Subject: Re: "a better world" (was Re: GIF/LZW patent)
From: Craig Brozefsky <craig@red-bean.com>
Date: Fri, 29 Sep 2006 11:29:33 -0500

<stephen@xemacs.org> writes:

> Craig Brozefsky writes:
>
>  > <stephen@xemacs.org> writes:
>
>  > > The marginal cost of producing software is high, and increases rapidly
>  > > with increasing functionality and complexity.
>  > 
>  > Really?  I'm not sure what "high" means here, relative to what?
>
> Relative to serving an HTTP request.

Ok, so you are admitting your assertion was ridiculous.  Thanx.

>  > So much friction, so little benefit all constrained to a very small
>  > population.
>
> Here, I've got an envelope.  Let's do a simple, plausible calculation.
> If a hundred million people get a penny a day extra enjoyment from
> some innovation that gets to market a year earlier than it would have
> without the incentive and/or funding that a patent generated for it,
> that's a $365 million ($366 million in a leap year) benefit.  That
> will pay for a lot of frictional patent search![1]  And if it's *three*
> cents, well, as the Senator said, "now, we're talking *real* money!"

You forgot the other line, the lost enjoyment people could have had
for the life of the patent because they could not get legal access to
it for various reasons -- implemention of the patent not sufficient
for their problem, cannot afford the implementation or license.

But this whole "penny of enjoyment" thing is ridiculous, the real
driver of the software patent regime is financing.  The "balance of
benefit" analysis for us consumers and would-be entrepreneurs is just
the dog and pony show.  It has the same function as the "artists
right" argument for copyright.

It is in financing the creation of transferable "intellectual
property" and massive patent portfolios that the real base of the
patent regime is located.  That is where both the political power
supporting the regime is centered, and also the largest class of
direct benificiaries of the legal fiction.

I agree with you that abolition is not in the cards.  The patent and
copyright regimes are core parts of the economic system which the
"developed" economies are moving into.  It is key to both their
relation to other nations, as well as the domestics.

-- 
Sincerely, Craig Brozefsky <craig@red-bean.com>
"Do you want to live forever?"       -- Valeria