Subject: Re: Examples needed against Soft Patents
From: Ben Tilly <>
Date: Sun, 26 Dec 2004 11:56:05 -0800

On Sun, 26 Dec 2004 09:26:49 -0500 (EST), Russell McOrmond
<> wrote:
> On Sat, 25 Dec 2004, Ben Tilly wrote:
> > It is hard because it doesn't make sense for the businesses to get
> > involved.
>   I read the reviews to try to see what you were suggesting -- and I
> believe I disagree with you.  This is not about organizing to receive a
> collective additional public benefit, but organizing a group to
> collectively protect our own existance.  I believe the group dynamics in
> these situations would be quite different.

What you're missing is that what you're calling "protecting our own
existence" actually *IS* a public good.  It is something that we want,
but which would (if it was delivered) be delivered to all, regardless of
who actually contributed.  It does not matter whether we're looking
for a handout, a limit to government interference, or clean air.  The
social dynamics are the same.

Both economic theory and observed practice predict apathy unless
either a coercive organization manages to address the problem or
a small number of participants (often 1) would benefit enough to
take care of the problem.

The latter solution has the amusing description, "The exploitation of
the large by the small."  A phrase that I'm reminded of every time I
see someone talking about how IBM or Red Hat or XXX should
develop software project ____ for the community (particularly if the
speaker has not decided to contribute from their own resources to
said project).

> > For a full explanation read _The Logic of Collective Action_.
> >