Subject: Re: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
From: "David H. Lynch Jr" <dhlii@comcast.net>
Date: Thu, 25 May 2006 23:37:02 -0400
Thu, 25 May 2006 23:37:02 -0400
Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
>>>>>> "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.
>   
    I am not sure what this means ?
   
    FSB is in consensus over the meaning of "Intellectual Property" ?
    Everyone on FSB understands that "Intellectual Property" does not
mean ownership of ideas ?
    Or the world aside from myself has accepted that it does so I am
arguing a decided issue ?

   Do we need a new thread on the meaning of "moot" ?

    I am sure that even ignoring myself and Richard it is fairly clear
that the term "intellectual Property" means different things to
different people even on FSB, and that many are willing to argue that
ideas can be owned - in pretty close to the same sense that I believe
they can not be.
   
>     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.
>   
    I beleive I have mostly been very careful not to assign specific
positions to anyone. I have occasionally remarked on Richard's.
    I have frequently respond challenging a position someone took in
their own message.

    However, in the event that somewhere I erred an implied you believe
something you have not ckaimed - then I apologize.



>     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.
>   
     Would you  please actually read what I wrote.
         
          This particular line started because someone else claimed
software patents were broken.
          I responded that patents as a whole were broken.
          I was challenged for asserting this without support.
   
          My remarks above are not my views.
         
          My view is that software is NOT fundimentally different from
anything else that currently IS patentable, and should not be.
          My remarks above are my SPECULATION as to why software
developers beleive that software should not be patented.
          That said there is some truth to it. Software development -
despite efforts to force it otherwise seems to compare more favorably with
          processes such as art, music, architecture. The core to those
processes is essentially a solitary act, or at best a small colaboration.
          Software developers have spent decades trying to figure out
how to make software development scale. While important advancements
have been
          made - and OpenSource developers appear to have come closest
to succeeding at creating a scalable colaborative software development
process,
         it is still essentially true that adding people to software
projects increases the odds they will fail.
          I would sugest that adding managers, lawyers and paperwork
will pretty much ensure failure.

          The fact is (in the US) software is patentable, at this point
the patent office may have issued more software patents than any other
kind (no I do nto have hard facts, but I think that is a reasonable
guess). And yet the software development process as a whole even in the
US (with a few exceptions) is conducted completely oblivious to the
existence of software patents.
          That is a huge train wreck waiting to happen.

          Accepting the assumption that software should be patentable.
Software developers may well get what they want by causing the system to
fail.
          Corporations are bitching about the problems of
Sarbanes-Oxley. Any serious effort to conform US software development to
proper patent
          due dilligence would be orders of magnitude worse.
          I would even speculate that alot of offshoring may have be
atleast partially motivated by patent liability issues - I am not
suggesting it is a well thought out response.


          Regardless, at best my personal view is that the intellectual
property system does not actually work.
          That clothed in whatever semantics you choose, it boils down
to the ownership of ideas and that that is not workable.
          That the ownership of ideas does not work in theory and can
not be made to work in practice.
          That the only thing that is actually different about software
is that the distance between whatever the semantic legal construct we
have deluded ourselves into beleiving
          we are allowing to be patented - sort of the actual idea, is
less than most other fields. Engineering patents are not less offensive,
but there is more distance between the idea and the patent.
          Though arguments have been raised (and continue to be raised)
inside the engineering community about the true effectiveness of patents.

          One of the principles of the free market philosophy is that
economic success increases proportionate to the connections of a
society. Intellectual Property - regardless of how you define it,
attempts to improve the economic benefit to society by restricting those
connections.
           Every limitation of free markets is not automatically bad.
But you can not restrict connections for the purpose of fostering
ecomonic growth and accept the principles of free markets.
         

         
         

> 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.
>   
    That is an extremely dark view of the world. I work because I love
to. I take money for it because I need to.
    I have done a wide variety of different jobs in my life.
    Very few have been sufficiently distasteful that I would not
conceive of doing them but for money.
    There are certainly ones I prefer more than others.

    Right now I am more unhappy about my work situation because I do not
have sufficient work, than because I am not making sufficient money
doing it.

    I do not beleive Free Software would exist if developers did not
derive pleasure from the work.

    Most of the people I know - though not without complaints, like
their work.
    If you aren't do something else.   
> 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.
>   
    Both are true. I have addressed each to some extent above. But more
importantly my actual position is that there is no fundimental
distinction between software patents and other patents.
    I am not currently aware of an argument against software patents
that I do not believe can be applied equally well to other types of patents.

    Further, that both the arguments you are suggesting are basically
software patents are bad because they do not work.
    I am arguing that they do not work, because they are a bad idea.
    That they do not work because the ownership of ideas contravenes the
principles of nature and economics.

   




-- 
Dave Lynch 					  	    DLA Systems
Software Development:  				         Embedded Linux
717.627.3770 	       dhlii@dlasys.net 	  http://www.dlasys.net
fax: 1.253.369.9244 			           Cell: 1.717.587.7774
Over 25 years' experience in platforms, languages, and technologies too numerous to
list.

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of
genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
Albert Einstein



Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
"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.
  
    I am not sure what this means ?
   
    FSB is in consensus over the meaning of "Intellectual Property" ?
    Everyone on FSB understands that "Intellectual Property" does not mean ownership of ideas ?
    Or the world aside from myself has accepted that it does so I am arguing a decided issue ?

   Do we need a new thread on the meaning of "moot" ?

    I am sure that even ignoring myself and Richard it is fairly clear that the term "intellectual Property" means different things to
different people even on FSB, and that many are willing to argue that ideas can be owned - in pretty close to the same sense that I believe they can not be.
   
    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.
  
    I beleive I have mostly been very careful not to assign specific positions to anyone. I have occasionally remarked on Richard's.
    I have frequently respond challenging a position someone took in their own message.

    However, in the event that somewhere I erred an implied you believe something you have not ckaimed - then I apologize.



    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.
  
     Would you  please actually read what I wrote.
         
          This particular line started because someone else claimed software patents were broken.
          I responded that patents as a whole were broken.
          I was challenged for asserting this without support.
   
          My remarks above are not my views.
         
          My view is that software is NOT fundimentally different from anything else that currently IS patentable, and should not be.
          My remarks above are my SPECULATION as to why software developers beleive that software should not be patented.
          That said there is some truth to it. Software development - despite efforts to force it otherwise seems to compare more favorably with
          processes such as art, music, architecture. The core to those processes is essentially a solitary act, or at best a small colaboration.
          Software developers have spent decades trying to figure out how to make software development scale. While important advancements have been
          made - and OpenSource developers appear to have come closest to succeeding at creating a scalable colaborative software development process,
         it is still essentially true that adding people to software projects increases the odds they will fail.
          I would sugest that adding managers, lawyers and paperwork will pretty much ensure failure.

          The fact is (in the US) software is patentable, at this point the patent office may have issued more software patents than any other kind (no I do nto have hard facts, but I think that is a reasonable guess). And yet the software development process as a whole even in the US (with a few exceptions) is conducted completely oblivious to the existence of software patents.
          That is a huge train wreck waiting to happen.

          Accepting the assumption that software should be patentable. Software developers may well get what they want by causing the system to fail.
          Corporations are bitching about the problems of Sarbanes-Oxley. Any serious effort to conform US software development to proper patent
          due dilligence would be orders of magnitude worse.
          I would even speculate that alot of offshoring may have be atleast partially motivated by patent liability issues - I am not suggesting it is a well thought out response.


          Regardless, at best my personal view is that the intellectual property system does not actually work.
          That clothed in whatever semantics you choose, it boils down to the ownership of ideas and that that is not workable.
          That the ownership of ideas does not work in theory and can not be made to work in practice.
          That the only thing that is actually different about software is that the distance between whatever the semantic legal construct we have deluded ourselves into beleiving
          we are allowing to be patented - sort of the actual idea, is less than most other fields. Engineering patents are not less offensive, but there is more distance between the idea and the patent.
          Though arguments have been raised (and continue to be raised) inside the engineering community about the true effectiveness of patents.

          One of the principles of the free market philosophy is that economic success increases proportionate to the connections of a society. Intellectual Property - regardless of how you define it, attempts to improve the economic benefit to society by restricting those connections.
           Every limitation of free markets is not automatically bad. But you can not restrict connections for the purpose of fostering ecomonic growth and accept the principles of free markets.
         

         
         

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.
  
    That is an extremely dark view of the world. I work because I love to. I take money for it because I need to.
    I have done a wide variety of different jobs in my life.
    Very few have been sufficiently distasteful that I would not conceive of doing them but for money.
    There are certainly ones I prefer more than others.

    Right now I am more unhappy about my work situation because I do not have sufficient work, than because I am not making sufficient money doing it.

    I do not beleive Free Software would exist if developers did not derive pleasure from the work.

    Most of the people I know - though not without complaints, like their work.
    If you aren't do something else.   
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.
  
    Both are true. I have addressed each to some extent above. But more importantly my actual position is that there is no fundimental distinction between software patents and other patents.
    I am not currently aware of an argument against software patents that I do not believe can be applied equally well to other types of patents.

    Further, that both the arguments you are suggesting are basically software patents are bad because they do not work.
    I am arguing that they do not work, because they are a bad idea.
    That they do not work because the ownership of ideas contravenes the principles of nature and economics.

   




-- 
Dave Lynch 					  	    DLA Systems
Software Development:  				         Embedded Linux
717.627.3770 	       dhlii@dlasys.net 	  http://www.dlasys.net
fax: 1.253.369.9244 			           Cell: 1.717.587.7774
Over 25 years' experience in platforms, languages, and technologies too numerous to list.

"Any intelligent fool can make things bigger and more complex... It takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction."
Albert Einstein