Subject: Re: "a better world" (was Re: GIF/LZW patent)
From: <stephen@xemacs.org>
Date: Sat, 30 Sep 2006 16:51:28 +0900

Craig Brozefsky writes:

 > > Relative to serving an HTTP request.
 > 
 > Ok, so you are admitting your assertion was ridiculous.

Not at all.  I'm comparing the costs that people who don't hate
patents claim that patents help finance, to the costs that people who
do hate patents cite in support of patents being evil.

Why do you have a problem with that?

 > 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.

I didn't forget them.  I just chose an example which is easy to come
up with a *lower bound* for.  That was good enough to counter the
"friction costs that kill SMEs" argument that we're so fond of.  (Yes,
"we."  I do strongly prefer SMEs to MNEs.)

So, do it for your argument.  How many of those people are there, and
how much is it worth?  I have no idea, you have no idea, and that is
the whole point.  Until those measurements are done, you are
effectively arguing "this hurts me and my buddies ... it's against the
public interest."  I didn't like it when Alfred D. Sloan made that
argument about "What's good for GM," and I don't like it much more
when FSers make it about their dev actitivies.

 > But this whole "penny of enjoyment" thing is ridiculous, the real
 > driver of the software patent regime is financing.

Where do you think that financing comes from?  Thin air?  It comes
from *sales revenues*.  Talking about what the customers are getting
for their money, and converting their net benefits into some units
that can be compared to costs and the benefits of other stakeholders,
is something that you *must* do, if only implicitly, to get an answer.

I'm not claiming it has to be additive, but it does have to be
quantitative.