In the name of ownership

Published on: 2008-7-7

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In the name of "ownership"


Two people on opposite sides of the world have exactly the same idea at the same time. Which one of those two people would be most morally justified in claiming to own the exclusive rights to that idea? The principles of Intellectual "Property" transforms business from being an opportunity to being a "right" that is protected by unethical laws, with unjustifiable exclusivity. It is nothing but snake-oil peddled by carpetbaggers. The consumption of this snake-oil is then enforced by laws that are instigated by corrupt politicians, at the behest of those same carpetbaggers who bribe those politicians. The right to own knowledge Intellectual monopolies insanely out of control


Mon Jul 7 17:37:28 2008

A teacher says the following in the class: The first one who gets the value of 'x', where 'x = 10 * 3 + 47 +93', will get this chocolate. Ramu and Rajesh gets the answer simultaneously, but Rajesh jumps and tells the answer. Who should get the chocolate? Sands. PS: Sir, there could be many arguments (like, the teacher shouldn't make such a competition in the first place etc. etc) I could be thinking at a low level.. from the perspective of you all. But honestly, this is what occured to me. There could be two equally good movies; but the one which lands up with the better distributor makes more money than the other one. That's the world. REALITY.

Pramode C.E

Tue Jul 8 03:26:51 2008

Rajesh gets the chocolate, and he "patents" this solution so that any of his class-mates who would use his method to get the answer have to pay him Rs.100/-! Yes, you are indeed thinking with a very limited perspective!


Tue Jul 8 23:32:28 2008

:) Why are we so predictable to each other? ;)


Mon Jul 7 23:58:42 2008

It's not just about innovation. It's about transforming it to money! :)


Wed Jul 9 11:50:46 2008

Sandeep, Seems like you missed the entire point. Neither Ramu nor Rajesh has the *right* to own the method used (irrespective of who comes out with the solution first)! What is being highlighted is, ``no one has exclusive right to any *innovation* or knowledge!''


Thu Jul 10 00:42:10 2008

Yes, the point here is about the "right" to claim /exclusivity/, which is fundamentally a sham, since no one can really prove that an idea has never been though of before, they can only claim to be the /first/ to publicly announce it (in the patent office). Making such a claim, and subsequently enforcing exclusivity, is wholly immoral. Then there is the issue of where ideas come from ... no idea is ever without some prior foundation. Claiming exclusive rights to something that is (in essence) the collective works of mankind, is just perverted. And lastly there is this idea that spending money on research automatically entitles "inventors" to special privileges. IMHO they should have no more special privileges than any /other/ business making an investment. Investment in research is just the risk of any other investment. Where's /my/ "protection" against loss if the stock market crashes, for example? Is it everyone else's responsibility to ensure that /I/ don't lose money. I don't thinks so. But the Intellectual Monopolists /do/ believe they are entitled to special protection, apparently. The system is completely corrupt.

Pramode C.E

Thu Jul 10 03:31:32 2008

Yes - and we are moving into *much* more dangerous terrain, with the Intellectual Monopolists getting into areas like agriculture with their patenting of seeds and life forms....


Thu Jul 10 07:32:41 2008

A general question not taking sides one way or the other :-) .. Assume a scenario like this. Someone really brilliant puts in a lot of hard work and comes up with a result/idea. Some huge corporate decides to take that idea and make it in a product in say 3 months - if the inventor had decided to make a product out of it, it would have taken him say 3 years, or he could never have done it. So in this scenario what would be the proposed solution to ensure that the inventor gets more than an award with a plaque and some title :-) - how do we ensure that the inventor gets his due credit in monetary terms ? Cheers Gopu.


Thu Jul 10 23:19:08 2008

Well, I wasn't missing the point. I wasn't even trying to tell that something is *right* or *wrong*. I wanted to tell ... that this is how the world *IS*. And my second comment was trying to tell that it's not about inventing something... It is about turning it to money. (Now I think Gopu's comment is very good) Sands. PS: I didn't express my first comment well - which lead to mis-interpretation. My bad! :(

Pramode C.E

Fri Jul 11 07:21:32 2008

I can give one solution which *doesn't* work for a brilliant, independent inventor ;-) and that is patenting! The huge corporation will find some means to use your invention for profit with/without your consent - remember, they have deep pockets, great lawyers and access to shady characters with pistols in hand who wouldn't mind going to jail for a bit of cash! And, if you are not an independent inventor and work for the corporation, then again the corporation takes the money for your invention - giving you awards and maybe, some "incentives"! Seriously - I don't think a lot of independent inventors are going to benefit - especially when you consider the fact that if this disease spreads, you will have funny situations like inventor A patenting X, inventor B patenting Y and inventor C not being able to create something out of a bit of X and a bit of Y ... thats what you get with software where there is a lot of sequential and synthetic innovation. But then, there is one section of population which is rubbing their hands in glee looking at all the nonsense going around - and that's the patent lawyers in the US! It seems they are having a wonderful time :-) The system is skewed in favour of the big players. And they (especially those in the agri/medicine businesses) have started using it in very dangerous ways.


Fri Jul 11 12:28:57 2008

@Gopu How does an inventor make money from his "hard work"? By selling an /actual/ product based on that idea, of course. So it takes him three years ... why do I care? As for corporations buying the inventor's idea, I don't think they, or anyone, should /have/ to, since I don't believe ideas should be considered to be commoditisable. It is as fundamentally /wrong/ to sell one's thoughts as it is to sell people as slaves. "Knowledge" should not be owned. Period. The only way any inventor should ever be allowed to financially capitalise on his ideas, is if he builds and sells products based on those ideas. If some company (or anyone else) wants to use those ideas too, then they should be able to. But no one should ever be able to claim exclusive "rights" to those ideas. Ever. I don't care how much "hard work" or even /money/ they put into them. Want to make money ... then sell /products/, and stop trying to claim the rights of a God.


Fri Jul 11 16:03:05 2008

@Slated. >> So it takes him three years why do I care? Oh, we do have to care. Let me give a more specific example. Google's founders came up with the algorithm/idea for the search engine that was better than the existing ones at that time. We all know the history now that they first approached Yahoo and Yahoo turned them down not convinced with their idea (or for whatever reasons). Maybe that was lucky for them, they managed to get some VC funding and floated a (succesful) company. Now assume the scenario where everyone is free to do what they want (I am not using the word "patent" here, will come to that in the end). So in that case, if the Google founders had gone to Yahoo and if the Yahoo technical officers had the sense to recognise that its a billion dollar idea, they could have said "thanks for your idea, thats really good, we are implementing it and here is your 100 dollars for a few lunch and dinners" - the Google founders couldnt have done a thing because Yahoo would have all the infrastructure and business power to make a product out of any idea! Now extrapolate this scenario to every invention that comes out of a university. Wont this demotivate a researcher from putting in 10 or more long years only to find that at the end of the day, his 10 years will be rewarded with a 100$ bill ;) ? We can argue that the researcher should be altruistic and not worry about money and just worry about the pure results etc.., but I dont think any of us would want to debate here along those lines :-) So, with this more specific example in place, tell me about a solution by which the Google founders could have got more than 100$ for lunch/dinner if Yahoo had decided to implement their idea. Well, the 100$ is obviously an exaggeration here :-), world would never be so bad - so in the best case world, the founders would have been given a job in Yahoo with a fancy looking title and maybe 75% more salary than the "usual" employee who doesnt even know the meaning of the word "hard work" or "innovation". Is that fair enough according to you, if yes I disagree :-). If not, what is the proposed solution ? Please note that I am not trying to support patents here - I know patents have reached a pathetic horrible state where people shamelessly file patents for horrible "ideas". But that is the current state of patents - without knowing the history of patents, my "guess" is that it would have originated with the good intent of protecting the Google founders as I described above, but degraded like any rule which originates with a good intent and gets misused later (examples of which we can find in plenty in the day to day legal practices of any country). So what is the solution for the problem I posed ? Cheers Gopu.


Sun Jul 13 00:00:34 2008

@Gopu WRT your Google example, again I ask ... why do I care? What do I care if Google has better competition because they don't have a monopoly on Search services? In fact *GOOD*, they /shouldn't/ have a monopoly. Indeed your example only serves to underline my point, that without such monopolies the market would be more balanced than it is today. It is supposed to be a Free Market, remember. That is the defining principle of capitalism. Monopolies are wholly antithetical to the Free Market economy of capitalism in (what is supposed to be) a democratic society. As for motivation ... if people/companies cannot be sufficiently motivated by profits from the sale of products and services /alone/, then that's /their/ problem, and good riddance to them. This is /not/ about "altruism", in exactly the same way as choosing to not stab someone with a knife is not altruism ... it's just common decency. What does "altruism" have to do with ripping people off by selling them snake-oil? Companies already have the means to derive profit, for whatever purpose - including the recovery of investments, by selling /actual/ products and serv ices. The snake-oil called "patent royalties" is merely an unethical /supplement/ to that income ... unethical because it's a form of monopoly in both commercial and academic terms. /Any/ form of monopoly is wrong, but Intellectual Monopolies are a perversion of human nature, since they seek to prohibit the dissemination of knowledge by criminalising the process of learning. I really don't give a damn what does or does not motivate unethical people. If that means I have to "wait a bit longer" for inventions to come to market, then that's fine by me. It's an acceptable price to pay for Freedom. However, I think you'd find that without Intellectual Monopolies these inventions would /still/ come to market in a reasonable time-frame anyway. This "time to market" nonsense has become a self-serving and circular argument, that only seems "reasonable" because something that should never have been allowed to exist in the first place (patents) was introduced by corruption, all those years ago. That kind of argument is like a slave owner complaining that his crops will take longer to harvest, if he's not allowed to own and use slaves to do th e harvesting. Thankfully people like Abraham Lincoln had more sympathy for the slaves than the slave owners. We could use more people like Abraham Lincoln in the debate against Intellectual Monopolies.


Sun Jul 13 00:04:20 2008

Please correct the line-breaks in my previous comment (something weird happened). Thanks.