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[4]: A questions for Thom
by mkone on Sun 1st Jul 2012 11:45 UTC 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

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

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.


It's getting out there, though. I hear more and more people talking about this matter, and things like SOPA and ACTA were on prime-time news here in The Netherlands. Our political parties have chapters on the subject, so awareness is growing.

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[6]: A questions for Thom
by Alfman on Mon 2nd Jul 2012 03:30 in reply to "RE[5]: A questions for Thom"
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

bfr99,

"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."

Where do you live?

Things have gotten much more difficult in the US and venture capital is far tighter that it used to be. That your claiming the majority of Americans have no problem makes me think you are far disconnected from typical Americans, who are absolutely not doing well. Sure a few are doing great, but I honestly believe growth of behemoth companies like google and apple has come at the opportunity cost of less growth in smaller ones. Just as local independent stores have been demolished by corporate chains, I suspect the same trend will become more evident in the tech field as it continues to mature.

Edit: A healthy industry should produce more competitors, not more consolidation. Though the patent system is just part of a much larger problem, it contributes to the monopolization of technologies, which is harmful to competition.

http://www.theeagle.com/article/20120503/BC0106/305039996

"The rate of new business startups fell in 2010 to the lowest point on record, according to an analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data.

Figures released Wednesday indicated that new companies as a percentage of all businesses dropped below 8 percent in 2010, the latest year for which numbers are available.

The rate has been falling since peaking at 13 percent in the 1980s, but the slower rate of new startups accelerated during the recession, said Robert E. Litan, vice president of research at the Kauffman Foundation, which partially funds the gathering of business data."

Edited 2012-07-02 03:35 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

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