Sunday, October 12, 2014

Copyright and software


Every so often I run across an article that really makes me rethink a position I may have had for a long time.  This blog posting from Foss Patents had that effect on me this morning.

In Oracle case, Google has gone from fighting API copyright to attacking all software copyright


I have to wonder on this one.  I'm not sure the author is thinking clearly about the intent of what Google is doing re: copyright.

Personally, I think software copyrights have been severely abused over the last couple of decades, and what Google is doing now is trying to put copyright back to where it should be:  A tool to protect written works, not software products.

I'd also go on to say:  Opensource.  Yea... opensource.  Eventually, I would hope, everything will become opensource and companies will compete on capabilities and not the size of their legal teams.  This applies to hardware as well as software.

And something to consider:  The (now) largest economy in the world.

China's lack of belief in copyrights and patents (I like to judge based on actions, not words) will eventually overtake the western worlds approach to ownership.

When the guy who owns all the factories doesn't give a s**t about your patent, AND owns the largest marketplace and middle class in the world.. well, whistle in the wind all you like kiddos... you don't get to keep your toys in a world like that.  I'm not saying this is right; I am saying, it's happening right now and there's no way to stop it.

Elon Musk and Tesla got it right:  Get a patent, but don't use it as a blunt instrument to kill your perceived enemies.  Use it as a way to protect the idea from being locked up by someone else by giving it away to everyone.

Naive?  Maybe.  Better for all businesses in the long term?  Absolutely




1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Scott, Interesting musing you have on patents. Makes me think of the star trek episodes about the good of the one vs the good of the many (not that I ever figured that out :). I grew up with patents, assumed it was part of life. "Protect your stuff" seems evident in nature, but there, it's not so much about depriving anyone else of process or knowledge (or income), it's just self preservation and territorial -- "get out of MY stuff". I don't see dogs building an empire, although they can be very protective. In a broad sense, patents, I think, harness human creativity to benefit the few not the many. I'm sure there can be many philosophical debates on that point. In my opinion, I will die someday, so it's really about the many, not me. So, I say, unleash creativity, take the patent harness off for the many and see what happens.

Best,
Tom