[ExI] New IP thread

Ryan Rawson ryanobjc at gmail.com
Tue Jul 20 00:03:05 UTC 2010

On Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 3:30 PM, Rafal Smigrodzki
<rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Jul 19, 2010 at 1:17 AM, Ryan Rawson <ryanobjc at gmail.com> wrote:
>> I'm not really sure I buy the analogy in the PS - memory protections
>> and private thoughts are really not the same as "IP" which is
>> information people wish to make public and shared with others.
> ### I did not draw an analogy between memory protection and IP. You
> may review that I suggested this exercise as a way of improving one's
> understanding of the relationship between some engineering principles
> (applicable to both operating systems and legal systems) and their
> effects on efficiency. Instead of offering opinions about analogies to
> IP, I invite you to answer which approach to memory protection is
> efficient, as measured by the likelihood of achieving goals inherent
> in the software or human entities under consideration. This exercise
> is useful in beginning a deliberation which eventually may lead you a
> dispassionate analysis of IP law.
> --------------------------------
>> I also think it's an supposition that strong IP leads to more
>> efficient outcomes. Efficient comes in various flavors too, since an
>> efficient economy might not have creative solutions and innovations -
>> does the iPod belong in an efficient economy?
> ### The general meaning of efficiency is the degree of achievement of
> goals, given available resources. Your paragraph above seems to be
> bereft of meaning in our context.

But what are the goals?  You have one set of goals, maybe I have
another? Which are valid? Your position is that strong IP may create
efficient outcomes (whatever "outcomes" means), but I am saying that
while strong IP may create YOUR desirable outcomes, I say that overly
strong IP causes loss of efficiency in other areas, not to mention
absurd outcomes like patent "trolls" and weird lawsuits and takedowns
of children's birthday videos.  These are not mythical outcomes, they
are very real and happen on a daily basis in the US and other

> ------------------------------
>> Strong IP has become a threat to those who make things happen and
>> encourages IP trolls which are a pretty sick twisted outcome of the
>> current system (and would be more prevalent in stronger IP regimes).
>> Besides which, no new invention really comes out of thin air, and it
>> can be a minefield for independent creators to be in the business of
>> IP creation.  Be it copyright claims, patent threats, or just vague
>> legal threats, creation ends up being a big-company thing only.
> ### You did not go through the exercise of thinking about efficiency
> in simple systems. It appears you are providing verbal justifications
> for an emotionally held position, invoking mythical creatures, such as
> trolls. I can assure you from my own experience that mainly thanks to
> IP it is possible to generate innovation in a small company. Do lay
> out an analysis from deeper principles, starting with efficiency in
> simple systems, while trying to lay aside your feelings.

Ignoring your insults, I would claim that getting a casual
lay-understanding of a simple system does not help in fully analyzing
complex systems. In engineering areas perhaps understanding basic
mechanical principles leads to greater understanding, but complex
socio-economic interactions challenge simple approaches - after all
micro and macro economics are not taught together and use different
principles to achieve their understandings.

> FYI, I used to oppose IP but once I started looking at the issue as a
> strictly engineering problem involving societal efficiency over long
> periods of time (rather than personal annoyance at being prevented
> from pirating movies), I changed my mind - and my feelings followed.

Well I'm glad you've come to a place of understanding with your piracy
tendencies, but I was really talking about things like software
patents on obvious things, over-reaching copyright (which originally
was a balancing deal) and remix rights.  Never forget that patents and
copyrights are NOT natural rights, and the government gives those
rights to individuals (and companies) and takes on the enforcement
arbitration in return for something.  That being the timely return of
inventions, books, movies, etc to the public domain so that future
generations can take the works of "the greats" and build on it.

> Rafal
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