Re: Intellectual property

Michael Lorrey (
Mon, 24 Mar 1997 19:03:16 -0500

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:
> > Subsidy, what subsidy? I've never gotten one red cent from the
> > government. Where oh where wise master may I find these riches????
> I explained that quite clearly many times: if you sell me a product,
> then I use the ideas to create a similar one and sell that, then the
> government will step in and prevent me from doing so /at my expense/.
> Protecting a market at public expense is no less a subsidy than just
> writing checks from the public coffers or regulating prices.

Oh the emperor is declothed, and he is a theif. You say,"then I use the
ideas". That right there is your crime. Then inventor has gone through
enormous expense in terms of research and development and you have gone
and stolen the benefits of that investment without proper compensation.
In this case, sir, YOU ARE A THEIF!.
> > 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
> > resources.
> If you're just going to parrot tired old justifications, show me some
> evidence to back it up. I refuse to accept your naked assertions, and
> I have attempted to give some evidence that industry and publishing
> flourished in the absence of what you claim is necessary. James Watt
> became a very wealthy and creative man, as he deserved, and asked no
> one to grant him any monopoly on his creations. The great works of
> Shakespeare, Handel's Messiah, and the Mona Lisa were created without
> benefit of copyrights. "IP" is a recent invention, justified by the
> same blind assumption you continue to make here, but not supported by
> the facts.

You cite works of art and inventions developed prior to over 95% of all
inventions in human history. That the present system has encouraged the
other 95% in as short a time as the last century indicates that the
present system is more conducive to technological advancement.
> > 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.
> So, making research cheap and easy is /bad/, now? Amazing. Do you
> even believe in the free market at all? That products will increase
> in quality as the market demands? And when information is cheap, the
> value of /selection/ and /evaluation/ of information goes up, leading
> to a market for people with enough brains to find and sort through all
> the information. Again, this I outlined in my earlier posts.
> > > 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.
> What's the /objectively definable/ difference between discovering the
> inverse-square law of gravity and the LZW compression algorithm, or
> natural order spreadsheet recalculation, or a process for making soap,
> all of which are patented?

The law of gravity is merely a discovery of knowledge of the existing
structure of the universe, while the others are artifical constructs
created by the human mind. That there is the difference between a
discovery and an invention.

> > 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?)
> I don't remember any such analysis, but I'll look for it--but once again,
> you beg the very question by defining "invention" as "issued patent",
> further misvalued by the existing anti-market system. Such an analysis
> is as invalid for justifying itself as saying that drugs cause prison
> costs, therefore we need more drug laws. Can't you see that circularity?

An invention which earns a patent not only is something actually new
under the sun, but also of high enough market value to be worth the
effort of pursuing the patent process. As for your circular claim, there
is no such thing in my argument.

> The labor of any man--in any field--is worth precisely what he can sell
> it for in a free market. When Joe Montana makes a pass, his labor is
> worth thousands of dollars, because that's what people will pay to see it.
> When the cameraman gets paid to film it, his labor is worth whatever the
> network is paying him. When the network broadcasts it, they charge for
> commercial time whatever advertisers will pay. 49 years from now,
> when Joe has stopped making passes and the cameraman retires, the network
> can still collect royalties from someone who taped the game on his home
> VCR and plays it for his friends, not because they would pay voluntarily,
> but because the government say so. Where's the "labor" there?

Ah you show that you do not understand the economics of it. First off,
"fair use" has been declared legal, as is personal use, which is why you
can make as many copies as you want, so long as you gain no commercial
satisfaction from them.

Now, Joe was paid on contract for his services. The organization which
invested in his services have taken a risk, which they value in current
dollars at a discounted rate from future earnings. Joe didn't take the
risk, the company investors did, so they are who earns the downstream
royalties from the broadcast. Just as you, who did a great job
developing your compression algorithms, were under contract to Piclab,
or who ever, and were being paid a salary or fee to do the work "for
hire". your employers made the investment in you to develop the
algorithms. If you had done it all by yourself, you could enjoy the
benefits of that invention. Unfortunately, you are like many corporate
writers, inventors, etc., in that you fall into an individual version of
the trap Benjamin Franklin described: "That nation which shall sacrifice
some measure of freedom for greater security shall wind up with
neither." Because you seek a secure position, you shy away from the role
of entrepreneur, you wind up giving up your rights to benefit from your
> > 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.
> Sorry, but I couldn't resist. You're right, I don't know anything
> about your drive, just the very limited information about it on your
> site, which /seems/ to violate conservation of momentum. Perhaps the
> thing does something useful but not exactly what the page seems to say
> it does, or that there is something vital not said there. In any case,
> I do apologize for the thinly-veiled ad hominem. It was an attempt at
> humor, not a serious diparagement (not that I would shirk from serious
> disparagement for other reasons!)
> > That software cannot be patented you seem to have conveniently
> > forgotten.
> That over 100,000 algorithms /are/ patented you seem to not realize.

I wasn't aware of the exact number but I was aware that algorithms were
> --
> Lee Daniel Crocker <> <>
> "All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past,
> are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified
> for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC

Nice vow of poverty, Reverend. This is, IMHO, not a statement of free
market principle, but of anti-market sentiment veiled as piety.