[iDC] global rights expropriation in the intersection between theindustrial and the information ages

Guido Sohne guido at sohne.net
Thu May 24 13:52:11 EDT 2007

On 5/24/07, Andreas Schiffler <aschiffler at ferzkopp.net> wrote:
> Well, I guess one has to lobby, lobby and lobby again ... and hope for
> the best. After all one can find many people and media - from Wired to
> the NYT - calling for a patent reform. And this year the US system was
> actually changed somewhat for the better (OK, that may be debatable).
> The system is a political construct and thus one should be able to
> influence its structure using political means. There are also other
> stakeholders that may be able to assist in influencing the system such
> as inventors and the companies - including the likes of Microsoft and
> Oracle who have openly bitched about the system - themselves (although
> their proposed changes are likely NOT in the general publics interest
> but designed to save them money). It might seem like an uphill struggle,
> but it just may work.

Let me play devil's advocate. And what if it doesn't work? I thought
that this opposition has been going on for a long time, yet the
results and even the current proposals show that if anything, the
existing systems are going to be strengthened. For example,

  Gonzales proposes new crime: 'Attempted' copyright infringement

> And until then, why don't we 'harvest' the publically available patent
> information. Such a 'review' process could be implemented in a P2P way
> using delegate-and-conquer approach (too bad, the domain
> patentharvest.com is already taken by some patent-troll laywers). One
> could try to convert the thus-found info into useful bits of ideas, then
> create implementation recipes for the people 'on the ground'. Some
> practical stuff! After all, I don't think anybody would sue if a patent
> based idea is actually implemented by a private hobbyist in a garage
> especially when there is no financial gain involved. I think this is the
> crux - remove patents from their traditional economic context and the
> whole story looks quite different.

Civil disobedience basically. But if you look at the widest example of
that, the music copiers, which I think is actually criminal in intent,
there will be a strong response, another harderning. It is less
confrontational and harder for them to defend against, though. Or
domain name disputes, such as with mickeyrowesoft.com. The act of
putting together an IP portfolio on behalf of open source is also
ongoing, such as with

  Open Invention Network

and this is as you point out, the actual best alternative, to create
such mechanisms within the existing system, to bring out something
that operates outside those constraints. That's the route GNU,
Creative Commons and OIN are taking. I am of the opinion that this
will become most urgent when external pressure is applied such as
boycotts and loss of markets, as an alternative to such reform.

-- G.

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