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- To: xml dev <firstname.lastname@example.org>
- Subject: Re: [xml-dev] Re: Patents on XML software, file formats, schemas, vocabularies
- From: Tatu Saloranta <email@example.com>
- Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 11:21:16 -0700 (PDT)
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- In-reply-to: <44C627D1.firstname.lastname@example.org>
--- Rick Marshall <email@example.com> wrote:
> 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).
Even assuming the statement was true, one would have
to specify ownership over which thigs is required,
as well as what if anything ownership means for
intangible things like ideas, as opposed to physical
things (physical objects; real estate etc).
I can not see why exclusive "ownership" (which is
a rather novel concept: the most innovative aspect
about "intellectual property" is the way people
thought of fabricating such a concept, analogous
to physical property -- truly strange notion that
seems to be catching on) would be required for
building wealth. My using same algorithm as you
do does not prevent you from creating a magnificent
new software system, any more than vice versa.
In fact, I could argue that this monopoly on
ideas does in fact prevent me (and anybody monopoly
holder does not grant the privileges) from having
any ownership on tools necessary for my working
on building wealth. Thus, patents can be seen
detrimental even in light of statements like "wealth
without ownership is is impossible".
> 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.
And this last move was HIGHLY controversial at the
time, especially so in the US. Too bad that the US,
back then, caved in (if my understanding is correct,
UK heavily lobbied for copyrights, due to, back then,
having more to gain via english authors).
I do not see this last phase as being natural
-- physical objects are so markedly different from
abstract notions, that it seems ridiculous to try to
group the two together. I mean, what does an algorithm
really have in common with, say, an apple? It's
perhaps circular logic -- to first establish this
concept of ownership of abstract thins, and then claim
that that's common with the two, that one can "own"
both. With a physical object, ownership is quite easy
to understand, but with ideas (et al), one has to
fabricate a system of ownership, which has to include
exclusivity, ie. monopol.
> I don't have a problem. More things patented means
> more opportunity for
And how would this be? Because one can start acting
as a bridge troll collecting toll from anyone who
uses the ideas (algorithms, story plots, slogans)?
It generates no added value whatsover as far as I can
see: at most it moves wealth from one entity to
another. At worst it reduces usage and sharing of
and actually reduces overall wealth.
Of course, above is assuming a "common good" view,
on which patent and copyright laws are supposedly
based. From individual perspective it is of course
possible to become wealthier by means of monopolies
on non-physical objects. But that was not one of
the goals of patent/copyright laws, even if that
seems to have become the most important aspect
-+ Tatu +-
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