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User Journal

Journal: The Big Picture

Its far more appropriate that a company make money selling hardware, the stationary of software speech, than it is that they control what we can say.

20 years ago perhaps, there were few enough computer programmers that proprietary software could bribe or bluff them all into preserving a monopoly. Perhaps there were few enough computers or solution models that they could dominate all the working solutions.

Today developed world companies are swimming in hardware, often throwing out working hardware on vendor demand - not necessity. The number of programmers has grown and alternate programming methods have a long line of useful success stories to point to.

Proprietary software has received copyright protection from duplication but is it fair they receive patent protection from competing keyboards and new programmers? Is it in society's interest that a software writer from a small\poor company have to defend every logical observation and discoverred method because something similar was done in California first?

Patent laws have changed very little since the 19th century. 30 years represents several eternities on the internet.

Microsoft, by dominating the market, has lowered the perceived value of competing solutions such that they might as well be given away. The Solution market is due for a huge correction as companies realize that their own home made solutions make them no money if not implemented at all. Open sourcing solutions at least capitalize their existing training and organization. Service and Support creates wealth and can gain client loyalty.

Proprietary software interests act like railroad barons of the American frontier - they are trying to monopolize key bridges to data flow. They are effectively saying that if I have my business on their tracks I can never make tracks of my own at anything approaching the real cost of track. I cannot build similar bridges,only because they built first. I cannot even use industry tools cheaply because they claim ownership of how you swing a pick.

In the midst of all this the reality is that sharing logic is a principle element of humanity. You may hoard tools & possessions but methods & information want to be free.

Protectionist, monopoly software is like the ancient silk monopoly of China. It has to fail because the world needs to use its computers affectively - not pay Billions of Dollars to Rich American firms for drawing pictures, ordering lists, and filing data.

Proprietary software can change and become a center, perhaps _the_ center, where things are done particularly well or they can slowly become a much resented backwater as more efficient systems spring up to bypass their bridges.

It is immoral to not allow poor countries to modernize for the real cost of organization. License and Permission costs are not real costs. Hardware companies know that, and will eventually sell to the world population at real costs plus a small profit margin.

As we absorb computers into how our culture operates society must claim computer languages, and their phrases and nuances, as 'free speech' the exercise of which is a right.

LS

User Journal

Journal: Copyright & work For Hire

Another clear example of lobbyists doing a disservice to the population at large allowed record companies to reclassify most recording contracts as 'work for hire'. This class is meant for jobs of limited\or delegated creative input. If you say paint me a flower there or build me a ladder the 'artist' actually receives much of his\her direction from the patron. Clearly for most audio recordings this is rediculous, it places them in a lower category and allows the Record Companies to pay reduced royalties and treat the performers worse.

Yet one has to ask why does 'work for hire' receive the full protection and duration of protection under copyright law? I think it would only be appropriate that less innovative classes receive a commensurate level of protection. If I tell joe to paint a flower on the street is it fair that you can't paint a similar flower for 30 years beyond Joe's Lifetime? Obviously the street and the conditions played a huge role in inspiring the flower and you may share that self same street.

Copyright on 'work for hire' should be returned to the original view and duration of copyright as it is not a clear protection of the artist.

ls

User Journal

Journal: Limiting Sold Goods

Lets 'license' a shovel

I wonder if I could license a shovel to users. This shovel would be designed to shovel my fertalizer but not allow the licensee to lift, move, or affect a change in snow or other shovelables. If society would pay for inforcement I'd be willing to take a paper loss on each shovel sold if it supported my fertilizer.

Different regions would be forbidden from shoveling imported fertalizer, which might vary in price, date of release and content. If you bought fertalizer in Holland you'd have to use it with an appropriately branded shovel.

If you kept to the licensing I could encourage you to enjoy your shoveling experience. My fertalizer would be non clumping, light, easy to lift. The shovel would be suitable for display and examination of the fertalizer would be encouraged so long as you did not try to reverse engineer it. You could look closely, see nodules of nitrogen, top soil and those puffy balls but if you tried to mix a similar mixture based on what you saw you'd be breaking the law.

User Journal

Journal: media interactivity

While it is always possible to ignore the importance of stories and go on with your life regardless, it may still be interesting to see what the interactive nature of the web does to journalism.

Nobody who reads a newspaper expects a way to read cout transcripts from their chair at the push of a botton. Nobody expects to be able to tell the author what they think with minimal trouble -- except on the web.

I hope the success of Grocklaw is part of the new model for American journalism. Little by little the expectation of sources and background data might do good things for truth in America. These practices certainly furnish the underdogs with a realistic way to go the extra mile to convice those interested.

Of course it still depends on whether we have enough interested readers.

ls

User Journal

Journal: Global Intellectual Property

The issue over who defines what is the best format for Intellectual Property is a huge one for the world right now.

Intellectual Property owners have been very succussful in phrasing the argument such that anyone who opposes them is somehow suspect. This simply isn't so.

Authors rights are a good thing but those rights exist in a context of time and utility. Should I be able to use an idea of mine before you can -- certainly. Should I be able to stop anyone else in the whole world from using their idea, the same as mine, just because I thought of it (or registerred it first)?

I wonder how many English and European patents were ignored by continental\revolutionary America. Furthermore what was the affect of isolated markets on the patent process. Patent law still springs from a time when organizational\technological barriers made patents far more local in their authority.

Do I in the United states have the moral right to halt or garner the first steps of Ethiopia towards economic prosperity? More and more trade agreements are tied to the intellectual property laws DMCA, etc.. every day.

Citizens support laws in a broad context, striking down bad laws for many reasons. There are more than dollars at stake. If laws represent our collective will we are each made guilty if they are tyrannous.

LS

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