Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 30th Jun 2012 19:34 UTC
Legal Yesterday, we were treated to another preliminary injunction on a product due to patent trolling. Over the past few years, some companies have resorted to patent trolling instead of competing on merit, using frivolous and obvious software and design patents to block competitors - even though this obviously shouldn't be legal. The fact that this is, in fact, legal, is baffling, and up until a few months ago, a regular topic here on OSNews. At some point - I stopped reporting on the matter. The reason for this is simple: I realised that intellectual property law exists outside of regular democratic processes and is, in fact, wholly and utterly totalitarian. What's the point in reporting on something we can't change via legal means?
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RE[3]: A questions for Thom
by Alfman on Sun 1st Jul 2012 04:31 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: A questions for Thom"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

mkone,

"The fact of the matter is that the public is not clamouring for a change in IP laws, therefore what is happening is completely democratic."

That doesn't necessarily follow, and to be sure there are plenty of counter examples too where politicians do whatever they hell they want to without regards to their supposed constituency. In reality even local politics requires millions of dollars, which is typically funded by corporations. They've recently been allowed to pledge infinite funds to influence politicians and elections, not to mention think tanks and apostrophising. This is corrupts the notion of a government democracy which exists "for the people". I find the control corporations have over government to be the downfall of a functional democracy.

"If the vast majority of people want IP laws to change, then they should vote in people who pledge to change them. However, we all know most people aren't bothered about IP law, therefore it is entirely democratic that the law, as it stands, is applied. By not voting for change the public is voting for the status quo."


I think it's a fallacy to say people aren't voting for change...they're always voting for change. But the only issues we'll ever get an opportunity to debate and vote on are "hot button issues" like jobs, affordable healthcare, war, union rights, taxes, education, housing, abortion, even religion and marriage, etc. You don't know what people think about their IP rights from the polls because the polls haven't attempted to measure that - election data is too granular to draw those kinds of conclusions.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: A questions for Thom
by mkone on Sun 1st Jul 2012 11:45 in reply to "RE[3]: A questions for Thom"
mkone Member since:
2006-03-14

The reason that IP issues aren't brought up when campaigning for votes is precisely because voters don't see them as particularly important. There is nothing about democracy that mandates that every issue under the sun will be in a manifesto. Part of the democratic proces is about deciding which issues are important enough to be presented to the public to garner votes. IP law just so happens to be such a low priority issue for most individual voters that they don't really care one way or the other.

Whilst individuals in a democracy can state their preferences for the big issues, and the political process is oriented in that way, voters are also delegating the responsibility for other "smaller" issues to the politicians. If the public don't like how the politicians are dealing with the small issues, they should vote them out, or make their feelings known. If they don't, then they either happy with it, or at least not bothered by it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[5]: A questions for Thom
by bert64 on Sun 1st Jul 2012 13:08 in reply to "RE[4]: A questions for Thom"
bert64 Member since:
2007-04-23

The reason IP reform isn't considered as terribly important by the general public, is because most people only ever get to hear one side of the story...

Most people get their information from mass market media, the same mass media that benefits from IP laws and wants the current laws either retained or made tighter. The chance of people who aren't explicitly looking for such information, to be exposed to an opposing view on IP law is extremely slim...

On the other hand, if you take the time to explain the situation to a guy on the street, many people would agree that reform is needed.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[5]: A questions for Thom
by bfr99 on Sun 1st Jul 2012 23:59 in reply to "RE[4]: A questions for Thom"
bfr99 Member since:
2007-03-15

I, like the majority of Americans fail to see the problem. Apple, Google, Facebook etc have all prospered under the existing system. Furthermost there is ample money for and no shortage of start-ups for the creation of future products and services. Apparently you wish to change the existing patent and perhaps copyright laws largely because you object to arcane legal proceedings between large corporations. I can't think of any other industry than computers and software that enjoys the such dramatic innovation and new product creations.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[5]: A questions for Thom
by Alfman on Mon 2nd Jul 2012 01:04 in reply to "RE[4]: A questions for Thom"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

mkone,

"Whilst individuals in a democracy can state their preferences for the big issues, and the political process is oriented in that way, voters are also delegating the responsibility for other 'smaller' issues to the politicians."

It is a problem that smaller issues never get to benefit from democracy. Heck, it's failing even for bigger issues.

In NYC Bloomberg is planning on banning large colas & milkshakes because he can despite the fact that most voters oppose his plan. This sort of thing is happening everywhere. Consider the outlawing of public unions under Scott Walker, it was done despite a majority opposition (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZmHZFzOtUo). Due to the law he couldn't be impeached at the time. At the federal level public funds were repeatedly used for corporate bailouts and forgiving bad corporate debt with overwhelming public opposition. (some corps, like Goldman Sach subsequently gave executives record breaking executive bonuses http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jun/21/goldman-sachs-bonus-...). The illegal CIA wiretapping program infuriated the public, yet government didn't bother to prosecute anyone involved. The trouble with "democratic" governments is that they often fail at democracy.

Please don't read this wrong, I highly value democratic principals. But sometimes people will try to justify policy by saying it was enacted by the will of the people through a democratic process when said democratic process has lost some of its integrity.

Reply Parent Score: 3