Patents, Copyrights & Life Today

Assume you feel the urge to write a book, software, music – conserving your mood and ideas. You might want to preserve your mind set for yourself only, not to forget your ingenious ideas. But most likely you would love to share and debate it with others, or just hope others might be indulged with your spirit. Now the question occurs how to deploy your work ?

In history this was quite of a harsh undertaking, you may give it away in a pub with a few beers, write a letter in the newspaper, or find an exclusive publisher. Different expensive media were utilized, stone slabs, paper, vinyl records maybe even celluloid film. Producing your ideas onto the media were just the beginning. They had to be advertised & distributed to be spread to the public. The biggest obstacle of this undertaking: Resources. All mentioned stages of deployment were quite expensive, human resources and material. In the end all costs had to be compensated and paid. It turned out that the artists original motivation of sharing the work, were contradicted by the costs of deployment. Potential addressees of the work had an intrinsic obligation to pay for it, due to the high costs of it’s deployment itself, even if the artist did not had any financial profit in mind.

Thanks to the new media Internet and it’s terminal devices, these obstacles are no more required. Words, sound, still & moving pictures and even software may be deployed to everybody at minimal costs, shared by everybody. All participants of the Internet are paying for it’s infrastructure, no financial hurdles for artists exists anymore to share their work in the first place.

Nowadays it may look odd to give your work away for free. You may risk to be associated with communism.
It even looks more weird if you state your work is freely available but not free as in beer, i.e. your free accessible work shall not imply that there is no price to pay.
The concept of deliberate payment by consumers might need to be reanimated – as if you visit a street artist or live-band you love to pay your respect while paying a mite.
An artist may also look at her public gift as advertisement encouraging the audience to pay a visit to her public presentation or to pay the mentioned deliberate mite. No hurdles and no risk exist anymore for the potential consumer, they may pay if they care, or not.
An interesting aspect are studies of consumer behavior, resulting that most pay a lump sump over a period of time for art depending on their financial capacity, regardless of how much they consume.
But most important is that the artist can reach her original goal, sharing her work with everybody interested in, since distribution has no more intrinsic obstacles. Art and knowledge would be freely available for all this way, not leaving the financial incapable behind.
How convenient that even paying a mite is enabled through the Internet via well known online payment systems.

There are still some commercial institutions unable to adapt to the new media, the Internet. Quite understandable at the first thought, since applying aforementioned Internet distribution systems would simply render them redundant and out of business. Would it?
To survive, they would have to change their role, i.e. become part of the solution, offer shared accessible media resources, payment systems and maybe even some public platforms helping the non-technical artist with the new ways of distribution.
Even though these old economies are more visible trying to criminalize the consumer, the mentioned alternatives are already in process by these former big players. Internet service providers, software platform vendors become content providers and vice versa.
DMCA and other artifacts of trying to enforce an obsolete business model may soon become history.
Content provider already distance themselves from trying to criminalize consumers, allowing them multiple copies in multiple formats of the same content, realizing that in the end, you cannot be afraid of the wind, you better benefit from it’s nature.
They also may realize that they will not be able to raise their revenue by suing consumers, they already know – as proven by consumer behavior, the more they consumes (legal or illegal), the more likely they spend money for it, if they like it.

Where is the affinity to patents you might ask? Patents and the artists copyright share one thing in common. Both benefit from the current patent & copyright law enabling them to exploit their one-time work for a long time, maybe even beyond their own lifetime.
The law enforces the people to pay fees to use existing work results for their own work, even though the people don’t even used such previous achievements and were unaware of its existence.
Patent and copyright holder can enforce license fees for somehow related and maybe similar work.
Due to these circumstances creating a new work always implies the risk of using someones results. It often hinders artists from distributing their new work and companies from developing new things, since they just cannot effort to prove their sole ownership. Patent lawsuits may ruin companies, artists may be scared away and seclude themselves – both might be refrained from publishing theirs.
A common term for both, patents and copyright, is the unword intellectual property, IP.
How can one being refrained to use an idea she developed herself, just because another one just had it before her, or just published it earlier? Even hindering somebody to use ones idea, will throttle development of our society, due to the simple fact that we all base our work on existing results of our dear fellow men. Smart business oriented people would love to exploit this fraudulent system and even try to patent work results by nature.

Patents of life. Finally I come to the end of my thoughts. Motivated by the perversion of some well known companies, I set up this whole blog system. IP, patents, copyright and even the most unreasonable audacity to patent genetic material created by nature, all share the same ridicule similarities. All IP is somehow based on the gift by nature. It may be nature itself (life) or it may be brought up by an entity of it, by mankind. Who would argue that man and his outcome is nature as well? Indifferent from nature. You may replace the word nature with the entity of your religious believe if you like. All current laws trying to make IP a proprietary good hinder nature, throttle the free development and evolution of our society. Artist are refrained from certain melodies, engineers from technologies and farmers from breeding and planting their own natural herd and fields. Even finding a remedy for the good of the people is already restricted by patented genetic sequences. The application of such expensive medicine in poor countries impossible.  Whole natural lifeforms are already patented, potatoes, pigs, .. may we call those patent holders god? All life and health in control of a few powerful companies?

Good that we live in a democratic and free world, where we are all free to inform ourselves,  decide and vote. Are we the people empowered enough to exercise these right? Do we exercise our rights?
The free press may lead to the answer here, where the Internet truly renders the press independent and everybody may become a journalist. The remaining question is do we the people use our power enough?
Under these aspects it might be not just a coincident that governments currently install filter and logging technology at Internet service provider and phone companies. They all have different excuses, some say it’s to prevent terror, some say to prevent child pornography.
But they all have one thing in common, they cannot let the people use an anarchistic communication medium, which they are unable to control. Of course, no criminal ever is hindered by any weapon ban or even impressed by some ridicule IP filter or plain email/SMS logging.

Long live our rights, freedom of speech, freedom to express ourselves, which is always based upon some previous work.

Good night & good luck

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