Re: Intellectual property

Michael Lorrey (
Mon, 24 Mar 1997 16:38:48 -0500

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> > If inventors produced intellectual property at the same rate as a
> > production worker produced cars, we would obviously need to make this
> > comparison. Unfortunately, inventions are rare beasts, coming few and
> > far between, after much research, thought, and study. The writer has
> > obviously never invented a thing, or he would realize that while the
> > breakthrough "Eureka" may be momentary, there is a long series of hours,
> > days, and weeks spent preparing the mind to make such acheivements.
> In the treatise I am writing on the subject, this is what I call "The
> Myth of the Lone Inventor", a cultural image that tends to mystify the
> work of creation and justify our subsides of it.

Subsidy, what subsidy? I've never gotten one red cent from the
government. Where oh where wise master may I find these riches????

Existing IP monopolies
> contribute to the myth, because they prevent all the minor tweaks and
> improvements that would be the natural evolution of any design from
> coming to market. It is only when a particular tweak is recognizable
> and distinct enough to make calling it an "invention" plausible that
> we grant it the monopoly, thereby discouraging futher development.

Another falsehood. By granting the creator a monopoly on use of that
particular invention, a technological leapfrog effect is encouraged,
where other companies and individuals, in order to compete, must invent
the next greater refinement. Not having this system would stultify
technological advancement as everyone would produce the same technology,
and competition would be quashed, productivity would stagnate, and the
economy would be swamped by overpopulation operating on restricted

> a free economy of ideas, 99% of inventions would be minor tweaks on
> existing things, and the research itself would be cheap, and entry to
> the market would be cheap, and everyone--inventors included--would be
> too busy getting rich to bother filing for patents.

If research is cheap, research labor costs would be very low, meaning
researcher pay would be low. Thus you would create a disincentive to
pursue careers in research, and only the incompetent morons would enter
the field, much like primary education today.

> The occurence of a truly new and spectacular idea from nothing is a rare
> and wonderful event--Newton's gravity, Darwin's evolution, and Einstein's
> general relativity are the only ones I can think of,

none are inventions. They were scientific discoveries.

but practical
> inventions are a dime a dozen.

They are so now only because there is an IP system in place which
encourages and has encouraged their proliferation. Its interesting that
you had no comment on my analysis showing that the average "dime a
dozen" invention was worth 4.55 million man hours in terms of relative
scarcity. if that is your opinion of the value of invention, I hesistate
to ask what your opinion is of the work of the common man. (Nuff cotton
deah, boss?)

Each of us has several ideas a day for an
> improvement to an existing product. The reason they don't get developed
> is that entry to the market is made difficult by regulation, including
> patents. That copyrights and patents are not needed to stimulate creative
> invention is evidenced by the fact that the three gentlemen above didn't
> need it. Gutenberg's press was a nifty idea, building upon a foundation
> of countless other inventions that came before. He needed no patents to
> become a wealthy man, and to instigate flourishing publishing businesses
> from the late 1500s through the 1700s without copyrights.
> Mr. Lorrey dismisses his opponent as "obviously not an inventor", which
> conveniently ignores the fact that he is in fact a writer, and we are
> talking about copyrights and patents. And I /am/ an inventor. Maybe
> I haven't found a way around conservation of momentum yet,

its interesting that a man who dislikes ad hominem attacks against
himself takes such glee in inciting them against others. Additionally,
that you still haven't paid enough attention or havent the intelligence
to figure out that my drive system does not violate conservation of
momentum shows that you are only interested in what you have to say and
not anyone else. I suggest you check your ego at the door.

but I have
> written software for 15 years, much of which would certainly be patentable
> if I cared to (PNG's adaptive pre-filtering compression algorithm, for
> example) and most of which is copyrihted by my employers. But I cannot
> in clear conscience name a single measurable benefit either I or my
> employers gained from a copyright or patent that is not outweighed
> tenfold by the crippling effects on research, gradual development, and
> wasted litigation cause by IP law.

That software cannot be patented you seem to have conveniently