[clug] Re: A most interesting read, most interesting

Peter Anderson peter.anderson at internode.on.net
Fri Dec 29 12:52:42 GMT 2006

This is (generally) a most interesting debate. However, I find Sam 
Couter's views about the ownership of individual (and corporate) 
creativity to be quite unusual. Over my working life I have been a 
design engineer, a Patent Examiner (not for very long) and a software 
programmer (and a senior public servant, but we won't dwell on that). As 
a former engineer and programmer and as a current web site designer 
(admittedly for non-profit organisations) I would be very offended if 
somebody claimed that my hard work and innovation was for nothing and 
that the rest of the world has unfettered rights to that work and 
innovation. In the case of a corporation (public or private), it spends 
a great deal of its shareholders funds on developing 
ideas/products/etc.; surely the corporation has the ownership of these 
ideas and products.

Now from my recollections as a Patent Examiner, its Sam's views that ARE 
NOT CORRECT. The 'contract' or 'right' entered into between the inventor 
of an idea and the State is for the State to provide a period of 
protection for that idea (invention) so that the developer/inventor can 
reap some reward for his efforts. In return the developer/inventor must 
make all details of his idea/invention public. The trade-off is that the 
developer/inventor gets a period of protection for the specific idea and 
society benefits from its publication by allowing development of 'like' 
ideas and inventions. This 'contract' between idea developer/inventor 
and the State is based on an initial premise that the developer/inventor 
actually owns the idea/invention, otherwise why is it necessary to form 
the 'contract' (or grant the protection right).

One other small point, this debate is too interesting to allow it to 
degenerate into name-calling and nastiness. Sam, perhaps you might like 
to tone-down some of your criticisms just a little so the rest of us 
don't have to look at your views through your 'red mist'.


Peter Anderson

E: peter.anderson at internode.on.net
W: http://www.users.on.net/~peter.anderson/ 
P: +61 (0)2 4472 2274
M: +61 (0)418 249 648

There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to 
conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the 
introduction of a new order of things — Niccolo Machiavelli, /The 
Prince/, ch. 6

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