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Intellectual Property Laws Bad for Society/Americans?

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posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 03:14 PM
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I would like your input on this subject. How do you feel intellectual property laws have impacted you as a consumer or perhaps you as a small business owner?

I have two problems with the concept. The first thing is I don't believe in the ownership of knowledge. Why? Everything you do and think is influenced by things around you. No one comes up with any idea without being influenced by a co-worker, previous education, etc. So no idea is truly your own. You may have put the pieces together but you did not do this 100% alone.

Also our current laws are not designed to protect ideas but rather to protect businesses from competition. The idea should be survival of the fittest and NOT survival of the first. You should be rewarded for your work right? Of course. Make a good product and support it well and you will be rewarded. Don't try and use laws so you can produce a bad product and provide inferior support and hope that someone else comes along to make it better so you can skim off of their work. It strikes me as a kind of corporate welfare system. You come up with something better and you have some poor businessman stand there with his hand out looking for his cut.

Is it wrong that a small business has to retain an attorney just to operate because so many larger companies abuse the laws and trademark things that they really don't own or use just so they can take your money?

What about the consumer? How can the consumer possibly benefit? Look at the prescription drug problem. This anti-competitive system has resulted in skyrocketing prices. It amounts to extortion in my opinion. Pay or die. And the government backs them up by now allowing competition in the field. If you are going to prevent competition then you must also restrict prices.

What would happen if a new virus was discovered that was spreading across the planet. A virus so nasty it would kill anyone within a week of being infected and one company had a drug that would cure this illness. Now this company having full control decides to charge $10k for the cure. You either pay it or you die. Do you allow them to do this or do you revoke their patent and open the door to anyone to manufacture this drug.

Where do you draw the line? What is more important? A consumer's right to have a choice or a businesses right to unlimited profits exempt from competition?




posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 09:21 PM
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Well, first off...

Your primary argument is contradictory:
"Also our current laws are not designed to protect ideas but rather to protect businesses from competition. The idea should be survival of the fittest and NOT survival of the first."

If government were engineered to protect businesses it would NOT be encouraging a system where the strongest survived. One cannot argue that our system should be tailored to help businesses and then gripe that businesses are not given enough help by the government... with a straight face, that is.

Now, Indy, you brought up the issue of intellectual property rights. I hope you realize that these are designed to protect writers, artists, scholars... and people in similar, intellectual fields. These are the people who produce ideas. Just as a GM factory might turn out cars, writers and scholars turn out ideas. Now... if you think that some small businessman should be able to steal ideas from their creators at will... then you also might think it's okay for a car dealer to steal vehicles from the storage lot of a GM factory. After all... it's good for the small businessman and the consumer, right?

You've also stated that an idea can't be owned and described ideas as things people arrive at 'first'. Well... to be frank... this tells me that you have no clue when it comes to the creative process. Whitman didn't just write "Leaves of Grass" first... McCartney/Lennon didn't just compose "Yesterday" first... Those were unique products of the artistic process. Ideas and art are not ineviatble things that are arrived at through a concentration of capital and work effort... they are products of a variety of intangible currents within the human mind. That being said, a book, an opera, a poem... are unique things that could NOT have been made by anyone besides their creator. The creator, then, doesn't just have rights to them because they made them 'first' -- They have rights because they were the only people who could have made such things.. and, in fact, such creations are the result of THEIR labor.

Now, does the small businessman have the right to steal someone else's product? You have said yes... with the somewhat disturbing assertion that the needs of small businessmen outweigh the rights of producers and creators. Perhaps you believe that the small businessman is the center of american society? Well, I hate to tell you this, but the small businessman (or at least the type you have painted for us) is really just a middleman, a moneychanger. He builds nothing, creates nothing, and adds nothing. His only function is to stand between the producer and the consumer and add his own charge... for doing nothing. Sorry, but 'pure' merchants are experts at marking up that which other people have created... and they deserve little or no sympathy.

So... Why should the government worry about the survival of a guy who illegally burns CDs or a publisher who steals manuscripts? Why are they so important that they should receive protection... and be allowed to take advantage of others' labor?

Also... how many new books, albums, and shows do you think you'll see if some middlemen can just copy and distribute them without punishment? My guess is that if artists and writers couldn't support themselves the arts in this country would vaporize overnight.

So... why do we have intellectual property right laws? To make sure that this country continues to actually PRODUCE ideas and art.



posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 10:17 PM
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With our without these laws people will continue to produce. They produced long before these laws and they will produce long after these laws. My biggest problem is that two people at two complete opposite sides of the country can come up with a similar product without any knowledge of each other. But one person will be entitled to the profits of the other persons work. Why should person A have to pay person B? Person B didn't work on person A's project. And the beauty of it is that having a person A and a person B means the consumer will have a choice. And that A and B will compete for that money and you will see the products advance and prices go down. But under the system you support either person A or person B will not be able to produce their product and as a result the one allowed to operate will overcharge the consumer and have absolutely no motivation to improve the product or support it.

So if I am understanding you right the only thing that matters in business is being first.. not best. Right?



posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 10:52 PM
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Originally posted by Indy
With our without these laws people will continue to produce. They produced long before these laws and they will produce long after these laws. My biggest problem is that two people at two complete opposite sides of the country can come up with a similar product without any knowledge of each other. But one person will be entitled to the profits of the other persons work. Why should person A have to pay person B? Person B didn't work on person A's project. And the beauty of it is that having a person A and a person B means the consumer will have a choice. And that A and B will compete for that money and you will see the products advance and prices go down. But under the system you support either person A or person B will not be able to produce their product and as a result the one allowed to operate will overcharge the consumer and have absolutely no motivation to improve the product or support it.

So if I am understanding you right the only thing that matters in business is being first.. not best. Right?



No, actually you didn't understand me at all.

1.Intellectual property rights were set-up by society to protect artists, writers, and other creative types.

2.Your notion that someone can be the 'first' to an idea simply does not reflect how the creative process works. Creative works are not the product of some sort of mechnaical process.... as I pointed out above, they arise from the mind of the artist as a result of a variety of unique psychological processes. This applies to all of the arts. 'Person A' and 'Person B' simply will not produce the same work of art. No two artists are ever competing against each other in a race to complete the same book, symphony, or song.


3."So if I am understanding you right the only thing that matters in business is being first.. not best."
Your proposition here is somewhat illogical. Would it make sense if someone said, "The only thing that matters to you is that Ernest Hemingway wrote The Sun Also Rises first... not best"?

4.You keep thinking of Intellectual Property Rights in terms of how they affect business.... under the assumption that they were enacted with the welfare of businesses that distribute artistic materials in mind. Sorry, but Intellectual Property Rights are RIGHTS... not economic strategies. I don't think you understand that. They say that creators own that which they create... they are laws that codify individual rights. The survivability of small businesses that might sell or distribute such creations is not a factor in terms of the philosophy behind that law.

Overall, Indy, I suspect that you have no idea as to what Intellectual Property Rights even are. This is apparent in how you have phrased your question and designed your 'examples'.

Still, it would be kinda funny to see you walk up to a writer with a pirated copy of one of his books and say something like, "You may have written this first, but I've copied it best!"



posted on Aug, 22 2004 @ 11:03 PM
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We are thinking along two different lines. You are thinking along the line of art and I am thinking of manufacturing.

Now lets move the abuse that has run rampant in the patent and trademark business over to the copyright business. Try and write a song and not use a name that someone has used in the past or not have a line in your song that wasn't used in a song on the past. Not possible. You want 50 different artists holding our their hand for a cut of your work because you had a similar line in your song? It would cripple the music industry. Imagine writing a book and having to pay every source you use. That would mark the end of research journals. Whenever you site someones work you have to pay them. Poof. The publishing industry dies.

This is the kind of garbage that is infecting the manufacturing area. By manufacturing I include software development. Its a hybrid field that incorporates art and manufacturing. You have businesses going around buying every trademark and patent they can get their hands on. Not that it makes their product any better. Heck they may not even use it. It just means that you can't use it. And it doesn't even have to be the same. Just similar. I'm sure you heard about this idiot that claimed to have invented the hyperlink. He wanted a cut of everything basically. He got denied but perhaps wrongfully so. What about the guy who invented the www? Should he be able to skim off of everyone's websites? What about the person that invented the jpg? Should they be able to skim off of every site that uses images? Of course not. There are logical restrictions. So why in a case of life and death is a drug company allowed to hold cures for ransom?



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 02:13 AM
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To optimize the intellectual weath of society, perhaps to acquire/own an intellectual property [especially technological] one should be required to use it. Sort of use it or lose it on patents.

That would make the creations/discovery of new ideas still have value and some protection, but would maximize the utilization of their potential productive capacity.

opinions?
.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 03:21 AM
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Exactly. It would prevent energy companies from buying up patents and burying them so to avoid competition in the form of alternate energy sources. That can apply to any industry. To me its almost criminal to buy up patents just so other people cannot engage in business. Businesses that pull stunts like that should face losing all their patents as a penalty. Toys R Us is notorious for trademark abuse. They will register anything and everything whether they use it or not. And the thing is on a trademark applicate you have to state when you started using this mark as part of your business. I would guess Toys R Us has lied on most of their applications. But then again a great deal of blame falls on the USPTO for issuing trademarks to anyone for anything as long as they write a check.



posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 12:12 PM
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Onlyinmydreams (OMD) and Indy are both right in describing the intellectual property (IP) rights system.

OMD is describing the original intent of the IP laws and the "rights" part of the term "Intellectual Property Rights". Indy is describing the bastardization of that system over the last couple of decades by pointing out the "property" part of that term.

Rights are inalienable. Property is not.

The fact that IP rights are PROPERTY as well as the fact that this property can be bought and sold by "persons" is where the problem lies. Consider the fact that less that 5% of patents in the entire history of patenting were granted to individual inventors. The rest are granted to corporations. Copyright rests with the author but survives even after their death and can be sold, same with trademarks.

If IP rights were truly “rights” and not property then the artist/inventor would have total control over their rights and their licensing. They could judge for themselves if something was stolen, copied, is derivative or falls under “fair use”. I like to think that most true artists and inventors would not pursue every subsequent artist/inventor who was inspired by their work into the court system unless there was a blatant violation. The fact that corporations now control IP as property and that they are driven by market shares and profit is why we have the distortions we now have. It was not always so.

Also the fact that we can now patent things like genetic sequences that are not “invented” but “discovered” leads to all kinds of trouble in research. I worked for a research company that had to stop a research program because another company “owned” the genetic sequence of the gene. We could not continue the study without paying for the “right” to use the particular piece of DNA (which is present in all of us!) to another company.



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