If we thought it was safe to go back into the water again, well we were wrong as not only are the patent trolls out in force looking for every little morsel they can find, now we have a new foe. Yes, the copyright trolls are here too and they’ve moved in like a bad set of in-laws which by the way there’s nothing wrong with so long as they are not living with you and it takes them a plane commute to visit. However joking aside these nasty little devils are here raising havoc on the internet taking what was once a nice neighborhood and turning it into urban devastation.
Don’t get me wrong here as it’s not that I’m advocating copyright infringement, piracy, plagiarism or the like at all. What I’m standing up for is “fair use” as what is the purpose of information but to use the concepts put forth from the work. As Stephens Media, a Las Vegas Nevada based media chain, is attempting to keep its latest business model alive by being a “copyright-troll” by form a sub entity and assigning its copyrights and suing bloggers.
So in essence, since I read this on “ars technica” a great web site, my reuse of this story’s concepts induces the risk of copyright infringement. Yet isn’t the purpose of the media to uncover interesting and useful stories in exchange for use looking at their ad or paying for their content? Ok, you might say maybe these bloggers in question have “Google Ad-Words” or the like running on the side of their blogs to ink out a buck or two however come on the base idea is to spread the concept and not the exact words. This would be akin to the first person who wrote a story about say the infidelity of a former California governor suing everyone else who wrote about the story as they had “first rights” since they coined “first words”.
While I will give you that copyrighting is a slippery slope and one of the main reasons we have the issues today in patenting as instead of fixing the problems in “copyrighting”, we simply allowed the establishment to step in with stronger medicine namely the patent. As being a programmer in the days and being involved in copyright issues we were limited to the “expression” and not the “concept” of the work, in computer terms it was very easy to “reverse engineer” a function to create new code that was in fact wholly different yet did the same thing. However the question as I’ve proposed in prior posts is would have happened if Pythagorean patented his theorem, yes we wouldn’t have triangles today.
In fact the business model of most companies today are not based upon the creation of value as was the rule of the past. In fact it is off patenting and licensing of rights, which than makes me wonder who is paying for all this one way or another? Wait, let me guess, yes us the consumer in product and services fees and is this money rolling back into R&D to make things better. The short answer is no, as its just paying for more attorneys to hunt up even more obscure things to litigate for, and the sadder piece to the story is this is the world we’ve sewn for ourselves…