch on the difficulty of 'design'. For instance designing a car. If anyone can just come along and copy your look, then it destroys the incentive to innovate. Just be the third mover (like Microsoft in the early days, you wait for someone to initially prove it is possible (Visicalc), then you wait for someone to prove that money can be made with it (Lotus 1-2-3), then you step in and prove it can be mass marketed (Excel)).

*I.e. anything that can be digitized

What constitutes "Intellectual Property" ... (1)

popra (879835) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542111)

... needs to be revised, unfortunately nowadays, "Intellectual Property" is attributed more and more to those who are the first to get protection for an idea.
In my opinion, for all this to work properly, it should be the first to get a new idea.
On the other hand we need to think hard if we really want IP protection. We see patent applications for the invention of fire or the wheel, which altho laughable, show a concerning trend: "we want to own any idea that others will fail to own".

Be reminded that human societies began true development and innovation once the sharing knowledge became widely available (one example is the end of the middle ages for European societies) not the other way around. Where "widely available" means available to most ppl as opposed to those with power and money.

Short Term & Long Term (1)

Moldy-Rutabaga (681427) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542115)

I am writing as a nonspecialist, but to me the problem of copyright infringement, to use Thomas Friedman's analogy, is a little like the sunrise; it's going to happen whether or not we like it. Before capitalism there was no real need for copyright that I know of. Authors were flattered to have other authors borrow their ideas; Erasmus was highly insulted when someone suggested he had written for money. It might well be that centuries from now, if other economic systems develop, that there will again be no need for such protections. In our present system, we do need some form of protection to guarantee further investment, whether it be in music, film, software, or medicine. Nevertheless, I think that much of the problem would disappear with considerably less greedy copyright periods. A film or recording might have ten years; a piece of software or medicine might have five. This would ensure profit while permitting a much vaster repository of public-owned materials, and I think the key difference is fairness. This concept sounds a little naive, but one emotion which I believe drives piracy is the partly justified feeling that copyright has been abused. I agree that intellectual property exists, but perhaps property is indeed a misleading word, as it suggests something permanent and tangible. I also think it is important to point out that free access to someone's ideas is different from plagiarism. I would not have a problem with a book falling into public domain in a shorter time period, but there still needs to be recognition of the author's origination of the work in the academic world.

The best solution I've found... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542117)

...42

NO, NO, NO. (0, Flamebait)

Balinares (316703) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542123)

The real disturbing thing is that you are asking this question at all. Here's why.

What is nowadays wrapped under the common label of 'intellectual property' (copyrights, patents, trademarks) was never, EVER, intended as any manner of property.

The ONLY purpose of patents and copyrights (trademarks being a different thing altogether) is to maximize the availability of intellectual production in the public domain.

Let me repeat that: their only purpose is to help along the enrichment of the public domain.

The temporary exploitation monopoly rights that both copyrights and patents allow are only means to that end; they only exist to make investment in creation and invention economically worthwhile. They were never, ever, meant as the end itself, regardless of what mind-boggingly rich executives would have you believe.

Which makes the very term of intellectual property a misnommer of outright Sapir-Whorf scale; let us please stop using it and denounce its use? Thanks. Intellectual creations don't belong to anyone; we just grant their creators a temporary exclusivity on the rights to make money of them. And that's all there ever was to it.

(Note: IANAL, but the above comes straight from the law courses that were mandatory in my tech studies; details may vary from country to country. Mandatory law courses didn't make me happy at the time, mind you, but man, have they come in handy since then.)

Client Server State vs. P2P Communism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542129)

Some nice articles here:
http://www.telekommunisten.net/news?path[news]=/mail.cgi/archive/friends/20080128141114/

Confusions and global corpus (1)

phitar (457288) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542145)

There are many different areas of IP, not to be confused: patents, trademarks, industrial design, geographical indications, copyright... with different issues and problems.

IMHO there are areas of IP that make sense: protecting brands, otherwise known as trademarks, so that "company identity theft" is more difficult.

Patents were initially created not only to protect the inventors by giving them a limited monopoly time but also to
    1. encourage publication of inventions so secret inventions would not die with their owners, in effect creating a global corpus of invention descriptions.
    2. to help distribute the collective invention effort instead of having everyone try to replicate a given useful invention, in effect encouraging innovation. this is why patents are published before they are accepted.

The problem i see with the monopoly given is that too many patents are obvious and in effect lock-down effects stifle innovation instead of stimulating it. In a perfect world, the length of protection should be connected to a measure of obviousness and to the speed of the industry. It takes longer to apply an invention in the field of trains than in the field of software.

Sounds hard but a panel could grant patents a variable length, which would also help filter through the massive number of frivolous patents that chokes the patent offices.

False dichotomy! (4, Insightful)

Eric Smith (4379) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542147)

Do you acknowledge the legitimacy of intellectual property to begin with? That is, do you believe that intellectual property is a valid construct equivalent to physical property, or do you think it's illusory?
Your premise that intellectual property has to be either equivalent to physical property or illusory is mistaken. It's entirely possible, perhaps even likely, that intellectual property is a valid construct but NOT equivalent to physical property.

In fact, by its very nature it would have to not be equivalent. For example, if I infringe your intellectual property, I haven't deprived you of the use of it, as would be the case if I stole your physical property. Since the natural consequences of infringement are different, it follows that the rights should not be completely equivalent. However, that's not at all the same as saying that there shouldn't be any intellectual property rights.

What's the problem? (1)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542149)

A lot of verbiage has been expended on the nature of intellectual property, and whether the system is in need of "fixing". But what exactly is the problem with the current system?

The funny thing about laws is that no matter how carefully they are designed and written, they must still be enforced somehow. And by and large, it simply isn't practical to enforce every violation of intellectual property laws as they currently stand. The vast majority of lawsuits against IP infringers involve your run of the mill flagrant copyright violations: Party A creates something, Party B publishes it without attribution and profits from that action, Party A sues. In these cases, it is up to the courts to decide what the damages are for such infringement, and they generally do a pretty good job. There is even a whole body of law permitting some such uses under the doctrine of fair use. So the system is not weighted completely in favor of copyright holders.

Then there are the very few, but high profile cases that involve file sharing and such. Most of the parties involved in these cases are infringers on a grand scale--people who run sites explicitly dedicated to trading pirated music or software, for example. Certainly, one could point to a few cases where a grandmother or a four year old were sued, but these cases make up a very small portion of infringement cases as a whole, and a practically negligible percentage of the total infringement that actually goes on. But the people who run the sites know what they are getting into, and they make the choice to facilitate massive copyright infringement. Whether they feel morally justified in doing so, they are aware of the risks going into it, and should be willing to face the consequences should it come to that. Besides, there will always be others willing to take their place.

Perhaps organizations like the RIAA and the MPAA have been given somewhat too much power to enforce their IP rights. But as a practical matter, they simply cannot do anything to significantly reduce the amount of infringement that actually occurs. Nor can they chase down everyone who has ever downloaded an MP3 and sue for damages, real or theoretical. The fact of the matter is that, even if it is flawed in principle, our current system actually works fairly well on a practical level. There really isn't any need to scrap the current system and start over. Refine it, perhaps, but that's why we live in a free society where we can make and change laws as needed.

Intellectual property rights are beneficial to society as a whole in that they encourage people to create who might not otherwise do so. Many industries that revolve around the creation of intellectual property simply wouldn't exist but for the broad rights granted to IP creators. To those who say that copyright shouldn't last more than 7 years or some other short time, I would counter that, as long as a creation is profitable, why shouldn't the creator be entitled to enjoy that profit? Many films and works of literature that were created decades ago are still popular today, and still generate significant revenue. Should someone else be entitled to that revenue simply because he decided to package it up and sell it at a cheaper price immediately after the copyright expired?

In fact, it seems to me that a term of copyright equal to the life of the creator and then some is not unreasonable. It benefits the individual artist as much as anyone. If not for the significant length of a copyright today, writers wouldn't be entitled to royalties on their work after the copyright expired. In fact, if you wrote a novel or a script, for example, it would be in the best interest of large corporations to simply wait the brief period for the copyright to expire, at which point they could simply use the work in any way they see fit rather than having to negotiate a fair arrangement with the content creator.

Don't (1)

alien_life_form (73786) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542163)

I see no way IP can equate to physical property without infringing basically on what an individual can think, speak and do. I can tolerate that such freedoms can be restricted for a time span limited by the life of the individual(s) that conceived the work in the first place (with a possible extension for a surviving spouse): this also means that I do not see IP as a tradeable/trasferable good.

A non-software example, for the sake of diversity.

As of today, Italian musicians have to pay dues to the Italian authors and editors guild (SIAE) to perform a gig entirely consisting in (say) Cole Porter standards . These dues - that can in no way benefit Cole (R.I.P.) - seriously hamper live music performance in this country, where venue owners wanting to offer live music often find themselves owing more to the SIAE than to the performers. Now THAT makes sense.

Do I need to underline the counter economic implications of this policy, which works towards making scarce resources (live performance) even scarcer in order to prop the price of something (tunes,recordings) whose infinite reproducibility should make abundant and extremely cheap?

Cheers,
alf

Ideology (1)

qwer_tea (1189865) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542175)

I'm an anarcho-capitalist, and a huge supporter of property rights, both physical and intellectual. At the same time, I find the current trend[s] [...] really disturbing.
To paraphrase, your ideology was implemented as you would have it, but the results seem disturbing to you. Shouldn't you be rethinking your ideology now, rather than pledging your allegiance to it here on Slashdot?

Answers (1)

OpenSourced (323149) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542189)

1 - No. Intellectual property is an artificial construct. You compose a song. From the moment you sing it, it's ridiculous to assert that you have a right to the knowledge of that son in other peoples' heads. Assert that you have a right to those persons not writing your song down, singing it or modifying it is just a god-complex. We are so used to the idea now, that we don't recognize how ridiculous it is.

That said, I also think that perhaps patents may be helpful in improving technology and general well being. But I also find that a rigorous study of the alternative has not been done. Would we be so much worse off if there were no patents? Are engineers going to suddenly stop searching for better ways of doing things just because they won't get rich for doing it? The classical example for patents is medical investigation, but how many good drugs have been pushed out by others less good, just because the new one has still the patent valid? Perhaps if there were no patents, medical investigation would take another form, probably less manipulative, funded by governments and others non-for-profit entities. Perhaps the end result wouldn't be so good as what we now have, but perhaps it would be better. Who knows? There is certainly little debate on the topic.

And of course copyright is just a tax on knowledge, serving no useful purpose but transferring wealth from the general public to a minority, that uses the said wealth to prevent any change in the absurd but very lucrative situation We have better medicine now than two hundred years ago, and perhaps patents have had something to do with that, but music and literature and poetry haven't certainly improved in this last two centuries.

2- N/A

A different approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#23542195)

A different approach would be to collect additional sales tax from anything that benefits in intellectual property, and then distribute this tax to patent and copyright holders.

Of course the tax system and patent system would have to be re-factored.

It remains to be seen how simple, non-totalitarian and non-bureaucratic this kind of system can be designed.

Currently something similar is done in some countries to avert piracy. Like in Lithuania there is extra tax for any storage media, that goes to paying copyright holders.

No (2, Interesting)

stinerman (812158) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542199)

Intellectual property isn't even property in any real sense of the word. It's obviously illusory since IP doesn't exist in any physical sense.

That being said, a government-granted monopoly in the dissemination and exploitation of creative works for the purpose of edifying the public is a valid government objective and I support such a monopoly. I support the monopoly only to the extent which those goals are satisfied.

HTH

In a perfect world, where I was dictator, we'd have a 5-year commercial copyright with an option to renew for another 5. Copyright protection would require registration and a copy of the work in question would be deposited with the Library of Congress. For example, if MS wanted Windows 7 to have any copyright protection at all, they'd have to turn over the source code to the LoC.

Patents would work much the same way, but I'd have them only for physical processes where a working model of the invention exists. Business method and software patents need not apply. If someone comes up with the same process independently of another, the former need not pay patent fees.

Trademark law is, for the most part, acceptable.

Trade secrets would have no legal protections outside of standard contracts. No one would be subject to criminal prosecution for divulging company secrets.

"Intellectual property" is theft (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542203)

'Nuf said.

But ... profits are on the up-and-up! (2, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542207)

Profits are up for cinema, DVDs, ringtones, etc., it's only the music industry which is currently suffering.

Maybe the problem is with their product, not the copying.

I think the way people listen to music has moved away from the "album" and more towards "top 40". Apple has partly responded to this and is making a lot of money from selling music. The RIAA OTOH has completely failed to respond, with inevitable consequences.

artificial scarcity and capitalism (4, Insightful)

dermond (33903) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542219)

artificial scarcity: so called "intellectual property" introduces an artificial scarcity into something that could be useful to all of us without extra costs: information and knowledge. so only kind of "intellectual property" reduces the usefulness of this goods. (this is something that patents, copyright, etc.. have all in common).

so why then do we have IP at all? because capitalism can only deal with scarcity: you can not sell sand in the desert. this shows a principal problem with capitalism. and if you look a bit closer then you see that this does not only happen with intellectual goods but with almost everything that capitalism deals with: it introduces artificial scarcity:

  • advertisement: to create new demand for mostly useless things where there was no demand before.
  • war: the most effective way to create new demand: destroy what was there before, create insecurity and create weapons that "protect", ...
  • crisis: like the bursting housing bubble...
  • ....
my employer pays me to filter out spam for him. other people are being payed by there employer to send out spam. etc..etc..

the capitalist system is fundamentally broken. every year 10 million people are starving even though there would be enough food to feed them all... capitalism just does not cater to those with no money...

our so called "democracy" is becomming more of a farce every day: voters being manipulated by $$$-media... those with enough corporations behind them have more money for their election campaign... this all leeds to the fact that you can only rule if you represent the profit-interests of the big corporations...

greetings mond.

Legal hang-ups (4, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542221)

Many Slashdotters are adamant in their assertion that intellectual property is not a valid right or concept. They often cite legal history, and technicly they are correct. However, it seems they are doing this more for rhetorical purposes, as opposed to actually caring about how the law is constructed. The argument usually goes something like, "IP theft isn't stealing, it's copyright infringement". I always like to counter this with something like, "would you rather I steal $50,000 from you or embezzle it?". It is readily apparent that the effect is the same.

Therefore, I personally DO recognize IP as a valid concept and right. If I'm the first cave-man to discover fire after rubbing sticks together for months, and you light your fire from mine without rewarding me, you do indeed take something from me. The fire-maker deservers to be fed from the next kill, lest the wheel-maker observes that the fire-maker starved, and decides to give up on his endeavor.

OTOH, when the fire-maker stomps out fires and demands a portion of the meat in perpetuity, he shouldn't be surprised when he gets clubbed on the head.

In other words--common sense.

Therefore, software patents -- get rid of 'em. They dont't incentivise. They just make software developers worry. Everybody knows it.

*AA enforcement? None on low-quality encodings that get radio airplay. Why? because you can already time-shift broadcast radio. Pulling it off digitally is really just the same thing, format-shifted. Same deal for music vids, which you could have legitimately recorded off MTV 25 years ago with your VHS (in fact, WB and some other studios are putting up their own YouTube channels with classic MTV vids, perhaps they finally are realizing it's actually good for their PR and not taking away from new sales). High-quality encodings and/or lossless recording should be more restricted. The penalty should be ordinary restitution: steal 100 CDs worth of music, pay 200 CD equivalent penalty. None of this $30,000 business for downloading one song.

IP in the music/vid business can be a *good* thing. Bits don't go to landfill. Availability of high-quality recordings in a manner that ensures payment will help that.

Abandoned works should lapse into the public domain, but registration shouldn't be required for copyright on each work. I could go on and on...

The short answer though, is common sense. Isn't it always? Unfortunately, it always seems to be in short supply. The laws are written by lawyers who are paid by businesses. Hence, all the legal hang-ups.

We need IP (1)

Justifiable_Delusion (759339) | more than 6 years ago | (#23542233)

I might get flamed for this...

We have shown that socialism doesn't work with the nature of human beings as we are today. And having no IP is socialism. To say that what I create with my mind is not of value and cannot enrich my financial life flies in the face of capitalism.

Yes, the arguers will throw around that you cannot copyright a letter or a number and then that argument will be stretched into a logic that states that you cannot copyright a combination of letters and works, and as a result, there is no code, no book, no knowledge that can be copyrighted as all of our communications are simply combinations of un-copyrightable individual parts.

Well, that is a flawed logic because the process of combining words and numbers into certain orders is of value and the creation of those combinations should be something we celebrate and attempt to motivate.

Now, to say that I should have sole access to my ideas forever and that no one can ever utilize them is flawed as well because eventually someone else would come along and have thought of the same combination that I did. SO yes, the current system of copyright is flawed because they keep extending it. Kinda stupid to serve the bigwigs more money. But do remember, that I do deserve to make whatever comes with creating that product for a certain time period, because otherwise, I would have no motivation to create and the world would never benefit.

The Pirates Bay is theft. So was Napster and so is most of what occurs in the warez rooms on IRC. The foolish logic that they don;t do the stealing them self, they just allow for people to do it on their own is a foolish logic. Imagine being a judge and hearing the argument, "Your honor, I have nothing to do with people looking at kiddie porn, I just link to the websites where it is hosted. Those people choose the actions on their own." Well guess what, you are directly aiding a crime.

But that is OK for now in my books (stealing shit from the Bay) because in order for the big wigs to make money from all of the data we are stealing they need to evolve and something the motivation to evolve needs to be forced by taking money and stealing from them. Its a great motivator that, in the long term, will benefit us.

I like IP. I like The Pirates Bay. And I like my double espresso BLACK!
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