Linked by David Adams on Tue 26th Oct 2004 16:30 UTC
Editorial The software industry is undergoing a gradual transformation, and consumer fatigue is at its root. The licensing model that has formed the basis for the modern software industry is facing challenges on many fronts, and the industry is scrambling to keep its footing. Where this period of change may lead software producers and consumers isn't quite clear, but some trends are emerging. Since the proliferation of the internet, unauthorized redistribution of digital goods has become rampant. But although software sharing probably won't kill the software industry, the reasoning behind it shares some pedigree with the customer revolt that promises to transform the way software is sold.
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intellectual property is a myth
by Michael Wassil on Tue 26th Oct 2004 21:04 UTC

Unfortunately the author is inadvertantly or not propagating the myth of "intellectual property". This is the myth that ideas can be protected from use. True enough, in the past attempts were made to suppress the widespread knowledge and use of various ideas from time to time, with varying degrees of success. And true enough the same sort of attempts to suppress the widespread knowledge and use of ideas is called "protecting intellectual property" in the current era.

As then, so now, such efforts are intended solely to benefit a few individuals at the expense of society as a whole. They should be opposed vigorously. Patent and copyright were never intended to protect ideas, but rather the tangible expression of ideas, to give the innovative individual the prospect of profitting from his/her "work" for a limited time before everyone else could use it for profit. But the idea itself remained in public domain where others could also express it in other unique ways, ways which could in fact compete with the original implementation. Thus society encouraged an individual to develop new things, works of art, etc, while society as a whole benefitted from their activities.

However, the concept of "intellectual property" works only at cross purposes. It is merely an attempt to subvert the whole notion of encouraging individuals to engage and invent new applications of ideas while benefitting society as a whole in the process. One need only look at the nonsensical software and biotech "patents" which have been granted in the past 20 years that do nothing but prevent others from using the same or similar ideas to produce competing works. Copyright has been subverted to protect the interests of copyright holders decades beyond the death of the original author or artist. None of this benefits society as a whole. Instead, artificial scarcity (ie monopoly) is maintained to the detriment of society.