RE: Fear of Life (was Microsoft, Automation)

Webb_S (
Mon, 4 May 1998 07:49:38 -0400

Dan Fabulich wrote:

> ChuckKuecker wrote:
> >As long as it takes large amounts of capital to develop a patent or
> >copyrighted work, we will need this protection, as
> unscrupulous persons are
> >then free to let you do the designing and then sell your
> idea without giving
> >you any value.
> Rules, not tools, eh?
> Since it is the DEVELOPMENT of an idea, not its distribution, which is
> costly, why not charge money for its development? In other
> words, couldn't
> you develop your idea at full cost and then, since you've got
> the only one,
> sell it (using encryption and various other privacy tools) to
> the highest
> bidder? Wouldn't that recompense you the cost of your idea?
> And wouldn't
> that prevent people from "stealing" it, without creating a government
> enforced monopoly?

This might protect Chuck, assuming that he can afford to (or can at all)
develop his whatever-it-is in complete isolation. In the long run,
however, the problem of stealing is merely passed along to the buyer,
who has invested heavily in the idea and now expects to profit from it.

> The current patent strategy is comparable to leaving your
> front door open
> and unlocked and putting out a big sign on your front lawn saying "No
> trespassers. Violators will be prosecuted." This strategy
> is more like
> putting a LOCK on your door and putting a big sign on your lawn saying
> "Just you TRY to get in. Prosecutors will be violated." :)

I don't see that this "Maginot line" strategy is any better than what's
currently in place. The current system seems to encourage the exchange
of ideas but provides penalties for anyone who abuses this privilege.
Your proposal would seem to discourage the exchange of ideas up front,
and provide no recourse once someone broke your encryption.