On Jan 30, 2006, at 16:25, Jeff Pritchard wrote:
>
> Mental,
> So Mr. X publishes three seconds before Ms. Y.  Technically, X owns  
> it,
> but how many members of the community are going to be outraged by Ms.
> Y's efforts to monetize her slightly tardy genius.  Not many.  My  
> point
> is that by removing the Lawyers and their need to make everything "a
> decision", you allow the community to weigh each incident on its own
> merits and make up their minds.  Meanwhile, when some Bill Gates- 
> ish guy
> comes along and tries to own yet another space by flat out stealing  
> the
> best of what has already been claimed by others...at least a few  
> members
> of the community will get ticked off enough to do something about it.

Ah, but what about when popular, marketing-savvy Ms Q "popularises"  
something legitimately claimed by quiet, introverted, and previously  
unknown Mr Z?  The community, being predisposed to liking Ms Q,  
probably wouldn't be fussed, and it's likely just as many people will  
think that Ms Q invented it as will stand up for Mr Z, given the lack  
of perfect information.  As the 'community' becomes larger, this  
information gap grows, making it easier for people to take advantage of.

I think you attribute a sense of moral justice to the Mobbe which  
most of them simply don't apply to everyday situations (because it  
costs them: there's a significant opportunity cost involved in  
gathering enough information to make accurate decisions).  Presented  
with a good-enough solution, people will tend to use it regardless of  
the ethics of who provides it; examples abound in virtually every  
sphere of life.

So while it's clear to me that the current patent framework is  
hideously broken at the moment (patent applications have an inverse  
correlation with %R&D spend in software - what does THAT tell you?),  
this does not mean that a legal framework for creativity rights can  
or should be done away with; there's no other way to protect the  
rights of people like Mr Z.

matthew smillie.