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Re: [DotGNU]IBM drops Internet patent bombshell

From: Barry Fitzgerald
Subject: Re: [DotGNU]IBM drops Internet patent bombshell
Date: Wed, 17 Apr 2002 07:10:15 -0400

Carsten Kuckuk wrote:
> The more I read about US patents the more I come to the conclusion that the
> whole system of patents is seriously flawed and should be totally abandoned.

Completely agreed.  I never really thought that being able to control
who gets to use ideas is a good thing.  I've never ever known a
completely original idea - I'm not sure that one exists.

I don't know - maybe there were 5 of them... or maybe a few more than
5... and they happened approximately 30,000 Years ago... But I tend to
think that all ideas after that were influenced by the first "original"

The point being that there are very few inventions, and many
innovations.  This is a good thing, but indicates that the patent system
exists to address a non-existant problem.  It actually exists and has
been manipulated to create temporary artificial scarcity under the
flawed belief that people have a right to profit.  People may have the
right to acrue resources that they rightfully gain, but this is far
different than the right to profit.  The right to profit implies that
one deserves profit.  

There are a handful of key components that must exist to make capitalism
work in an equitable manner.  In this way, capitalism is about as
fragile as "communism".  Those components are:

1) The right of individual ownership of a good after purchase.  This is
key, and is being slowly negated by copyright license.  Soon - ownership
may be negated legally, under everyone's noses.  Once that happens -
this is, once software legalities extend into portions of the physical
world (don't laugh - it's already happening) the right of individual
ownership is gone and we'll have a totalitarian state that is run by
corporations (monopolies even) rather than the government.

2) The concept of "survival of the fittest" in business.  I'm not a
social darwinist and never will be.  However, I do believe that it is a
key component of capitalism to not create systems where unworthy
businesses continue to exist.  For the system to work, it must be
possible for businesses to themselves be negated if they no longer serve
a purpose or serve that purpose poorly.  The current system extends the
tenure of dangerous (read anti-social) businesses through the use of
strong-handed legal tactics that seek to create artificial scarcity.

There are obviously more key components to a successful capitalist
system.  However, simply with these two we can see where the current
software situation - unless corrected - is heading us down a path that
will lead to a nightmare ending...

Patents are only one of the most dangerous of those issues.


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