Subject: Re: The term "intellectual property" considered useful
From: Thomas Lord <>
Date: Mon, 29 May 2006 17:25:04 -0700

Ian Lance Taylor wrote:
> Effective reuse requires a well-explained standard and a sufficiently
> efficient, sufficiently available implementation(s).  Where those
> things happen, there is lots of reuse--e.g., the standard C++ library.
> Where they don't, there isn't.
> Viewed from that perspective, I don't see the patent system as
> significantly helping reuse.  The incentives are all wrong.  Nobody is
> going to reuse your patent unless the costs for using it are really
> really low, almost free; or, unless they can't avoid it.  I don't see
> the patent system are hurting reuse, it just seems different.


Another way to see it is that the patent system helps create
incentive to create *patentable inventions*.

For the "reuse problem" (accepting that there is such a
thing) we need more *reusable texts*.  And the virtue
of the best texts we want is how well they are expressed,
and only rarely what novel inventions they embody.

For such reasons, it is the copyright system, not the patent
system, to look to for incentives to create and deploy
reusable components.

Still, drug addled though Stephen's proposal may have
been, thinking about the incentive problem for free
software in the context of reusable components is an
interesting cut at the problem -- on which more later,