@Andrew: Thanks for your reply.
TLDR: The future can be great. Let’s stop fighting the changes and embrace it to build a better future.
Well the ‘evil’ argument can easily be expanded upon to be more specific. The core failure of patents is that they are presented as an aid for greater innovation and community development, while in reality exist only as a power play to control consumer freedoms. Either way the system is broken when the mega-corporates just end up buying innovative companies and hoarding the patents for themselves - serving only their continued monopoly. The innovator may be protected in some idealistic way, but the community certainly isn’t.
In response to, “provide a temporary monopoly in exchange for public disclosure”, I’d argue that things that never make it into the public domain are simply unimportant. And irrespective, while there is a strong push in software, an extremely large majority of internal and propriety things never do make the public domain. Tom the glass cutter made some special machine that uses orange lasers for a smoother cut - the existent of a patent system won’t make him more likely to share. He is better off using an internal company agreement to protect his process.
In response to, “protection to small innovative inventors and start-up businesses against giant corporations”, I’d simply argue that success is hard to replicate. And that is just a fact of life - there is no magic, works every time method. The truth is that large companies do try and steal/replicate smaller companies - but the more likely outcome is that they just buy them out. While another common practise is for the big company to just sue the smaller one - more money = more time = the little guy is at a disadvantage.
The sole objective of large corporations is greater market share - aka. monopoly. By design, this means that they don’t care about niche, highly customised or specialised. They just want nooses, and strangleholds on the market. History has proved that monopolies essentially fall over when they become too irrelevant (think Yahoo). What they provide becomes too generalised, and people tend to seek after something that better suits their needs. Companies like Microsoft, Google , IBM, are all becoming extremely unfocused, such that the importance of their products and services going forward can more easily be disrupted through smaller and more niece innovations. And this needs to be the sweet spot for new innovators who seek success. Companies who don’t adapt, die.
The scope of ‘software patents’ seems to be been expanded to include all forms of patents in this thread, so I thought it might be a good idea to take a look at their origins. For some brief history, the following links may be of use.
Wikipedia - Patent
“in order to stimulate invention"
Wikipedia - History of United States patent law
“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries”
What’s important to understand is that often, when ‘solutions’ such as patents are created and become law, they have no mechanism to review their relevancy and continued ability to address their original goal. Which there in lies the problem - we are moving into a new world of possibilities, and old broken systems that may have once had merit are now simply the wrong approach going forward. The dynamics have changed - there is no fix to make ‘patents’ work again. A new solution and a new way of thinking needs to be established that is inline with the present and the future.
I think a common mistake made, is when we try and solve problems that simply don’t exist - or ones that are poorly understood. Generally, in new business, this leads to product and/or service failure, due to a business plan without any real customers. A semi-comical example is a toaster with WiFi; it may sound cool, but when it costs $50 more and has no real life advantage, the marketplace will squeeze it out. It will be a dud.
What is clear that certain things cannot easily be replicated - even looking forward into the near future of computing. Books, articles, etc cannot easily be machine written. Skilled jobs, such as the medical profession and product design. Arts and creativity take considerable effort to produce. Education requires highly adaptive teachers. Many more examples exist. While inventing out the need for a humans to physically control a metal press machine can have significant impact on jobs and communities in the short term, the global change is coming, and fighting it will only make things worse. Instead we need to focus on new way that we can create value and stimulate job growth.
The future is one where replication is becoming easier, faster and cheaper. The obvious example is of China, as a powerhouse manufacturer of clones and replicas. If you consider how easy it has become to copy information (think USBs, the internet), and how easy it is to replicate objects (with 3D printing), it becomes obvious as to just how futile patent-like restrictions are in protecting ‘inventors’. In the end a country with strict patent laws loses out by the more efficient and free one.
The world is moving forward, and we are moving into a stage where we can all benefit greatly from sharing with each other. In the end, restrictions placed on what can be ‘shared’ will simply be ignored by people. But do we just accept that it may take 50 years or more to reform, and accept all of the stifled progress as collateral? The space race spanned 20 years. The Internet is 20 years old. We are about 5 years into having every device embedded with some kind of processor/connectivity. I don’t see how we can throw that future potential innovation away - especially when we are facing such grand challenges of our global population at scale.
Nature has a way of self-balancing everything out. We can remain the ones trying to fight change, or we can embrace it and take with it the grand benefits.
The reasons I brought this up on the discussion boards is to help evaluate whether the Pirate Party reflects my personal political beliefs, and if are they the best channel for me to strive to re-establish lost freedoms. I understand that a party has members, and the members have ultimate control. But I also know for a movement to succeed, it needs strong and unified direction. And sometimes that requires a new way of looking at old problems.