Friday, October 1, 2010

Time and Again

Cathy L.Z. Smith, whom I believe is L. Neil Smith's wife, has a new artice on Intellectual Property entitled Time—Going, Going, Gone. Go there and read it if you're interested.

The Intellectual-is-the-same-as-Real Property arguments have always struck me as kind of silly. Carrying Ms. Smith's argument to a logical conclusion would means the design for the 1911 was stolen from Browning (when the Government expired his patent) and all the clones makers are now profiting from that theft. Seems it would also mean that Smith and Wesson might not have not been able to make their first revolver since Colt owned that Intellectual Property. If so, since S&W owned the IP for the drilled through cylinder, the metallic cartridge might not have replaced the cap and ball.

I don't know offhand who owned (owns?) the IP for the metallic cartridge.

Even Ayn Rand recognized the need for an expiration date on IP. An expiration of IP happens because patents and copyright are not property as we normally think of property but represent a debt owed to the creator by people that copy the invention or book. However, debts are not eternal so patents and copyrights are limited.

I think I'll just leave the Smiths to arguing about angels and pinheads while I head to the range to use my pirated 1911 and immorally obtained S&W revolvers.

Arrrr Matey!

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