Linked by umad on Thu 25th Aug 2011 22:51 UTC
Apple I thought OSNews would be a good forum to talk about a matter that has been weighing on my mind lately primarily because the site has been so focused on Apple's patents and litigation as of late. The news that HP, the largest PC manufacturer in the world is spinning off or getting out of this business is what really prompted me to write this article.
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Assumptions
by justSomeGuy on Tue 30th Aug 2011 06:01 UTC
justSomeGuy
Member since:
2011-08-30

Well, you seem to be making a lot of assumptions here. Let me preface by saying I'm neither pro-MS nor pro-Apple, I'm an open source guy myself. Also, if I'm misinterpreting what you meant, then let me know.

A few things that need to be cleared up right away.

First, I believe when you use the rich/poor mentality, you're refering to quality of software. If that's the case, then Apple was definitely not Prince John (the rich) until more recently. They had to replace a lot of the userland with BSD components to get where they are today. That's not to say the early MacOS was bad, but I think the Prince John analogy is pushing it.

Now, let me address two points:

Can we really blame Apple for not wanting the past to repeat itself.

No, given the current legal regime, you can't blame any company for trying to use all legal means at its disposal to hurt the competition.

Similarly, can anyone legitimately argue against them without casting themselves as a champion for Robin Hood's methodology?

Oh yes, most definitely. Throughout your entire reasoning, there are the implicit assumptions that intellectual property is legitimate in the first place, and that violations of intellectual property are equivalent to theft.

First, although you may disagree, there are many (myself included) who challenge the legitimacy of intellectual property in any form. Near as I can tell, our arguments are at least as well-supported as those of intellectual property supporters.

Second, even if we take as given the legitimacy of intellectual property, that is not sufficient to compare intellectual property violations to theft. Why are IP violations not handled through the more basic laws criminalizing theft? Because IP is non-rivalrous.

Why can Apple, MS, or any other company threaten another company or individual with an IP suit? After all, if the company/individual being threatened had made a great heist with lots of cash, they should be plenty rich to afford legal defense, right? But, of course, that's clearly not true. Many times the targets of IP suits do not have the money to defend themselves, because nothing was ever STOLEN in the first place.

PC aficionados dislike of software patents and thus Apple's position in leveraging them was formed originally as a result of Microsoft's initial theft. Why wouldn't they argue that point though? They are amongst the many benefactors of the theft.

In the same way, I'm sure Robin Hood's benefactors (The have nots) would have argued just as vehemently against "the have's" going after their stolen money and implementing greater security at the same time. I'm sure they would have argued just the same, "but look at all the good we've done with this stolen money!"


I'm not sure what you're trying to say here, but it seems a lot like a false dichotomy. It's completely possible to be 100% against patents, regardless of whatever company is wielding them.

Quoting this again:

Similarly, can anyone legitimately argue against them without casting themselves as a champion for Robin Hood's methodology?

If you're arguing (and I'm not saying you are) that to be opposed to Apple's (or any company's) use of IP in the courtroom must then be construed as support of theft, then that is a complete mischaracterization.

In a world without IP, if I rip someone off, I've taken nothing from him. He can still do everything he could do the day before. Conversely, in the world we live in, if an IP holder brings suit against me (whether or not I'm ripping him off), he has most definitely taken something from me. Money, at a minimum. Maybe I'm also now legally prohibited from contributing to an open source project. If any entity here could be remotely compared to a thief, it is the IP holder.

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