sjw

Members
  • Content count

    114
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by sjw


  1. Notice: I will no longer be posting replies to this thread. I find it impossible to debate in a manner I deem authentic and conform to the FORUM posting guidelines at the same time. I have had several posts deleted by the moderator which I am unwilling to rewrite since I think my meaning would become distorted. That is unacceptable to me given the importance of the topic; it is preferable to me not to debate at all.

    You are welcome to PM me and I will probably answer you via email.


  2. I have a right to think and act--to create.

    There are valid limits to these rights. There are some acts you have no right to perform. There are some things you have no right to create.

    Stating the truism that there are some acts you have no right to perform or some things you have no right to create is not an argument. Like PhilO you're stating generalities that no one would argue with and then leaving out any connection to the specific issue at hand.

    I have a right to offer my creations to others. They have a right to buy it.

    Again, there are valid limits to these rights. There are some products you have no right to sell. There are some products others have no right to buy.

    Again, this is an uncontroversial generality that you have failed to connect to the specific issue.

    That right does not magically go away just because someone else exercised the same right earlier than me.
    On what basis do you claim you have a right to sell this unnamed something to others? Simply on the basis of your desire to sell it? Simply because you thought and acted and produced? As already indicated, man's right to act is not unlimited. As such, the mere fact that YOU thought and YOU acted does not make such production in accord with rights.

    That is subjectivism of the individual variety.

    An assertion you offer without evidence or logic is not an argument.

    Such a principle is not adherence to the right of property, but is the obliteration of property rights.

    At this point I'm confused about why you bothered to post--you have not provided a single argument, just a bunch of incontroversial generalities and empty assertions strung together.


  3. That is not what a rational patent system does. Patents do not control what a man may do with his own thinking and his own property. If someone independently comes up with the design of a widgit, he can still use it for his own uses. The need for patents arise when people seek to exploit an invention by producing it for trade with other people.

    I already addressed this completely arbitrary distinction of "right to use something myself" vs. "right to sell to others" earlier, but no one countered my argument.

    Then a system similar to homesteading or staking a claim to a gold mine kicks in.

    The analogy of comparing ideas to physical property is bogus.

    The first person seeking to commercially exploit a product ought to be acknowledged by a system built to encourage and reward those who bring inventions to market as soon as possible.

    Such a system is immoral. It clearly contradicts one's fundamental right to think and act. You don't see the basic contradiction because you think of a market as something someone can "own"--but this ignores the fact that the market is individuals who have a right to think and choose independent of that arbitrary conceptual or geographic divisions. I have a right to think and act--to create. I have a right to offer my creations to others. They have a right to buy it. That right does not magically go away just because someone else exercised the same right earlier than me. This "metaphysical fact" that somebody happened to do something earlier has no logical bearing on the issue of whether I can morally create and sell my creations. The connection is completely arbitrary, unjustied and unjustifiable. Only pragmatic arguments can give it a veneer of plausibility.


  4. Firstly, the greater the inventor, the less likely he is to think of a concept in the same way another individual has in the past, or even at the same time.

    Who said anything about "same way"? That's the thing: patents cover many different variations of a given idea. Read one sometime. They usually contain gratuitous clauses to cover variations that even the inventor didn't think of at the time. And you are simply wrong about great inventors. The only thing preventing great inventors from thinking of similar things is that they are either not working on the same time or not in the same area. Great inventors working in the same area will come up with similar solutions to problems, precisely because they are great inventors and get to the heart of the universal truth. See my questions regarding the wheel invention that no one has bothered addressing yet.

    An individual, or a group of individuals, cannot by definition "freely invent" if another individual or group of individuals has invented the same idea(s) previously. To invent means to produce something for the first time, by imagination or ingenious thinking, and through experiment. Patents do not document what "the rest of mankind might have thought". A patent document the specific aspects of an invention which makes one creation different from another. If person x did not create an invention before person y did, what person x thought of cannot be trespassed upon or stolen, the person cannot be "punished". It means person x needs to be more creative before he can invent something. His efforts can then go towards being more creative and gathering more financial or better tools for his use. The existence of patents, and the public's access to them (under the current laws), challenges a potential inventor to do better.

    No one has a right to tell a man that he "needs to be more creative" in order to earn the right to use his brain.

    Secondly, patents are not a form of attack or sacrifice of any individual's work, time, property, or means of stifling innovation. To the contrary, prolific inventors invent so that they can hold patents ...

    On the contrary, legitimate inventors invent in order to create real things. I consider those who patent in order to extract licensing fees to be thieves (those who patent legitimate creations may merely be trying to defend themselves against these potential theives).

    Thirdly, you've stated in an earlier post that the "man on the sacrificial altar is the inventor.", yet you also state the "other inventors who are innocent of any wrongdoing are punished." Can you look at these statements because you have stated you are not contradicting yourself. If you are redefining the meaning of the word "invention" as you have redefined the meaning of the word "patent", please state what your definition is, and show how your system can be called objective.

    I cannot discern why you see a contradiction. If you can highlight it more I will try to reconcile it. But I am not redefining the word "invention".

    Can you also explain how the consequence of the exact implementation of the principles you stand by in the EU and Japan is "nonsense"? Have you visited a university research lab in China after its researchers attend at an international research conference and see how what you want exists as you speak, and what happens as a result? I do not see that your system could function in the United States, even as debilitated as it is today, and still preserve the rights this country is built on. We have little enough of those rights left. I don't think I am reading your statements (or those on slashdot) in a completely wrong manner - can you show and tell me how I am?

    You are missing something I referred to earlier. In China and the US it is impossible to protect yourself against reverse engineering. In fact, in the US you can't enforce a reverse engineering clause even if the customer agrees not to do it. Yet that is one of the key means to protect your IP in my system. So I do not sanction China's or the US's lack of respect for IP; in my system there would be far stronger protections of IP. What the US did in effect is say "make your invention public, as a reward we'll give you a monopoly" (meaning: we'll punish later inventors). What I would do is say "we'll create a legal system that allows you to prohibit customers from copying you".


  5. But it is absolutely non-objective to have the arbitrary standard that lets one man say "well I came up with the idea first" as a basis of stripping away the fruits of another man's efforts when this other man thought of the same thing independently. You can't be both for the inventor and for this kind of thing. Particularly if you recognize that prolific, integrative inventors are going to be completely stalled if they can't freely invent without having to worry about what the rest of mankind might have thought of in the last 20 years: with the non-objective system we have now, the greater the inventor, the more likely he'll accidentally "trespass" on another inventor's "property".

    If your assertions were true, there would be no innovation occuring today, which is patently false.

    On the contrary, it's patently false that there would be no innovation. Obviously people can still create things and try to market them, especially big business, who can afford to pay the inevitable barrage of patent lawsuits. It becomes the part of the cost of doing business. Since they are rich they can afford it. The only grain of truth in your false deduction from what I said is that there are indeed less individual inventors than there could and should be.

    One can argue about bad patents being granted (particularly the whole class of software patents), which is a serious problem, but you continue to mix up completely different issues in a package deal attacking patents as such.

    On the contrary, you are the one mixing issues: the fundamental right to create, with the pseudo-right to own a legal monopoly on a given "market".

    You [sic] "argument" also ignores the fact that many patents actually could not be constructed without *other* patented inventions, because they represent enhancements over an earlier idea. (I discovered this surprising but logical fact just recently.) There is a whole legal corpus and economic structure for intellectual property licensing and cross-licensing, because it represents the core of industrial civilization.

    My argument doesn't include that issue because it is completely irrelevant: my right to think does not depend on other men. And again your argument rests on pragmatism: the only reason industrial civilization works the way you outline is because that is how the legal system happened to have evolved. Just as public roads and public schools are what we have ended up with.

    No inventor seeking to invent for commercial gain can stamp his foot at reality and ignore the fact that somebody else beat him to the market.

    I have already addressed one of the false premises contained in this: the "market" is only individuals, and a right to think and act means a right to trade. No one can rightfully own all the individuals in a given "market" and dictate to them who they will and will not buy from, especially on the arbitrary grounds that someone thought of something first. The other false premise is that an inventor who expects to be able to sell his creations is "stamping his foot at reality". This inventor is no more "stamping his foot at reality" than is the man who declaims the public education system that steals his money in order to brainwash his children.

    It is a metaphysical fact that if two men have the same invention, only one actually did it first. That isn't arbitrary, it's an absolute fact of reality, and it's a meaningful distinction.

    The false premise behind this is an intrinsicist notion of ideas, as if they exist like a plat of land that only one person can have. That is the deepest reason why the notion is arbitrary. But even if we don't go to that level, notice that you have not in fact given any reason why it is not arbitrary to limit the rights of the man who thought of the same thing later. You merely point out that it is later, and expect your restatement of the indisputable fact to stand for an actual argument. Sorry, but your restatment of basic facts and subsequent sarcasm are not an argument. The fact that you resort to such illogical devices should highlight something to you.


  6. A rational person should be concerned with the practical consequences of the actions he takes. What is practical is not deduced from what is moral, but quite the other way around. It is only by observing the practical effects of various human choices that we obtain the data we can integrate into moral principles.

    I don't need to observe the practical effects of stealing to figure out that it's wrong. It would be empiricism to think that I did.

    One of the hallmarks of pragmatism is evident in debates on patents: a one-sided view of the "practical consequences". E.g., looking only at the "practical consequence" that an inventor would lose a government-enforced monopoly, without looking at the consequence that other inventors who are innocent of any wrongdoing are punished.


  7. When you speed you are creating a foreseeable risk to other people's lives. With patents you're not. So your analogy doesn't apply. See my previous posts.

    When there is no objective process for securing intellectual property rights, it creates a forseeable risk to other people's intellectual property. Without property rights, no other right are possible. Without rights human life is at risk too.

    I agree with you on all points. Especially on the modern patent system: it is non-objective. That's the whole debate I've raised as I see it. Copyrights are objective. Patents are not, but could be made so by implementing them the way I'm saying.

    You should do some philosophical detection on your phrase "serve the interest of all". I will agree with you on one thing. That "serving the interest of all" is the idea behind the patent system we have today. There's a word for this: altruism. And ironically, the man on the sacrificial altar is the inventor.

    I don't read what Arnold wrote that way. All men have a legitimate, rational interest in having their rights respected. Therefore, an objective process for protecting intellectual property rights to inventions serves the legitimate, rational, selfish interests of all men.

    Again, I agree with you in principle. But it is absolutely non-objective to have the arbitrary standard that lets one man say "well I came up with the idea first" as a basis of stripping away the fruits of another man's efforts when this other man thought of the same thing independently. You can't be both for the inventor and for this kind of thing. Particularly if you recognize that prolific, integrative inventors are going to be completely stalled if they can't freely invent without having to worry about what the rest of mankind might have thought of in the last 20 years: with the non-objective system we have now, the greater the inventor, the more likely he'll accidentally "trespass" on another inventor's "property".


  8. I am curious, how many here have a patent?

    Something I invented with a co-worker was patented, but I asked them not to put my name on it because I thought it should not be patented--given a reasonable level of competence, I thought any engineer could have created it. They awarded the patent to my co-worker and a few others who did not actually take part in the invention. Since then I've invented many things that were far more patent-worthy than that but have not sought patents for them.


  9. mrocktor: Before I address your points I'd like to ask some questions about the wheel patent.

    You say that Og should be able to patent the stone wheel, but not a wooden wheel. Suppose that someone else from a different tribe who didn't know Og invented the stone wheel too, but let's say it was a year after Og. Does Og have a claim (i.e., license fees in the form of, say, food) on him if they happen to meet? Or does right to such a claim require a government? How does your answer change if the other tribe is on the same continent or on a different one?

    You claim that "facts of realty" should not be patentable. Isn't it a fact of reality that logs roll downhill by virtue of their roundness? Isn't it also a fact of reality that the log could have a narrower section of wood on the inside part (i.e., an "axle") and roll even better over bumpy terrain? Isn't it also a fact of reality that the material in this case, wood, is a non-essential aspect, that any hard material would behave similarly? Isn't it true that knowledge of the behavior of round hard objects is an element of scientific knowledge, and that once you know this, the "creative" part, the actual building of the wheel, is more an issue of carpentry and/or masonry than of true creative insight?


  10. It is a fallacy to appeal to complexity if you are comparing your efforts to post on The Forum to Newton's works.

    I was merely pointing out that your statement was obviously nonsense.

    I pointed out the contradiction, then asked a rhetorical question. The rhetorical question was intended to point to further introspection so that you could address your inconsistent statements.

    My statements are consistent. You need to check your premises, and upon finding your mistakes, introspect on your attitude here.


  11. Reality is easy enough to address.

    Newton "addressed" reality with his physics. I guess what he did was easy enough too?

    You state contradictorily that you do not support the bill before Congress, yet you also do not believe patents should exist. As I stated in detail in my post above, the US government is going to gradually give you exactly what you are asking for by way of this bill. Are you objecting to the misnomer, that is, the fact that the provisions of the bill are generally termed "patent laws" when in fact these laws will offer no patent protection?

    The real contradiction is your declaring that I contradict myself and then asking me what I meant.


  12. My compliments to mrocktor. He's just made the debate too difficult for me to deal with in the little time I've got at the moment (I'm finishing my basement). I'll come back when I have more time, probably in about a week. For now I'll just say that I still think I am right, but his argument is not easy enough to address with the time I have.


  13. Good, you accept that circumstances are important when applying a moral principle. Can you see now why your approach which starts with a principle, needs to go further, and that is to show that it applies to these particular circumstances?

    I stand by everything I've said in this thread, including what I said regarding your posts.

    You say I made no argument to further my position. Perhaps you need to read again where I stated that rules in a rational society (such as road rules), may appear to restrict your movement if one ignores the full picture (context). After all, if you were alone on an island, you could drive down the middle of the road, and speed for all it's worth.

    When you speed you are creating a foreseeable risk to other people's lives. With patents you're not. So your analogy doesn't apply. See my previous posts.

    What would be an impediment to your freedom of movement on the island, will aid your freedom of movement in society. In the same way, rules on patents would make no sense for someone living outside of society, but serve the interest of all when applied in a social context. You have ignored the practical results of your position, claiming that the moral principle was sufficient argument. It is not.

    You should do some philosophical detection on your phrase "serve the interest of all". I will agree with you on one thing. That "serving the interest of all" is the idea behind the patent system we have today. There's a word for this: altruism. And ironically, the man on the sacrificial altar is the inventor.


  14. Don't you remember that Dagny shot a guard? Don't you see that context is important? You simply cannot take a principle and apply it without taking context into account. The moral principle of not lying is derived from a certain context, and consequently must be used in that context. You are starting with a principle, and ignore the basis it was derived from, and meant to be applied to.

    I fully understand that issue. But patents are not an extreme circumstance. Galt being tortured to death is.

    Here, let me be specific. Is it moral to lie? Can you answer yes or no? As I have said before, Objectivism is not a set of commandments independent of circumstances. Your position allows the theft of intellectual property, and that is hardly the position of defending rights.

    You've in effect done nothing more than say the word "context". You've not specified anything about the particular context of the modern patent system that makes it moral. "Context" is not a "get out of jail free" card that lets you run roughshod over moral principle--and over innocent inventors who "tresspass" on existing patents. You've made no argument that furthers your postion.


  15. Can you name one idea that would be patentable? I'm not trying to make you argue on some pragmatic level, I'm just trying to understand what a patent would really mean under your system. It sounds like when you say that Objectivists should rethink our position on patents, you're really saying that we should throw the idea of a patent away.

    Broad ideas that more than one man might be able to conceive should unequivocally not be patentable. In fact that is the standard I propose to determine whether something should be patentable: if another man might have thought of the same idea, then it's off-limits for patenting; if no one else could have, if it's distinctive of an individual, then it's patentable. I'm advocating the same standard for copyrights, which is actually very close to how they are in fact implemented. I also advocate that patents/copyrights cover variations that could only have been derived from the original. E.g., modifying the wording of Atlas Shrugged while the basic storyline stays the same would be off-limits.

    The difference between copyrights and patents in my scheme is the difference between thoughts (expressed as words) and designs (expressed as physical relations). This leads to one (but not the only) method of protecting your designs: just as recipes include an irrelevant ingredient that proves it came from a given source, designs can include elements that only someone who really understands can tell is irrelevant, which would be a reverse-engineering detector (under my system reverse-engineering could be strictly forbidden by producers, unlike current laws that prevent us from restricting it).

    Getting back to your question: Can I name an idea? Well, no. Just as I can't name a book idea that would be copyrightable. It has to be a book first. Then you can copyright it. Likewise, your system must be designed first. Then if it is sufficiently complex (such that it is impossible that another person would come up with the same thing) you can patent it. Patenting of basic ideas--however hard you thought about them--would be off limits. I say this as someone who has thought very hard about some of my software ideas, so I vividly realize what I am giving up in order to hold to my principles. Of course, I also vividly realize that if someone happened to patent something I've thought hard about, then they can steal it from me.

    Under your system there still might be something called a "patent," but it would no longer be a time-limited, government-protected monopoly on the reproduction rights of some idea or product by an individual. Instead, it would just be a list of people who claim to have thought of the idea or product independently. That list might happen to have one person on it, but that person would not have a guaranteed timeframe in which everybody else would have to deal with him to use his product. It would only take one person who can show evidence that he thought of the same idea himself and the original inventor loses all control.

    If one person could prove he thought of the same thing, then it's off-limits, regardless of whether it's words or designs. That's the most basic point: you have a right to think and act on that thinking, unless you could foresee that you would violate someone's rights. If you couldn't foresee it then you didn't do anything wrong and should not be punished. But if you spent 10 years and found that you built something that someone else had claimed a patent on, then your 10 years would be in effect stolen by the government. That is viciously unjust.

    The time frame I would propose for designs would be the same as for copyrights, whatever that was.


  16. What I'm trying to get at here is that you can't simply write the patent issue off as wrong because you think it violates someone's individual rights, because the individual rights you are appealing to are dependent on the context.

    First of all I am not following you. From what I understand, it's as if I said "you have no right to murder me" and you responded "rights are contextual" and then shot me, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't say that so I'm at a loss to understand you. Perhaps this interpretation will help you see where you might fill in the gaps. But my position is what it is: I have an absolute, inalienable right to think and to act on that thinking, so long as there are no forseeable violations of the rights of others involved in my actions. Patents as implemented today fly in the face of that standard, they are therefore immoral and should be condemned by Objectivists, in spite of the fact that Ayn Rand advocated them.


  17. If patents can only be made moral by proving that it is the work of one man, than can anything be patented? Given what I've read of your position, I can't think of any invention or product that would be considered patentable under your conditions.

    Vastly fewer would be patentable. But looking at the modern patent office and the practices of the man who first ran it (Thomas Jefferson), we can see that the intent was not to have a mountain of patents anyway.

    Speaking of the Founders, here is something I found from Thomas Jefferson while looking for another quote of his (supportive of my point here but I couldn't find it):

    If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.

  18. Actually that wasn't my intention, I was trying to point out something very important which is that this floating deduction of "What I suggest would uphold moral principle. And since the moral is the practical, would work just fine" is of zero value. You need to actually prove or show me in reality that this idea of yours is practical. I live in reality, so I judge the merit of an idea by how practical it is; so if you can't prove to me that something is practical for man's life, I'm not going to believe it's moral. This isn't Pragmatism, it's living in the real world.

    That method is pragmatism.

    Let's look at another example. Involuntary taxation is morally wrong, and you can prove it without having to prove how the various things the government does now will be funded. All you need to recognize is: the essential nature of taxation is force is initiated against innocents to extract their wealth. It is therefore morally evil. There is no logical burden on *me* to tell *you* how you can pay for the road you want in order for me to not have my money taken away by force. Likewise there is no logical burden on me to provide you with a strategy to protect your IP in order for me to be able to use what I thought up using my own brain. I can in fact provide you with strategies--but I would not do that on the premise "I'll refrain from stealing your food if you show me how to grow my own".

    This is why I don't answer your other questions. I would answer them *if* we got past the fundamental point: You have no right to tell me what I will and will not think, or what I will and will not create based on that thinking, or who I will sell it to and on what terms. You have absolutely no right, and I am not logically required to help you figure out how to protect your IP in exchange for your refraining from essentially stealing my efforts from me.


  19. OK, then let's choose an example that's a little closer.

    How would you handle property rights to radio frequencies? Do you think that anyone who can broadcast on a given frequency has a right to do so or would you limit broadcasting by some legal standard such as who first broadcasted on it?

    I can explain how I'd deal with broadcasting if you want, but again, they are incommensurate to patents. I presume the argument you are thinking of is along the lines that no two people can broadcast on the same frequency, and no two people can have the same patent, so we have to choose one or the other? In fact with patents we do not have to choose. Observe the pragmatic patent standard: the idea must be "non-obvious". This means that for all the "obvious" ideas, *both* get to use the idea. But both cannot use the same radio frequency. There's an inherent conflict that must be resolved regarding radio frequencies, but not ideas.


  20. What I suggest would uphold moral principle. And since the moral is the practical, would work just fine.

    You can't just wield a syllogism like a magic-wand in place of an actual investigation into what would happen in reality if these ideas were put into practice.

    Don't presume to know what I have or have not thought through on the basis of the conclusion I came to.

    Why on Earth should I spend 10 years of exhausting spirit-breaking effort to invent Rearden Metal if Orren Boyle has the legal right to buy some of my Rearden Metal, study its chemical properties, then immediately begin producing Rearden Metal himself? Such an idea in practice would destroy independent inventors/innovators and young growing businesses, because some already established corporation could just steal your idea and then mass-produce and sell it at volumes and prices that you can't possibly match. Technology would grind to a halt and many fields of business and industry would have real monopolies (not the kind Leftists whine about), the kind of which because of law it is virtually impossible to compete with.

    You posture as if standing for the inventor without knowing how patents harm him. Observe PhilO's experience. He's invented several ideas he later found were patented. If you actually look at the sea of software patents, and actually try to invent something in software, you will find that you cannot both protect yourself from accidental patent infringement and be creative.

    I could explain to you the many ways Rearden would profit even if he could not secure a government enforced monopoly, but I do not want to sanction pragmatism. The moral is the practical. The question here is whether it is moral for one inventor to restrict another's thinking and acting as patents do. As an epistemological issue, the first concern here has to be with the innocent man who also spent 10 years creating something, but missed the patent office by a day, or didn't have enough money to defend himself in court. The first concern should not be with the copycat (who in my system would be a prosecutable thief--nothing in what I'm saying says it's legal to reverse-engineer Rearden Metal). By what right do you erase the innocent man's 10 years of work? This is a rhetorical question because I already know the answer.


  21. A patent, as Ayn Rand viewed it, does not prevent an inventor for using the products of his own mind for his own use. Patents cover the commercial exploitation of the idea. Patents protect intellectual property rights by defining an objective process for defining what those rights are and what an inventor has to do to establish it for his inventions.

    I don't recognize the distinction between "commercial exploitation" and "private use". If I have a right to use it privately, then that must include a right to trade my works with other men.

    But rights and how to implement them are not intrinsic. There are options in drafting patent laws just as there are options in establishing the legal age of majority. Once they are established properly everyone can know where they stand and what they have to do with regard to the intellectual property status of inventions.

    Those are not comparable. Choosing a legal age of majority is required given the continuum from child to adult; there is no such reality-based issue with regard to patents. Patents that include inventions that in principle multiple people could have produced are totally invalid, there is no continuum. The only valid form of protection would be designs that are by their nature unique to a given man.


  22. Patent laws are not about the "right to think". They are about defending the right for the inventor of an invention to have a limited-term legal monopoly for the manufacture of that invention. You seem to have some seriously mistaken ideas about the nature of what you criticize.

    No--I think you have seriously mistaken ideas about the nature of thinking. If I don't have the right to act on my thinking, then in effect I don't have the right to think. This idea has already been circulated in Objectivism in connection to the relation of mind and force, I am surprised you don't recognize it.

    I have the right to think, and act on those ideas, unless my actions interfere with someone else. The fact that someone else thought of the same thing I did does not interfere with him. He may wish that I did not think of the same thing so he can force others to purchase only from him, but in fact he has no right to his wish.

    There *are* bad laws related to patents, and I think that software patents are dubious at best and should probably be eliminated, but only because copyright law appears to be a far more objective way to handle software.

    There is no essential difference between software and hardware. Hardware can be defined in terms of software; software can be recast in hardware. You need to choose whether you support patents or not, and then support them consistently or not at all.

    Hardly. The government is supposed to be the defender of rights. Translate your example to this:

    "I don't care if some inventor has a government form declaring his right to a piece of land he purchased and to exclude others from building or living on it - he's actually violating the rights of anybody wishing to build or live on his land."

    You have not established that intellectual property is identical in all important respects to physical property, you therefore have no logical right to use that analogy.

    Intellectual property is much more abstract than physical property but the principles are essentially the same.

    Your assertion that they are the same does not make it so.

    I don't see that your position is much different than the old "Property is theft".

    I'm sure you think that, but you have so far not logically established anything.


  23. That society exists, is not a collective fact, it is an objective fact. We have to deal with it.

    I don't know what you intend to say here.

    Patent law says that the first person to prove (via registering) that he has invented something, has the right to be rewarded for it by commercial right to those ideas. Once those ideas are out there, others can never claim to have originated them.

    The term "originated" presumes a single source. Which does not match reality. Multiple people can in fact come up with the same idea.

    Society has to have rules in order function. Those rules give freedom of opportunity to all. What you suggest would destroy incentive, because there would be no rewards. How would you stop thousands of others from profiting from your efforts?

    What I suggest would uphold moral principle. And since the moral is the practical, would work just fine.

    I'm not aware of anyone being prosecuted for using a patented idea that was for personal use only (not public)? Your island example doesn't reflect a society of laws.

    The personal/public dichotomy is bogus. "Personal" use includes the right to sell to others. My island example reflects the basis of principle: a relationship of two men. A society is either based on principles that can be reduced to this simple case of two, or it is based on arbitrary whim. Anything that isn't in principle there with two, isn't there.

    The men have made no agreements about inventions.

    I don't know what you intend to convey by this.