Subject: Re: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <>
Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 21:00:00 +0900

>>>>> "David" writes:

    David>       I have been attempting to argue the absurdity of the
    David> proposition that the the term "Intellectual Property" is
    David> useful, by carrying it to its logical conclusion - that
    David> ideas can be owned.

Unfortunately for that kind of argument, nobody on FSB who uses the
term does so in that way.  So those who find it useful find its
usefulness elsewhere.  Your argument is entirely moot.

    David>     If something about this did not matter to you you would
    David> not be responding.

What matters to me is that you attributed a position to me that I do
not hold and have not defended.  I respond to you insofar as that
seems necessary to demonstrate those facts.

    David>                       As best I can tell software is unique
    David> because many of us write software and we can not conceive
    David> of being able to effectively write software in an
    David> environment with software patents.

So what?  Your failure of imagination is not an argument.

In fact, it's actually not hard to imagine it; it simply entails lots
of lawyers, lots of managers, lots of paperwork, and thus, working for
a big corporation.  Very distasteful, but then, so are most jobs---
that's why we pay people to do work, instead of having them pay us for
the privilege.

As far as I can see, you can either do difficult process analysis to
demonstrate that in fact the process must break down in the presence
of software patents, or you can show that the social costs of all
those lawyers, managers, paperwork, and big corporations are greater
than the social benefits of addition software that gets to market due
to this system.  My own position is based on the latter argument.

Graduate School of Systems and Information Engineering   University of Tsukuba        Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
        Economics of Information Communication and Computation Systems
          Experimental Economics, Microeconomic Theory, Game Theory