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« Existential Risks of Nanotech | Main | Patents vs. Free Market »

August 08, 2006

Comments

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mova

"intellectual property" is a contradiction in terms. How can intellect be subjected to property? Historically, IP arises out of political motivation -- to restrict subversive publication against the england throne.

I think the destiny of information is to be spread and to be "free". People tried to hold this by creating IP protection. When it doesnt really work, it creates a legal regime which protects IP Protection ("DRM"). But in order to do that, they might have to illigalize some numbers

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Illegal_prime

Tom Craver

If I know something that you don't, I certainly possess it and you certainly do not. That's the most fundamental kind of intellectual property.

If you want to know what I know, I see nothing wrong in my asking you to pay me - especially if it took great effort for me to create or gather that knowledge.

Once I pass information to another, I think an argument can be made that any contractual agreement to keep it secret should be of limited duration - else it is a tiny bit of slavery, which it would be wrong for society to enforce even if a person does it voluntarily.

However, none of that really applies to using automated tools to copy data. I haven't really seen any legitimate moral arguments against contractual agreements to never copy data.

So really it comes down to whether you want the convenience of easily getting copies of data - but with society enforcing an implicit contract (copyright); or you'd rather have to go through signing and filing legal contract forms every time you buy a book or CD or DVD.

DT

are you saying if we all share info then we all benefit? how is Thomas Edison gowing to benefit from Jose who works at mcdonalds? Edison teaches Jose how to make the light bulb and Jose teaches Edison how to flip a burger? is this really benefiting equally? Your ideas about sharing unfortunately don't mix well with reality.

DT

are you saying if we all share info then we all benefit? how is Thomas Edison gowing to benefit from Jose who works at mcdonalds? Edison teaches Jose how to make the light bulb and Jose teaches Edison how to flip a burger? is this really benefiting equally? Your ideas about sharing unfortunately don't mix well with reality.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

DT, my point is that the fast-food worker won't be able to use Edison's idea, so Edison won't lose anything. And if someone more capable takes Edison's idea and builds a light bulb factory... then Edison gets their knowledge of how to build factories.

Tom, I'm arguing more against patent than against copyright. And I'm not saying there's anything *wrong* with you asking for money for your knowledge--just that it appears sub-optimal--for you! Better to join the club of people who share their knowledge.

Let's take a real-world example. Suppose I own and operate a very successful factory. Should I try to keep it closed up and prevent anyone from seeing how I do it? Or would I do better to invite in lots of bright curious factory administrators, show them everything, engage them in conversation about what I'm doing, and gather all their ideas about how to improve my factory?

Sure, in theory, one of them could go away and start an identical factory to compete with me. In practice, no. If they were smart enough to do that, they'd be smart enough to build an even better factory--and I'd learn a whole lot from talking to them.

Suppose I had the world's best factory. It still wouldn't be perfect, so I'd still benefit from letting people in. And someone who learned how to do what I do, and wanted to build a factory, would have every other product in the world to choose from, because every other product would be built by a worse factory--why would they compete with me?

Chris

DT

There are many things anyone can have made if it weren't for ip laws. Hell I would be churning out lipitor pills and the only thing I would return back to Pfizer is a thanks if it wasn't for those pesky ip laws, of course lipitor would be the last thing pfizer researches. Sharing basic research is good, sharing your invention is insanity.

Phillip Huggan

Well, Edison went deaf at a young age. Depending upon how the thought experiment is structured Edison would be able to attain recent memories of sound or the first-hand appreciation of it. Edison surely would know the principles of how a laser works in todays world. If he had shared in Jose's understanding of how a McDonald's franchise functions, he surely would have figured out a way to laser cook burgers profitably, long before McDonald's initiated the practise (8-10 years ago?).

It isn't so much what Edison personally loses by not sharing info with Jose as what the world loses by the lack of info transmission. The human mind can only store something like 1000 years of subjective memories so this thought experiment would only work a few dozen times before previous "mind-meld" encounters are lost. You wouldn't want Edison to have the info that a psychotic or traumatized individual has.

Tom Craver

Chris: Sorry - I should have made it clear that I was responding to "mova", not objecting to trading information freely.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

Phillip--I love your point about Edison and laser-cooking burgers.

I wasn't suggesting a literal mind-meld--more on the order of a conversation. But yes, there is vastly more information out there than any one person can process. (Another reason not to be paranoid about ideas being stolen.) Google, even in today's textual version, can be helpful. As Google gets more semantic (I assume they must be working on that) the value of information on the web will increase.

DT--First, keep in mind that I'm not proposing to destroy existing companies, just start an alternate model for new endeavors. I cannot understand why people continue to think that I am proposing forced disclosure of information. I AM NOT.

Second, do you want to make the inventors rich, or do you want to make companies rich at the expense of inventors?

Personally, I'd rather do research with an agile distributed network of testers, rather than have to deal with a massive bureaucracy that takes years to tell me if any version of my product works.

The researchers working for Pfizer see a tiny and non-proportional fraction of the money that's spent buying their inventions. From the point of view of their monetary compensation, the waste is astronomical. If 99% of the people used lipitor for free, and 1% put a dollar in a "tip jar" that went directly to the inventor, the inventor would be better off. And there are better models than that for paying inventors.

Chris

DT

Pfizer researchers are using the billions Pfizer provides them and the labs to do it in, usually a very large team of researchers develop a product at companies like Pfizer, so there isn't really an inventor most of the time. However vast majority of companies who're really sucessful today were start ups by the inventors, Microsoft,Genentech,amgen,Google,Apple,Intel and many more.

D

Chris I can't find the other thread where we were talking about the function of the Personal nanofactory.

So I'll type my question here. On the other thread you said that diamondoids molecules will be used and not carbon atoms by themselves, while in the movie about nanofacs says the machine will seperate the carbon atoms from the hydrogen atoms to be used for building, so that means that the machine will be handling single carbon atoms. Like I said before in the other thread carbon is a "sticky" atom, so what prevents the carbon atom from sticking to the nanofactory itself?

I appreciate your answers to my questions btw.

Chris Phoenix, CRN

1) As I understand it, most of the cost of developing medicines is in clinical trials, not inventive research.

2) The carbon is bound weakly to a specific location on the nanofactory--the tool tips--until it is transferred to its preferred location on the diamond product. You might as well ask why the stickum on a roll of tape sticks to the right side of the tape. Because the tape is designed to work that way. Not every inter-atomic bond is the same strength, and that fact can be exploited by proper engineering.

I'm not sure how much more detailed it's worth getting with someone like you who is so sure that it won't work that they don't pay attention to even the most obvious details. For example, they are not single carbon atoms in the animation--they are dimers.

Spend even a few weeks showing an open mind, in contrast to the months you have spent trashing the idea with almost zero understanding of it, and I will become more inclined to help you.

Chris

Chris Phoenix, CRN

OK, that was a little harsh, so let me explain why. When you say things like "The biggest problem is the unproven theories" it sounds like you know what you're talking about and you have some actual basis of understanding for your criticism.

If you tell me I have a problem, then tell me you don't understand what I'm saying and you'd like me to explain... then I'll be annoyed and unlikely to explain. If you don't understand the theory, then how do you know whether the theory is proven or unproven? And if you don't know, then why do you badmouth it (and us) and then expect us to be all helpful?

Chris

mova

Tom:
So really it comes down to whether you want the convenience of easily getting copies of data - but with society enforcing an implicit contract (copyright); or you'd rather have to go through signing and filing legal contract forms every time you buy a book or CD or DVD.

Me:
But why would we need to sign legal forms everytime we want to buy copyrighted products? If I created a book, I'll sell it to the publisher and I sign the contract there with the publisher. When it enters bookstores, there is no need for buyers to sign another contract. If there is somebody who copied my book and sell it, I can always report him to the police for fraud, deception or unfair business practice.

But, "negative protection" offered by copyright is an interesting issue. Should we maintain it for the post-MNT society?

Tom Craver

Mova:
I think I misunderstood your original post to be against copyrights, given your first sentence, which seemed to deny the validity of any form of intellectual property - which would include the copyright that would provide the legal basis for reporting someone to the police for copying your book.

It appears you're mainly opposed to DRM and legal protection of DRM schemes? I'd agree that those have some problems.

DT

"OK, that was a little harsh, so let me explain why. When you say things like "The biggest problem is the unproven theories" it sounds like you know what you're talking about and you have some actual basis of understanding for your criticism."


So it is a proven theory then? is there a working model of this system? thats what I mean by unproven theory, did I say impossible theory? as if I'm a professional to know that it is impossible? no I said unproven, which means no proof in a working model to establish that MNT is indeed possible.

"If you tell me I have a problem, then tell me you don't understand what I'm saying and you'd like me to explain... then I'll be annoyed and unlikely to explain. If you don't understand the theory, then how do you know whether the theory is proven or unproven?"

Because there is no working model of it, are all your theories about MNT proven and are you positive it will work 100 percent? if it is a proven fact then your answer should be yes I'm 100 percent positive because it has been proven possible. I don't have to be Albert Einstein to know that there has never been a working MNT that proves all theories correct.

"And if you don't know, then why do you badmouth it (and us) and then expect us to be all helpful?"

I've never badmouthed anyone, such as insult them, if you don't remember I even accepted MNT in full for the sake of a intelligent conversation between John B,you and myself to understand your ideas more clearly.


mova

Tom:

No, your understanding of my statement is already correct. I typed my reply too fast. My oroginal question was, "why should it be protected by copyright if there are other laws that already protects it, such as laws against fraud, unfair business practices, etc". Your answer was because it would be inconvinient as we have to sign contracts everytime we buy a product. But, I rebutted and said that it would not have to be like that. If theres no copyright, I can just sell my products to someone (one time), or protects it with encryption and I still gain profit from my sellings. Even with copyright, people with open source license will have to agree to the "open source" clause hanged on the copyrighted products.

I am not entirely against copyright, as it is looser compared to patent.

However, I have a doubt if "Negative Protection" (when a person write something, that writing is automatically protected without the need of registration) of copyright could be effective in the future. Wouldnt that impedes the free flow of information and injured the market?

Thanks

Tom Craver

Mova:
So you're for contracts (where convenient) and DRM (encryption schemes, where contracts are inconvenient)?

If someone cracks the encryption, should that be legal, or do you agree there should be something like the DMCA that makes that a criminal act?

You seemed to say that there was some way in which copying and selling a book would be fraud - but if the seller doesn't claim to be the author or to have any special right from you to sell it, how is it fraud?

I agree that protecting copyrights and patents is going to get more and more difficult, and perhaps society would be better off if there were NO IP protections other than enforcement of explicit contracts.

But copyright hasn't been a horrible system, and it's in place, so getting rid of it will be tough, and perhaps unfair to all those who've grown to depend on it. Patents are pretty useless, except for companies large enough to afford the lawsuits needed to defend them.

mova

Tom:

You are right, if the seller didn't claim for authorship than its not a fraud. But Copyright have the potential to infringe the economical benefits of others. What I meant is, if I write a song, the six consecutive notations will be protected for the next 50 years, so, nobody can use it. If write a book, then nobody can claim my title or a certain amount of paragraph there for the next 50 years.

The problem is that-- because of the internet-- people write and publish more and there are possibilities that people at different areas come up with similar things. Another problem is that, some such as the EU have tried to extend the protection up to 70 years. http://tinyurl.com/fl9o6

I would say that with the current development of information flows, the norm should be changed. Copyright can still exist but (1) instead of providing a minimum limit of protection, it should provide a maximum limit. (2) The terms and periods of the protection should then be left to each author to determine and (3) non commercial purpose usages should be excluded from copyright violations.

mova

I wrote:
"...the six consecutive notations will be protected for the next 50 years, so, nobody can use it"

It should read:
"...the six consecutive notations will be protected for the next 50 years after my death, so, nobody can use it"

Tom Craver

Copyright is now too long, by far.

I think if they keep trying to make it IP last longer and enforcing it more rigidly, we're likely going to get one of two things:

- an "IP rebellion" - which might coincide with the onset of MNT if free fabbers are available. Mostly it'd happen over patents being widely disregarded and people actively opposing attempts to enforce the IP laws - but copyrights would fall at the same time.

- or we might get a "corporatocracy" - where a few big corporations own everything, nearly everyone has to be a member of one of them (or one of the stockholders) in order to survive, and everyone has to please their corporation in order to get better stuff - so people obey IP laws out of fear of losing their economic status.

A Corporatocracy isn't much different from a socialist state, except that the corps would likely not be geographically based, and will maintain the illusion of capitalist competition between the corps.

Corporatocracy would also come on about the time MNT hits, as corporations rapidly merge to survive the transition period - mainly if government protects them from "open source" designs on the grounds of patents.

-TomC

Phillip Huggan

There is a big difference between a corporatocracy and a democratic socialist state. The state government can be voted out by a majority of the population thus ensuring (assuming an educated population) only a minority of the population is not represented. A corporatocracy can only be turfed by a bloc encompassing 50.1% or more of ownership rights. This bloc could be a single person.
A corporatocracy may be preferable Stalinism but so is any monarchy.

The "political path of least resistance" to reforming patent laws probably lies in indexing the patent expiration dates inversely to productivity gains. All the lawyers would probably just switchover from litigation to economics, and ruin everything again.

Tom Craver

A 'democratic' socialist state just substitutes different people having near total control over your life. At the individual level, there wouldn't be much difference.

Brian Wang

I do not think old lingering patents and copyrights are that important or restricting. Yes, they are inefficient but people are still pretty free to think up new things and profit from them and help society get better hopefully.

The companies that are riding on a few products and icons are getting protection and some cashflow from some old services. How restrictive is this to actual new innovation ? I would think not that much. Disney gets an uncontested run with Mickey for more decades. Some drug company gets to avoid generics for some old drug. Find new ways to do things.

Democratic socialist states: What is the model that is being held up as the way to go with this ? France ? Germany ? Canada ?

How often are those governments changing ? How effective are those governments ? How free of corruption ?

Elections are a money game. Bloomberg in NY. Berlesconi in Italy. Corporations and those with money will have influence. Is the counter example of Russia where the state can crush billionaires better ?

Phillip discussions of corporate power only applies to some small number of global corporations. Companies that get too big or strong run into hassles. (Microsoft).

People can get free of various corporations (at least have some forms of choice). Use Skype or Vonage instead of the telcos. Linux or Mac instead of windows. Public domain stories (myths, fairy tales, folk tales) instead of Mickey/Winnie the pooh.

For MNT. It has not been developed yet. People can teach themselves so that they can contribute and effect a development project. Or gather up the villagers in 10-20 years to storm the labs where it is being developed to try to take and control someone elses work.

NanoEnthusiast

Presumably in democratic nations if the displacement of workers due to MNT is great enough, the people will speak at the ballot box and avoid armed conflict. No jobs, no money, no one buys your product, then they "steal" it through the mob of democracy or the guillotine. The question is will the people in power be creative enough to come up with enough make-work for the masses? The only book I have read that dealt with this issue in any detail, was the science-fiction novel the "The Diamond Age". In the book, the ruling class called Neo-Victorians, kept people busy making things the old fashioned way. The elites took great care to use old fashioned telephones with rotary dials to communicate. They also avoided media-graphic paper, that is paper that has animations on it, as wrapping paper for their children's presents. The lower-class children, on the other hand, had the high-tech stuff. This is not to say that the elites did not have advanced technology for themselves; they tried to kept the best toys out of the hands of the guttersnipes. There is extensive use of DRM in the form of nanoblocks in the book.

Personally if I was at the low-end of the totem pole in this society, I would prefer a job digging a giant hole from 6 am to 6 pm, then another team could fill the hole with dirt between 6 pm to 6 am; at least the futility, and meaninglessness of my job would be honestly presented. This is infinitely better than making obsolete telephones in a factory; like some pacific islander making useless chotchkeys for the bleeding-heart, blue-blooded tourist.

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