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   Re: [xml-dev] Re: Patents on XML software, file formats, schemas,vocabul

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Hi Sterling

I'm afraid my not so HO can't agree here. And it is very relevant to the 
XML thing.

The first problem is that you can't have wealth creation without 
ownership (wealth by definition being a measure of things owned - 
physical or otherwise).

And constant wealth creation leads to improving living standards, better 
health, etc and of course global warming.

The issue is where should a society allow wealth creation to take place. 
In a capitalistic society, one of the basic mechanisms for wealth 
creation is to pass laws defining property that can be owned and 
therefore created and traded. It started with food, clothes, weapons, 
crafts, etc and moved on to land, labour, etc and recently (last couple 
of hundred years) to recordable expressions of our beings - music, 
literature, art, and ideas.

I don't have a problem. More things patented means more opportunity for 

Where the problem seems to be is that many of us are starting to realise 
that others may be laying claim to our ideas and effectively stealing 
our wealth. And that's expensive to defend because the item now has 
value and it has become worth fighting over...

What we need (and this group is possibly a good place to start, at least 
for the XML world) is to do what physicists did years ago. When the 
patent offices were being swamped with patents for perpetual motion 
machines they took advice from the physicists that it was impossible 
(mostly because of friction losses) and banned applications for such 

We really need a way to say - look these patents are nonsense because of 
software "friction" (?). Otherwise go ahead and design and register 
things and if you can trade or licence it, then congratulations you are 
now wealthier. If you don't want to get wealthier, that's a separate 

A good start might be to say that vocabularies can't be patented because 
the XML standards are the "friction" of vocabularies. But tools... And 
somehow I think that's where most of us are comfortable today.

Just my opinion, but I think it's a start to balancing the common good 
(a term I'm not sure I really understand) with individual opportunity.



sterling wrote:

>IMHO, your link does not provide a justification for extending the 
>copyright or patent law for a lifetime of humanity (100+ years or so).  
>In fact, no justification I can find exists to deny, save but one, all of 
>humanity, access to all of the developments that represent the evolution 
>and advancement of humanity.  
>People only live once, and patents particularly, deny living humanity 
>the benefit of the inventions of their own society.  Further, patents 
>inhibit continued competitive advancement of the society for the length of 
>time that the "monopoly granted" within the issue of a patent persist. 
>I believe humanity not the nation state (or its insider benefactors) is 
>entitled to the fruits of the labor of all past and contemporary humanity.  
>I believe that invention is a thing of society.  Most inventions are 
>discoveries of the circumstances of the task, not the genius of the 
>inventor.  Most other similarly educated persons in like place and 
>circumstance, faced with the same need and motivation as the inventor, 
>would have solved the problem the invention claims.  
>The ditch digger does ditches, the inventor does inventions. Why should 
>one be paid millions of times and the other but once?  Does the 
>monopoly answer suggest economic and social discrimination? 
>Further, education is not an invention of society, but rather, it is a 
>reflector of the cumulative associations that make up our society.  The 
>educated inventor is a product of his society.  Society is a product 
>of its humanity.  Inventions are not properties of the inventors, or the "for 
>hire" proprietor, but public property to which all of humanity has an 
>immediate entitlement to claim and to use.  
>The aristocrats who write the law have seen fit to capture "invented 
>public property" by the method of encapsulation.  They have made the 
>encapsulated product a private property and donated by rule of law, a 
>public property to private use. Patents are a modernized mechanism of the 
>feudal system.
>This very list suggest that it takes many more than one, to create that 
>which serves our society.  Which word, which sentence, which concept, 
>which thought, developed on this list, on any other societal 
>endeaver, belongs to the exclusive use of a private party?
>On Thu, 20 Jul 2006, Richard Salz wrote:
>>>Patents are monopolies.  They monopolize all of the knowledge, 
>>>and technology in the same way that the feudal estates monopolized all 
>>>the factors of production.   Patents recreate the feudal system. 
>>The fundamental difference is that patents have limited lifetime, and have 
>>generally (perhaps even universally?) been designed as a trade-off.  For 
>>example, as one legal document puts it, the goal is "[t]o promote the 
>>Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to 
>>Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and 
>>You might find this link useful, although it's US-centric:
>>  http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitution/article01/39.html#1
>>Followups to /dev/null, as we used to say.
>>        /r$
>>SOA Appliances
>>Application Integration Middleware
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