Subject: Re: Why software patents are bad
From: "Stephen J. Turnbull" <turnbull@sk.tsukuba.ac.jp>
Date: Sun, 19 Sep 1999 17:17:25 +0900 (JST)

>>>>> "craig" == craig  <craig@jcb-sc.com> writes:

    craig> Okay.  BTW, this has been discussed on gnu.misc.discuss for
    craig> ages, and, indeed, it's not clear.  My hope is the courts
    craig> will recognize the concept of both compensatory and
    craig> punitive damages being awarded not just to the *plaintiff*
    craig> but to the *community* the OS license was designed to
    craig> benefit, and which was damaged by the infringement.

My hope is that they do no such thing unless the suit is properly
framed as a class action.  (I have no idea if that can be done.)

Please remember that _once the intellectual contribution is published_
society has no interest in enforcing the property rights on _any_
intellectual contribution.  If you believe that there should be no
such thing as intellectual property, OK, argue for its elimination.

But please don't argue for the _courts_ legislating by reinterpreting
legislation and case law "in the light of" social benefit.  That will
cost us all the benefits of the rule of law itself, and leave us with
a dictatorship of the judiciary.

There is a similar fallacy that comes up over and over again in a
separate context when people argue that simply because something was
created simultaneously by several people, creating intellectual
property that particular creation is socially valueless.  Well yes;
and in fact it's socially detrimental regardless of simultaneous
invention if you ignore (a) the benefits of the rule of law in general
and (b) the a priori incentive for creation.  Even if, as many
believe, (b) is nonpositive for the case of intellectual property, (a)
is an important consideration.

-- 
University of Tsukuba                Tennodai 1-1-1 Tsukuba 305-8573 JAPAN
Institute of Policy and Planning Sciences       Tel/fax: +81 (298) 53-5091
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What are those two straight lines for?  "Free software rules."