Thoughts on intellectual property

This essay by Wondermark cartoonist David Malki is thoroughly delightful, entertaining, and educational.

I’ve excerpted one of the more boring parts here, but the entire thing is filled with eye-opening historical footnotes and observations.

Thoughts on intellectual property, Part 1

Patent law was created to preserve the rights of an inventor to the profits derived from his invention, without fear of the invention being duplicated by a rival; trademark law, the same for brand names (essentially to prevent counterfeit goods from being sold under a reputable name); and copyright law, the same for works of creative expression such as books, plays, and music. The three forms of intellectual property are nowadays often bundled together as far as legal rights are concerned, but it wasn’t always so.

Not convinced? As Malki points out, in 1877 someone in Congress tried to stealthily push through a law that would have abolished patents.

Read all about it.

One thought on “Thoughts on intellectual property

  1. To me, IP is slowly evolving. Dang slow, but evolving. I’m hoping IP will move into the same relm that software is trying to go where it’s begining to sell more as a service rather than as single item. Not that I have ill intent for those like yourself Ed, not at all. But, with 6 billion people on this Earth and growing, how many ways can you roll the dice? I forget who stated it, but considering software like an algorythm seems realistic to me. And algorythms by law are not patentable. Search for that video on about where clothing is still big business even though it’s not patentable or copyrightable. I think we’d all be better off if IP were to “grow up” so to say, and realise that it’s the artist that is the money maker, not the art.

    That’s my viewpoint at least. I know it’s not the popular one. What’s apparent to me is that IP laws stifle growth. Hold back true innovators, and keep many from realizing bigger and better ideas. But, then again that’s what many big companies want isn’t it? To stop competition?

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