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Re: Patent pending: Network-based classified information systems.

From: Tony Sanders <sanders@earth.com>
Date: Wed, 25 Feb 1998 12:41:58 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199802251741.KAA07475@austin.bsdi.com>
To: www-talk@w3.org
Dudley Mills writes:
> Is the public best served by the Law not recognising any Intellectual
> Property rights (such as currently expressed in copyright and patent
> law)? This is often argued in the positive by parties who have no
> Intellectual Property to protect.

Borrowing from:

[1] Three Common Fallacies In the User Interface Copyright Debate
    By Thomas M.S. Hemnes Foley Hoag & Eliot, Boston 
    The Computer Lawyer, Volume 7, Number 2, February 1990 
    [and thanks to the person who forwarded me this URL]

    ...Thomas Jefferson, who considered exclusive statutory monopolies
    such as patents to be an "embarrassment." Jefferson was himself,
    of course, a redoubtable inventor and thus might judge which
    legal system would best foster innovation.

In fact, it seems that all too frequently these days that it is
those with little true intellectual property that wish to have the
law distorted to protect them beyond what is reasonable (and,
contrary to the intention of copyright and patent law, to the
detriment of society).  I'm certain that this is exactly the
situation that the frames of the US Constitution feared.

And I would like to point out to the reader that when I tried to
point out to Mr. Mills in private email that I did, in fact, have
intellectual property to protect he dismissed it as ``bragging''?
That's some double standard.

Of course, I choose to protect my intellectual property in a manner
that is consistent with the goals of society.

> However, Consider a person who has written and published a novel or
> compiled a technical text book. Often they have invested substantial
> it very difficult for most authors to continue to write and publish. In

As stated your argument has nothing to do with patents, nobody in
this discussion has stated that they have a problem with books are
copyrighted.  However, I will tie it back more closely with the
issue at hand...

Again from [1]
    The second error of fact is the assumption that legal protection
    is necessary if one is to profit from an intellectual creation.
    Innovations in business methods such as the Federal Express
    method of express delivery, and designs such as Parisian fashions
    and the Chrysler minivans, are neither patentable nor copyrightable.
    Nevertheless, they can be enormously profitable.

And surely you are also aware that the ideas and facts expressed
in a book are *NOT* copyrightable.  If you write a book about
Ring-Worlds then I can turn around an write a book about my own
Ring-World the very next day and this form of copying (copying of
ideas) is protected by law.

Further borrowing from [1]:
    It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that copying is
    a bad thing--a sort of tort--that copyright is designed to
    deter and remedy. Nothing could be further from the truth.
    Copying is the rule, and not the exception, in our competitive
    society. Federal Express invents overnight delivery using a
    hub-and-spoke system, and is promptly imitated by UPS, Purolator,
    and even the United States Postal Service.
    All of these forms of copying--and many more besides--are
    protected by federal and state law. The reason is that copying
    serves two fundamental purposes. First, it facilitates price
    competition. If others were not permitted to offer the same
    product or service, competition as to price would be confused
    and blunted by distinctions as to the goods or services offered.
    Where the competitor offers exactly the same thing, prices are
    driven down, and "efficiency" in the economic sense is maximized.

And specifically EXCLUDED from copyright protection is:
    any object in which the copyrightable "expression" is not capable
    of existing independently of its utilitarian function
Received on Wednesday, 25 February 1998 14:11:12 UTC

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