Subject: Re: "rights" and "freedoms"
From: kragen@pobox.com (Kragen Sitaker)
Date: Sun, 17 Oct 1999 13:38:34 -0400 (EDT)

Alex wrote:
> I don't understand this argument. Patents are expressly there to protect
> the inventor's right to make money from a new process that is otherwise
> easily copied. Consider Lego bricks, for example. For many years, Lego . . .

Maybe things are different in Canada, but the legal basis of patent
under U.S. law is a clause in the U.S. Constitution:

 8.  To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing
 for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to
 their respective writings and discoveries:

Patents exist in the US to promote the progress of science and useful
arts, and they only protect the inventor's right to make money as a
means of encouraging the inventor to spend time inventing.

RMS's argument is that things have changed, so now patents and
copyright sometimes tend to do great damage to the progress of science
and useful arts, undermining their legal and moral justification for
existence, a point with which you evidently agree.

> By restricting the marketing, production, and sale of these items, Lego
> has been built into a large and profitable company - all this from a
> company that started out making wooden toys just like every other toy
> company of the time. How can you argue that this doesn't interfere with
> the public's use of Lego and of building toys in general?

Lego has been around for far more than 17 years now, and Lego is still
expensive.  I suspect the patents didn't raise the cost of Lego much.

How can we argue?  Well, maybe Lego never would have brought the tech
to market if it didn't have the opportunity to thereby become a huge
and profitable company.

-- 
<kragen@pobox.com>       Kragen Sitaker     <http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/>
Sun Oct 17 1999
23 days until the Internet stock bubble bursts on Monday, 1999-11-08.
<URL:http://www.pobox.com/~kragen/bubble.html>