Patent Law Must Be Reformed (www.gamingonlinux.com)
posted ago by DennJW ago by DennJW +15 / -0
Comments (16)
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Assassin47 9 points ago +9 / -0

Extend to all IP law and I'm with you. (slightly off-topic rant incoming)

  • IP is a legal fiction, which has some purpose in disputes but corporate lawyers have warped it beyond all initial intent. Outside of a courtroom we should stop treating it like a thing. Patents, copyright, and trademarks are all unique monopoly protections that must be handled in different ways.

  • For patents, they're designed to promote innovation and give us things we wouldn't have anyway, so things that are hard to think up and produce should get the longest protection. (25 years is too long IMO) If for some ridiculous reason you have to have design patents, they should only be a few years, and you should have to show that you're actively selling the product. I don't understand patent trolls - why do we give patents to people not actually producing anything and giving back to society?

  • Copyright should never outlast the original author. (or let's say 75 years) The idea was to reward them for their art. Not give them an estate to pass onto their ungrateful, woke grandchildren, and not to create new monetary devices that corporations can add to their portfolio of assets. Maybe corporations shouldn't even be able to retain copyrights. Only the original author, or groups of authors get that privilege. They can license it to others (including the corporation they work for) but not transfer it to some third party as some kind of virtual property. (aka IP) When the author dies, it's public domain.

I'm not sure you should be be allowed to copyright characters or concepts in stories either. Ideas aren't supposed to be copyrightable. It's literally just to prevent me from selling your book without your permission. I should be allowed to sell my fan-fiction based on your story as long as it's clear that it's not your story. Conceivably JKR could trademark the name "Harry Potter" and prevent it from being used, but otherwise I'm not sure how it's covered under copyright.

I'm just waiting for Congress to finally grant Disney literal forever copyright. They'll portray it as an anti-China thing, and the left and right will unite to protect the sanctity of our American arts. "Don't let China steal Mickey!" (even though they already have)

DennJW [S] 7 points ago +7 / -0

I agree with you 1000%. Why is Amazon able to pervert Tolkein's work into racist porn? Because they bought a monopoly on stories that live in our heads.

They purchased a force-backed right to still our pens, to silence our tongues, to rob us and imprison us for any work we might do, with that share of our minds.

These powers are extraordinary measures, and should be very sparingly used. It should be very easy to dissuade such terrible tools. But instead, we have exactly the opposite.

Assassin47 2 points ago +2 / -0

You expressed it way better than I could. It reads like a letter from Ben Franklin.

DennJW [S] 2 points ago +2 / -0

I always go for the "pathos". I feel like this is a "chocolate meets peanubutter" moment.

bluewhiteandred 6 points ago +7 / -1

IP is cringe, I agree with the other poster that it's basically a legal fiction we'd be better off without, there are too many gray areas of what's a "unique idea" that you "own" and it doesn't operate like physical property at all

edit: In reading the other comment, they seem to defend IP a bit, I think it should probably be totally gotten rid of

krzyzowiec 2 points ago +2 / -0

Ideas are not property. Physical things can be property, and not even all of those qualify…

Some day people will look back on this and wonder how we could say such ridiculous things with a straight face.

wethepepe 5 points ago +5 / -0

Patents for software especially are nothing more than a massive handbrake on the world.

Hardware kind of makes sense provided it’s actually novel and innovative

The problem is these people that abuse it to get broad reaching patents to scam money out of businesses or stifle anyone trying to compete with them

DennJW [S] 4 points ago +4 / -0

It's hard to see how anything this broken can be fixed, honestly. How did we get to a place where "round corners" and "two buttons" can be patented?

Assassin47 5 points ago +5 / -0


muslimporn 2 points ago +2 / -0

You could probably find some niche for software patents but what we're really talking about he is very gratuitous patents on very basic features.

DennJW [S] 3 points ago +3 / -0

Valve lost 4M because someone patented "having 2 buttons on the back of a controller".

Your argument is invalid.

Dale_Gribble 2 points ago +2 / -0

we must use 3 buttons!

DennJW [S] 2 points ago +2 / -0

No joke - the Valve lawsuit mentioned that Valve was looking at maybe bringing back the controller with 4 buttons on the back.

Dale_Gribble 3 points ago +3 / -0

I kinda hope they do just to spite the owner

FiresideRant 1 point ago +1 / -0

What is the balance for patent and copyright law though?

I agree that copyright limit should be around 75 to 80 years (I'd be wary of saying they only outlast the original author, since paid assassinations are a thing).

The original idea, as I understand it, was that copyright and patent law was put in place to prevent someone with a lot of money and no ideas from stealing an idea from someone with an idea but no way to implement it.

Ideally, we wouldn't need copyright/patent law, but I think China is a pretty good example of exactly what would happen on a much more widespread scale down to local communities if the laws were removed completely.

krzyzowiec 1 point ago +1 / -0

What? Our economy would grow like crazy? New ideas could be implemented immediately? China copying our good technology is one of the best parts of that country. It has stifled innovation on our side, forcing companies to buy each other just to build up a patent war chest to protect themselves from lawsuits. Only tiny companies get crushed by the laws, or just sell out to avoid the hassle of it all.