Your take on Intellectual Property

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ThistleWeb
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Re: Your take on Intellectual Property

Post by ThistleWeb »

Anything is only worth what people will pay for it. What it's creators think it should cost is irrelevant, the market decides. If I create a CD of songs, and choose to value it at £20, customers can choose whether or not they think it's worth £20 by buying it. If they like it but only think it's worth £10, they won't pay £20. Similarly if customers like it but don't think it's worth any money, they won't pay for it. Look at online news sites as an example. They're desperate to find ways to get people to pay for access, but the vast majority of people who use those sites won't return if a paywall is erected, they'll just go elsewhere.

Oh, and when you start throwing around phrases like "enforcing communism" you moved from a serious conversation into troll country for me. The point of the GPL and in particular it's conditions about giving code back is about protecting it from abuse from corporations. Apple, Microsoft, Oracle and every other heavily proprietary company LOVE free software, it gives them an already written solution to a problem, saving them time and money. What they don't want is to have to use it in a cross platform way. They want to ensure it's broken when people on other OS's when sharing files etc. The only way they can do that, is break it and keep the modifications on how they broke it secret. Users don't know why it's broke, they just know it is, and oh....it works fine when I use it with Windows users, it must be that Linux is rubbish.

As I and others said before, nobody is forcing you to use the GPL. Linux is a hub of GPL code. BSD on the other hand is under a MIT license, which does allow corporations to use and abuse it. TCP/IP is just one example, the protocol for computers talking across the internet, which works as clean code on Linux and BSD, but Microsoft bastardized to discriminate against non-Windows OSs. Dropping packets, slow connections etc, all to convince users that "hey, Windows works, these other OS's can't do this right". The Apache license also allows the project to go proprietary at any time I believe.

There's something else to consider, people contribute back for all sorts of reasons. Many do it to build a profile of work they can show an employer, many do it because they want to make a difference. Many won't give their time and skill to a project that's capable of going proprietary with a change of ownership or leadership. Imagine if MySQL was under a MIT license at Sun? Oracle swoop in, buy the company and turn everything they legally can closed source. Everyone who contributed to MySQL to make it what it is, is now locked out of their own work.

Look at how popular BSD is compared to Linux, to give you an idea of which philosophy is deemed as better for FOSS in protecting it. The GPL allows projects to fork if they're taken over by organizations or companies hostile to the concept of FOSS. Oracle messed up with Open Office, the community of developers, backers and users all forked to Libre Office, leaving Oracle with the Open Office brand name, and a husk of a dead project that nobody wants to use. If not for a license which allowed that escape route, anything competing with Microsoft like Open Office would be a target "acquire and abandon", to take it off the market, forcing customers to use Microsoft Office. Open Office was Sun's own variant of the GPL I believe, not a regular one.

The point about "not sharing unless it was protected" in regards to patents is a joke too. Patents are about cartels, pulling up the ladders to prevent any new players undercutting the cartel with cheaper prices and better products. If a car has patented technology, in say 10,000 individual patents, meaning to make a car you require all that technology. If 10 companies own that 10,000 patents between them, they can and do cross license with each other to say "we don't pay you, you don't pay us, we use your patents, you use our patents, we don't sue each other and we're all on the gravy train", where does that leave new competitors? They have to license those 10,000 patents from those 10 companies, adding a HUGE cost onto the price. The patent holders can intentionally hike the price to ensure the new competitor can't possibly compete.

It also means that only the patent holder can improve on something, as nobody else is legally allowed to use it without paying a license. If that license includes terms that it must be used under certain conditions, they can't even improve on it. So the ONLY people allowed to innovate something is those who were first to the patent office to claim ownership of the idea. How exactly does this encourage innovation?

The only people patents are good for, are patent lawyers. They retard innovation, and cost customers a LOT of money in the products and services they use, as well as have an option of using. When a patent holder has the power to kill a competitor with a patent infringement lawsuit, they remove that competitor from the eyes and option of the customer. If it was used as a genuine way to protect their products, then fine, but to believe that now you are VERY naive. Companies use it now as extortion to ensure they're the only player, and to ensure that people HAVE to pay them, even for stuff they had no connection to creating.

I'd suggest you explore a site called Techdirt http://techdirt.com you'll find LOTs of articles that will open your mind to how dangerous patents in particular are to progress. You'll see how companies abuse IP laws, how they affect regular people. That's the reality today, it's been twisted and contorted so much since it's original intent that it's a hindrance now.
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Nexus
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Re: Your take on Intellectual Property

Post by Nexus »

linuxuser159 wrote:Is it ethical or just to own ideas and intangible things?

How is your opinion motivated? religion, philosophy, reasoning, law ... etc
I think to an extent is bogus.

There are degrees though, I do believe in protecting things that qualify as art, and design. I don't believe in people using the concept of intellectual property to protect functionality of a product. I don't disagree people should be able to profit from their work, but some ideas in my opinion simply do not fit under the scope of these laws.

Like when Apple sued HTC over the "gesture" used to unlock their phones being similar. WTH? You shouldn't be able to patent a simple motor function of the human body.
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Re: Your take on Intellectual Property

Post by Midnighter »

gordon.cooke wrote:
Midnighter wrote: You don't seem to understand licensing at all. You agree to abide by the gpl, if you use gpl'd code. Their is nothing "strong-arm" about it. Again, your analogy is flawed. The GPL doesn't "take away" anything. You choose to use that code, you agreed to abide by the conditions. Don't like it? Don't use it. Use something licensed under BSD, or another, as that sounds like what you prefer. The GPL doesn't "force" you to do anything. Do try and understand the distinction.
No, I do understanding it as a license. See above post. Im simply trying to make the point that it is not as 'free' as it could be. And I disagree that the requirement for subsequent creators to use GPL for *their* work is somehow derived from freedom. It doesnt. It's just a way to enforce communism. The last of the four freedoms is 'freedom to distribute your modifications' But requiring someone to exercise this freedom is not freedom. To be freedom you must also be guaranteed the choice not to do it. I can exercise freedom 0 to run the program and never use the other three. What is wrong with exercising freedom 1 to modify the code, freedom 2 to distribute the original code (which has its license) and freedom 3 to distribute my modified version, but choosing to only distribute binary and not source?

I get it- if it was GPL code I cant do that because Id violate the license. But what is wrong with it philosophically? Wouldnt the most freedom be derived from a "do what you want" license?

You seem to translate as freedom for you to do as you please. The GPL ensures that the code and it's improvements REMAIN free for others to use. You seem fascinated with the idea that "freedom" means you should be able to do whatever you please, despite the fact that this is the license that others chose to use, and it's spirit is the type of conditions they chose. You're concerned with your freedom, the GPL ensures the freedom of the code, for everyone else.

You seem hung up on the wrong end of the stick.
If you accept - and I do - that freedom of speech is important, then you are going to have to defend the indefensible. That means you are going to be defending the right of people to read, or to write, or to say, what you don't say or like or want said.
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Re: Your take on Intellectual Property

Post by gordon.cooke »

ThistleWeb wrote:Oh, and when you start throwing around phrases like "enforcing communism" you moved from a serious conversation into troll country for me.
Really? I'm sorry but I'm not just throwing phrases around; if you can only comprehend the word 'communism' as something negative or a slur then I guess that's your hang up. Would you prefer if I said it is based on Marxist values? I guess it might be more socialist than communist depending on if your view is one of co-operative ownership of code or common ownership.

The point of the GPL is NOT simply to protect against corporations. The point is to ensure that a) the code remains available to all and not just a select class that run things (you can say corporation, but I say it is about taking the power away form those who control the means of production and placing it with the masses) and b) also ensuring that subsequent improvements, created by anyone downstream, also remain open; this is a philosophy that code should remain community property and cannot be the property of the creator.

To be clear: this is a philosophical discussion. I am not advocating anyone ignore any license, I use GPL software and if I need to build off any GPL code will follow the requirements. But if the question is about what we feel is right with regards to 'intellectual property' then lets have a discussion about the merits and moral obligations related to these views. The argument of 'well you can just use it' doesn't make it correct and I don't accept that as a relevant argument.

Yes, people choose to contribute for many reasons. But what I am talking about is ensuring that it is their choice to contribute code that they wrote. The reasons you gave, build a resume, etc, can just as easily do it on MIT or Apache code base and do not need a requirement clause to.
ThistleWeb wrote:Oracle swoop in, buy the company and turn everything they legally can closed source. Everyone who contributed to MySQL to make it what it is, is now locked out of their own work.
How would that happen? If a code base is open source, say under Apache, and a company came in and creates a closed version- the only thing they would be able to close is any new improvements the company itself made. The original open code base still exists. How would this scenario ever lock out the older, open, contributors form their own work? It only locks them out from the improvements that they didnt make themselves. Is BSD no longer available because of OSX?
ThistleWeb wrote:Look at how popular BSD is compared to Linux, to give you an idea of which philosophy is deemed as better for FOSS in protecting it.
So you're saying popularity is the measure of being 'deemed as better'?? BY that argument wouldn't the proprietary license used by microsoft be the best by far? I reject that popularity has anything to do with being better- especially in philosophical or moral terms.
ThistleWeb wrote:The GPL allows projects to fork if they're taken over by organizations or companies hostile to the concept of FOSS....
This is possible with ANY license that grants the right to copy, create derivative works, and redistribute. This is not peculiar to the GPL and I can do it with license that do not require any derivative work to follow the same license (in fact, in those cases you see more forking as you can fork into a different license scheme)

As for patents- again- we need to make a distinction between the concept of intellectual property-- the ownership of the idea/invention (or patent) -- and the problems of the current patent system. The patent system is broken. The patent system has been abused. The patent system needs to be re-worked based on the lessons learned to better achieve its true goals. Does that mean there should not be patents? I say no, we should have patents; inventors have a right to control and benefit from their inventions (for limited time).

What is your alternative? Do you believe there should be no patents and any invention can be copied by anyone else who can figure out how to make it also? In that system, how to you see preventing a rash of inventors and corporations holding their systems and production methods as trade secrets? What would prevent the hardware equivalent of closed source? What prevents large corporation with a reverse engineering department from figuring out your idea and copying it in short order? Does this encourage innovation more than the current system?
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Re: Your take on Intellectual Property

Post by gordon.cooke »

Nexus wrote:... I do believe in protecting things that qualify as art, and design. I don't believe in people using the concept of intellectual property to protect functionality of a product. I don't disagree people should be able to profit from their work, but some ideas in my opinion simply do not fit under the scope of these laws.

Like when Apple sued HTC over the "gesture" used to unlock their phones being similar. WTH? You shouldn't be able to patent a simple motor function of the human body.
I agree. Patents aren't meant to cover the end functionality, but are supposed to cover the method/design to achieve that functionality. They shouldnt be issued in the first place, but at least a number of these can be struck down as invalid. The big problem is "method patents" for software where the method is click on a button, then this transaction happens.

But as you said, we should protect actual "design"
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Re: Your take on Intellectual Property

Post by gordon.cooke »

Midnighter wrote:You seem to translate as freedom for you to do as you please. The GPL ensures that the code and it's improvements REMAIN free for others to use. You seem fascinated with the idea that "freedom" means you should be able to do whatever you please, despite the fact that this is the license that others chose to use, and it's spirit is the type of conditions they chose. You're concerned with your freedom, the GPL ensures the freedom of the code, for everyone else.

You seem hung up on the wrong end of the stick.
How would you translate freedom?
Dictionary.com wrote:free-dom
–noun
1. the state of being free or at liberty rather than in confinement or under physical restraint: He won his freedom after a retrial.
2. exemption from external control, interference, regulation, etc.
3. the power to determine action without restraint.
If I create an improvement why should I be restrained in the choice of licenses on my code and subject to the external control of a previous coder who created a regulation on my work without even knowing or conceiving of the improvement? What right to they have to put those restrictions on me?

Im not talking about ignoring GPL requirements. If you choose to use GPL I cant ignore the terms because I have to respect your right to determine the terms of your own work. The GPL does not simply ensure the freedom of the code- that can be accomplished by simply requiring that the original code be passed along without requiring subsequent improvements to be GPL. What that extra requirement does is limit the subsequent coder who makes an improvement and place requirements on what he does with his own creation the original had nothing to do with.

Ergo- as far as the propriety of the GPL itself, I think it is flawed, calling it freedom is a bit of a misnomer (since it restricts freedom of subsequent coders). I think licenses such as Apache or MIT are morally superior to the GPL and provide better consideration for true freedom.
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Re: Your take on Intellectual Property

Post by ThistleWeb »

The whole point of "interlectual property" is about owning something that doesn't exist, some imaginary concept that's a short term monopoly on something, as an incentive to keep inovating. If patents vanished overnight, meaning you could buy a competitors product, reverse engineer it, retool your factories and put out a copycat product what would happen? Your competitors would be able to do the same with yours too. Would you just give up the game, close the company, lay everyone off, give up and go home?

That's the effect of what people say with "we need patents to be incentivised to inovate", without those monopolies we won't even stay in the game. To me that says "we can't compete for customers, they don't like our products and services enough" if they COULD compete, they'd be perfectly happy to stay in the game, to keep inovating, to be the better product, to consitently be the one the customer chooses, when they have very similar products on the shelves.

Who'd inovate? If you don't, your competitors will, meaning your brand becomes the "me too" brand, always behind the competition with the same copycat features.

All of the companies who love patents, also claim to love the capitalist system, where the main counterbalance is customers choice. They compete with a compelling product or service, or loseout to companies who do. Any system that gives a monopoly over anything, allows companies to let their products go stale, hike up the price, put consumer hostile conditions in, turn lawsuits into a business model etc all instead of doing what they profess to believe in, competing for the custom of consumers by being the best product at the best price with the best terms.

Look at what happend to IE6 when Microsoft had the browser market pretty much to itself. No competitors meant that the IE team could be tasked to do other things, and they ignore the pleas of IE users to fix bugs, add features etc why waste money trying to keep users, meeting users demand, competing for users if they have nowhere else to go? They only dusted off the IE code to START listening to customers when it became clear there was a major scale exodus to Firefox. Chrome, Chromium and others have grown from that and forced IE to inovate. The incentive isn't monopoly, it's competition and users choosing someone elses proiduct over yours.

Imagine if the patent system is abolished. Howmuch money would be wiped off companies stock price, as pieces of paper owning imaginary things are sudenly worth nothing. It's a bubble waiting to burst. The only peoplewho benefit frompatents, are patent lawyers. For everyone else, they're a bad idea and don't do what they're supposed to. Every time a company uses them to shake down another, they arm the people determined to abolish patents with another use case of why patents need to be abolished.

Trademarks are about ensuring custromers aren't confused, or tricked into buying what they think is the genuine article when it's not. That's valid. On the other hand, if people buy a $10 fake iPod thinking it's genuine, my comment would be on why Apple can't make their products feel better to be confused with a $10 device in the first place. Most people who buy fake goods KNOW they're fake, they are insperation items, Nobody buys DVDs from a fleamarket and thinks they're genuine. They do think they're wortth the price, or in the case of digital goods, have the DRM stripped out which adds value over the genuine and more expensive original.

The biggest issue with all "interlectual property" is the concept of anything being totally original. Ask a guitarist who their influences are, what do they say? "I don't have any, I don't listen to any music" No of course not, they were inspired to spend the long hours learning and practicing by feeling someconnection to other guitarists and songs. Their style is a blend of that, so none of what they do is totally original, it'sinfluenced by others, inspired by others, ideas from news articles, stories, TV, real life etc. Everything is created by building on what came before, there's very little flashing of total originality in anything, so the idea of owning any idea is ludicrous.

As I said earlier, it's about actually creating something and competing. I could give you plenty of ideas for projects that I've thought of. You could go ahead and run with them, turn any of them into multi million dollar industries, and good luck to you. I'd have no claim to any of your success. That;s the way it should be, if you do the work you get the rewards. The patent system allows you to be shaken down for lots of licencing fees before you even start, and always be under the threat of the axe falling if you get to a stage where you have money, you'll attract the patent trolls who do nothing other than set up shell companies to sue people who DO inovate and try to compete with stuff.

Put this on a wider scale, Microsoft struggle to compete in markets they didn't set the bar on. People know how good smartphones can be, they know iPhones and Android. They won't accept any less from others, so when Microsoft enter andproduce something users laugh at, they struggle. That's ok, why compete when you can shake down other companies who DO have products people want, and get them to pay money for "intelectual property" supposedly owned by Microsoft, for something they didnt lift a finger to work on.

When the large world brands have patented everything, how are the developing nations supposed to compete and trade their way out of poverty? If they make a car, smartphone etc and try to market it in the EU or US, they get shot down for patent infringement, forced fees hiking the price right up, or adding consumer hostile features because the big boys have profits to protect and can't have any new players enter the market and actually offer customers what they want.

Basically, if you can't compete in a fair race, you don't run in that race is the message you claim to be true "if there's no patent system monopoly protection, we won't inovate, we'll close up shop andgo home". Those companies deserve to go under in a capitalist system, leaving behind those who actually CAN compete fairly, benefitting consumers and shareholders, not to mention advancing the human race with all sorts of tech we can only dream of now.
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