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Debates Forum

  1. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    01 Nov '14 00:10 / 1 edit
    In another thread, the subject of intellectual property rights came up regarding an article which, in part, proposed their abolition. sh76 objected to this stating:

    How do you protect and encourage the incentive to innovate, invent and grow businesses at personal financial risk without protecting intellectual property

    But are such legal protections really necessary to encourage innovation and invention? This article argues "NO":

    A common claim advanced to promote "Intellectual Property Rights" is the necessity to encourage creativity. This is also given as the justification in the constitution of the USA. Quite possibly, once upon a time, this might have made sense, in a time when technological progress was much slower, and might have needed stimulation. However nowadays, progress is so rapid that it does not need further encouragement by such restrictive measures.
    On the contrary, now the really negative side-effects are kicking in, with the effect of slowing down innovation and progress. As modern technologies are so densely interlocked and mutually co-dependent, it is now often the case that progress in entire fields can be blocked by crucially important patents. The duration time of about twenty years is now much too long, because many technology generations are becoming obsolete within a few years. Many lawsuits are precipitating leading to a sour and aggressive climate.
    Nowhere is this more apparent than in the field of software. Everybody has heard of the important public key encryption patents that are locked up in a scandal and several law suits, blocking progress for everybody. These patents resulted from tax payer funded research performed at universities, and now the public is not allowed to use what they have paid for. I consider this to be quite outrageous. Software is an especially rapid-moving field of technology, and so the clash with something as inadequate as the patent system is particularly noticeable. Until the early 1980s, software patents essentially did not exist, and the software industry did just fine in the preceding two decades, and did not seem to need any encouragement at all. It grew wildly on its own. This quite possibly is one of the best illustrations of how an industry could once upon a time get along fine without patents. Now that they have been introduced, there is a big mess.
    There is one organization, the League for Programming Freedom [LPF], which advocates abolishing software patents and over-broad extension of copyright to interfaces. These legal developments are endangering the freedom of programmers to write the best programs they know how, entangling them in weird legal restrictions instead. I encourage people to join the LPF. Without more coordinated grass roots activity, programmers will increasingly fall victim to the lawyers, who are pushing their cause while making a living, whereas most programmers have to defend their freedom in their spare time.

    http://www.n-a-n-o.com/ipr/extro2/extro2mk.html

    Thoughts?
  2. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    01 Nov '14 05:39
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    In another thread, the subject of intellectual property rights came up regarding an article which, in part, proposed their abolition. sh76 objected to this stating:

    How do you protect and encourage the incentive to innovate, invent and grow businesses at personal financial risk without protecting intellectual property

    But are such legal protections ...[text shortened]... eir freedom in their spare time.

    http://www.n-a-n-o.com/ipr/extro2/extro2mk.html

    Thoughts?
    IP has been done a few times here.

    If someone creates something new and unique they should be able to control how it is used.

    The effort that they have put in to the creation of that new and unique product (music, art, mechanical device, software) is immaterial.

    How useful that new or unique product might be to X number of people, or suffering from Y disease, or of Z wealth level is immaterial.

    The difference between the price to produce and the value (i.e. the profit) of this new product is immaterial.

    The creator sets the terms for use, these terms might involve the price and the ability of the consumer to copy, lend or resell the product.

    The consumer then decides whether or not they agree with those terms, they should abide by those terms if they go ahead with the exchange.

    In the lead post the unique product was created at a publicly funded institute, this is a problem for those that advocate such forced funding. In the free-market (i.e. where private institutions do not have their RD budgets cut in order to fund their competitors) the problem presented in the scenario would not exist.
  3. 01 Nov '14 14:07
    Originally posted by Wajoma
    IP has been done a few times here.

    If someone creates something new and unique they should be able to control how it is used.

    The effort that they have put in to the creation of that new and unique product (music, art, mechanical device, software) is immaterial.

    How useful that new or unique product might be to X number of people, or suffering fro ...[text shortened]... s cut in order to fund their competitors) the problem presented in the scenario would not exist.
    "If someone creates something new and unique they should be able to control how it is used. "

    The OP refers to a justification for patents, that being to encourage creativity (It questions this justification.) Your justification for control of how one's ideas are used appears to be more fundamental, it is as if one's work product is an extension of one's body or being. It is in effect a liberty argument. The details you provide, for example, detaching this right from effort or utility or profit, make this right an entitlement, based, I suppose, on being a human being.

    If you are born into a society in which all ideas are communally owned, that's the construct. It's the deal. Does it work? How is that measured? It is the "How is that measured?" that should be discussed. Stimulation of creativity is supposedly a public good. Rewarding individuals for their creativity "privatizes" part of that good. But does rewarding individuals for their creativity really serve a public good, and is serving a public good of creativity the proper role of government? Or is the proper role to protect individual rights, as you seem to say?
  4. 01 Nov '14 14:18 / 1 edit
    This reminds me of the guy who came up with the idea for the game "Operation". He sold the rights for $500, and now can't afford a surgery himself, even with Obamacare.
  5. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    01 Nov '14 14:42 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by JS357
    "If someone creates something new and unique they should be able to control how it is used. "

    The OP refers to a justification for patents, that being to encourage creativity (It questions this justification.) Your justification for control of how one's ideas are used appears to be more fundamental, it is as if one's work product is an extension of one's bo ...[text shortened]... oper role of government? Or is the proper role to protect individual rights, as you seem to say?
    Absolutely, you're correct, I do believe that being able to retain a grasp on some new invention and being able to profit from it is an enormous driver of R and D. How would that be if a company (or individual) invests millions in R and D developing some new product but once it's made public it becomes public property and anyone can copy it, we're all familiar with this argument.

    But arguing for something on the basis of the 'public good' is fraught with all sorts of distortions and means that innovations in medicine (for eg) can just as easily be stolen for the 'public good'.

    Better to make a principled stand on the basis that a person has created something new and unique with their mind and their hands and that it belongs to them, it is a product of them. If it weren't for them the product would not exist, if the product did not exist no second handers could feel they were owed it's use.
  6. 01 Nov '14 18:48
    Originally posted by Wajoma
    Absolutely, you're correct, I do believe that being able to retain a grasp on some new invention and being able to profit from it is an enormous driver of R and D. How would that be if a company (or individual) invests millions in R and D developing some new product but once it's made public it becomes public property and anyone can copy it, we're all famili ...[text shortened]... ld not exist, if the product did not exist no second handers could feel they were owed it's use.
    Do you believe that patents should not expire?
  7. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    01 Nov '14 20:36
    Originally posted by Wajoma
    IP has been done a few times here.

    If someone creates something new and unique they should be able to control how it is used.

    The effort that they have put in to the creation of that new and unique product (music, art, mechanical device, software) is immaterial.

    How useful that new or unique product might be to X number of people, or suffering fro ...[text shortened]... s cut in order to fund their competitors) the problem presented in the scenario would not exist.
    The amount of innovation that would exist if there had been zero amount of public funding of R & D is hard to fathom. Most of us would probably be dead of disease and not able to enjoy the wonderful inventions of different flavored toothpastes that the free market would bring us.
  8. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    01 Nov '14 20:43
    Originally posted by Wajoma
    Absolutely, you're correct, I do believe that being able to retain a grasp on some new invention and being able to profit from it is an enormous driver of R and D. How would that be if a company (or individual) invests millions in R and D developing some new product but once it's made public it becomes public property and anyone can copy it, we're all famili ...[text shortened]... ld not exist, if the product did not exist no second handers could feel they were owed it's use.
    So the government should intervene and initiate force against anyone who wants to use said product/invention/idea without the creator's permission?
  9. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    01 Nov '14 22:02
    To follow up:

    Nike spends millions of dollars and creates the little "swoosh" mark that it puts on the sneakers it makes.

    It now wants the government (funded by people) to initiate force against anyone who dares use the "swoosh" mark.

    What possible justification under any type of libertarian principles does Nike have on any share of mine and others' people income for such a purpose?
  10. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    01 Nov '14 23:19
    Originally posted by Wajoma
    IP has been done a few times here.

    If someone creates something new and unique they should be able to control how it is used.

    The effort that they have put in to the creation of that new and unique product (music, art, mechanical device, software) is immaterial.

    How useful that new or unique product might be to X number of people, or suffering fro ...[text shortened]... s cut in order to fund their competitors) the problem presented in the scenario would not exist.
    Your parents created you. Can they therefore set the terms for your use? Can they sell or lend you to whoever they please whenever they please?
  11. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    02 Nov '14 02:33
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    In another thread, the subject of intellectual property rights came up regarding an article which, in part, proposed their abolition. sh76 objected to this stating:

    How do you protect and encourage the incentive to innovate, invent and grow businesses at personal financial risk without protecting intellectual property

    But are such legal protections ...[text shortened]... eir freedom in their spare time.

    http://www.n-a-n-o.com/ipr/extro2/extro2mk.html

    Thoughts?
    While the IP relevant to software is an interesting question in itself, I don't think it's representative of other industries. Software can be developed in a cooperative, open source manner with little investment by any person other than time. Physical products require investment in plant, prototype development, etc. A pharmaceutical company, for example, may spend hundreds of millions on testing and FDA approvals. Why would they invest as much as half a billion without the ability to earn it back and then some for which protecting its IP is seemingly a necessity.

    I also think the article ignores the fact that the "rapid" progress it touts is primarily a result of the hope of entrepreneurs that the new product will make them a lot of money. I enjoy the show Shark Tank, wherein small time entrepreneurs who have usually invested a lot of time and tens (or hundreds) of thousands of dollars, hawk their products to potential investors.

    Almost all of these products require patent protection to be useful. The "sharks" constantly remind the presenters that anyone can copy their ideas without investing the initial research and development of the prototype.

    Of course many of these products are not very good, but those that are would not have been developed in most cases without the ability to patent the invention.
  12. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    02 Nov '14 02:36
    Originally posted by Wajoma
    IP has been done a few times here.

    If someone creates something new and unique they should be able to control how it is used.

    The effort that they have put in to the creation of that new and unique product (music, art, mechanical device, software) is immaterial.

    How useful that new or unique product might be to X number of people, or suffering fro ...[text shortened]... s cut in order to fund their competitors) the problem presented in the scenario would not exist.
    It's hard to argue this on moral grounds. There's no inherent moral ground on which the government should force other people to respect your IP and no inherent rights of people to become billionaires based on governemnt enforced IP protection.

    Copying another's invention is neither force nor fraud. I look at IP strictly on a utilitarian basis.
  13. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    02 Nov '14 02:54 / 2 edits
    Originally posted by sh76
    It's hard to argue this on moral grounds. There's no inherent moral ground on which the government should force other people to respect your IP and no inherent rights of people to become billionaires based on governemnt enforced IP protection.

    Copying another's invention is neither force nor fraud. I look at IP strictly on a utilitarian basis.
    Then don't call it IP if you do not recognise it as property. The P in IP stands for property and that stands for something.

    If you don't believe it's property or you don't believe in property rights there's not a lot to debate. There is no debate, it's all just a big free for all.

    Even a very small one man band business can build a brand No1 likes to make out its about big corporations only.

    Edit: I do believe it's property, if it is something unique, if it has been created by a person or persons, that without those people the product would not exist. And I do believe in property rights. So no point in butting heads then. You can copy other peoples work, go for a free ride on their effort with a clear conscience.
  14. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    02 Nov '14 03:18 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    So the government should intervene and initiate force against anyone who wants to use said product/invention/idea without the creator's permission?
    The first thing to ascertain is: Do you believe Intellectual Property is property?

    Then your question will be answered. It would the same as if someone broke into your apartment and stole your tv.

    Those that look to steal other peoples ideas will make all sorts of excuses, every thief/embezzler tries to rationalise their dishonesty, once during a debate on music copyright one bloke was arguing it's Ok to download copyright material because he was going to buy it anyway, the other guy was saying he wouldn't have bought it anyway so no harm down.

    Someone has created something unique, they set the terms by which you may use it, you then decide if those terms are agreeable to...ahh forget it
  15. Subscriber Wajoma
    Die Cheeseburger
    02 Nov '14 03:24 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    The amount of innovation that would exist if there had been zero amount of public funding of R & D is hard to fathom. Most of us would probably be dead of disease and not able to enjoy the wonderful inventions of different flavored toothpastes that the free market would bring us.
    It is hard to fathom, for you.

    You've got your blinkers on again No1, you only see the big pile of money the guvamint is ohhh soooo generously is handing out. Blinded by the green aura of a big stack of magic cash. They can't give it without taking it. So who's to say how much of that would have been spent on R & D in the private realm.