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Trademarks, copyrights, patents - The IP thread - Upd p6 - EU music copyright.

zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
edited July 2008 in Debate and/or Discourse
....This is the "intellectual property" thread. I've been meaning to do it for a while, but never found the time for a semi-coherent OP.
A story hit /. a couple of days ago, and as it got many comments, in the usual throw around format, I thought a more coherent discussion may do us good and get some volume.
Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.

Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs.
Intellectual property (IP) is a legal field that refers to creations of the mind such as musical, literary, and artistic works; inventions; and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce, including copyrights, trademarks, patents, and related rights. Under intellectual property law, the holder of one of these abstract "properties" has certain exclusive rights to the creative work, commercial symbol, or invention by which it is covered.

Some resources:


I like what they say, I do believe some of their examples have flows, but even then the ideas still hold for me.

(Chapter 7 would probably help the discussion a lot)
http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/againstfinal.htm

aaand
(focuses on the US)
http://www.law.duke.edu/boylesite/Intprop.htm

Software patents:
Stallman: (guess what he says)
http://www.cl.cam.ac.uk/~mgk25/stallman-patents.html
Pro software patents:
http://www.freesoftwaremagazine.com/columns/in_defense_of_software_patents


There are several points we could discuss:.

1. Does IP actually exist or is it a false abstraction?
2. Do you support the current definition & economic consequences of "IP" legislations?
3. Do you actually know what your country's current law & stance on "IP" is? (we're like, multicultural, right.....right?)
4. (tongue in cheek) Do you believe there should be international laws on the matter?
....everything else you have on your mind.

I'm starting by saying that I'm in opposition of current IP laws and probably slightly blinded, so take everything I say with a grain of salt. Odds are I'll eat some stick here.

I'm against copyright(pro-copyleft) & patents, and am strangely indifferent of trademarks. I do not believe that patents directly encourage creativity or invention. Yes, removing them, will reduce profits from single inventions for corporations & individuals both, but it will not hurt the process of discovery or perfection as the allocation of resources may be fragmented, but will not diminish. The economical stimulation to invent is present even without a "protection for profit" by the law(some good examples in the above papers). I'm however open to a sound argument for a very short period of exclusivity for implemented patents and an even shorter period for copyright creations.
I think that anything that can be copied/recreated/modified with a cost approaching 0 for non-commercial purpose should be allowed. Reform is needed.
At the same time, my country being part of the great EU empire, IP laws aren't really open to any kind of national debate. We just do whatever Brussels says is necessary to "update" our laws. Smiling.
Finally, what if we had a world where countries could refuse the existence of IP property without fear of international commerce retributions because they have like...their own camp or are behind an iron curtain or something. Oh wait, we already had that and it ended badly;o( Yeah, scratch that last one.

Flame on.

Edit: Software patents are retarded.

zeeny on
«134

Posts

  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Does software fall under IP?

    "Adios, mofo" -- TX Gov Rick Perry (R)
  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    GungHo wrote: »
    Does software fall under IP?

    Yup. Software patents wide open for discussion, I just assumed there we'd have a D&D consensus really fast....so forgot to mention them. Will try and dig up some resources for the OP.

    Edit: added to op.

  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm generally pro-IP, though I do think that the time limits we have right now are ludicrous. One thing not in the OP that you should consider for patents, is that the goal is not just to protect the patent-holders, but also to give them an incentive to make the patents public. I don't have any specific examples, but I do remember reading about certain companies in renaissance Europe that had a specific method of producing certain things, which were lost to history because their trade secrets were lost. Part of the goal of patents is to make sure that doesn't happen.

    edit:: I am, however, anti software patents. They come FAR too close to patenting algorithms and mathematical processes. Copyright should be protection enough for computer code.

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm generally pro-IP, though I do think that the time limits we have right now are ludicrous. One thing not in the OP that you should consider for patents, is that the goal is not just to protect the patent-holders, but also to give them an incentive to make the patents public. I don't have any specific examples, but I do remember reading about certain companies in renaissance Europe that had a specific method of producing certain things, which were lost to history because their trade secrets were lost. Part of the goal of patents is to make sure that doesn't happen.

    Yeah, the death of the public domain is my only real problem with copyright law as it stands in the US. I'll throw out the same suggestion I always throw out in such threads, which is that we need a much shorter period for distribution (like, maybe 10-30 years) with perhaps a longer term for derivative works (particularly for profit). Time-wise, there's no reason I should be paying for a Beatles album at this point...I'm not exactly young, and they were still for the most part produced well before I was born. At the same time, I'd agree that the producers of Across the Universe should probably have still had to pay for the rights to the songs. Same goes for me paying for I Am Legend (the book) versus making a movie from it. So in general, I think this is a fair compromise.

    The idea that copyright period should be any way linked to marketability is absolutely ludicrous (I've heard plenty of people, including here, suggest that if they can still make money off it they should be able to). So things should only enter the public domain once nobody wants to hear/see/read them anymore? What's the point, then?

    Of course, such a change at this point wouldn't go into affect until I'm ready to retire anyway...on the one hand, it might seem reasonable to apply it retroactively to those works written under shorter periods (since the extensions were applied retroactively, and we could just return them to the period they were under when created...for newer works, no change). Unfortunately, this intellectual "property" changes hands so often, and taking/shortening these rights from companies that may have recently purchased them could be disastrous.

    Oh, and for fuck's sake start enforcing the requirement to store a copy at the Library of Congress. Like, an original copy or something. If we need to build another building, so be it. But there's no excuse for letting some dumb fuck like Lucas alter the original prints of a major work like Star Wars. The original theatrical version is the original version copyrighted, the version he made a fuckload of money off of, and the version that should be archived and entered into the public domain. The fact that those films are now apparently frozen at LaserDisc levels of quality is unconscionable.

    And, just for fun (which I always like to do with public domain arguments) I'll point out the irony of the fact that the company that has been most active in keeping things out of the public domain has also been one of the most active in mining the public domain for ideas and profiting off them.
    edit:: I am, however, anti software patents. They come FAR too close to patenting algorithms and mathematical processes. Copyright should be protection enough for computer code.

    But then isn't it generally possible to, using the existing software as a guide, develop your own code (thus getting around copyrights) and profit off their idea? I'd suggest that perhaps there needs to be some protection for truly innovative software ideas, which copyright won't necessarily provide...at the same time, the bar at the moment seems to be scraping the floor, and we need to raise that bad boy up a bit. Also, given that computer-years are about like dog-years, I'd suggest that we could shorten up the period quite a bit as well compared to other patents.

  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm generally pro-IP, though I do think that the time limits we have right now are ludicrous. One thing not in the OP that you should consider for patents, is that the goal is not just to protect the patent-holders, but also to give them an incentive to make the patents public. I don't have any specific examples, but I do remember reading about certain companies in renaissance Europe that had a specific method of producing certain things, which were lost to history because their trade secrets were lost. Part of the goal of patents is to make sure that doesn't happen.

    Yes, the original idea behind patents is "you share your discovery with us, and we assure a limited period of exclusivity for the application". It has failed. Miserably. Currently patents are being given left and right without any proof that implementation is even possible, let alone proof of intention to implement. Even if there was no way to completely eliminate patents, I'd still say that 20 years is way, way longer than what's needed. There should be a very strict period for implementation and then an exclusivity in the low single digits.
    edit:: I am, however, anti software patents. They come FAR too close to patenting algorithms and mathematical processes. Copyright should be protection enough for computer code.

    But then isn't it generally possible to, using the existing software as a guide, develop your own code (thus getting around copyrights) and profit off their idea? I'd suggest that perhaps there needs to be some protection for truly innovative software ideas, which copyright won't necessarily provide...at the same time, the bar at the moment seems to be scraping the floor, and we need to raise that bad boy up a bit. Also, given that computer-years are about like dog-years, I'd suggest that we could shorten up the period quite a bit as well compared to other patents.


    You can't patent ideas. Not even according to today's screwed up law. Software patents really have no ground to stand on. Code is redundant almost all the time in almost all the applications. The made up difference between patenting a mathematical algorithm and "patenting a useful result achieved with a mathematical algorithm" is probably the biggest farce in "intellectual property" history.

    I agree with you that( if copyright can't be abolished because too many people would protect their own interest then) copyrighted works should enter public domain faster, but double digits years is not faster by any means of the imagination for me.

  • MedopineMedopine __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    I'll just say a bit about copyright and its purpose.

    Copyright (and all intellectual property rights, really) are designed to incent inventors and creators to actually create. Basically, the author of a work is given a right (for a "Limited time") over their creation so that they can make money off it, control it as a property owner would, etc. In turn, this allows the author to continue to make creative works. A steady flow of creative works are better for society, especially new inventions in technology alongside advances in literature, cultural arts, etc. But importantly, the control of the work was limited, so that eventually the work would be freely accessible to all - another very good thing for society.

    What has happened to US Copyright law falls squarely on the shoulders of lobbyists, and one big one comes to mind. Disney. Since one of the earlier copyright acts was passed (I forget which) the term of copyright was defined as the author's life + X amount of years. This started at a low number, around 15 I believe. Due to the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998ish (The Sunny Bono Act (The Mickey Mouse Act)), that term now stands at author's life + 70 years. Disney's copyrights that were linked to Walt Disney, and thus about to expire, were extended by this act a lot. Challenges to it when it comes to duration have been shot down by the courts.

    What seems to have fundamentally changed in the way US law treats copyright these days is that original purpose is getting lost, and the public domain is suffering. Congress, with the CTEA, has effectively bowed to the will of authors shouting "But it's mine!! I need to make more money off it! I want to control it! Copyright gives me that right!" And it's sad, because I fully expect Disney and other big IP owning corporations to try to extend the term again once it comes time.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    You can't patent ideas. Not even according to today's screwed up law. Software patents really have no ground to stand on. Code is redundant almost all the time in almost all the applications. The made up difference between patenting a mathematical algorithm and "patenting a useful result achieved with a mathematical algorithm" is probably the biggest farce in "intellectual property" history.

    I'm sorry, but that has to be one of the largest crocks of shit I hear regularly from the anti-IP crowd. Yes, a program is, at its very core, a mathematical algorithm. But guess what - someone had to put time, labor, and money into developing that algorithm, and I feel that stripping them of the right to have a limited period of exclusivity to benefit from their work is the behavior of a selfish, entitled prick.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • MedopineMedopine __BANNED USERS
    edited May 2008
    "Sweat of the brow" arguments have been rejected by the SCOTUS, haven't they?

  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    You can't patent ideas. Not even according to today's screwed up law. Software patents really have no ground to stand on. Code is redundant almost all the time in almost all the applications. The made up difference between patenting a mathematical algorithm and "patenting a useful result achieved with a mathematical algorithm" is probably the biggest farce in "intellectual property" history.

    I'm sorry, but that has to be one of the largest crocks of shit I hear regularly from the anti-IP crowd. Yes, a program is, at its very core, a mathematical algorithm. But guess what - someone had to put time, labor, and money into developing that algorithm, and I feel that stripping them of the right to have a limited period of exclusivity to benefit from their work is the behavior of a selfish, entitled prick.

    Also, the level of work that goes into creating a mathematical algorithm that performs a useful (and innovative) function and the level of work that goes into arranging some planks of wood and pieces of metal to do the same aren't terribly different. I don't see why they should be treated terribly differently.

    Then again, patents are usually (at least by my understanding) for a "method of doing X." So if another company finds a way to do X with their own code, they should be eligible for their own patent (and the other should not apply).

    For instance, a patent on the MP3 format isn't necessarily unreasonable. A patent on "compressing audio by use of mathematical algorithms" (which is about how bad some of the software patents in other arenas are) is absolutely unreasonable. So yes, I'd agree that the current implementation of software patents needs some work.
    I agree with you that( if copyright can't be abolished because too many people would protect their own interest then) copyrighted works should enter public domain faster, but double digits years is not faster by any means of the imagination for me.

    Then I'd argue that your position is well outside anything conceivably mainstream, and entirely unreasonable. Double digit years? So, 15 years isn't reaonable? 15 years is like one generation entertainment-wise. All that period would do is ensure that current and upcoming artists/works are protected, while those that have had more than enough chance to make their money find their music/books/movies entering the public domain (though my derivative works compromise would ensure that they'd still likely get money from covers and the like).

    You're basically arguing for getting rid of copyright, but willing to "compromise" with a copyright period (single digits...so what, like 5 years?) that is essentially meaningless. You're position is no less ludicrous than those who want to do away with the public domain, but are willing to "compromise" with copyright periods longer than the average human lifetime...you're just on the other end.


    EDIT:

    Medopine wrote: »
    What seems to have fundamentally changed in the way US law treats copyright these days is that original purpose is getting lost, and the public domain is suffering. Congress, with the CTEA, has effectively bowed to the will of authors shouting "But it's mine!! I need to make more money off it! I want to control it! Copyright gives me that right!" And it's sad, because I fully expect Disney and other big IP owning corporations to try to extend the term again once it comes time.

    I think it's the "control" aspect that really perverts the intent of copyright. And honestly, I think that's largely where Disney at least is coming from...it isn't so much about needing to make money of Mickey anymore (they still could, and would, make plenty if that one lapsed)...it's about controlling the character and its use. But that's never what copyright was about. It's about creating a limited time (oops, forgot about that part) government-enforced (because it's artificial) monopoly on distribution, allowing you to make enough money to give you an incentive to create more. That's it.

    Personally I've always seen the public domain as the creator's end of the bargain for the government going through the trouble to enforce copyrights. Unfortunately, the creators no longer want to live up to their end of the deal, and honestly I think the government should just stop enforcing the damn things altogether to see how they like it...even if only for a year or two. (A fellow can dream, can't he?)

    EDIT: My prediction? Sales of hard drives would go through the roof.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    There's a reason I like discussing IP in the context of webcomics - it very quickly shows how much of what is "anti-IP" thought is, in fact, anti-corporate thought. Which, in of itself is not bad - but it makes you wonder why the anti-IP people feel the need to color their arguments so.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    mcdermott wrote: »
    zeeny wrote: »
    You can't patent ideas. Not even according to today's screwed up law. Software patents really have no ground to stand on. Code is redundant almost all the time in almost all the applications. The made up difference between patenting a mathematical algorithm and "patenting a useful result achieved with a mathematical algorithm" is probably the biggest farce in "intellectual property" history.

    I'm sorry, but that has to be one of the largest crocks of shit I hear regularly from the anti-IP crowd. Yes, a program is, at its very core, a mathematical algorithm. But guess what - someone had to put time, labor, and money into developing that algorithm, and I feel that stripping them of the right to have a limited period of exclusivity to benefit from their work is the behavior of a selfish, entitled prick.

    Also, the level of work that goes into creating a mathematical algorithm that performs a useful (and innovative) function and the level of work that goes into arranging some planks of wood and pieces of metal to do the same aren't terribly different. I don't see why they should be treated terribly differently.

    Then again, patents are usually (at least by my understanding) for a "method of doing X." So if another company finds a way to do X with their own code, they should be eligible for their own patent (and the other should not apply).

    For instance, a patent on the MP3 format isn't necessarily unreasonable. A patent on "compressing audio by use of mathematical algorithms" (which is about how bad some of the software patents in other arenas are) is absolutely unreasonable. So yes, I'd agree that the current implementation of software patents needs some work.

    I agree that software patents as they are now are flawed. But the solution is to fix the flaws, not to just toss the system out. Overly broad patents should be tossed. But properly constrained software patents have a legitimate role, no matter how much Stallman may whine that they don't. And as for Stallman, any person who claims that I am a bad person for having a Wii is a person who should be openly mocked.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I find the ludicrously of some software patents atrocious.

    Like a software patent filed in 2002 for a linked list
    . Seriously.

    They enrage me, there's no need for it. Not to mention this is just a complete theory of a linked list too, which there have been numerous books on. There's plenty of these laying around though.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    I find the ludicrously of some software patents atrocious.

    Like a software patent filed in 2002 for a linked list
    . Seriously.

    They enrage me, there's no need for it. Not to mention this is just a complete theory of a linked list too, which there have been numerous books on. There's plenty of these laying around though.

    Again, the issue is that the USPTO redefines "overworked". These poor guys have little time to review each application, and there are some pretty big dangers in rejecting a patent outright. Again, it's a flaw with implementation, not with the concept itself.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    I find the ludicrously of some software patents atrocious.

    Like a software patent filed in 2002 for a linked list
    . Seriously.

    They enrage me, there's no need for it. Not to mention this is just a complete theory of a linked list too, which there have been numerous books on. There's plenty of these laying around though.

    Again, the issue is that the USPTO redefines "overworked". These poor guys have little time to review each application, and there are some pretty big dangers in rejecting a patent outright. Again, it's a flaw with implementation, not with the concept itself.

    Ah well, true, but a 4 year approval period doesn't exactly scream rushed.

  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    You can't patent ideas. Not even according to today's screwed up law. Software patents really have no ground to stand on. Code is redundant almost all the time in almost all the applications. The made up difference between patenting a mathematical algorithm and "patenting a useful result achieved with a mathematical algorithm" is probably the biggest farce in "intellectual property" history.

    I'm sorry, but that has to be one of the largest crocks of shit I hear regularly from the anti-IP crowd. Yes, a program is, at its very core, a mathematical algorithm. But guess what - someone had to put time, labor, and money into developing that algorithm, and I feel that stripping them of the right to have a limited period of exclusivity to benefit from their work is the behavior of a selfish, entitled prick.

    They can benefit from their work - but they can't keep other people from mimicking it. The usual argument against this is Amazon's 'one click' shopping model, which is patented. No one's allowed to use their actual code on their servers - this is copyrighted. However, no one is allowed to make their own version either. No one else is allowed to store user info, and use it to streamline the shopping process in code that THEY write.

    Basically, the problem with patenting code is that patents are there to protect a process - but, it's not hard to find multiple processes to produce the same end result in code. If you can know the end result you want, it's trivial to find someone who can code it, without basing it on the work of whoever patented it.

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    bowen wrote: »
    I find the ludicrously of some software patents atrocious.

    Like a software patent filed in 2002 for a linked list
    . Seriously.

    They enrage me, there's no need for it. Not to mention this is just a complete theory of a linked list too, which there have been numerous books on. There's plenty of these laying around though.

    Again, the issue is that the USPTO redefines "overworked". These poor guys have little time to review each application, and there are some pretty big dangers in rejecting a patent outright. Again, it's a flaw with implementation, not with the concept itself.

    Ah well, true, but a 4 year approval period doesn't exactly scream rushed.

    One word - "backlog".

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    You can't patent ideas. Not even according to today's screwed up law. Software patents really have no ground to stand on. Code is redundant almost all the time in almost all the applications. The made up difference between patenting a mathematical algorithm and "patenting a useful result achieved with a mathematical algorithm" is probably the biggest farce in "intellectual property" history.

    I'm sorry, but that has to be one of the largest crocks of shit I hear regularly from the anti-IP crowd. Yes, a program is, at its very core, a mathematical algorithm. But guess what - someone had to put time, labor, and money into developing that algorithm, and I feel that stripping them of the right to have a limited period of exclusivity to benefit from their work is the behavior of a selfish, entitled prick.

    They can benefit from their work - but they can't keep other people from mimicking it. The usual argument against this is Amazon's 'one click' shopping model, which is patented. No one's allowed to use their actual code on their servers - this is copyrighted. However, no one is allowed to make their own version either. No one else is allowed to store user info, and use it to streamline the shopping process in code that THEY write.

    Basically, the problem with patenting code is that patents are there to protect a process - but, it's not hard to find multiple processes to produce the same end result in code. If you can know the end result you want, it's trivial to find someone who can code it, without basing it on the work of whoever patented it.

    Here's a hint, Sage - people use the Amazon patent as an example because it was a fucking blatantly bad patent - and they know it! The reason I talk about IP in the context of webcomics is the same reason that I find the use of the Amazon patent as a bloody shirt for the IP crowd very distasteful - it shows how the anti-IP crowd wants to obscure the real issues. I'll openly agree that the Amazon patent was a piss-poor one that should have never been issued as it was - but then I'll point out that it's an outlier, and proves nothing.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    bowen wrote: »
    Ah well, true, but a 4 year approval period doesn't exactly scream rushed.

    One word - "backlog".

    Hmm, then extend it until it becomes reasonable to approve it? Or throw it out as a baseless patent?

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Let's start with a concept that's going to blow your minds (but really, it shouldn't) - the entire concept of property is an abstraction. Yes, that's right - property is a figment of our collective imaginations.

    "But, I own my car, and it's a real object!" you say. Yes, the car exists, that is true. But how do we know that it's your car. This is not football, and possession is not 9/10ths of the law. We know you own your car because we can find that you have the title free and clear. But, as I'll point out, the title is not a tangible object - it is something defined by law. Without the law, the title would be nothing more than a scrap of paper.

    This is the key point - the concept of property - that someone can have exclusive ownership of something - is nothing more than a legal fiction we all thought up. So when someone tries to tell me that IP is a legal fiction, I agree, because it's just another from of property.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    My primary issue with the system is there's very little in it to stop blatant abuse. Namely people sitting around filing applications on anything creative they can think up or modifications to something they see that would make it better.. then don't do anything. They don't HAVE to make anything with it, they're just waiting to sue whoever does.

    It needs a good faith clause on the production, so that even if you can't manage to get it built/created, you Tried. Instead of simply being a lawsuit happy holding office.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Let's start with a concept that's going to blow your minds (but really, it shouldn't) - the entire concept of property is an abstraction. Yes, that's right - property is a figment of our collective imaginations.

    "But, I own my car, and it's a real object!" you say. Yes, the car exists, that is true. But how do we know that it's your car. This is not football, and possession is not 9/10ths of the law. We know you own your car because we can find that you have the title free and clear. But, as I'll point out, the title is not a tangible object - it is something defined by law. Without the law, the title would be nothing more than a scrap of paper.

    This is the key point - the concept of property - that someone can have exclusive ownership of something - is nothing more than a legal fiction we all thought up. So when someone tries to tell me that IP is a legal fiction, I agree, because it's just another from of property.

    I agree completely, however, it's good to have a system that encourages people to produce, design, and invent. However, it should not be a system that says "Hey this is sort of like my idea so I won't money because you stole."

  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    You can't patent ideas. Not even according to today's screwed up law. Software patents really have no ground to stand on. Code is redundant almost all the time in almost all the applications. The made up difference between patenting a mathematical algorithm and "patenting a useful result achieved with a mathematical algorithm" is probably the biggest farce in "intellectual property" history.

    I'm sorry, but that has to be one of the largest crocks of shit I hear regularly from the anti-IP crowd. Yes, a program is, at its very core, a mathematical algorithm. But guess what - someone had to put time, labor, and money into developing that algorithm, and I feel that stripping them of the right to have a limited period of exclusivity to benefit from their work is the behavior of a selfish, entitled prick.

    They can benefit from their work - but they can't keep other people from mimicking it. The usual argument against this is Amazon's 'one click' shopping model, which is patented. No one's allowed to use their actual code on their servers - this is copyrighted. However, no one is allowed to make their own version either. No one else is allowed to store user info, and use it to streamline the shopping process in code that THEY write.

    Basically, the problem with patenting code is that patents are there to protect a process - but, it's not hard to find multiple processes to produce the same end result in code. If you can know the end result you want, it's trivial to find someone who can code it, without basing it on the work of whoever patented it.

    Here's a hint, Sage - people use the Amazon patent as an example because it was a fucking blatantly bad patent - and they know it! The reason I talk about IP in the context of webcomics is the same reason that I find the use of the Amazon patent as a bloody shirt for the IP crowd very distasteful - it shows how the anti-IP crowd wants to obscure the real issues. I'll openly agree that the Amazon patent was a piss-poor one that should have never been issued as it was - but then I'll point out that it's an outlier, and proves nothing.

    I use it because it's a) bad as you say, but also b) completely typical of all software patents. It's not an outlier, because there aren't any good ones, they all fall under the reasoning I described. I challenge you to find a software patent that's GOOD, and not just patenting a mathematical algorithm.

  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    You can't patent ideas. Not even according to today's screwed up law. Software patents really have no ground to stand on. Code is redundant almost all the time in almost all the applications. The made up difference between patenting a mathematical algorithm and "patenting a useful result achieved with a mathematical algorithm" is probably the biggest farce in "intellectual property" history.

    I'm sorry, but that has to be one of the largest crocks of shit I hear regularly from the anti-IP crowd. Yes, a program is, at its very core, a mathematical algorithm. But guess what - someone had to put time, labor, and money into developing that algorithm, and I feel that stripping them of the right to have a limited period of exclusivity to benefit from their work is the behavior of a selfish, entitled prick.

    Yes, because it's absolutely selfish to want a mathematical method to be available for use to everybody. Because, you know, if it were so, all programmers would never look into new ways to of doing things, they'd just wait for people who put money and effort to do their work and copy/paste.
    Could you at least read Stallman's position? PLEASE? I really don't feel like listing his examples and absurdities again.
    You seem to confuse the ability to profit from your discovery with the ability to have an exclusive right to it. That's not true, again, a zillion examples & case studies for different industries in the resources. Should I copy/paste relevant paragraphs?
    On software patents, the only semi-coherent defence I've seen was the "if done right, there won't be any harm, but they can't be done right" one. Think there was a presentation @ Google or similar along those lines.
    I'm catching up to the thread, will reply to others as well.....

  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I use it because it's a) bad as you say, but also b) completely typical of all software patents. It's not an outlier, because there aren't any good ones, they all fall under the reasoning I described. I challenge you to find a software patent that's GOOD, and not just patenting a mathematical algorithm.

    I think you missed what I said earlier - if your opposition to software patents is "but they're patenting algorithms!!!", you need an attitude adjustment.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • kdrudykdrudy Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Honestly I'd say software patents are a poor idea because the patent office simply doesn't have enough of the right people to handle them well. I'd rather there be none then the large number of poor patents that exist now.

    tvsfrank.jpg
  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    The main issue I've seen in software patents is establishing what is prior art, and what is an evolution of it that any reasonable person would think up.

    Patents are supposed to be novel ideas. Some software qualifies as revolutionary changes in how things are done. Most are just logical extensions to shit we're already doing, and don't deserve exclusivity (at that point it's a race to see who gets their application in first, not who thinks it up/makes it)

  • GungHoGungHo Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    kdrudy wrote: »
    Honestly I'd say software patents are a poor idea because the patent office simply doesn't have enough of the right people to handle them well. I'd rather there be none then the large number of poor patents that exist now.
    I don't know if "they'll just fuck it up so rather than fix it we should abandon it" is the proper answer, even if it's the correct answer, if you know what I mean.

    "Adios, mofo" -- TX Gov Rick Perry (R)
  • kildykildy Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    GungHo wrote: »
    kdrudy wrote: »
    Honestly I'd say software patents are a poor idea because the patent office simply doesn't have enough of the right people to handle them well. I'd rather there be none then the large number of poor patents that exist now.
    I don't know if "they'll just fuck it up so rather than fix it we should abandon it" is the proper answer, even if it's the correct answer, if you know what I mean.

    Didn't they recently (a year ago?) pilot a system where the public at large can help find prior art for software patent applications?

  • kdrudykdrudy Registered User
    edited May 2008
    kildy wrote: »
    GungHo wrote: »
    kdrudy wrote: »
    Honestly I'd say software patents are a poor idea because the patent office simply doesn't have enough of the right people to handle them well. I'd rather there be none then the large number of poor patents that exist now.
    I don't know if "they'll just fuck it up so rather than fix it we should abandon it" is the proper answer, even if it's the correct answer, if you know what I mean.

    Didn't they recently (a year ago?) pilot a system where the public at large can help find prior art for software patent applications?

    And that would be a step in the right direction, it adds many resources and I'd think would likely keep the questionable stuff out. I'd be curious to see more about how that went.

    tvsfrank.jpg
  • AngelHedgieAngelHedgie Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    Yes, because it's absolutely selfish to want a mathematical method to be available for use to everybody.

    When you're asking people who devote time and effort to develop it to release it without recompense? You are absolutely right that I feel that is completely fucking selfish.
    zeeny wrote: »
    Because, you know, if it were so, all programmers would never look into new ways to of doing things, they'd just wait for people who put money and effort to do their work and copy/paste.

    Wow, that strawman never stood a chance. Now, answer the fucking question - if someone spends time, labor, and money making something, does that not grant them ownership?
    zeeny wrote: »
    Could you at least read Stallman's position? PLEASE? I really don't feel like listing his examples and absurdities again.

    You may be surprised, but I have read a lot of his work. I've even read the GNU Manifesto several times. And I don't buy any of it. You may be surprised, but he's not the font of truth - he's just one person pushing an idea. And considering some of the bullshit he pushes, it makes me wonder about the legitimacy of any of it.

    Here's a tip - when someone has to resort to playing word games to defend their arguments, it's usually not a good sign.
    zeeny wrote: »
    You seem to confuse the ability to profit from your discovery with the ability to have an exclusive right to it. That's not true, again, a zillion examples & case studies for different industries in the resources. Should I copy/paste relevant paragraphs?

    Yes, because I want to spend the next ten years doing glorified tech support. Seriously, whenever this argument is brought up, that's ALWAYS the defense given - "you make money on the service, not on the product!" What if the product isn't meant to have a service linked to it. (And let's not even bring up the perverse incentives generated by that model was well...)

    You would never tell someone who made something physical that he had to give it away for free. Give me an argument that someone who works in concepts doesn't deserve the same protections that doesn't end in "well, he works in ideas, man!", and I might just bite. Until then, I don't see any legitimate stance there.
    zeeny wrote: »
    On software patents, the only semi-coherent defence I've seen was the "if done right, there won't be any harm, but they can't be done right" one. Think there was a presentation @ Google or similar along those lines.
    And why can't they be done right? As long as they are limited properly in scope, they will operate properly. The issue is with implementation, not with the concept.

    XBL: Nox Aeternum / PSN: NoxAeternum / NN:NoxAeternum
    Spoiler:
  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I use it because it's a) bad as you say, but also b) completely typical of all software patents. It's not an outlier, because there aren't any good ones, they all fall under the reasoning I described. I challenge you to find a software patent that's GOOD, and not just patenting a mathematical algorithm.

    I think you missed what I said earlier - if your opposition to software patents is "but they're patenting algorithms!!!", you need an attitude adjustment.

    That's not what I'm saying at all - I'm saying that for any given software patent, an implementation is trivial for anyone with half a brain. The only ones where it's not are for complex mathematical algorithms, which are also non-patentable.

    Granted, they ARE patenting algorithms, but that's not even my complaint.

    edit:: wait, attitude adjustment? You are aware that you can't patent mathematical algorithms, right?

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Should I have the right to patent an application that scans in documents for a paperless system?

    Should I have the right to patent an application that uses TCP/IP or some other network system to send messages between clients?

    Should I have the right to patent multiplayer games using a message pipe of some sort?

    Apparently the post office thinks so, but you know what, those are pretty broad patents that almost anyone could feasibly come up with. It's not like the patent for the chemical makeup for Tacrolimus, most of the software patents are patents on ideas. Which is a stupid idea and there needs to be some system of control in place for stuff like this.

  • TelMarineTelMarine Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    two words: Carmack's Reverse. Seriously fuck Creative, software patents are just not a good idea.

  • Simjanes2kSimjanes2k Registered User
    edited May 2008
    Still reading up on the OP links and posts listed here, as there is a lot to digest, but I thought I'd throw out a quick perspective before I dive in.

    My father owns an engineering consulting firm which I work for. Patents and the defense of said patents are really the only way for the company to make money. When a customer requests a product, we design and manufacture the product for them. Obviously our protection of our designs are critical to keeping any project going for more than a few months.

    If someone decided to take our design and have someone else manufacture it, we lose almost all of the real money in the deal. Unfortunately this has happened many times to the engineers on the board and my father personally, and they react rather strongly to perceived threats against their IP or patents. This creates a sort of paranoia that can cripple an organization if there is no one to work hard for the middle ground and get the deal done (That would be my entire job, in a nutshell).

    From what I have heard and seen in my short time in the marine and auto industries, China seems to be the world leader in lifting patents and selling products for pennies on the dollar. I wish I could say that were just a stereotype or racism coming out, but I have lost significant salary due to it. Customers "coincidentally" find a Chinese company who reproduces our exact design. Makes me sick.

    At any rate, I do not feel informed enough to have my own opinion on what laws should be enacted or redacted to make the marketplace more "fair" to customers, vendors, consumers, big business, or whoever. That's what I'm reading.

    The general feeling of my company however, is that IP and copyright should be short (5 years), and patents should be basically forever.

  • SageinaRageSageinaRage Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    China has basically no respect for any kind of IP, so it's not really racist to be pissed off at them for that. While I don't think that patents should last forever, I think your post is a good indicator of why some protection is needed at least.

  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    I'm not quiting it all again, just replying.

    Re: Ownership
    Why do you believe that not having a software patent on your application deprives you of ownership? Do you realize software already falls under copyright protection?

    Re: innovation
    How can an argument relevant to the discussion be a strawman? Or should I spell it out: Software patents do not encourage innovation in the software industry.

    Re:Stallman
    I haven't read anything else from Stallman, don't intend to, unless it's relevant to the discussion. Do you think that you just used an ad hominem to discredit his view from the OP or can we just stop trying to show how into logical fallacies we are and discuss the point?(clue: yes, it was ad hominem.)
    He lists several specific examples of software patents gone awry. I'll ask again, just to make sure, did you read them?

    Re:Open Source
    I realize open source advocates are part of the biggest anti-patent lobby. I don't particularly care, I don't think discussing open source is relevant to software patents as I don't see a problem with distributing your software any way you like.

    Re:Concept protection & we'll make it work!!!
    How do you demonstrate the uniqueness of a software patent?
    With software patents you'll be perfectly able to write software FROM SCRATCH and infringe on 100 patents you've never even heard of.
    A patent may be passed in such a way as it would be impossible to follow on an idea without infringing, thus, effectively patenting the idea itself.

    I have 100 more statements like that.

  • bowenbowen Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    zeeny wrote: »
    Re:Concept protection & we'll make it work!!!
    How do you demonstrate the uniqueness of a software patent?
    With software patents you'll be perfectly able to write software FROM SCRATCH and infringe on 100 patents you've never even heard of.
    A patent may be passed in such a way as it would be impossible to follow on an idea without infringing, thus, effectively patenting the idea itself.


    This is so rich. This is also what aggravates me the most.

  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    Simjanes2k wrote: »
    My father owns an engineering consulting firm which I work for. Patents and the defense of said patents are really the only way for the company to make money. When a customer requests a product, we design and manufacture the product for them. Obviously our protection of our designs are critical to keeping any project going for more than a few months.

    If someone decided to take our design and have someone else manufacture it, we lose almost all of the real money in the deal. Unfortunately this has happened many times to the engineers on the board and my father personally, and they react rather strongly to perceived threats against their IP or patents. This creates a sort of paranoia that can cripple an organization if there is no one to work hard for the middle
    ground and get the deal done (That would be my entire job, in a nutshell).

    I don't understand how exactly would you get a design "stolen" if you're already paid to do it. You're either contracted to design something - in that case you do it, job done, walk away. Or you're contracted to design & manufacture, in which case it should be really easy to protect yourself in the contract. I'd say that patents are not the problem but bad management? Am I misunderstanding how the whole process works?

  • zeenyzeeny Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    clicked quote instead of edit....

  • Bad KittyBad Kitty Registered User regular
    edited May 2008
    An article about tolerated use of copyright. Basically it argues that certain infringements of copyright (fanfiction and fanwork of popular shows are the examples used) should not be per se trespass, but require prior notice for the copyright holder to commence action. So JK Rowlings can allow Harry Potter fanfiction to exist as long as it does not damage her own property. She also reserves the right to sue someone profiting off her work (after giving notice) while not running afoul of the doctrine of laches.

    While this doesn't adress the core issue of whether we can own ideas, I think it's a good example of how we're moving toward removing some of the exclusivity protections.

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